‘Breaking Bad’ Season 4 Finale Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 12:33 pm,

breaking bad season 4 finale review Breaking Bad Season 4 Finale Review & Discussion

The ongoing stand-off between Walter, Jesse, and Gus will reach its breaking point tonight, in the Breaking Bad season 4 finale.

After last Sunday’s shocking episode found the one-time partners in crystal meth cookery putting their disagreements behind them in order to kill the would-be drug kingpin, Gus is going to have to watch his back now more than ever.

Following Walter’s (Bryan Cranston) failed attempt at killing Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) with an improvised car bomb, the pair soon realize that it’s not going to be easy to take down their former boss.

Fortunately, Walter and Jesse (Aaron Paul) aren’t going to have to go up against Gus on their own. Thanks to the ever-helping hand of Saul (Bob Odenkirk), the duo adds a surprise co-conspirator to help in their efforts.


The masterfully executed Breaking Bad season 4 finale perfectly balances the series’ beautifully methodical character development with an abundance of remarkably shocking resolutions that not only exceed all lofty expectations, but also serves to drive audiences to ponder what’s next.

breaking bad season 4 finale 2 Breaking Bad Season 4 Finale Review & Discussion

Continuing where last week’s episode left off, the visibly shaken Walter White leads the charge of his and Jesse’s revolution against the power that once controlled them. Two men, who were once sure of themselves and their place in the manic world in which they live, are now forced to not only endure the result of their chosen lives, but are also required to redefine their morality – all for the purpose of surviving.

Forced to seek help outside of his familiar confines, Walter leads the charge in attempt to accomplish the duo’s predetermined goal of killing Gus by aligning himself with his former enemy, Hector Salamanca. An agreed-upon plan between Hector and Walter, which is not revealed until the finale’s final moments, serves to brilliantly highlight Vince Gilligan’s intentions of putting the characters (and their stories) before any superfluous reveal forced by the need to placate impatient viewers.

Like the perfectly played game of chess that this series has always shown itself to be, Gilligan once again serves to elevate the unfortunate (but often expected) need for swift resolutions, by instead revealing the beauty and suspense behind each and every decision and action the characters are forced to make.

breaking bad finale 3 Breaking Bad Season 4 Finale Review & Discussion


From Hector painfully spelling out his wishes with a grid, to Jesse being tirelessly questioned about the poisoning of Brock, to Walter patiently watching his plan unfold from afar, Gilligan is resolute in his intentions to wonderfully convey the fact that it is the characters that should drive a series, and not the eventual outcome. A conclusion will happen – no matter what. By focusing the choices that the characters make, the effect that these choices have, and reveling in journey that these choices take each character on, it ultimately presents a more earnest conclusion, when one does eventually occur.

And, for all intents and purposes, one could say that all of the conclusions that viewers have been waiting for since the beginning of Breaking Bad have been presented. The demise of Gus, both beautiful and shocking, was as rewarding as it was tragic. Continuing the series’ earned track record of always expecting the unexpected, it was not until the final moments of Gus straightening his tie that the reality of what occurred was revealed and, ultimately, set it.

A fitting end for a beloved foe, no doubt. Though, the celebratory death of Walter and Jesse’s greatest threat was quickly retorted with a contemplative thought from Jesse: “He needed to die, right?” For what all transpired, for the threats to their lives, for all the turmoil that Gus caused – he needed to die, right?

breaking bad season 4 finale 3 Breaking Bad Season 4 Finale Review & Discussion

While it may have been true that Gus did, indeed, need to die, it was amazingly revealed that the puppet master behind this decision, behind forcing the hand of everyone involved, was Walter. Secretly poisoning Brock to lure Jesse into his calculated plan and unwittingly coaxing Hector into sacrificing his life to kill an enemy, Walter quickly became the man that he feared most – a man who not only decided the best decision for himself, but also forced others into believing that it was the best for them, as well.

So, while the majority all expected resolutions may have occurred, the one unexpected resolution – the one that was staring us all in the face, from the very beginning, still remains: Walter White. From the beginning of the series, Walter has continued to traverse a dark and mysterious path – all while attempting to present a morally sound conviction. Though it may have taken this long to fully reveal itself, the intentions of Walter White are now apparently clear.

With sixteen episodes left before Breaking Bad comes to an end, the story about the man that is Walter White is what waits for us – as it always has. Despite conquering a powerful enemy and reassuring his family that “it’s all over”, the man that Walter White has now become is not something he can simply walk away from.

Breaking Bad season 5 returns summer 2012 on AMC

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  1. Walt wasn’t the reason for Ted dying if he did die, skyler was

    • Do we know for sure that ted died? I just didn’t get that…it seemed to be left unclear. His fingers were twitching – was that because he was dead or just knocked out?

      • Dead – as a doornail!

        • Woops!! I thought he had a future in the show.

      • Uh… No? He is alive.. though probably paraplegic…

  2. Saul – “If i get a couple anal polyps, I’ll definitely know what to name them”. I love Saul!

    • What a classic line. Anything “anal” will be named after Walter and Jesse. Yep, I agree Ted’s dead and goes directly to Skyler. All of the control freaks of the world can converge with these characters and their desire to influence destiny. Then life happens.

      • Ted ain’t dead!!!

        • Far-out. Can’t wait to see what the roller coaster is like this year. And next because I read there will be 5 episodes now, and 5 more to finish the show and the season.

        • zed’s dead

  3. One of the greatest TV show episodes in history! I’m glad to see art in this day and age; real creativity, you know. Not some b******* reality TV with the kardashians, or skank wives of new jersey. This show along with many others, like the sopranos, actually makes me proud of the times we are living in. The world may be collapsing, and america may be have a terrible government, but atleast we have good tv shows; f***** up, right? In closing, I’d say this 1 hour episode was comparable to the godfather I & II, goodfellas, platoon, apocalypse now, etc.

  4. Am I the only person on the planet that has found season 4 of Breaking Bad the biggest disappointment of the year? The storyline becomes so far fetched that it seems pointless watching the fifth season if Walt can casually blow up a nursing home without anyone lifting an eyebrow that maybe that wheelchair looks a little bit more modified than the day before. Walter has become less of a family man who was having the worse time of his life, to a power fuelled drug trader. By the way, has everyone forgotten that he was in remission, but still has traces of the cancer? He hasn’t been back for an appointment in god knows how long and is suddenly fit as any person his age. Surely, having seen people survive cancer, you would need to go to some degree of rest and exercise in order to rebuild the muscle mass your body has lost? No one seemed to notice that he left a burning vehicle in the middle of a deserted car park which can be seen from the highway, but they can notice a car in the middle of the desert? To others it is a nice way to tie the strings, but we are over looking the fact that this was once a realistic television series that really explored the depth of the drug trade. Now, anything seems to be possible for a show that knows its only time before it has to end and is clinging on to the last ideas for life. In all, I’d rate the series 3/5. Even though it was my biggest disappointment, the acting is always superb, the filming is devine, and most of the script is written beautifully. The series should have ended at season 4 and it should have been the greatest finale of all. Instead, we roll on to season 5, ever knowing the inevitable; a) Walter’s cancer will miraculously reappear and kill him, (b) he will be caught an killed/imprisoned (most likely killed), or (c) which won’t happen, is that he gets away and lives somewhere else. Skyler will either run off with the money or actually break the sexual tension and go back to Walt because, let’s face it, she actually slightly likes the bad ass nature Walt is showing. Walter Juniour is going to be non the wiser for some reason (maybe the writers forgot that he’s a teenage boy and not a 5 year old thats oblivious to everything?). Anway, let us continue. Oh wait, Season 5 has ended its first episode with Walter being a dick? Ah and so the crap continues. Bring back the real Walter!

    • Get over yourself, it’s just a tv show. TV is fantasy move on if your so sick of it.

    • Bet you are still first in line to watch series five though!

    • I’m three eps shy of the Season 4 finale, but I wholeheartedly agree with you.

      Personally, I had a tough time just getting through the first season, which was, at times, intriguing; at other time, downright dull. Still, I stuck with the show, because EVERYONE EVERYWHERE seemed to be raving about it.

