Breaking Bad: How Walter White Poisoned Brock and What Happened to the Ricin Cigarette

UPDATE AUGUST 26: After last night’s episode, there are a lot of questions about Jesse’s desert revelation and how it all fits together, so I updated this post to include that toward the end, to keep it chronological. You can skip to that part here.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people come across my blog from googling something like, “How did Walter White poison Brock?” or “What happened to the ricin cigarette?” or “what happened berries Walter Brock” or something similar. On the Breaking Bad message boards, questions about these topics still rage. While watching the latest episode on Sunday night, some friends were asking the the same questions. This storyline definitely has to be one of the most complex–maybe even convoluted–plotlines on the show. Some of it is more left to assumption than explicitly shown. So I thought I’d try to elucidate with my understanding of what happened, start to finish.

In episode 407 “Problem Dog,” Walt makes some ricin in the superlab. He gives it to Jesse, who puts it in a “lucky cigarette” that he keeps upside down in his cigarette pack. The ricin cigarette is born.

Walt, his revolver and lily of the valley

In episode 412 “End Times,” Walt is despondent and doesn’t know what to do. Gus has just threatened his wife, son, infant daughter and brother-in-law. Walt knows that Gus could be close to turning Jesse against him and that Jesse’s flagging loyalty is the only thing keeping Gus from killing him. Since Skyler gave a big chunk of Walt’s drug money to the IRS for the Ted thing, Walt doesn’t have the money to get himself and his family out of town through Saul’s disappeaerer “vacuum guy.” He sits out back behind his house and spins a revolver. The first two times, it points at him. The third time though, it points to a potted plant, which (we will later come to see) is a lily of the valley plant. Here is where Walter White gets his idea.

A few things to keep in mind from previous scenes and eps: First, Walt saw Brock and Andrea at Jesse’s apartment. He knows to some extent who they are and that Jesse cares about them. Second, Jesse has been carrying around a vial of ricin inside a cigarette for awhile now to (maybe) use on Gus. Lastly, Gus has used children before. His meth empire used kids like Andrea’s little brother Tomas, and when Jesse gets upset about this, Gus’s people kill Tomas (episode 312 “Half-Measure”). So Gus has hurt kids in Andrea’s family before.

So here’s (my assumption of) Walter’s plan. He has Saul deliver the lily of the valley berries to Brock in some way. This is never shown exactly but probably Walt did something with the berries like made them up into some candy (chemistry skills) or something and had Saul deliver it to the boy. This wouldn’t have been too weird because earlier in Season 4, before Jesse and Andrea got back together, Saul used to deliver money from Jesse to Andrea and had seen and talked to Brock in the past.

UPDATE: At the 2013 Comic-Con Vince Gilligan explained exactly how he and the writers imagined Walt got the poison to Brock, and it wasn’t, as I had thought, through Saul. Instead they pictured Walt as the “Evil Juice Box Man” going into Brock’s school and giving him a juice box that had juice from the poison berries. And if you’ll look closely at episode 413 “Face Off” (thanks to Greg below for pointing this out), when Walt busts into Saul’s office, Francesca is shredding school schedules. It’s a big spreadsheet of classes and times but there are notes on the side that seem to be one student’s personal schedule, most likely Brock’s. So, kudos to the writers on including that little detail, and again to Greg for noticing that what’s was being shredded. End of update.

Huell switches it up

Then, Walt has Saul, through his bodyguard Huell, remove Jesse’s ricin cigarette by switching out the packs. He removes Jesse’s pack with the cigarette containing the ricin vial and puts in a pack without it. This happens when Huell gives Jesse a pat down after Saul calls him to the office. Recall that Jesse got many, many urgent messages from Saul demanding that he come in to the office–this was done to get him there so Huell could do the cigarette pack switcharoo–then Saul kinda blows off Huell, as if he knows nothing about it (Saul’s good like that) and tells Jesse that these are “the end times, kid.” Walt has to make sure Jesse’s ricin cigarette is removed so he can convince Jesse that Gus or Tyrus stole the ricin cig to poison Brock.

So then, Jesse gets the call that Brock is in the hospital. He hears Brock has flu-like symptoms that aren’t getting better, which is exactly what Walt told Jesse back in the Tuco days is what would happen to someone with ricin poisoning. Jesse figures out EXACTLY what happened–that Walt poisoned Brock (likely through Saul) and then had Huell remove the ricin cigarette from him. This is exactly what he accuses Walt of when he threatens to kill Walt. In fact, if you’re still having questions about this whole deal, watch this scene where Jesse almost kills Walt because he gets it exactly right (except that Walt didn’t actually use ricin).

Jesse accuses Walt

But then Walt turns it around and convinces Jesse that Gus has done it as an attempt to frame Walt and get Jesse to finally give his consent to kill Walt or to kill Walt himself. Jesse’s refusal to give the okay to kill Walt was the thorn in Gus’s side. Gus has used children before, he argues, and he swears that he himself would never do such a thing to a child. He convinces Jesse that Gus knew about the ricin cigarette because Gus had cameras on them all the time. Jesse, who on some level loves Walt and thinks of him as a father figure, decides to believe Walt rather than shoot him, and helps Walt to kill Gus.

Afterward, Jesse finds out that Brock wasn’t poisoned with ricin after all, but lily of the valley. He thinks it’s all a coincidence and Walt assures him they still did the right thing in killing Gus. All seems well as Walt relaxes out back behind his house, in a much different state of mind then he was in before. In the last frames of Season 4, the camera focuses in on the same plant that Walt’s revolver pointed at in the earlier scene, and its tag, which says “Lily of the Valley.” This is supposed to let us as the audience know that yes, Walt poisoned Brock.

So why did Walt go to the trouble of doing it with lily of the valley instead of just using ricin? Well, as evil as Walt has become, he doesn’t actually want to murder a kid. The implication is that if he had actually used ricin, it would have killed Brock but with lily of the valley, it was “touch and go” but Brock pulled through. Also, I think that Walt, true to character, isn’t even thinking far enough ahead to think of what a weird coincidence it could look like. All he’s thinking about is survival, about getting Jesse to think Gus poisoned Brock with ricin so Jesse will get back on his side. That’s it.

In season 5, some loose ends still need to be cleaned up. The first is that Walt throws out his lily of the valley plant, destroying the evidence. Then, in his meeting with Saul, Saul hands the ricin cigarette that Huell lifted from Jesse back to Walt. Saul also says that he had no idea that Brock would end up in the hospital. It’s never explicitly spelled out but this conversation is what reveals that it probably was somehow through Saul that Brock got the poison, and that Saul didn’t really know what he was actually doing. That’s what leads me to believe Walt made the berries into some type of treat for Saul to deliver. Walt is a chemist who made poison out of beans, after all.

Walt makes the decoy

Then in episode 502 “Madrigal,” we have more loose ends to tie up. One is that Jesse still doesn’t know what happened to his ricin cigarette. He doesn’t have it, he doesn’t know Walt has it and he no longer believes Gus had it, so in his mind it’s MIA. Walt tries to convince Jesse that he must’ve lost it in the superlab before they torched it but Jesse doesn’t think so. Jesse’s making himself crazy worrying that some innocent person will come across it wherever he lost it and get sick and die because of it. Walt says he’ll come over and help Jesse toss the house and find it. So Walt makes up a dummy ricin cigarette, using salt instead of ricin. He hides the real vial of ricin behind an electrical socket in his bedroom. He then plants the fake cig in Jesse’s Roomba as they are tearing the place apart. We don’t see him do this, but when he offers to help Jesse find it while making a fake one, we assume he’s going to plant it somewhere.

Jesse finds the decoy

Then Walt pretends not to know what a Roomba is (“What the hell is that thing?”) and convinces Jesse to look inside it. Jesse does and lo and behold there is his “ricin” cigarette. Jesse now believes he made a huge, huge mistake, originally thinking Walt was behind it. He almost killed Walt, and now thinks that Walt, or should I say “Mr. White” was completely innocent. Jesse feels awful and can’t figure out what’s wrong with himself that he would make such a huge “mistake.”

It is genius on Walt’s part. He has gotten Jesse back to his side. He has Jesse doubting his own instincts about what’s going on, feeling like he is instead stupid. Then Walt comes in as the comforting father figure and talks to him about moving forward, so he gets Jesse on board with cooking meth again.

And then in 503 “Hazard Pay,” Walt completes this long con of Jesse by manipulating him into ending things with Andrea, and hence Brock. And then showing absolutely zero interest or concern. Walt has become one sick, twisted dude.

UPDATE

This next section addresses how this plotline about the Brock poisoning and the ricin cigarette plays into episode 511 “Confessions.” DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER if you haven’t yet seen the episode as this will be a big spoiler. You’ve been warned.

Screen Shot 2013-08-23 at 9.23.02 AMIn episode 511 “Confessions” Jesse goes to Saul’s office to hire the same “disappearer” that Walt once planned to use. Jesse starts smoking pot in Saul’s office (not the first time, that was nicely set up two episodes back). Saul freaks out and says the disappearer won’t take him if he’s high. So Huell does what he does–he pickpockets Jesse’s pot. If you watch closely, you can see Huell doing this.

Then Jesse, waiting for the disappearer, looks for the pot in his pocket. It’s not there. He starts freaking out, finds the cigarette pack. He realizes that Huell lifted his pot and this triggers Jesse to realize that Huell had switched the packs before, that he’d been right all along (remember, this was his original suspicion). So he goes and beats and threatens at gunpoint the truth out of Saul.

The confusion for a lot of people is that Jesse yells about ricin when he screams at Saul but Brock was poisoned with Lily of the Valley. He screams about the ricin cig because that’s Saul’s part in the plan. Saul and Huell lifted his ricin cigarette (so that Walt could convince Jesse that Gus via Tyrus had stolen it at the lab). He realizes then that he must’ve been played by Walt, that Walt must’ve been the one to poison Brock with Lily of the Valley.

Jesse has been getting smarter for seasons now. And he’s been suspicious of Walt ever since late in the first half of Season Five, and especially since Walt had the guys in prison killed, which told him all he needed to know about what happened to Mike. He’s been terrified of Walt. And there was a lot of talk about Walt playing and working Jesse leading up to this moment in the episode. So, I think Jesse’s in a different place in that he’s readier to see this truth about Walt. It must be under the surface, a seed of suspicion.

In that moment in the desert, waiting for his new life in Alaska, when he finds the cigarette pack in his pocket, I think the whole convoluted plot becomes crystal clear to Jesse in all its detail.

Oh shit.

I decided to add on some more because I noticed that a lot of the people who left comments were having trouble believing the leap Jesse made from seeing the cigarette pack to putting the whole plot together. This was a little surprising to me because as soon as I saw Jesse looking at the cigarettes (and I believe it’s a similar camera angle as when he looked at his cigarettes in 412 “End Times” when he realized the ricin one was gone), I started freaking out and silently screaming to myself, Jesse knows! So anyway, I thought I’d try to illuminate in more detail why it was believable to me.

The first thing to remember is that not all that much time has passed since Brock was poisoned in the world of the show. Just a few months. Maybe four or five. For us, it’s been almost two years since the end of Season Four. A lot more time has passed for us as viewers than for the characters on the show. The whole Brock thing wouldn’t be that far buried in Jesse’s mind. He’s also been relatively sober (except for the pot) since, and Jesse’s always smarter when he’s not dipping into the crystal blue persuasion.

The other thing is that Jesse originally put all the pieces together quickly when he came to Walt’s house. Well, he didn’t know Walt had used lily of the valley, but aside from that detail, he’d figured out the whole plot. So, in Jesse’s mind the poisoning of Brock and the lifting of his ricin cig through the pack switchup were already linked in his mind. Maybe that’s why it didn’t seem like much of a leap to me, because Jesse had essentially already figured it out once, and because these things were always linked for him. Walt worked hard to spin a fiction around the whole thing, but it makes sense that once one piece comes tumbling down, like Jesse realizing Huell had switched packs on him back then, the whole castle falls. It’s like Walt built a very big and complicated Jenga tower and all it took was that one piece pulled out to bring it all down. Plus there would’ve been no reason for Walt to have Huell switch cigarette packs on Jesse if he hadn’t poisoned Brock. The two things have always gone together.

And I also think that this is the way realizations work in real life. Consider a more commonplace example, since most of us (I assume) haven’t dealt with having a drug dealer partner mentor father figure poisoning our significant other’s kid in a convoluted plot to win back our loyalty. Consider instead infidelity. You find something that makes you think your spouse/partner/lover/sex friend/whoever is cheating. They give you a plausible (maybe not 100% convincing but plausible) story that explains things away. They appeal to your emotions and swear that they would never do that, they love you and you are their one and only sex friend or whatever. You believe them because you want to believe them, because they seem like the kind of person who would never cheat. And maybe they orchestrate some corroborating evidence to their story (ricin decoy in the roomba equivalent). But all it takes is one tiny little hole in their story–a receipt in a pocket, something out of place in the house, another person who was involved in the cover story (the boss they were supposedly working late for, let’s say) saying something just the slightest bit out of sync with the story, catching a wayward look in a crowded room, a whiff of mysterious cologne or perfume–and suddenly you KNOW. All of it. You were played.

I’m not speaking from experience really on that one, from either side of the scenario, so I’ll go with something less related but it’s the first thing that comes to mind with realizations–Mystery Diagnosis. It’s a show that was (still is?) on Discovery Health about real-life scenarios of patients with illnesses that go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, sometimes for years. If you think the Brock and ricin storyline is convoluted and muddied, diseases and conditions are worse. Their symptoms overlap so it can be difficult to tease them apart. They are so, so complex. They affect different people in different ways. Especially when you get to the more bizarre ones. This can’t be understated, these were stories of people who serious went sometimes over a decade (or more), to one doctor after another and not getting answers. The doctors who did solve the cases usually did so in a moment. Suddenly it all came into focus, all the different symptoms suddenly slid into place of the one correct diagnosis. And as a viewer watching the show, that’s always happened for me. I couldn’t solve that many (I have no medical training whatsoever, just a biology major including a year of anatomy and physiology, and a lot of time spent watching House back in the day) but I got a handful, maybe ten or so, before it was revealed on the show. And whenever I did, it was because it would suddenly crystallize. Somehow just one word or one symptom would suddenly conjure up some book I’d read a few months or years back, or a patient on House, or something I’d read in A&P or another class, or several of these would come together and I’d start screaming at the TV, “It’s Stills Disease!” or “Acute Intermittent Porphyria, bitch!” or “It’s Addison’s!”

