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  1. #331
    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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  2. #332
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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
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  3. #333
    pineapple shoes Dark Homer's Avatar
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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

  4. #334
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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...
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  5. #335
    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    "Wiedersehen"

    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.


  6. #336
    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.

  7. #337


    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.

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  8. #338


    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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  10. #339
    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.

  11. #340
    Remember Me As I Was 1010011010's Avatar
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    BUMP

    Season 5 has a 2 night premiere on Feb 23rd and 24th (Sunday then the usual Monday slot)


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  12. #341
    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    Better Call Saul has been renewed for a sixth and final season!

    https://deadline.com/2020/01/better-...mc-1202833437/

    The show's final season will be 13 episodes instead of the traditional 10 episode model that the show has followed. This will bring the episode count to 63 which is just one more than Breaking Bad's 62. I suppose El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie can compensate for that. Very exciting news.

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    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    Also, I finally got around to giving my complete write-up on season 4's finale "Winner" if anyone's interested. There's definitely a lot to think about as we approach season 5.
    https://letswatchseries.blog/2020/01...-winner-s4e10/

    A little over a month left until the two night premiere. God, I missed this show.

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    Might be one of the few times where I'm not heartbroken over a final season announcement, that's probably a great time to end this series.

  16. #344
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    gives us plenty of time to reach a conclusion and wrap things up

  17. #345


    Quote Originally Posted by lionelhutz123 View Post
    Better Call Saul has been renewed for a sixth and final season!

    https://deadline.com/2020/01/better-...mc-1202833437/

    The show's final season will be 13 episodes instead 30 freispiele ohne einzahlungl 10 episode model that the show has followed. This will bring the episode count to 63 which is just one more than Breaking Bad's 62. I suppose El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie can compensate for that. Very exciting news.
    Can't wait!
    Last edited by petrucci; 01-29-2020 at 03:57 PM.

  18. #346
    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    Ladies and gents.  Boys and girls. Welcome back! Season 5's "Magic Man" is chock full of whimsy, wonder, and absolute unnerving tension.  Tradition dictates we start with Gene's post-Breaking Bad content which has become more extensive and anxiety-filled than any previous season premiere cold open yet.  That's saying a lot.  Better Call Saul, like its predecessor, never back-pedals when stressing the urgent significance of its cliff-hangers.  When Gene found himself being heavily studied through a taxi cab driver's rear-view mirror last season, we had every right to feel panicked.  Season premieres had long established Gene's usual paranoia of being found out, but the obviously suspicious taxi cab driver donning an Albuquerque Isotopes air freshener set off too many alarm bells for it to amount to nothing this far into the story.

    We're lulled into a false sense of security as we watch Gene keep his police radio scanner running to ensure this stranger didn't make any police reports of a Saul Goodman sighting.  Gene even makes a carefully placed call to a Cinnabon employee from an out of town payphone slyly inquiring if anybody in particular had been asking for him.  After some time has passed, all seems well and Gene returns to work but lo and behold, the cabbie shows up revealing himself as Jeff, a long-time fan who seems to get off on having famous passengers.  There's many uncomfortable moments in this show but this scene ranks among the highest as Jeff is not only speaking for the first time directly at Gene, but he's rude, intrusive, and smarmy.  These are qualities I would never have attributed to what little we could make of him during last season, which is what helps drive this suspension of disbelief that maybe this isn't the same guy...but it is.  Jeff interrogating Gene in such a gross, depriving manner and forcing him to recite Saul's key catch phrase while asserting a sense of power over knowing who he is, is nothing short of infuriating.

    Ironically, this is the same mall bench that got Gene in this predicament to begin with in season 3's "Mabel" when Saul's primal urge to blurt "Get a lawyer!" to a detained shop-lifter causes his own physical collapse.  This leads to the hospital visit he would later take the cab home from.  As Captain Bauer from the Air Force base told Jimmy in that very same season 3 opener, "the wheel is going to turn", meaning consequences are coming for the life direction Jimmy chooses.  By beckoning the shop-lifter to get a lawyer, despite compromising his low profile in the vicinity of law enforcement, Gene reaffirms who he is.  Not someone who can stay in hiding.  Not Gene.  Gene is not in his D.N.A.  He's Saul Goodman.  A problem solver at any cost.

    This theme is reignited when Gene is faced with an easy, if not expensive reset button from Ed the Disappearer.  Gene's got diamonds of all things in his band aid box (a keepsake introduced since the series premiere) which very well may pay for the steep expenses for him to "poof" and relocate, but then it hits him...  As the title of the episode suggests, Saul Goodman is the magic man and that's who he is and always was. "Welcome to My World" by Dean Martin is the song that plays when Gene opens the Cinnabon for business and that's the tune he's skipping to.  He no longer plans to run from where he's ended up or whatever any higher power has in store for him.  As the song goes:

    "I'll be waiting here...

    With my arms unfurled...

    Waiting here for you...

    Welcome to my world..."


    This is a pure character-driven decision for Saul to stay in Omaha and handle the cab driver and his silent pal on his own.  It's very different from Walter White not being able to disappear himself and his family because of a plot-based obstacle like Skyler having no choice but to give away Walt's money to Ted Beneke.  It's also a much different direction than New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die" motto that drove Walt back to New Mexico in the Breaking Bad finale.  Nebraska's State motto is "Equality before the Law" which is something Saul has always valued in his own twisted way going all the way back to his desire to be Chuck's peer, no matter how many corners he needed to cut to achieve that.  Saul Goodman will not allow anyone to ever hold any sense of power over him.  It's all an equal playing field and he'll bend the law in any way he sees fit to fight and win.

    But does he actually value equality anymore? Jimmy McGill certainly did, but Saul Goodman seems to revel in rising above all else.  This entire episode, Saul refers to his own future clientele as assholes and morons.  It's less about helping the less fortunate like Kim has been doing as a public defender and more about running a manipulative game on them for his own gain.  What's most unsettling though is how Saul seems to lump the entire world in with the rest of his clients, garnering no consideration for anyone but himself, including Kim.  The world is one big mark for him to con and everyone in it is just another trick in his bag.  Kim, as Saul states, is someone who can pull him back when he's gone too far and that's what he values in their relationship.  She's a necessity but that has nothing to do with what Kim values.  When Jimmy asks "Is there some angle I'm not seeing here?" while sharing direct eye contact, she can't bring herself to protest.  This is how the beginning of a break-up happens when one partner simply allows the other to blow the relationship up.  If Jimmy can't see why his behavior and outlook is destructive, then their separation will become justified.  There's no use in explaining why she feels hurt if it conflicts with his newfound world view that's taking off like a runaway freight train.



    Kim enters this season in a haze, emerging into focus after a dizzying array of passing colors, representative of the magic puff of smoke cast by Saul Goodman, but also representative of her mixed bag of emotions.  Kim, like many people, is not somebody who's alright being made vulnerable.  She definitely is not okay with being used the way she was and continues to be. Towards the end, Saul parades around the courthouse lobby using his impressionable film crew to solicit his sleazy services and uses fellow public defender Bill Oakley like a prop in a skit.  Kim, unbeknownst to Saul, is used like another prop against her will as he practically usurps Kim's role as a legitimate legal practitioner, nearly demanding they run a scam on her clients to prevent them from wanting to take their case to trial.  Talking Saul Goodman down to the point where she has to lose her cool in order to pull him back to Earth is a humiliating, difficult position to be put in.  How long does she have to keep being his tether to reality before he breaks her? Is this the role Kim wants to serve as in their relationship?

    Kim is left nearly defeated in the face of her clients and to save face she uses that to play up the scam Saul impelled upon her.  It's easier to go along than admitting her own defeat which is a dangerous road to go down.  Saul essentially forces Kim's hand in a similar way Jeff the cab driver forces Gene's.  Both are left on a bench, strung along like a puppet against their will by someone who is attributed to the same adjectives: rude, intrusive and smarmy.  The question is, does Kim do the equivalent of disappearing by ending the relationship or is she going to own up to the man she's been involved with for all this time? Better yet, who is she to be with him in the first place?

    In last season's "Wiedersehen" Jimmy called Kim out for not being completely in his camp. It's an ongoing contradiction that's owed to an identity crisis and that in turn is due to not coming into full terms with the world she's paved for herself.  What is Kim's world? Is it to be Saul Goodman's undying, supportive partner to the point where it leads to her potential demise or is her life better off elsewhere? Does her mysterious past life growing up along the Kansas/Nebraska border dictate any of the decisions that lead her here from the beginning? This is the overwhelming crossroad she's left with as she catches her breath in the stairwell because now she has to commit to one choice or another.  After all they have been through it's hard to leave him (fallacy of sunk costs), but staying with him is absolutely dangerous and she already senses that. There is so many questions to consider here and season 5 seems determined to explore them.

    Speaking of impending doom, the parallel story of Better Call Saul finds Lalo delving deeper into the Werner Ziegler conspiracy now that he knows the man has been reported dead.  His suspicions that something odd is afoot leads him to investigate the cocaine supply after Nacho steers him towards what might be more of a non-issue.  Nacho is a middle man double agent who is just trying to keep the peace until he can forge a plan to get him and his father out of the country.  However, Lalo being put on the trail of drugs leads him right back to Gus' chicken farm after learning that some of the cocaine had been replaced with meth, a product Don Eladio has long frowned upon and takes offense at the very idea of its inclusion into the operation without his say.

    Lalo meets with Gus under Juan Bolsa's moderation and Gus apologizes for the secrets he's kept from them, delivering a cover story for the super lab explaining that construction is underway for a chicken chiller.  Lalo knows enough details through his private sleuthing that this cover story is all smoke and mirrors.  He knows about a south wall and of poured concrete which seems to have nothing to do with the project Gus is showing them. He's also smart enough to know that Mike is shadier than the supervisor of a legitimate construction crew after surveilling Mike in season 4's finale.  Juan might have bought Gus' phony story but for Lalo, the game has just begun and he lets Gus know that with a wink and smile.

    What's most interesting about this development is that when Juan firmly reassures Lalo that Gus is strictly business who holds no grudge over his partner Max's death, Lalo responds, "Like what happened in Santiago? Was that business too?".  Back when Max was killed in the flashback in Breaking Bad's "Hermanos", Max pleaded with Don Eladio, vouching that Gus is a good man who saved him from the Santiago slums. Can we expect more of Gus' past in Chile to actually be explored? Or will it remain a mystery ala the contents of the suitcase in Pulp Fiction? How does Lalo factor into Santiago? Did Gus do something that affected him or more importantly the Salamanca family as a whole? Is there a deeper reason to Hector's hatred of Gus?  We know Hector has held a grudge against Gus going all the way back to the flashback in Breaking Bad's "One Minute" where Hector referred to the Chicken Man smugly as a "Big Generalissimo" who shouldn't be trusted.  There's many theories that surround Gus, including the likeliness that he was connected to the Pinochet Regime.  Something that would make him high ranking enough for Don Eladio to spare his life.  Regardless, this shows just how ingrained Lalo is in this universe. At this point, I'm becoming more interested in him as a character than as a plot device to converge the show's storylines.

