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  1. #331

    I'm mixed on the Gus/Salamanca plot. Honestly, I'm glad we didn't get the Gus spinoff, but half of this season has felt like a cheat. The juggling act in the first three seasons between Nacho and Jimmy were fantastic, because they both were their own characters. We never saw Jimmy in BB. Nacho was mentioned, but officially birthed in BCS. This season has been juggling two major stories, and a subplot involving Nacho. What the hell? He's a major character. Gus is great, but his spotlight this season has cast too hard a shadow on Nacho's story. Gus has already had enough of a spotlight in one show,I don't think he needs more.

    On the other hand, I love about every minute of the main story. Jimmy stepping closer and closer into the shoes of Saul Goodman is a major theme this year, and yet given Kim's attraction to his elaborate schemes, we're still left wondering where she is in the BB era.

    Anyway, hoping the writers understand the problem with the superlab plot and learn how to do a better sharing of the plots next season. Up until this season, the show was better than Breaking Bad.

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  2. #332
    Remember Me As I Was 1010011010's Avatar
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    Yeah, the bell backstory was a little much.

    Meth lab story is kinda unnecessary, though its had its moments, Werner/Mike relationship at least kept my interest. Not really much to go with Mike/Gus that we don’t already know about them, hopefully Nacho/Lalo get more focus in S5 (after Nacho being gone for 3 back to back eps..), and we see how they tie back into Saul.

    Been really enjoying S4 btw. Again quite a slow burn at times, but the last few eps have been really strong, especially the Kim/Jimmy scenes. Would probably put below S3, but its still amazing to watch.
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  3. #333
    in the back of a pick-up Ryan's Avatar
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    good lord what an ep

    bell backstory made me chuckle, but it was kind of obvious it was coming and at least there's a sinister spin

    that kim/jimmy scene on the rooftop of the parking garage was hard to sit thru but ultimately fascinating, so much just spilling and bursting out from the surface. it was kind of like a much lower-key ozymandias in a way. the ending though, man kim is fucking loyal to the end. it's pretty obvious jimmy gets his law degree back next week but the cost is gonna be huge. they hint pretty early on in the ep about his forthcoming name change so S5 is finally about Saul Goodman Attorney at Law starting up but idk I'm kinda bummed a bit. I loved seeing the super slow burn to his origins to the point where I'm not sure if Saul running scams can be as dramatically fascinating. I do have faith in the writers, however.

    also the werner plot is very much solidifying mike's place in gus' world as a hitman, having to do the very thing he doesn't want to do: making a wife a widow with no trace of what happened to her husband. obviously werner is being a bit paranoid and gus would very much keep his word, but boy did he screw himself on this one. I admire the bait-and-switch the writers did with Kai (amused that he comes across as competent in this one but we find out he still cheats at volleyball), as much as it was distracting Mike as it was the viewers. regardless, I hope werner enjoys his trip to belize next week.

    also it's 70-something minutes

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  4. #334
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    Idk I felt this episode was a good transition to a different stage for each of the plots/characters

    Personally I enjoyed the meth lab construction. It was something so huge and crazy, the whole process and bringing in the houses, entertainment, and taking them out to the strip club amused me. Obviously it was all build up to the episode. Now we have Mike becoming a hardass and losing all sympathy he had for people, his heart is gonna be ice cold from now on! I'm pretty excited to see how Gus is going to deal with this shit, he's prob gonna be pretty pissed. I get why people got turned off by this because not a lot was happening, but the sheer scale of the project and the Mike/German guy scenes made me enjoy it. You have to have that build up and character development to get to where we were this episode.

    Then we have Jimmy ultimately failing to become a lawyer which I honestly didn't expect. I thought he'd get back into it and start hustling with criminals that he sells phones to and rope Kim up in more shit. That scene on the roof was pretty good with her. Now who the fuck knows what shit Jimmy is going to get into and how he's gonna hustle

    And finally the Salamanca plot. When the new guy came in I didnt realize he's family. He's a pretty big character and definitely going to cause some annoyance for Nacho. Nacho is now in a really shitty spot. He's playing the middle, obviously his (brother/cousin?) will want to either make a move on Gus on try to pull some power move and unite the organizations. Obviously that's not going to fly with Gus. So he either has to risk turning on his family business that he's worked for so long, go against Gus, or die.

