Episode Reviews (9)
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The best slow episode of the series
"End Times" was the calm before the storm I had expected, but that isn't to say it was a bad episode. With little stuff actually happening, the intensity was sustained by director Vince Gilligan with a little help from his phenomenal cast.
Calling it calm is a bit incongruous, but the scenes at the Schrader household simply are the slower scenes and didn't have any effect on my sitting position (later scenes had me curling up into a ball due to the suspenseful atmosphere). Nevertheless, they include the by far best bit of screenwriting of the episode ("Because it's not Nazi Germany, all right?"). Walt, who isn't aboard at this jolly family gathering, spends the time next to his pondering pool or puking pool, depending on which character sits next to it and later gets into a conflict with Jesse, in a scene that one can only describe with "Wow". Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston have had so many unforgettable scenes together over the course of Breaking Bad, but here's another contestant for number one. Paul additionally gets to participate in heart-wrenching hospital scenes and has another splendid conversation with Gus taking place, and this location decision is probably the best over the whole series, in a church.
As if my heart wasn't throbbing at a critical pace already, he then (in fact, that was before the aforementioned scene, but my text structuring is awful) also discovers that his ricin cigarette fled the coop and Walt fails yet again at the kill Gus mission. Oh, and if that just sounded dull, I should probably mention that the enactment was totally awesome. So, while "End Times" isn't as big of a deal as the episodes before and after, it's without a doubt the best slow episode of the series.
"An Appropriate Response" (Spoilers Ahead)
The DEA offers Walter Jr., Holly, and Skyler protection while Walt refuses saying he has to look after the car wash since the assassins aren't after him. Hank looks into the convenient timing of his death threat and gets Gomez and another agent to look into the laundry where Hank suspects (correctly) about the super lab. While it's being searched by Gomez and a dog Jesse and Tyrus have to shut down the machinery and wait for them to stop. When Gus calls to inform Jesse that this heat is from Walt Jesse still refuses to let Walt be killed but Gus ensures that there will be an appropriate response. Jesse gets an urgent call from Saul to come get his money from him as he is leaving town due to the rising conflict. While Walt stews in his neurosis of paranoia Jesse gets a call from Andrea that Brock is in the hospital and shows signs of sickness despite being fine earlier. When he goes out for a smoke he realizes the Ricin cigarette is gone. Jesse freaks and tells the doctors to look into it as treatment. He visits Walt and turns Walt's gun on him because he thinks it was him that poisoned Brock even though the only fact we have is that it's not Walt. I think the kid just found it inside the cigarette when he wanted to smoke one. The scene between Walt explaining how Gus is behind it and how it fit so poetically into an end of Walt's life was masterful in every sense. With Jesse won back and the partners back against the world Walt began making a pipe-bomb while Jesse refuses to leave the hospital to get Gus's attention for the when the current batch goes bad. Gus arrives and tells Jesse that he can remain to look after Brock's condition and he can make up for it next week and when he returns to his Walt is about to blow it. But Gus stops in the parking garage and looks around, full of suspicion. Walt sits on a rooftop to set the detonation just right but Gus abandons the car. All hope is not yet lost though but there will for sure be some explosions next week. This season finale looks to be the best yet, Gus will get his comeuppance Hank will move closer to Gus's guilt, Walt will become the new drug leader of sorts, and maybe Mike will return from Mexico. The best series on TV for sure, too bad this season is almost at an end. Great thing we still have a whopping 16 episode fifth season to get us along next year and possibly half the next. Breaking Bad always continues to amaze as the most invested and all around well made produced series of the past decade.moreless
Missing poison, knock 'n' talk, and an unexploded bomb: Suspense rules the day. [spoilers]
Anyone can show an exploding car, or a firing gun. Delaying the explosion and the bullet is an art. Twisting the guts of the viewer without letting up, and making that insane level of tension make perfect sense, is mastery of the art. We buy it. All those slow episodes we sat through early in the season, picking up details and feeling out the characters ... that provided the structure that episodes like this one rest on.
There are two other themes intertwined with the suspense: mystery and allegiance.
First, mystery. How the hell did Brock get poisoned? Last time we saw The Cigarette, it was sitting on Jesse's living room floor. It's unlikely that it was forgotten there, and unlikely that Tyrus would know enough to use the poison. But it fit perfectly with the theory that Gus would have Brock poisoned to inspire murderous rage in Jesse. There's nothing so tense that a little paranoia can't be added. And there's another mystery: how can Jesse justify knowing that the boy took a very rare and lethal poison? Andrea is a mother before she's a girlfriend, and there's no way she'll let this matter drop, no matter how good Jesse's intentions.
