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TV Recap: Breaking Bad “Madrigal”

(Image © Sony/AMC)

(Image © Sony/AMC)

Walter White’s winning ways continue to have a ripple effect throughout the world. Next stop, Madrigal, the German parent company to Los Pollos Hermanos. We see a top muckety-muck avoid police questioning rather dramatically and permanently, then smash-cut into the opening credits.

Much of this episode is All About Mike, which is great of course, who doesn’t love Mike? First Walt and Jesse ask Mike to join them in a new meth-making venture, and are promptly rebuffed. We’re introduced to a new character, Lydia, who also works for Madrigal and on the side provided methalyne for Gus. Lydia’s concerned that at least one of the eleven former Hermanos employees soon to be brought into police questioning will crack and make a deal and suggests Mike take care of all eleven before it becomes a problem, but Mike assures her that his guys are solid. Then we get an excellent scene between Hank, Gomie, and Mike, whereupon Hank does his Columbo bit, pretending to have nothing on Mike and then at the last moment revealing that they’ve discovered a hidden bank account on the Cayman Islands in Mike’s granddaughter’s name.

After that bit of bad news, Mike then gets a call from one of the eleven, Chow, who wants to see him in person immediately. Mike’s no fool though, and realizes he’s being set up. One of his eleven “solid” guys took Lydia up on her offer and tried to kill the others. Mike gets the drop on him pretty easily (after he’s already killed poor Chow) and then pays a visit to Lydia. Lydia begs him to let her body be found so that her daughter won’t think she’s abandoned her, and that’s enough to give Mike pause. He reconsiders; asks her if she can still get methalyne. She can indeed. Mike calls Walt and tells him he’s back in. And a beautiful friendship is born. Okay, maybe not. Mike still hates Walt and is only doing this to A) keep from having to kill Lydia and perhaps the remaining nine “solid” guys, and B) provide a nest egg for his granddaughter. But the logistics of it seem wonky at best. Won’t Hank be watching Mike and the other nine dudes like a hawk? And what about Walt’s insistence that the new meth lab be in town, so he won’t have to drive so much? Priorities, Walt! Oh wait!

That’s right. I knew I had forgotten something. Walt. This week, Walt the Winner continues to be the founding member of his new Walt Is Awesome religion, currently a cult of two, including Jesse. Yes, Walt cements Jesse’s undying loyalty by planting the ricin cigarette in his apartment, allowing it to get sucked up by the rhomba and found by Jesse. Jesse’s devastated that he almost killed his beloved Mr. White over a misunderstanding and Walt is there to comfort him and assure him all’s well that end’s well. (Oh it will end well, but not for you, Walt, once Jesse finds out the truth). That’s the big Walt manipulating his loved one’s scene, until the very end, where we once again get a malevolent Walt “comforting” a depressed and nearly catatonic Skyler with creepy neck kisses and boob grabs while they lie in bed together. So gross!

What’s interesting to me, as a Skyler lover, is that she seems to be in the same emotional space where Walt was after he killed Krazy 8 in season one. Which means hopefully she’s about to break bad in a big way. As for this episode as a whole, it was good, but not Breaking Bad good, you know? Part of this show’s formula is to start each season out slow and deliberate and then build to the fireworks at the end. The only problem is, this time out we have a blasted eight episode “half season” before waiting an entire year for the final eight.

Eight episodes is going to require a much faster build (which frankly after two episodes, it looks like they have no intention of going any faster than they normally have) or alternatively, if they keep with their same formula, we’ll be stuck in the middle of a story with no resolution for ten months. Either way, that’s immensely unsatisfying and frustrating. Prove me wrong, Vince Gilligan. Tell a satisfying story in the next six episodes. Please. Or I’ll send Mike after ya.

Breaking Bad, Season Five Episode Two, “Madrigal”: B

Ryan Roach lives in Studio City and suffers through traffic indignities on a daily basis. He also has a cool movie blog: