Breaking Bad recap: An Old Yeller Type Situation

Walt tries to talk to Jesse, but Jesse starts working with Hank to bring his former mentor down
Ep. 12 | Aired Sep 1, 2013

A POOL GUY Walt really likes sitting outside next to a pool.

Ursula Coyote/AMC

Walt explains to Junior and Skyler that there was a pump malfunction at the gas station, which covered him in gasoline. In his hurried attempts to get himself cleaned, he left his clothes on the floor in the living room, Walt says -- his nose growing visibly while he weaves his tale.

Walt Jr. just wants his dad to tell the truth. The cancer caused him to faint, didn't it? Walt clings to his terrible lie -- it was a pump malfunction, he insists. Walt says that they can't stay here. Junior suggests they ask to stay with Hank and Marie. "Hey, what about a hotel?" Walt counters.

Cut to Walt sitting in dark car with Kuby and Saul. Saul wants Walter to kill Jesse. "We were wondering if this isn't an Old Yeller type situation," Saul says. "Old Yeller?" Walt asks. "Yeah, Old Yeller was the best, most loyal dog there ever was. Everybody loved that mutt. But one day he showed up rabid and little Timmy, for Old Yeller's sake, had to, well, you saw the movie. "You're full of colorful metaphors, aren't you Saul? Belize. Just brimming with advice. Do not float that idea again. Find him," Walt admonishes. Although he doesn't explicitly say it, Walt believes Jesse is family. And like Hank before, Walt won't kill his family -- at least not yet. (SEMI-UNECESSARY UPDATE: I forgot to note that Saul is mixing up his dog owners. Timmy owned Lassie; Travis owned Old Yeller.)

In the extremely fancy hotel room, Skyler pours herself a glass of vodka. She is not amused. She let Walt get away with his lie back home, for Junior's sake. She knows they are in danger, that someone would be knocking at their door one day. Walt asks her if she remember Jesse Pinkman, and tells her that he was the one who broke in and poured the gasoline everywhere. Walt says that Jesse changed his mind.

"What's your course of action," Skyler asks. "I'm going to talk to him, make him see sense," Walt says. "So I'm clear, these are just euphemisms you're using," she counters. "What does that mean?" Walt says incredulously. "Walt, you need to deal with this," she tells him. Like Saul, she wants her husband to kill Jesse. Something Walter is reluctant to do. "This is a big overreaction," he says. "Jesse isn't just some rabid dog, this is a person." "A person that is a threat to us, I mean my God, where we are now with Hank and Marie and that awful tape we made, after everything we've done, you can't just talk to this person," Skyler says.

"What exactly are you saying," Walt says, his eyes reddened with tears. "We've come this far for us, what's one more?" she quietly cries.

Coming on the heels of Anna Gunn's "I have a character issue" op-ed in the New York Times, Skyler's actions here fan the flames of Skyler hate. Although Skyler has slowly been completing her transition into Lady Macbeth, her speech sets out to make her the bad guy, with her husband playing the part of the pacifist.

So why did Jesse back out of his plans to burn the White home down? We get another time jump. It's back to the house, with Jesse pouring the gasoline. He takes his lighter and sets a magazine on fire. He's about to drop it, when Hank appears out of nowhere, and offers him salvation. How did Hank show up at the exact right moment? Perhaps it was the dome. (But really, Hank has been following Jesse since Goodman's -- probably since he canceled his appointment last episode.)

NEXT: The war begins

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