Season 4 Summary
Walt and Jesse are held prisoner in the lab by Mike and Victor in the aftermath of Gale’s shooting. Victor, who’s started a cook while waiting for Gus to arrive, has his throat slashed by Gus with a boxcutter – because he’s been seen at Gale’s apartment and to send a message to Walt that this is what Gus wishes he could do to him. Throwing Victor’s body at Walt’s feet, Gus indicates his responsibility.
After this, Walt and Jesse are like slave labor at the lab, always watched and tailed by Mike and Victor. Walt, fearful, buys a handgun small enough to conceal, which he wears at all times. He also tries to get Mike to see his side, resulting in Mike’s beating him up in a bar. Jesse, on the other hand, can barely live with his guilt and horror at having killed Gale, an essentially innocent (and young) man. He doesn’t care whether he lives or dies, but can’t bear to be alone, so he keeps friends, then strangers, partying at his house 24-7, essentially turning his home into a shooting gallery.
Skyler buys the car wash to use as a money-laundering device after using one of Saul’s men to convince Bogdan that he’d have to buy an expensive filtration system to be in compliance with EPA regulations. Marie turns klepto again, stealing at real estate open houses and making up whole new identities for herself. Hank gets a chance to feel useful again when he enlists the aid of his police detective friend Tim to help his wife. Tim gives Hank a copy of Gale’s lab notes, and Hank starts working from home to investigate Gale’s drug connections.
Skyler convinces Walt to tell the family that he’s been engaged in illegal gambling; Saul tells Walt about the disappearer; and Mike takes Jesse on as a protégé on Gus’s orders – to give him a sense of self-worth and try to alienate him from Walt. Hank thinks Gale was Heisenberg until Walt gets drunk at a family dinner and disparages Gale as a chemist. Studying photos from Gale’s apartment, Hank realizes that, since Gale was a vegan, the Los Pollos menu found there is an important clue.
Skyler’s convinced that Walt’s in danger, but he tells her he’s the danger, the “one who knocks.” This makes her frightened of him, for herself and for the kids, and she takes Holly to the 4 Corners Monument, tempted to run away. She returns home, however, just in time to tell Walt he has to return the Dodge Challenger he’s purchased for Junior. He destroys it instead, unbeknownst to his family.
Jesse reveals his guilt at having killed Gale, symbolized by a “problem dog” at an NA meeting. Unable to “accept” or forgive himself for everything bad he’s done, he admits that he’s used the meeting to sell meth and made the therapist his “bitch.” At the same time, at Walt’s behest, Jesse agrees to use ricin to kill Gus.
Hank presents evidence to his boss, Merkert, that Gale took delivery of a $300,000 air filter perfect for a large meth operation, made by Madrigal Electromotive, a company based in Hanover, Germany that also owns Los Pollos Hermanos and the laundry over the lab. He has Walt put a tracking device on Gus’s car (with Gus’s knowledge) and gets Gus’s fingerprints on a Pollos cup that match fingerprints found in Gale’s apartment. Gus passes muster at a DEA questioning session, however.
Meanwhile, the cartel is attacking Gus’s operation. When they kill a man at the Pollos distribution center and fire on Gus, he agrees to share his profits and Walt’s meth formula with them. A Mexican flashback reveals why Gus enjoys taunting wheelchair-bound, mute Hector Salamanca at his nursing home. Twenty years ago, Hector killed Gus’s business partner and lover on the orders of cartel overlord Don Eladio.
Ted Beneke is audited by the IRS, but Skyler, desperate not to have her and Walt’s affairs looked into, gets him off by pretending to be a dumb blonde bookkeeper, ignorant of the law. Later, Ted refuses to pay the IRS the money he owes, even when Skyler gives it to him from Walt’s stash. She enlists Saul’s help, and the lawyer sends Kuby and Huell to Ted’s house, forcing him to write the needed check. Trying to get away from them, Ted falls and severely injures his head.
Jesse has dinner with Gus, who convinces him to go to Mexico and demonstrate Walt’s cook method. When Jesse asks “Mr. White” to help him prepare for this, Walt gets mad and reveals that he’s had a tracker on Jesse’s car and knows he’s passed up opportunities to kill Gus. The two partners have a vicious physical fight, after which Walt goes home and takes pain meds with alcohol. He misses Junior’s sixteenth birthday, on the morning of which Skyler gives their son a used PT Cruiser. Junior, worried about his dad, pays him a visit, and ends up caring for him. Walt tells his son he wants him to remember him as strong, but Junior expresses a preference that his dad be “real.”
Jesses passes the Mexican cook test, and he and Gus and Mike go to Don Eladio’s, where Gus gives his old nemesis a bottle of rare but poisoned tequila. Gus drinks the tequila himself, then goes into the bathroom and forces himself to vomit. Don Eladio and all of his capos die, Mike is shot, and Jesse shoots Joaquin, Hector’s grandson. Jesse drives the sick Gus and wounded Mike to a makeshift hospital Gus has prepared beforehand.
Walt and Jesse are still estranged, but each refuses to cooperate with Gus in any way if the other is harmed. Walt crashes his car on purpose to avoid taking Hank to the laundry. He goes to Jesse’s and begs him not to replace him in the lab, and is then kidnapped by Gus’s men and taken out to the desert. There Gus fires him and warns him not to interfere with his operation in any way, even if he kills Hank. Otherwise, Gus will kill Skyler, Junior, and Holly. Walt gets the disappearer’s card from Saul, but when he looks in his crawlspace for the $500,000 he’ll need to pay him, the money is gone – taken by Skyler to give to Ted. Walt becomes hysterical.
The next day all the Whites but Walt go to the Schraders’ house, guarded by the DEA, since Saul phoned in a warning that the cartel (really Gus) had a hit out on Hank. Walt somehow manages to poison Brock, Jesse’s girlfriend Andrea’s son, with lily of the valley berries. He also gets Saul to help him steal Jesse’s ricin cigarette. Jesse, thinking that Brock has been poisoned by ricin, blames Walt and comes to his house and almost shoots him with his own gun. Walt convinces Jesse that Gus, trying to split them up, is responsible, and the two agree that they will kill Gus somehow as soon as possible. Walt plants a bomb under Gus’s car, parked in the hospital parking garage, but Gus seems to scent it.
Jesse, being questioned by Albuquerque police because of his ricin tip to Brock’s doctors, manages to tell Saul about Gus’s and Hector’s mutual enmity. Walt uses this information to concoct a plan to murder Gus with Hector’s help. Hector goes to the DEA to get Gus’s attention, and when Gus comes to his nursing home to kill him for his supposed ratting, the old man uses his bell to set off the bomb Walt’s planted under his wheelchair (with his consent). Hector, Gus, and Gus’s henchman, Tyrus, are killed in the explosion.
Meanwhile, Jesse’s been released by the police and kidnapped by more of Gus’s men and taken to the lab to cook. Walt comes to the lab and shoots Gus’s two men, and he and Jesse destroy the lab.
At the end of the last episode, Jesse tells Walt that Brock is going to be okay.