Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 2 "Madrigal" (part 1 of 2)
by, 07-27-2012 at 05:09 PM (253 Views)
I apologize for these "week later" reviews. My intention is to get them out quicker, but It's been difficult to find the time.
What I've always loved about this show or really any good television show, is the attention to detail. The small, subtle aspects like tuco quickly mentioning his cousins are coming down to drive him, Walt, and Jesse to Mexico, only for those very same cousins to show up WAY later in the beginning of the next season, when you were lead to believe any blowback from the tuco days were completely done with. It's always the most seemingly unlikely thing that is remembered from way back when and then gets incorporated into the plot in the most natural and relevant manner. Whether it's Combo's killers or freakin' Bogdan from the pilot, there is no shortage of calling back characters or particular elements that just always seemed to serve their purpose for small potato events or moments.
Madrigal Electromotive, while mentioned several times by Hank in season 4, during his investigation into Gale, Gus, and the Los Pollos Hermanos chain, is just the same type of plot device that has cleverly sneaked it's way into season 5 for a compelling exploration of what this mysterious international conglomerate is all about, and rightfully so. The juicy intel we recieved from Agent Schrader last year was that he visited Madrigal's Houston office to talk to a temp in regards to the HEPA air filtration system that Gale ordered for the superlab. We learn that there was no record that anyone ever ordered such a thing and eventually Hank is prevented from diving in any further on the matter, due to some "snotnose" corporate lawyer. Other than that, we knew the main means of business was located in Hanover, Germany and eventually we discover that not only does Madrigal own LPH, but the laundry as well.
The first reference of Madrigal exists all the way back in season 3 during one of the most mouth-watering commercials for Gus' chicken:
Whether the writers planted this in early, knowing they would someday go into more depth, or they came up with ideas for Madrigal afterwards (due to just creatively appreciating the satire of such a catchy company name), I'm obsessively intrigued by season 5's direction with everything involving it. It allows this season for some very expansive story-telling, and this new global web of plot already feels unimaginably deeper and bigger than just Gus being a drug kingpin dealing with conflicts across the border. That's saying alot. I believe it's going to be the perfect excuse to learn more about Gustavo Fring (If that was his real name) and who he was in the past.
On to the actual episode, it kicks off with a curious character, Mr. Schuler, lifelessly dipping tater tots into various sauces up for review prepared by a team of lab lackies. Don't you just love these type of intros? I mean, knowing what the title of the episode was, as well as hearing the German dialogue, you can guess I already had an idea where it was going, but it was the execution and plain ol' oddity of introducing a major plot point for the season like that, which was brilliant. You couldn't really tell at first if this man was just tired of the taste-testing routine or was just being a passive aggressive ass, but later it becomes abundantly clear that this man is preparing for death. He's been found out (indirectly thanks to Heisenberg) and the police are closing in. I really loved the scene where he's standing in the lobby, and the LPH sign is being taken down. People are walking past in every direction as if the world is still going to turn without this man. He departs one way as LPH goes the opposite. As he walks without any hope up the stairs, you still get a great feeling of how powerful and thriving of a business Madrigal is. Then as well-casted as this guy is, he kills himself in the bathroom, electricution-style (cue opening title sequence).
Later we meet Lydia. Her character is fidgety, yet driven. She seems very similar to Walt in the past, in the sense that she's very paranoid and will cross whichever line necessary to get whatever she wants. Whether that's being difficult with a waitress to be served the most precise thing, or getting Gus' henchmen to almost all turn on each other, she is rather persistent in achieving her goal. Even when facing death, she is demanding on how it must be done, yet her fear is still clearly present, which makes for some great conflicting character establishment. The actress gave a wonderful performance in every scene she's been in for her first episode and for that I'm once again grateful of how good the casting is on this show. I'm looking forward to see her character in the future, especially when such a well-rounded character such as herself meets Walt.
For an episode highlighting one of my many favorite characters, it's surprising I'm just now mentioning Mike. First off, what a tense episode for him! It was a great idea to bring back his grand-daughter Kaylee to remind us how conflicting his world is. It makes the scene from last episode where he planned on "getting out of dodge" come off so much more important now. He's not just some lone wolf who could easily move on and vanish. He has to take into consideration that he'll be leaving family behind, which makes his secret life alot more daring. The fact that there's an account in her name for $2 million is really quite touching too.
The interrogation scene in general was really well-written. Not only was it the first time that Mike and Hank (and Gomez) actually exchange words, but throughout all the tension of their back and forth, we learn a bit more about Mike. One thing being the account for Kaylee, but then also the details of what his actual cover-job for Gus was, as well as him being an ex-Philly cop in the past. I wonder if the dramatic parting between him and that old job had anything to do with his half measure? Perhaps, the guy who got arrested for killing his wife talked to the police about Mike's vigilante behavior? It could be a whole other matter entirely. Nonetheless, I'm hopeful and interested to learn more about that later on.
Part 2: http://www.nohomers.net/entry.php?62...-(part-2-of-2)
Random Question: In season 4 there is an implication that the name Gus Fring isn't the kingpin's real name. If you were in charge of revealing his true identity, what would you name him?