And this dovetails into the allegiance theme. With this poisoning, Jesse is ready to kill Walter, just as Gus would have him do (after nakedly trying to sway Jesse's opinion earlier in the episode). But just as Jesse's about to pull the trigger, a newly-familiar laugh bubbles out of his target: the ruthless Heisenberg pieces together what Walter alone cannot calculate. And this unlikely scenario of Gus poisoning Brock plays so perfectly off of Jesse's soft spot for kids and Jesse's learning that Gus threated to kill Walter's infant daughter (he heard it from Saul first, which is probably why he believed it) that Jesse's core allegiance has shifted.
So Saul skips town. Aw! We'll miss Bob Odenkirk (for a time), but it was time for his character to make a break for it. Many touches, big and little, made sense from the characters' perspectives. On the "little" side, there's Skyler asking the agents for a cigarette, and Walt Jr. grousing about his pigheaded dad staying in harm's way. On the "big" side, there's Gomez taking Hank's challenge to do a knock 'n' talk, coming within a hair's breadth of revealing everything.
And on the "huge" side, there's Gus and his preternatural sense of danger. He avoided a messy death by nothing more than his instinct. A twist like that would be impossible -- un-buyable -- without the work this show has been doing with Gus since late-second-season. Now, he is going to find out that there was a car bomb, and he will suspect both Walter and Jesse. At one time, Gus could have found an accord with Walter's cool reason and with Jesse's fierce morality, but no more. No more accommodation. Conflict is not just unavoidable, not just imminent. It's in action. The final two monsters left, Gus and Heisenberg, must do battle.
There is simply no more they could have done with this hour. I rarely rate anything a perfect 10, and Breaking Bad has had several perfect hours. This episode joins "Bag's in the River," "737", "Over" and "Half-Measures". In my opnion, no serialized drama on TV has knocked 'em out of the park like this.moreless
End Times was a perfect episode of Breaking Bad and I really enjoyed watching this episode because there was so much suspense and character development. The actors really are superb and the story writing is awesome. I love how every thing ties together and builds up. Walt and Jesse come to an understanding after a shocking discovery and Gus initiates an appropriate response which turns out to be something surprising. Gus truly is a criminal genius. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
I wish it was the Season 4 finale already
Oh my gosh, I didn't want this episode to end... I was so hooked on this episode and didn't want to get off my couch to go to the restroom, get myself a drink from the kitchen, etc. unless it was commercial break. I wish it was already the Season 4 finale because I want to see if they Walter, Jesse or anyone else will kill Gus. Walter packing the things for the family and telling them to stay at Hank's house so they can be save was awesome. I wonder what happened to Mike because he hasn't appear since the last episode when he was at the hospital. I wonder if he either died or the hospital is still recovering him. Hopefully, the Season 4 finale will explain it because I'm a little confused if Mike is going to make it or not. Moving on, the whole storyline was excellent. Jesse seeing that someone poisoned his little son was very intense. Jesse coming over to Walter's house and aiming his gun at Walter because he thinks that Walter poisoned Jesse's little son was so freakin' intense. Walter helping out Jesse about Gus and all that was very good. I hope Walter and Jesse's partnership comes back since I've always joined their partnership in Seasons 1-3 especially when they cook. In this season, they really didn't have a lot of partnership but it was still good. The very ending was making me really shake because I thought Walter OR Jesse were going to kill Gus but they didn't. I wonder if Gus will finally be killed in the Season 4 finale next Sunday night. It will be so freakin' intense if Gus is finally died. Overall, I wish it was the Season 4 finale already. 10/10moreless
A crazy Walter White on a building rooftop looking through binoculars waiting for Gus and his crew to get into a car he rigged with a bomb...does it get any more awesome than that? I did not like how they bailed out though and "somehow" Gus knew not to get in the car. Bit of a copout if you ask me, but this was still a very intense episode of the show. Another great Walter and Jesse confrontation and something tells me the tide is going to turn on Gus real soon.
This really makes the seven days until the final episode hard to swallow.moreless
Walt plans to set things right.
While I didn't find this penultimate episode as powerful as the penultimate episode from last season (seriously, I think Half Measures and Full Measures combined will go down as the show's greatest moments), there's no denying the intensity of the episode. I still found the episodes preceding it to be better, but great television is great television, and saying something is worse or better than something else is nitpicking.
First off, I have to give props to Dave Porter, the composer on the show. His score always mirrors the feelings of the character and the tone of the show; the electronic pulses that sound like a heartbeat, the screeching feedback to represent the chaos, the eerie bluesy slide guitar in the background to give the show a western feel... superb choices by Porter.
