We are now halfway through the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad. “Rabid dog,” tonight’s episode, split its time between Walter’s and Jesse’s story pretty evenly, with a cliffhanger that doesn’t bode well for Mr. Pinkman.
The episode picks up right where last weeks left off, now with Walter arriving at his gas soaked house. He can’t locate Jesse, but knows full well that he may possibly face his biggest threat to his freedom now. Despite this, Walter thinks that conversing with Jesse still is within his reach, even though Saul thinks that it’s time to put Jesse down, not unlike Old Yeller, who became a “rabid dog.”
Walt tells Walt. Jr and Skylar some phony story about the gasoline spill to erase any fears, spinning a tale regarding a faulty gas pump. He then escorts the family to a hotel, where Skylar gets information out of Walt about Jesse’s anger fueled gasoline drop. Walt proclaims he can talk to Jesse and bring him to reason, but Skylar disturbingly hints to Walt that he’s done so much wrong already, why not push a little bit further? It was a haunting moment.
We then switch gears to Jesse, who is discovered by Hank before he torches the house (and before Walt gets there). Jesse screams how Walt poisoned a child, and Hank, realizing where he’s got Jesse right where he wants him, tells Pinkman how they can “burn Walt down” together. Jesse departs with the DEA agent and Hank houses Pinkman in his own pad. Marie (returning from therapy, in which she verbally contemplates murdering Walt) sees Jesse, and asks Hank if his presence will help bring Walt to justice. Hank states yes, and Marie accepts without further question.
Hank and his partner Gomez set up a video testimony for Jesse to discuss his dealings with Mr. White, but the problem is no trace of real evidence against Walt exists in order to bring him down. However, Walt, knowing Jesse’s severe frustration, leaves a voicemail (which took place earlier in the episode) on Jesse’s phone that they need to talk things out. Hank hears the voicemail, and plans to place a wire on Jesse for a meeting with Walt. Jesse resists, for the sole matter that he thinks White will take him out. As Jesse briefly escapes to go to the bathroom, Gomez states he sees Jesse’s point, but Hank thinks that if Walt kills Jesse, it’s still evidence that they can use.
It is implied that Jesse agrees to Hank’s plan, but when he gets to the meeting place, he thinks Walt places a double to trip him up. Jesse calls him on a pay phone, threatening him, and then walks off. Hank pulls up scolding Jesse, but Pinkman states there’s a better way to get Walt. The episode concludes with Walt calling Todd, and saying he has a job for Todd’s uncle. This can only mean that Jesse is in serious trouble.
“Rabid Dog” was a little slow in the first half hour, I won’t lie. When the White family finally gets to the hotel, it picks up somewhat, especially in the scene where Skylar indirectly encourages Walt to remove Jesse from the picture. There’s also a real emotional scene between Walt Jr. and his dad, where Walt Jr. hugs his father and show a real sense of sadness at the return of his father’s cancer. The two men hug, and RJ Mitte (Walt Jr) really shows some chops here.
The second half hour speeds along, as Jesse really hasn’t had much of a focus yet. Aaron Paul’s depiction of Jesse’s state is just so perfect, and it’s clear that at this point, he’s the troubled good guy. He’s sinned during the course of this show, but ultimately, he’s the guy you can finally find solace in rooting for.
One more thing to mention is how the two most important female characters are furthering the agenda of their husbands. Skylar is pushing Walt to take out Jesse, and Marie doesn’t care about Jesse’s presence as long as Walt will get what he deserves. It’s a brilliant parallel and an arc that will become interesting as the series winds down.
The episode was a slow burn for sure, but once again, those last few moments are jaw dropping like Breaking Bad has become known for, and the wait until next Sunday night is once again frustrating as it ever was.