We’re here. At the half-way point. Four more episodes of nerve wracking, hand wringing, lip biting excitement left. How this is all going to wrap up is anybody’s guess. I would share my own theories and speculation, but the minute I think I’ve gotten it figured out, the exact opposite happens. This show is literally impossible to predict. But, that in large is where its brilliance lies. The ability to keep you so close to the edge of your seat, you have to keep a death grip on the couch to keep from falling off. And I have a feeling; it’s only going to get better.
This episode, (number 12, titled “Rabid Dog”) begins with Walter pulling up at the White residence. He sees Saul’s car, where it crashed into the mailbox. Walt then enters the house, through the sliding glass door, and much like the first episode of the final 8, begins a slow, cautious walk through the house, peeking in every room. Only this time, he’s packing heat. As hit foot touches down on the gasoline-soaked carpet, it makes a squish, causing Walter to pause, before going down the hall. He takes cover behind a wall and yells, “Jesse!” before proceeding through the house.
“You show yourself right now!” Walter demands, but no one is revealed. As he continues down the hall, we see the abandoned gas can. So, what? Did Jesse spend all that effort to cover the house in gasoline, only to leave? Did he forget a lighter? Did he have second thoughts? Not likely, last time we saw him, he seemed pretty hell bent on destruction. So, what gives?
Walter continues through the house, stalking what turns out to be no one. He returns outside to where Saul’s car was left the door frantically beeping, having been left open, and the motor still humming. Walt leans in, shuts off the engine, and picks up a dusty CD as skateboarders go whizzing past. Then it’s title sequence time!
We return to an inside view of liquid and air being sucked through a hose. As the camera pans back, we see this is belongs to a carpet cleaner. There is also a van for a locksmith parked in the driveway. Walt is looking troubled as Huell bids a farewell before taking Saul’s car back. Before he leaves, Walt stops him and asks if he can swing by the high school and make sure Flynn/Walt Jr is in no danger. He also confirms Kuby is watching the car wash. Huell agrees and informs “It’s all quiet. No Pinkman”, Walter instructs “Okay. Just find him.”.
Walter makes a call to Jesse’s answering message, with one last plea for them to try and work things out. Walt thanks him for changing his mind and promises, whatever it takes, he wants to work this out. He ends the call with a fatherly, “Be safe”. The locksmith comes out and says they are almost done and asks if Walter would like two keys for the new lock. Walter insists they put the old lock back. Everything, same as it was before. This goes against what the locksmith would advise he do after a break in, but says OK.
Inside the house, the carpet cleaners are trying to sucks gallons of gas out of the floor, which is proving impossible. Walter sniffs the carpet and says it’s no good, Skylar will be coming home and everything must be as it was before, and asks the guys to keep going. Even offering them more money, but the carpet guys say the gas soaked through to the sub floor and without ripping up the carpets and completely replacing them, this is as good as they are going to be able to get it.
Walter, knowing a lost cause when he sees one, comes up with a plan. He goes to the back patio, by the pool, strips down and pours what’s left in the canister all over his clothing. He then, tosses the canister in the trash can by the street, but then thinks maybe that’s too close to home and puts it in a neighbor’s trash can. He grapples with this decision, finally getting the canister back out and pouring even more gas on the seat of his own car.
Fast forward to night, when Skylar is pulling up in the driveway. She is looking around suspiciously. Skylar enters the house and is immediately hit with the stench. “Is that gasoline?”
“Ask Dad.” Replies, Flynn/Walt Jr. Walter pops out from the side of the sofa, where he is on floor on his hands and knees, scrubbing in vain at a carpet that will never be the same again. When Skylar asks what happened, an indignant Walter begins to spin a yarn so transparent, even Flynn/Walt Jr. gives his mom, a “yeah, whatever” look. In Walter’s version of the events, he was innocently going to the drug store, when he stopped off to get gas, when he was the victim of a pump malfunction. He heard the ‘chunk’, so he assumed the nozzle would no longer be spewing gas, so he took it out and got a bath full of gasoline. So, he rushed home to shower, ripping his clothes off in the living room, and it was only after he showered, did he realized his clothes were soaking on the living room rug. So, there you have it. Simple as that. “How was your day?” he asks Skylar, as if that closes the matter.
