This episode is the halfway point for Season Four–six episodes came before, six will come after–and it feels like a tipping point of sorts. Skyler, Walt and Jesse all wrestle with decisions, and a lot of plot turns happen in this episode.
But before we get to any of that, how freakin’ AMAZING is Jesse’s monologue at his rehab meeting? One of the best moments in the entire series, in my opinion. So tortured. So moving. So raw. You’re right there with him, in that intensity. To me, this speech is a bit like Walt in “Fly” last season. Jesse’s reckoning with what he did at the end of the last season, and it’s an outburst filled with guilt and it doesn’t happen right away. The fallout takes time, which is so real. It also feels true to Jesse’s character that he’d still be in turmoil this long after. He’s also newly sober, four days, so perfect time to be wrestling with his soul, especially now as Walt’s asked him to murder again.
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.