    Meanwhile, Mike relieves the Germans of their operation, stressing the consequences in the event they break their agreement of never speaking a word of what they helped build.  They are completely aware that Werner's death was no accident but are united to stay cooperative.  I imagine if one person breaks their word, the entire crew are under the threat of said consequence.  That said, Kai, who was presented as last season's red herring/bad apple, surprisingly tries to comfort Mike that what he had to do was for the best and that in the end, Werner was a good man, but soft.  These condolences only get under Mike's skin and he does to Kai what I believe he was waiting to do all of last season and knocks him sideways.  Being told that Werner is soft as an excuse for his disposal is the last thing Mike wants to hear because it once again brings up the memory of his own son's death.  It's something he had to shake to even go through with Werner's murder but alas, it will always haunt him.  The next guy called upon to go home by Mike is Casper who tells Mike exactly what he would prefer his son to be remembered as: "He was worth 50 of you."  This only cuts into Mike deeper and for a rare occasion we see Mike get put in his place.

    Mike and Gus, as expected, are not on good terms.  For one, Mike is insulted by Gus' corporate way of resolving the Werner situation with the wife.  She's compensated for her grief as if you can put a dollar value on such a thing.  For Gus, throwing money at the problem of Werner's wife and throwing money at Mike to be on retainer for doing nothing is an evil Mike won't stand for.  His own moral reservations over what he's done is just collateral damage in an operation that's bigger than him. There's a bridge of story here that still has yet to be naturally told to bring Mike around to his involvement with Gus.  Like Kim, he's going to have figure out his place in the world he's lent himself to.  The only person in this entire hour who seems to be completely comfortable with themselves right now is Saul Goodman and that's not too reassuring.  Season 5's premiere is carrying the show forward into extremely chaotic territory.  At some point, something horrible is going to have to give.  The anticipation of whatever that may be is scary.

    Also, rest in peace Robert Forster.

    It was good to see him play the role of Ed the Disappearer one last time.


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    I didn’t realize this show was back seeing its been gone so long.I actually have no memories of last season guess I’ll have to do a rewatch.

  20. #348
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    "50% Off"

    "In the end, you're going to hurt everyone around you. You can't help it so stop apologizing and accept it. Embrace it. Frankly, I'd have more respect for you if you did." - Chuck

    Jimmy can pull himself back from going too far as Saul all he wants but Saul is already setting events into motion from the limits he will continue to push. The episode opens with two skells taking Saul's '50% off' per legal representation offer as an excuse to go on a wave of frenetic, doped-out crime sprees in the hope to score more drugs. For these addicts, reward trumps risk and they are just two potential clients wrecking havoc out in the world out of who knows how many but their actions will reverberate exponentially. Within the hour, Saul has already caused a direct chain of events that leads him right back into the stammering guy we knew back when he was on his knees before Tuco and Nacho in the desert.  The broken gnome from the cold open and Saul's tossed ice cream cone at the end perfectly illustrate this correlation.

    But is Jimmy the same person from the last time Nacho saw him? Saul has always possessed fear in the face of immediate danger as a defense mechanism.  Fear is not a trait that distinguishes Saul from Jimmy.  It's Saul's lack of remorse for the consequences of his actions which Jimmy periodically carries with him. I wouldn't say the Saul we see here is completely free of doubt or regret, but it's much easier for him to be.  Not only is Chuck not around to judge him, but Chuck is the one who told Jimmy he would have more respect for him if he owned up to his misgivings and skip the show of remorse as a process. Saul is consciously carrying out Chuck's worst nightmare, sticking it to his deceased brother by wielding his law degree around the courthouse bowels like a chimp with a machine gun. In another way, he's subconsciously fulfilling Chuck's challenge to embrace his slippery ways to the fullest, out of the respect he always craved from him.  The elevator hustle he runs on Suzanne (who was already conned into a loss over last season's Huell dispute) is a brilliant, if not extremely shady way to accelerate their shared case load so he can make room for more clients and in turn, make more money.

    In order for Jimmy to embrace himself as a criminal lawyer without regret, he must lose consideration for who gets caught up in his tailspin.  What he will or won't come to learn, evident of the chaos that ensues in the cold open, is his behavior has a much more expansive blast radius than he can imagine.  If it wasn't for his 50% offer deal to the addicts, they wouldn't take that as an invitation to illegally obtain as much fast cash as they can.  If it wasn't for all that cash, the storm drain as a delivery system wouldn't be clogged with 10 bags of dope.  This leads to the Krazy 8 (a nickname originating as Ocho Loco for his bad poker play) getting busted by the police trying to fix it, which leads to Lalo coming up with an idea to get Krazy 8 help, which leads Nacho boomeranging right back into Jimmy's world.

    Whether the idea of Jimmy's crooked services as a lawyer sprang up because of Nacho's history with him or Saul has made such a splash in the criminal world already to the point where he's on Lalo's radar, this is the dangerous road Jimmy/Saul was going to go down one way or another.  Jimmy's world of building a new name for himself while juggling his relationship with Kim has now begun its convergence with the criminal underworld. Up until now, these two sides of the show have ran mostly parallel.  Only two episodes into season 5, Lalo has already made an influence on Saul Goodman's life and we know from Breaking Bad that it's only going to get worse considering Saul feels relieved at gunpoint when it's verified Walt and Jesse are not associated with this prestigious cartel member.

    This is what makes Kim and Jimmy's brief visit at an extravagant open house all the more worrying. On one hand, it gives them a chance to clear the air.  Kim makes her reservations known that scamming her clients at any measure or time is not okay with her and Jimmy humbly accepts that.  Jimmy is also honest about the slip-up he made in giving a 50% off deal per legal representation of non-violent felonies and vows he'll never make that mistake again.  He reassures her that nothing too bad will happen from it, which we know is a reassurance he can't be certain of and in whole isn't true, but Kim takes this in good stride nonetheless.

    Kim and Jimmy have their differences but their relationship in this moment feels more hopeful after coming to an understanding with one another. Kim even entertains the prospect of them living in such a big house together and is playful and laughing when soaking a fully clothed Jimmy in the shower.  This is all fine and dandy considering we want these two characters to be happy with one another and maybe possibly share a future, but we know Saul's trajectory doesn't end in rainbows and sunshine.  As Better Call Saul's two main worlds begin to merge amidst the brink of war between Gus and Lalo, how soon is it before Kim is crossing paths with any of these dangerous figures? How might they influence her absence from Breaking Bad?

    What's great about these storylines melding together is that I'm just as invested in the fate of Nacho as I am in Kim's.  I've never felt such a heightened sense of dread and despair since Breaking Bad's final season compared to when Nacho is abducted from his bed by Gus' crew and made to sit and watch as Gus holds a figurative scythe over his father's head. It's a shocking mood shift that really makes you feel like this is the end for Nacho's father but Gus uses this as fearful motivation to get Nacho to gain Lalo's trust.  As much as I fear for Nacho and his father, I'm also curious about Gus because we learn in Breaking Bad that he does not believe fear to be an effective motivator.  He tells this to Mike in regards to Walt's motivation to work for him after Mike proposes the idea of filling Walt in about Tuco's cousins and how working for Gus would protect him.  What happens with Nacho that makes Gus stray (as best he can) from this method?



    As of right now, instilling fear in Nacho is working. He's willing to risk everything for his father by jumping across rooftops to snatch the remaining product from the stash house as it's being raided by police.  All of this is to gain Lalo's trust as Gus demanded, but how long can Nacho thrust himself upon grenades before Lalo takes advantage and pushes him to the limit? Lalo has a great amount of respect for Nacho now, but what does that mean coming from this charming lunatic? This is the same guy who treated Nacho's prison-defying action stunt like it was a scene from a movie, chuckling at the idea that he's about to get caught.  Nacho gained his trust but as a soldier willing to nearly fall on his sword for the operation.  Something eventually is going to give here and now that Saul Goodman is becoming more involved, what transpires next remains wildly unpredictable and won't be pretty.

    There's also a matter of Krazy 8, who's become more and more of a character as this series progresses.  Saul likely has been recruited to represent him but from what we know from the former show, I have to ask the question. Is this the bust (taking place in 2004) where Hank Schrader flips him into an informant? Hank reports to his task force in Breaking Bad's season 1 episode "Cancer Man", "Way smarter than your average cheese eater.  I turned him out when he was street level."  Gomez then goes on to say that Krazy 8 would snake out all the small town dealers he informed on in order to climb the ranks, so we can suspect this was an ongoing process. Enough to last roughly four years though until the Breaking Bad timeline begins? It's hard to say, but if this is the start of Krazy 8 getting flipped and Saul is the one who's representing him, doesn't that complicate things? Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself here but there's a gap of story that's again, curious.  Honestly, I don't think I've had so many questions going into a season but it being the penultimate, it's a good sign to how increasingly compelling this show is becoming all across the board as a prequel.

    Meanwhile, Mike wakes up hungover after a rough night, being clearly is in a bad place after murdering a good man.  It's one thing to see Mike lose his cool at work and not be on good terms with Gus, but it's another when his double life bleeds into the one that matters most.  This episode is about worlds colliding, being cleverly titled "50% Off" not just because of Saul's deal with potential clients, but because Better Call Saul has been more or less two shows in one where until now has striven to be neatly divided.  That's never fully the case though in a universe that's established how every piece and action undertaken matters.  Eventually your decision in one world will dictate what happens in the other and for Mike, this leads to him scolding Kaylee after a significant nerve is hit when she inquires about her dad's death.  Specifically about his job as a cop and how "the bad guys got him" is what sets Mike off.

    We've seen Mike's nerve struck in last season's "Talk" when Stacey shares how she's starting to feel guilty for not thinking about her late husband Matty for stretches of time, but taking it out on Kaylee is much more upsetting.  I don't blame Mike for his grief, but this is the dark, descending spiral he's been on for a while now and it's now catching up to him.  I'm sure he feels regret for lashing out on his grand-daughter so we can only hope he can come to terms with what he's done and the life he's chosen for himself before the people he truly cares about suffer for it.  It's a strange thing to hope for since it basically means Mike has to become more cold-blooded and numb to the horrible things he'll continue to directly or indirectly take part in.

