Breaking Bad Roundtable 5.2: Madrigal

Another cold open, and once again expertly done. What were thoughts during the opening sequence?

Chas: This scene really didn’t do much for me. From the moment they told the guy eating sauce people were there to see him I knew he was a dead man. It was an okay diversion but it seemed like a scene constructed specifically for a dramatic kill.

Burner: I liked it, I thought it managed to be funny (Franch, auto flush on the toilet) while at the same time setting up the German mega corporation angle to this season.

Kevin: I agree with Chas that it was pretty obvious what was about to happen, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The defib kill was kinda cool.

Dave: I liked it, but didn’t LOVE it. IGN called it “perfect,” and Grantland said that, “the opening five minutes of the episode were some of the very best television I’ve seen in years.” After reading that I thought I was missing something so I’m glad to hear that while you guys liked it you didn’t think it was the epitome of television drama.

Ask and we shall receive, this episode featured Mike, Walt, Hank, and Jesse, and almost zero Skyler. Thoughts?

Chas: I hope Skyler lays in her bed for the rest of her life. In fact, I hope Walter Jr, Marie, Hank’s partner get into that same bed and they all stay there forever, Willy Wonka style.

Let’s hope Skyler doesn’t win a golden ticket.

Maybe Walt can awkardly kiss all of them goodnight.

Burner: Skyler’s crippling depression is the best thing for good TV since January Jones got pregnant and missed most of last season of Mad Men. Hopefully this heralds a new more plot and drugs focused direction for the remained of the show. More likely though is that we’ll get a shit load of family drama next week to make for a lack of it this week.

Kevin: Better than the first episode IMO because it’s all about the investigation and some more intel on the Gus Fring empire. The more back story we get, with new characters, the better.

Dave: I agree with Burner here. I hope this means a lot less of the family but am fearful that they’ll just make up for it later.

What was your favorite scene of the episode?

Chas: I thought the mindfuck scene where Jesse has a minor breakdown when he incorrectly realizes he almost killed Walt for no reason was great. Aaron Paul crushes it in those scenes. Plus the fact that Walt uses that as an opportunity to reinforce their friendship is just plain diabolical. The scene where Hank, Hank’s terrible friendcop and Mike square off in the interview as also interesting and well done. Both Mike and Hank got to show off their most delightful character traits.

Burner: It has to be one of the many fantastic Mike scenes. The diner scene was pretty great, with the Parker Posey knockoff bouncing her neuroses off of Mike’s grim practicality. The interrogation scene Chas mentions was quite good. All that and you get full on assassin mode from Mike, sniff out the double cross from his own guy and then sneaking into the apartment of the woman who set him up.

Kevin: Yeah I’d say the Walt/Jessie scene where Walt’s mindfucking of Jessie goes to a whole new level. Also really enjoyed Mike’s kill scene with the would-be assassin. “Have any last wo…” POP, POP, POP.

Dave: Without a doubt I’m going with the cleanup scene. The fast cutting action set to Whitey’s “Stay On The Outside,” is one of the reasons I love Breaking Bad’s music so much. The aftermath as Chas describes was one of the best acted scenes in the series.

Family played a huge role in this episode, including Walt’s final lines of the episode, and was the motivation behind almost all of Mike’s actions. Is his inability to shoot Lydia inevitably going to lead to Mike’s death?

Chas: It’s interesting to me how in a show like Sopranos the word “family” is positioned as a “for better or worse, at the end of the day it’s what’s more important” where as in Breaking Bad it’s always the construct that brings you down. The more close relationships, whether by blood or by deep friendship, are the things that end you. I’m not as convinced as you guys that Mike’s going to die quickly (or at all) but I suppose the odds of Mike’s death scale up directly in accordance to how many people he doesn’t kill.

Burner: I think by joining up with Walt and Jesse, Mike has bought himself a reprieve from the soon to die list.

Kevin: I think the second he joined up with Walt/Jessie he entered a world of problems. He tells Walt that at the beginning. They seemed to telegraph that he’s doing this for his granddaughter. If he’s going to go down, the DEA will take the 2 million from her. Maybe he wants to open up a new account before he gets caught. Which I think given the death of 2 of the 11 guys working for him and Hanks other-worldly detective skills, it will happen pretty quickly.

Does Mike have enough LOL pigs up his sleeve?

Dave: I’m always surprised at how easily I root for an assassin. Mike is clearly one of my favorite characters at this point which I’m not sure helps his longevity on the show.

What were your overall thoughts on the episode?

Chas: It was a B. As everyone knows, Breaking Bad is always in slow burn mode until the insanity hits the fan in the last few episodes of each season. I expect that to continue.

Burner: Yeah I liked it. It did more to set up the direction of the season than last week’s did, we have a sense now of who the players are going to be and what kind of issues they’ll run into. The episode managed to impart and insinuate most of that without getting heavy handed of overly expository. All that plus no Skyler, Walt Jr, or Marie and lots of badassery from Mike.

Kevin: Better than the premier. While I liked the caper style, that kind of episode could have been plugged in anywhere in the season and it would have fit. This one was constructed much more deliberately to lay the foundation for what’s about to come. We get more insight into Gus’ business, more information about what the DEA has on Gus to date, and we get some continued creepiness from Walt. All that and not much of the crap characters. Thought next week seems to be a Marie episode. Hold onto your things!

Dave: I’ve adjusted back to watching decent television and while hindsight says this episode is much better I still didn’t enjoy it as much as last week. I was just so happy to have Breaking Bad back in my life. Regardless, it was excellent as always. There’s a reason it’s the best show on television.

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