BREAKING BAD “Face Off” Review

BREAKING BAD “Face Off” Season 4 Episode 13 – And with that, ladies and gentlemen, the fourth season of the greatest show on television comes to a close. Breaking Bad concluded its stellar fourth season with “Face Off”, an episode written and directed by series creator Vince Gilligan.

We start off with a couple classic Breaking Bad scenes: Jesse’s interrogation and Walt’s scene with Saul’s receptionist. You can really tell this episode was written by Vince Gilligan, because one of Vince’s biggest mantras of this show is how important the small details are. You can definitely see how evident this is in these two scenes. The way that Jesse talks to the two APD detectives is such classic Jesse. Saying that he guessed that ricin poisoned Brock because of an episode of House was classic. The best thing about the characters on this show is their consistency. Every single week, Jesse talks like Jesse. Saul talks like Saul. Walt talks like Walt. Everybody makes clear decisions and character choices and stick with it. That’s just one of the things that makes this show just a cut above everything else on TV right now.

Walt’s scene with Saul’s receptionist was just as satisfying. I love seeing characters that we’ve seen in the past pop back up for great scenes like this, and their interaction was hilarious as well as realistic.

The rest of the episode played out just as well. Seeing Walt actually using his neighbor as a guinea pig of sorts to see how dangerous his house was is one of the coldest things we’ve seen Walt do up to this point. This was definitely another big notch in Walt’s belt for just how far he’s gone to “break bad”.

Tio Salamanca being brought in to the DEA started out as just a funny aside to this otherwise serious episode, but man did it pay off. This allowed Walt to actually rig up a bomb on his wheelchair, and when Gus came to visit his old friend one last time…ding ding ding ding ding! BOOM!

If this was not one of the greatest moments in Breaking Bad history, then you and me are watching different shows. At first, I was a bit disappointed to see Gus walk out of the room, appearing unscathed. But oh man, was he scathed! In what had to be one of the greatest effects sequence on the show thus far, Gustavo Fring took a leaf out of Harvey Dent’s book and had half of his face blown the freak off! Obviously, Gus is now dead and this led to our next big step for the show: The destruction of the lab.

Before I talk about how brilliant this scene was, I want to make sure some props go out to Dave Porter. Most of you might not know his name, but he does the music for Breaking Bad, and he was absolutely phenomenal tonight. The two scenes that really stick out to me is Gus walking into the nursing home and the destruction of the lab. The slow, methodical piano melody accompanying Gus in his last hurrah was perfect. On the other side of the coin, the frenetic Spanish guitars playing during the lab destruction perfectly accompanied the desperation in that scene.

Finally, we move to the final scene. Wow, what a finish. I think this episode, more than any other, shows that Walt has come full circle. When we saw him four years ago, he was a mild-mannered chemistry teacher who was over his head in the meth business. Now, in one single episode, he is directly responsible for killing five people, putting his kind old neighbor in danger, and attempted to murder a young child! The most incredible part? Like I said, it’s believable. None of Walt’s decisions, choices and moves over the last four years have felt forced or out of character. He has now morphed into a cold-blooded killer and drug lord, and I don’t feel like we’ve rushed anything. It’s natural. It’s the perfect manifestation of this character, and truly one of the greatest character arcs in television history. Walt has officially broken bad.

We’ve all witnessed greatness tonight, but we’re still left with one huge question: Where do we go from here. With AMC airing 16 more episodes for a fifth and final season, what do you think is going to happen? How will this all end?

What did you think of this finale? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– I was impressed by the fact that Gilligan actually went through with all of the scenes where Tio spelled out his messages. You think they would have sped that up a little, but they didn’t.

– In the ongoing effort to have the video game RAGE involved in this show as much as possible (It’s been in four episodes so far), this week’s episode was officially brought to you by RAGE! I guess they’re not keeping their relationship a secret anymore!

– So what do you guys think? Can we officially crown this the best TV show of all time? I think four near-perfect seasons is good enough for me.