The sincerity of Walt and Jesse's relationship has always been ambiguous. What began as a hapless business arrangement evolved into a partnership fraught with ego clashes, manipulation, and occasional moments of tenderness. But in "Rabid Dog," we may have officially seen the end of Jalter as we know it. You poison my surrogate son or try to set my house ablaze, and we're no longer bros.
Last week we couldn't quite tell if Walt and Jesse's hug was an embrace of the Michael/Fredo Corleone variety, but Jesse's profuse weeping gave us a feeling that it was. Surprisingly, everyone but Walt is totally down to take him out: Saul, Skyler and Hank all see benefit in killing Jesse. Unaware that Jesse is hiding out with the Schraders, Saul suggests pulling an "Old Yeller" on him when he resurfaces which Walt sternly dismisses. Similarly, Walt pushes back on a vodka-soaked Skyler who wants Jesse gone after that little home arson attempt. Walt still believes that Jesse had a change of heart and decided not to torch the place. Even Jesse looks a bit misty-eyed when looking at a photo of Walt dressed as Santa Clause. Aside from the murders and other felonies, they have a standard love/hate dysfunctional relationship. If they were a couple, they'd be throwing each other's gas masks out onto the sidewalk and breaking meth cookery while hysterically crying.
When Walt asks Jesse to meet up and clear the air, Jesse is certain that he'll be walking to his death. Hank tries to convince him to meet Walt while wearing a wire, saying that Walt actually cares enough to not straight murder him. Hank is willing to use Jesse as expendable bait, someone who could either capture evidence to use against Walt or, if he does get killed, help get a Heisenberg-approved hit on surveillance. Hank is disturbingly nonchalant about the possibility of the latter, basically referring to Jesse as a doped up means to an end. Even in a series where the characters' survival depends upon using each other, this still seems particularly low. Though, I'm glad to see this questionable morality from those who represent "lawfulness." Even Marie, who's tangentially related to the law, is dabbling in some murder plotting as she recites poisonous recipes like a pro in all black. There are two people in this universe that belong in purple: Prince and Marie Schrader. This color change is one hell of a signal.
During the meet up, Jesse tries not to wet himself while walking up to Walt but stops when he sees a large bald man in black leather standing nearby. Jesse's convinced that he's an assassin and reroutes to a payphone. He calls Walt and opens with that good ol' fashioned salutation, "Nice try, asshole." Dare I say that it's a sign of maturation that Jesse didn't use his profanity of choice, "bitch"? You're all growns up and ready to dethrone Heisenberg, Jesse. He warns Walt that he's coming for him and that he'll get him where he really lives. Jesse, none of us can believe that anyone stays in that moss and mulch colored dwelling either, but he really does live there. When Jesse hops back into the surveillance van, he tells a spastic Hank that he's got a better idea for taking Walt down.
Back at the hotel, Walt sits by the pool -- his frequent spot for contemplation and general mental disintegration -- and reluctantly calls Todd, telling him he's got a new job for his uncles. You can tell that Walt was really hoping to hash things out with Jesse ("I was really trying not to have you murdered!") but now he's probably assuming that Jesse's gunning for his family. I think that might be too easy and honestly, I don't see Jesse offing a baby and a teenager in crutches. What else does Walt care about? Money? He's already squirreled that away in the desert. Power? He's already retired from the game. Unless Jesse is going to firebomb a Hanes underwear factory or Docker's outlet store, I'm fresh out of ideas. Until next week, Mr. Pinkman.
Breaking Bad airs on AMC on Sundays at 9pm.