Breaking Bad – S5E12 – Rabid Dog
Previously, on Breaking Bad: “Confessions”
The previous episode ended with Jesse speeding Saul’s stolen car into Walt’s front yard, busting down the front door, and pouring gas all over the living room floor. This week, we open with Walt pulling up to his house and seeing that Jesse is inside, so he sneaks in the backyard, like he’s done before, and coming in the back door. With gun drawn, Walt calls out for Jesse to show himself; after receiving no answer, Walt makes his way through the house looking for his one-time protege. Walt dramatically opens door after door; one after the other, Walt sees that each room is empty. Jesse is nowhere to be found, and the only evidence he was ever there is a gasoline soaked carpet and Saul’s car in the front yard. Walt goes into the car and removes the keys–putting an end to that annoying *ding*ding*ding* noise–and pulls a cocaine-covered disc from the car’s dashboard.
After the opening credits hit, Walt’s house is being cleaned–discreetly–and Walt instructs Huell to keep an eye on Junior, as Kuby is watching the car wash. Meanwhile, Walt tries to call Jesse; he leaves him a message thanking him for his apparent change of heart. Then Walt tells the locksmith that he doesn’t want new locks, and he tells the cleaners they need to make sure there’s no smell of gas left in the house. He’s trying to keep all of this from Skyler; she can’t know anything about what Jesse did. The cleaners explain that the smell simply will not go away without new carpet. Walt has to think fast, so he strips to his tighty-whities (again) and soaks his clothes in gas. He also soaks the seat in his car–because he thinks of everything! When Skyler arrives home, she sees Walt has a fan airing out his car, and she immediately smells the gas inside. Walt tells her and Junior that he ended up covered in gas because of a pump malfunction at the gas station. It’s a classic “Walter White” tall tale, but nobody buys it this time. Junior manages to unintentionally help Walt come up with an even better story: Junior says he “knows” Walt is lying and actually passed out while pumping gas, due to his cancer being back. After Walt relents and goes along with Junior’s idea, he suggests they stay in a hotel for a while.
Next, we catch back up with Saul; he’s a changed man, now, too. Only slightly, but it’s noticeable. He’s no longer the “let’s crack a joke in the middle of trouble” guy; he has been punched in the face and had a gun pointed at his head, and you can read it in how everything in Bob Odenkirk’s performance of the character has changed. He and Kuby are meeting with Walt in the parking lot of the hotel; Walt wants them to find Jesse but not hurt him. Saul, again, uses a “colorful” metaphor (as Walt describes it) to suggest they need to kill Jesse. Last time, it was suggesting Walt send Jesse to “Belize” with Mike, and this time he suggests Jesse is like “Old Yeller” and needs to be put out of his misery. Walt scoffs at that idea and tells Saul to never suggest it again; Saul relents, but he doesn’t cower before Walt nearly as much as before. Saul may do as Walt says, and he may not.
Back in the hotel, Walt is still trying to lie to Skyler about what’s going on, but she won’t have it. She knows Walt was just in the parking lot meeting with Saul. This is another good move in the Skyler character, where she’s becoming stronger. Walt admits to her that he was lying, and he tells her everything about Jesse and how he poured gas all over their house. Skyler asks what Walt plans to do about it, and Walt tells her he’s going to find Jesse and talk to him. She says that must be a euphemism, because Walt should kill Jesse and take care of this once and for all. Everyone knows what Walt should do, but it’s kind of sweet how Walt still wants to take care of Jesse; he really does want Jesse to go away and start over. There’s no chance of that, though.
Now we jump back in time to when Jesse pulled into Walt’s yard. We see him jump out of the car, bust through the door, and pour the gas; this time, he gets as far as lighting the lighter, when Hank comes rushing into the room and tells him to stop. Jesse tells Hank about Walt poisoning Brock, and Hank is all “Yeah, Walt is a bastard; the secret’s out.” Hank talks Jesse into coming with him. They get into the car; Hank leans over Jesse in the passenger seat, in a moment where it looks like he’s about to kiss him, but he’s really just buckling Jesse’s seat belt for him because we know Hank wants to keep his only evidence against Walt as safe as possible.
While this is going on, Marie is meeting with a counselor about her “feelings”. She tells him everything without actually telling him anything, even though he tries to get her to give more details. After leaving the counselor, Marie comes home to her bags packed by the front door. Hank says he needs her to stay somewhere else for a while, but she won’t have it. She makes him tell her what’s going on (just like Skyler with Walt); Hank shows her that Jesse is asleep in their house. Hank starts to go into “convince you this is the right thing” mode by saying he can’t take Jesse in because Walt will find out, and he knows what happened to the 10 guys who Walt had killed in prison before. Hank is trying to tell Marie this is the best way, and Marie interrupts him, “Just tell me, is this bad for Walt?” After Hank answers in the affirmative, Marie is completely fine with it. The only thing she cares about is getting Walt; then she walks away from Hank like a badass all, “I’m going to heat up some lasagna.” I like the way the dynamic between Hank and Marie has basically swapped with the dynamic between Walt and Skyler. Used to be, Walt didn’t have to try very hard to convince Skyler that what he was doing was fine and dandy; now Hank doesn’t have to convince Marie that he’s making the right choice. At the end of the scene, Hank hears Jesse’s phone ring; it’s Walt leaving the message from earlier.
