"Breaking Bad" fans, it's time to pick your jaw up off the floor (or scrape it off the wall, as the case may be) and let reality soak in: The AMC Network's fourth season finale, which aired Sunday night, was about as explosive as it gets ... and we mean that quite literally. Spoiler mode is officially on.
Sunday night's finale, appropriately titled "Face Off," offered closure on one of the show's most longstanding conflicts: the seasons-long battle between drug kingpin Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and our "hero," mild-mannered chemistry teacher-turned-ruthless meth cook Walter White (Bryan Cranston). And it ended the only way it could — with the immaculately dressed Gus in a body bag. But it's not merely the fact that the Pollos Hermanos founder took the big adios that's become such a water-cooler moment today, it's the fiery, almost "Dark Knight"-inspired way he went out.
Walt, already unsuccessful in his most recent attempt to assassinate Gus by way of a car bomb, adopted the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" philosophy and joined forces with the physically invalid Hector "Tio" Salamanca (Mark Margolis), Gus Fring's sworn nemesis. With revenge in his heart and Walt's plan in his mind, Tio successfully lured Gus out of hiding and tricked him into a one-on-one encounter, one that Gus was certain would end in his longtime rival's demise ... except that Walt rigged his explosive device to the underside of Tio's chair, and after a few frantic rings of his infamous communication bell, the deal was sealed and the bomb went off.
With his final act, Gus took a few steps away from the explosion, adjusted his tie as was his wont, and fell to his knees with half of his face completely missing. In a show that's seen severed heads on the backs of turtles and fully liquefied bodies leaking through ceilings, Gus' death was perhaps the most gruesome moment "Breaking Bad" has ever seen ... so much so that it even shocked series lead Bryan Cranston.
"It's that 'Oh my god' [kind of] moment," Cranston told MTV News in an exclusive interview on Monday morning (October 10), weighing in on Gustavo Fring's gruesome final scene. "What's great about it is, for some reason, I didn't see it coming. You have a situation where Walt is trying to make this bomb. He has a detonator. It doesn't work because [Gus] didn't go to the car, so now he has to think up some ulterior motive.
"What I wanted to do when Walt goes to the senior citizen home to talk to Tio was to not have that case [containing the bomb] in evidence anywhere," Cranston continued. "I didn't want to telegraph what was going to happen. I think I hid it pretty well; we could assume that maybe he's trying a different tactic, because the bomb thing didn't work so well. Now he's going to try a different way. Is Tio going to pull out a gun? What's he going to do? We know they're talking and in cahoots with each other — Walt says, 'Do you have any second guesses?' and he doesn't — but I didn't know [how Gus was going to die] until I read it. I didn't know how they were going to connect it. It came out perfect, with ringing the bell as the detonator."
For many fans, Gus' death was a long time coming, and his final moments onscreen certainly did not disappoint in the shock and awe departments. But the loss of Gus also means the loss of Giancarlo Esposito, the veteran actor who brilliantly played the cool, collected villain for three seasons of "Breaking Bad." For Cranston, the moment was "bittersweet. It was a fitting end to their struggles."
"We lose Gus Fring as a character, but I've gained Giancarlo Esposito as a friend," he added, looking on the bright side. "That's more valuable than anything. He's a wonderful man and a terrific actor, a very gracious, very giving, spiritually sound guy who's just embraceable. I have that [friendship] to look forward to."
What did you think of the "Breaking Bad" finale? Tell us in the comments!