As has become the custom on this show, we kick things off in a place we've never been before. In this case, it's an industrial food-testing lab in (from the sounds of it) Germany. Bright lights, cold surfaces, gleaming white countertops matching the white coats worn by a team of food scientists testing out a line of fancy new condiments on a solitary, suit-wearing subject. Whoever this guy is, he's not feeling it. He plows through each dipping sauce without enthusiasm -- despite the fact that there is a combination French/Ranch dressing that leaves me verrrry intrigued (and I could listen to that researcher say "Franch" all day -- grabbing a new tater tot before the lead researcher can even describe the next sauce, before just pushing the sauces aside and digging into the bowl of tots, sauce-less. What a joyless taste-testing this turned out to be!
This executive, Mr. Schuler, gets word that "they" are here and waiting to meet with him. As he heads out of the lab, we see we're at Madrigal Elektromotoren, some kind of conglomerate, in its fast-food division, where at the moment, the Los Pollos Hermanos sign is being taken down from the gallery of chain logos. Schuler joylessly, lifelessly trudges past a room filled with law-enforcement agents. Inside, one of them is staring at the same photograph we saw in the cracked frame last week, of Schuler and Gus Fring side-by-side on a golf course. (In last week's recap, I mistook Schuler for Max, Gus's late partner in chicken and meth distribution.) Schuler bypasses the room and instead takes a portable shock-paddle resuscitation kit off the wall and heads for the bathroom. Between the German and the dread and the institutional setting, this is all starting to feel like the lost Hostel TV adaptation, and indeed, once in the bathroom, Schuler ignores his secretary's knocks from the outside (the agents are QUITE insistent on speaking with him), places one receptor from the kit on his chest and the other, just the wire, into his mouth. Then he charges the machine and waits a moment before the shock kills him on site. This show being what it is, Schuler falls off the toilet, which proceeds to automatically flush. The machinery of the world will always churn on, even (especially) after the wicked men who profit from it meet their end.
Credits & Elements.
After the credits, we're treated to another visually-arresting scene that manages to serve both economical storytelling and artistic television. It's also, like much of last week's episode, a bit of narrative house-cleaning from last season's finale. Since it was discovered that Brock has been poisoned by Lily of the Valley and not ricin, Jesse has become obsessed with what actually DID happen to that ricin dose that disappeared from his cigarette pack. Of course, he has no idea that Walt (via Saul ... well, more specifically Huell) lifted it off him, and Walt's obviously not about to tell the truth about that. Walt tries to convince him that it fell out in the lab and it burned up in the blaze, but Jesse is crazed at the idea that it fell out of his pocket at some point and could still cause major damage. Another little one could find it and it'd be all his fault. The guilt this kid is willing to put on his shoulders.