      Well, I ABSOLUTELY HATED the first two eps of the 2nd season; especially, “Grilled”, in which Walt and Jesse were holed up in a farmhouse with a drug dealer and his kooky Lynchian wheelchair-bound relative. I wanted to tear my hair out, because the writing (i.e. dialogue) was so godawful and Raymond Cruz was so horribly bad as the drug dealer.

      Then, the third ep in Season 2 surprised me. Suddenly, without warning, the show became GOOD! It was as if the writers were all fired following that crappy second ep, and the show finally found its rhythm.

      Getting past that hump, the 2nd and 3rd seasons were near-brilliant, and I still thing Season 3 is the BEST.

      Season 4 had the potential to be a crafty cat-and-mouse game between Walt and Gus but, instead, it has become a tedious slog of forced suspense and heavyhanded writing.

    • “Walter has become less of a family man who was having the worse time of his life, to a power fuelled drug trader.”

      Yes, that’s the entire point. A man with great unfulfilled potential ends up, ironically, in a life-affirming situation which ends up with him tapping into this potential and thriving off it. This has been going on since, I dunno, the first season?

      Maybe you just have to suspend your disbelief that Gus wouldn’t notice the bomb, or maybe consider that he’s not in control at this point and he knows it. He’s acting rashly and emotionally, perhaps even just to kill the seemingly helpless man he’s been mentally torturing before the chance has passed. He took some precautions, they weren’t enough. So be it.

      Walt’s never been particular robust physically and he hasn’t magically become an athlete in season four. He wheezes a lot, falls over, he’s generally fairly frail and loses physical altercations generally. Yeah, maybe he’s a bit spritely, but I hardly think he comes across as particularly fit and it’s not like he’s bed-bound.

      Did you miss the bit where Saul deals with the fallout of the car wreck?! I mean, it was right in there, the little joyride cost Walt tens of thousands in fines and cleanup. Saul sorts most things out, believable or not.

      Working with a desperate ex-cartel goon with a grudge who agrees to bomb his hospice room certainly keeps the pace up. Then again, what about the hyperbolic results of killing Jane – it ended up with Walt causing two airliners to collide! Not to mention the murders, the corpse disposal, the state of the art meth lab… and so on, so on. It’s not like it’s suddenly got less believable, probably the opposite.

      This is all clearly in there..

    • I totally agree with your comment. The show started off the rails and was an insane roller coaster ride for the first 2 seasons then it seemed to taper off a bit in season 3 and more so in season 4. I haven’t had a chance to catch season 5 yet as I watched all 4 seasons on Netflix over the past 2 months. All in all, it’s still a great show.

    • Yes. I have been bored with Walt’s “character development” this season – he has NO complexity or internal struggle.

    • I’ve been extremely disappointed with this show in general (although I haven’t seen season 5 yet… watching them on dvd).

      1. Walt begins to become very unlikable by the third season, and I no longer care about his character at all by season four. He actually deserves to get caught or killed at this point. That’s just poor writing for a character who is essentially supposed to be the main protagonist of the story. If I don’t care about the characters, then why should I keep watching?

      2. The near-endless bickering between Walt and Jesse (or between Walt and Skyler) is REALLY annoying, and I often have to just stop the dvd because it is so boring and predictable.

      3. Too often the writers drag scenes out WAY too long. Again, this makes for a boring and predictable viewing experience.

      4. When I started watching the show on dvd, I assumed that Walt would become a kingpin running a meth empire, with all of the perils and privileges that go along with it. Maybe that eventually happens by season 5, but so far he is just a whiny, annoying pawn in someone else’s game. YAAAAWWWWWN.

      So does this show finally get good in season 5? Seriously?

      p.s.: Walter Jr. is the only truly likable character in this show.

      • If u feel that way then I cant fathom why you have watched this far. I guess everyone relates to Walt in their own way but I cant understand only watching for a Scarface story. Im on ep 4 of S5 as i type this but Ive found this to be the most intriguing series Ive ever enjoyed

      • That’s the whole beauty of the story. The fact that Walt, the character of which the audience is meant to see as a representation of themselves, is so morally complex. As we’re watching him transgress into truly becoming ‘evil’, we’re asking ourselves “Would I do this in his place?”. That’s why everyone is hooked on this program, that’s what makes it so good. The fact that the protagonist, someone who’s meant to be GOOD, is the complete opposite.

