Breaking Bad Wiki
Advertisement
Breaking Bad Wiki

"Face Off" is the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of Breaking Bad and the forty-sixth episode altogether. It is also the season finale.

Summary[]

Teaser[]

After Gus leaves the parking garage, Walt rushes to disarm the pipe bomb and remove it from Gus' car. He then enters the hospital and talks with Jesse, asking if he can think of any other place to catch Gus off guard. As they talk, two detectives, Kalanchoe and Munn, approach Jesse and take him in for questioning.

Act I[]

640px-4x13 - Face Off 2

Jesse is questioned

At the police station, the detectives question Jesse about his hint that Brock had been poisoned with ricin; Jesse tells them he wants to call Saul. Meanwhile, Walt breaks into Saul's office as part of his own effort to contact the lawyer. Saul's secretary, Francesca, extorts him in exchange for the information.

Walt returns to home to retrieve the money but, realizing that Gus may have staked the place out, parks down the street and sends his unwitting neighbor, Rebecca, to check the house for him. His suspicions are right; shortly after she enters the house, two gunmen sneak out through the back gate. After the neighbor leaves, Walt sneaks in the rear patio door and reaches the crawl space. Getting the money, he narrowly avoids the hitmen as he exits the house.

Back at the police station, Saul enters the interrogation room and confers with Jesse. Jesse tells him to pass on the only information he thinks can help Walt, that Gus regularly visits the nursing home to torment Hector. After Saul relays this information, Walt decides to use Hector's antipathy with Gus to his advantage. He discreetly enters the nursing home to meet with Hector.

Act II[]

After Walt has left, Hector calls a nurse and spells out a message: "NEED DEA." Later, Gomez visits Hank, who tells him that Hector will speak exclusively with him. In no uncertain terms, Marie will not let Hank go to the office. Shortly later, at the DEA office, Hector begins to spell out vulgar insults "SUCK MY" and "FU" before Hank ends the meeting and sends him back to the nursing home. Tyrus, who is monitoring Hank, sees Hector being loaded into a van at DEA headquarters. He informs Gus that Hector has turned informant, unwittingly playing into his and Walt's trap.

Act III[]

After Hector is returned to the nursing home, Tyrus enters and sweeps the place for bugs and cameras. Walt hides just outside the window. Meanwhile, the police inform Jesse that ricin was not found in Brock's blood, meaning he is free to go. However, as he is walking on the sidewalk, Jesse is tazed and abducted by two of Gus's men. Tyrus calls Gus to report both Jesse's kidnapping and Hector's apparent betrayal. He offers to take care of Hector himself, but Gus insists that, "I do this."

4x13 Gus' face off

Gus Fring's demise

Gus is driven to the nursing home and waits in the car as Tyrus again sweeps Hector's room. Once inside, Gus berates Hector for supposedly ratting him out to the DEA. Tyrus hands a syringe to Gus, who once again challenges Hector to look at him. However, to his surprise, Hector actually does so, his gaze shifting from resignation to pure hatred. He begins ringing his bell, which Gus realizes too late is the trigger for Walt's pipe bomb, affixed under the wheelchair. Before Gus can escape, an explosion rips through Hector's room, killing Hector and Tyrus in the process. Gus survives, walking into the corridor and adjusting his tie, then drops dead, mortally wounded from having half of his face blown off. Elsewhere, Walt sits in his rental car near the airport, listening to the radio. Upon hearing from a breaking news report that three people died in the explosion, Walt smiles and drives off.

Act IV[]

In the superlab, Jesse prepares for another batch while being monitored by one of Gus' men. Upon hearing the lab's elevator, the henchman handcuffs Jesse to the lab equipment while he investigates. In the elevator, from behind another henchman, Walt suddenly appears and shoots both the henchmen. Walt cooly enters the lab tells Jesse that Gus is dead. The two open all of the chemical containers in the lab, flooding the floor with flammable chemicals, then rig a timer to a frayed wire and leave. They wipe down the laundry machine at the lab's entrance for prints and pull the fire alarm as the chemicals ignite downstairs. The superlab explodes as Walt, Jesse, and the laundry workers flee on the surface.

640px-4x13 - Face Off 22

"I won."

Walt and Jesse meet on the roof of the hospital parking garage. To Walt's relief, Jesse says that Brock is going to recover, and that he was poisoned by a poisonous plant called Lily of the Valley; Gus did not poison him with ricin after all. Walt reassures him that Gus needed to die nonetheless. Walt calls Skyler, who is watching news coverage about the explosion with the rest of the family. When she warily asks if the explosion was his doing, he replies simply: "I won." Driving out of the parking garage, Walt passes Gus' car. Back at the White residence, the camera closes in on the Lily of the Valley plant next to Walt's pool, revealing that he was the person who poisoned Brock.

Official Photos[]

Trivia[]

  • This episode has the outstanding score of 9.9/10 on IMDb. This is the second highest rated episode of the series, tied with "Felina" and after "Ozymandias" (10/10).
  • This is the third episode to be written and directed by Vince Gilligan, after "Pilot" and "Full Measure".
    • The woman who plays the Whites' neighbor, Rebecca Simmons, is Vince Gilligan's mother, Gail Gilligan.
    • Extended on home video. The episode was a few minutes too long, and the clip of Gilligan's mother was cut to shorten the time. It was only seen on the original premiere of the episode. The scene was restored on the home video release.
  • Lily of the Valley (convallaria majalis) is indeed a poisonous plant, where all parts of the plant, from its red berries, rhizomes, leaves, stems, to its intoxicatingly scented little white flowers, are toxic with over 40 cardiac glycosides. The reveal of the plant is silent proof that Walt was in fact lying to Jesse in the previous episode and did betray Jesse in order to manipulate him.
    • Another LotV legend claims the plant sprang from the blood of St. Leonard of Noblac as he battled a dragon. Even this "battling of a dragon" theme is nicely analogous to Walt's battling of his dragon: Gus.
    • Jesse mentions the medical show House, M.D. while he is being questioned by the police. House often featured patients whose symptoms were the result of poison derived from an unusual source: ergot, organophosphates, toad eggs, and methyl bromide were all featured, but neither ricin nor Lily of the Valley ever were.
  • The episode's title refers to the final showdown between Walt and Gus, but is also a play on words regarding Gus' demise, where half of his face is burnt off.
  • Events of the final scene are repeated in the premier of the following season ("Live Free or Die"), the only other instance of this happening is the Season 1 finale of Breaking Bad ("A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal").
  • Gus is the first main character to die.
  • In his final moments, Gus bears a striking resemblance to the Batman villain Two-Face, particularly his incarnation from The Dark Knight. This is likely a tongue-in-cheek reference to Gus's double life and treacherous nature.
    • The episode's title could be a reference to this as well, as Gus's true nature is exposed in this episode.
    • 19 takes had to be tried to film the moment where Gus emerges from the destroyed room and falls to the floor in the best way possible.
  • The scene where Walter drops his gun after killing the men in the lab mirrors the scene where Gus drops the boxcutter in Box Cutter.
  • Walt employs the old proverbial tactic of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," when he decides to use Hector to help him kill Gus. Hank later uses the same tactic when he teams up with Jesse in an attempt to arrest Walt.
  • The music in the scene where Gus walks towards the Casa Tranquila nursing home is "Goodbye" by Apparat. Appropriately, the Apparat album on which this track can be found is called "The Devil's Walk."
  • A photograph can be seen of Hector with twin infants and a psychotic-looking child, these being Marco, Leonel and Tuco when they were young.
  • Erica Viking was a real DJ on Coyote 102.5 at the time of filming. She has also hosted the Official Breaking Bad RV Tour.
  • The scene in which Hector kills Gus gives a nod to the movie Scarface (1983), where Mark Margolis plays Alberto the Shadow and Steven Bauer as Manny Ribera. As in Scarface, the previous episode "End Times" features an unsuccessful assassination attempt via car bomb. During this scene, Tony Montana expresses disgust about Alberto, saying "You don't have the guts to look 'em in the eye when you kill 'em." Immediately before killing Gus, Hector shocks him by finally looking him directly in the eye, and this time the bomb meets its mark.

Production[]

Credits[]

Co-Starring

  • Lorenzita Anaya as Little Old Lady
  • Marty Smith as Bingo Caller
  • Erica Viking as Radio DJ #1
  • Steve Ruiz as Radio DJ #2

Uncredited

Filming Locations[]

Featured Music[]

  • "Crawl Space" by Dave Porter (as Walt retrieves some money from his home)
  • "Here is Fritz's Polka Band/The Party's Just Begun [From "The Big Joe Polka Show"]" by Fritz's Polka Band (when Walt visits Hector at Casa Tranquila)
  • "Monaco" by Bill McGuffie (while Hector tells the nurse that he wants the DEA)
  • "I Wonder" by Erik Janson & Bevan Manson (when Hector returns to Casa Tranquila)
  • "Dreams of You" by Alan Moorhouse (while Tyrus inspects Hector's room)
  • "Goodbye (Instrumental)" by Apparat (as Gus enters Casa Tranquila)
  • "Fourth Floor, Ladies Shoes" by Daniel May (as Gus leaves Hector's room)
  • "Freestyle" by Taalbi Brothers (while Walt and Jesse prepare to torch the lab)
  • "Black" by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi (feat. Norah Jones) (after Walt has spoken on the phone with Skyler)

Special Effects[]

  • Many months of preparation took place for the the visual effect of Gustavo Fring's facial wounds, with assistance from the special effects team from the AMC drama The Walking Dead. In order to produce the effect, elaborate makeup was used on Giancarlo Esposito's face, and combined with computer-generated imagery that took two separate shots and combined them in post production.

Memorable Quotes[]

"What kind of man talks to the DEA? No man. No man at all. A crippled little rata. What a reputation to leave behind. Is that how you want to be remembered? Last chance to look at me, Hector."
―Gustavo's final words.

Skyler: "Jesus, Walt, the news here. Gus Fring is dead. He was blown up along with some person from some Mexican cartel, and the DEA has no idea what to make of it. Do you know about this? Walt? I need you to–"
Walter: "It’s over. We’re safe."
Skyler: "Was this you? What happened?"
Walter: "I won."
―Walt and Skyler talking on the telephone.

"Gus is dead. We've got work to do."
―Walt to Jesse before they burn down the meth lab.


Advertisement