You have got to admire the writers for Breaking Bad. Giving Saul Goodman the “old Yeller” line was sheer genius and it fits his character like a glove. But the real question here is this. Is Jesse really old Yeller? Or is it Walter? Or someone else completely?
This episode, titled Rabid Dog, was a slow moving preparatory piece. Somewhat akin to a chess game. This show was a sequence of pawns being set up on the board to force the next move. It was also, at the beginning, a trifle confusing.
Last week we saw Jesse steal Saul’s car and zoom up to Walt’s house to torch the place. We see Walt at the start of this episode sneaking up to the house, gun in hand, to catch Jesse and stop him. Upon searching the house he finds plenty of gasoline, but no Jesse.
Walt is baffled and so are we.
But that is alright, this is Breaking Bad, all will be explained. It turns out that Jesse’s other nemesis, Hank, stops Jesse from burning the house to a pile of ashes. Hank wants to partner up with Jesse to bring Walt down.
We also get to see Marie in a shrink’s office talking around her problem. Marie is an odd one. Has anyone else noticed how creepy it is that everything in that woman’s life is purple? Even the luggage.
While this was one of the slower episodes, it did set things up nicely for next week’s follow-on. A new allegiance have been formed and we finally get to understand just how Jesse sees Walt. He tells Hank that whatever they do will make no difference in the end because Walter White is the Devil.
The episode also makes us question whether Jesse really is Old Yeller or not. Saul Goodman’s advice could apply to just about anyone in this week’s scenario.
But, despite Jesse’s claim, Walter isn’t the devil he is Heisenberg. He does have a small trace of the old Walter White buried in him somewhere at the beginning of Rabid Dog. It shows in his initial fixation with “saving Jesse,” his concern and the love for his son.
But the turning point where Heisenberg took over was Jesse’s panic at the “bad guy” he spied near Walter White. But, was it really surprising that after Hank attached the wire to Jesse that he would freak himself out so much that he would sign his own death warrant.
Not really. If we needed any further proof that Jesse is the Trilby in this relationship to Walter’s Svengali, it is shown here. Jesse has come full circle. After his outrage at the epiphany that Walter poisoned young Brock, it did not take too long for him to start flailing about again.
Walter has finally made that last transition to suffocate the original Mr White and to replace him with his own mythical creation Heisenberg. His phone call to Todd, who was instrumental in snuffing out 12 men at the orders of wild cannon Lydia, shows that Walt is now fully his own legend.
Walter White is officially dead. Long live Heisenberg.
Rabid Dog as an episode is slow and a tad disappointing. It lacks the usual crack and pop present in the other episodes. But as a prelude to the next act, it was necessary. And Vince Gilligan still manages to leave us on a cliff by the end.
Jesse says that he knows how to really hurt Walter White. Which to us means he intends to aim for the family. But we all know that Hank will never go for that. Sure, he and Marie hate and loathe both Walt and Skyler but the children, which they themselves don’t have, would be out of bounds.
So the partnership could be in trouble, unless Jesse is talking about the money. That has always been Walter’s goal. Wealth for his family. If Jesse and Hank and his DEA pal Gomez target the cash, that would hit Walter where he “lives.”
But we now have a week to ponder that next actions of both Jesse and Walt. By necessity of the plot line the next episode should be almost manic in pace. We’ve already seen how Todd’s uncle works and with just Hank and Gomez to protect him, Jesse may never get a chance.
And before we sign off, what about Skyler? She made the leap to very dark in one drunken pronouncement. Saying pretty plainly that she felt Walt should kill Jesse, puts her in contention for the Old Yeller award as well.
The Rabid Dog episode, wasn’t so much about Saul Goodman’s equating Jesse to the Disney tear jerker about a mad dog as it was about who really was Old Yeller in the show.
Jesse is the first contender, but what about Marie? Talking to her therapist while concocting poisons in her head to kill Walt. Or Skyler, drunkenly suggesting that Walt take care of Jesse permanently. Hank, who has gotten so wrapped up in his need to catch Walt that he has enlisted the help of his pal “Gomey.”
Or is it Walter White as Heisenberg. His body count thus far is pretty impressive. His swift reaction to Jesse’s threatening phone call puts him right there in Old Yeller’s paws. Next week should prove whether it really is Jesse who is Old Yeller or someone else.
By Michael Smith