    Overall Im excited for the direction these plots are going

  5. #335
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    Jimmy & Kim remains the biggest draw. The rooftop scene where everything they've avoided talking about for a year or so erupts out is a series highlight.

    The show goes long stretches without Nacho (I barely remember anything he did in season 2) but the end of last season/start of this season has me invested in him and his plight. The addition of charismatic Lalo and the way he's already upending Nacho and Gus's plans has me intrigued. Gus has been in a holding pattern since Arturo's murder (his monologue to an unconcious Hector a few episodes ago was egregiously schlocky) and I hope whatever happens justifies his continued presence

    The superlab plot is a drag. It feels like unnecessary prequel-checkbox-marking and I simply don't care about Mike's evolution from bad ass grampa to badder ass grampa. Werner's panic attack and escape (a clever allusion to Animaniacs, bravo Vince) has finally added some much-needed tension

  6. #336
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    it was kinda weird seeing jimmy with a genuine emotion after getting turned down in his hearing - that genuine dissapointment was something we haven't seen from him for some time, and of course weird that jimmy will end up having to give some glowing speech about his brother to be taken as sincere when he know in actual fact he doesn't give a fuck

    mike's talk to werner last week was another one of his famous half measures- weird, having taken his chat to walt in bb about the wife beater he let go i would have assumed he would have taken werner out when he had the chance, it looked clear he was looking for a way out of the lab...

  7. #337
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    This is a penultimate hour that's been a long time coming for this season and altogether the entire series. Ever since Kim awkwardly, yet sensibly turned down Jimmy's proposal to become law partners in season 1's "Bingo", there's been a pin in the pretty picture that is their relationship. Season 1 is the season where everybody seemed to reject Jimmy or size him us as the slippery lawyer he truly is. Nacho saw him as a criminal, Mike saw him as morally-flexible, and Betsy Kettleman proclaimed Jimmy as a lawyer only guilty people would hire. In a world determined to decide Jimmy's fate, his aspiration to follow Chuck's footsteps was the glimmering light of hope that he could prove everyone wrong, or in the very least remain tethered to a quiet, noble pursuit in elder law for the rest of his career, regardless of the occasional slip-up or shortcut. Unfortunately, it was Chuck's grand rejection of him in "Pimento" which shut the door on any such possible future. From there, almost immediately, Kim has been Jimmy's saving grace. She has always accepted or tolerated his colorful approach towards the law, but also strongly believed in his potential as a good, sincere lawyer.

    It's this hypocrisy that has hung over the series for a while now, from the aforementioned story in "Bingo", to Kim offering a compromised proposal for them to share a roof as two separate, solo practitioners in season 2's "Inflatable". She compartmentalizes her involvement with Jimmy, yet inches surprisingly closer to him by having his back in times when it makes more sense for her not to. It's Jimmy though, a man who needs certainty and has more appreciation for the end goal than the minutiae of progress, who has exercised an impressive share of patience in allowing Kim to retain her chipped guard towards his lifestyle. After the scheme of switching the Mesa Verde blueprints, Jimmy jumps the gun in assuming Kim will now be his new Marco but collects himself appropriately when Kim suggests, in a question of ethics, that they weigh each scam justifiably as they see it. There's an order to Jimmy's respect for Kim's wishes rather than antagonizing over the slight dismissal he's always felt from her. It would take something extremely unexpected to disrupt that order, a true upset in the name of his patience, for Jimmy to become a powder keg.

    This twist of Jimmy's reinstatement hearing falling through due to insincerity is a punch to the gut that I never saw coming. This whole season I've been treating his long-awaited reinstatement as something that needed to happen in the story, mechanically. Not once did I consider that Gilligan and Gould would use that anticipation to pull the rug out from the audience in favor for some of the most beneficial payoff the show has ever produced. It's so fitting that Jimmy's omission from acknowledging Chuck, and overall refusal to seek therapy this season, is the bug that bites him in the ass. I imagine the only way an appeal for a higher court to override this decision against him is if, through introspection, he supplies further context as to why he wouldn't have mentioned Chuck in the hearing, seeing as Jimmy's unique grieving process towards his brother's suicide is completely separate from the case he's been punished for. In other words, if he wasn't forced to sincerely get in touch with his emotions over Chuck's death before, now he must if he doesn't want to waste another year.

