Neptune, slippery mythological god of the sea, illusion, chemistry and all things fluid, assertively controlled “Rabid Dog,” the mid-point final-season episode of “Breaking Bad.” Even the carpet was audibly squishy, a nod to the god’s – Poseidon to the Greeks – underwater kingdom.
As we saw from last week’s cliffhanger, Jesse had dowsed the living room rug of the White residence with gasoline – Neptune’s domain includes liquids – after figuring out that his mentor, Mr. White, had been behind the poisoning – also Neptune’s bailiwick – of Brock all along. It’s as though Jesse intends to come full circle: having smoked his young life away through meth – smoking is yet another Neptunian activity – he now intends to smoke out Walt himself.
But Jesse never completes his mission. When Walt arrives, the only disruption is the stench of gasoline – Neptune rules all odors – which has seeped into the deepest level of the floor covering. A total do-over is the only remedy – easier to fix a carpet than to overhaul moral compasses – and the White family heads off to a hotel.
Walt’s son believes the gasoline mishap – which Walt describes as a mechanical pump error at the gas station (Neptune) – was due to fumes (Neptune) having caused his father, increasingly weak from the returned cancer, to pass out. Skyler, however, doesn’t buy into Walt’s deceit (Neptune), and strongly hints at doing away with Jesse, who’s now threatened home and family – the very things Walt’s criminality was meant to preserve at all cost.
What’s significant here is how Junior’s premise – that Dad fell prey to a disease’s symptoms – ties in with Saul’s comparing Jesse with the rabid dog from Old Yeller which must be put down. Rabies’ symptoms in humans include anxiety and aggression, several of the behaviors Jesse has been exhibiting since figuring out the true nature of his former mentor. As for another key indicator, an antipathy towards water, Jesse and Walter are both metaphorically drowning in their misguided descent into Neptune’s about-to-burst dam.
Getting back to that bright red gasoline canister, Hank has been tracking Jesse, and intercepts him at the White home, just as he lights the match. After his desperate cry – “He can’t keep getting away with it!” – Jesse decides to join forces with Hank to take down Walt. At Hank and Marie’s, as Hank supervises, with Gomez present, Jesse makes a video, totally incriminating Walt.
Meanwhile, Marie references the ricin-related theme of undetectable toxins. At her therapist’s office, she confesses that that she’s been doing online research and, spewing forth information like an automaton, mentions saxitoxin, a paralytic marine poison which causes respiratory distress which leads to death. (Some Neptunian-charged seafood anyone?) Living vicariously, another Neptunian hallmark, seems to be what’s keeping Marie afloat: “I won’t do anything – it just feels good to think about it,” she says.
Hank is now a bit rabid himself. Initially Jesse’s protector, he insists Jesse wear a wire and meet with Walt, who’s phoned Jesse and wants to talk. And, he says to Gomez, if Walt kills “the kid” – a horrifically generic term for an expendable and undefined human – at least the DEA duo will have recorded it on video (Neptune).
At the appointed venue, Jesse sees a goon peering from behind a corner and initially but erroneously (Neptune) assumes it’s one of Saul’s henchmen. Veering from the plan, Jesse calls Walt on a public phone, insisting he’ll now come and get Walt “where he lives.” Walt, looking crestfallen – we still want to believe his good will towards Jesse, given the fact that he did come alone – retreats and makes a call to Todd, suggesting a new job that could be the one to do away with this new threat.
The effortless way “Breaking Bad” has explored the archetype bound up with drugs that allow users to reach a dimension of reality that fuzzes out (Neptune) the pains of living in the earthly realm reached its acme in “Rabid Dog” – and we even got a chance to see Walt sitting by his blue meth-colored pool (Neptune). However, Junior wanders out in the middle of the night and partakes of that hallucinatory spot with Dad, too. It’s akin to Persephone’s unwittingly taking a bite of the pomegranate, condemning her to Hades and a life in the Underworld.
Another other deeply personal facet of the workings of Neptune is sacrifice. We’ve seen lots of death associated with Walt and Jesse’s business but nothing has yet hit Walt “where he lives.” Jesse, having already lost Jane, has already been initiated.
Must Walt lose Walter Jr? Does Walt sacrifice himself to save Jesse? Sons often pay for the sins of the father. And, like or or not, Walter White has two of them.
Astrology Television Rating: ♆ (Neptune)