Breaking Bad Review: “Madrigal” (Season 5, Episode 2)

The dark, but reasonably calm season premiere of Breaking Bad gave a lot of promise for the oncoming bleakness of the next 15 episodes. We’re now into episode 2, which also decides to play its cards very close to its chest by remaining a similarly quieter affair. It’s not exactly explosive by any means of the word, but it nonetheless points toward darker and more troublesome times to come.

Everything in this episode is hinting at a colossal downfall for Walter White. In Walt’s eyes, the destruction of Gus’ laptop (which is confirmed in an off hand piece of dialogue) and the “finding” of the ricin cigarette in order to put Jesse’s mind at ease means there is nothing for him to worry about now. As far as Walt is concerned, he and Jesse can begin cooking again and the whole Gus issue can just be swept under the rug.

So, with that in mind, our two meth cooks first go to Mike and ask him to come in as a third partner, for muscle, protection and distribution. But he turns them down, stating it is Walt’s volatility that makes him apprehensive. Walt doesn’t balk or cry or get wound up as he usually would but instead wishes Mike well.

Only, in the world of Breaking Bad, nothing is that simple and Walt’s smugness can only last so long. This episode welcomes actress Laura Fraser playing Lydia, an associate from Madrigal Electromotive, the company that had strong connections with Gus Fring and Los Pollos Hermanos. Not much is given on Lydia’s history but due to the company being German, it figures that she is an envoy who works for the company overseeing the US.

Lydia is worried. The account numbers (and not contact numbers as I egregiously claimed last week) which were found behind the photograph belonging to Gus Fring link him with Madrigal and several other associates who are now wanted for questioning by the police and the DEA. Lydia comes to Mike with a list of 11 people that need killing in order to protect her name, due to her fear that they will squeal. This is bad news for Mike, whose name could also be ratted out, but he turns her down and vouches entirely for his men’s loyalty.

Lydia poses a prominent threat to Walt, Mike and the whole operation though. It is apparent that her role in the production of the meth was very important. As it turns out it, it was her who was giving the supply of methylamine in the first place and she may still have access to it now. She is also a woman who can easily get what she wants. After Mike turns her down, she goes to someone else to carry off the kill list and also sets a trap for him.

However, Mike is not to be screwed around with. The stubbornness and fear leads him to kill one of his trusted associates and he then turns the gun on Lydia. A suitably tense moment indeed, but realising she has access to the methylamine and the fact that his granddaughter no longer has the money he saved due to police interference, means he can’t kill Lydia. So, his only option is to go into partnership with Walt and Jesse.

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