    This is what I'm looking forward to in the season finale, but this could only come to pass if Jimmy and Kim's conflict with one another doesn't spiral into something worse. It looks like they're ready to rebuild from scratch, and if anything the ugly confrontation between the two upon the rooftop was a healthy, overdue release of their underlying issues. It's essentially Kim's "Pimento" moment but without the ironclad toxicity that Chuck harbored, so if anything there's a brighter outcome amidst the settling dust. I do wonder how their figurative shootout on the rooftop is going to push things forward for them though, similar to how season 1's confrontation with Chuck has fueled the entire show. It was clear that Chuck would never be on Jimmy's side from then on, but with Kim, being on Jimmy's side and not being on Jimmy's side seem to be occupying the same space. I have no doubt I'll be recalling this moment in future episodes, but I'm still unsure in what fashion. Perhaps she's going to stick by his side, tragedy will strike, and Jimmy will look back on how supportive Kim has been when he never deserved it.

    The construction of the superlab has proved to be a polarizing avenue for many viewers this season and I wouldn't bat an eye at anyone who has simply not found it engaging, but I am rather baffled by those who chalk this story up as just 'the construction of the superlab'. As I have previously mentioned, I personally enjoy the magnitude of its presentation, from the excavation site to the housing of these German engineers, and the overall eerie, concerning mood that tends to hang over the entire scope of it. And yeah, knowing how essential this place is going to be in the parent series does obviously play its part. That said, committing half the season to this (the notion of its exploration being planted ever since last season's "Off Brand") transcends fan-service for me and only serves as a backdrop to a much more important, carefully told story which I suppose some viewers have not been able to get on board with. The superlab's creation isn't just there to mark time passing or to fill in an unnecessary blank, but the slow pace of it is intended to feel trying and frustrating. It helps us get into Werner's head space, a character essential in Mike's series arc, through "show, don't tell".

    The story at its core, is the bond developed between Mike and Werner. Throughout this season, Werner has displayed a pretense towards Mike, talking about his satisfaction with the work and his gratefulness for the hospitality provided for the boys, Deep down though, he's becoming impatient and home-sick, which is something he has allowed Mike to know. In turn, Mike has lent a sympathetic ear. He took him out for drinks, vouched for him to Gus when the project was leaked to a couple of strangers, and offered him an extensive, long-distance phone call with his wife. By making a foolish, panic-stricken escape, Werner has thrown this sympathy back in Mike's (or Michael's) face, leaving Mike to look just as much the fool. If you consider how arrogant Mike has been in the beginning of this season, by inserting himself into various Madrigal facilities as security consultant and the gall he had in demanding Gus put him to work, this is embarrassing. Between the wife-beater mentioned in Breaking Bad's "Half Measures", the cops that killed Mike's son, Hector Salamanca, and later Walter White, Werner Ziegler is probably the most kind, sympathetic adversary Mike has ever encountered.

    What's so bizarre is Werner is very reminiscent of the murdered good samaritan, a married man, who has weighed on Mike's conscience ever since the end of season 2. Mike is not only responsible for Werner's escape, but it looks like he's the one who's going to have to perform the punishment once Werner is caught. Whether it's from feeling betrayed or Gus harshly calls him out on his mistake, this is going to be a huge leap forward from where we left Mike off last season when he took up the sad task of searching for the good samaritan's body before officially joining Gus' operation. Back then, the good samartian symbolized the responsibility he felt for his son's death and the toll that has taken on Stacey. Season 3 explored this with the revenge he took on Hector Salamanca, attempting to correct something which can't be corrected. Now, Mike is in the likely position of taking decisive action and becoming the root cause of killing a good man and leaving another widow behind. It's a relationship that this story has taken the time to stress the value of. The irony is the only way I could see Mike mustering up the courage to delivering whatever Werner has coming to him, is if he eliminates the association this carries for his son.

