While the broad scope view of AMC’s Breaking Bad is that of a singular life set on self-destruction, what becomes evident as you continue to watch is that this destruction is bound to be universal. I have often said that this entire series can be seen as a metaphor for the disease that Walter White was originally diagnosed with in season one: cancer. Although cancer typically begins in one organ, confined to that one place in the human body, if it is not treated quickly and eradicated on site it will spread throughout the system destroying all in its path. In Breaking Bad Walter White began small and confined by his own limitations, but after five seasons we have seen his malignancy spread further than we (or at least I) could have ever imagined. In episode 2 of season 5, called “Madrigal”,we are shown evidence of Walter White’s toxicity spreading all over his partners, his family and the business that once paid him lucratively through the hands of Gustavo Fring.
The Corporate Crash
The episode begins with a scene in a lab – not a meth lab, a food testing lab. We see behind the scenes of the Pollos Hermanos corporate machine. That company was Gus Fring’s well-maintained cover and since he’s no longer around to keep things moving smoothly, the resulting investigation is leaving its own casualties. Throughout the episode, the ramifications of the the exposed business fronts of Gus Fring unfold before the all-knowing audience as we wait with bated breath to see if any of these open roads will lead back to White, the new mastermind and catalyst of destruction.
Pulling His Partners’ Strings
On a more personal level, Walt continues to toy with those still in his business bubble. His sick and twisted treatment of his first and most faithful partner, Jesse, continues to leave me wishing that Jesse is ultimately the one to take Walt down at the end of this series. When he said to Jesse, “Having each others’ backs… it’s what saved our lives,” I actually yelled at my television screen, wishing Jesse could hear me, “He’s only ever had a KNIFE in your back, Jesse!” But Jesse doesn’t know what we know – those of us that have been watching – and so he continues to “go forward” wherever his Mr. White leads him.
Contrary to Jesse’s ignorance, there is Walter’s wife, Skyler, who – knowing all that her husband is capable of – appears to be two steps away from catatonic. Walt perceives this behavior as a reaction to Skyler’s own entanglement with the shadier side of life and decides to provide her with sage advice from a hardened criminal. He said, “When we do what we do for good reasons, then there’s no reason to feel bad… And there’s no better reason than family.” I’m wondering what Hank, Walt’s brother-in-law, who’s neck-deep in the Fring investigation thinks about that sentiment.
What This Episode Says To Me
Following up such a solid season opener was not an easy task, but in “Madrigal” the story moved forward, and again we are treated to some awesome character development.
- This episode introduced a new intriguing character, Lydia. She’s a hyper woman that can be big trouble if ever tied down in the investigation.
- Lydia’s interaction with Mike continues to reveal his softer side that was first revealed to viewers when we learned of his granddaughter, then echoed in sentiment in his partnership with Jesse.
- We’ve gotten to see Hank’s character develop into a no nonsense detective that his colleagues finally respect.
- And Saul, everyone’s favorite crooked lawyer, continued to light up the screen in a short scene bearing a powerful message that was, of course, lost on Walt.
I promise you, I am merely scratching the surface of the tip of the iceberg of the story held within this episode. I honestly have no idea how they fit so much into each episode. However, after seeing this year’s Emmy nominations, with 13 for the good folks at Breaking Bad, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by their talents.
Your Thoughts and Theories
I have yet to write about my own theories about where I think Breaking Bad is headed at the end of this season, but there’s a simple reason for that: there are way too many valid possibilities right now; my brain can’t seem to settle on one! However, please don’t let that stop you! I’d love to read your theories about how you think this final season is going to end, or even how the mid-season is going to end. Write up your theories in the comment section below and let’s see if we can settle on an ending. Also, if you have any thoughts about this week’s episode, the clips you’ve be seeing about next week, or anything else Breaking Bad related, don’t hold back – comment away!