Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 2 Recap – ‘Madrigal’
A lot has happened in the second episode of Breaking Bad‘s fifth season, including the introduction of the new character Lydia and the new money situation for Mike and his gang which helped Walter White proceed with his megalomaniac plan. My review for Madrigal follows…
What just happened (episode summary): Walter helps Jesse find a closure to the raisin saga; Gus’ man in Madrigal Electronics kills himself; Walt and Jesse try to offer 3-way partnership to Mike, but he refuses; Gus’ hidden bank accounts are discovered by the DEA and put Mike in a new situation; Lydia, who worked for Gus, is terrified by the DEA investigations and tries to kill Mike; Mike accepts Walt and Jesse’s offer; Skyler is still in post-trauma.
How it happened (the chatty TV critic): Madrigal was an episode full of action, and it almost left Walt/Heisenberg and Jesse out, with Mike taking the lead. As the central man that’s left after the chicken man was killed, the show’s creators probably felt now is the time to give us some more background about Mike. Only relevant background of course, as with only 14 episodes to go Breaking Bad‘s writers can’t waste a scene.
But before Mike, the DEA went after the guy in Madrigal that did business with Gus. The pre-title sequence showed us how well prepared he was for this moment, killing himself with a battery that was kept on his shelve. It was almost a styling sequence, that worked well as far as suspense is concerned, but could say the same in so-and-so minutes less. But in the pre-title sequence the show is giving priority to styling, which is always a pleasure.
With this guy dead, now the owners of the Swiss (or German?) company is giving the DEA all the assistance they need in order to find others that might be connected to the Gus Fringe side business.
Hank is back full time with the DEA, half walking again. He feels strong and confident enough to ask for help walking even, and now he probably doesn’t even have to prove himself to his new boss (after his ex-boss, that sat with him and his partner for a drink in the scene that used as this episode’s sneak peek, was replaced following the bombing that killed Gus and left Hank as hero-of-the-day).
The new information that was discovered in last week’s season premiere (season 5 episode 1, Live Free Or Die) gave the DEA a list of private accounts that Gus had opened for his secret employees. There were 12 accounts, as was hinted (Mike and 11 men more), and the DEA is trying to use the money as a motivation to make Mike’s “solid men” start talking. None does, but money is a motivation and over-creativity starts to be a problem.
Which brings us to Mike’s side of the story. In this episode we got so much new information about Mike – his grand daughter (that under her name was a $2,000,000 bank account, that played a big role in the plot this week) and his affection to kids being the main things (even if he’d hate to admit that, and maybe he won’t, Mike really had at least two reasons for not killing Lydia).
So first he refuses to Walt and Jesse’s offer (and again he’s pointing out to Jesse how Walt is a “ticking clock”, a “time bomb”, trying to open his eyes), but after the short investigation in the DEA’s offices, and after Lydia is trying to operate on her own and kill him and his 11 guys that may talk – Mike understands two things: one is that he has no money and he must go back to business. And second, he must take care of his 9 guys (plus Lydia) that are left, or problems will arise.
This makes him agree to Walt’s plan (that was already on its way, with Walt, Jesse and Saul considering best labs locations, after Walt explains Saul this is no time to quit the business, since nowhe’s broke. Nice that we still get a “legitimate” reason for Walt being such an Heisenberg lately). Mike is in, and Lydia is responsible for finding the
Lydia’s introduction scene was funny (someone must take the part Jesse had for the last four seasons, he’s not in the mood for jokes recently), and it showed her as a neurotic character that is also quite picky when it comes to drinks. Trying to kill all of Mike’s guys – and Mike himself – was a dumb plan that makes me suspect she’s dangerously impulsive, but maybe as the methenamine supplier she will be OK. We saw her daughter, and understood her biggest fear – that her daughter will think she’d abandoned her. After Mike finds out about her plan and comes to kill her – or recruit her – this is all she cares about: not to “disappear”.
Well guess what, Lydia. You’ve been recruited to the Heisenberg crew. In this crew people usually lose what they care most about (Jesse-Jane, Mike-Gus, Walt-family), so be prepared.
What are we left with: Operation “becoming Gus” moves to phase 2. The three partners are in place, with a new, fourth silent partner in the background. Walt has not yet met Lydia, and I guess she’s not a very good silent partner, especially not when problems arise, but at least the fundamentals are there. I can’t wait to see the new cooking lab Heisenberg is going to decide on next week. Skyler is still so down, that is hard to see where this is going to – but with Walt telling her that he’s doing this for the family, she might as well use again her independent, cynical mask, because she’s not going to let the new Walt to raise her baby girl while she’s lying in bed. Hank’s found the secret bank accounts, but he can’t do much with it if no one talks and there are no evidences. He might try to follow Mike around – but Mike should be careful enough to deal with that too.
Episode info: the episode premiered July 22 on AMC. It was written by Vince Gilligan and directed by Michelle MacLaren.