    The idea of detaching oneself from Matty is exactly what got Mike angry at Stacey earlier this season, but both of them did meet afterwards and came to the conclusion that moving on with their lives is a goal both of them should be working towards. It's not that they need to forget him, but to not feel burdened by his death anymore. It appears that this is about to happen in the darkest, most tragic way for Mike and I look forward to the climactic drama that's about to unfold, similar to the music Jimmy is going to have to face. Whereas Mike will be forced to move on from his son, Jimmy will be forced to finally confront his brother. In my opinion, for this season, that's compelling storytelling. To be fair, we haven't truly experienced the payoff of Mike's plot yet in its full execution, so I understand if people feel there's been a lot to be desired, but Mike's transformation to the Mike we know in Breaking Bad is and has always been the story for him in Better Call Saul, so if that doesn't appeal to some, then I respect that.

    Hector gets his bell and yeah, it's a fan-service moment but it's nothing too egregious or detracting in this extended episode. If anything, it caps off Hector's stroke, establishing that he is indeed where we'll ultimately find him in Breaking Bad, but also, and most importantly the scene paints a picture for how Lalo fits into his world. For Lalo's sake, I think that's crucial material to touch base on before we continue to follow this guy, considering he's likely the one character who will throw a future wrench in possibly every other character's story, influencing the end game. I don't know what the finale holds for Nacho, but if the finale is all about Jimmy and Mike being forced to confront something dreadful, then I'd imagine the thematic parallel is for Nacho to do the same. Nacho is full of secrets right now, one being his double cross of the Salamancas and another of his plan to escape from Gus' grasp, so if anything is about to come to a head, it's the imminent danger he's been tip-toeing around. Now that Gus and Lalo are in each other's crosshairs, there's no telling what heat Nacho is about to catch.

    Lingering thoughts:

    - I was immediately pleased with Marceline Hugot's cameo playing Shirley in the cold open. She's most recognized for her role as Gladys in HBO's The Leftovers, which is a three season drama I absolutely recommend everybody go watch.

    - Earlier in the season, I compared Howard to Werner, being two guys who are unafraid to face the hurdles ahead for what they are (grieving process for Chuck, superlab construction), but now that Werner has spiraled completely out of control, on the verge of meeting his demise, I wonder how Howard is doing right now? Did he take Jimmy's 'tough love' advice and save HHM from going under? I really hope the finale comes back to him.

    - Even if you felt Hector's bell moment was too heavy-handed, there's no denying the great performance of Mark Margolis' increased heavy breathing the further Lalo told the bell's backstory. Vince Gilligan directing this episode also reminded me just how talented he is in discovering the most satisfying way to shoot and sell each scene. Between the tense, teetering rotation of the camera when Werner was examining the faulty wire, to the Kubrick-like zoom out shot on Mike in the hangar after Werner has escaped, he truly knows how to immerse you in the story, visually. Also, Dave Porter's atmospheric scoring was perfect for Werner in this one.

    - It's also strange to think that even in the birth of the superlab, it was this ghoulish place of utter frustration, anxiety, and fear for a guy like Werner Ziegler, long before Walter White. Now every time I watch Breaking Bad's "Fly", I'm going to think of Werner's panic attack and how the superlab is host to some of the most unnerving behavior even when it was a damn cave. Rainer Bock has really done a great job this season.

    - I looked ahead and it looks like the finale, entitled "Winner" is going to run (with commercials) a full hour and 25 minutes. I'm excited. Between this and HBO's The Deuce, this latter half of 2018 has been a pretty sweet ride for tv.
    Last edited by lionelhutz123; 10-07-2018 at 06:08 PM.

  8. #338
    in the back of a pick-up Ryan's Avatar
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    holy shit that last scene between werner and mike. gorgeously shot and I dug the parallels between werner and walt being in identical situations, with mike having to make a heartbreaking choice

    also that last scene with jimmy was predictably but wholly satisfying. poor kim

    I am glad that we finally got there, to where he has fully become Saul Goodman Attorney at Law, though that deprives so much tension out of the series to where I wonder if this will slowly shift into another show, a sort-of transition show to breaking bad or just one more season about how he loses/what happens to Kim, and just how he builds that practice while the Lalo stuff occurs. Obviously there's a connection between Jimmy, Nacho and Lalo that has yet to be fully ironed out but the worlds of the show have been separated for so long especially since S1.

    I also wonder if we're going to get into more of the comedy, criminal shenanigans that Vince and Peter originally thought this show was going to be, when it was originally the half-hour comedy about Saul as he was just starting his practice before it morphed into the origin story. My guess is no, but hopefully those will find their way into the show more and more as next season comes along.

