‘Breaking Bad': How Do You Solve the Jesse Problem?

Published 2 years ago by

Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad Rabid Dog Breaking Bad: How Do You Solve the Jesse Problem?

Breaking Bad has proven that Walter White may be the devil, but Hank Schrader is certainly no saint, not when it comes to someone like Jesse Pinkman – and definitely not when it comes to something as imperative as nailing his brother-in-law’s derriere to the wall. Both men are willing to do whatever it takes in order to ensure their respective operations are seen completely through to the end – and for Hank, if that means sacrificing a junkie who just so happens to be the former associate of the notorious Heisenberg, well, then, that’s the way the crystal meth crumbles.

You see, when it comes to the aspect of control, Walt and Hank are actually very similar individuals: neither one can help themselves. The mere notion of control, the need to obtain and hold on to it is one of the driving factors in their current predicament. It’s what continues to push each man to insist on handling things themselves, to lie about things like faulty gas pumps and book a weekend getaway for the wife who’s well beyond such passive involvement at this point.

Walt’s need for control shaped his future long before his cancer diagnosis, longer still before he decided to cook meth and before he was ever in the empire building business – though you’d probably be right to argue an empire was exactly what Walt always dreamed of running in one way or another. For these two combatants, control is tied directly to their sense of self worth; without it, they’re nothing. In fact, neither one was willing to have his ticket punched by someone or something else. Not cancer, not cartel assassins, not Gustavo Fring. These two are so obsessed with control; it seems inevitable they will be the ones who decide their own end.

Betsy Brandt in Breaking Bad Rabid Dog Breaking Bad: How Do You Solve the Jesse Problem?

So how do two extreme control freaks handle a variable as volatile and impulsive as Jesse Pinkman? If you’re Hank then your move is to ply the young man with food (in the form of Marie’s lasagna), a little hospitality, and then have him drink (literally and figuratively) from the DEA’s cup. If you’re Walt, you’re still convinced talking it out will solve everything, despite the clamor of voices (i.e., Saul and Skyler) suggesting the only way to solve a problem like Jesse is to go with the Old Yeller treatment – which is much the same as a vacation to Belize, but this time the Disney crowd will get the reference much faster.

This was another breathless hour of television from the fine folks at Breaking Bad, but more importantly, the end of ‘Rabid Dog’ suggests a firmer connection between the present and future storylines waiting to converge on the series finale. Like Jesse said, he’s the only one who could come close to cooking a product as pure as Mr. White, and there just so happens to be someone in the market for a new cook. Sure, Todd’s capable and he’s ready, but he’s no Jesse Pinkman.

Maybe Walter and Hank are right: it is best to always be in control. Because as hard as it is to believe, there are people worse than those who believe they can make a compelling argument for “the virtues child poisoning.” People who think that robbing a train car of methylamine equals the adventure of a lifetime; people like Todd and his neo-Nazi uncle.


Breaking Bad continues next Sunday with ‘To’hajiilee’ @9pm on AMC.

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  1. A pause episode then, like 5.10 but for me lacking the finesse that episode displayed with the wonderful prologue/epilogue of Jesse. Clumsily paced I thought and a little too heavy on the Walt/Hank mirror parallel (also highlighted in the Skylar/Marie angle).

    Still, there is gold in the variation of the ‘Platoon’ device for Jesse Pinkman. Difference being neither “father” figure offers the light in the same way Willem Defoe’s character did in that movie. Indeed, I find it curious that Jesse has not played up the Mike angle more in this respect.

    It was also beautiful the way Hank was correct. Walt does care. It was the perception of the Heisenberg myth that distorted that truth for him. A lovely little metaphor for the dichotomy of Walt/Heisenberg himself.

    I think it is important we are seemingly getting to this showdown just over halfway through. I do not feel this is going to go the Walt v Jesse route. It doesn’t fit. But, like Kevin said, I do feel Jesse might be on his way to New Mexico…

  2. He is the Devil, everything you do is gonna be the reverse of that thing. He is extremly smart and ruthless.

    OMGOMGOMG There’s a suspicous guy in a black leather jacket standing 10 meters away from Mr. White. OMG. You thought you can outwit me, huh? HAHAHAHAHA I’m gonna tell you you failed, a**hole. I see through you.


  3. I F***ed Ted.

    • BÍTCH!

      • Silence!! I kill you!!

  4. When Jesse said “there was a better way to get Mr White”, the first thing i tought was “He’s going for Lydia”. This is getting better and better 😀

  5. While this episode wasn’t as gut wrenching and tense as last weeks which was one of the best the series has ever done this episode was still top-notch from start to finish.
    Because this season only has 8 episodes you wouldn’t blame Gilligan and the writers of every episode was non-stop revelations and non-stop action but a slower paced tablesetting episode was needed and I’m positive that when all is said and done this episode will be looked back on as one of the series most pivotal…
    The saddest thing for me is that Walt does care for Jesse, he doesn’t want to have him killed but in reality he failed Jesse as a parent just like Jesse’s own and just like Walt is failing Jr. & Holly even though he thinks the opposite.

  6. Now that Gomie knows who Walt really is too, it’s just a matter of time before he and Hank get an all-expense-paid trip to Belize.

