Breaking Bad 5.02 “Madrigal” Review

The second episode of Breaking Bad‘s fifth season is titled “Madrigal” and is what we LOST fans would have called a ‘Mythology’ episode. What that means, if you are not a LOST geek, is that it is time to fill in the blanks, fill the cracks, and make obscure references of the past not so obscure anymore. Breaking Bad‘s approach to this task is as satisfying as you can possibly imagine, completely lacking in trite exposition, and a peek behind the curtain that feels as much like a revelation as it does a continuation of Breaking Bad‘s dizzying new story arc. Let’s cover some of the finer points you have to look forward to tonight:


This counts in the obscure reference column. If you have a eye for finite details, you’ll remember Madrigal is the name of the company that owned Los Pollos Hermanos, and it reappeared in season 4 when Hank was looking into Gale and discovered he had acquired an industrial strength air filter from the company. In tonight’s episode we get a better look at Madrigal and a definitive sense as to whether they were in on Gus Fring’s dealings.

Behind Every Powerful Man

Tonight we meet up with the sort of loose thread that can lead up to big trouble in the post Gus Fring world. Exactly who she is seems obvious, but regardless of what role she played in Fring’s life this pampered lady seems like she could become real trouble for whatever business Walt and Jesse might be planning. Speaking of which…

Let’s Get Cooking

What would Breaking Bad be without some meth production? It doesn’t happen yet, but the ‘pre-cursor’ to a new venture is laid out in this episode and you will be surprised at who objects and who is along for the ride.

Out of the Frying Pan, Into The Fire

I loved how the drumbeat of Walter being his own worst enemy led up to the magnet plot revealing fresh evidence for the DEA. Tonight you get to find out how important that evidence turned out to be (hint: VERY), as well as how it might impact Walt.

Can you say ‘Mike Centric’?

That grizzled hitman/security/guy Friday with the permanently droopy eyes gets a ton of screen time, background, and most importantly a larger context in the Breaking Bad universe tonight. Mike has really been somewhat of a man of mystery in Breaking Bad, and his character has always been one left to more or less explain his own actions. There is so much going on with Walt, Hank, Jesse, and, well, everyone, that it would be kind of unfair to call this a ‘Mike’ episode, but his segments definitely seem to pack the most punch here and fans of his character will not be disappointed.

The Bottom Line

“Madrigal” is a very revealing episode in terms of laying out who some of the new big players might be this season, with the plural ‘players’ being used for unapologetic conspicuousness. The real payoff for Breaking Bad fans is the amount of Mike we get in this episode. Jonathan Banks was born to play this part, and “Madrigal” is in many ways the high point for the character of Mike in that we get to see him do everything we love him doing to an even more polished degree, plus we get for the first time ever a peek into his humanity and motivations. As always, Breaking Bad makes this glimpse one that will leave you questioning whether you should root for Mike, or despise his cold criminality. Breaking Bad 5.02 “Madrigal” airs tonight on AMC at 10PM Est.

Join in the discussion in our Breaking Bad forum! What is Mike really up to?

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