So far, this season of Breaking Bad is wasting no time in resolving previous dangling threads and providing new and exciting places to go. This week’s episode was largely centered around Mike the ex-cop, clearly a fan favorite. His role within Gus Fring’s now fallen empire is pretty clear and the reach of his authority extends pretty far. Far enough that Walt and Jesse officially extend to him a business proposition to continue their manufacturing as partners. A more than reluctant Mike says he is leaving emotion out by turning down the offer but, as is often the case with reluctance on this show, circumstances turn around to provide a change of heart.
A look into the organization behind the Los Pollos Hermanos chain of restaurants shows just how much cooperation Gus had needed to set up his covert operation. Mike clearly had a good look behind this company, Madrigal Electromotive, and in particular, had his closest business ties to Lydia, a new character this week. After her fear following an investigation by the DEA, it at first seemed like an attempt might be made to clean shop of anyone who knew too much. Lydia is high strung, very much inexperienced at trying to be covert as her meeting with Mike at the diner plays out with many hilariously awkward moments. By the end of the episode, it seems like she will be supplying the new meth operation with supplies, most likely distribution, and any other needs. The scene that’s bound to happen within an episode or two where she meets Walt and Jesse will likely be a good one. Her questioning as to who killed Gus may also come back to provide an interesting turnabout.
Hank’s followup into the people behind the scenes at Madrigal also continues on its fast pace. We now know for sure that Gus’ laptop is a definite dead end. Even before it was fried by the super magnet, the encryption had kept him from taking any significant looks. The tracking number behind the broken frame in the meantime has led him to Mike and at least 11 of his men, all of whom have lost their assets and are in danger of flipping to testify to save themselves. The first encounter between Mike and Hank and his partner Steve Gomez plays out incredibly. Mike’s previous experience as a cop underlies every word he says and decision he makes in the interrogation room. Mike is unrelenting in his refusal to give up information and he knows exactly what to say and what not to say. Hank has also done his homework, hitting him with the knowledge of a bank account in the name of Mike’s granddaughter. This is the only soft spot we’ve seen from Mike so far. Presumably, it was also a factor in his mercy towards Lydia. It’s hard not to wonder if he eventually finds out about Walt’s role in poisoning Brock, how he might act with that information. Walt may have already crossed a line that he would consider forbidden. Even Tony Montana refused to hurt kids and Walt probably hasn’t even reached his limits in what he’s willing to do for his family