Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 12: Rabid Dog
As always this review contains spoilers for everything up to and including the latest episode of Breaking Bad (season 5 episode 12) so if you’ve not seen it yet, you have been warned!
I think this is perhaps the slowest episode since coming back, it certainly felt like it was the least stressful to watch when compared with the previous three episodes of this run. That makes it sound like a dull episode with not a lot going on, and in most TV shows that would be the case. Normally, even in the final series, you get a couple of down beat filler type episodes but so far Breaking Bad hasn’t gone down that road yet, or if it has and this was it then it is still head and shoulders above most normal TV.
Rabid Dog is quite an interesting episode that shows the aftermath of last weeks climax where Jesse broke into Walt’s house and started chucking petrol all over the place, only we see it from two different points of view. First of all we get Walt’s perspective on things and then we get to see what Jesse did. It’s quite a neat way to do it really.
First up we get Walt’s look at things, and when he arrives at the house I was expecting a huge confrontation. It turns out that by the time Walt has got there Jesse has already vanished. I was actually hoping for a big showdown between the two of them but it looks like we’re going to have to wait for that. I suppose that there have been rather a lot of showdowns in the first three episodes already so I can wait a little bit longer for the next one. The big question now is who is going to want to live in a house that smells like petrol? As ever, Walt has a plan to sort things out. Well actually he has a plan to cover things up and hide things from his family and like the first episode, when his plan was to cook meth, this plan starts out with him stripping down to his underwear.
It seems the plan is to cover himself and his car in petrol and blame it all on a ‘gas pump malfunction’. I suppose at Walt’s age a gas pump malfunction is a plausible explanation, and also a brilliant name for a band, incidentally. Walt Jnr isn’t buying the gas pump malfunction story, and in a scene that kind of mirrors last week, he wants Walt to just tell the truth for a change. Fortunately for Walt he just means the truth that his cancer caused him to pass out and get petrol all over the place, it’s interesting that both of Walt’s sons (real and adopted meth cooking) are desperate for him to just to tell the truth. The Whites decide to go and live in a hotel for a little while, because of the gas pump malfunction, so I am thinking that perhaps they never get chance to return home and that would explain why the house looks abandoned in the flash-forwards?
Skyler and Saul get to find out about what Jesse did, and they both seem to think Walt should do the same thing; pull an Old Yeller on Jesse. It seems a fairly sensible idea and not entirely unexpected given what Walt has done in the past. I am sure if it was anyone else he would have eliminated them a long time ago without even giving it a second thought. When Skyler or Saul suggested he looks disgusted by the thought of it, maybe Walt really does care about Jesse and wants to do right by him after all, he even leaves him a voicemail message asking to meet him so that he can explain and sort everything out. For someone who is normally so ruthless, to the point he is willing to frame his own brother-in-law, Walt really does have a block when it comes to Jesse.
It’s nice to see that Skyler has really got into the swing of the family businesses though, running the car wash and suggesting Walt just kill Jesse because after all ‘what’s one more?’. It seems like she’s really bought into the criminal lifestyle and is pretty much as bad as Walt.
Next up we cut back to Walt’s house to see Jesse perspective, and obviously it starts off with him going crazy throwing petrol everywhere. I thought initially that he’d see pictures of Walt’s kids or maybe even Walt Jnr would be there and it would stop him but no, he was just about to set the place on fire when Hank bursts in. I was genuinely not expecting that, but that has always been the way with Breaking Bad. It turns out that Hank has been following Jesse for a while, and he wants to work together to take Walt down.
Marie wasn’t a great character to start with, I’ve been re-watching the show from the beginning and Marie was terrible. She was an irritating obnoxious character and her kleptomania storyline was one of the few weak points of the entire thing. It’s a bit of a surprise that’s she actually turned it around this late in the series, she was great last week with Walt in the restaurant and also in her confrontation with Skyler before that and she carried on the good work this week. She’s currently in therapy, and is telling her therapist about Walt in a roundabout way without mentioning names or details. She even tells him that she’s been looking up poisons that can kill without being traced and that she’s got a contender that will let the victim remain conscious throughout. When she’s asked if she was serious by the therapist, she tells him that she’d never dream of actually hurting anyone, it’s just good to think about it sometimes. That’s a far cry from Skyler who we’ve already seen this episode telling Walt to kill Jesse.
Walt Jnr was really pretty busy this week, after vanishing for most of the earlier episodes he’s all over the place today. He manages to catch Walt by the pool, and it’s quite a sad scene. Walt Jnr is so nice, and looks up to Walt so much I just hope that he doesn’t end up getting killed or even worse I hope that he never finds out just what his Dad has done. The conversation is about Walt’s cancer coming back and it’s clear Walt Jnr is really worried about it all, no matter how much Walt plays it down. The interesting line from the scene is Walt telling him that ‘he hasn’t come all this way to let something silly like cancer take him down’. That sounds a lot like a foreshadowing of the future, and might go some way to explaining why Walt is getting his arsenal together. Maybe he will end up going down in a blaze of glory rather than succumb to cancer?
I was a bit disappointed to find out that Gomez was in on it all with Hank, I was hoping that Hank would be working alone and would just manage to save the day all on his own. Still it’s interesting now that Jesse is working with Hank, and it was quite a nice touch that Marie gave Jesse a cup of coffee in a DEA mug. Hank and Jesse are going to film their own confession, but as Jesse points out, it’s only going to be his word against Walt’s and ‘Mr White’ is smarter than them all. It’s always struck me as funny the way that Jesse will only refer to Walt as Mr White, I suppose it’s just a hang up from school, or that he really does respect him. He certainly sounds like he’s scared of him when he’s talking to Hank and Gomez. Even Hank can see that Walt cares about Jesse, after all he’s done to try and help and to keep him around when he has just killed those that have posed a threat in the past, Jesse isn’t convinced though.
We’re told all the way through the series that Walt is the bad guy and that Hank is the polar opposite, he’s the hero. Hank is quite happy to sacrifice Jesse though, in sending him to meet up with Walt wearing a wire. Jesse is convinced it’s a trap, and you can’t really blame him given what he knows about Walt, but Hank is quite happy to send him and risk his life. Hank thinks that Walt is a monster and that he is so very different but it turns out that they’re very similar, they’re both prepared to sacrifice people to get what they want, and again it’s Jesse stuck in the middle being manipulated. I really hope that Jesse gets a positive ending, or at least the chance of redemption.
It’s all set for the final showdown, Jesse wearing a wire and meeting Walt, but of course Jesse can’t go through with it on account of him being convinced it’s a trap. The truth is that it really wasn’t a trap and Walt seemed to really want to sort things out. I think Jesse has pretty much burned that bridge by calling Walt to tell him he was coming for him ‘where he lived’. I think up until that point Walt was genuinely trying to help Jesse and was doing everything possible to not kill him, of course that’s all of the window now. I just wish that Walt hadn’t called Todd to get his uncle involved in dealing with Jesse. I don’t think that the increased usage of neo-Nazis is going to end well for anybody.