  5. Far out. Yes, the series requires “suspension of disbelief” in spades. I heard and interview on WTF with Mark Marron in which Cranston said they wanted to explore what “breaking bad” really meant. It was after that that I even engaged in the show. So, to No B***, I get your angst. There are many, many threads that are unmanageable and Walt is THE MAJOR d…weed that he seems. The show could have artfully ended in Season 4, just as “Seinfeld” would have been better served by ending earlier. It’s show biz. We’ll see if the writers and director pull off a coup with our darling cast. Love them all, except Walter whom I love to loathe!

  6. Whhat happened to the “Ricin”? Am I the only one who missed that? I watch at work a lot so I miss some stuff. I am talking about the season 4 finale. Also, how did wlat get the berries into the kids food? if these questions are answered in season 5 then ok but otherwise could someone please explain it to me.

  7. Haha, to say some of these theories are half-cooked is an understatement.

    Corrupt DEA? Gus has bosses? Walt being a good guy really? etc, etc. Eh?!

    The show depicts the self-propelled descent of a man into a dark, complicated world which has unlocked unrealised potential and allowed him to start thriving. Maybe the power is corrupting, or maybe he’s showing his true colours, but to pretend that Walt is the “good guy” in a show that deals in shades of grey and lesser evils is fantasy. Out of the two, Jesse is the one that seems to be having difficulty coping with the morality of their actions, and that’s just the ones he knows about. If there’s a “good” guy, it’s probably him at this point, contrary to Walt.

    To state the obvious, season four focussed on the power struggle between the kingpin Gus and the cocky and desperate Walt. Gus was generally in control, but was outplayed in the end by Walt’s evidently extreme measures. Now, Gus obviously has connections, contacts, associates… etc, but he was at the head of the food chain, not an employee. He was directly in conflict with a Mexican drug cartel who managed to muscle their way in on something they wanted in on, but he came out on top and removed his more established rivals. Gus was in fact so influential and powerful that the DEA were virtually incapable of suspecting him.

    The true nature of the ricin/poison component was kept hidden and only implied strongly at the very end. As it was not explained, it’s natural to not know what happened to the ricin cigarette, or how the child got the berries – it’s ambiguous.

  8. Am I the only one who noticed the name of the season 4 finale was Face off…which could mean the final confrontation between Walt/Jessie and Gus…. and also could be used to literally describe Gus at the end? lol

    • You’re wrong for thinking you were the ONLY one who noticed. The writers didn’t intend for anyone to notice at all.

  9. i don’t think im gonna be alright after seeing what happened to gus. kudos to BB for shocking the crap out of me!

  10. From start im from finland so dont get up for my my typing mistakes”

    Im 27 male from finland. I havent read any other forums about Breaking Bad. I love the show!
    There is so many realistic features that i cant even name those.
    What i have seen from the internet the W.W is breaking all those morales that he just to have about normal life…

    Every happening” features to something..

    Adn how a one step in your life can make to big difference…

    Sometimes the easyest way is the hardest…

    If you want something from this series: From the begining Pinkman was trublesom. And WAlter was so called normal family etc….
    So its Pinkman is growing to be a better man. And Walter is losing it…

    Breaking bad is a story about how you can rebuilt your life…. but yet i dosent take much to break it… (like from the song blues brother: every one need some body to love).

    And i must say R.I.P mike sadest thing in BB (and i know Pinkman will know that soon, who did it and the whole skeam…)…

    • This forum is for the season 4 finale. As such I came in expecting season 4 talk not major spoilers from season five concerning Mike. Thanks for that Ile.

  11. Actually i have few more words to but in this…

    Walter has to deal 2 big player Mikes friends (those will be pain in the ass) Like Walt can say to pinkman that Mike left etc… But those mikes big players will make a problem. there is also dea agent who is getting the better of it…. but still if walter plays hes cards right pinkman will help in that…

    I might but up somethin new what im thinkin about this…..

