Jesse about to go "Rabid Dog" on Walt

Rabid Dog

Bad Ass Quote of the Week

Walt.  You… need… to deal with this.” – Skyler White

Thoughts on “Rabid Dog”

I think that Jesse, Skyler and Hank could all be considered the titular rabid dogs in this episode.  Skyler gets mad when it’s time to defend her family.  Hank is going to get Heisenberg, no matter what.  Jesse has decided to go to war.  Rabid indeed.

In Episode 413 – “Face Off” Walt arrives home suspecting Gus has hit men waiting for him there – so he sends in his neighbour “Becky” to check if Junior accidentally left a burner on the stove – “God forbid… fire”.  Now there’s a real risk of fire, and with Saul’s car askew in his driveway and yard, I guess he can’t send in “Becky” as an advance guard this time.

Walt uses the same method of sneaking into the house as he did then, over his back yard wall, but he’s gotten better with practice and didn’t get caught up in the vines this time.  It’s interesting how on that last occasion he was frantic and panicked due to the risk to his life from the hit men, but this time he is quite composed in his movements – almost searching the house like a professional, as if he doesn’t believe that Jesse can be a threat to him, or that he can handle Jesse much easier than he could two professional hit men.  I noticed that he didn’t check the “crawl space”, the same error made by Gus’ goons – although he wouldn’t expect Jesse to know about that, much less to use it.—

Jesse’s gone, although the carpet is soaked in gasoline and the gas can is  sitting right there in the living room.  From the CD covered in white powder that Walt finds in Saul’s car, it looks like Jesse managed to find and take some cocaine stashed there.  I guess I’m not surprised that Saul takes cocaine on occasion, but it doesn’t seem like him to riskily stash it in his car.

Walt goes into clean up mode – Huell comes to pick up Saul’s car, and he and Kuby are keeping an eye on the White family to make sure they are safe, as well as trying to find Jesse.  Walt calls Jesse and thanks him for not going through with burning his house down, to sleep it off, and then call him so that they can talk and fix things, and tells him to “be safe”.  Perhaps I read too much into things, but I take “be safe” to mean “be careful what you do or say”, to protect their mutual interests.  If he was solely concerned for Jesse’s well-being, I feel that he would have said something more like “stay safe”.  It’s a minor difference, and may mean nothing, but it did stick out to me.

For those of you wondering how Walt knows the number of the “Hello Kitty” phone, you can see him check a slip of paper just prior to calling – it’s obvious that Huell just gave it to him.

There are a couple of great camera shots during the clean up operation.  We ride up a hose via a “vacuum cam” and also see a couple of shots from the perspective of the carpet while the cleaning crew is trying to remove the gasoline.  The second of these when Walt lays down a knee protecting pillow to see if the gasoline smell is gone – a call-back to both him and Gus laying down towels when they are going to be sick.

Walt needs the front door repaired and the gasoline out of the house before his family returns, but a perfect removal of the gasoline smell is impossible.   Time for the third tightie whitie scene in the past four episodes, although this time with a pistol jammed in the waistband for variety.  Walt pours gasoline on his clothes and car to fake a “gas station mishap”.

I enjoyed the buffoonery of Walt running around hiding the gasoline can (ultimately in “Becky”‘s garbage) and pouring some gas in his car.  I had to wonder why neither “Becky”, “Carol” nor any of the other people who live in his neighbourhood have taken note at all of this activity at the White residence throughout the day?  A car semi-crashing in the front, two clean up vans, and then Walt’s antics seem to go completely unnoticed.

The only people in the area seem to be some skateboarders.  This was a nice touch, although I don’t know if I am using the right terminology when I describe it as a “call-back to the flash-forward” of the fate of the White home we saw in Episode 509 – “Blood Money”.

The family arrives home.  Did everyone notice that Skyler has quietly gotten herself a new car too?  No one is buying Walt’s overly elaborate, lame story about how he got gas sprayed all over his “arms, legs and groin”.  Skyler decides to play along with this (for now), but Junior thinks it’s because Walt passed out again due to his cancer.  Walt distracts Junior by proposing the family move out into a hotel.  I have a feeling this is the last time the Whites are going to live at home.

