Mandala (Breaking Bad)
|Breaking Bad episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Adam Bernstein|
|Written by||George Mastras|
|Original air date||May 17, 2009|
|Running time||47 minutes|
"Mandala" is the eleventh episode of the second season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad, and the eighteenth overall episode of the series. It was written by George Mastras and directed by Adam Bernstein. This episode introduces Gus Fring, played by Giancarlo Esposito.
Combo (Rodney Rush) is selling drugs on a corner when he notices a gang staring him down; he is then killed by a young boy working for them. Skinny Pete, spooked by his death and Badger's recent brush with the law, decides to quit the drug trade. Walt and Jesse meet with Saul to discuss their next move; he tells them that they are incompetent distributors, and need a businessman who is more restrained than someone like Tuco and will buy their product in bulk. He offers to reach out to the only distributor of that kind he has heard of, but it will be difficult, as the man is extremely cautious and discriminating. Jesse is distraught that he got his friend killed, and that night tells Jane to leave his apartment because he will smoke crystal meth and doesn't want to harm her recovery. She tries to convince him not to smoke, and then considers leaving, but instead goes back to join him. The next day, Walt waits at a fast food restaurant where the distributor has arranged to meet them; Jesse comes in late, still high, and leaves quickly afterwards. Nobody talks to Walt, but he learns later that the distributor saw him and has refused to work with him. Meanwhile, Jane has relapsed into drug addiction and introduces Jesse to heroin. The next day, Walt goes back to the same restaurant, and waits until closing. He eventually realizes that the man he assumes is the manager is in fact the distributor, and asks for a meeting. The manager eventually reveals that he is the distributor, and that he cannot work with a drug addict like Jesse. Walt assures him that his product is the best there is, and that he only uses Jesse because he can count on his complete obedience. The manager assures Walt that he will be in touch if he decides to work with the duo.
Skyler helps the company celebrate her boss Ted Beneke's birthday, where she sings him a sultry Marilyn Monroe-esque version of "Happy Birthday". She later finds, while investigating the accounts, that there are many inaccuracies in the payments to the company. Ted admits that he has been siphoning millions of dollars to help keep the company afloat and support its employees. Skyler says she will not turn him in, but cannot be a part of his illegal doings; however, she later comes back to work. Walt gets a message telling him to come to the restaurant, where he learns from the actual manager that the man he met is the owner of several stores, and that his name is Gus Fring. One of Gus's men, Victor, then tells him to bring his remaining 38 pounds of product to a truck stop off of the interstate in one hour's time. Walt rushes to Jesse's house, and breaks down the back door to get in, as Jesse and Jane are in a heroin-induced haze. At the same time, Skyler goes into labor. She calls and then texts him, and for a moment he is tortured about his choice, but decides to go through with the deal anyway.
The episode received positive reviews, but was noted for its slower pace. Seth Amitin, of IGN, gave the episode an 8.6/10, commenting the episode was: "about crossing the lines..." and that it "is the beginning of the set-up for the finale in two weeks". Donna Bowman of the A.V. Club gave the episode a B, writing that "it's inevitable that we'd have a merely good episode at some point" and, like Amitin, that the episode "seemed to be mostly concerned with moving the pieces into place for the finale".
- "Mandala" at the official Breaking Bad site