    One last thing. It looks like Howard wants to set an appointment for lunch with Saul.  Bob Odenkirk gives a superb, subtle performance when confronted here by allowing a shred of Jimmy McGill's guilt to peek through the Saul Goodman mask.  Jimmy doesn't know what Howard wants but from his perspective, Howard was always more in Chuck's camp and any judgement Chuck carried may have been passed on to his grieving law partner.  We have to remember that the last interaction between these two before Chuck passed was Jimmy trying to get Howard to settle on the Sandpiper case followed by Howard coldly calling him out as transparent and pathetic for trying to hustle the money.

    Howard has obviously dialed that resentment back ever since Chuck's death, but them being on the same page with one another is still something I wouldn't say is completely warm.  On the other hand, Jimmy did give Howard a tough love speech to help save HHM which might have worked, while also donating $23,000 to Howard for Chuck's memorial reading room.  Imagine if Howard wants to hire Saul at HHM? That would be crazy, but whatever the case is, Howard associating with Saul Goodman at this point is just another future of a character we're going to have to add to the list to be concerned about.

    Some tidbits:

    -Kim barely has any closet space for herself seeing as it's packed with Saul Goodman suits and attire.  A sad metaphor for her misplacement in this relationship and the not-so-bright future of her sticking around.

    -Jimmy apparently has 45 clients to juggle.  The scene where he's ironing his clothes while trying to talk on his cell phone was a perfect way to introduce Saul Goodman's hands-free bluetooth ear-piece. The physical transformation is almost complete, save for the combed over mullet.

    -Lalo meets with Hector for advice on how to proceed with his suspicions over Gus.  Hector rings his bell when Lalo mentions that Gus, Juan, and Don Eladio are more concerned over money than the principles valued by the Salamanca family.  Hector seems to be onto something, but where could the money lead Lalo in helping uncovering Gus' secrets?

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  22. #349
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    "The Guy for This"

    "It's not about what you want.  When you're in, you're in." - Nacho

    If last episode was about Saul setting events in motion for himself, "The Guy for This" is about him realizing his point of no return. Too many high factors are at play that are beyond his control and will prove more urgent than taking any last chance reservations over his life choices. The prospect of navel-gazing has long passed, being something that might have saved him last season if circumstances with Chuck's death and their final conversation didn't drive Jimmy's decision to avoid therapy. The fun of Jimmy's reinstatement as the fresh and colorful Saul Goodman stops the moment Nacho scoops him off the street.  The beautifully shot, Blue Velvet-esque cold open plays on these themes of underlying menace with the ants engulfing his discarded ice cream. If there was any shred of innocence remaining in Jimmy, it's now too late to recover as he's attracted alien-like adversaries to his happy corner of the world. Jimmy McGill has officially become contaminated and Saul Goodman will soon have no choice but to join the complex inner workings of Better Call Saul's deep criminal underworld.  A member of the colony, if you will.

    This infestation of Jimmy's soul has been a long time coming.  If it wasn't for his mix-up with Tuco in the desert, pleading every argument accordingly to prevent Tuco from skinning the skater twins alive, Lalo wouldn't hold Saul Goodman in such high regard as a "criminial lawyer".  Jimmy tries to turn away Lalo's proposition by offering him a drop phone, but is advised that this is business that's better conducted with a lawyer in person.  Jimmy then tries to increase his rate to a made-up figure of $7,925, suspending disbelief that Lalo and Nacho are no more high profile than his usual clients.  He hopes this expense will repel them but Lalo rounds the offer up to $8,000 with ease and for all we know, was willing to pay Saul more.  If there's anything Jimmy McGill and Saul Goodman have shared in common since the start, it's that money is everything.  This is what seals the fate of both counterparts and turns Saul into a greasy cog within the drug game's machine.  As Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad will later state, "I guess people see those zeroes dance before their eyes... it's kind of like highway hypnosis." Jimmy never foretells how he ends up down the path his choices lead, as long as money fills his pockets in the present moment.

    Before even getting into what Saul is hired to do here, it's important to note that Lalo chalking up Jimmy's talents as the guy with the mouth going "blah blah blah" is a telling sign of disrespect.  He thinks of Saul as a bullshit artist and for the time being, he's entertained by this superpower, but there's only so far Saul can spin BS as an attorney and dazzle as a criminal associate before it amounts to some dire consequence.  Jimmy might not consider the repercussions of the shortcuts he takes or the crimes he commits, but he's pretty aware that this business arrangement is bad news.  Lalo is expecting perfection from Saul like two skater twins walking out of the desert scot-free despite Tuco wanting them dead, but in reality, they got wheeled out of that situation each with a broken leg.  There's a reality to Saul Goodman' where there's always a sorry fallout to his actions and Lalo is unable or refuses to see that.



    It gets worse for Saul when he learns he's assigned to represent Domingo Molina (Krazy 8) and use his client's ongoing detainment as a way to feed the D.E.A. incriminating information on a third party.  For Saul, this party remains a mystery, but for us, we know the intel of dead drops is in direct conflict with Gus Fring's operation.  Hector's ominous idea from last episode to hit Gus where the money flows is now put into play and Saul is caught up as the middleman.  If the intel fails in leading to arrests, then Krazy 8 is going to be locked up and Lalo won't be a happy customer. If the plan goes off without a hitch, then Saul gets more on Gus' radar, regardless if we know the two, to Saul's knowledge, have never met.  There's really no winning outcome here and as of right now, Nacho informing Gus on Lalo's plan makes all this double-dealing more transparent and hopefully more manageable.

    That's not to say this isn't an extremely messy situation.  I would imagine Gus gets the better handle of it and Lalo will become Saul's true foe, but as of right now the money remains in the places reported to the D.E.A. so as not to raise Lalo's suspicions of any betrayal.  As a line of communication, Nacho is more valuable to Gus than how much of a hit his operation takes.  That could be seen as a blessing but also a burden since Nacho might continue to be even more of a punching bag depending on how much damage Lalo causes.  Essentially, Krazy 8 is the hotline between the D.E.A. and Lalo while Nacho is the hotline between Lalo and Gus.  Everyone's connected to a line nobody wants to be a part of.  Even the unwilling Saul Goodman.

    Considering it's Lalo who Saul is most afraid of in Breaking Bad and Fring is more or less a ghost to him, you have to wonder what Lalo is willing to do to ensure he keeps Saul Goodman in line.  Saul tries to excuse himself again from providing any further services by stressing the tightness of his schedule but Lalo doesn't take no for an answer.  We have seen how far Lalo will go just to get what he wants by tailing Mike, surveilling Gus, and even killing an innocent civilian (TravelWire clerk) outside the game.  He's intrusive and competent in getting results at any cost.  At what point does Saul throw his hands in the air when what's asked of him gets too hot? What if Lalo responds by tracking Saul's residence followed by threatening harm upon Kim? A man like Gus would be wise to avoid tangling with any officer of the court, because he has to maintain the cover life he's invested so much time building for himself.  Lalo on the other hand, as a Salamanca, is a loose cannon and always has the option to run back home until the heat dies down.

    Nacho's original plan to flee to Canada with his father seems to becoming less and less of an option as Manuel notifies him about his upholstery shop getting a generous buyout offer.  He suspects Nacho put the buyer up to this so Manuel can be in a better position to lam it.  This becomes apparently true as Nacho can barely keep himself from lying to his father's face when confronted on it.  What stings most is how hurt Manuel seems that the very business he planned to pass on to his son is nothing more than an expendable hurdle Nacho needs to do away with so he can go forth with running from the problems he's brought upon himself.

    As much as Nacho predicament pains me, I have to agree with Manuel's frustration because it's the same frustration that can be applied to most of the show's characters.  The cost of empathy or consideration for others being the means for these characters to get what they want and the lack of responsibility for one's actions.  You live the life you've made for yourself but you can't expect others to stray from the lives they've intended to lead.  Manuel won't run and he makes this clear.  At this point, Nacho can either flee on his own or accept his fate in the game he told Saul there's no escape from.  Whether he goes to the police or takes his chance continuing to be a helpless puppet, this is the life he chose and eventually you reap what you sow.

    Mike descends further in light of Werner's murder similar to how Jesse spiraled after Gale's.  Both numb themselves with their vices (in Mike's case, binge-drinking) and explore unorthodox ways to deal with their grief like Mike seemingly inviting an altercation with a group of thugs. This adds an extra layer to Mike taking Jesse under his wing in Breaking Bad, even if begrudgingly.  This is without a doubt the most off-kilt Mike has been mentally and emotionally throughout both shows and I honestly couldn't tell you a solution for it other than time taking its course.  In Breaking Bad, Gus fueled Jesse's self-worth by employing him as Mike's partner for collecting dead drops and granted him self-confidence by orchestrating a mock ambush he could overcome. This helped Jesse deal better with his grief and post-traumatic stress, but swaying Mike out of his whirlwind of self-loathing might take a higher degree of finesse to the point where it's barely a manipulation.  If Gus didn't have so much on his plate right now, I'd say a sincere sit-down is in order, but who knows if he even owes him that.

    It's hard to envision how Gus and Mike get back on even ground but in the meantime Mike is belligerently demanding a bartender take down a postcard of the Sydney Opera House, being the architectural feat which Werner mentioned his father helped achieve.  The image of this famous structure obviously provokes Mike directly because of this but even deeper, it's a symbol for the pedestal his own son put him on. Someone to be marveled at in his greatness.  Mike does not feel he deserves such praise as he was forced to confess to Matty long ago that he was down in the gutter with the rest of the crooked Philadelphia precinct which would later spawn the two cops who murdered him.

    Kim gets in a stand-off with crabby homeowner Mr. Acker regarding the house he's built and resided in since 1974 being on land that he doesn't actually own.  The stipulation of his 100 year lease says the property owner can buy him out any time at fair market value plus $5,000.  Due to good will and inflation she ups the offer to $18,000.  He scoffs at the idea, sizing her up as a rich snob in a suit who probably donates to charity or serves at a soup kitchen to make herself feel better for tearing families from their homes. This hits a nerve with Kim and she unloads, declaring that the price is now $10,000 if he comes to his senses and a sheriff will get involved if he doesn't obey.

    Kim basically becomes the very thing thing she fights against when pursuing her pro bono work for low income clients.  She's forced to defend the law through its technicalities in favor of a big bank's expansion, all at the cost of one man's suffering which is a nuanced human issue she holds more value towards.  By ripping into Mr. Acker on his decision to fight against what higher powers demand of him, she's playing devil's advocate to her own struggle to stay on the straight and narrow while Jimmy continues to do the opposite and slip further and further from her life as the strange Saul Goodman.

