Breaking Bad: Confessions and Rabid Dog
Editor’s Note: This post contains spoilers for the episodes of Breaking Bad that aired Sunday, August 26 and September 1, 2013. If you haven’t viewed these episodes yet and do not wish to know what happened, stop now or forever hold your peace. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
I told you I was going to write more. Did you think I was kidding? Doing a little catching up and combining the last two Breaking Bad pieces here, but I think it works because these two episodes were both exceptional (Seriously, has there ever been anything on television as good as the last four episodes of Breaking Bad, be it drama, comedy, or TV movie/mini series? If there has been I can’t think of it.) but they were as different as they could possibly be from a pacing standpoint.
Confessions, like the previous two episodes of this mini-season, charged ahead at breakneck speed, driving the plot forward with revelation after revelation, from Walt’s complete ownage of Hank with his pre-taped confession (what a brilliant callback to the very first time we met Walter White in season 1 as well as being one of the all-time awesome Heisenberg moves) to Jesse’s discovery of Walt’s involvement in Brock’s poisoning. That latter scene bothered me some at the time as being a tiny bit too convenient of a discovery, but the more I thought about the more plausible I found Jesse being able to link his pot being lifted from his pocket to the ricin cigarette being pilfered in the same fashion. Now we know Jesse has at least part of that scenario wrong (it was the Lily of the Valley plant that Walt used to poison Brock, not the ricin,) but he’s got the important part right. This is enough to send Jesse into his drug fueled, carpet dousing fury at the White’s house, where the episode ends.
One random observation from this episode: How absolutely perfect was the scene between Team Hank and Team Walt at the Mexican restaurant, with the unbelievably tense awkwardness broken only by Trent the waiter’s cheerful upselling of the table side guacamole? It’s the little dabs of humor that sometimes appear in those dark moments that make this show truly exceptional and different. (Another contender, Walt tearing into the parking lot of the car wash after Saul warns him about Jesse’s discovery, and then comically fast walking to the door and taking that brief pause to compose himself. Just great stuff.)
Rabid Dog, on the other hand, took the foot off the gas pedal considerably, but was no less compelling for its lack of manic plot movement. From the first scenes of Walt arriving at his house and finding Jesse gone (though the suspense leading up to Walt’s realization that the house was empty was tremendous. How many of you thought that the long pullback shot of Walt at his bedroom door was going to reveal Jesse standing there with a lighter in his hand?) This episodes was all about the little things, the mundane everyday life that masks Heisenberg’s existence to the rest of the world, about Walt’s incessant lying (does he even consciously know when he lies now, or is it just a reflex action?), and about moving pieces into place for the dash to the finale.
The biggest of those moves, of course, is Jesse working with Hank and the DEA (or at least his buddy Gomie – don’t think Hank has brought this to the attention of the full department), even though he bagged out of their meeting with Walt due to his paranoid fear of a man waiting on his daughter, and his insistence that Walt will somehow kill him in broad daylight and get away with it, because he’s “the devil.” The show closes though with Jesse walking away from that meeting and getting back into Hank’s car, saying that he knows a “better way” to get Walt. Even though Hank his skeptical, I’d put my money on Jesse, given his track record of success when he has an idea that doesn’t involve using meth or tossing cash out the window (see magnets, train robbing, ability to spot a choice green bean, etc).
So what is the idea? And can Jesse execute it now that Walt has called in Todd and his neo-Nazi exterminator team to take care of the Jesse problem? Well, we know this: Jesse is still with Hank, so his plan can’t involve an outright hit or anything too illegal, so my bet is that they go after Walt’s legacy, the entire reason that he got into the meth business in the first place: the money. And to get the money they have to go after Skylar and Saul and associates and the car wash. Remember, it’s the money trail, usually taxes, that always takes down the criminal boss (hello Al Capone). My guess is that Jesse is convinced that even if they got Walt on tape confessing his crime, that Walt would still be the “winner,” as long as the profits from his work are undiscovered.
That’s my guess. What’s yours? Oh, and just remember, in four weeks there will be no more Breaking Bad, ever. (That was mean, sorry to ruin your day like that.)