'Breaking Bad' Review: "Rabid Dog"

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Breaking Bad’ season 5 cooks up its fourth of the final eight episodes, "Rabid Dog," as Walter moves his family for safety, while Jesse finds himself dissuaded from burning down the house by an unlikely source, and sets a new plan in motion.

Last week’s ‘Breaking Bad’ episode, “Confessions,” saw Jesse discovering a terrible secret on his way to a new life, while Walt and Skyler made a power play against Hank and Marie, so how does “Rabid Dog” keep the final eight episodes running? Now that everyone but Walter Jr. knows the truth, how will it all end for ‘Breaking Bad?’

Read on for your in-depth recap and review of everything you need to know about ‘Breaking Bad’ season 5 episode 12, “Rabid Dog!”

Walter parks down the street, spying Jesse’s car still in the driveway, before hopping over his backyard wall to enter the house. Seeing no one, Walter enters and smells the gasoline, demanding Jesse show himself. Stalking down the halls, Walt finally enters the master bedroom to find Jesse absent, before checking Jesse’s car to find a scratched CD on the dashboard.

Later, Walter oversees carpet cleaners furiously scrubbing the house, though they assure him they can only remove so much of the smell. Walter has Huell drive Saul’s car and station Kuby at Walt Jr.s school, before developing an idea. With the carpet cleaners gone, Walt soaks his own clothes in gasoline, and his carseat as well, disposing of Jesse's can nearby. When Skyler and Walter Jr. return that night, Walt makes up a story about a gas pump dousing him, before suggesting the three stay in a hotel while the carpets are replaced.

Outside the hotel, Walt meets with Saul and Kuby in a parked car to discuss the situation, namely that Jesse hasn’t turned up anywhere. Saul suggests they give Jesse the “Old Yeller” treatment to end his suffering, but Walt again flatly refuses to anyone killed. Walt returns upstairs, though Skyler immediately calls him on his meeting with Saul. Walt admits that Jesse came by to burn the house down, but when Walter insists he’ll find Jesse to talk sense into him, Skyler mistakes it as a euphemism for murder. Walt balks at her suggestion, but Skyler coldly questions the significance of one more killing, to protect their family.

Flashback! Jesse pours gasoline in the White house, getting as far as lighting a magazine before Hank rushes into the house with a gun drawn to stop him. Jesse screams that Walter can’t get away with his horrible deeds, to which Hank convinces him to drive off with him, just moments before Walter rounded the corner. Hank explains he’d been following Jesse since Saul’s office, but Jesse suggests that there would be nowhere they could go Walt wouldn’t get to him.

Marie sits in therapy, unable to fill her psychiatrist in on the details of her recent troubles, but admitting how good it feels to think about poisoning Walt. Later, Marie arrives home to find her bags packed, as Hank admits they have a guest she might not like to be around. Once Marie learns Jesse’s testimony could hurt Walt however, she resides to stay. In the next room, Hank finds Walt’s message about talking things out on Jesse’s cell phone.

Walt sits at the hotel pool thinking, before Walter Jr. pulls up a chair, and admits his deep worries for his father’s health. Walt assures him things will be fine, but when Walter Jr. walks away, Walt gets out his phone to dial Jesse once more. The next morning, Jesse awakens in Hank’s house to find Hank and Gomie setting up a camera, though Jesse insist he doesn’t have any real proof of the criminal deeds other than his own word.

After Jesse records his testimony, Gomie admits to Hank that Jesse’s word likely wouldn’t mean much, though Hank has another idea in mind: Walt’s latest message to Jesse to meet up and talk things over. Jesse balks, insisting Walter to be the Devil, capable of outsmarting them and killing him, but Hank points out that Walter genuinely seems to care for him, and that Jesse has no other options but to cooperate and wear a wire. After Jesse leaves the room to think it over, Hank admits to Gomie that it wouldn’t matter if Walt really did kill Jesse, as they’d have it on film.

The next day at the plaza Walt specified, Hank wires Jesse and coaches him for the meeting, while Gomie spies Walter on a bench. Jesse nervously approaches the bench, eying everyone nearby as a possible threat, and stopping at the sight of a menacing man apparently waiting near Walter. Disobeying Hank and Gomie, Jesse instead goes to a nearby payphone and calls Walter to congratulate him on a nice try, but he’ll find another way to get him “where you really live.” Walter looks around, not seeing anyone, before walking off by the menacing man greeting his daughter.

Hank furiously pulls Jesse into his van, though Jesse smirks that he has a better way to get to Walt. Meanwhile, Walter returns to his car, coughing as he calls Todd to say he has a job for his uncle. Ruh roh!

Well, we more or less knew from the flashforwards that Jesse wouldn't succeed in burning down the White household, nor would Jesse's death have likely served the story at all, though we appreciate that the ultimate resolution to Jesse's anger sees an unlikely alliance that shifts the focus firmly back to the dynamic between Walter and Jesse. We're now midway through the final 8 episodes, so we needed something of a piece-mover to bring the manic momentum to a slow, and pivot toward the final four.

Of course at this point, there still seems to be a large amount of ground between the current status and Walter White's days of future past, so "Rabid Dog" doesn't leave us with the same edge-of-our-seat tension as before. Instead, we're given more meaningful character moments to ponder, as Walt's genuine concern for Jesse seems to supersede all surrounding voices ordering his death, while both Hank and Skyler display shockingly cavalier attitudes toward eliminating Jesse as a problem. Even Marie seems to want in on the action, leaving poor Walter Jr. the only voice untainted by Walter's dark web of lies.

So, where does that leave us? Lydia and Vamonos Pest might prove viable leads as Gomie suggested (shame we couldn't see Gomie's initial reaction to Hank's revelations), though we're hard-pressed to imagine what better plan Jesse has to get at his former mentor. Not to mention that the wild cards of Todd and his Neo-Nazi family still ominously lurk about, so consider "Rabid Dog" something of a breather, a status quo piece-mover to flush out Walter's real loyalties, and finally set Jesse straight. Next week, meth hits the fan.

What say you? Did you get your fix of ‘Breaking Bad’ bad-assery?  What did you think about tonight’s episode “Rabid Dog”? Stay tuned for more from the cast and creators and join us next week for another all-new ‘Breaking Bad’ episode recap of “To'hajiilee” on AMC!

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