Breaking Bad S05 E12 Recap: “You Wanna Burn Him Down? Let’s Do It Together”

breaking bad s05e12 recap jessie phone

If you want to spoil yourself, read on…

This was the make-it-or-break-it episode for Walt and Jessie and at times it felt like it could go either way. Each held the other’s life in their hands, each with the power to destroy. But the decision is not an easy one for either of them. Walt, despite the advice of everyone around him, is reluctant to take Old Yeller out back. Jessie, offered the opportunity to take down Walt, is also reluctant – but mainly out of fear and defeatism.

This episode started with a masterclass in tension, starting at a high point with that brilliant, silent cold open and then building up again to that epic, tense face-off in the square. We begin with the mundane side effects of last week’s cliffhanger – the smell. There was some nice little moments here as we watch another classic Walter White back-against-the-wall scheme come to fruition. But this was different to our usual Heisenberg; he was slower, more hesitant, dropping the can in his own bin, then his neighbour’s bin, then going back to spill some gas in his car. This was sloppy and a stark contrast to last week’s masterclass in lying. This time around, Walt couldn’t even convince his own gullible son of his farcical  broken pump story. It’s clear he’s shaken by the Jessie situation. Later, in the hotel, Skyler reveals that she wasn’t fooled either and surprisingly sides with Saul about the Jessie situation, showing just how far Walt has dragged her down with him – “We’ve come this far… for us… what’s one more?”

breaking bad s05e12 recap carpet gasoline

Flashing back slightly, we find out that Jessie didn’t have a change of heart, but was rudely interrupted from his arsenist’s revenge by Lonewolf McQuaid. This unlikely team-up could easily be the premise for another Breaking Bad spinoff – Pinky and the Bald Man. Hank has finally gotten the breakthrough that he’s been looking for and Jessie, for once, seems willing to entertain it, jumping on camera in a mirror shot to the Walt confessional last week. What was scary was when we saw how far Hank is willing to go for his revenge, ready to risk Jessie’s life to catch Walt – “Pinkman gets killed, we get it all on tape.” Gomez looks suitably horrified.

Following on from last week’s Walt-Jessie standoff, this episode played up the father-son angle even more. Walt’s scene with Walt Jr. was a throwback to last week’s desert-hug, arriving at a crucial moment in his poolside decision-making. Meanwhile, Jessie finding a picture of Walt as Santa is a blunt reminder of the man’s forgotten fatherly nature. Despite everything they’ve been through and their constant bickering, this bond was always there, made explicit by Hank listing off the times Walt looked out for Jessie.

However, the bond seems to have finally broken by the end of the amazingly tense scene in the square – both Walt and Jessie have made their decisions and now we have to watch these two partners go to war.

In other news, Marie went to therapy, in a pretty funny but throwaway scene.


  1. The slightly screeching sound of the sliding door as Walt enters his house
  2. The squelchy sound of the gasoline-soaked carpet as Walt roams the house
  3. The frightening sound of the passing cyclists as Walt realises Jessie is gone


  1. The Hello Kitty ringtone
  2. Saul’s increasingly brilliant murder metaphors
  3. The way Hank tenderly puts the seat-belt on Jessie


  1. “Just… sleep it off”
  2. “I spilled gasoline… on my arms… and my legs…. and my groin”
  3. “For three hours straight, all he talked about was something called Babylon 5”
  4. “How’s work? Last week you were upset about the new parking rules”
  5. “So your plan is to do his plan?”
  6. “Mr White is smarter than you, he is luckier than you”


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3 responses to “Breaking Bad S05 E12 Recap: “You Wanna Burn Him Down? Let’s Do It Together”

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