Breaking Bad: “Problem Dog” Review

A solid character focused plot makes this episode no problem at all

**Warning this review contains spoilers from the seventh episode of Breaking Bad. **

Photo Courtesy of AMC

This week’s episode was all about an individual problem that each character must come to face this season, or a “problem dog” as Jesse so aptly calls it.  Whether it is Walt’s issues with Gus, Jesse’s issues with himself, or Hank’s issues with his case, each character took some bold steps that lead to one of the best episodes of the season.

The episode begins on a sombre note with Jesse playing a videogame (RAGE anyone), that brings up past memories of shooting Gale. This was a great way to start off the episode, as for the last few episodes we have not seen the darker side of Jesse that I truly didn’t know I missed until it was gone.  As Jesse shoots multiple enemies on screen, his lightgun becoming a real gun, I came to realise that he will never get over what he did. Jesse will be haunted by this for the rest of the series. This became all too apparent when Jessy decided to go to an NA meeting where he discussed how he killed this “problem dog” that was next door in cold blood.  However as he continued to talk about how he cannot be redeemed for what he has done, I came to realise that Jesse sees himself as the problem dog rather than Gale or Walt. This hit me hard, for while Jesse has come to face problems he has had with others over the last few episodes, he has not faced those that he has with himself.  Jesse may never recover from the events he has seen or committed, but hopefully he can come to accept himself. If not, well his problem dog may become an issue that others may have to put down.

Photo Courtesy of AMC

While Jesse was dealing with some internal issues Walt came to face an external one in the form of Gus.  After coming to accept the “It’s either Gus or me” mentality, Walt sought some advice in the form of Saul, but not before blowing up the Camaro that he bought for his son in last week’s episode (LINK). While throwing around the idea of an assassin, Walt lands on the idea of poisoning him, like he planned on doing with Tuco way back in season two. This was a great call-back to such an amazing, albeit dark villain, and I was happy to see that when it comes down to it these writers are all about the details.  However, as per usual, rather than do it himself, Walt went to Jesse.  As Walt tried to manipulate Jesse into poisoning Gus for him, Jesse simply turned to him without word and said he’d do it and that he didn’t need convincing. This was a great moment that showed how much Jesse has changed over the course of the show. Although he can be foolish and manipulated at times, Jesse knows he is fully capable of being in control when needed to be. This was made all the more evident when Jesse cleverly hid the poison vile in one of his cigarettes, which has to be one of the cleverest things ever.

Photo Courtesy of AMC

However, when it came down to actually killing Gus, Jesse could not do it, despite being giving plenty of opportunities that ended up being strangely comical. Whether it be making the coffee, where he could have easily slipped in the poison but didn’t- only to show a single long shot of Gus sitting at a table alone sipping coffee immediately after; or the instance when Mike simply gave Jesse a gun due to the opposing cartel coming in for a meeting, Jesse could not bring himself to kill another being. Why? Maybe because he doesn’t have a knack for murder… but I doubt it. As Mike later tells Jesse, if there were one word to describe him it would be loyal, but just to the wrong person. Whether this means Walter or Gus, as Mike has been having doubts, is unknown to me but he is right never the less.

Photo Courtesy of AMC

As Walt’s problem dog came to nip him in the butt, viewers came to also see the underlying problems that both Skyler and Hank have. While Skyler tried to find a logical way to launder seven million dollars through a carwash, Hank made some bold steps in his case against the meth maker known as Heisenberg. After finding some bags from Los Pollos in Gale’s apartment, Hank went to the restaurant with Walter Jr. not only to eat, but to find some clues as well. Two interesting things happened here. One was the fact that Hank managed to get some fingerprints from Gus. The other was that Gus offered Walt Jr. a job. Though this was a minor event, I found this to be an interesting move of Gus’ part in order to keep the White family close. Never the less, the fingerprints that Hank received allowed him to tie all the loose ends together. At a presentation for his fellow DIA officers, Hank brought up all the info he had and now not only him but the entire agency know that Gale was connected to Gus through Los Pollos. This was a great way to end the episode for it left me with a great air of uncertainty. Now that the DIA knows this connection will Walt even have to kill Gus? Will this lead Hank to further information about Heseinberg (Walt)? Will Jesse be able to at least come to accept himself? These are a great many problems that will not be put to rest anytime soon. However, after a string of solid episodes it seems that Breaking Bad has found its way once again. I greatly look forward to what’s in store for Walt and the gang in the remaining half of this season and whether or not there problem dogs will be laid to rest or forced to be put down.

 The Good: A great character piece that masterly mixes three stories into one solid hour episode

The Bad: Not providing viewers enough screen time with Skyler and her issues with the carwash

The Ugly: The sheer anxiety of waiting for next week’s episode

Overall: 9.5 out of 10