I know this seems like a big tangent, and it kind of is, but the point is that I think the way light bulb realizations work in real life is that stuff bobs around under the surface of our unconscious minds, and sometimes when we’re mentally ready to see something, or when the right little clue piques our interest, that’s all it takes for a complex thing to come into crystal clear focus. I think it’s just very true to human life. Of course not every realization is a light bulb moment, but plenty are.

And Jesse, he’s probably had some questions and curiosities about the Brock poisoning bobbing in his unconscious for awhile now. It was a little too coincidental, you know? That Brock got poisoned and he lost his cigarette and they’re somehow just two odd occurrences that led him to help Walt murder Gus must seem a little weird. I don’t think Jesse totally believed Walt was innocent until he found the decoy in the roomba. And so for awhile he believed Walt’s story. But then, Walt killed Mike’s guys and Jesse figured that meant Walt must’ve also killed Mike. He saw Mr. White in a new, more diabolical light. And lately there’s been all this talk about Walt playing him. And at his house in “Blood Money” he saw what a good liar Walt can be, how convincing he can come off, when Walt lied about Mike being alive. So all it takes is that one thing–his pot–out of place for him to see it all in focus. To essentially go back to his original gut instinct about what happened to Brock (except substituting Lily of the Valley as the actual poison used on Brock) and Saul’s involvement. Remember these two things–Brock being poisoned and Huell switching his packs–were already linked in his mind originally. It really wasn’t that big a leap. All the pieces were there, Jesse just needed a little push to put it all together.

Totally believable and true to life in my eyes.

~Emilia J

P.S. I still plan to get to everyone’s comments. Had to stop replying for a bit to get my episode write-up done and now this. And other life things that are not in front of the computer! Some great discussions going on, and I will attend to it all as soon as I can. Rock on all you observant, dedicated and awesome BrBa people!

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165 thoughts on “Breaking Bad: How Walter White Poisoned Brock and What Happened to the Ricin Cigarette

  1. Pingback: The Anti-Antihero: Heart of Darkness | AndreaWorks . . . and Writes, and Runs

  2. Thank you so much for that amazing recap. I was up all night trying to figure out why Walt would poison Brock. Not one explanation was accurate or even good to read. Once I read yours it all came back to me. The ramba and the gun pointing to the lily of the valley. I was so upset last night when I saw Jesse freak out and now I get it and remember it all. You are a fantastic writer, very glad I came across your blog. I was even hoping for an explanation on Talking Bad and did not get it. Walt has been manipulating Jesse for so long, I wanted to thatbelieve that he cared about him but Jesse suspicions are understandable. Thanks so much for an incredable

    • Hi giauren,

      I think you were not alone in feeling that way last night. It’s one of the most complex and somewhat confusing storylines so I think a lot of people were thinking, wait, what’s going on here?! That’s one reason I wanted to update the post first thing this morning.

      ~EJ

    • Walt gives it away when he comes to Andreas house looking for Jessie- Walter comments on the fact that Brock is heating Crunchberry cereal – Earlier he must have put the poison berries in another bowl of cereal that Brock ate- Either him or Saul

    • Hey Simon,

      That’s in there too. Saul gives it back to Walt in 501. Walt then takes the ricin out and hides it behind his electrical socket. He puts some salt (as a decoy) into the cigarette and plants it in Jesse’s roomba so that Jesse will think he just lost it in his house accidentally. Walt is one smart but manipulative dude at that point.

      ~EJ

  3. @lovevinceg – “Huell just stole the pot, he didn’t switch it with the pack of cig.”
    That doesn’t really matter though. It was Jesse’s realization that Huell can (and did) surreptitiously lift items from his pocket that allowed him to jump to the conclusion shown later in the episode. IMO, that’s also a bit of a stretch, but at least it is plausible.

    FWIW, I also think it would have made the entire ‘Walt poisoned Brock with a LotV- tainted food item’ plot device a lot simpler and far more plausible if the scene where Walt and Jesse have a confrontation at Jesse’s front door while Andrea & Brock were there had occurred AFTER the scene where Walt spins his revolver, which on the third try ends up pointing at the potted plant (which at that point was too far in the background to identify, or even know for sure that plant was what Walt had even been specifically looking at when the subsequent close-up showed what looked like the wheels in his head turning faster as he arrived at the ‘Eureka moment.’). If that confrontation between with Walt & Jesse (when Andrea & Brock were inside) had happened then, and if Walt could subsequently be shown looking a little too long and too closely at a car parked in front of Jesse’s house (especially if it had already been established that Walt could previously seen what kind of car Andrea drove), then that could have been a tip-off for what seems to me to be the only feasible way Walt could have delivered the tainted food/candy item to a place where Brock would likely eat it: by planting it in Andrea’s car where a kid might see it. While that’s hardly a fail-safe delivery system, it comes closer than any scheme involving Walt trying to get it to Brock at school, a place where he didn’t have any reason to be, where he didn’t belong, and where his every move would be observed (if he could even get in).

    • The only thing with that is when Walt has that confrontation with Jesse, it’s the first time Walt sees Andrea and Brock. So he can’t really get the idea until after he’s seen Brock. Jesse and Walt were barely speaking then so unless Saul brought it up Walt really wouldn’t know much about these people, or maybe that they existed at all. But I think your main point is they should have given us something more tangible to go on, and believable, for Walt poisoning Brock.

      ~EJ

      P.S. I did fix the issue lovevinceg brought up.

  4. “I think he took the ricin to make Jesse think that Gus had stolen it, because that’s what Walt pitches to Jesse when Jesse has the gun on him in “End Times.””

    The problem I have with this, unless I am missing or forgetting something, is that Jesse already knows Gus is a poisoner from his Mexico trip. There is no need for Walt to frame Gus as a poisoner with ricin, because Gus already has the poison rep. All the ricin cig going missing does is implicate Walt, in that he made it. Again, this suggests to me that Walt originally was going to use the ricin cig, and blame it on Gus, but then he gets the Lilly of the Valley idea after the fact (otherwise, what is the point in trying to frame Gus for a poison not actually used on Brock?). Either that, or it’s a plot hole.

    And again, we know the White house isn’t burned down from the foreshadowing, so he must talk Jesse down somehow. The truth is, the kid was not poisoned from ricin. Jesse has to remember that.

    • Hey JDSoCal, the one thing to keep in mind is that Walt didn’t know about the poisonings in Mexico. He had barely spoken to Jesse since Jesse’s return, and then had been ordered by Gus never to speak to him again. All Walt knew from Hank was that something happened and there were a lot of bodies, but Hank said that was all the detail he had.

      So Jesse already knows Gus is a poisoner (which may have helped him believe Walt’s lie that Gus did it) but Walt doesn’t.

      I don’t know if that helps?

      And yes, totally agreed. The White house doesn’t burn down. Everything suggests that. There are even scenes from the “next on BrBa” that strongly suggest the house doesn’t burn down (won’t say more, I know some like to avoid any tidbits of future episodes). It’s interesting to me that Jesse goes to burn the house down rather than to kill Walt. I’m not sure how Jesse will be stopped – Walt talks him down, threatens him? Jr arrives home (Jesse would never hurt either of Walt’s kids)? Jesse stops himself? Saul?

      ~EJ

  5. @Emilia: “…when Walt has that confrontation with Jesse, it’s the first time Walt sees Andrea and Brock.”

    Didn’t Jesse previously mention Andrea and Brock to Walt? Even if that is never overtly shown, he easily could have mentioned them.

    But you’re right about m y main point, which is that the scenario VG mentioned at ComicCon just doesn’t fit with the show as aired. If they intended for Walt to do it (in order to set the stage for Jesse to become the ‘rabid dog’ hell-bent on getting even even if he destroys himself in the process), there certainly were far less convoluted scenarios, and with only minor changes (maybe even entirely in post-production) they easily could have hinted at the one I outlined (or others).

    • Right. Or they could’ve just said Walt had Saul do it. Saul went over to Jesse’s and gave Brock some candy not knowing what was in it.

      Still, even if the process doesn’t fit the timeline, I’ll go with that Walt did it or orchestrated it and Jesse has every right to be pissed as all get out.

      ~EJ

  6. Great recap.
    Do you remember, perhaps one episode after the poisoning, Walt is over at Jesse’s when Brock and his mum walk in, to which they ask an obviously awkward Walt to stay for dinner. There is a great scene with Walk and Brock sitting on the coach, not saying a word, but the silence was a tad awkward. It makes me think, as awkward as it was, that Walt was certainly the one to make the poison, but he certainly didn’t deliver it to Brock via a juice box. That obviously was Saul’s responsibility.
    The whole S5E11 did not do it for me. I was not convinced that Jesse could piece all of that together, particularly as it turned out that ricin was not the poison involved. Too far a stretch in my opinion, but each to their own.

    • Hi Simon,

      I thought the same thing in that scene with Brock and Walt on Jesse’s couch while Andrea was making dinner. By the way, that episode was 503 “Hazard Pay.” That’s when Walt manipulates Jesse into breaking it off with Andrea, and then doesn’t care at all when Jesse says he did and is sad about it.

      See, I’m having no trouble believing Jesse put it all together, maybe because when I watched it, as soon as Jesse started looking at his cigarettes, I started freaking out, covering my face and going, “OMG he KNOWS!” I think it’s sort of like when someone suspects their partner is cheating, and maybe the partner has spun a believable (ish) but false tale to explain something and for awhile it works but then, all it takes is one thing out of place for the person to realize they were right all along and the partner was in fact screwing around. That’s just a much more common story than say, a person’s drug partner poisoning a girlfriend’s kid and trying to frame it on someone else. With how suspicious Jesse is of Walt now, and how much the subject of Walt playing him for a fool has been brought up and on his mind, I think it just took that one domino to fall for the whole castle to come crumbling down.

      But of course, everyone has their own opinion and all are valid. I think it worked for me because I immediately went there myself.

      ~EJ

    • But on two different occasions (1.where Walt was invited to dinner and 2.where Walt came to the house looking for Jesse and asking Andrea to call him) Brock had an awkward look of familiarity when he saw Walt. I do believe Walt slipped the child the poisoned snack, not Saul. Then again, children do have a sixth sense when it comes to aura…maybe those uneasy looks are Brock acknowledging that Walt is a bad guy.

  7. Pingback: Breaking Bad: Season 5 Episode 11: “Confessions” Recap | Sidekick Reviews

  8. I really needed these explanations. We were puzzled last night about this ricine business.
    What became of the first one for Tucco ?
    Catherine

    • Hey Catherine,

      Glad I could help. As for the ricin they were going to use on Tuco, Walt sprinkled it all over Tuco’s food when Tuco wasn’t looking (after they couldn’t get him to snort it since they told him it had chili powder and Tuco hates chili p) but Tio saw Walt do it and started ringing his bell like crazy and pushed the food off the table onto the floor and that led to the whole fight and shootout with Tuco. So they definitely didn’t have any ricin on hand after that.

      ~EJ

  9. Ehh, I’m still not convinced that Jesse could credibly make this connection. A lot of people have tried to explain it, but ultimately it’s a TV show, so I’ll have to just remember that. I think there has been too much analysis of something that has only happened in a story.

    • Hey Disco, that’s a great point. A LOT of time has been spent on this one “realization” moment in a TV show. I guess it’s a testament to the show itself – we’re all invested to a great (maybe extreme?) degree. I tried to add some more up there in the post about how I think Jesse made the connection. But ultimately, the plot point will work for some and not for others, and the show will go on to the next episode!

      ~EJ

  10. Regarding your reply to JDSoCal’s thoughts, the only one possible plot hole I find is that since Jesse already knows Gus is a poisoner, he has no reason to believe that Gus stole the ricin cig – because Gus wouldn’t have to as he’s a poisoner himself and he can certainly make poison of his own if he wants to poison someone. So, if Jesse is not that stupid in S4, he couldn’t have been convinced by Walt that Gus stole it and did it on Brock – well, Gus may even have done it, but he wouldn’t need to steal the poisoned cig.

  11. (cont’) Even if Jesse bought into the story in S4 that Gus poisoned Brock somehow (without stealing the ricin cig from him), and that he just happened to have lost the ricin cig somewhere and Walt made the right accuse (about Gus poisoning Brock) but with wrong assumtions (Gus didn’t steal the ricin from Jesse), IT WOUDN”T MAKE SENSE in 511 for Jesse to figure it all out – IT REALLY IS A 50/50 to me. Gus could’ve done it, and Walt could’ve done it and framed it to Gus, but it wouldn’t make logical sense if Walt did it – as why he would bother to steal the ricin cig but used the lily in the valey instead (actually Walt did RIGHT THIS but for a consciousness reason but Jesse wouldn’t have thought of this reason)? Anyway, guess you are right about the suspicion theory – the suspicion could be the last nail on the coffin.

    • Hey Larry!

      Well, Walt’s original plan was so convoluted that he wasn’t just trying to frame Gus, he was trying to make it look like Gus was trying to frame him. At that point, Jesse’s refusal to give the go-ahead was the only thing stopping Gus from killing Walt. So Walt says Gus stole the ricin cig to frame Walt so Jesse would get pissed enough to say yes to Gus or go kill Walt himself.

      Basically Walt frames Gus for framing Walt. Totally twisted (and I mean that in the sense of messed up and diabolical but also twisted as in the plot keeps turning). I’m not sure if that helps, but I’m hoping it does, at least a little. The only other thing is to maybe go back and watch the scene in “End Times” – in that you can see that Walt is trying to say Gus framed him.

