Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 2 Recap: Madrigal
Jul 24 2012 11:45 am ET
This week's Breaking Bad gives us access to the backstory of the top man in corporate security Mike Ehrmantraut. Meanwhile, Walt continues to emotionally manipulate Jesse as the twosome try to restart the meth cooking and distribution business.
Previously on Breaking Bad: Jesse was supposed to poison Gus with ricin hidden in a cigarette, but that cigarette went missing. Jesse thought his ladyfriend's son Brock may have gotten to it, but we know that it was Walt's Lily of the Valley that caused the kid to get poisoned. Meanwhile, Hank's investigating while recuperating revealed a connection between Los Pollos Hermanos, Gale the vegan and meth cook (deceased) and a German firm called Madrigal Automotive. Also, Walt and Jesse's magnet stunt to destroy the video evidence on Gus's computer inadvertently revealed some off-shore bank account information to the police. Oh, and Skyler is now terrified of her husband.
We begin this recap in Germany, where a team of scientists have prepared several potential flavors of dipping sauces for chicken nuggets. Flavors of note include Cajun Kickass and a hybrid of french and ranch dressings under the working title Franch. The lead scientist says marketing might come up with a better name. First, no they won't. Second, I would like two cases, please. The man sampling the sauces, Mr. Schuler, is told by an assistant that some investigators are in his office and are asking to see him at once. Schuler eats a few nuggets before exiting the lab.
As Schuler walks to his office, we see Madrigal Elektromotoren in the background and a crew removing a Los Pollos Hermanos logo from an overhead display. Schuler approaches his office and stops when he sees the investigators through the window. Rather than enter the office, Schuler grabs a nearby Automated External Defibrillator unit and runs to the bathroom. Uh oh. Schuler undresses as his assistant and one of the investigators knocks on the door. Schuler places one pad on his chest, rips the wire out of the other pad and places it in his mouth. He activates the AED. ZAP. Schuler falls to the floor; the toilet flushes; the credits roll.
We overhear the audio of a phone conversation between Jesse and Walt as Walt works on a project in the bedroom. In the audio, Jesse is trying to retrace his steps as to the whereabouts of the poisoned cigarette. Although it turns out Brock didn't take the cigarette, Jesse is concerned that some other kid could find it and God only knows what would happen then. As we hear Walter reassuring Pinkman that everything will be all right, we see his project is recreating the cigarette but with a capsule of salt instead of ricin. With the dummy cigarette finished, Walt dismantles the poisoned cigarette. Once he recovers the ricin capsule, Walt removes an outlet cover from the wall behind his bedside table, attaches the capsule to the inside and replaces the cover.
Walt heads over to Jesse's to help him search for the cigarette. There's an extended search montage, including Jesse going through every cigarette butt in his fireplace. Nothing turns up. Jesse's Roomba is also on the hunt. This is the first time Walt has seen the Roomba and he's slightly freaked out by the gizmo (remember, it's still 2008 in the show's timeline). Walt asks when Jesse last checked the Roomba's bin. Jesse says it has been about a week, so he checks again. Lo and behold, the (fake) cigarette is there. Walt takes the cigarette to dispose of it properly. Jesse sits on the floor and slowly becomes overwhelmed with emotion. "I almost shot you," he says, failing to hold back tears. "I almost killed you because…I don't know what's wrong with me Mr. White. I don't know how I can be so stupid. I'm so sorry." Walt comforts Jesse, even going so far as to give him a pep talk. Walt has done some reprehensible things – many in the last 48 hours – but Gaslighting Jesse is probably the worst he has done this season so far.
Mike is having a less emotional evening, just chilling in front of the TV with his beer and his Ensure. He checks the bandages on the gunshot wound he is still recovering from thanks to the cartel massacre. Before Mike can turn on the TV, Walt and Jesse stop by for a visit. They move to the kitchen, where Walt proposes a new partnership to fill the distribution void created by the untimely death of Gus. Although the overall profits will be smaller (the network is not as elaborate as Fring's was), the three-way split will grant a larger cut of the action. Mike waits all of half a second before saying, "thanks, but no thanks." Walt asks Mike to reconsider, this time without emotion. Yeah, because Mike is a man who operates solely on whims. "You are trouble," Mike says coolly. "You are a time bomb tick tick ticking. I have no intention of being around for the boom." Walt asks Mike to sleep on it before making a final decision and offers a handshake. Mike ever so slowly and reluctantly shakes.
Hank returns to the DEA office, this time without his cane. He makes slow progress through the building, but that is a lot of progress for his overall recovery. This morning's meeting features US attorneys and representatives from Madrigal to discuss the continuing investigation of the meth cartel. Madrigal's president or CEO (his title isn't made clear) promises full cooperation. After the meeting, Hank and his partner share drinks with their captain. The latest major development involves Fring's laptop, which was fried in the magnet caper. Since the computer is now a dead end, the next path to follow is to figure out who built the bomb for Hector. Merkin, Hank's captain, reminisces about a time Gus came to his house for dinner. "Right in front of me," Merkin muses, "right under my nose." Hank wouldn't know anything about that…yet.
