Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Breaking Bad Season 5, Ep. 12 – “Rabid Dog”.
“We’ve come this far. For us what’s one more?” – Skyler
Breaking Bad is nothing if not an exploration of hypocrisy. In season four’s “Problem Dog” Jesse worked through his guilt over killing Gale by talking to his AA group. He masked the true source of his guilt by saying it was a dog that he had to kill; a dog that had never hurt anyone, that wasn’t sick, but was just a problem. The group conlcuded that if the dog was innoccent there was there was no reason to kill him, problem or nor. But things aren't always to black and white when it comes to eliminating other problems. It was Mr. White that convinced him Gale had to die in order to save themselves (which was true), but that advice is forgotten when it comes to his own problem dog.
Now, in “Rabid Dog”, we have everyone from Saul to Skyler telling Walt that Jesse is a problem that needs to be sent to Belize, yet he couldn’t bring himself to do what Jesse has already done; put Old Yeller down before he takes everyone else down with him.
In a way “Rabid Dog” humanized Walt more than any other episode in recent memory. Walt has become so accustomed to lying and manipulating Jesse that it’s easy to forget how much he actually cares about the kid. It was clear to Hank after hearing Jesse’s side of the story. Time and time again Walt has gone out of his way to protect Jesse and help Jesse when it certainly was not in he best interest to do so. Whether he made those choices out of genuine affection or because having Jesse to do his bidding and feed his ego became necessary to his power trip is up for debate. But this episode proves that when he has the choice he would chose to let Jesse live, no matter how dangerous that may be.
Unfortunately he no longer has a choice.
There have been so many moments in Breaking Bad where it really looked like there was hope that somehow someone would come out ahead of this situation. When Walt walked away from Lidia’s operation, when Jesse was prepared to start over again in the arctic, bitch, and tonight, when Walt would have easily given Hank a taped confession of (at least) Brock’s poisoning. And every time those moments come crashing in it feels like a punch to the gut. In a way we the audience are just as naïve as the characters, we think we can see a way out and every time we’re hit with the sickening realization that no one is getting out of this whole.
But the characters keep plugging away, trying to stay three steps in front of the inevitable and we’ll keep on believing in them until every last option is exhausted and there is no hope left. Thanks, Vince Gillian.
What is Jesse’s plan? Does it involve magnets? I have to say I can’t think of anything that would be better than a taped confession, but perhaps Jesse knows of some physical evidence no one else does.
I do know that when he threatened to hit Walt “where he really lives” it wasn’t a threat against his family. Jesse is firmly against innocent blood being spilled and Walt Jr., Holly, and even Skyler are innocent in Jesse’s eyes. Walt may have taken it as a threat towards his family, because in his mind he still thinks that’s what he’s doing all this for, but we know better. And so does Jesse.
In “Buyout” Walt explained to Jesse about selling out his share of Gray Matter, a company that went on to become a multi-billion dollar enterprise. His remorse wasn’t for the life he wasn’t able to provide for his family, but for the world not being able to know his brilliance. Walt has always needed to feel powerful, to be recognized as the smartest man in the room. He couldn’t get it the legitimate way, so he settled for a meth empire instead.
Walt’s fatal flaws have always been his hubris and his obliviousness to his hubris, but his fatal mistake was showing those flaws to Jesse. Ego is where Walt really lives.
- People can complain about Skyler all they want, but there’s no denying that anyone who can offer up the suggestion of killing a former partner with such ease isn’t worthy of the title Mrs. Heisenberg. They are clearly made for each other.
- Jesus, everyone wanted Jesse dead this week! Saul, Skyler, and even Hank expressed at least indifference towards his death. I admit that it doesn’t look good for Pinkman, but I hope someone besides me will be sad if and when he dies.
- And we finally get to see how Creepy Todd and his Creepier Uncle will be brought back in. I guess Walt trusts him after the prison murders, but I have to think Saul know some people who could get it done too. At this stage it seems extremely dangerous to call up the guy who’s trying to pull you back into the drug cooking business.
- I would also like to point out that my Jesse James theory fell right into place this week. I reserve the right to be smug until it all falls apart.
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