Walt returns home expecting a shootout with Jesse, but he's gone, having left without igniting all that gasoline he poured over Walt's house. After a protracted and rather pathetic job on Walt's part of trying to first remove and then explain the gasoline smell, he moves the family into a hotel while he tries to get in touch with Jesse and sort this thing out.
Tellingly, he once again rebuffs Saul's suggestion that they send Jesse to Belize, but when he finally gets around to (more or less) telling the truth to Skyler about what Jesse did, Skyler makes the somewhat narratively unsupportable and certainly surprising suggestion that Walt eliminate Jesse in order to keep the family safe. Still, Walt resists.
But wait! Step back several hours to Jesse poised to light the White house on fire, until he's stopped by Hank, of all people, who begs him to destroy Walt another way. His way. So Hank takes the Littlest Houseguest to stay at the Purple Palace, where Marie makes lasagna and coffee, and Gomez (who's now in the loop) and Hank take Jesse's deposition video. All three of them figure Jesse's account of the way things went isn't enough. They need evidence. Or...a confession.
Hank decides to take advantage of Walt's voice-mail messages asking Jesse for a meetup, planning to wire Jesse up and nail down a confession. Jesse thinks this meeting could well be a thin ruse designed to kill him. Hank, to his discredit, doesn't so much care so long as Walt kills him while they're recording. He doesn't tell Jesse that part, though.
When it comes time for the summit, however, Jesse gets super paranoid (not that he doesn't have good reason) and mistakes a thuggish looking musclehead for a hired assassin. So he bolts before Walt even sees him and instead calls him from a pay phone, saying that instead of a peaceful meeting, he's just going to come after Walt again. When Hank picks Jesse up and asks him WTF that was, Jesse says he has another plan. Meanwhile, Walt calls up Todd and says he's got another job for his uncle's crew. IS IT NEXT WEEK YET??
Previously: Jesse finally put it together that Walt had poisoned Brock after all, and after thrashing the shit out of Saul Goodman (Better Call Saul… an ambulance), he made a beeline for Walt’s home and started dousing it with gasoline.
Of course, as I mentioned last week, we know from the flash forward that Walt’s house doesn’t get burned down, so there’s no real suspense here. I suppose the suspense is finding out what stops Jesse? On that issue, our breath will have to remain bated, as we instead begin with Walt pulling his car to a stop down the road from his house. He can see Jesse’s car (well, Saul’s car) in the driveway, driver’s side door still open, so he assumes Jesse’s there. He clutches his unfrozen gun and girds himself to enter what may well be a turkey shoot. After ninja-rolling through his hedges and entering the back door, Walt storms the Bastille. Can’t see Jesse. Spots the gas can. Smells the gas. No Jesse. Frankly, the second he saw the gas can, he should have booked it, but hindsight proves Walt’s recklessness correct, so what do I know? His poor shag carpeting, though. Soaked through with gas. Walt hollers for Jesse to show himself, but he gets no answer. He points his gun as he traverses the hallway, peeking into bedrooms and finding nothing. He's left with one final doorknob to turn, but nobody’s inside his bedroom either. Jesse’s not there. So where is he?Well, Jesse may not be there, but that gasoline surely is. As is Saul’s car, beeping that door-ajar beep. Walt checks inside and sees what appears to be a CD with coke residue on it. At a loss to explain where Jesse might be, Walt simply shuts the door and takes us into the credits and elements.
After the break, we see that Huell has dropped by along with a locksmith and an industrial cleaning service to deal with the gasoline carpets. There’s also the matter of finding Jesse (Huell says they’re looking for him) and keeping Walt’s family safe. Huell’s going to swing by the high school to look after Junior, while Kuby is watching Skyler at the car wash. Huell is very reassuring to Walt. That must be nice in this time of crisis and gas fumes. Walt then places a call to Jesse and of course only gets his voicemail. He leaves a message, which, Jesus, Walt… the guy’s already mad enough at you as it is. Now you want to make him menu through and listen to a voice mail? Send a text! Get with the times!Anyway, Walt begins by thanking Jesse for thinking better of his whole "burn the house down" plan. "I know you’re angry," he continues. "I want to fix this, okay? Whatever it takes, we’ll talk, and we will fix this. Until then, just sleep it off. And then call me. Be safe." I am endlessly fascinated by what Walt’s feelings towards Jesse are. They’ve been all over the map over the course of the series, from paternal to jealous to dismissive. At this point, Walt seems willing to overlook the direct threat of harm -- not only to him but to his family -- in order to smooth things over. Maybe he’s trying to lure Jesse in? Maybe it’s all deception? There's really no part of Walt’s life that isn’t theater on some level. But I think there’s also a big part of him that wants to hold onto his old identity as Jesse’s teacher. Aside from Junior and Holly, it’s the only part of him that’s still pure and it’s maybe more important because (in Walt’s warped mind, at least), it’s the part of him that stayed pure while in the meth game. I honestly think he compartmentalizes it that much, that he excludes Gale and Jane and Brock and still finds ways to think of himself as Jesse’s caring mentor.