Monday, July 23, 2012

Breaking Down: Breaking Bad, Season Five, Episode Two

In "Madrigal", the wheels are turning, smoking on the hot pavement left behind by The Chicken Man. Everyone tied to Gustavo Fring is looking for a way out. Meanwhile, Walt hides a ricin cigarette in DJ Roomba while it plays some catchy, darkly accented tunes, decidedly not Boz Scaggs. Mike is backed into a corner, and the DEA confiscated his loot and the loot of eleven others that a new female character with a penchant for breakfast teas and fidgeting has her target on. Mike Ehrmantraut has other plans.

Mike, the rock always beats scissors
Stan Earnest: First thing on the docket: shout out to my home slices A.Ron and Jim at Bald Move. They throw down a mad podcast after every episode called Breaking Good. Come here for immediate coverage then on your morning commute, roll with audio from those guys. They cover all the angles.

Secondly, the Breaking Bad Insider podcast with Vince Gilligan himself is quite amazing for sheer fanboy material. This week I learned that Walt’s new friend, the M60, is “the Rambo gun”; Mike used wasp spray for the camera, which is apparently what criminals use for highly positioned security cameras; the pizza toss from Season Three was a first take without effects and Cranston couldn’t do it a second time; the fall on the vat from “The Fly” was a stunt double mixed with computer effects to make it look like one solid shot; and Vince welcomes Myth Busters to test all things Breaking Bad--namely the magnet heist--to see if they would actually work.

On to the episode, one word for the opening sequence: anticlimactic.

Craig Scholes: First off, I like where this season is going. Secondly, I can vouch for the authenticity of the German bathroom. I don't know if the scene was actually shot in Germany (I doubt it), but they at least paid enough attention to detail to recreate it. I liked this episode. Anticlimactic? The fact that we are let in on this thing being global is HUGE!

SE: There are a lot of angles with this episode. It is like the olden days--pre, say, 2006, for you modern hipsters--making a CD album for someone special. You don't just mesh together 14 random tracks; you hit 'em in the face with the first track, make sure the second is slower tempo, but better, and plot together the rest fittingly, making sure to crash land the final track. We have grown accustomed to Breaking Bad's pace. The first episode is the "we're back" episode, and this episode is the sizzle before the pop. Maybe I'm just in the wrong place here, because Mike plus a gun silencer doesn't really add up to anything anticlimactic. I was really just hoping for another flash forward of crazy Walt.

CS: The premier really pulled the patented Lost move, teasing you with something that you are in no way prepared to deal with. I felt like this episode stayed true to what the show really is, introducing new characters while sticking to the current story.

SE: Yeah, Walt really is a total bastard. The thing is, while everybody is so anti-Walt right now, and anti-bad guy/Paterno/Sandusky period for that matter, I embrace completely-off-the-hinges Walt. I love a complete idiot hellbent on the idea that he controls his destiny. Seems realistic that way.

CS: That is, until Skyler kills him.

SE: After he kills Hank.

So who's name is Walt's account under? There are grumblings his fake ID name from last episode is Skyler's maiden last name.

CS: I actually don't think Walt has a secret account. He had all that cash, and he really didn't work for Gus all that long.

It takes money to make money
SE: It is going to be awfully awesome when Hank has video of Skyler withdrawing money from the account...better yet, Marie, to pay for Hank's bills.

CS: I guess I really never put any thought into how Walt got paid. I still think it would be easier to get paid in cash.

SE: I loved the snippet of Walt putting the ricin behind the electric outlet. It is a perfect move to show how far Walt is gone. What a lunatic.

CS: He has to have a plan for that ricin, who do you think his planned target is?

SE: He doesn't know it yet, but it is Hank. I just think that is the ultimate move that would show just exactly how bad Walt has broke. Screens are black, we're losing cabin pressure, needles are spinning, flux capacitor broken, WE'RE GOING DOWN!

CS: So in your mind the show ends with Walt on top, leaving no one behind?

SE: Something like that, I like the scenario where Walt has spun himself into such a mess that his family is all gone, he knows he is the cause, and he toasts himself from a beach house in Jamaica.

CS: I think Walt will finally be done with the craziness at some point, and when he gives up someone will get him. Jesse eventually will find out how Brock was really poisoned.

