The Televangelist: 'Breaking Bad' Season 4 Finale

If this episode didn't blow half your face off, you weren't doing it right.


  • AMC.com
  • "Congratulations, Walt. You are completely morally bankrupt"

Despite having read a very good and convincing argument last week that Walt poisoned Brock I refused to believe it. "Breaking Bad" was a hot topic of conversation all week among friends, acquaintances and strangers, and while most of us chose to conveniently deny the idea that the value of human life for Walt is so low that he would poison a child to trick a friend, there were some (soothsayers?) who insisted Walt had broken bad a long time ago. "What about Jane?" they insisted, recalling the moment when Walt allowed Jesse's drug-addled girlfriend to choke on her own vomit. But that was different, was it not? Jane was not an innocent, and though she may not have deserved death, that death ended up having ever further, terrible consequences - the plane crash - that Walt surely had learned a lesson from. And yes, Walt certainly did. What he learned was that the death doesn't need to be the end game. It can be used as a catalyst to control other pawns into place for a larger scheme. In this case, getting Jesse back on his side, allied against Gus, by poisoning Brock. "Who do we know who would use children?" Walt asked Jesse last week. Even in his heartbroken rage Jesse had to admit there was no other monster capable of such an act. Except, we learned this week, the one he was staring in the eye.

The season finale was a quieter episode than the proceeding two. Like many good dramas, the height of action and confusion took place in the penultimate episode, setting up the windfall in the finale that, for most shows, either ends the series or prepares it for the next season. Walt's family was safe, Jesse was back on his side, Brock looked like he might pull through. It was Walt who ran around, frantically and furtively, getting from Jesse one small yet crucial piece of information. But Walt didn't even need to keep his relationship with Jesse to get it - as it turns out, it was Saul who passed on the information about Hector to Walt. It was Saul, incidentally, who also passed the poison berries masked as candy to Brock. How much did that cost you, Walt? Surely just your soul. Of course Walt didn't stop there - later when returning to his house under the presumption it was being watched (which it was), he called an elderly neighbor to go in before him, under the pretext of having left on the stove. Walt proves himself to be, potentially, more immoral than Gus. And as Jesse gives him a searching look, after learning it was Lily of the Valley, not ricin, that poisoned Brock, "Gus still had to go, right?" Did he?