Breaking Badass Power Rankings: ‘Madrigal’

Breaking Bad is the greatest TV drama of all-time (THIS IS A FACT), so UPROXX is going all-out on our coverage of the show this season. Cajun Boy will be writing an episode recap (with GIFs!) every week, while I’ll be handling the Breaking Badass Power Rankings, which will, well, rank the most badass characters from every episode. Why “Badass?” Obviously, the so-not-clever-that-it’s-clever name, but also because Breaking Bad is the kind of a show that makes you want to drink an entire bottle of bourbon and/or Franch before watching it, to soothe your soon-to-be-tense nerves. That’s pretty badass.

Episode: “Madrigal”

Not Ranked: Franch Scientist, Walt Jr. (breakfast alert!), Gomie, Mr. Chow’s Jowls, The Guy Who Done Get Got, Jesse Pinkman, Cleaning Montage Band, Holly, Lydia, and George Merkert.

Here I was, all ready to give Sweaty Paulie Walnuts a high ranking because of the way he was all like, “I say f*ck you to you and your Franch,” but in super terrifying German — and then he killed himself. On a toilet. Next to what appears to be red toilet paper. How could anyone want to stop living in a world that has multicolored TP?

ICH BIN EIN Feigling, says Herr Schuler. Good. More “Cajun Kick Ass” for me.

Saul is officially traumatized; he’s afraid to say anything out of line, lest Papa Walt makes him fetch a switch. I’m pretty sure he was literally shaking during his brief scene in “Madrigal.”


I wanted to crawl out of my skin and burn my eyeballs during the final scene of the episode, when Walt stripped down and cuddled up with his wife. I’m not sure if what Skyler did was “badass” — which is to say, do nothing while her monster of a husband paws at her boobs — but the restraint she showed in not slicing the top of Walt’s head off, and then using it as a bowl for the Raisin Bran Crunch she never ate, was admirable.

I think? I have no idea what to make of Skyler so far.

Here’s to you, season five waitresses, who treat megalomaniacs with more kindness than they deserve and deal with nervous customers who want fancy schmancy tea. You’re the real heroes. (I debated putting Jackie O, er, Lydia here, for the way she arranged two men to take out Gus’s associates, in case one bowed out, but I found her skittishness in the diner distracting. Plus, I have a feeling she’ll be a regular on these rankings very soon.)

The king gets knocked from his throne. For one week, at least. Walt is so far gone that what he says isn’t even opinion anymore; it’s fact, and Mike joining forces with him and Jesse, after originally saying no, is just fuel into the tyrannical fire. (I get the feeling that even if Mike explained the oddly noble reason why he teamed with them, which he would never do, Walt wouldn’t give a sh*t.) “There is gold in the streets,” Walt says at one point, “just waiting for someone to come and scoop it up.” And why shouldn’t it be him? He hasn’t lost yet: Tio, check. Gus, check. Ted, check. Gale, check. He still has Skyler and Jesse. Walt is a force to be reckoned with — for now.

(Every one of these entries could end in, “…for now.”)

Poor Hank. Poor, poor Hank. During Merkert’s speech about inviting Gus over to this house (the trick to good grilled sea bass is a foil pouch evidently), didn’t you want to scream, “HEISENBERG IS RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE, TOO, HANK”? He’s so achingly close to figuring things out — and miles in front of everyone else at the DEA, with the exception of his loyal Gomie — and his interrogation scene with Mike, in which he reveals that all the money Gus’s associates had in offshore bank accounts is now gone, was a classic. They’d totally be friends, too, if one wasn’t selling meth and killing people and the other wasn’t trying to find the people who are selling meth and killing people. They do have something in common: they both hate Walt, for entirely different reasons.

Why is Mike a badass?

Long Answer: “You are a timebomb, tick-tick-ticking, and I have no intention of being around for the boom.” Where Jesse’s too obliviously trustful and Skyler’s too involved, Mike knows that associating with Walter will have inevitably dire circumstances. There’s no happy endings — or even content middles — on Breaking Bad. Instead, there’s nearly shooting a(n admittedly evil) Lydia only a room away from her child, and then sparing her life because she knows how to acquire some methylamine. It’s a rare moment of…I wouldn’t call it weakness, because we’re talking about shooting a mother in cold blood here, but a moment of Mike not pretending to be Morally Questionable Batman, someone who’s able to slip quietly through homes and not move a muscle in his face during an interrogation. Were he only a scientist…Only time will tell if he made the right call (is it wrong of me to think he should have blown her away? Yes, it is), but Mike deserves the top spot for both calling Walt out on his sh*t and because he’s back in the game for the reason Walt continues to use to Skyler: he wants to financially support his family, specifically his Hungry Hungry Hippos-playing granddaughter, Kaylee. (Also, yes, he needs to pay some guys off, to keep them from talking to the Feds.) Except Mike actually means it.

Medium Answer: He drinks beer with Ensure while watching The Caine Mutiny on his Barcalounger.

Short Answer: That picture.