Breaking Bad: Rabid Dog
by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)
“We’ve come this far. What’s one more?”
If you’ve got a Cadillac abandoned in your driveway, you better call Saul. Or, just thaw out your revolver and inspect the premises on your own. Either way, things are going to be tense. Honestly, Walt not finding Jess there (and only finding the gas can) was a lot more powerful than the two confronting one another. It sets up Jesse as a future wild card, with little known about his true resolve in paying Walt back for all of his past “kindness” and support.
Cleaning up after Jesse showed a slightly scattered Walt White. For the majority of the show’s run, he’s been fairly cold and calculating. The frenetic pace with which he struggled to hide the gasoline was a little out of character in a sense for Walt. In fact, it takes the viewer back to Walt when he first started on his path down the road towards being a drug kingpin. Granted, he does cobble together a fairly coherent story, but the entire incident reeks of uninformed panic. Clearly, both Skylar and Walt Jr. seem to see through the ruse (the former more than the latter).
Everyone seems to have their own perspective on how to deal with Jesse; unfortunately for him, they all trend towards his death. Saul seems to think that they should “Old Yellar” Jesse. Skylar thinks that they’ve come too far to let one person bring them all down and offers a similar suggestion. The fact that Walt is somewhat protective of him is actually quite endearing. It proves that Walt does believe in loyalty and that even he realizes what he did to Brock was poorly conceived. What it doesn’t prove is that Walt doesn’t know Jesse nearly as well as he thinks he does.
The first half of the episode left viewers wondering why Jesse got cold feet so to speak and stopped the arson. The show’s explanation though was very tightly woven into the overarching fabric of the last episodes so far. Hank’s tailing Jesse proved to be beneficial to both parties, especially considering Hank offers Jesse an olive branch in the form of cooperation to take down Walt. Jesse’s psyche keeps getting battered with every successive realization he makes regarding Walt. He desperately wants to stop Walt from getting away with everything and will even forgive Hank’s previous dealings with Jesse.
The relationship between Jesse and Walt has been the one constant throughout the entirety of the series to date. Neither would be who the other, with the two of them, at the present without the impact feels them thick as thieves for most of the run. While their relationship is pitched as surrogate father and son, at times it feels more like they’re brothers. They share a unique dedication and love for one another that require something major to fracture that link and it’s almost heartbreaking to watch the two of them fall apart. Jesse’s confession is an episode too late though.
While terms of immunity weren’t discussed, Jesse laid it all out on camera for Hank. It’s unclear as to what the purpose of Jesse’s true confession is within the scope of the case, but it does show that Jesse really does want to stop Walt. What’s more is that he’s terrified of Walter White; not just because of his history, but because Jesse knows what he’s capable of. The irony is that Walt really does seem to care about Jesse and is trying to do right by him, but he’s built up such a resume of deception that it’s hard to trust him. Walt has had many chances to kill Jesse yet hasn’t, actions further bolstered by Jesse’s description of how Walt has helped him out through some really tough times.
The misdirect in the plaza scene was actually pretty brilliant, setting two major things into motion. The first is Jesse looking to completely burn Walt’s world to the ground. The second is Walt actually realizing that he may need to deal with Jesse in the recommended way, all predicated on a miscommunication between the two of them. Rules of engagement have been issued for both Jesse and Walt and the last four episodes will give fans what they’ve been waiting for: Walt vs. Jesse. And it’s going to be fantastic.
Walt thrives on control and that’s part of the reason why he’s built and maintained such an epic empire. That he has no idea where Jesse is (and has no clue to check with Walt) really fractures his whole persona and ability to keep things controlled. The series pivots around Walt and Jesse, so ending it with them going their separate ways brings everything full circle. Skylar and Saul realize that the Walt gravy train needs to keep going. Hank and Jesse realizes that the Walt gravy train needs to stop. Walt is the hero and the villain in the show–depending on your point of view–and he’ll likely go down as both when it’s over.
The big question is whether or not Hank and Jesse will get justice in capturing Walt or whether he’ll get off easy in a sense by succumbing to cancer. It’s somewhat morbid to look at it that way, but the reality of the situation is that Walt would be getting off easy if he’s not arrested. The fact remains, however, that Walt is running out of options and clearly didn’t get out soon enough.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars