Entertainment Magazine

Review #2986: Breaking Bad 4.7: “Problem Dog”

Posted on the 30 August 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Henry T.

Written and Directed by Peter Gould

There are so many balls up in the air for this show that it might be easy to get lost. Walter White is the unquestioned lead of “Breaking Bad”, but if you watched this episode, you might think he’s more of a supporting player. There was development in the car wash storyline, Gus’ escalating war with the Cartel, and Hank’s investigation into Gale’s murder. Hank’s investigation was, arguably, my favorite part of the episode. Some might think it’s the journey of Jesse, especially since we follow him through the episode from beginning to near the end. That speech at the end was a little on-the-nose for my taste and I liked the accelerated pace of Hank’s storyline more than that. Like I said, newcomers might wonder if Walt is even in this episode.

Review #2986: Breaking Bad 4.7: “Problem Dog”

Advancing time in the story, Walt and Skyler are paying for their dive into the criminal lifestyle. Frustrations already mount, as Junior’s Challenger car can’t even get returned for even a large portion of what Walt paid for it. Not that Walt really cares given how much money he makes from the Fring organization. He makes so much money that he can take one last joyride in the Challenger (no sense in wasting a great muscle car like that, a typical symbol of machismo), then destroy it, and have Saul get rid of it.

It’s the usual point of the whole series: Walt has been so emasculated by his lifestyle and work that the joyride was his method of letting out every one of his frustrations keeping him down, a way to make himself feel more like a man. He wants to be a man, wants to provide for his family. He doesn’t think it’s such a big deal, contrary to what Skyler thinks. She’s getting better at the money laundering and running the business side of car wash, yet she can’t get her victory. Walter makes so much more money than she was expecting that it overwhelms her. She told Walt that he was in over his head in the previous episode. This time, it is she who is in over her head. How is she going to cover such a large financial windfall? I would expect her to hide it in the house for the time being and discreetly spending it. She’ll come up with something. The Whites are resourceful people. What that is remains to be seen.

Jesse’s methods of dealing with the fallout of Gale’s murder are fascinating. Killing zombies in a video game is one thing, Walt asking him to murder Gus the first chance he gets is another. Jesse gets his chance to kill Gus, surprisingly, and even though I knew for the most part that he wasn’t going to take it, there was a part of me that wondered if he might pull out the ricin poison at the meeting. Speaking of the ricin, it seems Walt has found a weakness of the camera inside the super lab: it has a blind spot inside the office. The ricin cigarette has to figure into future happenings on this show. They don’t often forget about something like that.

Jesse is being pressed from all sides now. He’s graduated to armed muscle for the Fring organization since it looks like the Cartel didn’t take Gus’ offer to buy them off. War is coming and the possibility that something or someone else can take out Gus before Jesse does. Jesse’s guilt over all of the murder and death in his life leads to his speech in the NA meeting. Spelling out the point and seeing that Jesse boils over, then losing it on the NA members, worked for me to a point. This is something the show has done several times before so I felt the speech, while fabulous in its delivery by Aaron Paul, felt unnecessary. We’re already in his head space by spending so much time with Jesse throughout the episode. His painting over all of the grafitti in his house with a white coat, essentially absolving himself of his former lifestyle, was enough. The speech was too much on point for where Jesse’s psyche currently is.

Hank’s investigation gets accelerated at a very surprising rate. He arrives at Pollos Hermanos in a walker. He tells Gus that “clean living and vitamins” do the trick, same phrasing he gives to his former DEA colleagues. Notice he’s in a cane when he goes to the DEA. Marie is telling people he’s diving into his physical therapy with vigor. More importantly, his mind is making more and more connections between Gale’s murder and the Fring organization. It may have been too explanatory for some people, but I loved the end sequence. Hank may well have spent the entire week putting all of it together, connecting the Pollos Hermanos napkin in Gale’s apartment to Gus. He’s getting much, much closer to the truth than Gus or Walt or Skyler would like. I bet Walt will come to regret his drunken confession that Heisenberg is still out there from “Shotgun” soon. Hank is asking the right questions, pointing the finger at the right people, and the DEA is coming for Gus. There’s the Cartel and now, the DEA, so it’s safe to say Gus has a lot on his plate.

I love that the show is getting more momentum with each episode. This was a busy episode, but it worked. It’s the middle of the season so there promises to be more complications to come. Walt and Jesse are trying desperately to stay alive, and this might be the first inclination towards making Walt the “big boss” of the meth business. The walls are closing in on everyone. Walt replacing Gus may be the endgame. I’m getting ahead of myself. Any number of things could happen between now and the end of the season. “Breaking Bad” just continues to chug along in its steady, stellar state.

Grade: 8/10

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog