Coming up with the general idea to use a magnet isn't "scientifically clever." I watched this in a room full of random non-science-y people, and three of the four of us said "How about a magnet?" before Jesse said it. Besides, Jesse may be generally dimwitted, but he's been shown before to actually have some aptitude for science - the show has commented on this several times (usually through Walt).
On the subject of Mike, the character contortion would be if he DIDN'T have a soft spot for Jesse. This has been painstakingly set up. He's a grandfather. He feeds chickens. Mike is a professional killer and in some respects a cold guy, but I can easily believe that he has a certain softness and decency to him, and that he feels some affection for this knuckleheaded, damaged kid dragging along in Walt's undertow.
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