Saul is nursing his beat up face (courtesy of Jesse in Episode 511 – “Confessions”) when he and Kuby meet Walt to discuss Jesse, who can’t be found.   I got a kick out of Walt asking about Jesse’s friend “Beaver” covering for him.  Kuby corrects him that it’s “Badger” and “Skinny Pete”, but his bug revealed that he only heard them talking for three hours about “Babylon 5”.  I know we don’t have time for it on the show, but after his Star Trek script story in “Blood Money”, I think it would have been hilarious to hear Badger’s theories about Babylon 5.

Having a “nuanced discussion of the virtues of child poisoning” won’t appease Jesse, in Saul’s opinion, and he thinks that this might be an “Old Yeller” situation instead.  Jesse is like the rabid dog in that movie – once the most loyal of companions, but now must be put down.  Walt doesn’t like Saul’s metaphors lately, “Belize” and “Old Yeller” and in his Heisenberg voice tells Saul not to float that idea again.

Skyler calls Walt out for the lie about the gasoline mishap, and also for his “going for ice” story to cover his visit with Saul in the parking lot of the hotel.  Walt’s misplaced indignation that Skyler was “spying on him” is immediately shut down when she says “Yes.  And I feel just awful about it too.”  After summarising (without going into details) the situation with Jesse, Walt explains that his plan is to “talk to him.  To make him see reason.”  Skyler thinks these are euphemisms for something else, and when Walt balks, she says, “We’ve come this far.  For us… what’s one more?”  Chilling.

I did not expect this turn in Skyler so suddenly, and initially it seemed inconsistent to me with her despondency in “Confessions”.  On further reflection, it does jibe with her character.  Her withdrawal in the previous episode was due to her guilt and doubts in damaging her family, losing her relationship with her sister and brother-in-law.  Her forceful reaction here is different because the threat to her family is from outside, and must be defended against.  She reacts to protect her own, just as we saw in “Blood Money” when she sent Lydia away.  Skyler is a rabid dog when it comes to preventing danger to her family.

I noted also her use of the words “us” and “we”, she’s firmly committed to Team White, despite her misgivings.  When she said “that awful tape we made”, it felt like confirmation that she helped script it, as I noted in the “Confessions” article.

Jesse is a person, and Walt isn’t going to treat him like some “Rabid Dog”.  He has just had killing Jesse suggested to him twice and refused.  This really surprised me, as that means that “the hug” in “Confessions” was not manipulation after all, but genuine emotion.  Well done to the writers.  For the longest time I believed that Walt had a soft spot for Jesse, and just when they had finally convinced me that he didn’t, they show that he does.  Villigan!!!  I guess that’s another reason to just love this show!

At the beginning of that scene I immediately noticed Skyler pouring drinks for herself, and made a mental note that she must be missing her hot-tub sized wine glass from “Buyout” and “Say My Name”.  That made me laugh when Walt asked her, “How much have you had to drink?” and she replied, “Not nearly enough”.  Ha!  That was in character too!

I really enjoyed the way this episode was split into two halves – the Walter half and the Jesse half.  I said in my “Confessions” article that the first 10 minutes of this episode were going to be “wild stuff”, and by the first commercial break I was feeling a bit dismayed.  It was effective to leave what happened to Jesse a mystery for a while though.

I feel pretty good about predicting that Hank would be there to stop Jesse, although I didn’t make that one of my “official” predictions, and my “official” prediction of Hank’s intentions when he left the office in “Confessions” was wrong.  Dammit!

My heart was in my throat when Jesse yelled, “He can’t keep getting away with it!  He can’t keep getting away with it!”  Aaron Paul had me completely sympatico with Jesse’s anger and frustration.  Amazing.

Hank intends to take Jesse to Jail (MDC – Metropolitan Detention Center), and wants him to be a good witness, and maybe things will go better for him.   Jesse says exactly the right thing here, “Yeah, sitting around MDC, waiting to be a witness against Mr. White.  It’s… it’s going to go great for me.”  Another great line from Aaron Paul, particularly the hitch in his voice mid-sentence.  Of course, they are both thinking about Heisenberg having 10 witnesses killed in various Albuquerque area prisons in a two minute time span (Episode 508 – “Gliding Over All”).

Marie is trying to get help with her feelings (but not talk about specifics) with her therapist “Dave”.  Marie has been thinking up different poisons to use on Walt, could this be some foreshadowing?  I might have to reconsider my prediction about the ricin not being used by Walt on himself.  Hmm.  When Dave tells Marie that violence always makes a difficult situation worse she says, “I wouldn’t hurt anybody.  It just feels good to think about it.”

