WARNING: Spoilers, SPOILERS, and Cajun kick-ass sauce BELOW!!!!
The only disappointing thing about this week’s episode of “Breaking Bad” was that it had no moments that made me think of Juggalos. I am joking of course. Episode 2 might go down as one of the series’ finest episodes. It was a white knuckle ride to the finish and raised the bar for the rest of the final season (if that were possible).
Here, in honor of Lydia’s list, are 11 thoughts about this week’s episode, “Madrigal”:
A. It’s hard to pick a favorite scene from Sunday night’s episode. They were all fantastic (no hyperbole). But if Mike held a gun to my head I would go with his bedroom scene with Lydia – a Gus operative introduced this week. Why? The scene produced incredible tension while moving the plot forward. I had no idea what would happen – would he kill her, would she scream, would he dump her body, would someone emerge from the shadows to kill him. There were just so many things that could happen. I have grown fond of Mike. I did not want to see him killed by a character introduced 20 minutes prior. But then again, such is the show. The resolution to the scene made sense – Mike is now in partnership with Walt and Jesse because he needs money, and I have a feeling we will see more of Lydia.
B. Speaking of “HOLY SHIT!!!!” scenes, the opening sequence with the Madrigal exec was just … WOW!!!! At least he got to taste “Franch” and “Cajun Kick-ass” before he died, right? Also: I love how show runner Vince Gilligan built the tension in that scene, showing us how the fall of Gus’s empire would have international implications, and then played it out in an unexpected way – an AED normally shocks life back into a person; this time it took it away.
C. Walt’s “family” remark at episode’s end came across as evil, maniacal, arrogant – a 180 to the family reasons that initially drove him to cook meth. Skyler’s lost expression as Walt kissed her neck reminded me of a calmer version of Jesse in an opening scene of “Madrigal” when he learns he almost killed Walt for something he did not do (i.e., poison Brock with the vile’s contents).
D. Poor Jesse. He introduces the magnets concept and gets no credit in the season premiere. This week’s episode he is crying his eyes out at the thought of killing Mr. White, as he calls Walt. Yet, Walt was the person who poisoned Brock – just in a different manner than Jesse believed. Jesse, at this point, is as wrapped around Walt’s finger now as he has ever been in the show. Perhaps he believes Walt simply can’t lose.
E. Hank was this week’s winner. He did not break Mike with the revelation that he knew about $2 million in assets directed toward Mike’s granddaughter but he forced Mike into partnering with Walt and Jesse. Also, it appeared a lightbulb went off in Hank’s head when the DEA chief mentioned that Gus Fring was right under his nose and he didn’t suspect him. Could this have been the moment when Hank realized Walt might be their guy? We probably won’t know for several more weeks, if not months.
F. A brief aside: Last night I watched the show at Hollywood Theater with a few hundred other Portlandia residents. When Barack Obama’s re-election commercial slamming Mitt Romney’s singing and outsourcing of jobs, among other things, played, the crowd cheered and clapped. I laughed. Ah, Portlandia!
G. Saul’s logic was good – you’ve been handed a $10 million lottery ticket. Walt’s was better – he’s broke, owes Jesse $40,000, and there is “gold in the streets.” While Walt, Jesse, and Mike are in this for the duration, Saul is itching to pull the parachute and find safety. There’s no shade left on this show, though. It’s all scorched Earth from here on out.
H. Emmy nominations came out this week and Bryan Cranston (Walt), Anna Gunn (Skyler), Aaron Paul (Jesse) and Giancarlo Esposito (Gus) were all rewarded for their fine work. I hope Jonathan Banks (Mike) will receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination next year. His work in this episode was sublime – with Walt and Jesse, with Hank, with Lydia in the diner and the bedroom, with his subordinate before killing him, etc. The more I think about my fears for Mike in Lydia’s home, the more I realize how nonsensical they were. If you’re Vince Gilligan, why would you kill off this character and this actor before it’s absolutely essential?
I. Speaking of Mike: Is the barrier for Hank to have his showdown with Walt for him to first have a showdown with Mike? He knows Mike engaged in shady shit. He just needs someone to roll on him. Except there are bodies falling, and the likelihood someone will roll now is unlikely. So at what point do Mike and Hank clash again this season? Gilligan has turned Mike into one of the show’s most likeable anti-heroes. At what point does the show’s creator rip him away from the fans for mass effect?
J. Enjoying this Marie-free season, but Episode 3′s trailer hinted that Hank’s wife will play a role of some kind confronting Walt. That Marie would stand up to Walt only offers an opportunity to show Walt’s power and ego. I doubt she gets anything substantive from him, but you never know. She’s better off approaching Skyler.
K. Once again, thanks to Hollywood Theater for airing this week’s episode!!!!