In “Rabid Dog”, everyone has murder and treachery on their minds, except for the morally corrupt Heisenberg.
Continue Reading for my spoiler filled thoughts and reaction to Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 12 “Rabid Dog”.
“He can’t keep getting away with it!” On a show about consequences, there has been little karmic retribution on Heisenberg up to this point. Although Walt’s cancer is back, he’s relatively unscathed considering the corpses, drugs and even airplane wreckage strewn in his reign of terror.
For some fans, the line was drawn when Walt let Jane choke to death, or poisoned an innocent child or killed Mike in cold blood. Still, I feel a lingering empathy for Walt. Not because he’s a cancer-stricken father but because of the vicarious thrill of empowerment in watching Walt get pushed to the edge only to end up on top time and again.
It’s a bit of a perverse pleasure in wanting Walt to put an end to Jesse, the moral conscience and in my view the heart of the show, because I believe that’s the final line that will break many of Walt’s die-hard sympathizers. At the same time, whatever is Jesse’s plan for the ultimate payback is something I’d also like to see come to fruition. I’m both excited and conflicted on the possible ways this could unfold.
There’s no reset button if Jesse dies at the hand of Walt. All the pain, lies and destruction Walt puts forth into the world is going to come back to haunt him with a vengeance. I don’t see an easy way out. “Karma’s a bitch” should be Jesse’s new catch phrase.
Breaking Bad is not the story of Walt’s redemption. I would feel cheated if the high-school chemistry teacher turned drug king pin / mass murderer could atone for his crimes in an act of self-sacrifice or some sort of latent epiphany. How the writers choose to end the story and where we leave these characters will be a statement in itself on what the show has been about.
Another layer to my empathy for Walt is that he truly cares for Jesse. This is evident to Hank but Jesse’s distrust, anger and fear prevents him from making that connection. If only Jesse believed Walt cared for him and put aside his distrust for just a moment they could have had their meeting.
I can’t blame Jesse though because of what Walt has done to him and is capable of. In a way, the lack of faith in others can go back to how Jesse’s parents disowned him. So instead, the plan to audio record Walt incriminating himself is averted due to Jesse’s suspicions of an ambush. Just like Jesse said, Walt is lucky and always overcomes the impossible odds.
As it turns out Walt is just about the only person in “Rabid Dog” that doesn’t have homicidal thoughts (at least not until the very end). Saul’s comical metaphor about putting down Jesse like a rabid dog may as well apply to Walt.
Walt is a virulent disease corrupting everyone he has come in contact with. As chilling as Skyler’s, “what’s one more?” murder proposal is for me the coldest and most shocking is how Hank considers Jesse as expendable.
The relationship between Hank and Jesse precariously teetered back and forth this episode, which each scene adding another dimension. When Hank was in the car with Jesse, there’s a moment where he reaches over seemingly to hug a distraught Jesse … then fastens the seat belt. One moment, Hank seems to care for Jesse, providing a warm bed, morning coffee etc. Of course this all done to clear Jesse’s head so he can give a confession on video. But realizing the words of a drug addict wouldn’t hold up in court, Hank ruthlessly sends Jesse into a possible death trap to ensnare Walt. Hank’s dirty-dealings and Marie’s thoughts of using poison show that Heisenberg-esque tactics and moral decay are rubbing off on them.
Briefly touching on the opening act with Walt unable to convince Junior about the fuel pump malfunction hints at what’s to come. Walt can no longer cover up his mess or obscure the truth from his family. When covering up is no longer a viable option Walt’s course of action is to douse his clothes and car seat in gasoline. Does this foreshadow the measures Walt will take when his alter ego is exposed?
Rabid Dog plays out like a series of what if scenarios which is true to life. What if Jesse set the fire before Hank crashed through the door? What if Walt returned home a second sooner and saw Hank driving off with Jesse? At the Albuquerque plaza, what if the little girl ran to her father a few moments earlier? In a way, how Breaking Bad has unfolded and may conclude comes down to these little twists of fate and butterfly type effect. Overall, even without an explosive or mind-blowing moment this is a really good episode that builds my expectations for the final four. Bring it on!
Are you Team Walt or Team Jesse? Who is the most rabid dog in this episode? What’s your ideal ending for Breaking Bad?