Breaking Bad: ‘Rabid Dog”

Oscar Garza, Contributor

After the escalating tension of last week’s “Confessions,” the smart thing for the follow-up episode would be to deal with the consequences of Jesse’s actions, allow for everything to settle down, and pick up the pieces after last week’s explosive conclusion and this week’s episode certainly did that.

Written and directed by Sam Catlin, the episode was more of a slow burn as it starts off immediately after the ending of “Confessions.” Walter (Bryan Cranston) sees Saul’s (Bob Odenkirk) car was left badly parked by Jesse (Aaron Paul), and he enters his house only to discover that Jesse has sprayed it with gasoline. This teaser was fantastic; it featured some definitely pulse-pounding moments as Walter, with gun in hand, just searched for Jesse. It ended with a tension-filled low camera angle, zoom out of his hallway that just was the perfect way to lead into the title credits.

After the credits, we got a perfect example of the dark humor that “Breaking Bad” does really well. As Walt, in typical undecided nature, decided what to do with the gasoline can left by Jesse and his attempts to literally “clean up” Jesse’s mess with a little help from the carpet cleaners. Things got a little bit more complicated once Skyler (Anna Gunn) and Jr. (RJ MItte) walked in,, as it was actually a great moment to see him question his dad. Walter’s story about him getting his clothes soaked in gasoline was not believable for them. However Jr. immediately thought he was lying since he thought “the house incident” happened for the reason that his father fainted as an effect of his cancer returning.

Following that, Walter takes his family to a hotel to spend the night since the house smells strongly of gasoline. Before the close of the day, Walter takes a meeting with Saul in his car, in which the lawyer proposes an “Old Yeller” solution to Jesse, which left Walter furious. After it he returns to the hotel and Skyler, they have a discussion that leads to another great scene performed by Gunn and Cranston.

This entire sequence was also beautifully photographed. Everything from the car meeting and the Skyler/Walt conversation to the beautiful visuals that had Walter telling his son not to worry about him were beautifully captured by Michael Slovis’ cinematography, which portrayed the dark mood of the scenes.

Although Walt’s day is over, we revisit the events of the same day through Jesse’s point of view. Apparently before Jesse could destroy the White’s house, he had a visitor in the form of Hank (Dean Norris), who advises him not to do it and that he can help Jesse bring Walter to justice. Jesse agrees to the Hank’s demands and leaves with him.

Jesse’s videotaped confession scene in the Schrader’s house is fantastic to watch and Paul does such a great job of communicating just how emotionally destroyed he is toward Walt and that he is willing to do anything for him to get his comeuppance.

Wanting to see Walter suffer for his sins is now not only the wish of Jesse and Hank, but Marie (Betsy Brandt) as well.  Marie’s determination to capture Walter has been fascinating to watch and Brandt has really been showing some of her best work in the series.

This all leads up to a suspenseful sequence that caps off the episode in a sequence right out of a 1970s conspiracy thriller film. Hank uses Jesse to attend a meeting with Walt, since it was Mr. White who called him and asked him to be there and got him to spill everything on audio.

It’s all constructed fantastically, with minimal amount of dialogue and instead relying on suspense from editing and character moments. Of course something happens, which makes Jesse change his mind. His call, from a payphone no less, to Walter, where he just calls him out and insults him did a great job of solidifying that it really means war now for this duo. It was a risky move by Jesse, as he must’ve known that Hank would probably get furious with him–which he did.

It’s such a great character moment for Walter, one that further makes everything that much more tragic, when he needs to call upon Todd (to presumably deal with Jesse). Since he cares so much about Jesse, the fact that he is willing to enlist the help of Todd to do something bad, just speaks volumes about his downfall.

We are right at the middle of the ending of “Breaking Bad,” and “Rabid Dog” showed us not only the consequences of Jesse’s rage from the last episode, but also how his newfound ally, in the form of Hank, will help bring Walter White down. If there is any indication with Todd’s new assignment is that it’s probably not going to get any prettier either. If anything, it represents that sides are being taken and the final lines are being drawn as the conflict is bound to escalate in the coming episodes.