A show as meticulous and thought-out as "Breaking Bad" will always tie up loose ends. The second episode of the final season, "Madrigal," proved creator Vince Gilligan (who wrote this episode) will continue in this tradition, as the hyper-dreadful series explained certain plot turns thoroughly, such as how Walter White executed his plan to poison young Brock and why a secondary but essential character such as hit-man Mike must stay in the picture.
"Madrigal," directed with a sure-hand by Michelle MacLaren, begins with Herr Schuler committing suicide by sending electricity typically meant to jump-start hearts to his tongue, just as German police demands he talks about his role in Gus Fring's drug trade.
Schuler is an executive at the German food company Madrigal Elektromotoren, the parent company of Gus' former employer, Los Pollos Hermanos. But after the show's cold open, Schuler is merely one less guy willing to talk about the bigger-than-we-knew world of Gus and his meth distribution.
TV Lust commenters were correct in realizing the address Gus secretly wrote on a photograph led to private bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. Gus was using the accounts to stash money away for his team, but really, he was buying their silence. Now, in a post-Gus world, the DEA is aware of the offshore accounts, and the money is no longer waiting for Gus' crew. (We learn Mike kept his millions under his lovely granddaughter's name.) Even worse for Mike, a U.S. Madrigal high-up named Lydia has turned "Scarface"-paranoid, asking Mike to drop 11 bodies of Madrigal employees because she's afraid they'll cooperate with the feds.
After Mike rejects Lydia's short-sighted, bloody plan, she goes behind his back to hire a younger shooter. Before the assasin can carry out the hit on Mike, we see an Asian man — Chow, a Los Pollos Hermanos benefactor — sitting very still on the couch. Thanks to a steady camera, our view is centered on the back of Chow's blown-out head, the result of a contracted killer fulfilling his end of the job. It's a chilling, effective shot, and one of a few in "Madrigal" that relies on stark presentation and not trickery (think of the close-up of Skyler in bed at the end).
This wasn't Mike's first-time avoiding an ambush, so he takes care of the young gunner. Mike later breaks into Lydia's house (with her child and housekeeper in the next room) and, after a few intense, contemplating-murder moments, Mike spares her life because she has access to methlyamine, better known as the key (and currently missing) ingredient to Walt and Jesse cooking again. Although he earlier rejected Walt's offer to join the cooking team, Mike knows his hard-earned nest-egg has evaporated and it's time to build it up again, even if he has to work a "timebomb" like Walt.
Although this was an episode for Jonathan Banks (Mike) to shine — and that he did — we also learned how Walt poisoned Jesse's girlfriend's young son, Brock, last season.
First, Walt used the buffoonish-but-awesome lawyer Saul Goodman and his security to frisk the cigarette pack with the ricin away from Jesse. We then see a flashback of Walt creating a fake ricin insert — made of salt — and placing it in an identical cigarette. Walt, rather ominously, saves the real ricin vial and plants it behind an electrical outlet in his house. Fast-forward a bit, and we see Walt and Jesse tearing up the latter's home, desperately searching for the ricin-filled cigarette. Wouldn't you know that they find it in Jesse's "robot" — a self-cleaning vaccuum, which is where Walt likely planted it.
"I don't know about you but I need a beer after that," Walt nonchalantly tells Jesse, as if a cold one could wash away the guilt of poisoning a young boy and duping his partner on who was behind it.
Jesse needs something stronger. He bursts into tears, overcome with guilt that he could be so foolish as to lose a deadly cigarette (it wasn't your fault, dude) and relief that he wasn't the one who mistakenly poisoned Brock. Like the deranged father-figure he is, Walt soothes Jesse, assuring him he's a good little boy. The duo of Walt and Jesse can put this insanely ugly episode behind them (at least for now), and the focus can return to where Walt always wanted it — cooking, selling and claiming the recently vacant throne as the Southwest's meth lord.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun