Breaking Bad: 5.12 - Rabid Dog
The halfway point arrives in this final Breaking Bad run, and blimey, it's all happening, isn't it? Those of us who were pining for more Jesse in the opening weeks of this short season are definitely sated now, as the junior meth partner has been plastered all over the last two episodes. Nice to be reminded that even though Walt's family problems flared up at the start, his messed up partnership with Jesse is still the star around which this show orbits.
So, does the title Rabid Dog refer to Jesse? Is it a reference to old episode Problem Dog? What's the mutt gonna do now? Spoilers follow.
Hank and his Heisenberg cosplayFor those of us enjoying the Walt/Hank parallels as Agent Schrader took on his own morally dubious crusade, there was plenty to get our teeth into this week: Hank teams up with Jesse, tries desperately to make him feel loved but is ultimately using him for his own ends. Sound familiar? Unexpectedly, his Jesse-abuse made me feel a new burst of affection towards Walt. Because, yes, Hank is winning most aspects of the moral comparison but he clearly doesn't care about Jesse anywhere near as much.
In fact, Walt's weird paternal affection towards Pinkman gets several turns under the microscope this week, as a string of characters ask: why has that hard bastard got this weird soft spot towards a scrappy meth-head? Saul wants to know, Hank figures it out, even Skyler notices slightly, before asking why they can't just kill him. "What's one more?", indeed.
Walt, of course, doesn't really have an answer, but continues to turn himself inside out trying to both protect Jesse and seek his approval. If you've missed the classic Breaking Bad image of Walt's tight white underpants, they too get a brief cameo here. The writers are definitely examining their core values in this final run.
Finally one too many bald men in Breaking Bad?In the end, Walt and Jesse are utterly at odds thanks to some very bad timing involving a nearby bald man. Considering Jesse was raving about all Walt's "luck" only a few scenes earlier, you gotta admire how unfortunate that was. Said incident also provides an elegant window to bring Todd's uncle and his new meth operation back into the plot, which I had been waiting for. Next episode, stuff can really start going wrong!
So yeah, I thought this was an interesting episode which really brought things to the surface. It was probably the least "eventful" episode of the half-season so far, but the writing and acting were as fabulous as ever, so I'm sated with that. We did get to see another step in Marie's apparent slide towards homicidal mania, which amused me no end. In fact, a lot was set up here.
Four episodes to go! Only four parts in which to reach beardy half-dead Walt and go beyond that! Can anything go right at this stage? Hopefully not, to be honest. Walt is turning every single person around him slowly to the dark side - I'm expecting Walt Jr to strangle someone next week. Hell, even he had a touching scene in this episode to keep Walt motivated and suggested that he might not be fooled by his Dad's desperate lying anymore. A great week, using everyone well. Bravo. More please.