Mike sits at a booth in a diner, drinking coffee and reading the paper. A woman in huge sunglasses and an all-black outfit enters and sits immediately behind Mike. The waitress comes up and asks if she would like anything to drink. Lady Incognito tries to order various types of super fancy tea, but the waitress is all "We have Lipton." Don't ask about the sweet rolls, Lady Incognito. The waitress leaves, Mike rolls his eyes, and asks Lady Incognito which table they should use. Lady Incognito sputters, so Mike moves to her table. The waitress returns and Lady Incognito pretends he is her long-lost friend Dwayne. "Can I get you anything else, Mike?" The waitress asks.
"How 'bout we lose the sunglasses? I feel like I'm talking to Jackie Onassis," Mike says. The woman, whose name is Lydia, complies and asks who killed Gus. Mike doesn't offer an answer. Lydia hands Mike a list with 11 names on it. The men on the list are guys on Fring's payroll who will undoubtedly get picked up soon for questioning. Lydia intends for the list to also double as a hitlist for Mike, but he scoffs at the idea. First, all of Gus's employees were vetted and well compensated, particularly if the current circumstances did come to pass. Also, killing off 11 people isn't exactly practical, especially if one is trying to lay low. Lydia says she understands and takes the list back.
After the awkward diner breakfast, Mike heads to the DEA office for a morning meeting. He passes Chao, one of Fring's employees. Chao just left his interview with Hank and his partner, which is where Mike is heading. In the interview, we learn that Mike was a cop in Philadelphia but was kicked off the force for some reason. Mike dodges questions about why Fring would need someone involved in corporate security when LPH mostly hires teenagers. Since he isn't under arrest, Mike gets up and makes his way for the exit. Hank has one more question: why does Mike's granddaughter have a $2 million off-shore account? It turns out the other people on the same list Mike saw earlier are also in possession of off-shore accounts. Mike says he knows nothing and leaves.
Walt and Jesse meet with Saul in his office. Walt wants to build a new lab so they can start cooking again. He doesn't want an RV, despite Jesse claiming "the Crystal Ship was good for us." Walt also doesn't want a 50-mile commute. Saul says finding a local spot that would escape detection would be difficult, but Walt reminds his lawyer Gus was able to do it. The other complication involves acquiring methylamine. Saul, trying to look for a way out of this situation, reminds Walt that people who win the lottery don't buy tickets the next day, so why not cut and run? Walt explains that he is currently $40,000 in the hole (he owes Jesse for the magnet), so Walt has not won any sort of lottery in his eyes. Poor Saul.
Mike hangs out with his granddaughter Kaylee and she is totally schooling him in Hungry Hungry Hippos. Mike gets a call from Chao who says his money has been confiscated by the DEA. He asks Mike to meet him to figure out what to do. Mike agrees to meet Chao in two hours. The phone call ends and we see a large gun with a large silencer has been pointed at Chao throughout the call.
Mike arrives at Chao's house and we see the assailant setting up the ambush. The plan is to shoot through the peephole, but the knock on the door is rather faint. There's another faint knock. The gunman looks out and can't see anything. Hanging from the door is a toy dog that rolls itself over, which we saw in the scene with Kaylee. Mike is behind the assailant with a gun drawn. The two sit across from each other in Chao's living room. The gunman says he is Lydia's hitman, and we see he has dispatched Chao. The hitman tries to negotiate a deal, but Mike shoots three or four times instead. I guess that leaves nine people on the list.
That night, we see a girl practicing her Spanish with her nanny as they brush a doll's hair. The girl is Lydia's daughter. Mike is in the residence and grabs Lydia as she heads toward her bedroom. The nanny and daughter, who are only about 10 feet away, are sent away. The nanny leaves for the night and the daughter goes to her room. Mike points the gun and waits for the nanny to leave. Lydia asks that he not shoot her in the face so that the young girl won't be haunted by the image. Mike says he doesn't plan on leaving a body, but Lydia says she doesn't want her daughter to feel abandoned. What a screwed up situation, and Mike knows this. He asks Lydia if she can get her hands on methylamine. She says she thinks she can, so Lydia may not have outlived her usefulness yet.
Mike calls Walt and says he has reconsidered the offer. Mike is in. Walt heads to bed after the conversation. Skyler, who has been in bed and semi-catatonic this entire episode, continues to lay on her side in silence. Walt says "it never gets easier. What you're feeling now about Ted and everything will pass." No response. Walt undresses and begins to force himself on Skyler. "There's no better reason than family," he says. No response.
Next week on Breaking Bad: Mike is in, but he wants control of the business side of the operation. Marie is back and she corners Walt. Money starts rolling in, but Mike warns Walt "just because you shot Jesse James doesn't make you Jesse James."
Mike McComb – TVLatest.com
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