She’s hilarious when she discovers Hank has Jesse at their home.  Hank explains why this is the best course of action for the time being.  She doesn’t bat an eye asking if “this is bad for Walt?”, and when Hank says, “Yes, very.”, she  just says “good” and nonchalantly goes to heat up Lasagna.

Junior and Walt have a bit of a bonding moment by the hotel swimming pool.   I wonder if this is some indication of bad things to come for Junior?  At the very least, we see that no matter how annoyed he gets with his Dad (being made to stay at Hank and Marie’s, etc.) he always loves him and worries about his sickness.   That poor kid is going to be crushed when he learns the truth.  I liked the imagery of the  swimming pool in the background, lit up to be the exact same colour as the blue meth, and the waterfall in the background was also reminiscent of the liquid methamphetamine being poured into the drying pans.

The first thing Jesse sees in the Schrader home when he awakes is a family photo of Skyler and Walt – her in an awful Christmas sweater, and him dressed as Santa.  His first encounter with Marie was funny to me, him pausing at one end of the long hallway not knowing what to expect, and her offering coffee (which she brings him in a DEA mug – hah!).

I think the set-dressers on the show had some fun with us in putting together Hank and Marie’s book-case.  Jesse picks up a copy of “Dutch”, a biography of Ronald Reagan, the President who stepped the U.S.’s “War on Drugs” into high gear by involving the CIA and the Military in addition to the DEA.  Probably natural for Hank to have this book, but fun to see Jesse pick it up.   There was also a copy of the boxed set of the TV Series “Deadwood”, a western in which Anna Gunn had a role as the upstanding wife of the town Sheriff.  What a contrast with the role she plays on Breaking Bad!

Steve Gomez is waiting with Hank for Jesse to film his confession.  Again, I know with the limited time left in the series that they can’t show everything, and we can interpolate what has happened, but I would have like to have seen the conversation between the two of them that led to this.   Steve is obviously over the annoyance he felt with Hank in “Confessions” and has heard Hank’s suspicions about Walt.  I wonder how much of the evidence he was shown?  Probably the “Leaves of Grass” book compared to Gale Boetticher’s lab notes (see “Blood Money”), but probably not Walt’s fake confession video.  Gomez will listen to Hank I think, no matter how “out there” his ideas might be.  They had been partners for a long time, and after Hank was proven correct about Gus Fring, he won’t ever dismiss Hank’s suspicions without investigating again.

The boldest prediction I have ever made here at Tucker’s Hole has come true,,  Jesse has told Hank all about Walt’s misdeeds.  We don’t get to see Jesse’s confession, but from the conversation afterwards, it seems that he has held nothing back about Walt – killing two drug dealers with his car (Episode 312 – “Half Measures”) , the murder of Drew Sharp (Episode 505 – “Dead Freight”), and the poisoning of Brock (Episode 412 – “End Times” and revealed in “Face Off” and Episode 501 – “Live Free Or Die”).  What we don’t know is how much he revealed about himself – that he shot Gale (Episode 313 – “Full Measure”), and Joaquin, Hector Salamanca’s grandson (in Episode 410 – “Salud”).  Hank does speak about Jesse being a murderer later, so he just might have told everything!  Wow!  We might never find out the full details of Jesse’s confession, but I would really like to know these details!

Gomez believes it all, but says there is no physical evidence.  Hank has intercepted another message from Walt to Jesse proposing they meet to talk.  Hank wants Jesse to wear a wire to record an admission from Walt about Brock.  Jesse naturally fears it is an attempt on his life, but Hank (quite correctly) says he doesn’t think so, and that Walt has a soft spot for Jesse.  Jesse is incredulous asking “That’s your plan?  To do his plan?”.  He has wonderful dialogue here – accurate and amusingly worded with, “Look. Look.  You two guys are just… guys.  Ok?  Mr. White?  He’s the Devil.  You know, he is… he is smarter than you, he is luckier than you.  Whatever, whatever you think is supposed to happen, the exact reverse opposite of that is going to happen.”  Hank gives Jesse no choice in the matter.

When Gomez expresses concern that Jesse could be correct – that this could be a hit on him, Hank refers to Jesse as a “junkie murderer” and that if he is killed by Walt, they would have it all on tape.  Hank’s a rabid dog here too, when it comes to his pursuit of Walt.  It is consistent with his character that he despises drug dealers, but not to do something like this – to put a witness’ life at risk in order to achieve his goal.  I was pretty shocked by this coming from Hank, and I don’t think I am alone.

