It had to happen. Among the 58 episodes of Breaking Bad that have aired so far, there had to be a clunker. Sure, there have been a few "filler" hours in the series' run, but none that felt completely out of place like tonight's "Rabid Dog."
Beginning with Jesse's ricin revelation last week, what follows in this episode seems to come straight out of long-running procedural that just needs the story to move along, disregarding any thought to careful plot lines.
The most exciting exposition comes at the end. Walt sits alone in his car and calls Todd to tell him he might have another job for Todd's Uncle. We assume he means Jesse -- who had just blown off an attempt at reconciliation, perhaps foolishly, with Mr. White, and basically declared war on Heisenberg. How Jesse came to this decision, though, was lazy and unfitting of an episode of Bad.
Jesse, who was wearing a wire for Hank, went to meet Walt -- at Walt's request -- in a very public square. On the way to the meeting, Jesse saw a big, bald, scary looking dude watching Mr. White. Believing the bald guy to be Walt's assassin, Jesse walks away from the square to a public telephone, and dials Mrs. White. "Nice try, asshole," Jesse says. "I'm not doing what you want anymore, okay, asshole? This is just a heads up to let you know I'm coming for you. See I decided that burning down your house was nothing, next time I'm going to get you where you really live." Jesse gets back into Hank's car, telling the very upset DEA agent that "I'm thinking there's another way, to get him, there's another way. A better way."
Walt is confused, walks away and passes by the bald guy, who was just there waiting for his daughter. Yep. Jesse mistook a random guy there to pick up his kid for a henchman of Walt's. Honestly, it would have been better if it had been left ambiguous. (However, at least we do know that Walt didn't have any intention of killing his protege -- despite Saul and Skyler's instructions -- until now.)
"Rabid Dog" started with a promising scene. Walt pulls up to his house, sees Saul's car crash-parked on his lawn. He fumbles around with his gun, walking through his currently not-burned-down-but-soaked-in-gasoline house, nervously pointing his firearm ahead of him, like he's play-acting a scene in a cop movie. He doesn't find Jesse after sweeping through the rooms. He goes outside, with the sound of Saul's car door ringing ominously like Hector Salamanca. Walt finds a CD on the dashboard, covered in a white substance that is probably not white chocolate. Has Jesse fallen off the wagon?
While Huell and Kuby look for Jesse and watch over the White family, Walt leaves a message for Jesse on his phone. He thanks him for changing his mind, and asks to talk. He ends his message with "Be safe." He does still care about his former partner.
Walt has a crew cleaning the carpet. They tell him the gasoline has soaked through, and it will be impossible to rid the house of the smell in the few hours before Skyler gets home -- Walt's ultimate timeline. Walt tries a plan B. He takes his clothes off in his backyard -- and we're treated to another shot of those glorious tighty-whities -- and soaks his shirt and pants in gasoline. In the next scene, Skyler comes home, and we get what might be the worst Walter White lie ever. Yes, it's even worse than the fugue state claim he used as cover for his kidnapping at the hands of Tuco.
NEXT: Pump malfunctions and more euphemisms