“Please, can you just tell the truth.” Flynn/Walt Jr. begs. A dumbfounded Walter asks, “What do you mean?” possibly thinking Hank and Marie have gotten to him, but in his relief, Flynn/Walt Jr thinks it was another passing out episode. Walter insists it wasn’t that. Maybe he was woozy, but no passing out. Then, in a grand gesture to stop people from asking questions about how the house became doused in a flammable liquid, he suggests they leave the house until they get new carpeting. Flynn/Walt Jr. suggests Hank and Marie’s. That suggestion is ignored and Walter suggests they all go to a hotel. A nice one. Flynn/Walt Jr. is on board. Skylar, not without her suspicions, agrees to go pack a bag.
Next, we meet up with Saul, inspecting his much damaged face in the vanity mirror of a car. Sitting next to him, in the driver’s seat is Kuby. Walter slides in the backseat and they all begin to give a status report on the whereabouts of Jesse. Walter, seeing Saul for the first time since Pinkman destroyed his face, says “Jesus, Jesse did that?” Saul sarcastically replies with, “Yeah, but you gotta understand, deep down he Loves me.”
Kuby gives Walter a run down of all the places they have surveillance set up. His place, his folks, Brock’s. All the various crack shacks. Go kart place, an AA meeting. Even Badger and Skinny Pete, but all they got there was 3 hours of them talking about Babylon 5. (What I wouldn’t give to hear that) But, no sign of our favorite delinquent. He even checked with the police and they don’t have him. Walter suggests maybe he changed his mind about leaving and called the vacuum repair guy, but Saul says you only get one chance with him, and Jesse already blew it. So, where the hell is he? They have literally looked everywhere. Walter demands they keep looking.
“What then?” Saul asks. Walter asks what he meant by that and Saul says “Pinkman is like a bad penny, sooner or later, he’s going to turn up” and he wants to know what to do with him when he does. Walter reasons that all he needs to do is explain why he had to poison Brock. But Saul reminds that Jesse might not be in the mood for “a nuanced discussion of the virtues of child poisoning” and might be more inclined to stab him to death and if that happens, what should they do? Saul reckons they have an “Old Yeller” situation on their hands. Old yeller was a fantastic, loyal dog, everybody loves him, but one day, he showed up rabid and Timmy, for Old Yeller’s own sake, had to take him out and shoot him.
“You’re full of colourful metaphors aren’t you, Saul?” Walter asks, clearly not amused. He warns Saul never to bring that idea up again. “Find him” are his last words, before he leaves the car.
Walt fills a bucket full of ice, and goes back to the room where Skylar is waiting. He spins another yarn about why it was taking so long. Room key wouldn’t work. Skylar doesn’t buy it and refuses to play along. “How is Saul doing?” She asks, calmly, smashing his room key story to pieces. Walter acts as if he has no idea what Saul she is asking about and she calls him on his bulls**t, admitting she say him get into a car with him. Busted!
Walt immediately gets defensive, asking if she were spying on him, to which she steadfast replies, “Yes, and I feel just awful about it too.” She goes on to confess, she played along with the story about the pump malfunction for the benefit of Flynn/Walt Jr, who was in the room at the time. But it’s just Skylar and Walter, well and Holly but she is only months old, so she couldn’t blab even if she wanted, but she’s had enough of being lied to about what’s going on. Walt, sensing no other way out but to try his best to tell a softer version of the truth, starts off by promising this is no big deal, but really just a misunderstanding between himself and Jesse Pinkman, who he remembered to Skylar as the young man who suddenly joined them for dinner one night a while back. (And what a fun dinner that was). He says Jesse is mad over something he “thinks” Walter had done, conveniently leaving out the details of the what he “thinks” Walter did. The poisoning an innocent child so that Jesse would think Gus did it, convincing Jesse that Gus had to be killed. He did admit though that he had done what Jesse thought he’d done, and now Jesse may or may not be out for murderous revenge. No big deal.
