“Breaking Bad” is known for gruesome intensity and diabolical plotting, building intricate story structures that lead to jaw-on-the-floor climaxes. As the series wraps its penultimate season, these characteristics move it to new extremes, burning bridges as its creators set up its last chapter.

“End Times”

“Breaking Bad”

We’ve seen chemistry teacher-turned-meth cooker Walter White (Bryan Cranston, “Drive”) shatter his relationship with assistant Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul, “Big Love”), losing him to their sociopath boss, drug distributor Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito, “Rabbit Hole”). White, who’s worthless to Fring now that Pinkman can cook his own meth, stays condescending. Flashbacks have us sympathizing with Fring.

But now, he’s made his move against White, turning his protégé against him in a calculated gamble that involves poisoning the child of Pinkman’s girlfriend using Walt’s favorite chemicals. Now, it’s Walt’s move. As he assembles his homemade explosives, we’re left eagerly anticipating the season finale.

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