Bad Ass Quote of the Week
“I know you despise me. And I know how badly you want to see me dead. But I”m willing to bet that I know a man whom you hate even more. I’m offering you an opportunity for revenge.” - Walter White to Tio Hector Salamanca
Thoughts on “Face Off”
After the departure of Gus and his henchmen from the hospital parking garage, the episode opens with Walt racing to disarm and remove his car bomb. For some reason he doesn’t seem to be concerned about being observed by anyone as he runs and almost dives under Gus’ car. In typical “Walt can’t get a break” fashion, the flashlight he holds in his mouth to see the bomb flickers on and off. He then proceeds into the hospital to speak with Jesse – clutching the bomb hidden in a diaper bag. The magnetic bomb sticks to the door of an elevator in amusing fashion, but also highlights the lack of caution Walt is demonstrating. I have to assume that Walt must have observed Gus leave the hospital, and therefore does not fear accidentally meeting him inside.
Walt and Jesse argue about how smart it was to bring the bomb into a hospital. Walt presses Jesse to think of one place he can get to Gus where he won’t be observed coming, otherwise they are both dead. Jesse can’t think of one and looks distraught, and then says “Just maybe…” as 2 dark clad figures step in front of them. I must say I thought for an instant that Gus and Tyrus had arrived, but it turns out to be two police detectives who want to question Jesse about telling Andrea that Brock might have been poisoned.
At the police headquarters Jesse insists that he was just trying to help the doctors cover all the bases, and that he heard about ricin on ‘House” or “The Discovery Channel”. The police don’t seem to buy it and inform Jesse that the doctors think he may be right about ricin being used to poison Brock. When told that he is not under arrest, but that he can’t leave until they are done talking, Jesse decides it is time to lawyer up… Better call Saul!
At Saul’s office HT is busy shredding documents as the telephone rings and there is pounding on the door. Frankly, I”m a little sad that Saul’s paper shredder was so small – I kind of thought a shyster like him would have a high-capacity paper disintegrator! When she hears a loud crash she emerges from Saul’s office brandishing pepper spray, to see Walt crawling through the smashed doorway (nice touch – the big rock lying on the floor). Walt demands a contact number for Saul, but HT is angry that Walt has destroyed the door and that she has to go on unemployment since Saul has “flown the coop”. When he offers all the money he has to pay for the door, HT tries to blackmail him, but it takes Walt a minute to clue in to just what is happening. Not having enough money to meet her demand, he has to speed home and grab some cash from his crawl space, after exiting through the broken glass door again.
Suspicious that Gus may have goons waiting for him at his home, he cons a neighbour into entering his house first. When “Becky” enters the house to make sure Junior hasn’t left the stove turned on, Walt observes two of Gus’ henchmen leaving from the yard of the home next door. I assume that Walt must have cleaned up his kitchen from his earlier bomb – making, since “Becky” doesn’t mention the mess. Once the goons are out of sight and the neighbour is gone, Walt sneaks into his own house through the back yard to grab the cash he needs. He hides in the crawl space as Gus’ men return for him, and escapes from a vent into the back yard, flopping over the wall into a neighbour’s yard.
Saul arrives at the police interrogation room where Jesse is being held, and shoos the police out the door. When Jesse asks if Saul can get him out of the police station, Saul tells him that he is not going anywhere until the tests for ricin on Brock are complete, and that Jesse is safer with the police, as Gus just tried to kill Walt in his own home. When Saul asks “Got anything for me?’ Jesse replies “Yeah, I’ve been thinking…”
Saul meets Walt at a derelict building to pass on Jesse’s idea of a potential weak point for Gus. He reveals that Gus visits Tio Hector Salamanca at an old age home, to torture him with the knowledge of his family being dead. He also reveals Gus informed Jesse that Hector once killed someone close to him. Walt goes to the nursing home to meet Hector… and offers him a chance to partner up to take revenge against Gus. What a great moment! After all of Walt’s buffoonery so far this episode, the prospect of this plan is delicious for us super fans!
