‘Breaking Bad’ Review: “Madrigal”
Just one week after its first appearance at Comic-Con 2012, ‘Breaking Bad’ season 5 cooks up its second episode of the year, as Walter and Jesse try to recruit Mike into their newly-reestablished business, while Mike himself tries to deal with Gus' spooked, and under DEA scrutiny partners.
Last week’s ‘Breaking Bad’ premiere “Live Free or Die” briefly took us to a desolate future for Walter White, before returning to deal with the last bits of incriminating evidence of Gus' laptop and the surprising survival of Ted Beneke, so how does “Madrigal” keep things moving? What will season 5 of ‘Breaking Bad’ cook up?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Breaking Bad’ season 5 episode 2, “Madrigal!”
All the way out in Germany, a man named Schuler listens to his employees drone on about the various improvements they’ve made to their brands of condiments, himself seemingly distracted and only interested in scarfing the tater tots. A woman enters informing him that three police officers have arrived, to which he agrees to meet with them shortly and tersely sends out the other team members.
Schuler walks through Madrigal Electromotive, observing as the “Los Pollos Hermanos” sign is taken down from among the display of restaurant chains, and stopping to see the police in his office examining a photo of Schuler with Gus. Visibly nervous, he instead grabs a defibrillator off the wall, and locks himself in the bathroom. While his secretary, and then the police become more insistent in speaking with him, he ignores their knocks and undresses. He charges the defibrillator to full, and shocks himself to death!
Back in the good old U.S. of A. we hear from a phone conversation that Jesse has become increasingly worried about the missing ricin cigarette, as we observe Walter creating a decoy with salt for Jesse to “discover.” After Walt decides to hang on to the real ricin container by hiding it in his home, the two pore over every inch of Jesse’s house “looking” for the ricin cigarette (yay montages!), finding nothing. Just then, Walter reminds Jesse to check inside his Roomba, which he claims to have previously, but further inspection reveals the cigarette to be inside after all. Relieved, Walt disposes of the (phony) cigarette, but Jesse only starts crying, believing that he’d nearly killed Walter out of an item misplaced by his own stupidity. Walter calms him, dismissing it as something to consider as they move forward. Forward, you say?
Just as Mike sets down to relax, Walter and Jesse arrive, looking to recruit Mike as an equal partner in their new venture. They’ll need Mike’s help with distribution, support, and finding the right precursor to cook, but Mike declines, saying that Walter is a time bomb he has no intention of being around for. Walt urges him to sleep on it, and the two begrudgingly part ways.
Over at the DEA office, the team from Madrigal Electromotive has arrives to pledge their full cooperation with law enforcement, believing Schuler to have been an anomaly. Later, Chief Merkert, Gomez and Hank drink to Merkert’s retirement, forced because of the blunder of not listening to Hank’s instincts about Gus Fring. As it turns out, Hank had already taken a look at Fring’s laptop, but found it encrypted. Merkert muses about how he’d had Gus to his home for dinner, before he turned out to be someone else entirely, but for now all they have to go on are the financial information found inside the framed photo from last week.
At his usual, diner, Mike reads the paper when Lydia, a nervous, and obviously –attempting-to-conceal-her-identity woman enters. Mike ignores her cinematic attempts to be discreet, and simply sits down to talk with her, as she hands him a list of 11 names of those likely to confess to the police, and in need of silencing. Mike assures her that her idea to kill them is silly, as he’s taken great care to vet them, and they’ve been compensated in order to stand up to police scrutiny. They’ve already picked up one, but there’s no need for such extreme measures, and he leaves Lydia to consider his words.
Back at the White residence, Walter Jr. eats his breakfast (because what else does he do?), while Walter tries to get a disturbed Skyler out of bed, seemingly much more lethargic than usual. Meanwhile at the DEA office, Mike passes a nervous Mr. Chau, before heading in for his own interview. Hank and Gomez question a stone-faced Mike about his role as head of Los Pollos Hermanos’ corporate security, insisting that it seems like overkill for the job, given his history. Mike insists that he has no knowledge of any illegal activity, and exercises his right to leave, but on his way out Hank lets loose that they found the Cayman Islands account in his granddaughter name. Fortunately, Mike never touched the money, but the other drug employees did, making them likely to cut deals with the DEA, while Mike will need to play ball to save himself, possibly even letting his Granddaughter keep some of the money he put aside for her. Still denying, but visibly angered, Mike leaves Hank and Gomez behind.
Over at Saul’s, the man brainstorms with Walter and Jesse over how best to get their business going again, even though Saul would rather they take the miracle they've all been handed and simply walk away from the game. With plenty of debt mounting, Walt assures him walking away isn’t an option, particularly with so much gold in the streets to be scooped up.
Mike takes a break from playing with his granddaughter to take a call from Mr. Chau, who’s grown concerned that the DEA took all his money, and demands to speak in person. We see, however, that he’s making the call at gunpoint! After arriving at Chau’s house, Mike walks to the front door as the killer trains his gun, but the bell never rings. Instead, the hitman only sees one of Mikes granddaughter’s toys moving about the peephole, distracting him long enough for Mike to get the drop on him! With Chau already dead, the man apologizes to Mike, needing to have attempted the job at Lydia’s offer, before Mike coldly shoots him dead.
Over at Lydia’s home, the maid tends to her young daughter, when Lydia herself arrives home. However, as she turns a corner , Mike grabs her and forces her to send the housekeeper home, before making ready to meet her end from Mike’s silenced pistol. Mike insists that no one will find her, as much as she protests that she wants her young daughter to know she didn’t simply abandon her. Just before Mike readies to pull the trigger, he relents, asking if she still has access to methylamine, the precursor Walter needs to cook. Confused, she admits she does. Afterward, Mike reluctantly calls Walter, admitting he’s reconsidered.
That night, Walter slides into bed with a still terrified Skyler, thinking her mood has to do with what happened to Ted. He assures her that things will get easier, and that what they do they do for good reasons, before slowly getting frisky with the horrified woman.
After last week's more quiet premiere (excluding the future-vision we saw), it's nice to get a fairly Mike-centric episode, chock full of the ultra-violence we've come to expect from the character. It still largely remains to be seen how the new season will take shape as Walter, Jesse and Mike try to get their new business off the ground, but for now 'Breaking Bad' has returned to its riveting pace, setting up plenty of further conflicts to pay off as the season progresses. But, will Skyler spend the whole season in bed?
Did you get your fix of ‘Breaking Bad’ bad-assery? What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Breaking Bad’ episode recap of "Hazard Pay” on AMC!