Bad Ass Quote of the Week
“Nobody’s going to find you Lydia.” – Mike Ehrmantraut
Thoughts on “Madrigal”
A man (the head of Madrigal Electromotive’s Restaurant Division – Peter Schuler) is sitting in a very clean testing kitchen, sampling new dipping sauces prepared by a rather nervous looking group of food chemists. As Schuler robotically tries each sample, he maintains a morose expression, and offers no comments to the increasingly bewildered looking staff. His secretary arrives to tell him that “those men have returned, three of them this time” and wish to see him. Schuler thanks her and dismisses her, along with the chemists, and goes on eating tater tots without trying the dipping sauces.
I am sure that the day after this episode aired, a lot of Baddicts went out and mixed up a batch of the food chemists’ most interesting dipping sauce – “Franch” – half French Dressing and half Ranch. I”m predicting this will be a “must” for any Breaking Bad finale party!
Schuler then walks through a lobby displaying the corporate logo Madrigal Elektromotoren (we are at the corporate headquarters in Hanover, Germany), and past the logos of various restaurants owned by the company. The Los Pollos Hermanos logo is being removed, and he pauses to watch it go.
Herr Schuler then goes upstairs and observes police waiting for him in a conference room. The police are looking a photos on the wall of Schuler with Gus Fring. Rather than proceeding into the conference room, Schuler takes an Emergency Defibrillator Kit from the wall, and goes into the bathroom. He strips off his shirts, and opens up the kit, taking a seat on the toilet. As his secretary, followed by the police knock on the door, and ever more urgently demand that he come out, he sticks one electrode pad from the Defibrillator to his chest. He then removes the wire from the other electrode pad, sticks it in his mouth, and triggers the kit, electrocuting himself. He falls to the floor dead as the police bang on the door.
We hear a conversation between Walt and Jesse which sounds like a recorded phone call (this is just to tell us that this conversation happened earlier – I really don’t think that either of them are dumb enough to be recording their phone calls, or that their phones are bugged at this point). Jesse is very worried about what happened to the ricin cigarette, and what might happen if someone picks it up. Walt tries to reassure him it burned up in the super lab, but Jesse is insistent, so Walt proposes they search Jesse’s house thoroughly. While we listen to this conversation, Walt is preparing a fake vial of ricin using salt, and loads it into a dummy ricin cigarette.
Walt then goes to destroy the real ricin cigarette in the toilet, reconsiders, and destroys only the tobacco portion. He hides the vial of ricin behind an electrical outlet plate in his bedroom.
Ok, now I hate to use this expression, because it has been used to death by reviewers and podcasters of Breaking Bad, so I hope I will only use it this once… this has truly become Chekhov’s ricin. Ricin has appeared far too many times on this show without being successfully used for it not to finally be used at some point. Perhaps on Walt himself in the distant future?
They search Jesse’s house from top to bottom – even inside stuffed pillows(?) and through Jesse’s big box of crayons (lucky Brock). Walt does find a pair of panties in Jesse’s bed, but they don’t find the cigarette, and flop down on the couch in frustration. Jesse’s repaired (after being dismantled by a meth head at Jesse’s Party in “Thirty-Eight Snub”) roomba drives by. Walt looks meaningfully at Jesse when he says he checked it a week ago. Jesse finds the dummy cigarette inside and Walt flushes the fake vial.
Jesse begins to break down, now facing the impact of their confrontation in “End Times” when he almost shot Walt and says, “I almost shot you, I almost killed you. I don’t know what’s wrong with me Mr. White. I don’t know how could I be so stupid. I’m so sorry.”
Walt puts his hands on Jesse’s shoulders and reassures him that what happened was for the best, that he wouldn’t change a thing. The two of them working together, having each others’ back saved their lives. Walt says “I want you to think about that as we go forward.”
Jesse replies, “Go forward where?”
Walt’s slimy manipulation of Jesse here is disgusting. Not only has he duped Jesse with the dummy cigarette, to get Jesse to stop thinking about it (which is always a danger to Walt), but he also shores up Jesse’s recently restored loyalty to him, telling him to remember that loyalty in the future. Walt has no shame here. Aaron Paul did an excellent acting job in this scene.
Mike is at home (the Ehr Man Traut Man Cave?) getting an Ensure and a Beer from fridge which has a picture of him drawn by his granddaughter Kaylee posted on it. Mike is watching ”The Caine Mutiny” (specifically the scene where the mutiny takes place) on TV. He checks the dressing on the wound he received in “Salud”, and we see that there is still some blood seeping through. Apparently he’s also still on a liquid diet.
Walt and Jesse arrive to discuss forming a three-way partnership with Mike to start cooking meth again, to fill the empty market left by the destruction of Gus’ empire. Walt wants Mike to take charge of distribution, support and logistics. He explains that there will be a lot of work ahead and a lot of rebuilding, with smaller profits at first, but each of them will receive a larger cut as owners, not employees.
Mike responds with “no thanks”, and Walt says he knows Mike doesn’t care for him, that they’ve had their issues in the past. but to leave emotion out of it. Mike informs Walt that he’s trouble, he’s sorry Jesse doesn’t see it but, “You are a time bomb, tick tick ticking, and I have no intention of being around for the boom”.
This remark couldn’t help but draw my attention to the similarities with the movie “The Caine Mutiny” that Mike was just watching.
(*** Warning – this paragraph is a spoiler for the movie ***) In the movie a new Captain is assigned to the U.S.S. Caine and immediately shows some signs of being unstable to his Officers and Crew. After a series of incidents, including steaming over and cutting his own tow line while his focus was on reprimanding a subordinate, leading a ship wide investigation into strawberries missing from the Officers’ Wardroom, and later failing to escort landing craft all the way to the beach during an assault, his Officers begin to worry. Finally, in the scene which Mike was watching in this episode of Breaking Bad, the Captain is removed from command by his Executive Officer when he refuses to turn the ship during a storm, and becomes frozen. The Executive Officer says, “Captain I’m sorry but you’re a sick man. I’m relieving you as Captain of this ship under article 184.”
This strikes me as a very strong parallel to what Mike tells Walt here, that he’s not going to wait around until Walt gets them all into trouble. Perhaps this could also be some foreshadowing of Walt’s “Captaincy” of the new organisation he is putting together? I suppose we will see.
Walt tells Mike to sleep on it and maybe he’ll reconsider, in the meantime he and Jesse will be pressing on. Mike slowly returns a handshake offered by Walt.
Walt seems entirely unperturbed during Mike’s rejection. After seeing this scene I have begun to wonder if Walt’s transformation since last season is happening just a bit too fast – too suddenly? It’s like once the bomb plot against Gus succeeded and he said “I won” he has felt invincible. He’s being really smarmy and manipulative, and seems oblivious to any worry or concerns others around him may be having. I hope this isn’t because Vince Gilligan and the writers feel rushed by only having 16 episodes left after the end of last season.
It was also amusing to see another piece of Kaylee’s work on the fridge behind Walt’s shoulder in this scene, a blue piece of paper with “Blue is Good” written on it in blue crayon.
Hank arrives at the DEA offices and is met by Gomez, where they go into a conference with the executives from Madrigal. The head of the company says he hired Peter Schuler in 1992, and he had since single-handedly grown the restaurant division to an industry leader. This compares interestingly with Gus’ timeline – 1992 would have been roughly the same time Gus and Max were starting Los Pollos Hermanos in Mexico (recall that Don Eladio told Gus in “Salud” that every 20 years Gus forgets his place). The head of Madrigal says he is shocked and saddened by Schuler’s death, and outraged by the damage his actions have wrought on his grandfather’s company. When his corporate lawyer adds “alleged actions”, the boss says “an innocent man does not kill himself”. Hmm, could this be more foreshadowing of something to come with Walt (with the ricin even)?
The Madrigal chief concludes by explaining that he and his people are there to help, and pledges Madrigal’s full cooperation and transparency with the investigation. He says he has his selfish reasons and feels that Peter Schuler was a lone anomaly, but if that is not the case, “I want to know it just as you.”
Hank, Gomez and Merkert share a drink together in Merkert’s office. He’s been canned or transferred – “thrown under the bus” – for not fully investigating Gus Fring. He compliments Hank’s police work. Hank confirms that Gus’ laptop was destroyed, but he had a peek before it went into evidence – the whole thing was encrypted. So we now know that the “Yo magnets” plan succeeded. Merkert asks who gave Hector Salamanca the bomb that killed Gus, and Hank tells him “There are not a lot of answers yet, but we do have some of Fring’s financials that may lead somewhere.”
Merkert comments that he was friends with Gus, and even had him over for a fourth of July barbecue, where Gus taught him how to prepare sea bass. Merkert laments, “He was somebody else completely right in front of me, right under my nose.”
The look that Hank gives at the end of this scene is great. Is he thinking “what is under my nose that I am missing? Can I suffer the same fate as Merkert?”, or is this the spark of Hank perhaps starting to think more critically about Walt? It may still be a little early for Hank to go down that path (in terms of the number of episodes left), but he has to start thinking about it sometime!
I can only hope that at some point in the near future, AMC television posts Gus’ recipe for Chilean sea bass!
Mike meets Lydia (the executive who sat next to the corporate lawyer, on the other side from the head of Madrigal in the conference with the DEA) in a restaurant. She is amateurishly and amusingly disguised with huge sunglasses. She tries to order, but cannot get the exotic teas or fruit she is accustomed to in this greasy spoon. She is sitting back to back with Mike in an adjacent booth, and wants them to talk this way, but he gets up and moves to sit across from her. When the waitress returns Lydia pretends she has just bumped into her old friend “Dwayne”… but fails to impress the waitress who knows Mike. Mike tries to calm her down.
She asks who killed Gus, and Mike says, “Haven’t I told you not to worry about that?”
She produces a list of 11 names that could sink them both. The 11 men worked for Gus and Mike and were on the payroll of Madrigal publicly. She is very upset and unsettled as she explains that these 11 will be picked up by the police and threatened with prosecution, and if 2 or 3 or even 1 talk about Mike or Lydia that’s all it will take. These are the 11 she knows, and she’d love Mike’s input, she never met the chemist for instance. Mike asks her if she wants him to kill them all, she replies that she didn’t say that, “but if you think that would be wise”. Mike tells her, “You’re scared and upset, so I will factor that into my response here. These are my guys, and they’re solid.”
“What about Chow at the warehouse, didn’t you have to shoot hin through the hand?”
“And you don’t think that stuck in his memory?”
“What about Dennis at the laundry – they’re sure to pick him up.”
“”Yeah, last night.”, Mike continues, “My guys are solid. I vetted them with great care, and Fring made sure they were well compensated in the event of a situation such as this. They’re paid to stand up to the heat and keep their mouths shut. No matter what. And they will. Now I don’t know what kind of movies you’ve been watching but here in the real world we don’t kill 11 people as some kind of prophylactic measure. Look at me and say you understand.”
Lydia does, but she also looks frustrated and scared. Mike tell her to finish her drink.
Walt is having breakfast with Junior and Holly. Junior has to go, and when asked if he has had enough, he says yes (someone note the date and time that Junior has finally had enough breakfast)! Skyler’s cereal sits on the table untouched. When Walt tries to wake her to go to the car wash, she says Manuelo can open for her today. Walt encourages her to get up and take a shower, and Skyler slowly gets up and complies.
Mike arrives at the DEA and runs into Chow in lobby who is on his way out from being questioned. When asked how he’s holding up. Chow looks worried and says, “They talked to me.”
Hank and Gomez meet with Mike, and ask him to state for the camera that he has not brought legal counsel. They quiz him about his job at Los Pollos Hermanos as corporate security, his status as a private investigator, and his licenses to carry firearms. When asked if he was a police officer, Mike acknowledges that he was, in Philadelphia. They have of course checked this and indicate that his tenure as a police officer ended dramatically. Mike is not interested in talking about it. Hank asks him why Gus would hire a guy like him to help with his drug empire, and Mike responds that it’s the first time he’s heard about that.
