Breaking Bad: “Madrigal” Review

A thoughtful character centered story makes this episode magical

*This review contains spoilers

Photo Courtesy of AMC

Channing Tatum can suck it. Jonathan Banks is the real Magic Mike. After a mediocre opening to the season, Breaking Bad went all out this week in a wonderfully crafted, character focused episode in which fans have been begging for since we were introduced to Mike, the all around handy man.  However to depict the pace of the show readers were treated with the inner workings of a little German company known as Madrigal (in which fans of the series may realise that Hank has mentioned this company when investigating Gus). I loved how strange this opening was; I mean Breaking Bad has been known to begin with stranger  openers (look no further than last week’s episode) but a guy testing chicken sauces, that is just silly. I think the writers realised this as well for it eases viewers into the predicament that this man in is. I particularly enjoyed how he avoided the cops, non chalantly grabbed a defibrillator and went into the washroom and electrocuted himself with it. This reminded me of the scene when Gus poisoned the cartel last season and excused himself to go to the washroom. This was such a great way to start the episode and clearly demonstrated the direction that this episode was going.

After a twisted opening, the episode went right to what I am sure many have been wondering about but was not discussed last episode:  the ricin in which they planned to poison Gus with. This has been eating at Jesse ever since the little boy from last season got sick. When they found it, in Jesse’s roomba obviously, his breakdown was heartbreaking and showed how much he cared about this child and how he could never hurt an innocent again. This was in complete opposition from Walt who moments before had switched the licen with sugar and kept it just in case. That sneaky asshole. However, what made this scene all the more depressing was that Jesse felt sorry for wanting to kill Walt last season, and now has put his upmost faith in him. “What happened, happened for the best. I wouldn’t change anything,” Walt says, more so reflecting his actions then Jesse’s. “I want you to remember this as we move forward,” Walt further mentions. “Go forward where?” Jesse questions; one in which many viewers have been wondering themselves since the death of Gus.

This led to the meat and potatoes of the episode where Walt and Jesse plead with Mike to form a partnership and to start cooking once more. This scene was absolutely phenomenal, as Walt and Jesse intrude on his personal property expecting him to be all sunshine and rainbows after they killed his boss. Mike does what everyone expected him to do and further goes to tell Walt that he is a ticking time bomb; a commonly used metaphor but never the less accurate.

As Jesse and Walt came to struggle for Mike’s aid, Mike had problems of his own as the D.E.A began to ask questions about his former employer. The palaver between Mike and Hank was a great one. Mike, being a former cop, knew how to slyly respond to everyone of Hank’s questions without batting an eye. However, this also gave viewers some slight insight into Mike`s background as a cop and how he was let go, presumably for what he did to the man who beat his wife to death (a story he told Walt last season).  The real kicker though, came when they asked him about the two million in his granddaughter’s name. I have always been fond of how Mike has been able to handle work and his personal life separately, unlike Walt or truly anyone on this show, yet now it is coming back to haunt him which is unfortunate. Hopefully Mike`s love for his family is not his downfall for, unlike Walt, he is truly doing this for this for them.

What came to tie the episode together and further hinted at future problems, for both Mike and Walt, was Mike’s meeting with Lydia, whom from what I understand was sort of a middleman, or rather middlewoman, between Madrigal and Los Pollos. Despite having a brief role, she was immediately unlikable. She reminded me of Marie in the early season only so much more annoying. Anyhow, what a two faced character. First she warns Mike about having to tie up the loose ends, meaning to get rid of the people who know about Los Pollos` secrets, and the next thing you know she is trying to get rid of Mike just to protect herself. This led to the death of not one innocent, but two, albeit the second one was trying to kill Mike and ended up dying in a scene which can only be described as awesome.

Photo Courtesy of AMC

Despite not wanting to work with Walt or Jesse, this turn of events leaves Mike no choice. He now needs someone to watch his back, just as much as Walt needs him to watch his back. “Im in,”he tells Walt at the episode. “Good”, Walt replies with a smirk on his face. What a jerk. In the matter of two episodes Walt has been able to gain back most of  his partners, and so called allies through manipulation and an unfortunate series of events. However, whether they remain his allies by the end of this series is another matter.

I began “Madrigal” with a dull sense of hope. With very little story expansion in the first episode I was hesitant. Fortunately this episode turned out to be everything I could ask for in an episode of Breaking Bad and then some. This is what makes this show work; the equal care and consideration spread amongst the characters and predicaments they are currently in. Hopefully, the remainder of the season remains on such a high note, and does not have to rely on cheap events to gain viewers attention. After all this is a show is first and foremost about Walt and his fall from grace; and what a fall it has been.