This was my favorite episode so far this summer. Holy shit. So much to discuss. But first:
I gotta do it. I TOLD YOU SO in last week’s predictions that Jesse would find out about Brock and the poisoning. Yeah bitch!
So, are we getting ourselves into a Chekhov’s Disappearer situation now? That’s the second time that someone on the show has tried to use Saul’s last resort and the second time it hasn’t worked out. Walt was going to do it back in 411 “Crawl Space” but then he went to the crawl space to get the money and Skyler had given it to Ted for his IRS fiasco.
Now Jesse gets even closer to using this “out.” Saul tells Jesse, “This is it. Once I make the call, no take-backs.” Saul makes the call and asks for “a new dust filter for a Hoover Max Extract Pressure Pro Model 60,” Jesse’s at the pickup site, it’s all good to go…and then he just wants to smoke a little pot and the whole plan goes up in smoke. (Much more on that coming up.) So a second attempt to use the disappearer is thwarted. Will the third time be the charm? Will Walt (and family?) end up using the guy later on? Is that how Walt ends up in New Hampshire? Will this “gun” ever go off?
Gus got his face half blown off and walked out of the room and straightened his tie. Maybe gilding the lily, maybe a believability stretch. Still a nice touch. It’s a lot like the scene where Gus makes himself throw up after taking the poison in 410 “Salud,” he was alone, no one was watching, and he was still so Gus. Same here, he’s pretty much dead, in shock, and habit takes over. Gus doesn’t just put on a face for the outside world of this meticulous, inscrutable, insanely professional man. Gus is Gus to the core.
RIP, yo. Gus is dead. Walter White has “won” so he says.
But before that, one of my favorite lines ever. “Did you just bring a bomb into a hospital?” Jesse asks Walt. Great callback to “You brought a meth lab to the airport?” from Walt to Jesse in Season Two. So funny how Walt’s bag sticks to the door.
Gus’s “spidey sense” must be tingling towards the end of this episode.
This is a challenging episode to write about. It’s amazing, but there’s so much I can’t say until the next one without giving too much away.
It’s interesting, the first time I watched this one, I was so caught up in what was happening, and the drama and the suspense of it all. This time around, I paid more attention to some of the small things.
This episode is the halfway point for Season Four–six episodes came before, six will come after–and it feels like a tipping point of sorts. Skyler, Walt and Jesse all wrestle with decisions, and a lot of plot turns happen in this episode.
But before we get to any of that, how freakin’ AMAZING is Jesse’s monologue at his rehab meeting? One of the best moments in the entire series, in my opinion. So tortured. So moving. So raw. You’re right there with him, in that intensity. To me, this speech is a bit like Walt in “Fly” last season. Jesse’s reckoning with what he did at the end of the last season, and it’s an outburst filled with guilt and it doesn’t happen right away. The fallout takes time, which is so real. It also feels true to Jesse’s character that he’d still be in turmoil this long after. He’s also newly sober, four days, so perfect time to be wrestling with his soul, especially now as Walt’s asked him to murder again.
UPDATE AUGUST 26: After last night’s episode, there are a lot of questions about Jesse’s desert revelation and how it all fits together, so I updated this post to include that toward the end, to keep it chronological. You can skip to that part here.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people come across my blog from googling something like, “How did Walter White poison Brock?” or “What happened to the ricin cigarette?” or “what happened berries Walter Brock” or something similar. On the Breaking Bad message boards, questions about these topics still rage. While watching the latest episode on Sunday night, some friends were asking the the same questions. This storyline definitely has to be one of the most complex–maybe even convoluted–plotlines on the show. Some of it is more left to assumption than explicitly shown. So I thought I’d try to elucidate with my understanding of what happened, start to finish.
In episode 407 “Problem Dog,” Walt makes some ricin in the superlab. He gives it to Jesse, who puts it in a “lucky cigarette” that he keeps upside down in his cigarette pack. The ricin cigarette is born.
Walt, his revolver and lily of the valley
In episode 412 “End Times,” Walt is despondent and doesn’t know what to do. Gus has just threatened his wife, son, infant daughter and brother-in-law. Walt knows that Gus could be close to turning Jesse against him and that Jesse’s flagging loyalty is the only thing keeping Gus from killing him. Since Skyler gave a big chunk of Walt’s drug money to the IRS for the Ted thing, Walt doesn’t have the money to get himself and his family out of town through Saul’s disappeaerer “vacuum guy.” He sits out back behind his house and spins a revolver. The first two times, it points at him. The third time though, it points to a potted plant, which (we will later come to see) is a lily of the valley plant. Here is where Walter White gets his idea.
Is it me or is this season already flying by way too fast?
Walt comforts Jesse
So let’s get to Season 5, Episode 2, “Madrigal.”
The opening shot is a perfectly swirled blob of mustard. I’m not sure if this was intended or not, but I immediately thought of the pilot episode, when Walt first finds out he has cancer and all he can focus on is the mustard stain on the doctor’s coat.
It looks like we are in for some unexpected teasers this season. This one went from Madrigal Electromotive exec Schuler taste-testing such flavors as “Franch” and “Cajun Kick-Ass” with a look of dread (he knows what’s coming) to killing himself with a defibrillator. I think the most compelling moment of that whole sequence was when he put the lead under his tongue. If he was the least bit unsure about what he was doing before, that was *the* decisive moment.
When he first starts taking off his jacket to perform his suicidal task, I immediately thought of Gus exquisitely taking off his jacket and folding it before making himself vomit the poisoned tequila in “Salud.” Schuler does have a level of care in that scene, removing clothes layer by layer, but he’s not as meticulous as Gus (could anyone ever be?) and in an interview about “Madrigal” Vince Gilligan says the connection wasn’t intentional, even though many fans and critics had the same thoughts. Even the pristine clinical feel of the lab feels a little like Gus.
Other notes from the teaser:
They were taking down the Los Pollos Hermanos sign, wow.
Was that Lydia in the background during the taste-testing? Because of my blindness, I sometimes have trouble distinguishing faces, especially in the background, but a few people to the right behind the guy presenting “Franch” and the other flavors, was a woman who looked a lot like Lydia, with her hair parted in the exact same place. Can anyone confirm or deny?