Breaking Bad Review: “Madrigal”


I like a show that knows where it’s going, and unlike last season which I found a bit aimless, already in the second episode of Breaking Bad we’re starting to get an indication of the direction the show is heading.

Now with Gus out of the way, and all of his other competitors seemingly small-time, Walt feels like it’s time to start cooking again, particularly because he’s uber broke. He proposes a new venture with Jesse and Mike, and though Mike is hesitant at first, he’s forced to come around by the end of the episode. But it took a hell of a lot to get him there.

There was one last loose end for Walt to clean up after last season, and eleven for Mike. Walt’s was rather easy:  he had to convince Jesse that the lost Ricin cigarette was not going to endanger anyone else. To do this, he had to plant it in Jesse’s apartment during a scene that kind of confused me.

What did I miss here?

So, I saw him make a new fake Ricin cigarette with salt, but then he taped it behind a light socket. How exactly did he get it from the light socket to the Roomba? Was it implied he went and got it as Jesse searched the house? I just didn’t understand why he hid it there in the first place, and how it got where it ended up inside the vacuum. Maybe I blinked and this was explained, but I have to admit I was confused and a more meticulous viewer can probably explain what I missed here.

Meanwhile, Mike’s problems are much more…severe. We’re learning now about the conglomerate that backed Gus, Madrigal. We saw one of the division heads off himself in the opening scene that made me think for two seconds we had our new bad guy for this season. The rest of the company, including its owner, was brought in for questioning, and I have to wonder if the entire tree is corrupt, or if it really was just a few branches.

Another branch would be the woman who asked Mike to off eleven people that could link them to the operation. He waved away her concerns, promising the men were all taken care of, but when A) she tries to have him killed by another member of the list and B) the police have discovered all the secret pay-off money through the revelation behind Gus’s photo, Mike has a change of tune.

Who else is involved besides her?

It’s what causes him to suddenly reconsider Walt’s offer, but I’m not precisely sure his motivations for doing so. In working for Walt is he trying to make enough money to pay-off the rest of the people on the list who got their assets seized? Or the more likely scenario, he’s trying to make enough money to make up for HIS lost money, and he’s going to spend a chunk of the season offing the rest of the people on the list.

I liked the Mike-centric nature of the episode, as he really is a great character, and now I want to know more about what got him kicked off the police force way back when. The scene where the mother begs for Mike to not let her disappear after she dies was one of the most harrowing I’ve seen on the show, which has had plenty of tense moments. There was something just so tragic about it, especially when the daughter was three feet away telling her she loved her, and I’m glad Mike found his soft spot. Or found a new plan that involved keeping her alive at least. But if she IS going to stick around, she needs to be less of a spaz as that diner scene sort of pissed me off.

But I really did like this episode, and am already excited with this new direction, which is really an old direction as Walt and Jesse are starting over from scratch. But at least Mike’s onboard. The scene at the end where Walt’s caressing Skylar was about as creepy as a husband/wife interaction can get, and I’m starting to agree with people who are saying that Walt doesn’t need a new villain to face because HE is the villain. He’s definitely further down the rabbit hole than he’s ever been before, and I fully expect Mike’s time bomb prediction to come true.

Also, I have a hunch this is the season Skylar dies. There’s little indication of that, but it’s just a feeling I couldn’t shake all episode. The show has avoided any of the central characters dying for seasons now, and I have to believe that the end is nigh for one of them. My money’s on the annoying blonde wife that everyone can’t stand. What? It worked out for Dexter.