Breaking Bad

Season 4 Episode 13

Face Off

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 09, 2011 on AMC

Episode Fan Reviews (35)

Write A Review
out of 10
625 votes
  • Walt breaks even more bad?


    Another 10 for Breaking Bad. I could go on my spiel about how I only give 10's to episodes that truly deserve it, that represent an absolute classic, but I'll try not to explain and defend my rating. This was an episode of Breaking Bad that not only brought the season to a satisfying end but brought plots from the last three seasons to a close. I'm sure there were some people who predicted certain things happening here, but for me, it was a huge shock to see how Walter White came out on top this time.

    The episode picks up where the last one left off: Walt rushes to get the car bomb off of Gus' car while him and Jesse are forced to regroup after their plan to kill Gus fails. However, things grow even more complicated (as they always do) after Jesse is picked up by the FBI since the mention of ricin piqued their curiosity. He gets questioned while Walt rushes to get Saul's location to prevent Jesse from having to reveal anything. The early scenes (that are ripe with little dark humorous moments, typical for this show) all lead into a moment that ends up changing the momentum of the entire episode: Jesse informs Walt that Gus occasionally visits Tio at the nursing home. Walt realizes he can use Gus and Tio's rotten relationship to his advantage. Thus begins the superb final forty minutes of the episode, a long, drawn out scenario constructed ingeniously by Walter White.

    Basically, Walt sets it up so that Tio will be seen by Tyrus visiting the DEA. Of course, Tio gives up no information, but under Walt's orders, Tio visits, insults Hank and leaves. Gus learns that Tio was seen visiting the DEA (with no information about whether or not he said anything of value) and after another long scene of Tyrus seeing if the room is bugged or not, visits Tio to silence him once and for all. However, just before he's about to administer a shot that will kill Tio, Gus notices Tio glaring at him, the first time he's looked at Gus all season. It turns out that Walt rigged Tio's wheelchair with a bomb, connecting it to the bell he used to communicate. The room explodes, Gus exits with half of his face missing, straightens his tie and falls to the ground, dead.

    Walt then shows up at the lab and kills Gus' two men that are watching over Jesse as he cooks and together, Walt and Jesse burn down the lab. Walt learns from Jesse that Brock wasn't poisoned by ricin, that it was a flower called Lily of the Valley. They leave each other on good terms, with the chapter of Gus in the past. Walt informs his wife, "I won," and hangs up, proud of himself. The season ends with the camera zooming in on a pot of flowers in Walt's backyard with the label "Lily of the Valley" on it.

    I'll be honest: there were moments in the episode that should'vekept the score from being perfect. There were moments that I thought didn't mesh well with the overall tone of the show. The scene where Gus exits the room with half of his face blown off was chilling and the type of horrifying scene the show plays off so well, but boy, the whole "straighten my tie thing before I die" was a step too far in my eyes. Also, I felt like the reveal of the "Lily of the Valley" flower in Walt's backyard, while being a huge revelation for the show, was a weak image to end on, especially considering the last two seasons.

    However, the way this episode was able to close the door on not just Gus Fring but also the super-lab, Tio Salamanca and the whole Brock poisoning thing was incredible. The show moved as slow as it usually does at moments and then burst to life at other times. It was just a wonderful episodes that leaves us wondering what in the world Walter White will do next. There's no meth lab, no Gus, no reason to continue cooking, since it'll become obvious that there's still people out there besides Gus involved, which will pique Hank's curiosity. Also, Mike is still alive, and I'm assuming that's for a specific reason. Season 5 is way too far away.

    (Oh, and on a completely different note, what is happening to the ratings of the episode on the site? How is "Caballo Sin Nombre" in the top ten? Either people are under-rating great episodes only to over-rate crappier ones or the website is screwing with the ratings. Seriously. Seven Thirty Seven and Caballo Sin Nombre over any of the other episodes over the last few seasons? Lame.)