Hector alone in his room, rings his bell for attention from his nurse, and then spells out “Need DEA” in a painful to watch exercise of ringing his bell while the nurse uses a spelling board.
Walt is “staking out” the nursing home, and takes a call from Junior and Marie pressuring him to get to Hank’s house for his safety. Walt does his best to calm them down, and Skyler backs up his story. Marie insults Walter and also gives Hank a sarcastic “Thank you for all of your help.” to which Hank replies with a distracted “Wha?” Gomez arrives to see Hank, who continues his suspicions of the laundry – pointing out that the electricity supply is far too large just for just a laundry – and wants Gomez to take another look. Gomez tells Hank that Hector has arrived at the DEA, but insists on speaking only to Hank. Marie forbids Hank to go…
The next scene opens with Merkert saying “Hank, thanks for coming down.” I guess Marie lost her final argument with Hank this season! Hector goes through the spelling exercise with his nurse for Hank and proceeds to say “Suck my” and then “Fuc” before being cut off both times. (Apparently AMC only allows the use of the “F” word once on air each season). Not only has Walt given Hector the chance for revenge against Gus, but he also gets to vent to Hank! Tyrus has been watching, and informs Gus that he has seen Hector just leave the DEA.
Back at the old age home Hector is scolded by his nurse, and left to “think about his behaviour”. Walt emerges from his bathroom and asks Hector “Any second thoughts?” and receives no reply. Tyrus then arrives and sweeps Hector’s room for DEA wires or bugs. Walt is hiding just outside Hector’s window, and is almost given away by “Little old ‘Helloooo’ Lady” next door. Tyrus also does not notice that Hector’s curtains are hanging outside of his window. It is a bit suspect that Tyrus relies on his electronic bug – finding gizmo, and does not do a physical pat – down on Hector, given Gus’ heightened sense of precaution. As soon as Tyrus leaves, Walt takes off too.
Jesse is allowed to leave police headquarters, as the toxicology report on Brock revealed no ricin. Outside of police headquarters Jesse is tasered by some of Gus’ flunkies and thrown into a van. Tyrus calls Gus to inform him that they have picked up Pinkman, and that he has ensured that there are no wires, cameras or surveillance on Hector – that he is alone in his room. Tyrus asks if it is better if “I do this myself” to which Gus replies “I do this.’ I presume that Gus is now suspicious of what Jesse might have told the police, or of him contacting Walt, and is not about to let him go back to the hospital, but keep eyes on him in the lab, while he goes to deal with Hector.
When Gus arrives at the nursing home, Tyrus enters first to give him the “all clear”. Gus walking towards the old age home, the camera following him from behind and then showing him from the front, coupled with the music for that scene sent shivers up my spine. In Hector’s room Gus torments him with being “No man at all, and a crippled little rat” for going to the DEA. Tyrus prepares a hypodermic needle for Gus, and just as Gus is about to administer it he taunts Hector that he has one last chance to look at him. Hector does, and smiles (as only Hector can), causing Gus to pause in confusion. Hector begins to ring his bell – well, the bell doesn’t sound quite right, and we see that Walt’s bomb is wired to the bell under Hector’s wheelchair. The detonator sparks with each hit on the bell and understanding dawns on Gus’ face – he shouts as he rises, but too late… Boom!
What was a thrilling plan of Walt and Hector, is then ruined by the scene of Gus’ stepping out of the blown up room, and straightening his tie – giving us all that momentary thought that he is still alive. Of course he isn’t, and the camera dollies around to reveal that the right hand side of his face is missing before he falls forward dead.
If Mr. Gilligan was trying to play a joke on us with the whole Gus “Terminator / Walking Dead” thing… he should have gone all the way and named this episode “Half Face Off”. Who sold him on this crummy idea? And Giancarlo Esposito actually agreed to play that idiotic scene? The only thing I can assume is that AMC demanded a Breaking Bad / Walking Dead crossover episode in the spirit of Happy Days / Laverne and Shirley. Mr Gilligan…. (I say in my best Gustavo Fring voice) “Explain Yourself”!!!
