EDITOR’S NOTE: Did Breaking Bad stumble near the finish line? Either clumsy plotting broke a great season’s final momentum, or this show is ahead of its audience yet again. This recap of Breaking Bad, season four, episode 12, “End Times” contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
By Matt Zoller Seitz
Press Play Contributor
“He has been ten steps ahead of me at every turn,” Walt said, begging Jesse for his life in “End Times”. He was talking about Gustavo “Gus” Fring, the drug dealer and fast food magnate who’d made his life hell.
But the line lingered in my mind as I sat down to write this piece and weighed whether to come down hard on some of this episode’s more absurd sequences, especially that business with Andrea’s young son Brock apparently becoming poisoned after … well, after what? Bear with me here, because the “what” seemed uncharacteristically muddy for a Breaking Bad subplot. Bottom line: I hope — and expect — that Breaking Bad is ten steps ahead of its audience, as it often tends to be, and that it didn’t suddenly exhaust its cleverness this season and start winging it.
First, the business with the ricin. When Jesse dumped his pack out on the sidewalk in front of the hospital and figured the boy had ingested the ricin he’d been smuggling for weeks but couldn’t bring himself to use on Gus, I thought maybe it just was a horrible accident — that maybe Brock filched a smoke, as curious boys sometimes do, and picked the absolute wrong one to experiment with. But Brock is probably too young for that — six, according to the “Breaking Bad” wiki entry on Andrea — and the cigarette pack time line established in subsequent scenes would seem to rule that out anyway.
You can read the rest of Matt’s recap here at Salon.
A critic, journalist and filmmaker, Matt Zoller Seitz is the staff TV columnist for Salon.com and the founder of Press Play.