    The pro bono case that's now set to go to trial is something she feels reassurance of through the fact that jurors will be summoned, being real down-to-earth people who might treat her client's case with the appropriate level of human perspective she feels it deserves.  This is the work that the Mesa Verde's expansion fails to offer and what's worse is when Kim takes it upon herself to talk to Mr. Acker more openly,  one lowly, humble person to another.  She's gracious in taking time out of her schedule and paying out of her own pocket to help him find new property he can own. She eventually discloses a personal story out of sympathy for him about how her family never owned a house.  Kim, who never divulges into her past, shares how she sometimes would get shaken awake in the middle of the night and dragged outside in her pajamas and bare feet so that her family could skip rent and hop over to the next apartment. Sometimes it was so cold out in the streets, her toes turned blue.  This is not information Kim feels comfortable admitting, no less to a stranger, but it's her best approach.

    Mr. Acker unfortunately still shuts the door in her face, signifying that others or (better yet) the world will remain unsympathetic no matter what hardship she's struggled with.  This could become a dangerous epiphany for Kim if she decides to embrace Saul Goodman and his mission to take initiative against a world that always kept him down.  Plus, that available house for purchase that Saul dangled before her in the previous episode? It's something we now know to be more specifically alluring, after learning the rough upbringing she was forced to grow up with.  Kim and Saul end the episode not being able to confide in one another but both being on the same unspoken page as they begin recklessly throwing beer bottles from their balcony.  This could be interpreted as their shared disdain for the world, almost like Kim adjusting her world view to meet Saul's.  It could be a cry for help or a way to mask the disintegration of their relationship, but could also be the adaptation of them growing closer.  The transformation of these two characters and the road they're heading down is happening right before our eyes and like ant-covered ice cream, we can only sit back and watch.

    Other things to note:

    - Did I not mention the D.E.A. agents who Krazy 8 will become a confidential informant for are Hank Schrader and Steve Gomez? Very exciting to see these two!  How much of a role they play in this season is to be determined, but I have a feeling they aren't going anywhere just yet.  The layers of deception to Krazy 8's arrangement as a C.I. and the stipulations Saul sets to prevent him from having a target on his back helps cleverly set the stage for why Krazy 8 continues to be a player in the drug game the way he continues to be in Breaking Bad.  

    - I wrote this review while waiting in a criminal court building after being summoned for jury duty.  The waiting process took all day so it was the perfect opportunity and setting to really give my review some thought. I was dismissed from consideration to serve on the jury panel by the end of the day.


  23. #350
    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    "Namaste"

    When Saul is called upon to represent the two addicts from “50% Off’s” cold open, he’s still on a high from playing a part in an intricate power move amidst high profile forces involving the D.E.A. and a war between drug kingpins. He’s come out the other side unscathed (for now) and it’s a rush which makes him realize what his talents are truly worth. Saul raises his rate with these two to $4,000, being half off (as promised), but to the $8,000 he received for his business with Lalo. When they protest, Saul pounds his chest in regards to his skills before strong-arming them into asking for clean money from one of their grandparents to meet his costs. He even uses the same power play as Hank and Gomez by making his way out the door, guilting the addicts for their missed opportunity. At this point, we can expect as long as Lalo manipulates Saul into remaining his go-to attorney, Saul will be requiring much more than $8,000 in future endeavors and an increase in rate from his low ranking clients. Jimmy is taking charge of his newly crowned moniker as he continues to learn what he’s capable of.



    Saul is no longer just a name.  He's becoming defined. When called into a lunch meeting with Howard, he's put on the spot to distinguish the difference between Saul Goodman and Jimmy McGill as if he's an analytical fan of his own show.  Saul proves surprisingly articulate on the spot, deeming himself as a life raft when you're sold down the river and a friend to a friendless, among a multitude of colorful, rapid-fire summations.  Howard wonders whether Jimmy McGill could also live up to this sparky ideology and Saul deflects that it's possible but Saul Goodman already does. It's here where Howard detects the underlying sore spot of how the Jimmy McGill name and legacy has been tarnished from HHM entertaining Chuck's resentments by refusing to hire Jimmy when he was barred or when he brought in the Sandpiper case.

    Howard wants to correct his lack of backbone from the past now that Chuck isn't pulling the strings and states that as far as he's concerned any bad blood HHM has been through with Jimmy is of separate issue between Jimmy and Chuck. While Jimmy maintains composure the best he can, Howard's spiritual upswing and forward-moving mentality is precisely what gets under Jimmy/Saul's skin. Howard gets to move on and play the gracious, welcoming gatekeeper to HHM, while he forces Jimmy to self-reflect and rub his nose in his deep-seated hang-ups with Chuck (precisely what he aims not to do).  As soon as Howard mentioned Chuck's name, you could see the micro-cataclysms buried within Jimmy and masked by Saul begin to erupt.  However, for the sake of social niceties and Howard's good intentions, he hears him out even if by doing so while using food and multiple swigs of his drink to keep himself in check.  What Howard is offering here is not just an opportunity that was denied to Jimmy for so long but a new hopeful and honest take of who an outside force sees him as

    Jimmy's argues valid reasons for why hiring him wouldn't be a good idea (referring to Jimmy's own misbehavior at Davis & Main), but Howard proceeds to turn a blind eye to it in favor for valuing Jimmy saying what he means and calling out truth and judgement for what it is.  Jimmy has tried to prove otherwise to what people see him as (a lawyer guilty people hire, morally flexible, Slippin' Jimmy, etc.) for the better part of his life and Chuck was the major catalyst in having him finally double-down into Slippin' Jimmy with a law degree, but nobody has ever sized Jimmy up in a more positive light the way Howard is here.  Kim has always argued Jimmy's potential but she was never a gate-keeper of opportunity to the extent that Howard is

    For Jimmy, Howard's buttery praise is too little, too late.  Jimmy's trajectory towards Saul reached a point of no return last episode when he got involved with Lalo, so while Howard is making a sincere (if not desperate) effort to rectify injustices against Jimmy, it's a convenient slap in the face that it's now that someone recognizes Jimmy's potential.  Saul is already on the path to rectifying the mistakes of Jimmy McGill and Howard just sets himself up (like pins to a bowling ball) for Jimmy to take a higher power's offer and shove it back in their face.  It's the same thing that happened during the interview at Neff's Copiers last season but with Howard it's much more personal.

    Usually Jimmy's methods in scamming someone or getting things to go in his favor undergo an intricate and well thought out process, but because of the deeply sensitive nerve Howard struck with Jimmy, it's no wonder that the payback against him is nothing more blunt and clunky as simply chucking bowling balls on Howard's fancy car.  Will Howard be able to retrace his steps and deduce Jimmy as the perpetrator or is he too oblivious even when claiming to understand Jimmy?  Poor Howard.  He's a good, smart guy who means well, but he's a prisoner to the McGill War's aftermath no matter how much therapy has helped him and at the end of the day, he's just not long for Saul Goodman's world. Hopefully, for his sake, he stays far away.

    Kim, on the other hand, is not so lucky as she starts her morning recovering from a drunken stupor with Jimmy from the night before.  Never has a tooth brushing scene, which has been a symbolic runner of the state of their relationship since season 2's "Switch", been more depressing and zombified.  Bad day of prior aside, she aims to start fresh and resolve the problems of yesterday, even taking it upon herself to sweep up the broken beer bottles she and Jimmy chucked from the night before.  Kim tries to sway Mesa Verde's C.E.O. Kevin Wachtell to reconsider buying up an alternate vacant lot (2375 which has a flooding problem) over the lot where every homeowner but Mr. Acker has complied to vacate for the construction of the banks' call center.

    She argues that the lot has shored up the drainage, repaved roads and that their operation will become more efficient and pay dividends in the long term despite eating the cost of the land they already own.  This is her last chance to save Mr. Acker from getting kicked out his house.  It's the moral right she cherishes over the legal, but Kevin and Paige are dismissive to the reputational risk of throwing a man from his home and argue that as long as they're in the legal right, they're willing to fight Mr. Acker on this.  Sadly, to great hesitation, Kim confides in Saul Goodman, who just got finished lighting a court case with figurative fireworks as he tricks an eye witness into pointing at a dummy defendant, not realizing the real defendant is sitting in the back of the room.  The courtroom stirs into upended commotion over this reveal which results in a mistrial.

    This is the trouble-making spontaneity and unpredictable flare that Saul thrives with, but it's at the expense of everyone involved, even his client who will not get disciplined by the State for his crime, and therefore not learn from his actions.  Saul will play with fire to get his way and this is who Kim resorts to calling for her rescue after every possible by-the-book effort to fix the Mr. Acker problem herself, fails.  Kim's most quotable line from season 2, "You don't save me. I save me.", is a badge of honor she's always carried, but in this case it's reached a dead end.  That's owed to how much her involvement with Jimmy has chiseled away at her legal compass.  She drew the line last season in "Wiedersehen" when declaring that she would only go forward with a scheme after weighing the moral outcome as she sees fit.  A man getting to keep his beloved home at the cost of her most depended client Mesa Verde getting dragged through the mud is something she decides warrants the green light.

    She recruits Saul to offer Mr. Acker his services as a defense attorney and Saul follows through by prying open his gate and keeping one foot in the front door before flashing Mr. Acker a photo of man fucking a horse.  It's the gall in delivering such a graphically perverse pitch and applying symbolism to how far Saul is willing to go to stick it to Mesa Verde (their bank's logo being a cowboy on a horse), which wins Mr. Acker over.  Kim is essentially sacrificing her own civic duty and reputation in helping Mesa Verde legally expand their banking enterprise, as well as compromising herself morally by pursuing an end to justify the means.  How does Saul going up against Kim as opposing council, even if structurally orchestrated by the two, not result in an absolute mess?  It's like reciting Beetlejuice's name three times.  He'll probably get the job done but not in any way anyone wants.  You can whole-heartedly expect Kim will regret summoning him.

    Kim allowing Mesa Verde to take a crucial hit in the name of preserving something more valuable is awfully similar to what Gus must allow happen to his operation. If Gus wishes to raise no suspicion of Nacho relaying Lalo's every move to him, he needs to allow the D.E.A. to capture the money from the reported dead drops. We get to see Hank and Gomez surveil the culvert from season 3's "Witness" which is where one of the dead drops is reported to be.  The dread Gus anticipates as he awaits the sacrifice of three men to the D.E.A. and an estimated $700,000 loss in drug money amounts to a frustration he can only contain by abusing his role as a Los Pollos Hermanos owner.

    Gus needs some form of control in this crisis so he pressures Lyle into cleaning the deep fryer to perfection ala Walt enlisting Jesse's help in catching a fly in the superlab.  It was likely spotless from the start, but Gus continues to find flaw in Lyle's efforts.  Lyle also might be manipulated into cleaning it twice in order for Gus to strengthen an alibi depending on what shakes loose from these busts.  Hank and Gomez's stakeout/chase scene being intercut with Lyle's unwavering perseverance to make his boss happy is an effective manner in getting into Gus' headspace and showing the viewer how much tension he carries beneath such rigid composure.

