Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Walter White Wednesday 23

After the whizbang start of Season 5A with last week's "Live Free or Die," this week's "Madrigal" slows down a bit.  Gilligan understands that we need to start unpacking how Walt got from eradicating two major players at the end of Season 4 to sitting alone in a Denny's on his 52nd birthday at the beginning of 5A, so he starts giving us bits of the journey this week.  Don't let the slower pace fool you - there's a lot going on here.

First - the title.  We knew that "Madrigal"*  was some sort of shell company that Gus funneled money through - possibly to do some "laundry," but also to buy the industrial lab equipment used in the large-scale meth business that Walt and Jesse have been running for Gus.  Seems that at least some of the Madrigal black-turtleneck crew knew something of the inner workings of the laundry business, too.  At least one of them isn't talking (zap!) and the question becomes who knows what and how much?  These are questions that Hank very much wants answers to.  I think a penny dropped for Hank this week as his on-his-way-out boss related the tale of Gus coming over to the house to grill sea bass while his son shucked corn for the feast.  Look under your nose.  See who's hiding in plain sight.


We also meet a new player in "Madrigal."  Lydia's a nervous sort and she sees people as loose ends to be tied up - or shot to death.  Mike doesn't want to have anything to do with Walt (who he refers to as a "time bomb" - a comment that's more true than he knows), but the DEA found and froze the offshore accounts - indirectly through Walt's utter inability to know when enough is enough - and there's no money.  So Mike gets Lydia onboard to get the necessary methylamine to start cooking again and a three-way partnership is formed between Mike, Walt, and Jesse, albeit a reluctant one.

Last thing.  Jesse breaks down at the thought that he nearly killed Walt over what he thought was Walt's attempt to poison Brock with the missing ricin.  Shoulders shaking, voice strained, he sobs and sobs and my heart breaks a little bit more.  For Walt did poison Brock - remember the potted lily-of-the-valley Walt dumps in his trunk? Walt has hidden the ricin vial and created a dummy vial filled with salt which he then helps Jesse "find" to prove his innocence.  Seeing Walt comfort his crying partner points up the fact that this Walt is thoroughly despicable as well as being truly dangerous.  Walt's willing to go to any length - any - to keep Jesse close and dependent and the "no rough stuff type deal" Walt has been shed like an outgrown snakeskin.  Jesse's no saint, but at least his eyes haven't gone dead.  

It's not going to go smooth, is it?

Let me also bring to your attention my co-author's blog, which is now featuring "Meth Monday" as a companion to these "Walter White Wednesday" posts.  Check it out - we find different things in each episode, so the two blogs are good to read together.

*A "madrigal" is also vocal music composition dating from the Renaissance era.  Most usually, a madrigal contains from three to six voices.  It'll be interesting to see how many "voices" play a sizable part in telling the "Madrigal" story.

No comments: