“Rabid Dog” sets the table for the final four episodes, pairing Jesse and Hank to tamp the flames of the former’s fury and give direction to the latter’s thirst for justice. This partnership may have a short lifespan (and some narrative holes – why aren’t Hank and Steve following procedure, if Hank’s so worried about the fallout?), but their confluence directly leads Walt to shed his reluctance for an Ol’ Yeller approach to his protégé.
There’s a significant contrivance that brings this about, unfortunately, in the form of a conveniently neo-Nazi-looking bystander, but the look of that scene was so impressive that I can’t complain – the whole appearance of the plaza where the meeting was scheduled, all angular blues and metallic geometry on a field of caramel-earth. It reminded me of Tati’s Playtime, an impression that matched Jesse’s surreal alienation as he stumbled towards the soon-to-be-aborted meeting. Nor can I quibble with the characterisation that culminated in Walt’s change-of-heart, because it stemmed from Walt, not Heisenberg; in fact, Skyler exhibited more Heisenberg traits this episode than her husband.
This late reoccurrence of humanity within “the devil” is unexpected, but it makes the direction of destruction towards Jesse all the more heartbreaking.