AMC’s Breaking Bad
Season 4, Episode 13: “Face Off”
Directed & Written
by Vince Gilligan
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “End Times” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 5 premiere, “Live Free or Die” – click here
After the parking garage plan doesn’t work, Walt (Bryan Cranston) rushes to take his homemade bomb off the car Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) left. Now it’s up to him to figure out a different plan of action. He goes to see Jesse (Aaron Paul) inside, letting him know things went sideways. Both men are unsure of what to do. They need somewhere that’s not “wired with cameras.” Things get interrupted when a couple detectives want to talk with Mr. Pinkman about the statement he made to Andrea (Emily Rios) about the possible use of ricin in poisoning her son. Oh, this is just perfect!
The detectives start questioning Jesse, telling him even the FBI’s interested. The meth cook tries to pass it off on an episode of House, or another random connection made by the brain. It’s not long until he asks for Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). Speaking of, Saul’s office is being shut down, all his relevant files shredded, and front desk clerk Francesca (Tina Parker) finds Mr. White busting out the window trying to find the lawyer.
Outside his house, Walt calls a neighbour to go check on his place under false pretences. He wants to see if there’s anybody lurking. Sure enough, once the neighbour goes inside, a couple sketchy looking dudes walk out from the backyard. The place is being watched very carefully. And any minute could mean the last one for which Walt’s alive, if he isn’t careful. Afterwards, Walt sneaks into the house to get the money left in the crawl space. However, the sketchy dudes haven’t left. He’s able to get away before they find him, crawling through the vent to the pool and out.
Saul gets to the precinct where he swoops in to aid his client. He lets Jesse know it’s safer to be there than in the streets with the “hornet‘s nest.” Then there comes an idea— the nursing home where Tio Salamanca (Mark Margolis) lives. This is somewhere Gus goes where the security’s nothing. Only question is, how to get the chicken man out there. They’ve got to use the past against Fring. Walt heads for a trip to the home, where he and Tio see each other for the first time in a long while. Later, we see Tio ringing his bell for the nurses. He wants to go speak with the DEA.
And while Walt’s dealing with his meth troubles, Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) and Marie (Betsy Brandt) call to chastise him for not being in protection. Skyler (Anna Gunn) knows more of the truth, so she opts not to push her husband. This around the time when Steve Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada) comes to tell Hank (Dean Norris) about old man Salamanca wanting to meet. Tio will only talk to Hank “in person.”
At the DEA, Hank sits across from Tio, who starts spelling out his first message. When it looks like he’s going to spell out ‘Suck my dick,’ the agents are sure they’re being tricked with more bullshit. The whole thing’s a waste of time when they see the old guy only came down to make a mockery of them. Hank’s glad this visit didn’t include any faeces. All the while, Tyrus (Ray Campbell) is keeping an eye on Tio, alerting Gus the DEA just visited the old cartel gangster. Oh, shit. And when Tio arrives back at his room, Walt’s waiting to confirm their plan, still on the same page together.
Gus has decided to go visit his nemesis Tio. First, Tyrus makes sure to have a good look around, checking on the old Salamanca to see if there are any recording devices in the room. Elsewhere Jesse’s let go by the police once the doctors confirm there was no ricin involved in the incident with Brock. On his way out, he’s cattle prodded and thrown into a van, then taken away. This is courtesy of Gus, who’s also going to visit Tio with plans to finish the old man off.
In the nursing home, Gus heads upstairs. He sits with Tio, taunting him about the DEA and being a snitch. After a bit more of Fring running his mouth the old man begins ringing his bell like a madman. This is what ignites the switch, exploding the bomb beneath his wheelchair. The explosion kills him, Tyrus, and Gus. Although Fring manages to walk out the door, just for a second, before he falls dead and blown to bits on the floor. This is the end of the chicken man. On a radio in his car, Walt hears the news of the nursing home explosion.
At the lab, Jesse’s preparing another batch to cook. He’s kept on a short leash— or, well, handcuffs. Someone comes to the door and starts firing shots. This makes the cook believe he’s about to be murdered, too. It’s just Walt, coming to free his partner from their bondage. They’ve finally made it out from under their ruthless boss, after so much time and hard-won battle.
What now? Destroy the lab and all its evidence within.
When that’s finished, Jesse finds out Brock will be fine and make a full recovery. He and Walt are each happy to hear the news. “Lily of the Valley” is the actual culprit of Brock’s poisoning, not ricin after all. What Jesse doesn’t realise is, in Walt’s backyard is a plant – Lily of the Valley – the same one we saw him staring at recently. Could this have been Walt’s most devious act of manipulation? Jesus, that’s dark.
A stellar episode for the season finale, so much coming together after so long. It becomes a new chapter. The final season takes us into new territory for both Jesse and Walt, which isn’t necessarily good. Stay tuned. “Live Free or Die” is the Season 5 premiere, coming up soon!