Breaking Bad recap: Rabid Dog

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September 5, 2013 by Susan Miller

This episode might have ruined luxury hotels for me.

This episode might have ruined luxury hotels for me.


Susan: It’s driving me crazy.  What is Jesse’s plan?  What does he mean by, “where you really live”?  His condo?  His family?  His money?  Chemistry?  What could it be?!?!

Steven: Pride maybe?  Is Jesse going to try to take the fall for everything, having Hank claim that Jesse is the real Heisenberg?  That would do two things: (a) it would take away all of Walt’s accomplishment and genius, thus returning him to the meager high school chemistry teacher he was in the opening of the show, and this would (b) fill Walt with the need to claim his accomplishment for himself.

My first thought was that Jesse was going to go after Walt’s family, but the more and more I think about it, the less that makes sense.  Who would never go after the defenseless?  Jesse.  Also, who is working with the police and therefore couldn’t actually harm them?  Jesse.  So how could Jesse be going after his family?  Then there’s the actual house interpretation, which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.  The condo?  Could there be a piece of evidence hiding there?  I don’t buy it.  Especially since their relationship has nothing to do with evidence and leverage.  The Walt-Jesse dynamic is all about manipulation.  And so I think it’s high time that Jesse starts putting the psychological screws to Walt.

Does that theory jive?  I just can’t think of anything else they could do together that wasn’t just detective work or just drug tactics.  The simple answer has never been the one Vince goes for.  (And we thank you for that!)  Now that Skyler knows about the gasoline, how long until she returns to four corners?  Or will she even try to leave at all?

Susan: Okay, so if it’s pride, how is that executed?  Does he do something with Grey Matter?  Does he start cooking again?  Does Jesse claim that he is Heisenberg, thereby reducing Walt to just a regular old guy in a car wash?  I don’t think Jesse could ever go after the kids, but I could see him going after Skyler.  I know Jesse knows about the affair, but does he know about the Beneke money situation?  Jesse always has good plans, so I’m sure it will be something great.  But I want it to be something great right now because it’s keeping me up at night.

Skyler seems pretty committed to this dark path.  I mean, she ordered a hit on Jesse.  That’s low.  That’s lower than Walt.  She had to talk Walt into it!  Things are dark indeed.  I was surprised by how many people were so cavalier about Jesse’s life this week.  Saul floated the idea, Skyler came right out and told Walt to man up and Hank was perfectly fine wasting Jesse’s life if it meant catching Walt.  What are we supposed to make of that?  All this time I’ve been rooting for Hank, but now that he’s on this mission, we can see this dark, evil, greedy side of Hank that is very unpleasant.  Was it there all along?  Or has it been created by Walt the cancer?  Now that Marie is spending hours online researching untraceable poisons, is she infected too?

Steven: I agree.  Jesse is definitely getting the short end of the stick at this point.  Part of it is that he’s in a lot of people’s way all at the same time, but also it re-emphasizes the nature of his character, which is vulnerability.  Look at what has happened to other people in his world: they’ve been killed for being evil (Gus), they’ve been killed for being in the wrong business (Gale), they’ve killed themselves through their own addictions (Jane).  The bigger question for me isn’t, “Why are they being so cavalier about his life?” but rather, “How is Jesse still alive?”  He himself has been cavalier about his life from his very first scene where Walt watched him topple out of a window to avoid arrest.  Jesse has hit rock bottom on numerous occasions, and each time he has decided to keep digging.  I hope his new plan is one that will actually be able to get him out of this hole he’s been in all series.

I do agree that Skyler has crossed over, however, I still don’t think that’s reason to discount the four corners.  There is a part of her that cares about her family still, and pursuing their problems the way they have been is not in the best interest of that family.  I still have hope.  I may have to yell at the TV a few times next week, but I have not given up on the side of Skyler that used to surface every so often and then fling itself into the swimming pool.

As for Hank, I have no idea.  When do you think he first turned dark?  Was it when he started ordering all those rocks, sorry, minerals?  Or perhaps the second he discovered who Gale’s second favorite W.W. was?  Ah, or could it have been the day he realized what really happened at his bachelor party?

Also how are we going to have time to wrap everything up?  The past four episodes have only covered three days and we have a lot of ground to cover, especially if it really is Walt’s 52nd birthday in the flash forwards we’ve seen.  Are we just going to skip ahead several months?  Is that what the flash forward is preparing us for?

Susan: Where would Skyler go?  I think the real crossing point for Skyler happened last week, when she agreed to give Hank and Marie that terrible video.  That video severed all ties between them and put her firmly on the bad side.  I don’t think she has the courage to run off on her own, without any help from Hank or Marie.

