“Breaking Bad’s” ‘Rabid Dog’ Is All Over The Place

When has Jesse versus Walt not had a presence in Breaking Bad? Sure, it hasn’t always been at the magnitude it’s at now – it feels like it’s been forever since the worst thing we saw Walt do was call Jesse an idiot – but it’s always been there. It’s been growing in severity as each season has passed, from some verbal disagreements to several physical fights, all hopefully building up to one last confrontation. “Rabid Dog” set the scene for the final showdown; it just took awhile for it to get there. The last few episodes have flown by. I find myself looking at the clock and thinking, “No way an hour has already passed. It just started!” This episode, though, was a little slower, starting with Walt’s faulty gas pump lie.

Before I get to that, the opening scene needs a little love. I’m pretty sure I gnawed off all of my fingernails as Walt moved through his gasoline-soaked house searching for Jesse and discovered he was gone. Walt’s cover-up for the gasoline smell kind of undid all of that. It wasn’t poor writing or a bad transition. It’s that Walt’s elaborate lies have become so tiresome that they’re disrupting the course of the show. The bigger the lie, the more he exaggerates this sense of earnestness, and even Walt Jr. picked up on it. I have to admit, I gasped when he asked his dad to tell the truth for once. I thought for sure this was going to be the moment he started to figure everything out. My hopes were dashed when he started talking about Walt’s cancer, which he gladly played into. Skyler seemed to know almost immediately and confronted him about it once the family settled in at its temporary hotel home.

Her suspicions were confirmed after she witnessed a meeting with Saul in the hotel parking lot, during which the lawyer suggested Walt murder Jesse by way of a colorful Old Yeller metaphor. Why would Walt have to sneak out to see them if something wasn’t wrong? As their conversation grows more heated, Skyler suggests that the only course of action is – you guessed it – to take out Jesse, something Walt is adamantly against.

Just as we start wondering where exactly Jesse went, the scene cuts back to the White home earlier in the day. Just as Jesse finishes spreading the gasoline and lights a match, Hank comes barreling through the front door, gun in hand. He’d been following Jesse and proposes that the two try to take Walt down together. Jesse gets in Hank’s car and they drive away seconds before Walt gets home. Hank decides to let Jesse hole up in his house and tries to kick Marie out before she gets the chance to figure out what’s going on. She wants to stay and Hank eventually relents.

After listening to a voicemail that Walt left on Jesse’s phone at the beginning of the episode, Hank devises a plan. Gomez, who has not been in enough episodes so far, comes over and helps set up a video camera. They ask Jesse to recount his entire experience with Walt, starting from the beginning. It’s during this scene that Jesse strays from “Mr. White” and goes with “Walt” for the first time, which definitely suggests that he’s ready to distance himself from the man with whom he fashioned a meth empire. He also agrees to meet with Walt while wearing a wire and backed up by Hank and Gomie. Hank appeared to be genuinely sympathizing with Jesse; it felt like he wanted him to succeed, like he wanted to help him. Gomie, though, brings up the possibility of their plan turning sour. Walt, after all, could very well try to kill Jesse, something Mr. Pinkman himself expressed, too. Hank is unfazed. He sees Jesse exactly as a he sees Walt: a murderous drug lord, the scum of the earth.

Jesse, of course, doesn’t know this, so he goes along with the plan. This is where the episode finally hit its stride. As he’s approaching Walt at their (very public) meeting spot, he spies a bald man who looks a little bit like Mike. Jesse, no doubt paranoid from what we can only assume is frequent drug use, thinks he’s a henchman hired by Walt, so he makes a run for it. This mystery man had no association with Walt, but Jesse doesn’t know and he may never. He calls Walt using a pay phone and lets him know that he’s no longer following his orders. He’s going to get him where he “really” lives, perhaps a threat against his family. Walt immediately calls Todd and requests his uncle’s services, and so begins the Jesse vs. Walt battle royale.

About Sam Sciarrotta

Hi there! I'm Sam. I like baseball, Bruce Springsteen, tomato pie, and most other things. I'm looking at you, but I'm thinking about Breaking Bad. 2012 college graduate and budding journalist.

Posted on September 3, 2013, in AMC, Cable, Drama, Primetime and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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