In this week’s Breaking Bad recap, Matt Zoller Seitz focused on Walt’s “waffling” between Walter White and Heisenberg. Seitz wrote, “We’re seeing Walter White in most of these scenes, not Heisenberg. Heisenberg wouldn’t spare Hank or Jesse, or perhaps even think about it, unless there were good strategic reason. But Walt wants to.” Here’s what you thought about “Rabid Dog.”
Some of you worried about the fate of Jesse …
“I didn’t realize how badly I want Jesse to get out of this mess alive - until the near panic attack I had towards the end of this episode. Seeing Jesse slowly approach Walt in that wide open plaza, thinking nothing can be put past Walt … I may have to call in sick to work on Mondays once we hit the last two episodes.” –lady_dayna
“I was thinking during this episode, all I really want now from this series is for Jesse to come out on top. And for Walt Jr.’s disappointment and disillusionment in his dad somehow really hurt Walt, or at least get him to feel a little bit of pain for all he has done. But really, poor Jesse, pretty much always taking the highest available road once he had snowballed himself into this mess so I must say it was really a shock to hear Hank dismiss him as just a meth head accomplice, that gets pushed to the back of my mind because of all of his internal conflict. I really hope he gets some kind of redemption for maintaining some sort of moral compass all this time.” –nikki5
… while others were less sympathetic.
“Lovable and sympathetic though Jesse is, I think the oft-spoke notion that he’s a good person is a weak one. This man, or man-child, has murdered someone he knew to be innocent in cold blood to preserve his and his partner’s own interests. He’s cooked crystal meth and rubbed shoulders with murderers for two years. He’s seen a child killed by someone he knows to be evil, and ultimately, he did nothing about it, other than … punch the guy. Any truly good person would have left his profession and evoked justice (turned themselves in / gone to the police, etc) long before it turned personal like it did when he realized Brock was one of the (many) victims of Jesse’s association with Walt. The fact that Brock’s poisoning is the thing that made Jesse flip 100% on Walt, and not several other things, makes it seem more of a personal than a moral decision. I love Jesse as much as any viewer, I’m sure. He’s lovable, childish, loyal, naive, and often insanely guilt ridden, but it does not mean at the end of the day he’s a good person. Jesse hates himself and knows he’s a bad person - and it’s not just because he has a guilty conscious. He knows what he is. Some people that watch the show seem not to.” –Hendoism
“Walter White might be the devil but better the devil you know than the one you don’t. Jesse needs to grow up and grow a pair and stop being a victim. Walt wouldn’t need to manipulate and ‘work’ him so much if he wasn’t always effing up. In fact, Jesse was at his best when he was with Mike. He seemed to really grow a brain and start making good decisions, albeit criminal ones. Still, I began to respect Jesse as an adult. Now he’s reverted back to the anguished kid who needs a hug. Enough already! I hope Walt has the nerve to send him to Belize.” –triniman65
You discussed the roles of children and family …
“I’ve been intrigued by the casual images of kids all series long, and this season in particular, on the periphery of the action. There’s the boy playing with his remote control car in the cul-de-sac outside Hank’s house while Hank and Walt face off in the garage (and later when Walt comes tearing out of the driveway). There’s the kids riding bikes past Walt’s house as he approaches, under the assumption that a crazed Jesse is inside. The little girl in the plaza where Jesse and Walt were set to ‘talk’ without knowing what the other had in mind. This is to say nothing of the kid from Peekaboo, Brock, or Drew Sharp who were affected by the violence of these men and the meth trade, or the other kids in the story like Kaylee Ehrmentraut and the White kids. I think the subtle inclusion of these kids in these scenes helps to highlight just how dangerous and violent these events are, in case we were ever feeling too complacent about them.” –pennywise
“Is anyone offended by the way Walt treats his son like some kind of ‘lap dog’? Walt, Jr. is sixteen years old, but is consistently condescended to and patronized like he is a toddler by his father. I have always thought that considering Walt’s over inflated ego, that having a son that was handicapped was something that he could never accept subconsciously. Walt never treats his son as just a normal kid who happens to have a handicap, but instead as someone who is inferior because his is handicapped. And he does this, not with overt cruelty, but just as cruelly … with manipulations, condescension, and disrespect. It always breaks my heart when you see how much unconditional love and concern Walt Jr has for his father … and how disconnected Walt Sr. is from truly seeing his son.” –JustAnIdea
“In last week’s episode Walt was the one who comforted, and hugged Jesse in the desert, without any hesitation. At the same time it’s painfully obvious how concerned Walt Jr. is for his dad, and how much he needs to be comforted, and Walt is completely oblivious. The hug scene from last week kinda mirrored this week’s between father/son & father/son figures, and it’s interesting how they contrast.” –jackisadullboy
“In the scene between Walt and Walt Jr., I noticed that Walt’s rotten-liar personality is the same as his loving-father personality. Both look utterly fake. In his scenes with Junior, Walt has always seemed to be acting like a loving father rather than actually being one.” –raker
“I’m starting to think it’s possible that, somehow, Walter Jr. will get to come out of this never learning the awful truth about his father. I’ve no idea how that could work, but dramatically it just feels more and more plausible. In fact I’ve kind of just convinced myself. That will be the big win for Walt. It won’t be about leaving his family a large nest egg, but of getting to die without his children seeing him as a frightening and repulsive monster, as he (sort of) remembered his own father.” –NameUndecided
… and examined the Heisenberg-Walter White shift.
