This episode of “Breaking Bad” begins where last week’s ep left off. Walter pulls up to his house with a gun and stalks around the back, trying to figure out if Jesse’s inside. He pulls the back slider open and can see the gasoline container in the room, and when he walks inside, the carpet is squishy.
“Jesse! Jesse! Show yourself right now!” yells Walt. The scene inside the house is right out of an Elmore Leonard crime drama noir. The soundtrack and camera work is phenomenal.
But where is Jesse? We don’t find out until further into the episode, but it’s clear that something – or someone – stopped Jesse dead in his tracks. I don’t know why I didn’t see that coming, but of course, it would be Hank. Turns out he followed Jesse to Walt’s house from Saul’s office.
Saul’s guy Huell shows up, and Walt tells him to swing by the school and make sure Jesse didn’t go after Walt, Jr. Walt calls Jesse and leaves a message, says he wants to fix this. “Until then, just sleep it off, and then call me. Be safe.” Yeah, be safe, so I can kill you later.
Only, I’m just not sure where Walt’s head is at when it comes to Jesse. Would he have killed Jesse if he’d found him in the house? Or is it like Hank says? That Walt has a soft spot when it comes to Jesse. I wasn’t sure about last week’s hug in the desert either. Does Walt really have a soft spot for Jesse? He certainly conveyed that when he told Skyler and Saul separately that killing Jesse wasn’t an option.
Here’s another question: Why did Walt tell the lock repair guy that it was imperative that the old keys work on the house? Why didn’t he want new locks and keys?
The scene with the carpet cleaner, and with Walt ditching the gas container in the neighbor’s garbage bin, and then taking it back out again to pour a little gas in the car – all of that was brilliant. You can just see the wheels turning in Walt’s head, about the story he’s crafting to tell Skyler and Walt, Jr., and the way he goes about backing up the story – taking his clothes off and putting gas on them, then the whole story about the pump malfunctioning at the gas station.
“Dad, can you please just … tell the truth?” says Junior. No, he’s not onto Walt’s dark side – not yet anyway. Junior thinks his dad fainted at the gas station. He plays right into the story, and Walt says ok, he DID get “swimmy” at one point, but didn’t faint. Yeah, that’s a WAY better story than the one HE came up with!
So Walt decides they should all go to a hotel until they can get new carpet in the house. Walt throws the idea out there after Junior suggests they stay at Hank and Marie’s. Walt is good. Real good.
At the hotel, Walt meets with Saul and Saul’s guy Kuby in the parking lot. Here’s where Saul throws out the idea of killing Jesse. “We’re wondering if this isn’t perhaps the ‘Old Yeller’ situation,” Saul tells Walt, and thus, we have the title of this episode. Jesse is a rabid dog at this point.
“You’re full of colorful metaphors, aren’t you, Saul?” Walt says, but makes it clear this isn’t an option. “Do not float that idea again. Find him.”
Back inside the hotel, Skyler suggests that same idea. “Walt, you need to deal with this,” she says. “I mean, my god, where we are now, with Hank and Marie and that awful tape we made. You can’t just talk to this person.”
“What are you saying?” says Walt, suggesting that she’s overreacting.
“We’ve come this far, for us … what’s one more?” she says.
So, maybe Walt wasn’t considering the idea of killing Jesse until both Saul and Skyler floated it out there. Because at the end of the episode, it’s clear he has other ideas, don’t you think?
Here’s where we get the flashback of Jesse at the house with the gasoline. He’s about to light the house on fire in a blind rage when Hank bursts in and stops him. “You wanna burn him down?” says Hank. “Let’s do it together.” He takes Jesse back to his house, where Marie is on board because it’ll be bad for Walt.
I guess Marie’s therapist scene, though a little out of place, was there to show us that even SHE was thinking that Dead Walt is better than Alive Walt, as she babbles on about toxic shellfish. We already knew that, however, when she suggested he kill himself last week.
“Don’t worry,” she tells her therapist. “I won’t hurt anyone. It just feels good to think about it.” Too good, I say. Marie’s a loose cannon.
Back at home, Hank answers Jesse’s Hello Kitty phone and hears Walt’s message. It’s a little bit of proof, better than what Jesse tells the video tape Hank sets up. As Jesse says, Walt’s not even in the business anymore. It’s his word against Walt’s. I had to laugh when Marie gave Jesse some coffee in a DEA cup.
There’s a heartbreaking scene at the hotel pool, when Junior finds Walt sitting there. Walt reassures him that the lung cancer won’t take him down. And then Junior hugs him. Walt is going to implode into himself when Junior finds out the truth and the truth knocks Walt off his white horse. And it WILL happen.
After the recording session, Hank tells Jesse that he wants him to go to the Civic Plaza tomorrow – Walt left a message for Jesse – and Hank will wire him up. “If I go to the plaza, I’m a dead man,” says Jesse.
But Hank says no, Walt still has a soft spot for Jesse, who scoffs at the idea. Oh sure. “Mr. White’s gay for me, everyone knows that,” says Jesse. “Mr. White … he’s the devil … Whatever he says is going to happen, the exact opposite will happen.” After all, he’s been working with Walt a long time. He DOES know him and his motives by now.
At the plaza, Hank wires up Jesse, who’s understandably having a bit of a panic attack. He gets out of the van and walks over towards Walt, sees a thug-looking guy standing nearby, and goes to a phone booth instead. Calls Walt and says, “Nice try, asshole. I decided that burning down your house is nothing. Next time, I’m gonna get you where you really live.”
Ok, so in my mind, that’s the turning point where Walt thinks, this guy might go after my family.” Walt calls Todd and says, “I think I might have another job for your uncle.” Meaning, Jesse’s dead meat.
And the thug? He wasn’t even with Walt. He was just some guy waiting for his daughter. Before that? I still had hopes that Walt and Jesse might reconnect in that father-son way. Now? Not so much.
Your thoughts on this episode of “Breaking Bad”?
I think the bit about the keys needing not to be changed is at that moment Walt was still in lying mode and thinking that he was going to get away with either cleaning it all or just telling Skyler he had a gas pump accident, so if he had new locks that wouldn’t fit his story.
Great recap! SO much tension in these last episodes!
Thanks for the comment! And good thinking on the key thing. Walt’s mind works so fast – way faster than mine (even in an adrenaline rush)!