Meanwhile, the episode follows Walt as he goes off on his own while his family, including Hank and Marie, are taken into protective custody. Walt believes that it's his fault for everything that's happened (and he's partly right). He decides to take matters into his own hands. For most of the episode, he's missing, with most of the focus on Jesse, Saul and the rest of the White family. However, things get interesting once Walt gets involved.
The problems begin after Steve Gomez, on orders from Hank, visits the laundromat and begins sniffing around. Although he doesn't find the meth lab, it's too close of a call, and Gus calls Jesse, letting him know this is the reason why Walt needs to be taken care of. Jesse is adamant about Walt not dying; however, things change after Brock, the son of the woman Jesse has been chilling with lately, gets poisoned. Based on the description, it's ricin that is killing him. And we know there's no cure for it. Jesse realizes the ricin is missing from his cigarettes and realizes it must've been Walt who did it to get back at him for ditching him.
Thus we get the most thrilling sequence in the episode: Jesse shows up at Walt's house to talk. Walt has been missing for nearly twenty minutes of the episode at this point, which equates to about a day in the show. Jesse grabs Walt's gun, points it at him and threatens to kill him. He wants Walt to admit he killed Brock. Walt denies it and turns the situation around, claims that Gus must be the one because he's already proven to kill kids before. As a result, Walt and Jesse hook back up and form a plan to get Gus. Walt builds a car bomb (nice to see the chemistry back!) and plans to kill him while Gus visits the hospital that Brock is at. But things don't go right and Gus senses something is wrong, refusing to get in the car.
The episode is all about building tension, and it doesn't let up until the final moments, and even then, as the episode fades to black, the tension remains and we have to wait a week for resolution. And who knows if we'll even get resolution then? Season 4 is turning out fantastic and I can't wait to see how it comes to a close.moreless
Everything else on TV pales in comparison
For months now (the whole season actually), every episode has been amazing, literally breath taking. After every episode i always tell myself "There is NO WAY they could top that one" (didn't even think they could top season 3) but every single time the show finds a way to upstage every episode. I've enjoyed the roller coaster ride that is season 6, from the slow steady start to the break neck pace of the last few episodes.
Now about this episode, this is what the whole season has been building up to and it is AMAZING. The whole Gus situation has exploded, Jesse and Walter's relationship is renewed, next season is being set up perfectly (DEA). We see how formidable Walter and Gus truly are.
Every character has developed this season and i've never seen anything like it. Heisenberg's contrasting character from Walter is beautifully done. Acting is top notch (if Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul dont get emmys and golden globes next year i will stop watching TV), the musical scoring also deserves recognition (score made last week's final scene).moreless
As usual, Breaking Bad continues to dazzle. This episode picks off right after the previous one. You know, the one where Walt was laughing like a madman after realizing Skyler gave some money to Ted? Well, in this episode, Skyler, Holly and Walter Jr. go off to Hank and Marie's. Walter is scared for his life (Who wouldn't be, Gus is a crazy guy) and so he stays behind. He knows that at any moment, Gus could be coming for him, to kill him.
I really liked this episode, particularly the last half or so. Jesse finding out Brock was poisoned from the Ricin was really intense. For a couple minutes, I thought Brock might have taken it himself; I don't know, maybe he wanted a cigarette?
The part that really got me, and was a REALLY well-done scene, wa when Jesse was at Walt's and put the gun on him. Holy crap, that was a great scene. I was not expecting that, and that is among my favorite scenes of the series. Everything about that scene worked so well, and i loved when Walt told Jesse to fire the gun on him if he did not believe him about not poisoning Brock. I like that they're starting to see eye-to-eye more so. Hopefully they'll have a lot of scenes together next episode, because whilst I have loved this season, I have kind of missed the Walt/Jesse interactions, particularly the cooking.
Then, the last scene, with Walt trying to kill Gus. I love Gus' curiosity; he knew something was planned. You could tell by his facial expressions. I thought it was going to end with Gus pulling out a cell phone, and calling Walt. Final lines of the episode would be something like:
Gus: Hello, Walter.
only it would be said in a sinister, evil way, to let you know that gus knew walt was watching him (which i am pretty sure he knew).
Irregardless, the ending we got was fine. I so can't wait for next week. I'm really anxious for next week, and I know it is going to be intense. It's also going to suck a little, because knowing this show, it's going to end on some big cliffhanger that won't be resolved until sometime next year, which will suck. But for now, I am glad we still have the season finale next week. A+ episode, though you all probably could have guessed that by now.moreless