SE: The thing is, as the boys at Bald Move have pointed out and Vince Gilligan has said himself: karma is a factor. So if we see what has happened karmicly to, say someone like Don Eladio, imagine how big the barrel is that Walt is looking down into.

CS: If that's the case, then there is no way Walt is going to be the one that offs himself.

SE: Me personally, I don't believe in karma. Good people die from cancer every day while some scumbags live beautiful, healthy, wealthy lives. Walt on top, using his product off of a prostitutes ass, surrounded by bars of gold is where I want to see this thing go.

CS: I don't really believe in karma either, but of course we are talking about fiction, where anything is possible.

SE: Back to the task at hand, my favorite scene from this one was Mike vs. Hank and Gomez. Mike is backed into a corner. You know who Mike is this season? Season Four Walter White.

CS: Oh Man, Mike is awesome. I can't wait to find out more about the Philadelphia incident

SE: He knows Walt is trouble, because he was Walt at one time.

CS: The flashback scene where we first see how Mike and Gus met, is going to be awesome.

SE: Most definitely. We HAVE to have a Gus flashback scene. So the new character, we all in on her?

Brock's new Lego set, "The Crystal Ship"
CS: I don't know what to think of the new lady, clearly she is still green and wet behind the ears.

SE: I'm thinking she is the opposite, that she is a total bad ass that is just fidgety as hell. I like the contrast between Mike and her. Boy, you can tell Mike's distaste for Walt's measures when he talks about keeping his eleven guys safe.

CS: Which leads me to believe that Walt isn't going to have a bank account. If he did, he would have been on that list. I don't think she has any idea who Walt even is.

SE: I'm interested to see what she is made of, it took Walt a hail mary pass to evade a Mike silenced gun to the face, all she had to do was bat her eyelashes.

CS: Walt killed Gus. She refers to a chemist, and I don't think she knows that the chemist killed Gus. I think Walt is the independent contractor in this who won't have a paper trail leading back to him.

SE: Methylamine is all they need? Hell, Walt and Jesse can get that. I want to see them steal a rail car full this time. I wish Mike could break down video of their previous heist with a John Madden video board.

CS: How long before Walt just starts manufacturing his own methylamine?

SE: Certainly at some point he is going to attempt it. What I want to know is how the hell is Mike going to operate under surveillance?

CS: That could be what finally tips off Hank, the first time Mike is seen with Walt.

SE: I like that after Hank and Gomey whip out the $2 million knowledge, Mike realizes he is exposed, decides to give 'em hell and says, "I don't know nothing about any money." I love that he says it in a you-guys-know-who-I-am-but-you-can't-do-anything-about-it voice.

CS: They also know why he isn't a cop any more. So there is a very good possibility that he isn't a cop because of something very similar.

SE: Pretty soon, Mike is going to be Pesci from Casino, switching five different cars out in a parking garage before he sets on a criminal course. Tracphones will be the least of his expenditures, finding 1980s model Lincolns will be.

CS: Also, the DEA basically knows who is on that list, and if all of the people on that list started turning up dead, isn't that going to raise even more questions about the ones who aren't dead? Will Mike keep a shovel in each on of those Lincolns?

SE: Ok, now I am pumped for Episode Three. Who dies next week?

CS: I don't think anyone dies next episode, which means like ten people will die.

The Salamanca twins hated The Shining
SE: I'm still not quite sure if Skyler is headed towards Laura-Linney-from-Mystic-River status or going to reenact Shelley Duvall's The Shining performance, so what's the odds the car wash is the place for the new lab?

CS: There is no way the new meth lab isn't going into the car wash.

SE: So, Walter tells Skyler almost perfectly in the Season Five opener, "I forgive you," because he has to be forgiven by her, although he clearly forgives himself. This time around, he gives her some chilling advice. Does she fall into his sinkhole, or does she fully understand every calculated move he is forming with his words at this point?

CS: Neither, this is where she realizes he is a monster, and she is going to fake it until she has the opportunity to kill him, to ensure the safety of her and her family.

SE: Clearly, many of us are on board with some kind of an Omar scenario. Walt is going to get got in a bittersweet way.

CS: Well, if Walt is following the Omar story arc, I can't wait to see who his gay lover is.

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