Even the physics don’t make sense to me. It appeared that the bomb was on the right hand side of Hector’s wheel chair - so it would make more sense that Gus would have the left side of his face blown away. Interestingly, this would have matched up with the pink teddy bear missing its eye in Walt’s pool at the end of Season 2.
I thought this scene was ridiculous and not up to the standards that we expect from Breaking Bad. I feel it would have made much more sense if Gus was blown out the door when the bomb went off, to land on his back at the nurse’s feet. They could still have used the half a face effect. Well, what’s done is done, time to move on.
Walt is waiting in a parking lot listening to the radio when he hears news of his bomb going off, and three people potentially being killed.
Jesse is cooking meth in the super lab at gun point, and when he contemplates picking up a large screw driver to use as a weapon, the thug watching him warns “You want to cook with a broken arm?” The arrival of someone via the freight elevator results in the goon having Jesse handcuff himself to lab equipment. The elevator door opens revealing another goon and Walt steps out and shoots them both. No explanation of how Walt manoeuvred himself and this fellow into the elevator. Walt must have arrived with the intention of destroying the lab, and the fact that Jesse is there is coincidental. However, this does set him up to be the cavalry riding in to Jesse’s rescue. His line to Jesse is great “Gus is dead. We’ve got work to do.” The two of them then proceed to set up the lab for destruction, and pull the fire alarm in the laundry to warn the workers to “vamanos”. I loved the scene of the two of them walking out of the laundry together as the lab ignites below them.
On the roof of the parking garage at the hospital Jesse says that Brock is going to pull through, and Walt is relieved. Jesse reveals that it was not ricin that Brock consumed, but Lily of the Valley. He realizes that Gus was not responsible for the poisoning, but both he and Walt agree that “He had to go.” Walt and Jesse share a handshake and a look of understanding before Jesse departs.
Walt calls Skyler who is watching a television report about the bombing at Casa Tranquila old age home with the rest of the gang at the Schraders’. She passes on the word about Gus Fring being dead and asks if Walt knows about this to which he replies “It’s over. We’re safe.” When she asks “Was this you?” he says “I won”. Sweet! As he leaves the parking garage he pauses to look at Gus’ car with its Los Pollos Hermanos logo hanging from the rear view mirror.
The final scene shows the Whites’ back yard and ends with a close up showing that the plant Walt’s pistol pointed at when he was spinning it in “End Times” is Lily of the Valley.
I admit that I was wrong… apparently Walt did poison Brock. How a guy that can’t get his flashlight to work when removing the bomb from Gus’ car, sticks his diaper bomb to every metal surface in the hospital, and bumbles about so much in general was able to conceive and execute this plan in such a short time baffles me. How did Walt convince Saul to tell him who Brock was, and how to find him? Who gave man mountain Huell his sleight of hand training? Good luck finally showered down on Walt.
This episode may have answered the big question of who poisoned Brock, but this in itself raises far more questions than it has answered. However, this article has gotten quite long, so I think t is best to leave the unanswered questions for another post. There are many unanswered questions about Gus’ background as well, so don’t fear Gus fans… I”m sure Giancarlo Esposito will return for some flashback scenes before everything ends.
As a super fan of the show, I can’t believe they let me down so much in this season finale. Tio Hector in this episode was great, and some of the cinematography and music were outstanding. Aside from that though… I am in disbelief at a lot of the dumb stuff that happened. Such a great show deserved a better finale. This episode was prepared with the understanding that it might have to stand on its own as a Series Finale. Thank goodness that Breaking Bad has been renewed for another 16 episodes so they can redeem the show from this disappointing end.
No new predictions at the moment. Gotta let the dust settle from Season 4 before I speculate on what might happen in Season 5.
My prediction that Jesse would be questioned about his remarks to Andrea about ricin being used to poison Brock came true.
My score so far since starting this site is 2 1/2 predictions correct, 1/2 prediction wrong, and 1 still pending.
Humorous Quote of the Week
“Well, I hope you sell plenty of air fresheners.” - Marie Schrader