I’ve finally caught up with breaking bad after season 4 ended at the end of the summer and I have to say that this was probably my favorite season. I probably understand that not many of my readers are viewers of this show because it’s fairly under the radar. So to those who haven’t broken bad [a slang term to define those who have turned to making crystal meth to make money], this is a story about a genius high school chemistry teacher who has teamed up with a white trash punk to make methamphetamine to pay off his cancer bills. As similar to Weeds [a show I tried, but couldn't finish watching], this tale is far more darker and all around badass. And as you could imagine after 4 seasons, shit has really hit the fan where our leads get mixed up with the DEA, Mexican Drug Cartel, and the biggest meth dealers in the southern United States. And as season 4 wrapped up, we’re finally given the closure we’ve been wanting [that is, until Breaking Bad's fifth and final season comes out next year]. Read below for my take on season 4 as a whole. Major spoilers beware!
Last season, we were left off when Walter White order Jessie Pinkman to shoot his partner Gale in order to save their own skins. Their boss, Gus was planning on wiping them out after Gale has learned their formula for cooking meth and having Jessie shoot him was the only way to save themselves. The cliffhanger left us when after Jessie fired off one bullet at the door of Gale’s apartment. So season 4 started off right after this moment, with a gun pointed at Walter’s face as he waited silently for Jessie. As they were reunited, the most tense moment in the beginning of the season was when they waited for Gus. When he finally arrived, he calmly walked around as Walter tried to explain himself as he undressed his suit and put on one of the hazmat suits. After not saying a single world, he suddenly grabs one of his own men and slits his throat to send them a message.
And this sets the stage for the rest of the season. It becomes a power struggle between Gus and Walter as one tries to out maneuver the other. Jessie on the other hand falls to his own darkness as he tries to cope with killing a man. He resorts to drugs, loud music, and general mayhem to escape it. He can’t cope with himself when he’s alone and when it begins to affect his work, Gus sends his main man, Mike, to help him get his mind off of things. And when Mike and Gus see something valuable in Jessie as a loyal member of his crew, Walter suspects Gus of trying to turn Jessie against him, so he begins trying to make some plans of his own. This is the game of cat and mouse that consumes most of season 4. It’s very compelling to see where Jessie’s loyalties lie and his turmoil with his darkness was quite an amazing turn by Aaron Paul.
Season 4 is also where we had the beginning of Walter’s money laundering business lead by his wife. Along with this, she’s also got a few other loose ends like with her old flame Beneke as well as she tries to fix her marriage. All the other supporting characters have their small side plots like Hank’s physical therapy, and Gus’s backstory. All these seemingly irrelevant side stories slowly merge as we reach the end of the season when the climax of the show hits: Hank catches onto Gus’s secret, Walter’s wife gives up all their money, Gus takes down the Mexican cartel, Jessie questions his loyalties, and Walter is pushed to the edge, where he must act in desperation to save his family.
Which leads the climactic final episodes where it’s Walter and Jessie vs. Gus. After a couple of episodes of Jessie teetering on trusting Walter or Gus, Jessie’s pushed over the edge and attempts to kill Walter when a young boy he’s taken with is poisoned by the same poison Walter created that was originally supposed to kill Gus. Believing it was Walter who killed him, Jessie tries to kill him. When Walter convinces Jessie that Gus set up the entire thing to trick Jessie into killing Walter [a very powerful scene], they finally pair up and eventually succeed in killing Gus with the help of an old friend. All is well that ends well as the two shake hands after burning down their meth lab and being free from everything. That is…until in the final scene when we find out that Walter poisoned the kid himself to manipulate Jessie into believing him. As the final moments faded out, I literally got goosebumps.
Season four was exciting as a whole due to the amazing climax it faced, the buildup it took to get there and its execution was near perfection. No one could’ve expected what was going to happen, and the drama was dark, compelling, and believable. At every twist and turn, there was another that was quick to follow which always left us wanting more after each episode was over. I look forward to Breaking Bad’s final season, a decision that I think is good for both the series itself and its audiences. Mainly because I honestly don’t think they could come up with a better season than this, and season 5 will serve as a nice sort of ‘epilogue’ of some sort to give some closure on the few loose ends this show has.