Breaking Bad 5.02 – Madrigal

“You know, it gets easier.”


There’s an old saying: You like down with drug kings, you get fleas. Okay, I just made that up, but it certainly applies to the CEO of Madrigal, the German company that was the glorious legit cover for Gus’s nefarious drug empire. But his buddy Gus is dead, and when the cops come snooping around asking questions he can’t possibly answer, his only out is to stick a defibrillator wire in his mouth and…well…CLEAR!

He’s not the only one with problems. Jesse is freaking out about losing the missing ricin cigarette o’ doom, and no matter what he does, Walt can’t calm him down. We get to see lying, devious Walt through clearer eyes this time around as he makes a fake poison ciggy and hides it in Jesse’s Roomba so they can find it there together. Yay, problem solved! Except this is no simple puzzle to be solved for Jesse – when he finds the cigarette he promptly falls apart when he realizes that he almost killed his beloved Mr. White for something he didn’t do. Except he totally did, the bastard. Walt comforts him as Jesse lives through yet another gut-wrenching emotional roller coaster Walt has foisted on him without hesitation. He assures Jesse that their friendship will do nothing but help them going forward. Um, and where might that be?

That would be right to Mike’s house, to ask him to be an equal partner in the shiny new drug empire Walt and Jesse want to build. Mike hears them out, his gunshot wound throbbing the whole time, then politely tells them to go to hell. As he so succinctly puts it, “You are a time bomb, tick tick ticking, and I have no intention of being around for the boom.” That dis still doesn’t stop Walt from standing and waiting for as long as it takes for Mike to shake his hand goodbye. Mike doesn’t give a shit about these little psychological pissing contests, and shakes Walt’s hand just to be rid of him.

The owner of Madragal comes all the way to the DEA’s office in the States to assure everyone that he had no idea the CEO of the company was such a bad man. He was shocked, shocked I say, to find out what was going on. He’s not the only one who (supposedly) had the wool pulled over his eyes. Hank’s boss refused to believe what Hank suspected about Gus, and now he’s been fired for his willful blindness. How? How could he have had Gus at his home, befriended and liked him, and never suspected what he really was. Hank winces with pity on his boss’s behalf, secure in the knowledge that HE could never be fooled like that.

Mike’s having a super bad week. First Gus, then smug Walt, and now Lydia, a woman with an unknown business connection to Gus and an anus so anxious it could crack walnuts. She’s scared when she talks to him in the cafe where he agreed to meet her, and it shows when she tries to make it seem like his idea when she gives him a kill-list of Gus’s eleven henchmen who might rat them out. Mike is offended, but he’s long ago gotten used to people being idiots. He assures her that his men will be loyal to the bitter end, especially after all the money Gus arranged to pay them just for times like this. He pays for her hot water with Stevia as he leaves.

That thought comes back to bite him when Hank formally interviews him at the DEA’s offices. Mike is cool as a dish of ice cream, revealing nothing as they pry into Mike’s mysterious background as a cop in Philly years ago, where his career ended in a dramatic fashion that we don’t get to know about right now. Bummer. Their good cop/good cop routine doesn’t unsettle him at all, and he’s about to leave when Hank plays his favourite trick and Colombos him on his way out the door. Oh, they forgot to mention that they discovered the off-shore accounts Gus had for his eleven henchmen…and one for Mike’s granddaughter. BTW, the government’s taking all that money from the lot of them…unless one of them talks, of course. Mike’s expression doesn’t even twitch, but the look on his face when he leaves the room is a different matter. Dammit, so much for the team sticking together.

Skyler is so depressed she can’t even get out of bed in the morning. That doesn’t stop Walt from gently but firmly encouraging her to get up and take a shower because it’ll make her feel better. Skyler is obviously having a hard time adjusting to life with an amoral killer meth maker, but he seems confident she’ll come around. We shall see.

Walt, Jesse, and Saul have a brainstorming session to hammer out the details of their new drug venture, starting with where they’re going to be doing their meth cooks. Hilariously, Walt acts as if they’re talking about finding a really nice vacation house: something secluded but not too far out of the city. Even more hilariously, Jesse refers to the RV they made their meth in bygone days as “The Crystal Ship”! Saul tries ever so shyly (for him) to steer them away from this crazy course of action, saying they won the lottery by escaping with their lives last time. Walt, of course, takes offense to that seeing as how all his drug money was used to pay off somebody else’s damn tax bill and he has exactly zero to show for his troubles. So Saul is tasked with finding a suitable place while Jesse looks for the elusive methelmine they need to make meth, but which is becoming harder and harder to find what with the government’s war on drugs and all. As expected, Walt doesn’t want to hear that. He just wants what he wants, and he wants it now.

Aw, Mike is playing Hungry Hungry hippos with his almost-millionaire granddaughter (and losing), when he gets a call from the accountant Chow, the guy he had to shoot in the hand to make sure he remembered whose side he worked for. Chow’s nervous because the DEA wants to talk to him again, and he wants Mike to come over and calm him down. Ah, the cracks are showing already. Mike very reluctantly agrees. What he doesn’t know is that Chow is being held at gunpoint by another of the eleven henchmen. Looks like Lydia took matters into her own hands.

Mike drives over and walks up to Chow’s house. No! We all shout to him. Don’t do it! But he can’t hear us through the TV, unfortunately. Inside, the hit man peeks through the peephole and sees Mike coming up the sidewalk. He puts the gun (with silencer) up to the the peephole and waits for Mike to knock. He waits and waits, but no knock – just a weird whirring noise. He finally peeks out again and can’t figure out what the hell is out there. Wait, is that a pink piggy on a pull string? Why yes, it is. That’s when Mike appears behind him and tells him to drop his gun. Mike, my antihero! The guy’s already killed Chow, and assures Mike he was just going to kill him for the money Lydia offered him, not because he was turning on Mike or anything crazy like that. Mike understands, but shoots him to death anyway. His problems aren’t over though, because the Feds took everybody’s money, and Lydia’s on the warpath.

Next stop: Lydia’s beautiful house. Obviously the drug trade has been very good to her. It’s an interesting dichotomy, because Mike’s house is extremely modest in comparison. Obviously, he wasn’t working for Gus for the money. At least…not for himself. Mike lies in wait as Lydia comes home from work and lovingly greets her preschool daughter and the nanny. God, could his job get any harder? He nabs her and gets her to shoo the daughter and nanny away so he can kill her without worrying about any sweet and innocent collateral damage. When they’re finally alone, he tries to point out how foolish she’s been, but she’s unrepentant. She knows it’s no use to beg for life, but does ask him to not shoot her face so her daughter won’t have to see that when she finds her body. Mike has no intentions of letting her daughter find her, but that freaks Lydia right out. She doesn’t want her child to think her Mommy just abandoned her. She doesn’t care about herself, just her wee little girl. Mike, poor sod, knows a thing or two about loving a kid that much, and damned if he doesn’t hesitate. How can he fix this mess? After a second, it comes to him. He asks Lydia if she can get her hands on some methelmine. She can – and her life is saved, even though he’s not very happy about that.

From the car Mike calls Walt and tells him he’s reconsidered and he’s now in on the deal. Walt agrees like he always knew it would shake out like this, and then goes back to washing the supper dishes. He makes even that seem evil, somehow.

Walt comes to bed, where Skyler is lying there, waiting in fear for him. He undresses and gently chides her for not eating supper with them. When she doesn’t answer he confides that whatever guilt or anxiety she’s feeling over the bad she’s done will go away with time. At least, that’s been his experience. Oh Walt, you horrible shell of a human being. He slips into bed and pulls off his underwear, then begins to kiss Skyler’s shoulders. It’s as obvious to her as it to us that he’s going to have sex with her whether she wants to or not. Welcome to hell, Skyler.

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  • Romany

    I wondered how they were going to top S4, but this episode sent chills down my spine. I love this show! Thanks for the recap.

  • You’re so welcome! I was just discussing with someone else how bloody CREEPY Walt is now. He’s like a big spider, crawling along and poisoning everyone. Only Jesse can’t see it, can he? Is it bad that I’m hoping Mike will get the opportunity to bitch-slap Walt by the end of this season? LOL!