Dan Snierson
June 10, 2011 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Where we left off Oh, nowhere important — just with Jesse (Aaron Paul) firing a gun at Gale (David Costabile), a chemist whom Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) tapped to replace Walt (Bryan Cranston), who was about to be killed by Gus’ goons.

What happens next ”Whether or not Jesse did kill Gale, there’s a loss of innocence at that moment,” says Paul. ”It’s a snowball effect from there…. Last season, Jesse was convinced he was going to stay clean and sober. This season is quite the opposite.” Adds creator Vince Gilligan: ”Jesse has some amazing Hugh Hefner-ish genes, and he’s going to have the party of all parties — but probably not one you’d want to attend.” Elsewhere, Walt’s wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), goes into business with Walt, adding a wrinkle to their sputtering relationship, and Walt tries to outmaneuver Gus. ”Heisenberg, Walt’s alter ego, is completely taking over Walt,” says Paul, ”and it’s a battle to the end between Walt and Gus.” Also, Jesse gets a new partner in the meth trade. ”At first Jesse’s not on board, but as the season goes on, he learns a thing or two,” says Paul. ”The audience knows this partner. It’s a very strange dynamic with these two, but it really works.”

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