They’re doing some weird things with Hank in these episodes, and I’m not quite sure what the purpose is.  Since they made him find out about Walt through sheer dumb luck, he’s gotten really bad at his job.  He’s keeping things from the DEA, bumbling his interrogation with Skyler, working over Jesse and really not thinking tactically at all.  Why isn’t he being more careful?  Why is he acting so dumb this season?  This is something that I think the writers bungled with Mike too.  Once a smart character is directly in opposition to Walt, they have to make the character dumber in order for Walt to win.  First, I don’t really know why they want Walt to win.  Second, they didn’t do that with Gus, so why are they taking the easy way out now?  It just doesn’t sit right with me.

We’re now halfway through this final season.  Only 4 more episodes to go and there’s a lot left to see.  So far these first episodes have been a lot of talk and posturing, without much changing physically.  The secret is out, but it’s still contained to the inner circle.  No one has died yet.  No one is arrested.  And there’s still no evidence linking Walt to anything.  Personally, I find that the hardest to believe.  With all that Walt and Jesse have done together, there’s still zero physical evidence linking him to any of these crimes?  What about the lab equipment Hank found in the desert way back in season 1?  Didn’t that have Walt or Jesse’s fingerprints on it?  Or any of the Gus or Gale evidence?  Surely there would be something, after all this time and now all this information.  Couldn’t they at least follow the money and seize the car wash?

What job do you think Walt has in mind for Uncle Jack?  It seems to me like he’s ordering a hit on Jesse, but we didn’t actually hear him say that.  Is there anything else it could be?

Steven: I think he’s definitely bringing Jack in to take care of Jesse.  I feel like next week’s episode will have to come to a head in a big way, and then we will finally get to see how all these elements fit together and what it looks like when they blow apart again.

Dumb not-Walts annoy me as well.  There is a kind of supernatural explanation though.  Several characters have alluded to the fact that Walt is the devil.  Well, if by poisoning Brock and exploding Gus Walt somehow became the devil–capable of any evil–then perhaps he has the ability to befuddle his foes and cause them to take stupid actions.  Perhaps there really is a luck bigger than Walt’s ability to out-think Mike and Hank.  Maybe he’s having some help.  If not literally, then at least in a figurative way.  The people who pursue him have been made darker and darker–Skyler is calling for hits, Marie is looking up poisons, and Hank is disregarding Jesse’s life for the sake of his career.  So I think we can all agree that his is an evil influence.

I have a feeling that the climax of these particular incidents is not going to be resolved in a courtroom with bins of evidence at the prosecutor’s feet.  No, it is going to be epic and violent and it will probably come together in a way we didn’t even see coming.

Susan: I like how Jesse’s speech to Hank kind of alluded to that.  In that speech he calls Mr. White the devil, he mentions that he’s smarter and luckier than them, and he says that whatever we think will happen, the exact opposite reverse will actually happen.  It kind of felt like a warning to all of us conspiracy theorists out there.  Which makes me think that Walt did not call Uncle Jack to order a hit on Jesse.  Because that’s what I think will happen, and instead, the exact opposite reverse will happen, which would mean, what?  He ordered a hit on himself?  On Hank?

The Hamlet theories are getting louder each week. Is it time for another PIGI?

Steven: Pretentious Inner Grad-student Interlude (or, PIGI!):

This week’s PIGI will be about Hamlet.  Namely Jesse as Hamlet.  Not Jesse as the play, but as the actual character, Prince Hamlet of Denmark.  Argument: Jesse is grieving.  While in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet loses his father to his murderous uncle and then loses his mother because she remarries his murderous uncle, thus separating herself from him, Jesse loses his parents by his own hand.  And, of course, with the help of his addictions and Walt.

Let’s get specific, shall we?  In season 3, episode 1 Jesse is in rehab recovering from Jane’s death.  When he gets out he has this conversation with Walt:

Jesse: You either run from things, or you face them, Mr. White.
Walt: And what exactly does that mean?
Jesse: I learned it in rehab. It’s all about accepting who you really are. I accept who I am.
Walt: And who are you?
Jesse: I’m the bad guy.

Though Ophelia has not died yet (spoiler alert), in Act 3, scene 1, Hamlet voices some of the same concerns about himself:

I am myself indifferent honest;
but yet I could accuse me of such things that it
were better my mother had not borne me: I am very
proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at
my beck than I have thoughts to put them in,
imagination to give them shape, or time to act them
in. What should such fellows as I do crawling
between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves,
all; believe none of us.