Jesse stops short of meeting Walt when he sees a suspicious looking guy standing behind a column in the plaza.  I think every viewer knew that this was just a coincidence (and it was), but I don’t blame Jesse for being suspicious.  He lays down the gauntlet with his phone call to Walt, calling him asshole twice (no more Mr. White), letting him know that he’s “coming for him,” and, “I’m going to get you where you really live”.  Wow, this is going to be exciting.

I loved the scene of the two of them walking away from the plaza, with a sonorous bell tolling 12 times – high noon.  Yeah!  The expression “High Noon” means “an event or confrontation that is likely to decide the final outcome of a situation”.  It brings to mind the movie “High Noon” in which a lone marshal faces off against a gang of outlaws.  The bell ringing brings to mind the poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls” which is about every person being part of mankind, the death of one diminishes all… when the bell tolls for one, it tolls for all.  There is definitely a big confrontation coming!  I feel that Walt / Heisenberg is going to be the lone man here (although not a law-abiding marshal) and he will be up against mankind, which Jesse has just rejoined by siding with Hank.  I don’t know who the bell is tolling for… Walt or Jesse.  Maybe both.

Jesse’s got a plan – he tells the irate Hank that there’s a better way to get Walt.  I think about his remark about getting him where “he really lives”.  One possibility is Walt’s money, but Jesse has no idea where that is, and I don’t see how he and Hank can go after him that way.  The other chief care of Walt’s is his family – perhaps Jesse wants to destroy that by telling Walt Jr. about his father?  Jesse would never harm Walt’s children, and neither would Hank.  Perhaps if they confront Walt’s family with everything that Jesse has confessed to Hank, Skyler may be forced to switch sides?  Hmm.  I think about the role she played on “Deadwood” that I mentioned earlier… perhaps she has to return to the side of virtue also?  If so, the DVD set on Hank’s bookshelf may not have been just set-dressing fun, but more foreshadowing.  Hmm again.

There is a third possibility, which is going after Heisenberg’s ego.   We have seen Walt bristle whenever the credit for Heisenberg’s “brilliant” work is given to someone else, and his hubris in getting people to say that name – to acknowledge that he is the kingpin.  How could Jesse and Hank go after that?   One idea that occurred to me is that they go after Todd – arrest him and make a public show of him as the brilliant Heisenberg.  I don’t know how this might play out, but Walt will definitely be rankled by this and will also be wanting to get in contact with Todd to do damage control,  and he might slip up.   I definitely see Walt’s pride as a likely target, but am not sure exactly what Jesse’s plan might be.   I can’t wait to see!

The episode ends with Walt calling Todd telling him he has another job for his Uncle.  The episode fades to black with another two “bongs” like a bell tolling, and we hear the bell again through the final credits.   Showdown coming.   Walt, despite rebuking both Saul and Skyler’s advice on what to do about Jesse earlier, now has been backed into that corner.  High Noon indeed!

This episode left me feeling a little strange.  I loved the ending, which gives us lots to speculate about, but all we really know is that the big clash is coming.   The opening was not the huge confrontation I expected, and the off-putting behaviour by both Skyler and particularly Hank left me a bit disoriented in the rapid swings in their characters (although, as I said, with Skyler it made more sense after some thought).

This episode was a bit of a stutter-step in the break-neck run we have been on in the first four episodes of the final eight.   It might have been good to have a bit of a pause from the adrenaline soaked emotion of the first three, but I think this is it.   The ride is going to be fast and tense from here on out.  I can’t believe we are at the half way point already!

New Predictions

I really am not confident to make any new predictions this week.  I wish I could suss out some certainty in my mind as to what Jesse is planning, but I simply can’t at this point.  Bummer.

Prediction Results

Well, I’m one and one this week.

My prediction that Hank left his office at the end of “Confessions” to acquiesce to Walt was wrong.  Crumbs!

My prediction that Jesse was going to tell Hank about Walt / Heisenberg was correct!  I feel great about that one, as it’s probably the biggest, riskiest prediction I have made since starting Tucker’s Hole!

My score since beginning this site now stands at 6 1/2 predictions correct,  4 1/2 predictions wrong, and 3 predictions are now still pending.

Humorous Quote of the Week

I never should have let my dojo membership run out” – Saul Goodman