Back at the White family’s hotel staycation, Walt is sitting by the pool, watching raindrops hit the surface of the water, when Junior comes up and talks to him about things. Junior asks if they still plan to buy another car wash now that Walt’s cancer is back, and Walt goes all into “I’m fine. Everything’s fine.” dad-mode. It’s nice to have these scenes where you’re reminded that Walt, beyond everything, is still a dad trying to take care of his family.
Meanwhile, Jesse wakes up in the Schrader residence. As he walks out of the room he was in, he runs into Marie; she asks if he wants coffee. This scene mirrors the scene when Skyler had Jesse join her and Walt for dinner. This series could really be called “Jesse Pinkman and His Awkward Moments with a Middle-Class Suburban Family”. After Marie gets him some coffee, Jesse realizes that Hank’s plan is basically to have Jesse sit down in front of a camera and tell his story. Jesse rightly points out that there is no evidence; Walt made sure to leave no evidence, and now he’s retired, so there won’t be any new evidence. Hank says this is just the first step toward bringing Walt down, so Jesse sits down and tells his story to the camera, to Hank, and to Gomez whom Hank has asked to join them. That Gomez is a hell of a friend; in kind of a bizarro way, Gomez is like Hank’s Jesse.
We only see Jesse begin his story, and then we jump cut to Hank and Gomez outside talking about it. Gomez says he believes Jesse, but he also thinks he’s right about the fact that it’s not enough. That’s when Hank breaks out his Hello Kitty recorder and plays Walt’s earlier message for Gomez and Jesse. Walt’s lone weakness could now undo him: his relationship with Jesse. The message says Walt wants Jesse to meet him for a talk, in a public place. Hank wants Jesse to go through with that, wear a wire, and get Walt to basically give them the evidence they need. Jesse is understandably reluctant to go along with this plan because he’s afraid Walt just wants to “meet” him so he can kill him. Everyone knows Walt should kill Jesse… except Walt! Hank tries to explain to Jesse that Walt won’t kill him because his pattern of behavior suggests he’ll do anything to “save” Jesse and take care of him. He lays it on so thick that it begins to sound like an argument Walt would have made to Jesse, and it elicits the best line of the episode from an incredulous Jesse: “Sure, Mr. White’s gay for me; everyone knows that.” Jesse excuses himself to take a piss; while he’s out of the room, Gomez asks Hank “What if he’s right? What if Walt kills him?” Hank is all, “What the fuck do I care? If he kills Jesse, we’ll have it all on tape.” Hank is cold-blooded, Charlie Murphy.
Hank and Jesse are at the meeting place–a plaza in the middle of the day–and Hank instructs Jesse on what to do; then he sends Jesse out of his minivan. As he’s walking across the plaza and toward Walt, who is sitting on a bench, Jesse is noticeably nervous; he anxiously scans his surroundings for any sign that Walt plans to kill him. He gets about 50 feet from Walt’s back and stops; he sees a menacing guy hanging out nearby and decides right then and there that this guy is about to kill him as soon as he gets close enough. Instead of going up to Walt, Jesse takes off in the other direction. At first, Gomez and Hank think Jesse is running, but he’s just going to a payphone (what luck that he was actually able to find a payphone, but when you think about the fact that the series takes place somewhere between 2008-2010, it becomes a little easier to fathom). At the payphone, Jesse calls Walt and defiantly says “Nice try! I didn’t burn down your house; next time, I’ll hit you where you really live.” Aw, shit!
After Jesse hangs up, Walt looks around but doesn’t see him. Walt walks toward the menacing man Jesse saw, but then we see the guy was just there with his daughter and had nothing to do with Walt; don’t judge a bald, leather-clad book by its cover, Jesse! Even though everyone in the world thought Walt should and would kill Jesse, Walt still wasn’t going to; he still wanted to try to talk to him. You can say it’s because he still cares for Jesse, or you can say it’s because he still thinks so lowly of Jesse that he’s still under the impression that he can manipulate him; no matter what the reason, it’s nice that Walt was still going to try talking. That’s over now, though.
Jesse’s now walking down the street, and Hank speeds up beside him. After being cussed at by Hank, Jesse wryly says he has a better way to get Walt, now, so calm your tits, Hank. Meanwhile, Walt is in his car talking on the phone with someone; it’s Todd, and–after a few dramatic beats–Walt says he may have another job for Todd and his uncle.
This episode really drove home the fact that Walt cannot manipulate people anymore. His lying has finally caught up to him, and the transparency of his words is as evident as the baldness on his head. It may seem like, if only Jesse hadn’t been so paranoid, everything could have been okay, but Walt made Jesse the man he is; a man who will bite before being bitten. Walt’s actions have molded everyone in the series into what they are: rabid dogs.