Gus got his face half blown off and walked out of the room and straightened his tie. Maybe gilding the lily, maybe a believability stretch. Still a nice touch. It’s a lot like the scene where Gus makes himself throw up after taking the poison in 410 “Salud,” he was alone, no one was watching, and he was still so Gus. Same here, he’s pretty much dead, in shock, and habit takes over. Gus doesn’t just put on a face for the outside world of this meticulous, inscrutable, insanely professional man. Gus is Gus to the core.
RIP, yo. Gus is dead. Walter White has “won” so he says.
But before that, one of my favorite lines ever. “Did you just bring a bomb into a hospital?” Jesse asks Walt. Great callback to “You brought a meth lab to the airport?” from Walt to Jesse in Season Two. So funny how Walt’s bag sticks to the door.
UPDATE AUGUST 26: After last night’s episode, there are a lot of questions about Jesse’s desert revelation and how it all fits together, so I updated this post to include that toward the end, to keep it chronological. You can skip to that part here.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people come across my blog from googling something like, “How did Walter White poison Brock?” or “What happened to the ricin cigarette?” or “what happened berries Walter Brock” or something similar. On the Breaking Bad message boards, questions about these topics still rage. While watching the latest episode on Sunday night, some friends were asking the the same questions. This storyline definitely has to be one of the most complex–maybe even convoluted–plotlines on the show. Some of it is more left to assumption than explicitly shown. So I thought I’d try to elucidate with my understanding of what happened, start to finish.
In episode 407 “Problem Dog,” Walt makes some ricin in the superlab. He gives it to Jesse, who puts it in a “lucky cigarette” that he keeps upside down in his cigarette pack. The ricin cigarette is born.
Walt, his revolver and lily of the valley
In episode 412 “End Times,” Walt is despondent and doesn’t know what to do. Gus has just threatened his wife, son, infant daughter and brother-in-law. Walt knows that Gus could be close to turning Jesse against him and that Jesse’s flagging loyalty is the only thing keeping Gus from killing him. Since Skyler gave a big chunk of Walt’s drug money to the IRS for the Ted thing, Walt doesn’t have the money to get himself and his family out of town through Saul’s disappeaerer “vacuum guy.” He sits out back behind his house and spins a revolver. The first two times, it points at him. The third time though, it points to a potted plant, which (we will later come to see) is a lily of the valley plant. Here is where Walter White gets his idea.
Spoiler Alert: If you aren’t caught up with Breaking Bad, in particular the end of Season 4, stop now and get caught up…then come back.
First, a little background. I was way, way late coming to this show. And it’s not like I hadn’t heard about it. Last summer I took a TV scriptwriting class with Thom Bray and a few people in the class (including Thom) would talk about the amazingness of Breaking Bad. I kept putting it off because who wants to get into something that intense when you’re already in the middle of all these intense science classes and your brain needs to relax, not amp up?
But then one day in organic chemistry class, the professor brought it up. We were learning about reductive amination, a reaction that transforms a ketone or aldehyde into an amine, and he mentioned that it’s the reaction they talk about on the show (in the famous “Yeah Science!” scene). Later that night I finished watching another show (okay, it was Gossip Girl) on Netflix and needed something new to watch and loaded up the pilot episode. And that was it. I don’t think I did anything else for the next week, at least. Instant obsession. Almost immediately, I started discussing the show with anyone who would listen, in real life and online.