“Mr White? He’s the devil. He’s smarter than you. He’s luckier than you. Whatever you think is going to happen, the opposite is going to happen.”
Jesse’s heartfelt words to Hank and Gomy echo my sentiments about the final five episodes of Breaking Bad.[ref]Jesse’s words also lend further credence to this excerpt of my book, originally titled “Going to Hell with Heisenberg.”[/ref] With the immense amount of Internet chatter occurring right now in which everyone and their rabid dog think they know what’s going to happen when Breaking Bad ends, whatever we think is going to happen, the opposite is going to happen.
So, really, let’s just sit back and enjoy this epic story that’s wrapping up far too quickly. When it’s over, we’ll commiserate over table-side guacamole [ref]I will never tire of that reference.[/ref] and regale each other with tales of how completely off we were about the show’s conclusion. In the meantime, if you’ll promise me that you’re not wearing a wire, let’s talk about 10 moments you might have missed in Season 5, Episode 12 of Breaking Bad, “Rabid Dog.”
- This episode’s title, “Rabid Dog,” is a throwback to Season 4, Episode 7’s “Problem Dog,” where Jesse admits to killing a “problem dog,” a.k.a. Gale Boetticher [ref]Who, by the way, is now doing quite well as the good guy/bad guy on Low Winter Sun.[/ref] In my book, I take an extensive look at a particular scene in that episode, where Jesse essentially confesses to his Narcotics Anonymous group that he’s a murderer. Might he soon reprise that role with a different problem dog to put down?
- The very first shot of this episode is a close up a yellow fire hydrant. Yellow signifies danger. Think Gus, Los Pollos Hermanos, Vamonos Pest Control, and the hazmat suits. Compared to the other episodes in this last half-season, “Rabid Dog” seemed a bit slower and less tense, but I think that’s because we’re building toward a heart-wrenching conclusion. Thus the yellow fire hydrant, an early warning sign of impending judgment.
- Jesse’s vacated, crashed car at the White residence keeps dinging, echoing Salamanca’s distinctive “voice” and the elevator bell before Gus’ last stand.
- When Walter lies to Skyler and Walt Jr. about the “total pump malfunction” at the gas station, I think we all knew that Skyler wasn’t falling for it. She knows exactly how Walter lies now. Then we think that Walter Jr. isn’t falling for it anymore either when he pleads with his father to “just tell the truth,” but poor, naive Walter Jr. thinks his dad fainted.[ref]I thought it a little darkly humorous too that Walter used the word “swimmy” considering how “swimmy” Skyler once was. Also of note, there were a lot of pool scenes and a lot of blue in this episode.[/ref]
- Walter White is the king of self-justification. He fully believes that if he can explain a situation, he can make it right. While this has occurred throughout the series, this episode was swimming in Walter’s “if only I could’s.” For instance, when he talks to Saul about Jesse: “I just need to explain to him [Jesse] why that [poisoning Brock] had to happen.” And this, to Skyler about Jesse: “I’m gonna talk to him … make him see reason.” And this, directly to Jesse: “Where are you? I just want to talk to you.” Walter believes that his perfectly logical reasoning will save him.
- The book that Jesse picks up in the Schrader’s home is Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan by Edmund Morris, “the only biography ever authorized by a sitting President.” While this may only serve as a reminder of the Schraders’ political stance, it could also be a small nod to Reagan’s Hollywood history and the fact that so much acting occurs on the show, both in the sense that the actors act, but also that the actors are usually acting at acting for the sake of the narrative.[ref]Sure, this is probably a stretch, but I wasn’t sure what to make of the fact that Jesse picked up that particular book. Feel free to leave a comment if you have further ideas.[/ref]
- Ironically, everyone wants to kill at least someone else … except for Walter. We begin the show thinking that Jesse wants to kill Walter. Later, Saul suggests to Walter that Jesse be killed, but Walter adamantly opposes the idea. Then, Skyler also tells Walter that Jesse needs to be killed.[ref]I don’t think the Skyler Fan Club will be adding members following this episode.[/ref] She coldly says, “We’ve come this far, for us, what’s one more?” And lastly, with Jesse Pinkman out of earshot, Hank seems to plot Jesse’s murder by Walter White as a way to film the hit and subsequently arrest Walter.
- Did you catch all of the colors in that last scene as Jesse walks to meet Walter in the plaza? Three girls walk by; the middle one wears a pink sweater. A runner speeds through, all clad in blue. A city worker cleans the plaza, wearing the requisite yellow and orange vest. [ref]A homeless guy with multiple plastic bags walks by too, echoing the homeless guy that Jesse gave a wad of cash to.[/ref] After Jesse evades the situation he thinks is fomenting, a little girl runs up to her dad, the man whom Jesse thought was going to kill him. She’s wearing, of course, pink. I think the showrunners were giving a visual nod to everything they’ve put into the show thus far, a loud clarion call for Jesse to get the heck out of Dodge.
- Now that Saul seems ineffective in helping Walter get what he desires, Walter’s apparently following new advice: “Better Call Todd!” With Todd’s continually terrifying arc on the show and his likely demise at the end of the show, [ref]That’s a wild guess, but I think it’d be fitting in the moral universe of Breaking Bad. That, or he re-forms Crucifictorious[/ref] I’m going to have to agree with Knox McCoy: Todd is Landry from Friday Night Lights.
- “Next time I’m going to get you where you really live.” What in the world could that mean? Leave a comment and help me think through the possibilities. The first thing that came to mind was money, then family. Or family, then money. Could I be wrong on both accounts? Then again, after looking up next week’s episode title, To’hajiilee, the name of the desert where the money’s buried, my money’s on the money.
What did you see in this episode that you think others may have missed?
Also, if you’ve enjoyed these posts, consider using the share icons at the top to send it to other Breaking Bad fans. If you haven’t read the other posts in this series, catch up at 80 Moments You Might Have Missed in the Last Season of Breaking Bad.