A key scene in Madrigal, Breaking Bad’s penpenpenpenpenpenpenpenpenpenpenpenpenultimate episode, is when Mike, Gus’ cold-blooded, professional “cleaner,” plays classic Milton Bradley board game Hungry Hungry Hippos with his recently de-millionaired granddaughter.
Hungry Hungry Hippos is a game of strategy and manipulation, calculated deceit and broken alliances, learning your opponent and—… no. It’s a game of getting as many little white balls a possible down your hippo’s gullet as possible. It’s fun as hell, sure, but its a game about greed, about making sure to hoard all the food, taking it away from your rainbow-colored hipponic opponents. Hungry Hungry Hippos is a game of winning through gluttonous amassment of resources.
A lot of Breaking Bad is about just that—having enough but feeling the need to accumulate more, more, more. Not just so that you can have it, but so that you can know someone else doesn’t. Power, money, respect, length of life, a fix, all have been fought for in excess.
Mike’s granddaughter, Hungry Hungry Hippo maven Kaylee Ehrmantraut, is just one of the characters we get closer to—or are first introduced to—in this episode.
Let’s take a look at the new and newly revisited characters whose existence might play a big role in the rest of the Breaking Bad story.