Breaking Bad – Rabid Dog

The loyal and faithful Old Yeller

Walter pulls down his street and spots Jesse’s car in his driveway.  He races into the house, gun drawn and calls out Jesse’s name.  When he gets no response, he searches the house, room by room, the back yard and then back to the car.  Jesse’s gone and the house is soaked in gasoline, with the jerry can still in the living room.  Huell arrives, as does a cleaning crew to soak up as much of the gas as they can, but they cleaning crew tell Walt that they can’t totally eliminate the odor or the liquid.  Walt tells Huell to look for Jesse and to make sure that he checks the high school in case Jesse has gone after Walter, Jr.   He calls Jesse’s phone and leaves a message telling him that he wants to fix what’s happened between them – just sleep it off, we’ll fix it and be safe.    The house is going to smell of the gas, no matter what measure the cleaners take, so Walt devises a very poorly though out plan in an effort to assuage any fears Skyler will have when she gets home.  He strips down to his now famous briefs – Bryan Cranston’s underwear should be given its own production credits at this point – pours some gasoline on his clothes, then douses the inside of his car.  When Skyler and Walt, Jr. get home, Walter begins his fanciful tale of a malfunctioning gas nozzle that just kept pouring out after Walter thought that the pump had stopped.  Walt, Jr. tells his Dad to tell the truth – sound familiar?  Only Junior is thinking that his Dad succumbed to gas fumes while filling up, and passed out due to his weakened state from his Cancer.   That story sounds even better to Walter and he goes along with it, telling his wife and son that yes, he may have become a little “swimmy”.  Junior seems satisfied, even if he is worried but Skyler looks as if she’s giving her husband enough rope to hang himself before she confronts him over what really happened.  Junior suggests that they go to Uncle Hank’s and Aunt Marie’s until the house is ready to live in again, but Walter has a better, and safer idea – go to a really nice hotel.

After settling in at the hotel, Walt, on the premise that he’s getting ice, meets up with Kuby and Saul to discuss the Jesse problem.  Kuby’s looked high and low for him but he’s in the wind somewhere.  Walter tells Saul that he wants to talk to Jesse, to explain why he had to poison Brock.  Saul, looking all the worse after his beating by Jesse, sees it differently.  “Okay, for the sake of argument, let’s just say that the kid’s not in the mood for a nuanced discussion of the virtues of child poisoning.  The plans are running more towards stabbing you with a stick.”  He goes on to say, “This might be more of an Old Yeller situation.  Old Yeller is the most faithful, loyal dog but then he came home with rabies and the owner had to…well, you saw the movie.”    Walt’s not quite open to the idea – yet – and tells Saul, ” You’re full of colorful metaphors, aren’t you Saul?  Belize. Old Yeller.  You’re just brimming with advice.   Do not float that idea again.”  For those few moments and for whatever reason, Heisenberg was replaced by Walter White.  He may have boundaries – family and Jesse are off-limits – something Heisenberg would never understand.

Meet Mrs. Heisenberg

When Walter goes back to the hotel room, Skyler knows that he’s been talking to Saul and she wants to know exactly what they talked about.  Walter explains what Jesse did, but that he’s upset about something he thinks Walt did.  Walt then says that he did it, but for a good reason.  Her reaction tells all of us that Skyler has finally broken bad.  Walter broke bad in an instant – right after seeing the piles of cash and how his chemistry skills were perfectly suited for the meth trade when he went on that ride-along and raid with Hank in the show’s first episode.  His wife has taken her time, though, going from shock and hurt, to cooking Ted Beneke’s books, to helping launder the drug money through the car wash.  In an icy, alomst detached voice, she asks Walt that after all they’ve done, with Hank and Marie and that tape, “We’ve come this far, for us – what’s one more?”   The newly crowned Mrs. Heisenberg/Lady MacBeth  just ordered a hit on Jesse.  Walter – and he’s Walter right then and there – says that Jesse isn’t some rabid dog, alluding to Saul’s comments, he’s a human being.  What’s odd about this is, from everything we’ve seen, Walter’s the rabid dog and the one who needs to be put down.  He’s bitten everyone, leaving them all poisoned in one way or another.

Walter goes down to the hotel pool for some peace and quiet when he’s joined by Walt, Jr. who can’t sleep, either.  The two men – father and son, talk about the future, about Walt’s cancer and Walt assures his son that he’s not going to let a little thing like that bring him down.  Junior then leans over and hugs his Dad, crying softly into his shoulder.  If there’s one person who’s completely innocent, other than baby Holly, who’s pretty much oblivious at this point in time, that would be Walter, Jr.   All he wants is his family, for his family to love each other and be together forever and he’s the one who will face the biggest disappointment and be the most devastate when all of this some to and end.  He may very well choose to be “Flynn” forever.

