If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Well, this was it. The season finale, the moment we've all been closely awaiting. And HOLY SHIT did Vince Gilligan and crew pull a full measure.
Breaking Bad finales have not neccesarily been the best episodes in the series. More often than not the predecessor has delivered more. The majority of fans were thrown off and disappointed with season two's final reveal. And most fans agree that although an amazing episode season three's "Full Measure" served as more of an introduction into season 4 than an excellent finale. I consider "Half Measures" the perfect season 3 wrap up. And let's not forget the "shortened by the writer strike" season 1. "A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal" was my favorite finale of the series because it didn't rely on an awesome reveal or a gut-wrenching cliffhanger. It provided excactly what a season finale should-complete satisfaction and excitement for the stories to come. "Face Off" did just this and so much more.
Among being many things this episode was really funny, quite possibly the funniest episode of Breaking Bad I've seen, and that's saying something. For a couple of years wikipedia described Breaking Bad as a dark comedy drama (now tactically changed to just television drama) and while I would say comedy drama is completely false for much of the series this episode almost merits that description and in the best of ways. The scene when Walt broke in and out of Saul's office was hilarious. Largely due to the painfully true rant "Honey Tits" (Thanks, Saul!) gave to Walt. There was some great Gomez/Hanker banter which has been missed this season. The writers handled Hank and Marie's beautiful marriage with humor- a nice turn around from the start of the season depressing marriage the two were in. And the great TIO SALAMANCA!! This episode was his send-off in many ways and he got all his punches in before his final moments. And over all this great humor is incredible tension and unforgettable drama.
Walter, Walter, Walter... I noticed that more than a few fans on twitter were disapointed with last week's ending. I thought the episode was amazing in many ways because it showed Walt's train of thought and ultimately his failure. And I love it even more after seeing the contrast with his victory in "Face Off" Walt earned his victory with his scientific expertise and his newly restored thuggery. I'm of the opinion that real villains bring out the evil in others and that's Walt's been doing. Providing fake support for Jesse and enraging him, complying with an old man's urge for vengance, and taking advantage of those vulnerable around him with stacks of lies. Walt goes on the outplay Gus in a notorious way also killing Tio and that bitch Tyrus. Taking Gus down was absolutely vital but it was Walt's methods of doing this that started to shape him into an antagonist. Ploying his poor neighbor into a life-risking situation, the way he handled and ignored his son's needs, and poisoning a key figure in Jesse's recovery. It's funny Jesse and Walt's relationship. The show often painted Jesse as the "screw up" in regards to Walt's meth business. But when I think about it Jesse makes decesions that push Walt out of a sucessfull drug distribution business, while Walt takes blows at Jesse's loved ones disabling his betterment as a person. So, Jesse almost got Walt fired a couple of times and left the key in the RV ignition to long, and Walt allowed Jesse's girl to die and almost killed poor Broc. It's clear that the more Walt gets into this meth trade the more shit's gonna hit the overarching fan. It might be safe to say that Jesse is the shows hero.
Lastly let's talk about the badassery here. Damnit I can't go another second without mentioning how frakking insane that explosion was. And to put the icing on the cake Gus walking out of the room adjusting his tie like some kinda twisted Two-Face. Sure it might not have been realistic but Gus was an amazing and deep character and deserved a good-bye of this level. And the music in the scene prior to it and hell the entire episode was excellent. At the epic 10 minutes where Walt tells his wife that he is indeed winning and implies planting a bomb in a hospital, Heisenberg has arrived!!! I found myself fighting back tears when Walt tells Jesse that they've got some work to do and they proceed to dismantle Gus's establishment- bravo to everyone involved in that scene. The handshake between Jesse and Walt was endearing with the later haunting with the official reveal that Walt did in fact poison Broc. Chemistry teacher no more.
Layered with genius, outstanding performances, and unforgettable scenes I can say with confidence that this is my favorite episdode of the series. I give "Face Off" a 10/10.
What's next for the last season(s) (still not sure if Vince is planning to split up the ordered episodes into two smaller seasons or one long conclusion) It's obvious that Gus might have some old friends in Chile that want to chat with Heisenberg, but personally I'd like to see a different war. Maybe Walt will try and take down Grey Matter? How are Walt Jr. and Hank going to react when they find out Walt's a regular Scarface? Will Walt become even more cocky and test his relationship with the DEA? Mike/Jesse team-up anyone? What do you guys think will happen?
Thanks for reading, hope you'll re-watch some Breaking Bad during the off season!