The Telefile

Breaking Bad: Our Weekly 8 for 8

by Ethan Alter September 2, 2013 1:44 pm
<i>Breaking Bad</i>: Our Weekly 8 for 8

There's certainly one way Jesse Pinkman ain’t like Old Yeller… he's not going down without a fight. Here are our picks for the best 8 moments from Breaking Bad's fifth-to-last episode, "Rabid Dog."

8) They Sure Must Get High Marks on Yelp
We've witnessed some pretty unbelievable things during the course of this show, but a scrupulous carpet cleaning service? Now we've seen everything. Despite Walt reaching into his deep, meth-money lined pockets to give the cleaners extra incentive to get his wall-to-wall carpeting free of the gasoline Jesse sprinkled all over the place, the guys shoot him down, saying "Sir, sir, we'd love to take more of your money, but you've got gas soaked straight through your subfloor." Getting completely rid of the smell, they add, won't be possible until all the carpet and padding is replaced. We know that the Whites won't be living in that house for much longer anyway, but they really should keep the services' business card on hand -- that kind of honest help is hard to find. (The name of the service by the way? Treme. Between that and Hank forcing Jesse to wear a wire later on, this episode was like one long David Simon tribute. There shoulda been a Homicide shout-out for the hat trick.)

7) Walter's Whities
Okay, Vince Gilligan is just rubbing our faces in it at this point. Literally. After giving Bryan Cranston a week off from dropping trou, "Rabid Dog" showed off Hank's tighty-whities in larger-than-life close-up. Think Cranston has enough pull at this point to at least ask for an underwear double? Or does that kind of request require at least four Emmys?

6) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
After sewing up this year's Oscar for Best Liar in his tour-de-force videotaped performance of Monster 2: The Hank Schrader Story, Walt tried to continue his lying streak, spinning an elaborate story for Skyler and Walt Jr. about why the house smells like gasoline. Short version: There was a "chunk" sound in the gasoline nozzle that Walt was using to fill up his car and… ah, forget it. As Walt himself says, completely unironically, "The whole thing is just so stupid!" And that's precisely what his wife and son are thinking, calling him on his bald-faced lie. Fortunately, Junior just thinks he's lying to cover up the fact that this was a cancer-related slip-up, so Walt's able to hide behind that bit of truthiness. Perhaps he should make a point of videotaping all his lies going forward. It sure makes them sound more plausible.

5) And The Name of that Dojo Was… Cobra Kai
As much as we'd rather see, Jesse Pinkman: Alaskan Adventurer, if this Better Call Saul spin-off goes forward, we hope it finds Saul re-upping his membership at his local dojo in order to fend of future attacks by hot-headed junkies. Remember Saul… sweep the leg.

4) This Line
Partly it was Cranston's note-perfect delivery and partly it was the delicious absurdity/plausibility of the explanation, but we re-watched Walt's line, "That was, probably, for a brief moment his intention, but obviously he changed his mind" -- said in relation to Jesse's apparent decision to not burn the White homestead down -- almost as often as we replayed Pete Campbell's epic "Not great, Bob!" from the most recent season of Mad Men. Too bad the hilarity of the line can’t be as easily appreciated in gif form. (As for the episode’s most chilling line? It had to be Skyler's resigned, defeated "What’s one more?" signaling her willingness to put Jesse down like… well, like a rabid dog.)

3) Crash Test Dummy
In a gesture that can almost be called fatherly, Hank leans over and buckles a freshly catatonic Jesse -- who the DEA's less-than-finest just prevented from violating Smokey Bear's advice against playing with fire -- into the shotgun seat. Wouldn't want your star witness's brains getting any more scrambled, right Hank?

2) The Pinkman Book Club
It's not at all coincidental that the random tome that Jesse plucked from Hank's shelves to fake-read before taping his tell-all about Mr. White was Dutch, Edmund Morris’s controversial "biography" of Ronald Reagan in which the author told the President's life story through the eyes of different fictional characters. After all, this whole half-season has been dominated by people spinning lies and half-truths about others. If Jesse ever sat down to actually read Dutch, he’d probably find a thesis paper's worth of material in there. That is, if he survives long enough to go to college, which he almost certainly won't. (Also sitting on that shelf? A box set of Deadwood, to complement the Treme and Wire references . Is Gilligan subtly telling us he's setting his next show up at HBO? Or maybe he’s just joining the Veep writing staff?)

1) J.P. Phone Home. Or Walt. Whoever Picks Up First
Okay, forget the scrupulous cleaning service. Pay phones that actually work? Now we've seen everything. Rather than walk into what he suspects is a trap, Jesse gives Walt's cell phone a ring via a public telephone and warns him that he's going to "get [him] where he really lives." So he's going to burn down a hotel now? That’s gonna take more than one gas can, Jess.




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