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RECAP: BREAKING BAD, Season 4, Episode 13: “Face Off”

RECAP: BREAKING BAD, Season 4, Episode 13: "Face Off"

The dazzling season finale of Breaking Bad eliminates many of Walt’s problems while creating new ones. The following recap of Breaking Bad Season 4, Episode 13 contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

By Matt Zoller Seitz
Press Play Contributor

The last thing Gus Fring did was straighten his tie.

The seemingly indestructible drug lord bought it in a nursing home after going with his henchman Tyrus to kill his mute enemy, Hector Salamanca. The visit had been secretly engineered by Walt with the cooperation of Hector, who falsely made it seem as though he was about to become an informant for the drug enforcement agency in order to lure his enemies into range. The killing device was a bomb strapped to the undercarriage of Hector’s wheelchair. In a brilliant touch, the mute Hector triggered the bomb the same way he communicated his wishes, by repeatedly hammering on a small silver bell. In an even more brilliant touch, the explosion was conveyed in long shot as its force blew the front door off Hector’s room and sent debris and smoke into the hallway. When Gus stepped out of the room, I thought for a moment that he had miraculously survived the explosion — an outcome that would not have surprised me, given Gus’ past track record of surviving attempts on his life; but then the camera tracked forward and situated itself in front of Gus, revealing that half his face had been blown off. He fell out of frame, and buenas noches.

So where does that leave Breaking Bad? As is often the case — on the show and in life — an act of violence created or intensified as many problems as it solved. Jesse and the Whites no longer have to worry about Gus trying to kill them, nor do they have to worry about reprisals from the Salamanca clan, the most prominent members of which were already offed in previous episodes.

But a bombing at a nursing home will surely intensify the search for Heisenberg once the DEA realizes that the device was homemade, and therefore devised by someone with an intimate knowledge of chemistry. The law enforcement scrutiny of Walt isn’t going to go away; logically Jesse should get drawn into it as well, once the DEA figures out (via witnesses and surveillance footage) that Walt was at the same hospital as Gus and Tyrus at the same time earlier that day, and that Jesse and Walt had frequent cell phone contact, and even had a conversation on a hospital hallway bench in plain view of cops who later questioned Jesse about the poisoning.

You can read the rest of Matt’s piece here at Salon.

A critic, journalist and filmmaker, Matt Zoller Seitz is the staff TV columnist for and the founder of Press Play.

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