Breaking Bad: Problem Dog Episode Review

4 Sep


In this week’s episode of Breaking Bad, we open watching Jesse play Rage, a video game that reflects his turbulent state of mind.  And if you doubt that he is feeling both anger and guilt, you should get the idea soon enough when the guys he guns down in the game sometimes acquire Gale’s head just as he executes them, allowing Jesse to relieve his worst moment as a human being, endlessly.

Walt has his own rage issues going on.  He’s having to take Skyler’s orders and return the car he bought for Junior.  And pay an $800 restocking fee.  After the car is washed at his new car wash (and Skyler forces him to tip his worker), Walt takes the car on a joyride in an empty parking until he crashes.  Oops.  Can’t give the car back now.  But we always knew he wanted to wreck it.  It’s his money, after all.  And perhaps the best scene in this episode is when Walt rolls up the dealership paperwork and sticks it in the gas tank of the disabled car, lighting the papers with the cigarette lighter from the car.  He then cavalierly tosses the lighter aside, calmly walks a safe distance and sits down for his explosion while he calls a cab.  He later has Saul fix the criminal charges for blowing up the car and he walks away without anyone but Saul knowing what he did.  Unfortunately, this does not actually satisfy Walt’s rage.  The only thing that can satisfy that would be Gus’s death and the ability to take credit for his accomplishments, which would land him in prison.  Walt’s in a bad place.

In the same scene, Walt confides in Saul that he’s just waiting for Gus to put a hit out on him.  Then asks him if he knows of any hitmen.  Saul explains that his contacts have come from Mike so essentially, Walt is out of luck if he wants to hire anyone, then asks Walt why he just won’t do it himself.  Walt reveals Gus won’t get near him so Saul suggests Walt use Jesse.

Apparently, Jesse has moved past some of his rage and is now re-painting his living room to cover up the extended party that took place there.  Walt visits and confronts Jesse, then discovers Jesse has been in contact with Gus.  Jesse admits he’s seen Gus, briefly,  and finally agrees to kill Gus when he gets the chance.  Inspired and excited by this possibility, Walt goes to the lab, and secretly makes his deadly poison chemical cocktail that he created for Tuco in a previous season.  He gives it to Jesse to use on Gus.

Walt has another unsettling encounter with Skyler.  He brings her the first official batch of cash she must launder.  She naively thinks it is going to be maybe $10,000 or $20,000.  She’s not prepared for $274,000 in $50s that will be coming in every other week.  She finally discovers Walt’s true earning capability – $7,500,000 a year.  She informs him that the $50 bills will be a problem and he retorts that they are in the problem-solving business (that is such an entertainment industry response! For a great example of this, watch Wag The Dog).   And, by the end of the scene, a further wedge is driven between Walt and Skyler.

Hank gets Junior to drive him to Los Pollos Hermanos for some fried chicken.  Junior tells Hank about his short-lived status as the owner of a sports car until his mother made Walt take the car back.  Hank seems to buy the story that Junior goaded Walt into the purchase through guilt, but with Hank, you never know.  Gus comes out, greets them, gives Hank a free re-fill on his soda, which gives Hank a great set of Gus’s fingerprints.  He secretly bags the cup while Junior makes his way to the driver’s side of the car.  This can’t be good news for Walt down the line.

Jesse gets his opportunity to try and assassinate Gus a bit sooner than he expects.  He’s brought to a meeting with Gus and a representative of the Mexican Drug Cartel.  Jesse’s asked to make the coffee.  Just as he gets out his cigarettes to try and poison Gus (since he hid the poison capsule in one of his cigarettes), Mike appears with a loaded gun for Jesse to use in case of emergencies.  Gus has got problems of his own.  The representative the cartel sent won’t negotiate.  What’s worse, he looks like an idiot since he set up a giant table for the negotiation and with the cartel sending only one person, Gus looks like he has miscalculated his enemy.  A deadly thing to do with a cartel.  Of course, now the cartel can get blamed for Gus’s impending death, since he refuses to partner with the cartel at their price and they won’t negotiate for any incentive.  Now we have a chain of impending death.  As Walt waits for death by Gus, Gus waits for death by the cartel.

Jesse’s conflicted again.  He doesn’t get his chance to kill Gus.  He goes to a narcotics anonymous meeting and confesses to killing Gale but says it was a dog he killed.  He explains he didn’t have to do it but did it anyway.  Because he was a ‘problem dog’.  Jesse gets so agitated by confessing this that he ends up saying he attended the meetings to sell to them – the ultimate betrayal to a support group.  He stalks out desolate and empty.  Later, Jesse lies to Walt about the missed opportunity to kill Gus.

Finally, Hank meets with the DEA.  Tells them his theory.  That Gus is leading the crystal meth ring in New Mexico.  They don’t believe him until he produces the fingerprints from his cup that match Gus’s fingerprints found in Gale’s apartment.  The walls are closing in for Gus.  And Walt.

Watch Inside Breaking Bad:  Problem Dog

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