Skylar isn’t feeling any better about the situation at hand, and asks “Was he trying to burn our house down?” Walt, trying to make it seem like less of a deal than it really is, says, for a “brief moment” that may have been his intention, but he didn’t do it. And that was all he was hanging onto. Skylar is far from convinced. Walter tries to explain, while Jesse has “issues”, he’s always been more of a danger to himself.
Skylar, taking a page from Saul’s book, wants to know his course of action. She isn’t solid “talking to him” isn’t going to quite solve the problem. Skylar wants Walter to kill him. This is her worse fear coming all too real. And there have already been casualties and tons of wrong doings on their way to where they are now, and “what’s one more” she begs.
Flash backward time. We go back to when Jesse first crashed Saul’s car into Mr. White’s mail box, storming the house and dousing it with gasoline. Only this time, we see him do lines of coke of a CD before he begins. Just as he is trying to light a rolled up magazine to get the blaze started, ASAC Schrader burst through the door.
“Jesse! Stop what you’re doing and turn and face me!” he yells, holding a gun pointed in Jesse’s direction. Coked up, and looking desperate, Jesse looks up at him, and yells, “You wanna know what he did?” Hank tells him to put out the lighter, while Jesse tearfully confesses, “He poisoned a little kid!” Just as a move. Hank agrees Walt is a bastard, no one is doubting that. Hank then paraphrases the Danny Glover line from the 1985 Western, “Silverado”, “I don’t wanna kill you and you don’t wanna be killed” (I don’t know that it was intentional, but the Danny Glover line is, “I don’t want to kill you, and you don’t wanna be dead” Just similar. I found it interesting. Anyway, carrying on) He implores Jesse to put the lighter out.
“He can’t keep getting away with it!” Jesse sobs to the ceiling. Hank promises they won’t, and sutggests he and Jesse work together to burn him down. Jesse gets in the car with Hank. Not wanting to get a ticket, Hank reaches over and buckles Jesse’s seat belt for him as Jesse looks to have gone catatonic.
Timing couldn’t have been any more perfect, as they pull away, Mr. White pulls up, just missing them.
Riding in the car, Jesse asks Hank if he’d been following him. Hank admits he’d been hot on his tail since Goodman’s. Jesse asks, where they’re going. Hank says downtown, “What, am I like arrested?” Jesse asks, much calmer than when Skylar asked that very same question. Hank suggests the more cooperative he is the better it will be for me. Jesse knows, if he is found out as an informant, it won’t be better for him at all.
Next we get to join Marie, as she meets with her therapist and nearly, just about tells him everything without actually telling him anything. But what we get, Marie is very angry. Like to the point of spending hours on the internet researching ways to poison someone and it be impossible to trace. He therapist, who has an acoustic guitar at his side, so in case he needs to sing to a client, is clearly concerned. He wants to know more, but she just wants to focus on her feelings and asks to talk about something else. He asks about work, and she tells him her favorite form of poison is “Saxitotoxon. Derived from shellfish. Produces a flaccid paralysis that leaves the victim conscious through a progression of symptoms. Death occurs from respiratory failure. That is definitely a contender.” Dave the therapist seems very troubled by this, and urges her to consider that no problem is worth using violence to solve. She agrees, and promises she would never hurt anyone, exhales deeply “It just feels good to think about it.”
Marie returns home to fine her purple luggage at the door. Hank meets her and when she asks what’s going on, he sheepishly tries to explain, something had come up and thought maybe she would want to get out of the house for a day or two. She is having none of that. She demands to know why. Hank explains something has come up involving the Walt situation. She asks if they are in dangers, and Hank says they aren’t but still tries to skirt the issue. Marie presses on and Hank relents and shows her a sleeping Jesse Pinkman in their guest bedroom. Hank knocked him out with a couple of sleeping pills. Hank explains, if he puts him in the system, Walt will find out in under five minutes and being in lock up didn’t go well for the last 10 informants, so bringing him to Casa Schrader was the only option if they were going to be able to get anything out of him. Marie only wants to know one thing. “Is this bad for Walt?” Hank says it is. Very. Marie is on board and goes to heat up lasagna. As she walks away, she tells him a phone is ringing. Hank scrambles to find Jesse’s Hello Kitty phone. He listens to the pleading message from Walt.
