Television

Anger a BB Kid…Thoughts on 5.12 “Rabid Dog”

Anger a BB kid, and he’ll try to burn down your house, tell the cops on you and even threaten you “where you really live.” So goes Jesse, flying off the handle after finding out that Walt poisoned a tyke, basically as a chess move. Anger a BB kid? The way this show works, looks like Walt and Skyler might be better off “dealing with” Jesse instead. On a side note, I’m running out of suitable anagrams here and these are starting to feel like a stretch. We’ll see if I have a few more in me.  This was a cool episode, an ultimate ‘table-setter,’ for whatever confrontation goes down next time, but just know that team HankMarieJesse is still outmatched, because Walt has himself, a scary Skyler, a crafty Saul, and Todd and his crew, and I doubt all three of Hank Marie Jesse make it out of next episode. We’ll see. Here are some thoughts I had.

1. And just like that, everyone’s completely compromised

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I guess it was already true, but from my perusing of the internets, Hank’s behavior left a pretty sour taste in people’s mouths, even his most rabid fans. We knew that at this point he’d do anything to catch Walt, but his quip about junkie Jesse dying being good if it gets Walt obviously hit some viewers in the regions – “anything but harm to our favorite heartthrob who can do no wrong because he’s hot and capable of feeling guilt!” It’s pretty hard to do so, but you have to consider it from Hank’s perspective; the guy hates Jesse, and from Jesse’s confession tape, it’s not like Jesse isn’t at least 90 percent as implicated as his partner is. If you’re Hank and you want the worst for Walt, you’d have to be down for Jesse to go too; plus, he’s not even family.

The writers have really painted the viewers with a rooting interest into a corner, though, kind of a catch-22. If you’re anti-Walt, you’ve been pulling for Jesse and Hank, or whatever will lead to Walt’s demise. But if you’re pro-Jesse, you can’t really root for Hank because he’s just trying to use Jesse like everyone else, and if you’re pro-Hank, you have to be willing to sacrifice Jesse for the greater good, which absolutely no one wants to happen.

This all says nothing of Skyler – who now clearly wants Jesse dead – because if you’re pro-Skyler, you must be anti-Jesse, which means you’re pro-Hank, which means you’re anti-Walt, which means you’re anti-Skyler because they’re on the same team. But you just said you were pro-Skyler, you hypocrite!

I guess you could take the moral high ground and root solely for Walt Jr., but then you’re paying attention to by far the least interesting character on the show and you are clearly missing the point.

2. So why not just make it easy on yourself and root for Walt?

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That’s what I’ve been doing. I hope Walt wins (though I’m not sure what that entails), for the same reason I hope LeBron wins every year: he’s by far the best player in the game. The amount of insanely brilliant, death-defying schemes Walt has pulled throughout this series is truly special, and, with the exception of killing Mike, he has had a tangible, logical, usually survivalist rationale for every decision he’s made, even the morally repugnant ones. I don’t care that he’s become a sociopath, I don’t care that he feels no guilt, I just want to keep watching him drain impossible buzzer-beaters.

Another reason I haven’t turned my back on Walt concerns some of the hypocrisy I was talking about in the first part. If you’ve, at some point during the series, stopped rooting for Walt, ask yourself when that point was. Was it when he killed Mike? If that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, does that mean you were okay with him poisoning Brock? If poisoning Brock did it for you, why wasn’t it earlier, when he watched a girl die and chose not to help? If you drew the line at Jane’s death, what about all the people whose lives he ruined with the Blue by choosing to cook in the first place? I read a lot of Reddit comments and stuff, and people literally say things like “Whatever, people are going to get meth anyway, so cooking is not wrong.” That is madness! I guess I feel like the act of picking and choosing which decisions are okay and which aren’t forces you to jump through some pretty laughable mental hoops.

I’m not saying Walt’s actions haven’t become increasingly terrible. I respect the Greatness, as Walt respects the Chemistry, but I am not enamored with the personality. For me though, the path of least cognitive dissonance is just to ride it out with this reprehensible piece of garbage. Then at least I’m not being a hypocrite. But again, that’s why this show is so awesome; it confronts you with these increasingly crazy-ass moral dilemmas and kinda forces you to form an opinion.

3. Good intentions have bad outcomes, and so far, “So close” is so far.

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When people’s motives are most pure, their paths to redemption or sanity most near, stuff is practically guaranteed to get go awry. A lot of recent examples. Walt calls Mike at the end of 5.07 to warn him that people are coming for him – a totally kind gesture – which leads to the meetup where Walt and Mike exchange the bag to send Mike on his way to a life on the run, but of peace. That light at the end of the tunnel ends up being a, you know, death thing instead when Walt shoots him. The next episode, Hank doesn’t find out about Walt’s true character until Walt’s already long out of the game, and back on the road to restoration with his family – just when it seemed he was in the clear and out of dodge for good.

Fast forward to two episodes ago. Jesse is literally seconds from being picked up and disappearing to Alaska, serenity, away from Walt and the brewing firestorm, and it’s only then he has the realization about Walt and poisoning Brock. Finally, at the end of last episode, it is only when Walt is alone, unarmed and clean in his intentions (at least that’s what I took from the scene) that Jesse incorrectly assesses danger, and ends up threatening Walt with whatever elaborate plan is going to happen next episode, which will spell someone’s doom. I don’t know what Jesse means by “hitting you where you really live,” but Walt’s good intentions in this scene might unwittingly do him in.

Random Prediction of the Week: at the end of the episode, Walt calls Todd to say he has another job for his uncle. Obviously we’re led to believe that Walt now sees Jesse as a total threat and is going to try to do him in. But I wonder what the show’s batting average is for following through on events we’re led to believe will happen. Probably about 26.3%, your average major league hitter. So I’ll take the 74 percent and predict that the job for Uncle Nazi Douche is NOT a hit on Jesse. We could likely see Walt fake his own death next episode, and not even know what’s going on till the end.

4 left….

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