I was asked the other day who I thought my favorite character was from arguably the best TV show on the planet. I had to take a second and think.
I mean, how can you not love Walt White? He’s the ultimate anti-hero. A badass chemistry teacher turned meth-dealing, master manipulator. But, if there’s one character that surprises me on the show, in constantly intriguing ways, it’s good ol’ Mike: Gus’ former workhorse of an enforcer.
I love unassuming characters (so does show creator Vince Gilligan; all of the main players in BB are intensely unassuming), and Mike is the most mystical of all. He doesn’t look like much: a grizzled, sleepy-eyed, hunkered-down man at least 60 years of age. But, with a gaggle of balloons and a suppressed handgun this Mr. Magoo doppelganger can exterminate a warehouse of cartel goons with the ease of a LeBron James seven-footer. In other words: he’s the f’n man, and my favorite character on the show. So, what will come of him this fifth and final season?
When we last saw him, Mike was shot and operated on in some secret Mexican desert-hospital Gus had set-up, and since then, his employment status with Gus has changed considerably. As in, his boss is dead. So whom will Mike serve now? Every soldier needs a commander, and Mike doesn’t seem the type to fall back on a culinary certificate from Wegman’s.
Walt’s the southwest chief-of-meth, so it’s possible Mike will just move his services to Walt’s crystal empire. Walt could certainly use a man of Mike’s capabilities, which begs the question: What shape will Mike be in?
He’s an old man who's been shot. It probably wasn’t the first time either (Gilligan, please give us some Mike backstory mini-sodes, or hell, just a whole series). Physically, he might be done. Shot-out. Kaput. The brain and heart can go but the body just can’t hold up anymore. Killing people isn’t an armchair job; you actually have to get up and out of the living room.
And what about his heart? Can he stomach the job anymore? When his young associate and charge, Victor, was the recipient of a silent and unfortunate box-cutting incident, the look on Mike’s face was a mixture of exhaustion, shock and horror. Maybe he’s sat in the back of a truck full of drugs and watched an associate receive their pink-slip in a rather non-traditional way for the last time.
Whatever his motivations, thoughts or actions this season, let’s just hope we get more Mike - because he’s awesome. He buys balloons and uses them to kill the shit out of you. Because, you’re a Mexican drug cartel member…and he didn’t come for burritos and a tan.