Gomez informs him that they have a guy that can testify that Mike was in the underground lab. Mike calls this bluff asking if he is under arrest. Another coup d’etat for Mike – theatrically laying his hands on the table and getting no response he says “Forget your handcuffs? I’m confused. Am I under arrest here or am I not? You want to state that for the camera?”
Hank says ” You are not under arrest, currently”
Mike replies with a very monotone, ”Agents, do you have any more questions for me? Because you’ve got me very stirred up with all these false accusations. If I’m not under arrest I prefer to leave.”
They indicate he can go, but Hank mentions $2 million under his granddaughter’s name in one of the accounts Gus transferred money to. Hank explains that Fring had secret offshore accounts, 12 of them- manager of the laundry, guys at the Los Pollos distribution centre, a guy owning a chemical warehouse (Chow), and Kaylee Ehrmantraut. He says, “2 million plus on her account. Maybe it was her granddad. The government will take it unless you tell us what you know and who is out there. Kaylee might keep some of that money. Otherwise guys are going to roll on you.”
Mike plays it cool and leaves.
Walt is having what looks like a little “board meeting” with Jesse and Saul. Kind of funny to see his formal businesslike approach. He says, “First order of business. no more RV’s.”
Jesse says he called the old RV the “crystal ship” (I always preferred the Methabago). Walt says it was a good starter lab, but it’s too dark , too small, it could have broken down at any time (haha!). He continues, “Saul find us someplace safe from prying eyes. Security against detection is paramount. But I don’t want to drive too far – no more 50 mile treks to some indian reservation.”
Saul answers, “In town is trickier, I mean we got a lot more of your prying eyes.”
“If Gus can manage it, then so can we.”
They are still short of methylamine, and Walt refuses to go back to a “pseudo” cook. Saul tries to convince them to give it up, to quit while they are ahead (with their lives). Walt is not going to quit, he’s $40K in the hole to Jesse for the “Yo magnets” caper. He ends the meeting saying, “There is gold in the streets, just waiting for someone to come and scoop it up.”
It is unsettling how Walt has become so demanding, so overconfident, and callous in the matter of fact way he conducts this meeting. Saul is cowed by him since their last meeting, and did not drop any of his usually glib comments.
Mike is playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with Kaylee (quite apropos after Walt’s line about scooping up gold in the last scene), while her toy animated pig rolls around on the floor behind her. He gets a call from Chow who talks about how the DEA want him to come back to talk again, and how they took all his money. He wants Mike to come to his house to talk about it. Looking over his shoulder at Kaylee, Mike agrees to go there in two hours. After they hang up we see that Chow is being held at gunpoint by Chris (one of Mike’s former men, and the fellow that drove Gus to Hector Salamanca’s nursing home in “Face Off”).
When Mike arrives at Chow’s house, Chris observes him approaching through the peephole in the door, and places his silenced pistol up to the hole in anticipation of Mike’s knock. Chris hears as strange thumping on the door, and we see that Mike has hung Kaylee’s animated pig toy on the door to distract who is inside. In the time since the phone call with Chow he has obviously figured out that something was not right. Mike has entered from the rear of the house and surprises Chris, asking him to drop his gun. You see Chow sitting on the couch from behind, but you don’t know he is dead yet (sorry spoiler). Mike asks how much she (Lydia) was going to pay Chris (past tense.. this mission is over), who tells him it was $10,000 a name, and $30,000 for Mike. Mike asks how far did he got down the list. ”Just, Chow.” – we then see Chow from the front, his brains splattered on the wall behind him. Chris continues, “I’m really sorry about this Mike, but I needed the money. Those feds, they took it all man.”
Mike answers, “I know. Are you ready?”, and then kills Chris.
Mike then looks thoughtful, obviously he’s concerned about the DEA taking his men’s money, and what this may mean.
We see a glass house on a hillside, inside a little girl is being taught Spanish by a woman who turns out to be her caretaker. Lydia arrives home (it is her home in Houston) and Mike is waiting. He grabs Lydia and puts his gun to her head. Lydia makes an excuse to dismiss her caretaker and her daughter.
Once they are out of earshot, Lydia pleads with Mike not to hurt her daughter. She says “Don’t shoot me in the face. please I don’t want my daughter finding me like that.”
Mike says, “Nobody’s going to find you Lydia.”
Lydia panics and begs over and over that she not disappear, that her daughter not find herself abandoned or to think she was deserted. Lydia would rather her five-year old daughter find her dead, than to have her thinking that her mother just disappeared or left her. This gets to Mike’s soft spot, and he reluctantly reconsiders. He sighs and says, “Can you still get your hands on methylamine?”
Lydia replies, “Maybe…why?”
Mike gets in his car and calls Walt who is at home washing dishes and asks, “You still plan to move forward?”
Walt replies, “Yes we do.”
“I’ve reconsidered. I”m in.”
It looks like Mike’s soft spot for Lydia’s daughter, and perhaps Lydia, as well as for his concerns about his remaining men being without money, has led him to take this option. He may hire them back in order to provide them (and himself) with security from them going to the DEA and spilling what they know.
Walt then joins Skyler in bed and tells her she missed a good meal. He says to her, “You know it get’s easier, I promise you that.”
He seems so dismissive of her depression, and tries to convince her that all her negative feelings about Ted and everything will pass. He kisses her although she has her back to him and she seems disgusted. He continues kissing her and says, “When we do what we do, for good reasons, we’ve got nothing to worry about. There’s no better reason than family.”
Another very creepy Walt and Skyler ending! Another great episode too – I”m personally really enjoying the pace of this season, each episode so far has been packed with things happening and very little slow-moving filler. I hope this continues!
I’m really interested to learn more about Lydia. I have a feeling she may be the new antagonist for Walt. Granted she has no “street smarts”, but she is the highest ranking executive at Madrigal (still alive) that was involved in Gus’ meth business. What motivates her to be involved in the meth business when she has a high paying executive position? Also she is not very hesitant to ignore Mike’s advice to drop the idea of having people killed. From what I gather, she has some pretty strong abandonment issues, based on her pleading with Mike not to leave her daughter in that position. Did she suffer abandonment or the mysterious loss of someone close? Who might that have been? What is her connection with Gus, and does it have something to do with his background in Chile? Perhaps someone close to her was one of the “disappeared” under the Pinochet regime in Chile? We don’t know her last name (although in the podcast Vince Gilligan said it and sounds like Reinhardt Quayle – but then again … we don’t know Gus’ “real name”, so who knows?) Could she be related to Max Arciniega? Is she perhaps his younger sister, and is he the one that “disappeared”? I’m really intrigued by this.
Plus after Tuco and Gus, I think it’s a pretty good move to have a woman antagonist on the show.
Congratulations to Breaking Bad for their 13 Emmy nominations! The show has been nominated for:
|Outstanding Drama Series||Breaking Bad|
|Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series||Vince Gilligan|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Bryan Cranston|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Aaron Paul|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Giancarlo Esposito|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Anna Gunn|
|Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Mark Margolis|
Good work by Mark Margolis getting nominated not speaking a word in a language he understands, and for ringing a bell!! The show also received 6 creative arts Emmy nominations, among them Kelly Dixon for “Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series”. In addition to being one of the two editors on the show, she hosts the “Breaking Bad Insider” podcast, and is a fan of podcasts and internet reaction to the show. Well done Kelly!
I will stretch my neck out and predict that Lydia has some ties with Gus’ past from Chile.
Well, I’m one and one this week.
My prediction that Gus’ account numbers would lead to his background in Chile, or connect Madrigal Electromotive with Gus’ Chilean background was wrong. They were for employees in the Madrigal / Meth empire.
My prediction that Mike would reluctantly partner up with Walt and Jesse this season came true!
My score so far since starting this site is 3 1/2 predictions correct, 1 1/2 predictions wrong, and 2 still pending.
Humorous Quote of the Week
“Blue is Good” – Kaylee Ehrmantraut