One of the things I love about Breaking Bad is how it takes you to unexpected places, like into the Madrigal food division tater tot condiment-testing lab. That’s where we meet Herr Schuler, a German gentleman who seems most partial to a plain tot as opposed to Franch or Cajun Kick-Ass. After his assistant informs him that three men are waiting for him, he makes his way to his office whilst a Los Pollos Hermanos sign is removed from the food court. Upon noticing the three men are law enforcement showing interest in a picture of himself and Gus, he grabs an AED, locks himself in a bathroom, and takes his own life.From tater tots to suicide by AED, only on Breaking Bad.
Back in Albuquerque, Walt is crafting a second ricin cigarette while he and Jesse discuss what could have happened to it. Walt takes the original cigarette and flushes it, but keeps the ricin hidden behind an outlet, just in case! Cut to Jesse and he montage searching for the cigarette with the help of DJ Roomba! When all is said and done they can’t find it until the Roomba zooms back into frame and Walt suggests they look in it. Ta-Da! Just like magic the planted ricin cigarette has been sucked up the little robot butler. This causes Walt to request a beer while Jesse breaks down since he almost killed Walt and all – oh look another ripe opportunity for Walt to comfort/manipulate him.
Fresh off their success in “Find the Ricin”, Walt and Jesse travel to see Mike to request he join their business venture. After the Great Magnet Heist, I can totally see why they’d want his help and Walt tries to appeal to Mike’s greed. But we all know Mike is not that kind of man and he shuffles them out the door. We got to see another good interaction here in the ongoing Battle for Jesse Pinkman, which really is looking more and more like it will be one of the crucial points of this season.
Over at the DEA, some reps from Madrigal have pledged their full cooperation in the ongoing investigation thinking that perhaps there may be more than one bad apple. We also learn that Hank’s boss Assistant Special Agent in Charge Merkert is taking the fall for the Wrath of Fring. He and Fring were close and he never suspected a thing… foreshadow much, Hank and Walt? We learn that the DEA is actively investigating the bank info found as a result of Walt cranking the magnet to 11. More on that later.
Continuing this year’s early theme of shadowy diner meets, Mike meets with a woman named Lydia who presents him with a list of 11 names she thinks he should kill. Now maybe I missed something in there, but I had no idea who she was until the end of the episode and I’m still not sure. Mike, almost laughingly, turns her down, “don’t know what movies you’ve been watching,” but that’s not how things go in the real world.
Busy man that he is, Mike follows this meeting with a much less clandestine encounter as an official witness of the DEA. On his way in, we meet some of his associates, Mr. Chau in particular who seems nervy. Hank and Gomez needle Mike, revealing his “somewhat dramatic” ending to his career as a Philly police officer. Mike denies any knowledge of Fring’s drug trade, but Hank’s one step ahead. Those bank accounts are bearing results and Mike’s granddaughter is the beneficiary of one sporting a cool $2 million. Mike continues to deny and snakes his way out of the office.
The original 3 amigos (Walt, Jesse, and Saul) get together to discuss options for their new business. Walt wants a location that’s close to town, but invisible to prying eyes. And a return to the RV, christened “The Crystal Ship” by Jesse, is ruled out! This actually made me sad. Jesse reports that they are good on ingredients except for Methylamine, which Walter demands he find. Saul intimates that they should just be happy they’re alive which causes Walter to remind him he’s $40K in the hole, there’s gold at the end of the rainbow and he’s not walking away from it.
Then we find out that Mike does have a weakness, he is crap at Hungry Hungry Hippos. Playtime with the granddaughter is interrupted by a frantic call from Mr. Chau who requests money and says the DEA is calling him back in. Mike says he’ll round up the cash and head over. Only Mr. Chau is being held at gunpoint. Mike arrives at Chau’s and employing a stuffed animal (brought season 2’s bear to my mind) to dupe his would-be killer Chris, easily gets the drop on him. It turns out once Mike declined Lydia’s office, she went to a second option and hired out. Chau is dead and now Chris will join him.
Obviously, you don’t put a hit on Mike and get away with it, so he heads over to Lydia’s abode. Lydia has a young daughter who is speaking Spanish to her caretaker. In my mind, I went right to this being Gus’s kid perhaps- so maybe Lydia and Gus were romantically involved at some point. Anyways, Mike takes Lydia hostage and is planning to kill her and dispose of the body. He has a change of heart when Lydia pleads with her that her daughter can’t think she abandoned her and he realizes he may be able to use her to get Methylamine.
Back at the White House, Walter receives a phone call from Mike confirming that he will join the new business, so Walt gets his trout. He slides into bed with Skyler for the second SUPER creepy/intimate moment in as many episodes and consoles her saying they have to do what they have to do with good reason. And the best reason of all, is family. I’m not sure if Walt is trying to creep her out, but it’s working on me. It’s funny too because Walt never spends any time with his family. We all joke about Walt Jr. only existing at breakfast for a reason. Walt isn’t doing any of this for his family; he’s doing it for himself.
After the heist and tying up of the premiere, it was a nice little episode, which was heavy on Mike and brought the DEA story more into focus. I’m looking forward to seeing where the new business goes and how the DEA investigation turns. I’m most glad they found a believable way to get Mike involved for the long haul. Losing Gus not only created a power vacuum in the meth world, it left us without a true foil for Walt, but Mr. Trout looks prepared to take that role nicely. I feel like I have a good idea of where this season could be headed and it stands to reason that some of the toes that Walter has stepped on will be connected to a foot that will kick his butt. Here’s next week’s teaser:
Thoughts on this episode or the next? Do you think Lydia and Gus had a fling? Who will win the epic Battle for Jesse? What did Hank do with all of his crystals? Post them in the comments section