“I think Walt is struggling with his decisions and being insufficiently ruthless is because Heisenberg no longer exists. There’s no empire, kingdom, or the pork pie hat. He’s just a felon with a lot of money and cancer and on the run. That surely affects the Heisenberg personality that was always dominant. Can he really believe ‘I’m the one who knocks’? Even ‘Tread Lightly.’ That not a command not to tread. Just to be careful and threatened. Can you imagine Heisenberg ever saying something so ambivalent?” –Drum1871
“I believe the reason Walt has protected Jessie and now resists killing him is not so much his feelings for Jess as it is ‘the final straw.’ To Walt, Jessie has come to represent the last bit of humanity left in him, the last bit of ‘Mr. White.’ Once Jessie is gone there will be no “Mr. White” left. Only Heisenberg. And Walt knows this and fears it.” –MrGordo
“I suppose one of the longest debates about Season Five Pt. 2 will be: Are we seeing the re-emergence of Walt, or is Heisenberg just wearing a ‘Walt’ costume more often? The way he turned on Skyler — ‘Excuse me, were you SPYING on me?!’ — tells me he’s still mostly Heisenberg.” –seanmurd
Some viewers critiqued the episode…
“I thought this episode wasn’t quite up to the first three. Perhaps a little too plot-oriented and lacking much of the quirkiness and humor that we’ve come to expect — although the Old Yeller euphemism was fairly spot-on. And has there ever been any other show in the history of television to make such frequent use of the chrome-domed? Marie’s scene with the shrink was a nice departure but I found large segments inaudible. And I refuse to use the closed-captioning. My prediction is that the use of Todd’s uncle will have predictably tragic ramifications. One final item: With the exception of that closing phone call, Walt seems to have been steadily regressing to pre-Heisenberg Walt. He comes across of indecisive, flaky and unfocused. Did anyone catch Skyler’s expression during the hilarious pump story? The real bummer is that many of us will forgo the initial airing next week to watch the Giant game.” –KDMz
“Still love the show but the way Hank is pursuing his case is really starting to seem implausible. Given how much Jesse has given them, wouldn’t they just bring in Saul, Lydia, Todd, and Walt and see who turns on whom? Since Lydia and Todd are still actively producing meth, it wouldn’t seem super-hard to catch them in the act with a more organized surveillance. It also seems crazy that they would conceal something like finding out what happened to Drew Sharpe. As far as Hank knew, Walt only killed other people involved in the drug trade before. You’d think finding out he was party to the killing an innocent kid would really raise the stakes. Also, does Jesse not care what happens to himself at all? Hank can’t just promise him immunity. He killed Gale after all. A judge would never sign off on it.” –rklin
“I haven’t found Skyler believable at all (in terms of consistency in her character development) during this half of the season. First she swings from being emotionally abused to the point that she wants Walt to die to being willing to side with him over Hank and Marie and actually threaten them, and now we get this Lady MacBeth nonsense, which Gilligan must have known would simply incite the crazies to suggest that she was pressuring Walt into the business all along. They didn’t offer enough of a set up to these lines being crossed on her part. Being willing to take the meth money for Hank’s rehab was believable. Being willing to blackmail her sister and murder someone rather than confess, not so much. Her line about ‘what’s one more?’ gives the impression that she knows about Crazy 8, Emilio, Jane, Gale, the 2 dealers he hit with the car, Drew Sharp, Mike, Fring’s other employees and the guys in jail, when really the only murder we ever saw her learn about was Fring’s. Everything leading up to this point has suggested that she’s genuinely in the dark about the violence Walt has engaged in, now it seems that she knew all along.” –holdforhollisgreen
“I must say, I was not happy with this episode of BB. Jesse is the most redeemable character on that entire show and it hurts to see him being used over and over again. He’s a good kid. Hank is back to the arrogant copper from season one, but less funny. Skyler- I defended her decisions up until now. How dare she suggest that Walter kill Jesse? This better end well for Jesse.” –CharlieSalinger
… while others praised the writers’ ingenuity.
“Breaking Bad always does what you least expect it to. That’s what’s amazing about it. Vince Gilligan knows what’s going to take the viewers by storm. I’m sure only a few people guessed that Hank would be the one to stop Jesse from burning down the house (after last week). Many were guessing that Walt would catch him and stop him. Maybe the show will end in a way that no one has theorized yet. Maybe it’s going to be the biggest surprise yet. The biggest plot twist yet. As long as it’s satisfying, though, I’ll be happy.” –emilystars
And, as always, you made plenty of predictions.
“It would make total sense to me if Hank’s idea of Jesse’s death being caught on tape would be Walt’s ultimate downfall. How symbolic wouldn’t it be if all of his crimes, dirty moves and mind games didn’t matter; if the first thing that could send Walt to jail and incriminate him was Jesse’s death? As much as I love Pinkman, I have a strong feeling that his destiny will be one hell of a heartbreak for all of us.” –helolis
“Notice that the finale of season 5.1 (“Gliding Over All” ) could have been called “271”, the name of the Walt Whitman poem from which the actual title is derived. “Felina” is the elements Fe, Li, Na (as some people guessed), but that’s the easy part. The title cards of Breaking Bad, like the periodic table, show the atomic numbers of each element (in the green squares). So Fe=26, Li=03, Na=11. So “Felina”, as a number is 260311. But Felina is an anagram for Finale, so rearrange Felina (260311) to Finale (231106). Put the half-finale and the finale numbers together, and you get 271, 231, and 106. These are three titles of poems from the Whitman book from Gale that incriminated Walt. Ready for the answer? Drum roll, and… “Gliding Over All, To a Pupil and to a Common Prostitute.” If you don’t think this is a reference to Jesse and Wendy, the poem “To a pupil” references Jesse’s idea about building a magnet, and the poem “To A Common Prostitute” tells the prostitute to remember the speaker’s name.” –Waltsblue123
“Finally, indulge this pet theory for a sec. Many posters have opined that something terrible is in store for Walt Jr. Usually it’s his death that is predicted. But what if it’s something more poetic and cruel than that? Here’s my take on how this might be the case: what if Junior, accidentally stumbling upon Walt’s ‘confession’, decides to take matters into his own hands and kill Hank? Walt’s original purpose for the video was, after all, to get Hank to back off, to keep the peace until he dies. But, the reverse happens: Walt Jr, taking his father’s whimpering pleas to heart, kills his uncle to save his family from him. In effect, Walt’s convincing performance destroys the innocence of the one person close to him who had been completely in the dark concerning his crimes. The coup-grace probably would be Junior discovering how wrong he was in killing his uncle.” –ed68
“My prediction: Jesse’s idea for how he and Hank can get Walt will be a good one. But then the overeager Hank will tip his hand, revealing that his supposed fatherly empathy for Jesse is a cynical fake, and Jesse, disappointed once again by an older man, will back out. Jesse won’t forgive Walt, but perhaps they’ll come to some sort of … well, I don’t know. Not a reconciliation, certainly, but maybe some sort of final honesty or something. The genuinely caring relationship between those two, abusive and exploitative though Walt has so often been, has always been the emotional core of the show.” –enteravalue