Hank and Jesse’s Slumber Party

Walter’s house didn’t burn to the ground because Hank made it there in the nick of time.  Jesse has struck his lighter and is about to ignite some papers to compete what he came there to do, when Hank bursts in with his gun out.  He orders Jesse to put the lighter out and stop what he’s about to do.  Hank tells Jesse that if he really wants to burn Walter down, they can do it together.  Jesse, seeing no way out, goes along with Hank and the two pull away just before Walter drives up.

Marie is in a session with her therapist, most likely to deal with her kleptomania, but it’s obvious that she has a lot more on her mind than stealing souvenir spoons from open houses.  She won’t tell the therapist any details but she has given him some idea that someone close to her has turned out to be nothing like what she thought he/she/ they were.  She even wonders aloud about how to poison someone without being discovered.  When she gets home, she finds a packed suitcase at the door.  Hank tells her that there;s been a break in a case and that she’d be safer if she left the house for a while.  When she won’t budge and asks him if it’s bad for Walter, he says “Yes, very.”   She says “Good.  I’m staying”, sees Jesse asleep in the guest room and offers to warm up some lasagna.   A phone rings, and Hank, realizing it’s Jesse’s, picks it up and hears Walt’s message.

BBIn the morning, Jesse wakes up, and spots some family photos, including one of Skyler and Walter, who’s dressed up as Santa Claus.  When he leaves the bedroom,  Jesse and Marie meet for the first time.  They look at each  other for a few seconds before she asks him if he’d like some coffee.   Between her dreams of killing Walter with some sort of untraceable chemicals and now allowing a strung-out stranger into her home, there’s no doubt about how Walter’s rabid nature has taken its toll on all of them now.  Wandering into the living room, Jesse is confronted by Hank and Gomey – apparently Hank trusts his former partner enough to let him in on the Heisenberg revelation and that he’ll keep it secret for the time being.  Hank is sitting up a camcorder and tells Jesse to start at the beginning, tell them everything he knows about Walter White.  Jesse begins by telling them that Mr. White was his Chemistry teacher when he was a junior in high school.

After what must have been hours of video, Jesse has told them everything.  The problem is, as Gomey points out, exactly what Jesse said it was.  They have nothing to go on other than Jesse’s statements – no real, solid proof, just his word against Walter’s.   Hank says that they can start with this – Walter’s message on that godforsaken Hello Kitty cell phone.  Jesse can’t believe that Hank actually wants Jesse to do what Walter, “that asshole” is asking – to meet him at the plaza for a chat and reminds Hank that Walter “has a zero tolerance policy on threats.”  Hank tells him that he’s the exception – “he cares about you.”  Jesse isn’t so sure about that and scoffs “Yea, Mr. White is gay for me.”  Hank thinks that Walter is manipulating Jesse to stick around but Jesse thinks that he just wants to get him out in the open to kill him – have some guy in a tower or have him sit on a needle.

Jesse lays out exactly what they’re dealing with. “You two guys are just guys, Okay?   Mr. White – he’s the devil.  He’s smarter than you.  He’s luckier than you.  Whatever you think is going to happen, the exact opposite reverse will happen.”   After Jesse leaves the room, Gomey wonders if he might be right.  Hank, who was acting as if he really cared about the kid, says ,” If he gets killed, we’ll have it all on tape.”  Yep, Jesse’s all alone here.

They go to the plaza, Hank wires up Jesse and Gomey is another car with  recording devices.   Jesse gets out of the van and walks across the plaza.  He spots Walter sitting on a bench but also sees another man, with a shaved head and glasses and begins to panic.   His eyes go from Walter to the stranger and then back to Walter.  He freezes for a second or two and then turns and walks away, making his way to a pay phone where he says to Walter,  “Nice try asshole.  Next time I’m gonna get you where you really live.”  Hank races after him with the van and pulls Jesse inside.  Hank is furious but Jesse is nothing but steely resolve.  While he may have been blinded by rage only 24 hours earlier, he’s never been more clear-headed and focused than he is right at that moment.  He simply tells Hank, “There’s another way to get him – a better way.”

Walter makes a phone call, too and says, “Todd, I think I might have another job for your uncle.”  Skyler may have made the suggestion, but Heisenberg is the one who decides.  He’s the danger.  He’s the one who knocks.

Empress

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One Response to Breaking Bad – Rabid Dog

  1. karrylyn says:

    good recap of one of my favorite shows.

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