This is also the scene and act when Hamlet wonders aloud:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep.

These are certainly concerns that only Jesse–of all these characters–is wondering at this mirror point in the Breaking Bad series.  Without Jane is it better to live or die, to succumb to his addiction, which leads inevitably to jails, institutions, and death, or to go on living and “bear the whips and scorns of time.”  Jesse, like Hamlet, decides to go on.  And the whips and scorns of time he does indeed bear.

With all of this in mind, he will perhaps be the great instigator of the end, bringing the series down upon his own head.  Or so suggests this week’s PIGI.

Susan: See, now I was thinking of Mike as Jesse’s Dad given that Walt killed him and that’s what sent Jesse into this funk.  I don’t know if Jesse’s “real” family factors much in his mind at this point.  Remember that episode in season one with his parents and weird little brother?  My, how far we’ve come.

Prediction time!  Now that we’re halfway through this final season, I figure bloodshed is nigh.  Who’s your pick for the first central character to get got?

Steven: I would argue that there are a decent amount of arrows pointing toward Skyler at this point.  There could also be an argument made for Walt Jr. either by accident (caught in the cross hairs) or at the hands of Jesse should he truly be turning dark like Walt.  I think it has to be someone close to Walt, otherwise my previous prediction that he is coming back to do good will never ever come to pass!

Who do you think is the first to go?

Susan: I think Jesse’s plan is certainly for Walt Jr. or Skyler, but I think it might be poor Marie who dies first.  She’s wearing the dark colors, she’s looking up poisons, she’s letting Jesse into her home and can’t keep Hank from flying off on his own.  If Walt really sent Uncle Jack in to take care of Jesse, I can see Marie being the one who gets caught in the crossfire, which would lead to a whole avalanche of terror for Walt.  Skyler would turn on him, Walt Jr. would finally find out, Hank would no longer be held to any moral or legal code and Jesse would be inconsolable.  As soon as Marie refused to take her purple luggage and get the heck out of Dodge, I think she sealed her fate.

Steven: Oh no!  I think you may be right!  As much as I’ve abhorred Marie throughout this series, I still would hate to see her go out that way… but it would be logical, wouldn’t it?  This show has a way of making the least guilty pay the worst consequences.

Susan: What?  You don’t like Marie?  How on Earth do you not like Marie?!?!

Steven: No, I don’t particularly like Marie.  She’s petty and a gossip and she steals spoons.  I would not like to be the husband who has to bail her out of jail for stealing a decorative sugar spoon.  And she’s a whiner.  How on Earth do you NOT not like her?

Susan: She’s hilarious and real and flawed and yet deeply loyal.  If she was married to Walt instead of Skyler, she would’ve been on board immediately.  She’s a perfect wife for Hank and I love their relationship.  That girl’s got grit.

Unfortunately, though, I think her therapist had the most chilling preview of what’s to come: “There is no problem, no matter how difficult, or painful, or seemingly unsolvable, that violence won’t make worse.”  Jesse walked away from the easy get and now Walt has called in the big guns.  This war is about to go nuclear.

Don't leave us, Marie!

Don’t leave us, Marie!

Additional Thoughts

Sometimes it’s nice to know that good writers have bad ideas too.  In this article about plots not taken, I didn’t see a single one that would’ve fit organically into this world.  Then again, I’m sure some of the other stories felt that way too when they were just a card on the wall.

The title of the next episode is “To’hajiilee”.  I think that’s the name of the desert where Jesse and Walt cooked in the pilot and where Walt recently buried his money.  Does that mean Jesse’s going after Walt’s money?  Is that what he meant by getting him where he really lives?  Vulture posted an article today about the remaining 4 episode titles and what they could possibly mean.  Thank goodness I’m not the only one obsessed with any crumb this show hands out.

Ricin theory of the week: what if Jesse dies from an overdose?  Is that what Walt will do with the ricin?  Slip it into some of his meth and wait for him to kill himself?  An overdose seems like the most realistic and tragic way for Jesse to die, and would link him even closer to Jane.

Favorite Internet Theory of the Week: When Jesse goes to the bathroom at Hank’s house, he takes the phone with him and calls Walt to let him know what’s going down.  The meet-up in the square is staged and Walt calls Todd to set up a hit on Hank.  Then, next week, they all meet in the desert and Uncle Jack kills Hank instead of Jesse.  Marie turns over all the evidence to the DEA and commits suicide at the end of the episode.  Boom.  Pow.  Hearts broken.  World shattered.

Next week: Back to the desert?  A time sensitive issue?  No fear?  So excited.

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