Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Breaking Bad - Rabid Dog Recap

New alliances!  Beautiful hotels!  And what’s up with Walt being the only moral one in this episode?  Let’s find out together, shall we? 

Last week we left Jesse as he was about to set the White household aflame in a gasoline soaked rage.  This episode picks up as Walt arrives on the scene.

Walt drives up, sees Saul’s car.  He scales a wall and tumbles into that now iconic pool patio combo.  He steels himself, taking a deep breath, and easily slides open the unlocked back door.  Clearly Walt’s home security is air-tight.  He clutches his 38 snub and calls out for Jesse.  Yeah, ok Walt, Jesse is just that stupid that he’s gonna answer you. “Yeah, Mr. White!  Right here yo!”.   Walt dodges his way through all of the rooms in the modest home, and finds nothing.

Walt goes outside, and finds meth residue on a CD on the dash of Saul's car.  Probably inferior quality meth.  Jesse wouldn’t have saved a stash of blue crystal for all that time, would he? Skateboarders fly by, reminding us that while the White home has emerged unscathed this time, its only a matter of time before it becomes an abandoned shell.  

A crew has been rapidly assembled at Walts house to clean up the damage. Saul’s car is whisked away by Huell, and a perplexed lock guy sets about replacing the locks to match the old keys.  Walt makes a call to Jesse, leaving what appears to be a relatively sincere message, ending with a tender ‘be safe’, like a concerned parent.  Walt walks back into the house and settles down on the floor, taking a deep snuff of carpet cleaning fluid and gas fumes.  That can’t be good for his lung cancer.  Despite Walt’s protests, the carpet cleaners won’t take his money, stating the obvious.  The carpet needs to be replaced. Duh Walt.  I guess chemistry doesn’t cover the bonding of crude gasoline to balding shag carpeting. 

Walt hatches an ingenious plan. What’s going to solve the problem of the gasoline smell in the house?  More gasoline of course!  He slops the liquid all over his clothing in the backyard, as well as on the driver’s seat of his car.  Instead of the usual well crafted Heisenberg plan, Walt appears to be allowing his anxiety to get the best of him, as he makes and reverses a simple decision to toss the gasoline can multiple times. 

Skyler and Junior come home and both smell the lie.  Skyler doesn’t question it anymore, but Junior calls his dad out.  He knows Walt is lying, but he doesn’t quite have everything figured out yet.  How could he?  Poor kid.  I’m definitely feeling like it’s going to be heartbreaking when he finds out what’s been going on.

At the hotel, Walt has a shadowy meeting with Kuby and Saul.  Saul remains in deep shadow for the entirety of this exchange, making it look like the BB team might have been trying to save on makeup for his mutilated face. Kuby runs down all the places they have looked for Jesse, including a pretty funny bit about Badger babbling on about Babylon 5 for hours on end.  Saul uses Old Yeller as a “colorful metaphor” for how to deal with Jesse.  Walt growls at Saul, stating, “do not float that idea again.  Find him.” 

Back at the hotel, Walt gathers ice for a hard drinking Skyler.  She lazes on the bed, glugging her vodka, and lets her hubby know she’s aware of what he’s up to.  Calling him out on seeing Saul, she appears to be very lucid as they openly discuss the issue at hand.  For the second time that hour, someone tries to convince Walt that Jesse is expendable.  To her credit, Skyler makes a more convincing argument, outlining the risk to the family, as well as the losses they have already sustained.  She asks, “so what’s one more?”

(Side note – I feel like at this point in the episode Walt is, oddly enough, the one who is morally sound, fighting for this kid who he feels a bond with even if it puts everyone else he loves in danger.  He knew how to deal with everyone else, but his literal partner in crime is the one he cannot control, but the one he most values.  His weakness for Jesse, and Jesse alone, is what threatens to eventually bring him down.)

Taking a step back in time, we see Jesse sitting in Saul’s car in the White’s driveway.  He hypes himself up by hoovering a line of meth, and we get another peek at him splashing gas all over the house.  He’s about to set it ablaze when Hank storms in.  WHAAA?  Ah-Maz-Ing.  Jesse sob-screams at Hank, revealing that Walt poisoned a child.  Apparently nothing surprises Hank anymore because he simply goes, “yeah, Walt’s an asshole”, and then calmly proceeds to convince Jesse to join his side. 

Jesse gets in Hanks car, catatonic from emotion and probably the come down off that sub par meth.  Hank tenderly buckles his Golden Tickets seat belt and rolls away just as Walt pulls onto the street.

Back at home, Hank has packed Maries purple luggage, and upon her return from her therapist appointment he encourages her to go out for a spa weekend.  She’s suspicious.  Hank explains, but Marie just wants to know if their houseguest equals bad news for Walt.  Once she knows the answer is yes, she wants to stay.  She rattles off a Lebowski-like “Phone’s ringing” to Hank as she goes to nuke some lasagna.  Hank listens to the message from Walt, and gets his thinking face on. 

Back to Walt as he sits at the gorgeous hotel pool.  I want to go to there.  Who knew the ABQ had such plush accommodations?  Junior comes down and father and son talk for a bit before Junior brings up what’s really on his mind, his dad’s illness.  Walt gives some halfhearted speech about how cancer can’t bring him down.  Junior seems reassured by Walt’s speech, and gives him a heartbreaking hug.  Junior goes back up to bed, leaving Walt to consider his father-son bond not only with his own son, but with Jesse as well.  Walt makes a call.

The next morning, Jesse wakes up and runs into Marie in the hallway.  She’s a good hostess and offers her guest some coffee.  Jesse goes down the hallway to where Hank has tripod set up and Gomie waiting in the wings.  Marie hands him a DEA mug, apparently trying to force the affiliation via caffeine consumption.  Jesse is suspicious about a camera taking Walt down.  He knows exactly what Walt is capable of.  There is no tangible proof.  Heisenberg is retired.  It takes a bit of convincing from Hank, but Jesse finally sits for the camera and looks almost relieved to finally be telling his story.

Once Jesse is done talking, Gomie is on his side.  There’s no proof. Hank concurs, citing the case as a meth head versus “Mr. Rogers has a lung tumor”.

To Walt's credit, he totally looks more like King Friday XIII than Mr. Rogers.
Hank plays last night’s message from Walt, asking Jesse to meet him at an open-air plaza later in the afternoon, and outlines his plan.  To which Jesse explodes.  “Your plan is to do his plan?!” Jesse gives the Cliff Notes outline of what Walt is capable of, in case the two agents missed it in his official oral history of Heisenberg.  Walt is smarter, and luckier than all of them.  And in one of my favorite lines of BB history, Jesse encapsulates the series as a whole, stating “Whatever you think is supposed to happen, the exact opposite of that will happen.”

Yet, Jesse knows he has no options, and goes off to use the bathroom.  Hank and Gomie chat.  Gomie knows that Jesse is smart, has some perspective on the situation, and seems surprised by Hank’s reaction.  At this point Hank is the third person in this episode to display a cavalier attitude towards Jesse’s well-being and survival.  Hank makes it clear that he is willing to take a risk with Jesse’s life if it means he gets what he wants.  Bad, bad Hank.  Shame on you.  Could this be the first sign of Hank ‘breaking bad’ himself? 

Later that afternoon, Jesse bristles at being called partner by Hank as he finishes wiring him up.  Jesse gets out of the car and walks into the plaza.  Everyone’s a potential threat.  Jesse spies a conspicuous looking bald man in a leather coat and pauses.  Directly across from baldy, he spies Walt who is in Heisenberg gear, but sans hat.  

Jesse gets worked up about the perceived threat of the bald guy, and manages to locate the last clump of pay phones left in the United States.  He punches in Walt’s number, and gives him no chance to speak.  For once, Jesse has the upper hand and he has a plan.  A good plan.  He threatens Walt, saying that he’s coming for him “where he really lives”.  (Side note – I’m going mad trying to figure out where that might be, either metaphorically or physically.)  Jesse saunters away from the plaza, and Hank comes screeching up, screaming for him to get in the car.  But Jesse is unfazed.  He grins from ear to ear as he alludes to his plan. 

Walt looks resigned and defeated as he gets up from his bench.  Cancer cough all aflutter, Walt makes a call and schedules Old Yeller’s trip to Belize. 

Four episodes left.  

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