  7. This will be interesting. Pinkman is going out of control. And walter allways want to control everything. I think that Pinkman is going to make sure that everyone knows Walther’s tru identity by posting flyers and such on his carwash and school you name it”.
    And now walter have asked help from tod who ungle is some nazi s***. Perhaps they will get pinkman but im guessing that they dont kill him. I think that they will try to use Pinkman as a decoy or trap to get walters money. When i saw that walter had that m60 machinegun and he also took that ricin it will go down ugly.
    I really hope that walter will win this battle” but im afraid that walter will win eventually, but hes cancer will take him down. I hope that no one understand the lottery ticket that has the coordinate for hes money hiding place.

    Im waiting for the next episode so badly and Damn you Pinkman!

  8. I Hate Her character on the show but man I would if you know what I mean lol … I mean I want to fu@k her !!!! :)

    • Something g tells me you’ve never fu@ked, you know what I mean ?

  9. its nice to know that Hank and Marie watch Deadwood.

    • It’s even nicer to know that Skinny Pete and Badger actually know the best science fiction series of all time.

      I nearly fell out of my chair.

      jms I’m sure has heard about this by now.

      Breaking Bad rules.


    • But he also needed to shot Gail ,he was also beat up by Hank because of him, he also left that girl so that she wouldn’t cause any problem…

      • Man All these people are killers, there is no good or bad person, there only those living in the dark past and those looking at a bright future. Walt wants a new leaf Jesse is stuck in the past. That’s it.

  10. I find Jesse’s disloyalty upsetting, at the end of the day there was always a father/son that they never had relationship between the two of them. Jesse has been in it since the beginning and could’ve gotten out plenty of times before things got too ugly, but the money or the pride always pulled him back in, so despite the guilt always getting to him in the end, he is every bit as bad as Walter when it comes to deciding to go down the rabbit hole and dealing with the consequences. I also think it was incredibly foolish of him to so easily be used as a pawn for Hank, disclosing everything without a lawyer etc. I fear he may be the one who ultimately gets screwed in the end. We’ll see.

    • are u kidding me? disloyalty? jesses THE reason walt even HAS an empire in the first place.. he practically murdered his girl theONLY oman hes ever loved.. he POISONED a CHILD.. an innocent CHILD.. idgaf if u have every terminal disease under the sun.. thats the point where i crossed him off

      as for the “father son relationship” you speak of they do have one.. &an atypical abusive unhealthy one at that.. all hes done is abuse and berate jesse or placate him because he needs a monkey wrench by his side.. not out of true caring.. when jesse was losing his mind after rehab before meeting the latina girl &her son he couldve given two shits about jess.. his only concern was berating him &dissolving whatever confidence he had in mimself with the whole “fring is using you to get to ME its ALL ABOUT ME” debacle..

      jesses tried to get free of him NUMEROUS times.. &when he did delve back into the fold it was on his own.. &walt DRAGEGED him back in again (with the train heist) after the kid got killed by todd he showed what he was truly capable of &how low he was willing to stoop for an empire of air… jesse owes him absolutely nothing

  11. Walt is contacting Todd and uncle. That’s big. But I don’t think it’s about taking out Jesse. Breaking Bad endings are written to throw the viewer off.

    Jesse said ‘I’m coming for you where you REALLY live.” The question is: where is that? I would think in the meth ‘myth’, and in the minds of Lydia and the likes.

    I could see Jesse and Walt contacting the same party… The Lydia/Todd part of their world.

    Also, in the end it seems Walt and family have done the disappearing act, that Jesse passed up on. Why else would Walt show up with a New Hampshire driver’s license? He’s come back for the ricin, and prepared for a shootout. With who? Not Hank. Not Jesse. The ricin, I would say, is for Lydia, and the shootout could be with the Todd clan.

  12. I feel sorry for Jesse, Walter did mess him up pretty bad, but I want Walter to win in the end, I hope he has something amazing planned in the end that no one saw coming

  13. I’m pretty disappointed with Pinkman, he’s no innocent flower in all this, a murderer himself, now to go running to Hank is a low act, for all Walts faults he’s protected Jesse from day one, He could of taken him out long ago, but what shocks me the most is Skyler, she’s turned into a badass, she’s more ruthless than Walt!

  14. I think one of the best qualities of Breaking Bad is seeing how Mr. White escapes (over and over again) these insanely horrible situations. I don’t like Walter as a person but I want him to win in the end, not because he deserves too, but because it’s cool and fun seeing him worm his way out.

  15. The last episode will be several months after the ending events of episode 15, I believe, and will dig into the downfall and insight of Walt. He will, himself, see his flaws and wrongs in life, and let death consume him (one way or another) after giving one last farewell with his family.

    I think Walt himself burns the house down, finishing what Jesse started, putting an end to “Heisenberg” by putting him onto flames.

    • this sir, is a very nice way to end it. I like ur imagination. We all like walt to win, but does anyone remember that in real life we condemn those people in the worst ways we can? we would a character we lived with for 5 years be any different? couldnt a drug lord have possibly the same story as walt? does that mean he needs to win? the ending you gave makes much sense to me.

  16. This show is my all time favorite show on television right now, I am 13, and I see no show in the future ever coming as far to outstanding plot and story lines as Breaking Bad has. I have two friends who said they hated the show when they tried it out, now they are people I don’t talk to. Not because I am opinionative, but because anyone who does not like this show is out of their right mind.

    • Dude absolutely, you have very good tastes for being only 13.

      I meet people who havent even watched or stopped watching the show and I just feel so bad for them.