We now check in with Walt who is sitting and contemplating by the pool, when he is joined by Flynn/Walt Jr. He couldn’t sleep. Walt admits he couldn’t either. Flynn/Walt Jr. asks what’s up. Walt says business stuff, and Walt says it’s complicated. Flynn/Walt Jr. is worried because with Walt being sick again. But, Walt assures him, he’s going to be fine. Flynn/Walt Jr. grabs his dad and they share a tender, meaningful hug. Then Flynn/Walt Jr. leaves his dad to worry more about what is going to happen next.
It’s morning and we are back at Casa Schrader. Jesse wakes up and looks around the room. He picks up a picture of Skylar (dressed in red for all of you into the color theory) sitting on Santa’s lap, (a disguised Walter) and gives it a long look. Jesse and Marie meet in the hallway, and kind of stare at each other like a deer caught by hunter, both anxious of each other’s next move. Marie offers him coffee, he says okay. Jesse walks into the living room where Hank is setting up a camera, while Gomez looks on. Hank greets him brightly and also offers coffee. Jesse says, “That lady, um…I think your wife,” she interrupts to ask if he would like cream or sugar, he mumbles black is fine. Marie comes in with the coffee. Hank tells her this might take a while, and Marie scoots off saying she’ll run errands.
Hank asks Jesse how he’s feeling, and if his head is clear. Jesse says it is, but goes on to suggest this can’t be what Hank means by burning Walt to the ground. He goes on to explain he’s got tons of incriminating stories, but it’s all my word against his, no actual proof. Hank seems unfazed and asks “Gomie” to grab the curtains because his main concern is the glare. Jesse insists Heisenberg is retired and not currently in the business so he won’t catch him with a camcorder. Hank still sees no flaw in his plan and says this has to be done first and instructs Jesse to sit on the sofa and spill his guts. Hank wants Jesse to tell his story, and to start from the beginning. Jesse does, as he starts the story from when he first met Mr. White, in junior year chemistry, and with such disdain is gave me chills, he stares in the camera and says, “He was my teacher.”
Later after the full confession, Hank and Gomie meet on the balcony. Hank asks if Gomie believes Jesse’s account of Heisenberg’s rise to power. Gomie says he does, “unfortunately”. But, he also agrees with the kid, that essentially, they got nothing. Nothing concrete anyway. As Hank puts it, “Just the word of on nut-job meth-head against Mr. Rogers-has-a-lung tumor.” Gomie asks if they should look into Lydia? Vamonos Pests, or Drew Sharpe? Gomie wants to know where they would even start. Hank says, “I say we start with this.” And holds up they Hello Kitty phone and plays Walter’s desperate plea to work things out with Jesse. In the message Walter informs Jesse he is going to be at Civic Plaza tomorrow at noon. He hopes Jesse will give him the chance to explain himself. Walter wants to talk through everything once and for all. He will come alone and unarmed, so if Jesse feels the compulsion to come and shoot him in the head rather than cool-heatedly talking it out, that’s up to him. Either way, he is all in Jesse’s hands. Leaving all the balls in Jesse’s court. We now see Hank playing the message for Jesse, and he knows right away where this is heading and balks at the thought of having to go and talk to that asshole. Hank suggest he go and listen, they will wire him and end up getting a full confession. Jesse can’t believe Hank and Gomie would even suggest this would be a good plan. Walter wanted him out of town and that was before he tried to burn his house down. Jesse says he is more of a danger to him now. “And he’s got a zero-tolerance policy on threats, you know?” Jesse informs. If he goes to the plaza, he’s a dead man. Hank agrees. He knows Walt is ruthless and will do “just about anything” to protect what’s his, except when it comes to Jesse. Hank goes on to tell Jesse, “He cares about you.” Jesse scoffs at the suggestion Mr.White could ever care about him. “Can’t you see?” Hank asks.
“Oh yeah. You mean when he’s not, uh, ripping me off or calling me an idiot, or poisoning people I care about. Yeah, Mr. White is gay for me everyone knows that.” Jesse says, clearly not seeing it.
Hank continues and says based on everything Jesse told them, Mr. White paid for his rehab, ran over those two drug dealers with his own car, saving his life. Made him a 50/50 partner. And these were not things he was obligated to do. Hank thinks he is manipulating Jesse, as if Mr. White doesn’t want to lose him. Jesse still doesn’t see it that way. He is convinced Mr. White is out to kill him. No other reason. Getting him out in the open and maybe hire a “clock tower guy” to pop him off, or sit on a poison needle. Hank promises nothing will happen, it’s a busy place in the middle of the day and he and Gomie will be right there with him. Making it sound like the easiest thing in the world. Jesse tries to press his point by explaining to them, “Mr. White is the Devil.” He is smarter and luckier and whatever they think is going to happen the “exact reverse opposite is going to happen” Hank stops his tirade by explaining this isn’t something they are asking him to do and if he has another idea, this is what is going to happen.
Jesse charmingly announces he needs to p””s and then asks permission. Hank instructs him to where he will find the toilet. As Jesse walks away, Hanks asks for another SD card. Gomie looks concerned and Hanks asks, “What?”. Gomie asks, what if “the kid” is right and it’s a trap. Hanks feigns stupidity and asks, “the kid” and then says, “Oh, you mean the junkie murderer that’s dribbling all over my guest bathroom floor? Well, then he’s right. Pinkman gets killed, and we get it all on tape. Basically admitting Jesse is being used as a dangling piece and Hank has no real concern for his welfare. He just wants to catch Heisenberg.
We go to the civic plaza, where people are mulling around, doing their thing. Hank and Jesse are in the car, Hank is attaching the wire and giving him instruction on how to act. He advises him to just relax and not cross his arms if he can help it. Hank calls to Gomie to make sure it’s all working. He’s got eyes on Walter. He’s alone. As he promised he would be. Sitting on a bench. Hands in his pockets. Hank tells Jesse it’s time to go and almost has to shove Jesse out of the vehicle. Jesse inhales deeply for courage, and he’s off.
Jesse heads toward where Mr. White is seated. He nervously around, suspicious of everyone. A bum holding several bags looks at Jesse like he is pleading. This is all freaking him out. He spots Mr. White and continues in that direction. Someone runs past him causing Jesse to jump. He notices a menacing looking guy standing around the corner. He’s big and bald and has the face of someone who has killed and loved it. Jesse gets a bad feeling and he slows down. He looks at the proximity between where Mr. White is sitting and where this guy is standing. He probably worked out in his head, that would be a perfect distance for him to shoot me in the head. Gomie asks Hank if he sees what’s happening. Jesse is just standing there. Jesse turns to leave, Gomie alerts Hank he is on the move. Hank is unhappy his one shot at getting Walter on tape was now sprinting in the other direction. Jesse goes to a pay phone. Hank and Gomie are watching all this transpire and Hank keeps saying, “No, no, no, no, kid, come on.” Walter’s phone rings.
“Nice try, asshole.” Jesse says, thinking he beat Mr. White at his own game. Walter says he just wants to talk. That’s it. Jesse says he isn’t playing by Mr. White’s rules anymore, and this phone call was really just a courtesy to give him a heads up that he’s “coming for you.” Mr.White stands up looking horrified. Jesse continues, “I figured burning down your house was nothing. Next time, I’m going to get you where you really live.” Walter asks for Jesse to listen, but Jesse had already hung up. Walter looks around, he walks off in the direction of the big bald guys, who was apparently waiting for his daughter and smiles as a little girl runs up yelling, “Daddy, daddy!” He wasn’t there for Jesse after all.
Hank squeals up next to Jesse and yells, “Get in!” as they speed off, Hank is very displeased with how this little field trip turned out. He asks Jesse what he could have been thinking, Jesse says, “Thinking there’s another way. A better way” Hank just keeps looking at him like he wants to rip his face off.
Walter gets back in his car looking very upset as well. Nobody got what they wanted out of that little plan. He makes a call. To our trigger happy, watered-down Matt Damon looking friend, Todd. He tells him he has another job for his uncle.
And that, dear readers, is where they left us. I would love to speculate on what’s going to happen, but every time I think I’m on to something, it goes somewhere I didn’t expect. But, that is what is so great out this show. It’s impossible to predict. And people are really, really trying.
Also, I’ve started a support group for those of you who are having a hard time coming to terms with the end. I know I am.