    And that leaves us with Mike who shows up at Stacey's thinking it's his time of the week to babysit Kaylee.  He wants to apologize for snapping at her the way he did but Stacey has already hired another sitter for the day after trying to call Mike previously and getting no response.  She states she's better off if Mike just take a week to get back to himself because something is clearly off with him.  In the same way Howard triggers Jimmy by bringing up Chuck, you can see in Mike's grief-stricken expression that he's using every ounce of energy to prevent himself from bursting into flames when Matty is mentioned. He shoots venom at the notion of "getting back to himself" before storming back to his car.  Mike hasn't had a clue how to get back to himself ever since Matty was murdered.  He's been on the path to finding his place and correcting something which can't be corrected in the wake of his son's tragedy, but ultimately it's lead him down worse avenues.

    Putting himself in the position to murder Werner directly has proven Mike's been running in an inescapable circle. Like Kim and Gus, he feels he has no other choice but to succumb to a more chaotic solution bearing unforseen consequences in ending his misery.  By strolling through the bad neighborhood and granting the group of thugs from last episode an opportunity for revenge, he's craving pain and punishment.  Whether he lives or dies, his life and the burden he carries is put into the universe's hands.  After getting the shit kicked out him and eventually stabbed, the scene cuts to black before revealing Mike in a strange, if not reminiscent setting where his wounds are being treated.  This could be the residence of Gus' doctor from Breaking Bad on the other side of the border or something and somewhere along the same vein, but two things are clear:

    1) The street thugs must have been thwarted or else Mike surely would have died.

    2) Gus is the only one who has taken a special interest in Mike, so he must have had someone keeping close tabs on him similar to Jesse Pinkman after Gale's murder.  Otherwise, I doubt Mike would have received medical attention in time and in such an unconventional place.

    What happens from here will undoubtedly contribute to Mike's rehabilitation and the rescue alone could likely spark the beginning of him feeling absolution for what he's done. Trauma will always exist, but perhaps this place, presented to the viewer as something of a sanctuary, is key to shedding perspective for Mike after a near-death experience.  Jesse needed a retreat after a four episode downward spiral in Breaking Bad when Gus ordered Mike to take him on a ride-along.  Mike is more independent from being under Gus' thumb so even if his physical and mental health does improve, what draws him back as Gus' proud right-hand man?

    Other stuff to note:

    It's appropriate that Howard's licence plate is the 1337 (LEET) spin on the phrase Namaste (being Namast3) because for Jimmy the digit 3 being a backwards 'E' is like a flippant way of saying "Howard, you can take your pretentious clarity and gesture of respect and shove it."

    In the cold open, those three bells in the antique store's doorway first made me think of Gus' doctor office, which used a similar angle when introduced in Better Call Saul's season 3 episode, "Sunk Costs".  Nothing thematically really ties the bookend of Mike's mysterious sanctuary with Jimmy's mission to buy bowling balls, but I appreciate the use of imagery putting the vague idea of Gus' doctor in the viewer's head without officially revealing his presence at all.

    Hank and Gomez might have been successful in making a major dent in an illegal drug dealing operation, but Hank is still smart enough to know that they haven't even scraped the surface.  Krazy 8 will be put to good use by them in the future but Hank knows he's not the key to getting the more high profile players.  Hank might come off like a macho clown, but you can already see the deeper layers within him beginning to show.  He's hungry for greater things and the potential to pursue it is there.

    Your thoughts?


  24. #351
    Remember Me As I Was 1010011010's Avatar
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    Saw a lot of people on Reddit confused over the Gus/Lyle scene. I just took that as Gus venting/trying to find control during the frustrating situation with Lalo, alibi part didn’t really come across to me.

    Loving this Season btw, feels like such a great payoff from the first 4 Seasons to now really see Jimmy act like Saul Goodman. Cringed at so many of the scenes between him and Kim, wanting so bad for her character to get out of this show safely. The theory of her getting disbarred from joining in/trying to pull off one of Saul’s stunts seems likely. Can’t see her ever fully giving up/joining Jimmy’s side, but being around him still is definitely going to go bad by the end of this Season. Hopefully next week’s ep (Wexler v. Goodman) will give a better answer for where she’s heading.

    Happy with the Jimmy/Kim plot so far, also pretty happy with Nacho/Lalo. Really curious when Lalo is going to die (fantastic character, entertainingly frightful), I’m 99% positive he’s dead by the BB era, and I’d imagine Season 6 would want to spend a good portion of time in that timeframe. Give context in this to Saul’s full descent, wrapping Mike/Gus’s storyline but w/o just repeating BB scenes, maybe the final 3 or so episodes used just on Gene. In general, I’m highly curious how this show will handle its final Season, and at which points in Jimmy’s life we’ll see Kim/Howard/Nacho’s story arcs reach their ends.

    Vince admitted recently he wanted to have Jesse/Walt appear on the show, so we’re definitely getting at least one episode in that time frame (he also mentioned recently he’d be more involved with the final season!, at least in the writers room for the initial story mapping, though Gould + the writers are doing a hell of a job w/o him).

    Anyway, keep up the great essay posts lionelhutz123. Reading you and Phillip J. Reeds BCS write-ups alongside side the newest episodes are always a treat.


  25. #352
    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    "Dedicado a Max"

    "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall." - Chuck

    Saul's on a path to destruction that's never going to course-correct and now Kim has made the conscious decision to join him.  Secretly appointing her boyfriend Jimmy as Mr. Acker's attorney against Mesa Verde makes for a desperate, contrived play, invoking blatant conflict of interest and rising tensions with her most financially secure client.  The crooked schemes of Saul Goodman are too far-fetched for her to play ignorant to but Kim goes forth with it as C.E.O. Kevin Wachtell is blinded by her loyalty.  The question of the episode is how far is Kim willing to go to put her career at risk for a morally favorable outcome? Like Mike recovering from a stab wound across the border, she's at a crossroads of what she actually wants to make of her life.  There's still time to turn back from the dangerous path but does part of her even want to?

    One would wonder if subconsciously Kim is setting herself up for failure by trying to solve the Mr. Acker situation in such a daringly transparent manner. Surely she knows involving Jimmy as the opposing council is a bad idea prone to suspicion from her peers and most trusted client, but perhaps it's a hard and honest attempt at seeing what shakes loose by pushing her limits.  Termination for malfeasance? Losing Mesa Verde and freeing herself from the role of playing loyal soldier to meet a mega banking firm's corporate needs at any cost? Confirmation that Saul Goodman is no good for her? A lot is at risk here, but Kim has carried an existential burden and moral hypocrisy for so long, this entire arrangement might be her way of allowing the universe to sort things out for her, no matter how difficult the outcome may be. Kim dreads change but there's no denying (and I think she strongly senses this) that something needs to give, sooner rather than later.

    Kim has always been fascinated with law and order applied to all fields of specialty.  When she quit HHM and tried to go it alone as a solo practitioner, Mesa Verde served as a life raft. As far as she was concerned, helping a banking firm expand by jumping over technical hurdles and cutting through red tape was just as noble an exercise as Jimmy McGill pursuing elder law.  As long as the law was being upheld, she could do no wrong.  Little did she know how much more complicated things would get when Mesa Verde's campaign to expand its territories would become a long, mundane, and unfulfilling process.  It's one thing that her client has always been tainted through Jimmy's document tampering, leaving Chuck's reputation tarnished and his life eventually destroyed, but the situation with Mr. Acker is the last straw, proving that all of this was for nothing other than helping a big bank become richer.  Kim gets nothing out of it except a compromised heart and soul to a process that's all tunnel with no foreseeable, redeeming destination.

    For the past year, she has found the perfect balance in spiritual and professional fulfillment by dedicating most of her time to pro bono work.  Helping people, not corporations.  If there's anything promising that she knows she values for certain, it's this.  When Jimmy proposed the idea of scamming one of her pro bono clients in the season premiere, she fiercely shut the idea down to the point of scolding an excitable Jimmy in the courthouse hallway within her client's earshot.  She's aware of Jimmy's intrusiveness and the overbearing impression he can have on her, especially when she realizes it's easier to go ahead with scamming her pro bono client behind Jimmy's back, than admitting any humility or defeat over their confrontation.  In the following episode "50% Off", Kim draws the line and makes it clear that her clients are off-limits.  "Dedicado a Max" sheds new light on those principles though as Mesa Verde becomes the exception.

    This once again excites Jimmy as he's detected Kim's virtuousness as an exposed, corruptible spot in her armor (something that's always existed), allowing her once again to come down to his level.  Jimmy takes pleasure in getting her to scam Mesa Verde because for him it's an exhilarating game no matter who's on the other end.  It's show time and he wants Kim to enjoy it just as much as he does.  When asked to recap her initial play of the scam against Kevin during their meeting at the country club, Jimmy insists that she imitate Kevin (voice and all) while Jimmy plays as her.  It's an unusual, funny request and Kim's thrown off by how much pleasure Jimmy gets out of this, but she indulges him.  In what might be the most hilarious performance by Rhea Seehorn all season (Seriously, the range she has in this show is extraordinary), we see something surprising is brought out in Kim, being her true disdain for Kevin and the contempt for her role in working for him.

    These are feelings that she hides well under the guard of professionalism and an exercise in integrity she upholds even when at home. Kevin Wachtell has pushed her to the brink though, so when she finally lets loose and vilifies Kevin through her impersonation of him, even Jimmy is sideswiped by it.  This is the unfiltered Kim that Jimmy adores and always strives to unveil.  By doing so, he's opened Pandora's box, eager to explore the gifts that lie within (a new shared page in the chapter of their relationship) while ignorant to the unspecified evils and consequences that likely will come from it.  Kim doesn't like to keep that box opened.  She tends to creak it ajar every now and then but right now she's very vulnerable and willing to see where it gets her.

    "Dedicado a Max" (translation "Dedicated to Max") isn't just in reference to Gus' late partner, but can also be wordplay applied to how far characters are willing to go for a desired goal.  Kim plays on Kevin's impatience and intolerance for nonsense as Saul Goodman throws Mesa Verde every BS reason for postponement on demolition of Mr. Acker's house that he can.  The logistical issue of the financial hit they're taking by ramming through each of Saul's roadblocks is enough an argument for Kevin to back down.  What Kim doesn't account for is Kevin's arrogance and the stubbornness instilled within him by his father.  Like Mesa Verde's logo, Kevin relishes in the horse-riding cowboy mentality of winning a duel and acquiring land.  He's willing to do that at any cost, calling on Kim to step up her game.