  9. #339

    Great Nacho episode. /s

    But to say I didn't see it coming, that'd be a lie. The build up to the true death of James McGill wouldn't work without that soul crushing reminder of his relationship with Chuck. It's still evident that Chuck was hard on him, but within that scene, Chuck is fairly sincere about his brother.

    Saul Goodman, as Breaking Bad portrays, is an immediate scumbag, but lovable for his wit and cheap charm. Without Better Call Saul, I'd be unable to see the skin of James McGill speaking through Saul Goodman.

    The Mike and Werner plot is predictable, but like Ryan said, there's a great parallel between the struggles of Walt's fate in Mike's hands.

    Very good season, would have been perfect for obvious reasons. Hopefully season 5 has a good idea of where it will go with its loose ends.

  10. #340

    absent year bump

    so with season 5 being postponed for next year it looks like we'll have to spend this year sitting and speculating for a bit, I haven't had a lot of people to talk about this show with, but I was fortunate enough to have a friend redirect me here, hello everyone

    so to start off I fully believe the show's gonna make the transition into all the worlds finally intersecting into one big criminal shenanigans plot, hitting a unique "transitional" tone between this show and Breaking Bad, it's basically what I was expecting the show to be from the start, (honestly I'm glad I didn't get what I was expected, giving us a beautiful slow-burn of setup for 4 seasons and saving this for the end keeps it much more fresh and exciting)

    anyways, this year I had a groundbreaking theory I've been dying to share, one I think will be crucial to season 5's plot and recontextualize both season 4's finale and Breaking Bad to come *drumroll*
    I think Lalo isn't really a Salamanca. I started theorizing this when I wondered about Lalo's absence in this photo.
    I think he's a con man who has a history with Hector, someone with ties to the cartel who's using Tuco and the Twins' absence (and possibly Hector's condition?) to control north of the border, to what ends I'm not sure, but it makes so much sense in terms of what we've seen of him.
    in ""Wiedersehen" he discusses Gus with Hector in private, (away from Nacho, who doesn't know who Lalo is) I think that privacy would be a good opportunity to discuss why he's pretending to be a Salamanca, and how it'll benefit them both in their drive to take down Gus.
    in "Winner", the opening shot is Lalo collecting info on Gus's men, later, he flat out pretends to be one of Gus's men to get to Werner, and in-between, he pretends to be Mike's friend when he's tailing him in TravelWire, he's quick on the spot to read the room and lie about his identity in pursuit of his goal.

    so for season 5, obviously he's going to cross paths with Saul, and it's here I think Lalo's gonna out-con him, (something in parallel to "Piñata" perhaps?) and narratively, it'll explain why no one but Saul references him in Breaking Bad.

    on a final unrelated note, I read Ryan's parallel comparing Werner's situation and Walter's, but there's one other parallel I want to draw with Werner's death:
    Mike killed Werner for the same reasons the cops killed Matty, because they were afraid of what he might reveal.

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  12. #341
    Irreverent Humor Throughout Blake's Avatar
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    Late to the discussion too. Only recently got the season 4 blu ray and binged all of this a month ago. Probably could have waited another month or two when it comes to Netflix, but I'm an impatient man when it comes to watching Saul and I love the commentaries.

    Werner's plot bummed the hell out of me but I think it's essential for us to continue to peel back the layers as to what made Mike the no-nonsense "no half measures" man we see in Breaking Bad. You don't do business with Gus Fring and not finish a job, or it's your life on the line. That goes towards the crew as well as Mike. Any outliers from the crew would be on his head which is why it made it all the more heartbreaking to see his friendship with Werner play out knowing that something WOULD in fact go terribly wrong. If you'd told me when BCS was first announced that Mike Ehrmentraut would be getting as equal share of story time as Jimmy in this prequel series, I would have probably dismissed it as veering too heavily into George Lucas territory but damn is it compelling. You can just see that under the husk of Jimmy and Mike are men who are essentially resigned to what their circumstances want them to be.

    Honestly glad there's a bit of a delay between seasons. I think this show works remarkably well as a slow burn and the amazing thing about this show is that there's always something new to notice in each re-watch.

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