Breaking Bad – “Madrigal” – review

More loose ends are tied in episode two of season five (say it with me!) part one, the delightfully Mike-heavy “Madrigal.”  We find out right fucking quick that no, that flash forward from last week will not be a running thing a la season two’s more vague series of flash forward cold opens.  Instead of a possibly fifty-two-turning Walt doing shit with a fucking machine gun we get some German dude named Schuler tasting new sauces with all the joy of that shithead food critic from Ratatouille.  (The “Franch” sounded good to me but I’m a dumb American.)  Turns out he’s the guy that connects the major corporation Madrigal to Gus Fring’s chicken chain.  Guy gets word the cops have arrived and kills himself in a science-y way that Walt probably would have admired.

Hank hasn’t decided to call it quits at Gus Fring, flying in a bunch of Madrigal execs from Germany in for questioning.  Whether those Germans will become a major aspect to the story from here on out seems doubtful because, you know, how many of them would know Mike, Walt, Jesse, and the rest, but there’s others Hank brings in that could have some consequences for our main characters.  Thirteen of them, in fact, including Mike, all with Cayman Island accounts that Gus set up for them and hid very poorly, apparently.  Before we know what the deal is we get a scene where Mike meets the neurotic Lydia at his favorite diner (not a Denny’s, sadly) and she asks him to kill everyone who could take her down.  Mike tells her to that he vetted all involved so that they know the script backwards and forwards and that Gus payed everyone enough to keep such measures from being necessary.

But then Mike finds out when he’s questioned by Hank (some nice backstory info offered on the mysterious Mike here) that they know about the Cayman accounts and that they’re all broke now.  Turns out Lydia didn’t lose too much, however, as she’s offered another member of the Cayman group the chance to kill everyone but her for 10 grand a pop (30 for Mike) and he snatched up the chance.  Thing is, he only gets as far as Chow before Mike puts him down.  Mike then goes to Lydia and she realizes she has to die but doesn’t want to vanish, wants her daughter not to grow up thinking she was abandoned.  Mike can’t let this happen because two disappearances from the list will look suspicious enough but two disappearances and a body will look even worse.  Motivated possibly by a combination of his soft spot for kids (he’s such a good grampa!), her access to methylamine (which I’ll explain in a moment) and the fact that he lost all his money, Mike lets her live.

The methylamine is needed because (surprise!) Walt and Jesse are looking to start up again.  There’s a big whole in the market just waiting to be filled with their bluer meth (they should probably tweak the formula to keep Hank off their asses, don’t you think?) and they need methylamine (Jesse’s job), a place within the city to cook (Saul’s job) and connections and muscle, hence making Mike the perfect partner.  Mike initially shoots Jesse and Walt down, saying that Walt’s a ticking time bomb ready to fuck everybody’s shit up sooner or later (very astute, that Mike) but after, you know, all that transpires in Mike’s life that I listed above, the episode wraps up with him agreeing to the arrangement.

Walt is so confident these days he probably thinks it was God’s will that Mike came around to him, that he’s invincible and blessed.  Hell, maybe he orchestrated everything we saw in Mike’s storyline somehow…Okay, maybe not, but I wouldn’t put it past him.  He quiets Jesse’s mind by planting a replica of the “lucky cigarette” in Jesse’s infamous Roomba and gets Jesse even further indebted to him.  (Quick question – Is there an obvious reason other than safety that I’m missing for why Walt made a replica instead of just putting the real ricin cig in the Roomba?)  Then he tries to get Mike on board, talks with Saul about what they need (see above), and then Mike outta nowhere agrees to the three-way split business plan.  Shit’s going all right for him…other than the fact that his wife is super depressed and terrified of him, the end of the episode being Walt giving Skyler a speech about how such guilt gets easier over time and that they’re doing all this for the best reason of all: family.

So we got a much clearer picture of where things are headed this season in “Madrigal” (pretty sure we all assumed that Walt would want to be king this season) and I think they’re moving past a lot of the Gus stuff from now on but I could be wrong.  Is Mike right that everyone will keep their mouths shut and all the Cayman folks will make it out free but poorer?  Think Hank took the Captain’s spiel about Gus being right under his nose to heart?  Walt’s creepily over-playing the role of caring husband these last two episodes in hopes that Skyler will just get used to who he is (and who she is, naturally) but do you think he’ll ever hurt her on the show?  Is the cigarette thing put to bed or does that still have the chance to come back up and bite Walt in the ass?  Theories and thoughts, Broke Badasses, let’s hear ’em.

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Nerd of Noir

I love crime/noir fiction, comics and movies. I think my opinions are web-worthy. Then again, what asshole doesn't think that their opinions deserve a blog?

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One comment

  1. One thought that crossed my mind regarding the cigarette is that maybe Walt thinks he might need it to take out Jesse at a later date. I still kinda want the show to conclude with Jesse realizing all the ways Walt has fucked with his head and his life and getting even. But I think it’s more likely, and true to character so far, if Walt continues to chip away at the kid until there’s nothing left.

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