    She can fold or take her dedication for Mr. Acker to the next level by consulting a third party, which Jimmy warns her only heads into more dangerous territory, while sneakily piquing her curiosity with the idea to begin with.  Jimmy is willing to test Kim's determination by calling Mike for help.  Due to bad cell phone reception from Mike being out of the country, Jimmy asks if he's currently in a tunnel.  Metaphorically, like Kim, Mike is caught in a tunnel, dwelling in a suspended state of uncertainty with lack of fulfillment.  It's a strong similarity among several that's shared between Mike and Kim (both are dependable, thorough in achieving their goals, and no-nonsense) which makes their potential to cross paths all the more of a tease when Mike declines Jimmy's request for help.

    Instead, Jimmy goes down the Veterinarian's criminal underworld totem pole and summons Steven Ogg's character (credited as Sobchak) who introduces himself to Jimmy and Kim with the alias, Mr. X.  This is the same loudmouth criminal P.I. that Mike subdued in season 1's "Pimento" when hired as a potential bodyguard for Daniel Wormald (Pryce).  While he can come off as kind of a bumbling goon, he does prove useful by infiltrating Kevin Wachtell's house and taking photos of anything that could possibly give Jimmy and Kim an edge.  How far Kim is willing to go is indeed tested here as she questions how he broke into her client's house.

    She's somewhat relieved when learning it was through the guise of a security system repairman under Kevin's consent.  Jimmy can sense that beyond Mr. X doing everything he can to potentially dig dirt up on Kevin, his services are superficial and when Mr. X proposes the next step is to kidnap Kevin into an unmarked van and drive him out to the desert, Jimmy shows him the door.  This is how quickly following the wrong path escalates and thankfully they were able to do away with him before things got more out of control.  But are they learning what happens when overlooking how things get done when leaving things in the hands of those who are less morally-inclined? Kim might have spawned an idea from what she sees in the photos and it involves the Mesa Verde logo.  Perhaps a copyright issue?  Still, she's recognizing the silver lining to misbehavior that she's getting in way over head with.

    Kim's tunnel-vision in sabotaging Mesa Verde might be a hail mary that Kevin and Paige are none the wiser to, but she never considers that her boss Rich Schweikart is able to pick up on what's really going on, being someone who can see the situation from the outside, in.  He rightfully calls her out for the contrivance of Jimmy's involvement as opposing council and the convenience that Jimmy's fighting for the exact thing Kim went out of her way to contend against in prior meetings.  Rich knows that taking Kim away from her pro bono work to help Mesa Verde has been like pulling teeth as of recent so he can apply that pattern of behavior to her true motives.  It's why he prefers she's temporarily taken off the case until the Mr. Acker situation is dealt with, hinting at the possibility of malfeasance.  This stirs Kim up and she compels Rich out in the open of the S&C law office to come out loud and clear what he's accusing her of.  It's her way of feeding the narrative of her innocence by showing she doesn't care who hears her protest.

    The truth will always set you free, so to speak.  Of course, we know Kim is defending a lie and Rich is only trying to protect her, but if she refuses his protection, he's just as willing to let justice take it's course.  During this public unraveling, Kim reminds Rich how hard she's worked for Mesa Verde and demands he tell her why she would risk everything for some squatter.  In this moment, Kim isn't so much asking Rich this as she's asking the question for herself.  That's the dilemma she's left with when returning to her office.  Why is she going so far to protect Mr. Acker at the expense of her own career and reputation?  Because of moral reservations and her own childhood which influences it? Because of Saul Goodman dangling the carrot into bending the law in favor of a world she sees fit?  Kim is pushing the limit at this point and instead of Saul's scams giving her an easy out or shaking an outcome loose to help dictate her decisions going forward, she's once again back where she started yet more exposed.  The burden of what road she goes down from here is completely on her.

    If you couldn't tell by now, this is a big Kim episode, but as mentioned Mike is also at a crossroads.  In fact, he's done much worse for himself in order to solve his problem by using a deadly altercation with street toughs as a fateful solution to end his misery over Werner's murder.  Mike is indeed saved through Gus' surveillance and transported across the border to treat his wounds.  Frustrated that he can't escape being held under Gus' wing, he marches down the road in hope to find any conceivable path to lead him home.  A security cart whizzes down the dirt road like something out of a science fiction movie, bringing more emphasis to the strange land Mike finds himself in, but when it's revealed to be driven by Gus' doctor, he informs Mike of his orders to take care for him.  Gus' doctor, Barry, gives Mike a choice to allow this to continue until he gets better and Mike begrudgingly accepts.  Human contact is not something Mike usually embraces outside his family, so it's quite the step to witness him willingly surrender to someone else's care.

    What's most important is he's not being forced to stay.  It just makes sense for him to until he gets better and Dr. Barry even gives Mike detailed directions on how to get home once he is.  After his son's murder, it's hard for Mike to trust anyone again, but this small community thrives on innocence and altruism as he's provided food and shelter while on the mend.  He's reminded of the tenderness in humanity when a group of school children frolic past him when dismissed from class.  When determined to build a phone charger of his own accord to revive his dead cell phone battery, we're reminded of the GPS tracker he meticulously arranged in order to meet Gus to begin with.  As the audience, we're expected to see Mike independently solve his own problem in the way he always does, but that's undercut by his caretaker simply handing him a new phone charger.  Mike is so used to being self-efficient and trusting only in himself, that he's forgotten that people are willing to help him.  The world hasn't given up on Mike and he shouldn't give up on it.



    However, this doesn't take away from Mike's serious qualms with Gus.  When he calls Gus on the phone, Mike sums him up as a man who doesn't do anything without a reason.  Unlike the good people Mike is currently surrounded by, there's always an ulterior motive at play.  When Gus finally visits, Mike questions what that motive might be and calls out Gus' potential strategy of manipulation.  Showing Mike there's a brighter side to Gus? Or that his anonymous donations to this secluded community is a sign that he's not a remorseless monster unwilling to compensate for his actions?  Gus stays truthful though and owns up to the man he is.  He knows he's guilty of despicable and outright evil things.  He doesn't pretend otherwise but he does distinguish a difference between himself and the people he's up against (namely the Salamancas).  By showing Mike in full transparency that's he's come to terms with himself and what he's done, he's showing Mike there's hope for him to do the same.

    Gus has already given Mike the leg up in taking the moral high ground against him.  Maybe it's a blessing that Mike can still feel bad about the things he does, but I don't think Mike wants to suffer from it anymore.  If the alternative to suicide is working for Gus, there needs to be some merit behind it.  Gus needs a soldier and particularly one who understands the pains of revenge.  As bad as Gus is, Mike can at least commiserate in helping another man correct something that can't be corrected.  It's not a question of morality, but an opportune quest of coming to peace with oneself.  Mike is a killer.  That's who he's always been and killing doesn't solve anything, but when directed at the right people, it gives him purpose and satisfies that undying need for payback.  That's a quality Gus cherishes in Mike. It might be the very bridge in getting Mike on his side, but the bridge is incomplete as of right now.  Mike doesn't know Gus' story and if he's to fully understand their connection, Gus might have to share his horrific past.  Unless Mike is so desperate to get back on his feet, that the memorial fountain that lies before them is enough for him to put two and two together.

    Other thoughts:

    - Document tampering was once a scam consequential to a multiple season story arc leading up to Chuck's demise and integral to Jimmy's transformation into Saul.  In the fight to help Mr. Acker keep his home, it's only a mere kickoff to a series of throwaway schemes involving a fake ancient artifact excavation, orchestrated concerns of radioactivity, and a parade of religious fanatics pouring onto the property over a mock- image of Jesus on Mr. Acker's fence.  This goes to show how careless Saul Goodman is to a consequence Jimmy has already payed heavily for in the past. Before you can even make the connection to season 2 and think about what bad can come from one scam, he's already on to the next one.  This is rapid-fire behavior that's not going to end well.

    - Howard calls Jimmy with no clue as to what happened with his car and wants to know if Jimmy has mulled over the options of his proposal to work at HHM.  He tells Jimmy he's ready to go over the details and Jimmy responds with a "sounds good", hanging up with Howard in mid-sentence.  Surely this is the end of the proposal, putting a final period on how far removed Saul Goodman is from Howard's world.  Or is it?

    Your thoughts?


  26. #353
    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    By the way, it took me two viewings to realize that was John DiMaggio playing the head of the construction crew. Hope he gets another episode.

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  28. #354
    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    "Wexler v. Goodman"

    "You never listen!" - Kim's mother

    How does Kim go from a teenager who knows better than to get in the car with her intoxicated mom, to present day Kim proposing marriage to Saul after he betrays her by turning her into a sucker (once again) along with Mesa Verde? Nine times out of ten, Kim knows what's best. She knew she was better off upping Mr. Acker's settlement to $75,000 and pay the difference out of pocket from Mesa Verde's share.  For her, it's better to take the financial hit and put this mess behind her rather than risk her career and reputation over a scam that entails dragging her most depended client through the mud.  Best case scenario, the scam makes her feel good that Mr. Acker keeps his home and Jimmy feel good for working his magic as a con man.

    From the beginning of the episode, Kim comes to the conclusion that the thrill is not worth it and musters up the courage to call it off, despite Jimmy's much expected disappointment.  She has good reason, considering her boss Rich Schweikart has already declared his suspicions of what's truly going on.  Jimmy argues that nobody will ever find out they're in cahoots but he knows he's at a loss.  As much as he hates to see a walk-off homerun dribble foul, he agrees to call off the scam.  He does this, guilting Kim in the process by stressing how deflated the student film crew will be after how hard they worked in preparation. Jimmy is a tad manipulative here, similar to Walter White making Skyler feel like the party pooper when she orders him to take Walt Jr.'s Dodge Challenger back to the dealership to avoid suspicions.  Jimmy honors Kim's wishes, but only until he can turn her words of caution and reasoning into an invitation to go against them.

    The question for Jimmy here is...why?  What drives Jimmy's need to go forward with the scam to the point where he figures using Kim's genuine surprise and anger as a means to clear Rich of any suspicion is in any way excusable to the act of steamrolling her to begin with?  Is he this desperate to mask his grief with Chuck by getting a rise out of screwing people over, even if it includes deceiving someone he cares about?  By not going forward with defaming Mesa Verde and accusing them of every absurd, scandalous offense under the sun (including a claim of copyright infringement which would actually hold water), Jimmy's goal to turn the world upside-down would result in an anti-climax.  Anti-climax is the exact thing Jimmy strives to avoid because under Chuck's watch, it's all Jimmy was ever advised to endure.

