'Breaking Bad's' Rabid Dog Has Bite

It gets better, Anna Gunn, except when it doesn't. And in the case of last night's episode, things are just heating up for the haterade Skyler is going to be getting.

Breaking Bad is the show of anti-heroes as this episode makes abundantly clear. Those looking for a redeemed Walt, Hank or Skyler — they better look elsewhere.

Last week's episode opened on the banality of crime and murder. Todd and two hit men sit calmly in a diner after there's been a "change in management." (Read: massacre). They enjoy some coffee and head to the bathroom where one man is brushing out a lush mustache and another is rubbing human blood off his shoe as if it were a bug he stepped on.

This week threw viewers straight into the throes of the thrill, danger, horror, and mania of crime and murder.

Walt jumps around his newly gasoline-doused house, gun first, screaming, "Jesse, show yourself right now!" and the camerawork isn't subtle about the high drama, either. There is a shot of a red gas can angled up but tight. That's no longer just a gas can, it's a Red Gas Can of Death.

Classic film noir point of view shots abound except it isn't just a gruff detective looking through the recycling bin at Walt or watching him from a side view mirror, it's a much more menacing, omniscient force. This is surveillance.

Walt lies to Skyler again, but she knows that there was no "pump malfunction" tossing gasoline everywhere. While Walt Jr. is sweet (naive? dumb?) enough to believe his dad's cancer return caused the boo-boo, Skyler knows better. She gets the truth out — Jesse is pissed that Walt killed a little boy, okay — and Skyler finally jumped where we've been seeing her character heading all along. No more thrust upon wife of a meth cooker. She's out to protect her family at all costs.

While Walt says he'll talk some reason into Jesse, Skyler makes it clear she is now in the okay-with-murder-as-a-method camp. "Just so I'm clear, these aren't just euphemisms you're using here," she says, "You need to deal with this."

"A person who is a threat to us," she says. "After everything we've done. You can't just talk to this person. We've come this far for us. What's one more?" At least she's no longer put upon. She's calling plenty of shots.

While Jesse Pinkman has remained the moral core of the show ("He can't keep getting away with this. He can't keep getting away with this!" he screams after attempt number two to blow up Chez White), his goodness can seemingly only stay in tact when he's looking like something between a child (he needs Hank to put on his seatbelt and drive him out of the White's) and a tripped-out owl—sunken, red eyes, jitters, all the classic signs you learned about in high school drug education but, seemingly, without the drugs.

Hank enlists Jesse to take down Walt and says campy cop lines like "Ready to kick some ass, partner?" to his face. But when the former junkie is not around, the DEA agents come out to play. Hank throws himself back into Anti-Hero Land by making it abundantly clear that if poor owl-like Jesse dies in the process, that's no loss to him. Pretty close to two birds and one stone, actually.

Which begs the question, who aside from Jesse is there left to believe in? In the way of like-ability stock, the only character who went up might be Marie with choice lines like reciting the effects of various undetectable poisons then saying, "Don't worry. I'm not going to hurt anybody. It just feels good to think about it."

And, upon finding Jesse in her house asking, "Is this bad for Walt?" Affirmative. "Great. I'll heat up lasagna."

While Walt argues to Skyler that Jesse isn't just a rabid dog to be taken out (Saul, master of the innuendo calls Pinkman Old Yeller), by the end of the episode and Jesse's feelings not quelled, he sits in the car and says, "I'm okay. Todd, I think I might have another job for your uncle."

I suspect they'll be dropping like flies in the final episodes. So will Jesse the dog get fixed?

Image: AMC