1. By the end of the penultimate episode of Season 4 of Breaking Bad, how many people were dead?
Zero. Well, point five. One minor character was hanging on for dear life, but that's it. The episode ended with a whisper, not a bang. I expect to hear some banging (not that kind; get your head out of the gutter) next week.
2. But all members of the White family, immediate and extended, were present and accounted for?
Every last one of them. When Marie called to tell Skyler about the threat on Hank's life, Skyler appealed to her sister's nutsy, overdramatic side and talked Marie into sending a few cops over to the White house to take the family to safety at Chez Shrader. It was the perfect plan. Only Walter refused to go. It's his fault that there's a hit on everyone's heads, and he'll be damned if his presence in Hank and Marie's house puts everyone else in more danger. So Walt said a somber goodbye to Skyler and his daughter, who probably has no clue who he is, and he spent a few moments relaxing by the pool playing Spin The Revolver, as people in dire situations are wont to do.
3. Poor Walter, sitting all alone while his family has a rip-roaring good time over at Hank and Marie's.
Good times were had by all. Walt Jr. bitched about his dad being so dedicated to a car wash that he would risk his life. Marie tried to devise a plan to get Walter over to her house by devious means. Skyler shared a cigarette with one of the agents. Hank just giggled a lot and tried to pretend that he wasn't scared out of his mind that his life could be in danger. Oh, and he goaded his former partner, Steve, into checking out Fring's laundry service.
4. Hank sent the DEA over to the laundry? How did that go?
Like you'd expect. Steve-o showed some fine moxie for getting into the actual facility, but when it came to sniffing out the meth, he, his friend, and their one bomb-sniffing mutt didn't uncover anything (when looking at the pictures later, Hank called them "clean as a whistle"). The laundry bouncer alerted Tyrus to the presence of the feds, and he had Jesse shut down the meth lab for the afternoon. The two of them took the rest of the day off and went to a water park.
5. How fun! Did they have just the best time ever?
Of course they did. Tyrus never had to hand the phone over to Jesse and Gus never had to make any comments about how the feds digging into the laundry is all the fault of one Walter White. Jesse never had to state once more with feeling that should anything final *cough-cough* happen to Walter White, Jesse would never cook in this town again. And Gus never had to state that there would be an appropriate response for Walter's actions.
6. Well, Jesse just kind of gave them an out, didn't he? He said nothing final could happen to Walter. But they could maim him. They could beat him to the brink of extinction; they just couldn't take him over the edge.
Where's the fun in that? Plus, it would just endear Gus even less to Walter and make him more ready to go to the DEA with everything he knows.
7. Was Jesse OK with all this?
He was fine. He was business as usual. A laundry truck dropped him off at his car in the middle of the desert (I wonder how many seemingly abandoned cars on the sides of the roads all across this great nation are really just waiting there for their meth chef owners to get off of work), and Jesse checked his messages. Saul had called. A lot.
8. So Jesse goes to see Saul?
He does. And things at the noble office are in disarray. Baby Huell stops Jesse and pats him down. Honeytits, the secretary, is shredding documents. And Mr. Goodman himself is "a fart in the wind." He is taking off, never to be seen again, probably. Saul tells Jesse about Walter being fired, and about the threat on his family.
9. Gus never even told Jesse that Walter had been let go? That's poor business management. He could've at least emailed.
One would assume a businessman of the Chicken Man's stature would think of these things.
10. OK, so then what? Everybody's locked up in their houses. Jesse thinks his deal with Gus is exactly how he wants it to be. Tyrus is standing behind someone looking surly. What's the next event to shake up the status quo?
Jesse gets a phone call from his lady friend, Andrea. Her son, Brock, is in the hospital. He was fine and now he's sick. Jesse skedaddles right over there and learns that Brock is so super sick that he has to go into the ICU. Since Jesse's not family and can't follow Andrea into the hospital room, he goes outside for a smoke. And that's when he sees it.
11. Sees what?
The cigarette is missing.
12. What cigarette?
Don't be a fool. You know "what cigarette." The poison cigarette. They've mentioned it, like, every episode? And then Jesse knows what happened. Someone used it to poison Brock. Walter. Walter saw Brock at Jesse's house. Walter was the only one who knew about the cigarette. Walter poisoned Brock.
13. Oh crap.
Yeah. So Jesse told the doctor about the poison and he booked it out of the hospital and over to Walter's house. Walter seemed glad to see Jesse. He told him everything that happened in the desert, how Gus is going to kill Skyler and the kids. Jesse just picked up the gun and pointed it at Walter. He asked him, "Why did you do it?"
14. And Walter didn't know what he was talking about?
He sure didn't. He was all, "Do what?" And then Jesse told him about Brock and then Walter started laughing maniacally again, which seems to be his new default reaction setting. Walter put it all together in about a second. Gus can't kill Walter, so he has to make Jesse want to kill Walter. The have a little back and forth, and eventually Jesse comes to see that, yes, Gus probably did this to Brock.
15. But how did Gus get the poison? How did Gus even know about the poison?
These are the big burning questions. There are a couple of people who had access to Jesse's jeans pockets in the episode: Tyrus and Baby Huell. Did Tyrus take the cigarette while Jesse's clothes hung in a locker in the lab? Did Baby Huell take it while he patted Jesse down at Saul's office. That would be some serious David Blaine shit if he did. And then the other question. How did Gus (or Tyrus or Baby Huell or Saul or whoever) know about the existence of the poisoned cigarette? That, my friend, I cannot answer.
16. Let's assume all of this will be addressed in the next episode.
17. What did Jesse and Walt do to get back at Gus?
They built a bomb. Walter White is pretty much a criminal's MacGuyver. Jesse insulted Tyrus, who called Gus to complain. Jesse basically staged a sit-in at the hospital. He's not going to work until the kid dies or gets better. Gus went to see Jesse. They talked. Things were great between them. Just great. Always. On the surface, at least. Gus said goodbye and went back to his car.
18. Where the bomb was waiting for him?
Yes, it was. And Walt was waiting across the street with some binoculars and a remote. But things did not go smoothly, of course. This is Breaking BAD, people, not Breaking in the Most Auspicious Way Possible. Walt watched and waited and watched and waited as Gus walked to the edge of the parking garage and peered at the surrounding buildings, looking, searching for something. He didn't seem to see Walter, but he knew he was there. And he didn't get in the car. He and his goons turned around and walked out of that parking lot.
19. How did he know?
What do I look like? The Breaking Bad whisperer? I know as much as you do. But I think that there's some deep cover Departed stuff going on. Like, somebody's been spying on Walter and Jesse and reporting back to Gus. My money's on Walt Jr. That guy's got duplicity written all over him. Or Hank. Hank is double and triple agenting everyone. He's probably not even handicapped. He probably hates minerals.
What did you think? How the heck did Gus know about the cigarette and the bomb? Does he just have cameras everywhere or is someone unexpected playing for Gus's team? Is it Steve? It's Steve, right?
Oh my god, this show is such a mind frak.