    Jimmy is gun-ho to put his talents to use on his own terms.  He doesn't want to hear reasons not to, no matter how valid or sound, because he's eager to prove that his way of doing things was always the way they should have been done long ago.  Perhaps he feels an incessant need to go through with it because he's been held back for so long and needs to make up for the lost time of making choices for him and him alone.  It's something Chuck never allowed him to do as it causes a fallout of damage at the expense of others.  Problem is, Jimmy still cares for Kim and wants to be a couple, therefore his needs are going to clash and the consequences of his actions still need to be considered if he wants to maintain the relationship.  But what does Kim actually want? Because one episode she's mocking the air of arrogance and greed Kevin Wachtell carries and the next she's come to her logical senses, arguing not to bat the beehive.

    As I go on to explore Kim's mindset in this episode's review, I discover that I already hit most of the nail on the head back in last season's "Coushatta" write-up.  The same analysis applies:

    "If the proceedings for Mesa Verde weren't such a drag for Kim, she probably would never make this worrisome choice. I think back to the younger, eager version of herself in the cold open of "Pinata" where she's Jimmy's #1 buddy but her admiration for Chuck and aspiration for becoming the rockstar lawyer is her real draw. You have to consider what happened to her along the way where Howard locked her in doc review and Chuck proved to be more of a disappointing role model. Even though she never achieved Mesa Verde properly (because of Jimmy), she still owned it through her hard work, but even that pales in comparison to what Jimmy has always consistently offered her in which Howard, Chuck, and even Kevin Wachtell have failed to. And that's the rockstar, home run moment. Between her scamming 'Ken Wins' out of buying the most expensive tequila, fighting in Jimmy's corner in the case against Chuck, or pulling off a Hail Mary in getting Huell no jail time, Jimmy has always been the guy that granted her the rewarding satisfaction of winning.

    There's always been a corruptible blot on Kim's x-ray and she's overcome that with the firm belief that working within the lines of legitimacy was her ticket for gratification. She wore this like a badge of honor to the point where she even warned Jimmy in season 2 that fabricating evidence in his cobbler scheme was not worth sacrificing the more lucrative, straight and narrow road he's built for himself. However, Jimmy has proved time and time again that through the same willpower in which Kim possesses, he can run each side of the law like a ski slalom in his favor. It's that exhilarating feeling of coming out on top that triumphs over the lawful standards Chuck reveled in, where currently for her it's all tunnel and no light. That said, I don't think Kim is stupid. By telling Jimmy "Let's do it again", it's not that she's willing to unnecessarily bend the law when there's no present hurdle giving them a reason to, but a message to Jimmy that she's willing to fight dirty in his corner when the next situation calls for it. It's too much of a stretch that she would join Jimmy as a criminal partner (she still has higher morals), but she certainly seems eager to be a disciplined asset to him."


    Everything transpiring this season leading up to "Wexler v. Goodman" expands on this line of thinking with new information and developments.  It's not so much that Kim is bored with helping Mesa Verde's campaign to expand their territories but the corporate evil to the process that's impeding on the lives of unsuspecting citizens is wearing on her.  She's learned that the law isn't her neat and tidy road to salvation and in fact, by following it she'll continue to be the loser who's ordered around by Kevin and who's made to look like a chump by Jimmy.  Jimmy called Kim out in last season's episode "Wiedersehen", addressing how she always has her feet in both camps when it comes to embracing and rejecting him as a partner.  He's always been hurt by this even if he always kept it to himself.  It's probably what drove him to reject Kim's wishes not to go forward with blackmailing Mesa Verde here.  By doing it, he kills two birds with one stone.  One stone sets to prove that his colorful way of doing things goes off without a hitch and therefore Kim should have trusted Jimmy, while the other punishes her as the added sucker for not listening.

    Obviously there's a level of delusion at play there when it comes to justifying the act of sideswiping her and believing his original con with Rich's suspicions in tow, to be such a shoe-in, but this is essentially his way of putting his foot down.  This is who Jimmy is and if Kim doesn't want to continue to be made the sucker picking up the pieces, then it's time for her to finally make the choice she's been dreading all season.  She can either wash her hands of Jimmy and leave him (which is what she acknowledges in the episode's closing scene) or commit to him fully as a partner.  Both feet in one camp. It sounds crazy when you consider how much sense Kim possesses, but this choice is derived from a much more complicated, existential dilemma than most logical reasoning can sway.  It's about living.  Not just surviving and playing it safe while the rest of the world gets the better of you, but living on the edge.  I think Kim would rather live a riskier life that works in her and her partner's favor, as well as the moral favor of others (Mr. Acker being the prime example), than to tow the line, get pushed around, and lose someone she loves over reservations of the legal right and wrong.  She put the law and the act of 'going about things the right way' on a pedestal all her life and it's been known to fail her.

    Young Kim knew that the right decision to make when her mom showed up late and under the influence of alcohol, was that she shouldn't get in the car with her.  She was put in a position to reject her mother's offer to drive her home, no matter how much context Kim may have (that we don't) as to why her mom drinks.  We don't know how hard Kim's mom has it other than their family growing up poor to the point of dodging payments with multiple landlords.  For all we know, Kim's mother means well and although struggles with certain vices, ultimately aims to give Kim the best upbringing she possibly can.  You can see on her mom's face that she isn't proud of her problem or lying to her daughter to reassure her safety, but the last thing she wants is her kid walking three miles home by herself carrying a cello.  That said, she drives off nearly insulted that Kim doesn't believe her despite Kim being in the right.  It's a tough scene, but it brings up the notion of possible abandonment issues that Kim holds towards her mom.  Not so much that Kim's mother might have abandoned her, but that Kim might have pushed her mother further and further away in favor of doing what's right.

    It's possible that this became a pattern of choices Kim dedicated herself to which would have resulted in a wider divide between mother and daughter.  There's no telling what may have resulted from that but perhaps whatever unfolded is the very thing Kim doesn't want to repeat at all cost when it comes to Jimmy.  The difference between Jimmy's hang-ups and lies compared to Kim's mother's, is Kim has undergone deeper understanding and sympathy as to why Jimmy is the way he is.  Being a kid, she may never have had a chance to give her mom the same consideration.  "You never listen!" might be the guilty echo of her mother's words that still bounces in Kim's head.  A haunting mantra she could redeem herself from in the case of her relationship with Jimmy.



    By proposing that they get married, it's her way of saying "I'm going to listen, embrace you, and live life." If it means Kim can be on the same team with Jimmy going forward and not get caught off guard in the whirlwind of his actions, then that's a life decision she might find more important and valuable than anything else.  Even if it's the more dangerous route that could result in a horrible wreck like getting in the car with her mom, a life with Saul promises something richer than the life she currently leads. Not just money or even winning, but maintaining the smaller things in life that she pushed away from her mom like splitting a box of McNuggets, seeing what's on TV, and embracing the warmth of two people who love each other.  She'll take that at the risk of losing someone over walking alone again in the cold. Because what is Kim's life without Jimmy and what has it already become from estranging herself from her mom and family?  It's the breaking point of choosing to be closer to a criminal partner than just a disciplined asset to Jimmy.  Kim still has her morals but at what point do they become further compromised after fully committing to Saul Goodman? Will those morals deteriorate along with his or does she come to another breaking point?

    Mike has also committed himself to a partner in Gus despite the moral conflict that may come from it. Gus apparently has sold Mike on an empathetic life pursuit of revenge made more preferable than the dead-end path Mike's grief was taking him.  As one of Gus' right-hand men, Mike is now tasked with getting Lalo out of Gus' hair for good.  According to Nacho, Lalo plans to do whatever it takes to hurt Gus, such as hitting their supply trucks, getting their customers sick, or cutting off power before eventually damaging Gus' operation enough where his connection down South is severed.  Lalo already has Krazy 8 informing on Gus' men, in which Gus responds they get replaced with low-level dealers or new hires in order to protect their most essential members.  The war has started and Mike is going along for the ride but it's Nacho who remains the moral compass who tries to persuade Mike of how evil the people he's getting involved with, are.  Mike doesn't want to hear it until Nacho informs him of his father's life being on the line depending on whether Nacho follows Gus' orders or not.  It's reassuring to see there's still a line Mike draws with what's okay and what's not, but he tells Nacho once they solve the Lalo issue, he'll get back to him on that topic.

    This is the most hopeful moment for Nacho in a long time as he finally has someone on the inside of Gus' operation who could possibly help free him from his enslavement and save his father's life, but there's something off about the scene as well.  For one, it's very glaring that Nacho was unaware or forgetful of Mike's initial warning to be careful of higher figures being at risk of being affected if Nacho is to go forward with swapping Hector's pills.  This far in, it's the lack of reflection over the fact that he got into this mess with both eyes open that makes me, as part of the audience, worried of what else he can't see.  When or if death comes for him, which is more likely than anything, will he be ready to avoid it?  Nacho is in very deep right now and he's not without options just yet, but I at least hope he's ready for whatever happens in the end, regardless if it's death or not.  When we first meet Lalo, he hands Nacho a meal he prepared, promising, "You're gonna die," and Nacho replies "No, thank you".  His fate remains ambiguous, but Nacho is definitely closer to his than anyone in this show.

    A close second would be Kim after the leap of faith she's prepared to take with Saul and the fact that we know she's not, to our knowledge, in the picture of Breaking Bad. We may be seeing the beginning of a possible explanation as to Kim's future absence when Mike (under the false identity Detective Dave Clark as used in the former show) speeds up the investigation of who's responsible to the arson and murder at TravelWire by convincing a witness to "remember" Lalo's car being at the scene.  It's the same car that would match the hit and run that happened within the vicinity and timeline of the fateful events at TravelWire.  Mike even goes through the trouble of blending in at the APD to ensure the developing information gets to the desk of Breaking Bad's Detective Tim Roberts.  The final nail in the sabotage of Lalo is to masquerade as a police officer who has spotted the make and model of Lalo's Chevy Monte Carlo. Nacho informs Mike on Lalo's whereabouts and Mike relays this over the police squad radio.  As four patrol cars surround Lalo and order him to take his keys from the ignition and drop them out the window, he begrudgingly surrenders.

    We can fully expect what happens next (now that a violent shootout is off the table) is Lalo will be calling the guy with the mouth, Saul Goodman, to work any angle he can to save him.  Knowing what Lalo is capable of, he's going to expect freedom at any cost and if that doesn't work out, what dangers await and for who?  Everyone's connected now in this dangerous line of hellfire.  If Lalo isn't the reason for Kim or Nacho's absence, it could be Gus or Mike or law enforcement or Saul.  Anyone! There's no telling what tricks the writers have up their sleeve, but there's no denying we're entering the end times before the final season.  There's no way the connection of both the show's parallel worlds can maintain itself safely now that it's merged.  Not all characters will be coming out the other side by the time its over. Even the souls of the characters we know survive are at risk depending on what transpires.  At a certain point, the plot was going to catch up to a show that is intriguingly based on character-driven choices, and that plot can only end badly.  We can only hope that these characters stand by or understand the choices that lead them to the conclusions they face.

