Sunday, September 1, 2013

REVIEW: 'Breaking Bad' - Murder Is On Everyone's Mind Except Walt's in 'Rabid Dog'

AMC's Breaking Bad - Episode 5.12 Rabid Dog

An unusual strategy starts to bear fruit, while plans are set in motion that could change everything.

"Rabid Dog" is an episode filled with conversations. Conversations about what these characters truly want and what they are willing to do to secure their desires. After the first three episodes of the season were peddle to the meddle action, this episode took the time to be more contemplative of the situations all of these characters find themselves in. It is an hour that shakes up the chess board with Jesse and Hank teaming up to take Walt down. But it's also an hour that elongates the end game. If Jesse had talked to Walt in person and on tape, Walt would be in handcuffs now. But with four episodes left to go, that ending simply couldn't happen now. It makes since for all the characters to react the way that they did but it is an elongation nevertheless.

"Whatever you think's supposed to happen, I'm telling you the exact reverse opposite of that is going to happen." -Jesse

Jesse utters these words to Hank and Gomez post-confession and yet falls for it exactly during the meet with Walt. In his mind, Walt wants to kill him because he is threat to his empire and legacy. It doesn't matter if it's happening in the most public place in Albuquerque. In Jesse's mind, if Walt wants him dead, he'll be dead. This is a man who had 10 people murdered in two minutes. He is resourceful and he is the devil - going so far as to poison a kid in order to get what he wants.

And yet, Walt is the only person in the word who cares about Jesse. Jesse is as much family to Walt as Hank is. He refuses to put him down when Saul and Skylar suggest so. That idea baffles Walt. He has become so close to this damaged soul in ways that Skylar cannot even imagine. He does care for Jesse as evidenced by him giving Jesse his cut of the money after Jesse's retirement post-Drew Sharp. Jesse has no clue how desperately Walt wants to mend over this entire situation. Walt and his ego believe that his words will be enough to forgive and forget child poisoning. Walt's love and protection of Jesse has actually made Jesse fear him. Jesse has seen Mr. White do so many terrible things - and some even worse things he doesn't even know about, like letting Jane die. So when the truth about Brock comes to light, Jesse has no reason not to believe that Walt will want to silence him the way he has done for every other obstacle in his path.

Jesse is pushed into this situation by Hank because Hank ultimately doesn't care one bit about Jesse. Hank wants to see Walt be punished for all the heinous crimes he has done. And will do whatever it takes to prove it - even if that means teaming up with someone he utterly despises. Jesse did supply him with a much fuller story of the workings of Heisenberg than he had had up to this point. But he is very comfortable throwing Jesse to the sharks as long as it means getting tangible proof that he can actually take to the DEA. Jesse's paranoia forces him to stand motionless in the plaza. And the coincidence of a bald man just looking in Walt's direction is enough to send Jesse running away and placing the call to Walt that completely severs all friendly ties between them.

Of course, Hank is steaming mad at Jesse's actions because he wears his emotions on his sleeves. But Jesse is confident that this new plan is brilliant and full-proof - hitting Walt where it hurts much more so than simply getting him on tape. However, Walt no longer believes that he can convince Jesse to trust him again. That bridge has finally been burned and thusly he places the call to Todd and Uncle Jack. Jesse is more isolated than ever with fate not being on his side anymore. But he has a plan and that's all he needs to feel secure right now. It's a powerful performance and arc and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Some more thoughts:
  • What's Up With Walt Jr.? - Pay per view and room service. He's in heaven! Plus he got a hug from his father.
  • I also love the idea of Walt getting closer to his actual son now that his relationship with Jesse has been completely destroyed.
  • And Walt is a master liar when he has time to think of exactly what he'll say - like last week's confession. When he just has to make up on the spot, he's still pretty poor at it - like the story of the gas pump which was only saved by the second lie presenting itself through Walt Jr.
  • Marie holding onto to her anger was great characterization. Her monologue to her therapist was very well-suited to this hour as opposed to the more fast-paced first three this season.
  • Would it have been better if Walt had contemplated throwing the gas can in Carol's bin instead of the other neighbor? Poor Carol. She hasn't been seen since the premiere.
  • Beaver, ummm I mean Badger, is a big fan of Babylon 5 as well as Star Trek. It's just humorous thinking of Kuby listening to that conversation for 3 hours.
  • The sound design in the pre-title sequence is just amazing.
  • I am a bit disappointed that the series didn't show Hank's conversation with Gomez that brought him into the investigation as well as more of Jesse's confession tape. After Walt's confession last week, I understand why they chose not to show much of Jesse's. But Hank and Gomez is a dynamic the show has built up a lot and thusly I wanted to see his initial reaction to this news.
  • And are Hank and Gomez just trying to get enough proof to take to the DEA now or are they trying to solve this entire case and serve up Walt's head on a plater?
  • The hour was wonderfully directed by writer Sam Catlin. Highlights being the pull away when Walt enters his bedroom, Walt and Skylar's hotel conversation, Walt outside looking at the pool and the entire sequence at the plaza.
  • So, what is Jesse's new and better plan? Any thoughts?