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Breaking Bad Recap and Reaction: S05E12, “Rabid Dog”: It’s Old Yeller time

Breaking Bad Recap and Reaction: S05E12, “Rabid Dog”: It’s Old Yeller time

Breaking Bad S05E12 promo pic, "Rabid Dog"

We pick up not long after last week’s dramatic cliffhanger. Walt pulls up to his street and sees Jesse’s car parked in his driveway with the door open and his front door kicked in. With his .38 snubnosed revolver in his hand, Walt comes through his back hedge, cautiously enters the house, sees the gas can, hears the smush of gas in the carpet, and calls out for Jesse to no response. (I know this is a recap, not a review, but I have to mention just how fantastic the scoring is in this scene, as well as the rest of the episode.) After the opening credits, Walt checks the house methodically, only pausing as we look up from below the final room’s doorknob. Walt cautiously approaches it, turns it, and enters the room. We stay in the hall while he checks, but no one is there. Walt sneaks to the front of the house, again circuitously, checks Jesse’s car, sees a CD with a white residue on the dash, looks around the street, and then shuts the card door, while the kids biking in Walt’s pool in the premiere go by in the background.

As a cleaning crew gets to work on the carpet, Huell reassures Walt that Kuby’s watching the carwash and he’ll go to check on the kids. A locksmith is a bit surprised when Walt wants the same locks kept, despite the break in, but he obliges and eventually, Walt accepts that the gas smell is not going to go away. He takes off his clothes, his .38 tucked into the waistband of his tighty whities, and douses them in gas. He goes to throw out the can in his recycling, thinks again, splashes some on the seat of his car, then disposes of the can in a neighbor’s bin. Much later, Skyler pulls up to find Walter Jr. watching Walt scrub the carpet. Walt spins a tale about a gas pump malfunction, but nobody’s buying it. Jr. calls Walt on his bull, assuming Walt feinted again due to the return of his cancer and, realizing it’s a much better lie, Walt goes with it and then suggests the family go to a hotel until they can get the house fixed.

Saul sits in a car with Kuby, contemplating his post-beating appearance, when Walt gets in the back seat and they start discussing where Jesse may be (prompting a great Babylon 5 shoutout). Walt is confident he can manipulate Jesse into calming down, but Saul wants a contingency plan and suggests Old Yellering Jesse, putting down the beloved friend who’s become a rabid dog. Walt, shrouded in shadow, tells a well-lit Saul and Kuby not to bring it up again, and leaves, heading back to the family staycation at the hotel. He tries to pull one over on Skyler, but she confronts him about meeting with Saul, demanding an honest explanation for the gas. Walt (mostly) tells the truth of the situation, downplaying the risk, and Skyler, after angrily blaming Walt for their predicament, advocates for killing Jesse.

Breaking Bad S05E12 promo pic, "Rabid Dog"

After the break, we’re back with Jesse, right before the end of last week’s episode. He snorts something, pounds on his steering wheel, breaks into the Whites’ house, pours gasoline everywhere, and goes to light a magazine, but is talked down by a gun-wielding Hank, who he brokenly leaves with. Hank carefully buckles him in and they drive off just in time to avoid being seen by Walt in the scene that started the episode. We next cut to Marie, doing her best to stay vague in therapy, but clearly filled with rage and fantasizing about poisoning Walt. She comes home to find some purple suitcases in the entryway. Hank wants to send her off to a spa, but she’s not having it. She doesn’t seem thrilled to find out Jesse’s there, but upon learning his presence in their home is bad for Walt, she’s on board, in an excellently timed and soundtracked moment.

Walt is sitting by the pool at the hotel, alone with his thoughts, when Jr. joins him and they talk, Jr. clearly distraught over his father’s health. Walt does his best to reassure him that he’s not going anywhere, they hug, and then Walt sits alone again before making decision and dialing his phone. We cut to Jesse waking up in the Schraders’ guest room. He contemplates a photo of Walt and Skyler and then leaves the room, surprised to see Marie, who offers him coffee before heading out to run errands. Steve Gomez is there, clearly brought in by Hank, and they sit Jesse down to record his testimony. We cut from Jesse’s description of how he first met Walt, “He was my teacher”, to Steve and Hank on the balcony afterwards. Steve believes Jesse, but admits they’re stuck with a lot of all-but-useless circumstantial evidence. Hank has a plan of what to do next- Walt’s call earlier was to Jesse, asking him to meet so he can explain himself. Jesse wants nothing to do with it, convinced Walt is trying to lure him to his death, but Hank lays down the law- this isn’t an option. When Jesse goes to the bathroom, Steve raises concerns that Jesse may be right. Hank doesn’t care- if Walt talks, they’ll get him with Jesse’s wire. If Walt kills Jesse, they’ll get that on camera instead.

Hank does his best to psych up Jesse while putting the wire on him. As Jesse leaves the van and walks into the plaza, the camera switches between his POV and a tight shot of Jesse’s face. He gets scared off, though, when he sees a potentially threatening man with a clear line of sight to the bench where Walt’s waiting and rather than following through, Jesse walks to a pay phone, calls Walt, and promises to destroy his real home, not his house. Jesse gets picked up by Hank, telling him he has a new, better plan (after which we find out the threatening man probably isn’t connected to Walt), while Walt calls Todd, says he has a new job for his uncle, and walks away.

It’s a less event-filled episode this week, but just as revelatory. What did you think of the episode? We’re now halfway through the second half of the season. Any new predictions for the finale? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

Kate Kulzick