    If i have to sy about the thing that this searies but out is that never judge book about it govers…. … .. and that was the rush verion about my truth

  12. Actually there is that… Nikki…
    Actually i didnt even think that it was the end of season 5.. but yes like it wud end from the beginning.. Hank (bro n law) finally find out that, from the notebook That G.B (im from finland im not sure how to type that name…) the first note book was from when Jesse pinkman shoot the G.B (end os season 3). And in the end of last episode hank(bro n law) finds a book from Walters (W.W) house and its from B.G… …. And there the so called fun starts… so actually do hank realize how many times walter have distract him etc…. and so on and so on….
    and can he really turn that monster in because it will make him weak that the monster have been in hes sight the whole time ??? i would to like that ti´hing

  13. ¨From the point im view… Good to bad its easy! but from the BAD to good its whole different story!!!… well i have actually im still in that sitsuation””

    There is still lots of good in me but actually i cant make the horrors that i have done….

    Those deamons”” will always hunt me….

    From my point of looking… that sereis is all about… can you give up your self that what have you done!!! ???

    That is big step. if you no what im trying to say…..

  14. The badest thing is that Walter want to safe hes family… But from the ashes was born the devil, that devil had his time… And after that fun you have to make yourself… There is only tho ways and those two ways will be rough, to make you self right…

    And i know for sure that Walter have had the dead in hes pocket… And he wont give up so easy, because he have suffered so much…. this searies have give us so much to seen that we can make it better…. from what i have last told its hard to read” if you dont know…..

  15. So are we to assume that WW poisoned the kid with the plant from his yard? Is this plant common enough to be around for the kid to just grab it from anywhere? Why pan to the plant on WW’s yard then? This is a clear indication that he in fact did it. I never thought he was a good person – he made decisions that clearly puts him in the dark side of the human soul but to me doing this last task of actually poisoning a child has made a not very sympathetic character.

    • I actually thought that Walt planted the berries in the Ricin cigarette knowing that Gus WOULD give it to Brock because Walt wasn’t ok with harming innocent children.

    • the creator of the show, vince gilligan, has stated that he wants to turn walter white from protagonist to antagonist. this is why walter keeps getting darker and darker

  16. Because, yes, the scene at the very end of the finale suggested that Walt probably grew the poison in his own backyard. And Brock was going to be alright, it wasn’t a deadly poison apparently. Not like the Ricin.

  17. In season 4e12 Walt is sitting in hes backjard and spinning hes revolver 2 times the barrel hit him and the third time it points on the lilly of the vallet plant!! Pinkman was on to him he actually had it all figured how walt did it… In the serie they didnt actually saw how walt give it to that boy…
    First that Maurice yes walt did it but just because it was the only way to keep himself and hes family to alive… He lied to pinkman that who is the only person who can make those things to a child…

    Walt was alone in then he actually had no one there for him… And then Pinkamn was the onlyone, But walt did manipulate him actually wery well..

    There is that saying that the fear is the worst… actually when walter shave hes hed his son told that oo look the bad ass dad… And in the end of that episode walt went to get his money from tuco.. That was hes breaking point…

    After sunshine it will rain and that rain can be also storm..

    When this serie en i wonder how many ties and rules walt will break is not all of thems…

    And i think it will go down like from the begenning walt wanted to make sure that hes family had enough money… family first. but still im think that in the end he will be there alone trying to keep himself alive…

  18. anyone know who is the music/performer featured in scenes of episode “Shotgun” of season 4. It is a latin/spanish sounding female sort of singing/ sort of rapping in scenes where Walt is cooking without Jesse. It sounds like the vocals are sped up just a bit for a certain effect. Any help is appreciated!

  19. schoolteachers are fundamentally non greedy, benine,nuturing individuals.
    is very interesting in B.B to see the stress of financial pressure(cancer treatment)push w.w over the edge.
    welcome to our capitalist wasteland-living without a buffer.(hippies rule in my book esp after just watching this!)

  20. I’ve just finished watching season three. It seemed that the chemist Glen Boettcher was not realistic. Could a guy like him, a vegan, and into Eastern mysticism logically want to work manufacturing crystal meth?

  21. when walt and skyler finished talking, Walt insted of saying “i won” he should have said “i knocked the door”

  22. i am anxiously waiting for the series to return, as I am in australia, the series isn’t running at the moment but would like to find out if it will, very good watching bb