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Recap / Breaking Bad S5 E12: "Rabid Dog"

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Season 5, Episode 12:

Rabid Dog
Jesse has a confession of his own.
Written and directed by Sam Catlin
Air date: September 1, 2013

Walt: We all need to just take a deep breath and calm down, because Jesse isn't just some- some- some rabid dog. This is a person.
Skyler: A person that is a threat to us.

After hearing from Saul how Jesse found out about the ricin cigarette and Brock, Walt makes a beeline back to his home. Saul's car, which Jesse commandeered, is in the driveway with some meth inside; and he finds his house's carpet soaked in gasoline, but no sign of Jesse...

Walt has a cleaning company come to clean the gasoline, and calls Huell over to retrieve Saul's car. To prevent his family from realizing how close they were to having their home razed, Walt refuses to let his locks be changed, and soaks himself in gasoline as part of a story about how he accidentally got splashed by a faulty gas pump, thus accounting for what odor the cleaning company couldn't remove. With Junior worried that his father suffered another blackout, not unlike the "fugue state" from when he was kidnapped by Tuco, Walt suggests staying at a hotel for the time being.

At the hotel, Walt meets with Saul to discuss how to deal with Jesse. Saul suggests putting him out of his misery like Old Yeller, but Walt vehemently dismisses the idea and warns Saul against any such ideation. When Walt returns to his hotel room, he tries to tell Skyler he went to get some ice, but she saw his conversation with Saul. Walt finally admits that Jesse had come to burn the house down. Skyler is equally shocked and vindicated: she had warned Walt time and again that the nature of his illegal enterprise would bring danger upon their family. Walt tries to assure Skyler that Jesse had changed his mind and could be reasoned with, but is stunned into silence when Skyler suggests killing Jesse as a permanent solution to this particular problem. As she puts it: "We've come this far. For us, what's one more?"

Walt was right about Jesse changing his mind, but doesn't realize why: while Jesse was dumping gasoline through Walt's house and preparing to burn it, Hank arrived to stop him at gunpoint. Jesse, high and practically exploding with anger, is determined to get revenge on Walt, but Hank manages to convince him to stand down and claims that they can work together to bring down Heisenberg. The two drive away shortly before Walt arrives. Hank brings Jesse back to his house rather than arresting him, due to Walt's prison connections and history of killing witnesses. He has Jesse's cellphone, which Walt calls at one point, asking for a meet...

As Walt continues to try to contact Jesse, he also reassures Junior, stressing out from the turmoil his home life had been thrown into throughout the year that his father fought cancer, that he would be okay.

The following morning, Jesse, now sober and thinking clearly, joins Hank and Gomez to record a confession. He details everything to the two, from his run-in with two dealers working under Gus to the death of Drew Sharp. While Hank and Gomez believe Jesse, it's still ultimately the word of a drug addict with a record against a man who, to the general public, was a mild-mannered family man. If they were going to go after Walt, they would need definitive proof.

Hank reveals to Jesse the voice message Walt left on his phone, asking him to meet at a plaza at noon. Hank has Jesse equipped with a wire, in the hopes that he can get Walt to say something incriminating. Jesse is worried that Walt is planning to kill him, describing him to Hank as "the devil" and always one step ahead. Hank assures Jesse, however, that based on everything he told him, Walt has no intention of hurting him. This convinces Jesse to set out to meet with Walt.

Little does Jesse know, Hank isn't as concerned about his safety as he seems: if Walt really does intend to silence him, it would still be the proof he needed to arrest him.

Jesse sees Walt sitting alone at the plaza, an open and public space that should be a safe place to meet. Jesse, however, sees an intimidating looking man. Believing him to be a hitman Walt hired (and not realizing he was just a civilian waiting to pick up his daughter), Jesse backs out, infuriating Hank, but not before calling Walt from a pay phone and promising to hit him where he "really" lived.

Walt, finally starting to realize he would never be able to reason with Jesse, calls Todd, informing him that he may have "another job" for his uncle...

This episode provides examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: The tough-looking bald guy at the mall whom Jesse fears is there to kill him on Walt's orders turns out to be just a random guy waiting for his daughter.
  • Blatant Lies: Walt's attempt at explaining away the gasoline-soaked carpets with having suffered a "pump malfunction" at the gas station. Neither Skyler nor Junior believe him, although Skyler waits until they're alone to confront him on what really happened.
  • Call-Back: When Walt sees the bruises Saul received from Jesse in the previous episode, Saul sarcastically quips "You have to understand: deep down, he loves me." This is the same excuse Mike mentions as being used by many domestic abuse victims, though not the one who was eventually murdered by the man Mike used a "half-measure" on.
  • Chemically-Induced Insanity: As it happens, in order to gas himself up in order to burn Walt's house down, Jesse did a line of coke in Saul's car before beginning his assault.
  • Continuity Nod: Several to prior events both during what we see of Jesse's confession tape and during some of his conversation with Hank.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Following up from his suggestion of sending Hank "to Belize", Saul wonders aloud to Walt if this situation with Jesse calls for an Old Yeller way of "dealing" with him.
    Walt: You're full of colorful metaphors, aren't you Saul?
  • Enemy Mine: Hank and Jesse come to this arrangement regarding Walt. Even Marie takes this attitude towards Jesse, much to Hank's surprise.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Walter still feels this way about Jesse and wants to resolve things without any bloodshed, and is also acting to preserve what remains of his son's well-being. He is forced to choose between the two when Jesse makes a threat Walt believes to be against Skyler and the kids. This prompts Walt to plot Jesse's death.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Saul and Kuby both give looks of disgust at the fact that Walt has no remorse over poisoning Brock. And they both know that there is nothing Walt can say that will justify it to Jesse.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Gomez has no love for Jesse, but doesn't approve of Hank essentially using Jesse as bait without any regard for his safety.
  • Eviler than Thou: In a shocking twist, Skyler falls into this when she suggests that Walt finally kill Jesse. Might be some bias on her part as she's never liked Pinkman at any point during the series.
  • Face of a Thug: Jesse's assumptions about this regarding a random stranger causes his relationship with Walt to permanently sour. They've both retired from the drug business at this point but Jesse is working with the DEA to bring Walt down, whom he suspects is trying to have him killed to tie up loose ends. They agree to meet in a public space, but Jesse notices a man dressed like a Neo-Nazi skinhead standing close to Walt. He assumes this man to be a hitman and calls off the meeting, but it turns out the guy was just there to pick up his daughter.
  • Heroic BSoD: Although it was blatantly clear that Jesse reached this point, when Hank is talking Jesse down from burning Walt's house down, Jesse screams with tears in his eyes:
    • To a lesser extent, Hank and Gomez are clearly stunned by everything Jesse detailed in his confession.
  • I Warned You: This is precisely Skyler's reaction to learning Jesse tried to burn her house down.
  • Internal Reveal: Gomez has at some point off-screen been filled in on the truth behind Walter as Heisenberg. On a larger scale, Jesse delivers them a summary on pretty much everything that's happened in the series at this point (at least from his point of view).
  • Just in Time: Hank showed up at Walt's house right as Jesse pulled out his lighter.
  • Kick the Dog: Hank is ready to let Jesse die if it allows him to arrest Walt.
  • Missed Him by That Much: The second act reveals that Walt was seconds away from seeing Hank and Jesse drive off.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Walt calls Saul out on his penchant for this and tells him not to float the idea again. Skyler also suggests it, which Walt also shuts down.
  • Once More, with Clarity:
    • Walt races home to find an empty gasoline-covered house with no sign of Jesse; this leads him to think that Jesse decided against burning down his house. The second act, however, reveals that Hank managed to stop and talk down Jesse just before he lit the gasoline on fire.
    • Downplayed: We also get a brief extension of the scene of Jesse showing up at Walt's house with the gas can, revealing that he did a line of cocaine beforehand.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • A minor zig-zag (as we later get clarification that he doesn't really care about what happens to Jesse so long as he is used to get Walt), but Hank shows up the second Jesse busts out the lighter and manages to talk him down from burning down Walt's house (albeit at gunpoint). And when Jesse reveals he poisoned Brock, Hank just calmly agrees that this just further proves how reprehensible Walt had become.
    • Walt once again shows his genuine (albeit twisted) care for Jesse on two different occasions:
      • First, when Saul once again implies that they need to kill Pinkman before he becomes a major threat, Walt goes full Heisenberg and shuts him down.
      • Secondly, Walt upholds his word that he will have a peaceful conversation with Jesse. However, between a seemingly threatening man standing nearby sending the wrong image, and Jesse just plain having had enough of Walt's lies and manipulations, it doesn't go as planned.
  • Recursive Canon: A close look at a shelf in the Schrader household shows they own a DVD for Breaking Bad itself.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: When Walter spins his story about the broken gas pump, Junior immediately calls him out for lying. But the boy believes Walter is merely trying to hide another blackout from his cancer, rather than what really happened.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The cold open and the first act show things from Walt's perspective while the second act shows events from Hank and Jesse's viewpoint.
  • Title Drop: When Skyler suggests Walt dispose of Jesse to protect their family, Walt tries to reason with her, stating that Jesse is not "some rabid dog".
  • The Unapologetic: Walter still has no regrets about poisoning Brock and thinks it was absolutely necessary.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The tough-looking man at the mall, who's really only there visiting with his daughter. However, Jesse thinks that Walt brought him there as a hitman and flees the scene, permanently fracturing any chances of reconciliation between Walt and Jesse and preventing a safe and early arrest from Hank.
  • Wham Episode: Jesse and Hank are working together to take Walt down and Walt calls Todd to hire his uncle for something.
  • Wham Line: Saul, Skyler and Walt decide that they need to bump off Jesse.
    Skyler: We've come this far. For us. What's one more?
    Walt: (to Todd on the phone) I think I might have another job for your uncle.

"I think I might have another job for your uncle."