Breaking Bad 5.12 – Rabid Dog


Hark, who are those unlikely heroes appearing on the horizon? Why it’s Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, come to save the day. And by “Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy”, I of course mean “Hank and Jesse”. Wait, what now?

Walt arrives at his house to find Jesse’s car askew in the driveway, door busted open, gasoline all over the floor ready to burn it all to the ground, and…no Jesse. But where could he have gone? And why didn’t he set the fire? And why is he so gosh darn sexy with that stubble and those drugged-out, tear stained eyes? Walt is certainly asking himself these very questions. Except maybe that last one. Maybe.

Walt preemptively gets Huell and Kube to make sure Jesse doesn’t have the chance to extract some payback on Skyler and Walt Jr., although Walt doesn’t really believe Jesse’s that kind of dude. He calls Jesse’s cell phone and leaves a message trying to calm him down whilst giving no concrete details as to what he’s talking about. Walt’s not stupid, after all.

That’s why he devises a genius plan to hide Jesse’s damage to the house, getting the kicked-in door fixed and setting up an elaborate story about how the pump at the gas station up and attacked him like he was in a Stephen King novella. Heh, even Jr. doesn’t buy it. Except Jr. is still innocent enough to believe Walt is only lying to cover up his worsening cancer. At this point, I don’t think Walt remembers half the time that his cancer’s back, as he has bigger problems than that cropping up by the minute. You know your life is complicated when your terminal lung cancer is number three on your list of worries. As an aside, it’s annoying me a little bit how the show is filling time building up scenes of suspense only to have them end up meaningless. Walt spends three minutes of the show searching for Jesse in his house! Oops, but it’s empty. Walt spends three minutes of the show setting up a fake gasoline accident! Oops, but they don’t believe him. Stop it, Vince. If you HAVE to use filler, use the beautiful New Mexico scenery instead as we’re not going to get many more opportunities to see it. :0(

Anyway, Walt talks his perfectly normal family into hightailing it to a swanky hotel for a few days just until he can make sure Jesse isn’t going to try to kill them all they can get someone in to replace the gassy carpet.

Walt meets up with Saul and Kuby in the parking lot of the hotel. Saul is in shocking condition – he’s not wearing a tie!! Also, his nose is broken (“I never shoulda let my dojo membership run out.”) They still can’t find Jesse; even bugging Badger’s mom’s house reveals nothing more than he’s a Babylon 5 fanboy. No surprises there. Saul tries to draft a plan of action for when Jesse eventually surfaces, gently suggesting that Jesse is like Old Yeller: a good dog, a loyal dog, a dog everybody loves – and now that he’s rabid, a dog that needs to take a visit to the woodshed. Once again, Walt is offended and angry that Saul would suggest he kill family members (and he definitely views Jesse as family, maybe more so than anyone else is). Family is family, even Hank, even Jesse, and they are off limits.

Skyler confronts Walt when he gets back to the hotel room with a lame excuse about the ice machine. I don’t know, maybe Walt’s getting lazy with his lies because he’s had so much practice over the years he’s now on automatic pilot. Anyway, even if Skyler didn’t see him in the parking lot with Saul I doubt she’d believe his condescending little story. Draining her latest glass of scotch, she informs Walt that it’s time he dealt with Jesse once and for all. Walt is taken aback to say the least. He tries to explain that Jesse isn’t a bad fellow. So he’s never hurt anybody then? No. No, no, no. Except that time he murdered poor innocent Gale, but that was really Walt’s fault. So. When Skyler insists that Jesse is a threat that needs to be handled, Walt is honestly revolted. Jesse isn’t some rabid dog, he’s his surrogate son a person. Now he’s growing a conscience? After what they did to Hank and Marie with that confession video? After every morally bankrupt act Walt and Skyler have done? “We’ve come this far for us. What’s one more?” she says wearily. Holy moly, and that’s where the saying “in for a penny, in for a pound” came from, kids. I think this was all much easier for Walt when he could delude himself with all his excuses and machinations. He doesn’t view himself as a monster even now, but obviously everyone else does and that’s quite an eye-opener for him.

Now we go back in time, to Jesse back at the White house. He’s more than ready to light the fire, his lighter already licking at a rolled up magazine. That’s when Hank appears at the door, gun drawn. When he called off his DEA agents from tailing Jesse, he took up the job himself. He talks Jesse down from setting the house (and most likely himself) on fire, and Jesse breaks down when he realizes he’s not going to get to punish Walt after all. “He can’t keep getting away with it,” he sobs. Well, maybe Hank can help with that. Hank coaxes Jesse to Hank’s car, where they drive off…just before Walt turns the corner onto his street. Yup, it was that close.

How is Marie handling this unimaginable turn of events in her life? Why, by talking it out with her therapist, of course. She obviously can’t tell him exactly what’s going on, but does admit she wants to kill Walt, preferably slowly, painfully, and without going to jail for it. Heh. The therapist, who probably deals with depressed housewives and cheating husbands day-to-day, is mystified. When he presses her for details, she shuts him down hard. So then…does she want to talk about her anger over the new parking rules at work like she did last week instead? No, she wants to talk about poisoning Walt some more. Not that she’d do it – it just feels good to think about it.