      ~EJ

  12. I just found your blog and I feel like you read my mind. I was trying to explain the ricin to my husband who has only watched parts of this season and I couldn’t get it to make any sense. Thank you for such a clear, concise post.
    I love BB, came over here from The Killing site but maybe you can answer one question that I have. I hope I’m not repeating this but “What is Jesse standing in front of when he’s waiting for the guy to pick him up?” I tried to Bing & Google it & didn’t get an answer. Thanks.

    • Hey Susan,

      I love The Killing! I went from BrBa to that show, so opposite :) Have you heard if there will be a fourth season for TK? I really hope so.

      And no, I think you’re the first to ask the question on here. I have heard that where Jesse’s standing is right by Albuqueque Studios (where they do the “on set” filming for BrBa), but the structure itself, I’ve read from others, is something that is built in case of flash floods, which can be a real serious concern in the desert. I had no idea what he was standing in front of either, ust going off of what I’ve read elsewhere. It definitely invokes images of graves and cemeteries, right?

      ~EJ

      • Emilia,

        Thanks so much for your response. T here has been no word yet on a season 4 for The Killing but we, Serial Chillas, are being very positive that there will be a “next year”. The way they left us, surely they’ll let us know what happens next.

        Also, my husband is an architect so I asked him what he thought that structure might be and he had no idea. The flood barrier makes a lot of sense but yes it does remind me of some kind of cemetery. I don’t know why I seem to get hung up on a small detail & feel like I have to find the answer. With The Killing over for the season I look forward to Breaking Bad on Sunday nights and am so sorry to see it end. One of the great shows ever! Susan

  13. I most of us can agree that the BB writers went to a lot more trouble than they needed to when they came up with the convoluted plot element of the ricin capsule cigarette switcheroo & exactly how the LotV poisoning could have been accomplished in the very short time between when Walt is shown apparently conceiving the idea (the gun spinning scene) and when Brock gets sick (too soon thereafter). There were many other ways they could have done this that would have been more plausible. It all looks to me like it wasn’t fully worked out until after the fact, and by then they had to work to not make it too inconsistent with shows that had already aired.

    A also think that it’s a stretch for Jesse to so unequivocally come to the conclusion that he did simply because he discovered his pot was missing. But it’s also important to remember that the show’s timeline isn’t real-world time. A lot less time has elapsed for the characters than for viewers. So in the show’s timeline, the second time Huell lifted something from Jesse came far sooner after the first time than the real-world time delay between those two events.

    • Hey Nomad,

      I really enjoy your well thought out comments. I think the timeline thing is an important factor. In the world of the show, it’s only been a few months since Brock was poisoned. For us, it’s been almost two years since the end of Season Four. And Jesse’s sense of who Walt is and what he’s capable of has definitely shifted A LOT in those few months. Maybe it was underneath the surface the whole time.

      And I think you’re right, they didn’t think of the details about HOW Walt poisoned Brock until after. Comic-Con was also a long time after the original episodes aired, and that was the first time we got the “evil juice box man” theory. I’m kinda glad they didn’t work that into the show. It’s okay by me that the writers said something a little off at Comic-Con, but I think I would’ve been a little disappointed if it was actually part of the show. It still could be I guess, if Walt has to explain himself to Jesse at some point, but I sorta doubt we’ll see that.

      So in the world of the show, let’s just say Walt had Saul do it, because that seems to make the most sense with the timeline and other evidence.

      ~EJ

  14. Emilia! you rock! That’s exactly what I googled: “what happened to the ricin cigarette.” And you explained it all! That’s one drawback of long shows, you start forgetting the events!

    • Thanks Haya! So glad I could help. It is easy to start to forget certain details over time. I do like the style of BrBa–hyperserialized with the episodes telling an ongoing, layered story where one episode builds upon all the others before it–but sometimes it can take some extra work to keep track of everything.

      ~EJ

    • The cigarette Huell lifted off of Jesse wasn’t fake. Walter created a fake ricin capsule, out it in another cigarette that looked just like the original (and held the two up side-by-side for close inspection just to make sure), and then planted the cigarette with the fake ricin capsule at Jesse’s house while “helping Jesse look” for the original one because Jesse had become frantic to find it. Walt also wanted to tidy up that loose end, and make Jesse think the ricin capsule was properly disposed of. It sure seems likely that Walt would have had no problem making another one, but I guess it would have been too dangerous to plant anything other than a fake one for Jesse to “find.”

      • Hey Haya and Nomad,

        I think Nomad explained it :) The cig Jesse had lifted off him had real ricin in it. The decoy comes around later when Jesse thinks he “lost” the ricin one and is freaking out. I think it’s true that Walt didn’t want Jesse having any real ricin. And of course it was easier and quicker to make the decoy and keep the ricin for himself.

        ~EJ

  15. This blog is brilliant! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the “Confessions” episode. I was so confused why Jesse would think that Walt had poisoned Brock with ricin since he knew it was Lily of the Field. It makes sense that Jesse, being more and more distrustful of Walt, would start putting two and two together and realize that Walt does not have Jesse in his best interests, but rather that Walt is only concerned with himself. I’ve already sent this blog to my other friends who watch the show. Thanks, again!!

    • Hey, thanks Brad! Yeah, Jesse has started to really distrust Walt after he saw Walt whistling after the death of Drew Sharp but even more after Walt had those guys in prison killed because then he knew (just as Lydia did) that it meant Walt must’ve killed MIke. So he’s much more suspicious and onto Walt’s games.

      ~EJ

  16. FWIW, I just checked out the guest cast for the remaining episodes. This makes it easy to see why VG (I believe it was him) said that E14 was the the best episode of the season:
    Max Arciniega( Krazy-8), Jonathan Banks (Mike Ehrmantraut), David Costabile (Gale Boetticher),
    Raymond Cruz (Tuco Salamanca) & Krysten Ritter (Jane Margolis) are all listed among the guest cast, as is the girl who plays Baby Holly. The E14 title is “Ozymandias” (a poem about the inevitable decline of empires). I think it’s noteworthy that Matthew T. Metzler (one of Uncle Jack’s crew who apparently first appeared in S5E10 [Buried] when they took down Declan’s crew) appears in all the remaining episodes, but Jesse Plemmons (Todd) and Michael Bowen (Uncle Jack) are conspicuously absent from the list of guest stars. Maybe it’s just an oversight.

    Or maybe what it means is that if Todd reverts back to the previous scheme of cooking in houses that have been tented for fumigation, then what eventually happens is that he starts a fire that gets out of control and not only burns the house down, but also ends up getting Todd (and whoever is with him) arrested (or dead)… which may be what leaves Metzler’s character to be on the hunt for Walt… perhaps at Lydia’s direction, because she will want to keep the pipeline open no matter how many setbacks they have. Maybe a botched attempt to persuade Walt is how Skyler ends up dead, which forces him to leave town, and also makes Maria far more adamant that Holly needs to stay with her. Maria telegraphed that attitude pretty clearly in E11.

    I’d bet that the finale “Felina” was inspired by the Marty Robbins’s songs “El Paso” and “Feleena” (the latter of which describes a girl born in New Mexico) and that the title refers to Holly, who is the girl Walt returns to see (or maybe rescue).

    • Hey again Nomad :)

      Yeah, that cast list for “Ozymandias” is a real trip. I actually wrote about that in http://emiliajordan.com/2013/07/17/breaking-bad-season-5-part-2-predictions-and-detective-work-putting-it-all-together/ (and the imdb cast list for all the episodes). Someone told me today that Bryan Cranston said it’s his favorite episode of the series. I’m REALLY looking forward to it. I’m psyched that Rian Johnson is directing. It would be amazing to see Gale, Jane, Krazy-8, Mike and Tuco resurface.

      My thought is that Walt disappears (possibly fakes his death) in 513, and then in 514 maybe we get some time passing, and Walt, totally away from everything, maybe separate from his family, or feeling guilty if something bad has befallen one of his family members between now and then (two episodes in-between at this point), might start having guilt-induced nightmares or hallucinations or just can’t get them off his mind. He is sick after all, I don’t think something like that would be too much a stretch. And all those people are ones that Walt might feel real guilt over (as opposed to someone like Gus who I don’t think Walt would ever feel bad about blowing up), except maybe Tuco, as Walt always thought of him as a complete degenerate and didn’t actually kill him. But still, maybe there’s guilt because of the cousins coming back as vengeance and shooting Hank. Or I could be completely off base.

      I wouldn’t make too much of the lack of Jesse Plemons on the list. I’ve noticed some of the lists are incomplete. He wasn’t listed on “Confessions” or “Buried” either. Neither was Uncle Jack. And Lydia and Declan have been missing from episode cast lists too. I think they don’t want us to know too much too soon. I did see that Andrea was just added for 513 and 515 and I just don’t know if it’s real or they’re messing with us. But I really hope all those names on “Ozymandias” are not a joke, because at this point I can’t wait to see some of those characters again.

      But yeah, some conversations going on about this on the other post if you feel like coming over and joining in the talk there.

      ~EJ

  17. @ Larry, Walt neatly fabricated the Gus poisoning story. If Gus knew about the cig, then using it would be a great way to frame Walt, who in Jesse’s mind is the only one who knew about the ricin. Coincidentally, this is even better since Jesse knows what Gus can do and that he uses poison.
    I believe that at the end of S4, Jesse has a lot of questions but has reluctantly accepted the coincidence idea. This plot is so convoluted to us, who have seen most of the angles, so this must be even more confusing to Jesse who only know that he “lost the ricin cig” and that Brock was poisoned by LotV. LotV can be lethal in the right dose (though it seems like it needs to be a pretty big dose), so it is possible that Gus did use this instead of ricin to implicate Walt, or it could be coincidence, which it seems is the most likely thing for Jesse to beleive at this point. Nothing really makes sense at this point, but at least Walters claim that he was not part of it is plausible. At the end of the day, Jesse believes that Walter did not poison Brock, but the story has holes such as: was he really that careless that he lost the cig; was the cig really in the roomba (to which Walter pointed), he had checked it before; the similarity of the symptoms are just too similar to be coincidence, and so on. As was suggested earlier, it falls apart completely with that one realization that Huell stole the cig. Huell would only do that if Saul told him to, which means that Walter told Saul. Now he understands how he lost the cig. He also knows that Walt must have planted the cig in the roomba, which points to the fact that there was a larger plot going on, something that Walt concocted to screw with his mind – especially now that he sees Walt as this manipulator. These aren’t huge leaps, I believe, but I am open to hearing other ideas.

    • Hey Mark,

      Thanks for joining in. Exactly – Walt wanted to play it like Gus was framing him. And it does nicely work with what Jesse knows about Gus. And I think as much as he and Walt are on the outs by the end of Season Four, Jesse believes Walt when Walt says he could never do such a thing, and believes that Gus could to try to get Jesse to kill Walt.

      ~EJ

  18. Great write up!

    But I’m still having an issue with something. How does Jessie come to realize it was Walter who poisoned Brock? He doesn’t have any evidence of that, perhaps he has suspicion, but no evidence. He doesn’t know Walt has some in his back yard.

    Why does he immediately suspect Walt? Why couldn’t Brock have simply ingested some of the poisonous plant and gotten sick (from Jessies’ point of view, not knowing everything the viewer knows)?

    I feel as though I’m looking over something that would easily spell this all out for me. Or perhaps I’m reading too much into it?

    • Jesse plausibly could have immediately suspected Walt because the stage was already set for that in the scene out in the desert when Walt’s attempted to “play” Jesse (by trying to “con” him into leaving instead of just asking for the favor), but Jesse saw through it and called him out on it. That meeting in the desert took place very soon before his ‘eureka moment’ when he discovered that his package of weed was missing, and only added to his wariness of Walt, which had been building for quite some time as Walt has gone further over to ‘the dark side’ (so to speak). Probably the first major breaking point was when Walt told Jesse that ‘there is no more “we”‘ and Jesse’s subsequent realization that Mike is not just gone, but that Walt was responsible for his death (which Walt never denied after Jesse brought it up).

      For Jesse to make this leap seems like a stretch to me (mainly because some much more time has elapsed in the real-world time compared to the show), but it is plausible, and that’s all that matters. It’s one thing to point out that the show as aired doesn’t seem to allow for certain events to have transpired. But BB’s creator & writers have far more latitude as far as how the characters will react to certain circumstances.

      • When Jesse realized Huell had take his pot, he made the connection that Huell had also taken the ricin cig. As the only people who knew about the ricin cig were Jesse and Walt, the only reason Huell would have taken it would have been if Walt ordered it (via Saul). But Walt lied about that to Jesse, saying Gus had taken it. Once Jesse realized that Huell had taken the ricin cig and Walt had lied, he went back to his ORIGINAL suspicion that Walt had poisoned Brock with ricin. Given that he had become more aware of Walt’s lies recently, he realized that Walt had to have been lying and the only reason Walt would lie about that is if he (Walt) were the person who poisoned Brock. The fact that it was lily of the valley and not ricin is almost incidental as Jesse knew for sure that Walt had been lying about the ricin cig and if Walt would lie about that, couldn’t he conceivably do anything to throw Jesse off his trail? Like maybe having a fake doctor tell Jesse that the poison was lily of the valley or maybe poison Brock in a way that would mimic something other than ricin. Jesse doesn’t know, but it’s not unreasonable that he would come to a conclusion that Walt had somehow engineered it so that it looked like Brock had been poisoned by lily of the valley (if, in fact he had NOT been, which of course we know is not the case).

        • Hey Chris, Nomad and Natasha, great posts! I think that’s exactly it – once he realizes Huell lifted his pot, it brings back that time he thought Huell switched cigarette packs. There would’ve been no reason for Huell (via Saul via Walt) to lift the ricin cig if Walt wasn’t behind all this. Also, Jesse had connected all the dots (except he didn’t know it was LotV yet) originally, so I think once there’s one hole in the story (his realization that Huell had switched packs back in “End Times”), the whole fiction came crashing down. I added some more to the post about how Jesse makes the connection, if that helps at all.

          ~EJ

  19. Pingback: Breaking Bad 5.11 – “Confessions”

  20. Back to the school schedule, do we know for sure when Breaking Bad takes place? Could it not have been around 2003? I managed to get a screenshot that shows the writing a little more clearly, You can see on the far right of the page, M/W is crossed out and replaced by “Hayward” or “Hayword”. Not sure if that means anything. But I can’t believe Vince Gilligan would so clearly show something like that on screen for no reason.

    • It is noteworthy that VG & company do seem to have kept smartphones out the show. Most characters do use conventional ‘dumb’ cell phones, but presumably that’s in keeping with the timeline of a few years ago, not 2003, unless you want to accept that the creative license includes showing newer-than-2003 cars & technology items on a show taking place a decade ago.

      But if you look at Hi-Def screen-capture of those pages, you’ll see the attributes I mentioned previously, which reveal them to have something to do with a college schedule, with Sociology & Psychology classes numbered 10x, 20x, etc..

      • I think at this point we have to assume the school schedules weren’t any major part of the plot. They just wanted to show Francesca (love her!) shredding documents. If they were significant, we maybe wouldn’t have to go through all this work to see and capture what they are. There would probably have been something more visible, I’m thinking.

        The show has to take place more recently, just because of references like finding Osama bin Laden, having 2012 cars, etc. The writers have taken a lot of care not to give away seasons or place it too specifically in time, but we can probably safely say it takes place after 2003. VG has also talked about how the show takes place during the recession, so that also would probably rule out 2003.

        You guys are amazing, digging into those school schedules!

        ~EJ

        • re: “Remember these two things–Brock being poisoned and Huell switching his packs–were already linked in his mind originally. It really wasn’t that big a leap.”

          After re-watching the scene where Jesse is waiting for the ‘new-ID’ guy to show up, and in particular the way Jesse reacts to the cigarette pack after he discovers his pot is missing, it seems a lot less of a stretch to me than it did before. I now think it’s easily completely plausible, because IMO Jesse’s ‘eureka’ moment was a result of a ‘Deja Vu’ moment, when he realized that he was once again missing something out of his pocket soon after Huell getting too close for comfort. And AFAIK maybe those encounters with Huell occurred on consecutive visits to Saul’s office, too. Plus the much shorter time between those two events than in real-world time also makes it more believable.

  21. FWIW, here are two screen captures of the document Francesca is shredding, taken from a 1080p Blu-Ray version of S4E13:

    The word at the top of the image (right side of the page) is “Hayward”
    I have no idea what (if anything) that means.

    But I do think that even on a show like BB where they are so routinely dropping clues in plain sight like this could have been, it’s also true that many other things are just arbitrary choices or coincidental. Although this document certainly was put prominently into the viewers’ faces, it still might be one of the latter. Or even though it seems to have nothing to do with Brock’s school schedule, maybe it will have a connection to something that is revealed later on.

    • Brock’s supposed school record doesn’t fly with me. It looks more like it shows college classes. What 6 year old would take an Economics or Sociology class?

  22. Thanks for the recap. It makes sense apart for one weak thing. Gus had no way of knowing about the ricin cigarette. The fact that Jesse believed that story is the only weak spot in my opinion , for the rest it makes all sense.

    • That’s a very good point. Even if Gus had somehow deduced just from the surveillance camera video that Walt was making ricin, I don’t know that Gus could have seen Jesse hide it in in the cigarette, nor would he have known where that cigarette was many days after that, when Walt claimed Tyrus could have taken it.

      But I guess we can also chalk that up to Jesse simply not being astute enough to realize that discrepancy contradicted Walt’s claim… until later, that is, after the second encounter with Huell left him once again missing something he expected to find in his pocket. And then in Jesse’s mind, the dominos all started falling down on Walt’s story.

  23. Hi Emelia,
    Great post/thoughts on what happened. This very question is on imdb all the time but never answered seriously. Do you think we will every really know by end of this season.
    BTW are you ever on imdb…if so what is your screen name?

  24. Thanks so much! I joined late tonight and the unforgiving people in the chat (at least one) called me a troll for bringing this topic up. Me, not really a computer guy(as in, for blogs and chatrooms) and the one who ‘linked’ me (the one calling me a troll cause they could not explain, as you did) linked me with something from ‘star Trek’ Really helpful, eh. Anyhow, didn’t really think it was a big leap for Jesse to make the leap to Walt poisoning Brock. Just thought as good a show that it is, it would of been more transparent and germane. In the future I will definitely be looking for your blogs on this show, and more. Thank you.

  25. I have problems with the whole thing about Jessie being able to make the mental connection. I am not saying it is impossible, only highly improbable in the extreme that renders it a quick story fix rather than literature.

    Yes, he could have put it together…but my experience is that most people don’t. Jesse is in a blitzkrieg of despondency, and I see him as counting himself lucky to tie his own shoes at this point. If he had been straining his brain over the boy as of late, it would have been more plausible. He latest mental break through was becoming even more despondent after hearing his friend’s proposal for a new Star Trek episode. After that was the whole Mike “disappearance”, followed by channeling David Byrne’s mantra “How did I get here?” Jessie was plagued by 20 or 30 other “unresolved” issues — compared to the boy’s illness (which had been resolved with a reasonably probable solution/explanation). Yes, there is a chance of Jessie having an “a-ha moment” but this is a guy heading for Alaska. Alaska is a location well suited for distancing someone from their memories rather than a place people go to solve a puzzle from three time zones, four thousand miles, and a complete change of geography away. There is a reason people go to Alaska, and solving past life issues is rarely one of them — unless avoidance of starting-over are considered solutions.

    Not only that, humans choose to some extent what they think about, even if it is driven by what is immediately in front of them. Jessie was going to Alaska. He would have been focused, even to his limited capacity on that day, about those logistics. Sure, having is stash lifted by Huell was an annoyance, but his immediate anger would have been about that…and the fact that he had already been ordered to lose it by Saul. Not only that, when you carry objects in the pocket of a hoodie, you run the risk of things falling out fairly easily. It was reasonably possible that the bag fell out in the car ride over. When I wear a hoodie, I am always checking to make sure my junk doesn’t fall out, ‘cuz it does.

    I’m just saying that Jessie may have been “getting smarter over the past couple of seasons” but as the comments show, even when he had the truth staring him in his third-eye, eighty-eight percent of the time he proves himslef clueless to process and incorporate anything as truth.

    And this brings me to my personal take on the meta-allegory of this whole damn show:
    Breaking Bad is our America. Walt is sees himself as Heisenberg, a brilliant former high school teacher who was willing to work in a fascist system of oppression and rewards. Someone who was working to enlighten children, only to sell out for rewards of ego and money. A complete abandonment of altruism. Whether as a meth cook or a kingpin, similar sellouts are made on a daily basis by intelligent, reward seeking fathers across this country. Money or intelligence as the driving factor? Add ego and quite desperation and you have the downfall of western society. His wife goes along because it is better, not better, easier than the alternative. Even the “do-gooder” brother in law is now ensnared in the collective cesspool of guilt by association and indirect benefit. As his wife said, “Your insurance wouldn’t pay for the experiment therapies necessary for you to walk again.”

    Jesse, Todd, and most of the generation neXt have no balanced let alone altruistic role models to follow. Jesse does seem to be trying “Breaking Good”, but he is hopelessly caught up in a world of confused loyalties, his own inability to discern what he even wants from life, and a lack of faith that anything he could do could change anything. And the Blue Ice on the street renders most of the disaffected population with little solace beyond a search for the next violent video game…rather than a stretch for less stressful world. So the corruption is pretty much assured for yet another generation or two. And even the non-Newtonian Heisenberg accepts the premise that an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.

    • Hi Mary!

      There are basically two theories, and each one has its pros and cons, but they never explained it outright. It was left to our imaginations.

      One scenario is that Walt did it through Saul. This makes sense because Saul had visited Brock before and Brock trusted Walt. But then as you point out, there’s the issue of Brock’s weird looks to Walt. And that could be that sixth or “spidey” sense that kids and animals have, that knowing without knowing how you know when someone “bad” is around.

      The other option is VG’s story, that Walt put the juice from the lily of the valley berries into a juicebox and gave that to Brock at his school. This one has Walt as the “evil juice box man” but there are some problems with it, like how Walt would get into a school (they’re not all about letting strange adults creep around elementary schools these days) and also some issues with Walt having the time/ability to do it since he was being watched by Gus’s guys who wanted to kill him.

      So, in the end, it wasn’t spelled out. And personally, I think that’s okay. They don’t always need to spell out all the connecting of all the dots. So in this case, in the end, you get to pick whatever scenario works for you :)

      ~EJ

  26. I had just watched the episode Face Off and at the end of the meeting on the hospital parking deck with Jesse and Walt…I got uber suspicious when Walt was acting real nervous about Brock’s condition. Which led me to believe it was him and then an “OMFG” when the camera panned over to the lily. Then when you mentioned the spinning of the gun…I did the same thing.

    Just wanted to add that. Awesome job of laying it out!

  27. A big reason that Walt went to the trouble of poisoning Brock with lily of the valley instead of just using ricin is that Jesse wouldn’t have been released and would have the FBI all over him, as the Albuquerque police were telling Jesse. Ricin is not a common poison but accidental ingestion of the berries of lily of the valley is a common occurrence, and they only released Jesse when toxicology screen was negative for ricin.

    I love your insights & explanations BTW! When the camera panned on the lily of the valley in Walt’s backyard, I was saying “Oh snap!” but was still hoping that it was possible that Walt didn’t do it!

  28. switching cig boxes unnoticed is quite impossible with addicts like Jesse if the number of cig are not almost equal. If you smoke from boxes/packages you always now roughly how many fags you have left (preparing (un)conscious when and how to get the new box). If suddenly this number is not what you have in mind you certainly pay attention to it, especially when you have this (un)lucky ricin fag in your box……. I verified with (ex-)smoking friends and they all agreed. And for heavy smokers (and it is suggested Jesse is) the number of cigarettes during the day is not predictable.

    Btw: excellent analysises and blog…thx….

  29. Thanks for all the explanations =D
    Wanna let you notice just one little thing.
    I’ve always knowns Walter poisoned Brock personally not through someonelese…just look the scenes where the kid is back from the hospital and meet Walt (i think it happes twice) ..notice how Brock look at Him…=D

  30. I love that the writers wrote the scene where Walt lies to Jesse about killing Mike in such a way that Walt is able to, in a sense, confess to Jesse about what he’s done. Rather than feed Jesse one giant grand lie, Walt attempts to confess between the lines. He speaks in half-truths and persistent event negations:

    Jesse: You doing what you did, offing Mike’s guys. If he was out there, you’d have to look after your shoulder the rest of your life and that’s not how you do things, so I think he’s dead and I think you know that.

    Walt: “I don’t know that. I don’t!”
    Translation (negation): I know. I do.

    Walt: “Listen to me.”
    Translation: “Believe what I say. I know you know the truth. Ignore it.”

    Walt: “I did not kill Mike.”
    Translation (negation): “I killed Mike.”

    Walt: “The last time that I saw him, he had his bag — the one that I brought him.”
    Note: Half-truth. This did happen the last time Walt saw Mike…only it happened before he killed Mike.

    Walt: “And he got in his car and drove away.”
    Note: Half-truth. This did happen the last time Walt saw Mike…only it happened after Walt shot Mike.

    Walt: “For all I know he is alive and well.”
    Translation (negation): “I know Mike is not alive and well.”.

    This line becomes even more creepy when you remember what Walt previously said to Jesse,

    “If you believe that there is hell- I don’t know if you are into that- but we’re, we’re all pretty much going there, right? Well I’m not going to lie down until I get there.”.

    That scene where Mike is bleeding to death? He’s sitting up. Mike didn’t lie down until he got there.

    Walt: “And if…if he does come back and he doesn’t understand why I had to do what I did, well then that’s on me.”
    Translation: “Mike is dead. If I ever encounter him again, it’ll be in an afterlife. I accept what torment may come.”

    Walt: “Jesse, I need you to believe me.”
    Translation: “I know that you know I’m lying. I need you just a little longer.”

    Walt: “It’s not true, it’s just not.”
    Translation: “Everything I’ve just told you is misleading. I need you to behave as though you don’t know that.”

    Jesse: “So he’s out there. He’s okay.”
    Translation: “Okay, Mr. White. For you.”

  31. This is a great recap, wish there was a still of Saul’s secretary shredding school timetables. I think Walt did it but used Saul to research where Brock would be and Huell to lift the Ricin cig. Brock’s funny reactions around Walt are the big clue.

    One more thing I would add which is a tiny detail that backs up Walt’s manipulation of Jesse. Not only does he say that there are cameras everywhere and Tyrus probably stole the ricin cig – there is a scene where Walt and Jesse are smoking out in the open by their cars parked at the laundry. The way Walt stands there openly smoking (not something he does normally) is like he is planting the idea that Gus can see them clearly.

    Also – poor Brock, what happens to him in the end?

    • Great point!

      I know, poor Brock. His story is really the saddest of anyone’s on the show. I would assume Andrea’s mom takes care of him. Or he’s with Jesse (Jonathan Banks talks about that).

      But no matter where he ends up, poor, poor Brock.

  32. “So why did Walt go to the trouble of doing it with lily of the valley instead of just using ricin?”

    Part of it has to do with Jesse being incriminated and subsequently imprisoned. If indeed Brock was poisoned with ricin, then Jesse would likely have become the suspect in the eyes of the detectives, since Jesse asked Andrea to mention “ricin” to the doctors at the hospital, which the detectives got word of. I mean, how would Jesse know about Brock being (1) poisoned and with (2) ricin — of all things? The only reasonable answer is that Jesse poisoned Brock. That’s all a detective would have thought. Knowing this, Walt decided to use Lily-of-the-Valley instead. Jesse would have helped the doctors (via Andrea) by keying them in on Brock being poisoned, but Jesse would have ultimately been exonerated since Brock wasn’t poisoned by ricin, like Jesse originally suggested to Andrea. So, Walt was saving Jesse’s butt.

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