Look, I don't work for TV.com because I have Nostradamus-like powers to predict what's coming up on Desperate Housewives. I'm a TV fan just like you. And though I sometimes have the privilege to screen new TV episodes before they air, I'm just as in the dark as you are about what's going to happen in the finale of Breaking Bad this Sunday (CAN'T. WAIT.).
But that doesn't mean I can't throw my guesses out there willy-nilly. You know me, always hoisting myself up like a piñata so you can beat me with the Stick of Embarrassment when I'm wrong. So let's get this lively discussion started, shall we?
First off, I'd just like to say that you guys are killing it in the comments. Many of you have shared great insights; I'm, like, totally proud of you guys. Breaking Bad's fourth season has been particularly great—I covered the show last year, too, and the discussion was much more subdued. Either this season is generating more interest, or people are finally coming around to what is without a doubt the best show currently on television, and possibly in the history of the medium. Yeah, I said it. At the very least, Breaking Bad belongs in the same sentence as The Wire, The Sopranos, and Kid Nation.
Anyway, since perusing your comments on the story I wrote about "End Times," I've had a complete change of heart regarding the events of the episode. Basically, I suggested that we could immediately rule out Jesse and Walter as potential Brock-poisoners. But I wasn't so sure Gus could've done it, either. In retrospect, I realized that I took the easy way out by praising the ambiguity of the situation. I still think that vagueness of it all is amazing, but where's the fun in not picking a side? So I've decided on a position, which I will now try to articulate here:
Walter Jr. poisoned Brock.
No, no, no. Obviously not. But I am fully on board with the theory that Walter did. I'll try and explain, but @Hungry_Homer111 (who was a champion commenter on my Lost stories, what's up buddy!) laid it out pretty well and had me convinced. Now, please allow me to tweak his theory a bit.
We know that the scene where Walter spun his gun was significant. It pointed to Walter twice, and then on the final spin it pointed toward the plant—which was obscured by Walter's bald noggin until the camera tracked around it. Clearly, the the plant was significant. I don't think it was a Castor Oil plant (Castor Oil plants are used to make the poison Ricin), but seeing it was enough to jog Walter's memory and inspire him to devise his breakingest baddest plan yet. One in which he'd risk a kid's life to win his chess match with Gus.
Jesse has always been the key to the Gus vs. Walt Battle Royale. Whoever has Jesse on his side has the advantage, and Walt figured out how to exploit Jesse's weakness for children, particularly those he's connected to. And the way to do that was to make Jesse believe that Gus poisoned Brock. Remember, both Walter and Gus have shown a knack for poisoning people, those sneaky fools. Be a man! Use a gun! Or your fists! But I digress...
After Walt's gun pointed toward the plant, I'm guessing that Walt put in a call to Saul (Better call Saul!) and explained that he could get rid of Gus if Saul could help. I like the theory that Jesse (and many of you) suggested, with Huell (Saul's burly bodyguard) planting a fresh pack of cigs in Jesse's jacket during his aggressive frisk. If you slow down the frisking scene frame by frame (which I nerdily did), you can't actually see it happen. But you can see Huell pay particularly close attention to Jesse's left jacket pocket. Here's the search in slo-mo, if you want to take a close look at it:
Later, when Jesse smoked a cigarette outside the hospital, we didn't see which pocket he took the cigarettes from, but the pack was in his left hand... leading me to believe Jesse keeps his smokes in his left pocket. Who reaches into his right pocket with his left hand? Have you ever done that? Right hand's full of groceries, but your house keys are in your right pocket? It's awkward! I should know! I do it every frickin' time I come home from the store! There was also a scene where Jesse bolted for the hospital after receiving a phone call from Andrea (right after he visited Saul), and as he leaves, the camera momentarily focused on the jacket as Jesse picked it up. I don't think that was accidental. Vince Gilligan wanted us to be thinking about that jacket.
Jesse put two and two together, freaked out, and headed over to Walt's to confront him. Which is exactly what Walt wanted Jesse to do. Walt told Jesse his sob story in order to plant the seed that Gus was behind everything, and Jesse pointed the gun (probably unloaded?) at Walt. At which point Walt masterfully let Jesse scream out his accusations, then deflected the blame toward Gus. Walt dared Jesse to shoot him, the final piece in his (Walt's) acting performance of a lifetime, and finished convincing Jesse that Gus is their common enemy.
Walt's car bomb plan was obviously botched, leaving the final hour of this season completely up in the air. But that's for the writers to handle. And I think it's going to be the last time we see Giancarlo Esposito in this role, as Gus is gonna get it.
Admittedly, there are a few holes in my cigarette theory. How did Saul know how many cigarettes Jesse had smoked? Did Jesse really not smoke a cigarette between going to Saul's and going to the hospital? I don't know, man!
The incredible thing is, one can easily make a convincing argument that Gus poisoned Brock. In fact, the situation is so cloudy that someone could probably convince me Brock just ate some week-old Pollos Hermanos macaroni salad. But the future of the series is what has me convinced it was Walt.
This season is, as we've all been saying all along, the season that Walt goes full-on Heisenberg. And what better way to go H-bomb than for him to put a child's life in danger and lie to Jesse all so he can take out Gus, who is basically Walter a few years from now? It's the moment we've all been waiting for, the moment that will make it impossible to doubt that Walter has truly broken bad and embraced his inner Heisenberg. And I see Walter letting Gus know that he defeated him before he finishes him off.
With that arc complete, Season 5 will focus on Walter being the baddest motherf***er on the block, his agonizing fall from power, and ultimately, his death as a broken, ruined man. Once Walt becomes the antagonist, Hank will become his chief rival, and just to make this preposterous prediction even more nutso, Jesse will take over the Heisenberg mantle that was passed down from Gus onto Walter. At least, that's my guess... it's probably wrong.
We still have the finale to go, but is it safe to say that this season has been Breaking Bad's best? Personally, I think the series keeps getting better and better, and that's insane because I LOVED Season 1. Which means I super-love Season 4. What do you think?
– I stand by what I said about "End Times" being a step down in quality from the previous episodes, and here's why: "End Times" is really the first part of a two-part episode, whereas the others were complete stories. Once we get a look at the finale, the quality of "End Times" might rise in hindsight, and probably will. Until then, it's an incomplete chapter. It's still amazing though!
– @Aldoros23: No live-Tweeting for me! Especially when I'm going to be glued to my TV for the finale. I'd be happy to live-Tweet something stupid like Whitney, though!
– No matter what happens in the finale, I just want to say it's been a blast! What show will we all get together to chat about once Breaking Bad is over? Sons of Anarchy? Fringe? Last Man Standing? Or will we all just curl up in the fetal position with a bad case of post-Breaking Bad depression?