Hank’s plan is to take Jesse to the DEA office, but Jesse’s rather dour about his odds of survival once Walt knows he’s in the system. After those ten murders of Mike’s men, Hank can’t disagree. Which is why Hank takes Jesse to the only safe place he knows of: Chez Schrader. Whee! Marie refuses to leave no matter WHO he brings home (“I’ll heat up lasagna”), so they’re one big happy family now. Double whee! While Jesse sleeps off his misery/coke/Nyquil hangover, Hank gets a chance to hear Walt’s phone message on Jesse’s cell. This is the first time that Hank has actual proof Walt is really Heisenberg, and he’s excited like whoa – this is really REAL! \0/

Back at the hotel, Walt is sitting by the extremely well-appointed pool complete with soothing waterfall late at night, unable to sleep. Walt Jr. joins him, talking a little bit, trying to make his dad feel better, and soon he’s clinging onto Walt, weeping with fear that his dad might die. “I’m not going anywhere,” Walt assures him, and sends him back to bed. This all begs the question: is Walt willing to take the chance that Jesse can be reasoned with when his family – his real family – is in jeopardy because of it? He makes another phone call.

Jesse wakes up the next morning and isn’t it delicious when he and Marie finally meet. When worlds collide, friends – which is exactly how Jesse ends up sipping coffee from a DEA mug. Hank has finally broken down and told Gomez everything, so he has a helper when he gets Jesse to sit down in the purple living room of delight and tell his story, from the very beginning. Although Jesse points out that all his information is his word against Walt’s, he still agrees to tell them everything (“I first met Mr. White in junior year of chemistry; he was my teacher.”) Urk, the feels!

After he’s done, which must have taken some time – “and then Mr. White went crazy and tried to catch a fly in the lab” – Hank and Gomez agree that they need more concrete evidence before they proceed. Gomez wonders what the best course of action is: go after Vaminos Pest? Follow up on the Drew Sharp killing? Well, says Hank, why don’t they start with the second message Walt left Jesse, to meet with him that day in a public place and talk things over. Gulp gulp.

Jesse is really not keen on the idea, what with Mr. White being a lying, amoral, scheming asshole. He’s sure that Walt is luring him to his death. Nah, Hank assures him. Not in a public place. Plus he and Gomez will be there. Plus, Walt cares about Jesse like nobody else. Jesse is flummoxed at the thought. Other than when Walt’s abused him and betrayed him, “Mr. White’s gay for me, everyone knows that!” But Hank is actually pretty persuasive, getting a grip on their dysfunctional relationship as only an outside eye can. Walt cares about Jesse, but even more importantly he needs Jesse to believe that Walt isn’t such a bad guy. And ain’t that the truth. Even still, Jesse still tries to set them straight. This is what he’s learned about Walter White: he’s the devil. He’s smarter than you, he’s luckier than you, and whatever you think is supposed to happen, the exact reverse opposite of that is going to happen. Hank doesn’t care about all that. Jesse can meet with Walt, or he can go to jail. Take your pick. Dammit! When Jesse stalks off, Gomez wonders aloud if Jesse might be right and they’re leading him right into a trap. Hank shrugs. So what if Jesse the junkie murderer dies? Poor Jesse. Nobody in the whole world cares about him…except us, dear readers.

So they wire a defeated Jesse up in the ubiquitous unmarked white van and send him on his way. There’s Walt, waiting patiently on a bench for Jesse to show up. And there’s a suspicious looking character (who is possibly Rick from Pawn Stars) watching Jesse from a distance. An assassin, just like Jesse predicted! Jesse hesitates, deciding what to do. Then he finds a payphone, calls Walt, and tells him that he’s not doing what Walt wants anymore. In fact, burning down his house was too good for him. Next time, he’s going to get him where he really lives. Well! You can imagine how Hank feels about this unexpected plot twist. Hint: think Mentos and Coke. Walt walks away in shock and dismay, and we find out the suspicious guy hanging around is just some random dude, and not part of Walt’s plan at all. Jesse was wrong – although I honestly don’t know if that would have mattered in the end. Even if they’d talked, would Jesse really have allowed Walt to smooth it all over one more time with his fast-talking ways? I think not.

Hank drags Jesse back into the vehicle and screams blue murder at him. You son of a bitch!! What were you thinking?? To which Jess calmly replies, “That there’s another way, to get him. There’s another way. A better way.” And suddenly, it’s Team Hank and Jesse vs Team Heisenberg. What they hell has Jesse got planned, and can they really outsmart Walt? Jesse may have overplayed his hand, because in the meanwhile Walt calls none other than Todd, and tells him he may have another job for his crazy murderous uncle. Yowza! I guess this means Jesse is officially off Walt’s Christmas card list.