    Lingering thoughts:

    "Freedom. Freedom to ride. Freedom to explore. Freedom to bank the way you want to".  The old commercial for Mesa Verde seems to be selling more than just a bank but the exact thing Kim desires in life.  To live free of principle and explore new horizons without restriction or limitations.  By proposing to Jimmy, she's banking on a life she can lead on her own terms, full of thrills.  "Let our family help find your freedom at Mesa Verde!" (Mesa Verde being the catalyst to her decision to embrace Jimmy).  On an unrelated note, Kevin's father, Don Wachtell is played by Mr. Show alum Jay Johnston.  It's more than appropriate that the scene he gets involves a Mr. Show-esque edit as it's turned into a classic Saul Goodman commercial.  It even features the old phone number used in Breaking Bad.

    The first thing that came to mind when Kim proposed was the old "Married couples can't be forced to testify against one another in court" mindset, similar to what Skyler points out to Walt in the prior series.  This is more of TV thing that isn't as fool-proof as it suggests in real life (Even The Sopranos poked holes in how flimsy this fact is), which is why I don't think it's the main driving force behind Kim's decision to propose marriage.  Rest assured, it's definitely owed to the more character crisis stuff I delved into.

    Kim apologizes to Rich and Rich reassures her it's okay to call him out on something but to never do it in front of the troops, as it affects morale and confidence.  Rich inviting Kim to walk with him out to lunch so as to show the office that they're back on good terms was a sweet moment between them before everything goes to hell.  It felt very Twin Peaks in regards to the show's ability to lighten itself up amidst all the doom and gloom that lies in wait.  I admire how Rich, like Howard, was initially presented as an antagonist to the audience in season 1, but has proven to be one of the more gracious and endearing characters in the show.

    Saul unleashes two prostitutes on Howard making them embarrass him publicly in front of Cliff Main, acting like Howard owes them for some dirty sex arrangement.  This show doesn't do anything by accident which is why last week we saw Howard call Jimmy again regarding his offer to join HHM.  The more Howard can't take a hint, the more Jimmy is willing to destroy him.  It's funny but it's hard to watch and I can't imagine Howard isn't going to have suspicions as to what might be going on now.  The vandalism against his car could have been chalked up to the workings of no-good punk teens, but prostitutes being sent to the hotspot restaurant the lawyer community is known to congregate at is way too specific for a second sabotage.  Howard isn't that dumb.  He'll narrow down the suspects to who's behind this.

    Also it's important to note that Jimmy finally giving in to the prostitutes services was meant to lead us on to the possibility of Jimmy betraying Kim.  He doesn't cheat on her, but he does indeed betray her when going ahead to call Olivia Bitsui (the owner of the photo that inspired the Mesa Verde logo) in the same scene where he's enjoying the sabotage of Howard.

    Finally, I'm a sucker for the long Kubrick-esque zoom-in on Kevin fuming in silence as everyone tries to get a handle on the situation in the aftermath of Jimmy's blackmail.  Wonderful directing by Michael Morris.

    What's everyone else's thoughts?


  29. #355
    Hired Goon Steve's Avatar
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    I don't think I could possibly say anything that you haven't already. I missed these amazing write-ups of yours!

    I'm very excited for tomorrow's episode. This season has been a fantastic and crazy ride so far and I can't wait to see where it goes. I'm also terrified.


  30. #356
    SuperFriend goodfella's Avatar
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    indeed, very much the work of a fan that knows their stuff and done the research! gotta say you always pick up on a few things that i miss or forget. this weeks episode is definitely going to be a big one in a lot of ways! can't help but be very worried for kim, i feel nacho having mike on side will be good for him but who knows?


  31. #357
    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! Such a fun, thought-provoking show fo reflect on and I'm glad you're enjoying my takes, even if they end up a tad long. Can't wait for tonight's episode.

    Stay safe!

  32. #358
    Dinner at 80 mph lionelhutz123's Avatar
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    "JMM"

    "Is my flower in danger of speedy disappearance? Certainly it is." - The Little Prince

    Jimmy is faced with his most morally-compromising decision yet in regards to something which hits closer to home than he's willing to admit.  All in good or perhaps horrible timing, as Kim takes the next step closer to Jimmy with an acquired marriage license and a rushed wedding ceremony at the downtown courthouse.  The notion of maintaining their relationship with more freedom to disclose anything and everything will now be protected. Married couples can't be compelled to testify against each other in court.  It also prevents them (but mostly Kim) from getting caught off guard with their respective partner's actions.  The stipulations of transparency going forward with their relationship isn't fool-proof, but it's a thoughtful effort when it comes to nurturing the bond they cherish with one another.  That said, Kim is now pursuing a life with a man who's getting into more dangerous trouble with every passing day, regardless of how much she's in the know.

    While their relationship is more protected, legally and intimately, the pressure of Jimmy's wrong-doings has now become heavier.  Jimmy's conflicted.  He's flattered with the lengths Kim is willing to go to stick by him even if  it's at the sacrifice of the ideal wedding a younger Kim might have dreamed of.  At the same time, he's getting absorbed into the more deplorable world of the cartel, which means Kim is along for that ride and her acceptance of him will continue to be tested.  Jimmy loves Kim and he's always questioning her desire to be with him (for better or worse), but lines are being presented to him that even he is unsure he's willing to cross.

    The most relieving moment during the wedding ceremony for Jimmy is when the judge replies "okey-dokey" in regards to there being no rings involved, in which Kim smirk-laughs in response.  The long-standing practice of wedding rings is a tradition emblematic to the love and devotion a married couple shares. Society has instilled rings as something that should be exchanged, but Jimmy doesn't always live in the 'should', even if he's mindful of the value it might hold for a self-respecting woman like Kim.  When she playfully smirks, it's an expression of joy and a loving reminder as to why he's drawn to her to begin with.  As considerate as Kim is of the impact of meaning towards things, she's willing to toss that aside if it means they can get a little more distance towards being together.  For Kim, that's all that matters.

    Rings bring a sense of hope and security in a marriage so while it's sweet that Kim is fine with that convention falling by the wayside, it's still worrying in the long term.  The declination of exchanging rings stays more honest to the uniquely paradoxical nature of their connection, but is also an affirmation that their marriage is more of an experiment in short-term preservation than one that's meant to last. Their love for one another is real but they're expecting extremely complicated bridges of conflict ahead and are only willing to cross them when they come to it.  As Lalo (or Jorge de Guzman) becomes more demanding of Saul Goodman's services, those bridges might as well be wired with explosives.

    When Lalo asks Jimmy what the JMM stands for on his briefcase, Jimmy recites the same bumbling acronym he tries to pass off to Kim as his motto in the season premiere: "Justice Matters Most".  Lalo scoffs, being someone perceptive enough to see Jimmy for the crooked guy he is, just as many characters have in the past.  Even Jimmy knows the motto is a crock, but it's a better answer than sharing his original name to a cold-blooded, high profile member of the cartel. Going forward, Lalo doesn't want to cut a deal with the prosecutor for the murder at TravelWire or have his case go to trial, but he wants Saul to get him off with bail.  It's a hefty, nearly impossible request which Jimmy sheepishly tries to explain away, but Lalo hits him with an unexpected offer of becoming a "friend of the cartel".

    In other words, if Saul Goodman wants to get the job done and make a boat-load of money to boot, he needs to do away with a motto he doesn't even practice and "Just Make Money".  Better Call Saul has emphasized Jimmy valuing money over all else ever since the pilot in his first scene with Chuck ("Money IS the point!") and that theme has rang true ever since.  It's what got him on the Lalo train to begin with when a meager $8,000 was dangled before him to rat out Gus' operation.  Lalo knows money is Jimmy's carrot and if given enough, even the deepest core of Jimmy's morality will have trouble saying no. This is especially true considering what's left of Jimmy morality is infected with spite against his brother and a world that's always tried to put a lid on him. Imagine that? An innocent, hard-working, young citizen getting murdered and disposed of through arson, leaving a family in ruin wondering how such a horrific thing can even happen.  It's not the same as what Jimmy had experienced with his brother's suicide, but the fire aspect must bring up some empathy for their grief.  The idea that Jimmy needs to defend the evil responsible for something like that so he can reap the financial reward is incredibly gruesome.



    Jimmy despises every second he needs to play the antagonist to a grieving family and more notably, he despises that the spite he holds towards his brother has pushed him this far over the edge.  He can't stop himself.  The events that lead him here were set in motion long before he could take back control.  That's not to say he doesn't feel bad for the family who now have to live with an uneven outcome in the case against their son's murder.  After all, Jorge de Guzman has bail set at $7 million, which he can afford.  Jimmy's remorse is clearly demonstrated as he peers behind the courthouse wall like the snake he's become, but what is he to do with that sense of regret?  This is a feeling Chuck challenged him to do away with. When Howard, (who has served as Jimmy's stealth punching bag all season and remains an associative reminder of Chuck's judgement towards him) shows up to not only call out the injustices inflicted on him by Jimmy, but the true reason behind it being derived from the pain and suffering of Chuck's death, it sets Jimmy off.  Not to mention, while he's caught at his most vulnerable.

    Beforehand, Jimmy tried projecting his own state of unbalance onto Howard, calling him unhinged despite the hypocrisy that Howard's accusations towards Jimmy are true.  Howard doesn't give him an inch and continues to rightfully pity him, not as an adversary but as a friend willing to help. This only makes Jimmy angrier because with his current situation, he's long passed from being helped.  He doubles down on the delusion that Howard is responsible for Chuck's death and reinforces his stance on being above everything, including remorse.  He hates the fact that Howard has become so clear-headed and doesn't have to live in the same nightmare as he does.  The more Howard doesn't give in to Jimmy's vitriol, the more ferocious Jimmy becomes, and therefore the more prepared he is to not consider the next morally right thing to do.  It's in this very moment, that Jimmy remembers why his alter-ego exists.  Jimmy's contempt for the establishment that kept him down helps clear his conscience from anyone who bears Saul's wrath.  It's a momentary resurgence of intensity that helps Saul Goodman ascend and for Jimmy to move on.

    Jimmy had the option to turn back but it was never going to happen.  To his credit, he shared his plight with Kim, who is appropriately concerned, but surprisingly open to what he decides to do going forward.  "Do you want to be a friend of the cartel?" she asks, in which Jimmy, almost half-confidently, tells her no.  Kim doesn't rebel against this news as much as she should, most likely because it's the first bad news Jimmy has shared with her since they established their agreement to disclose everything.  She might be more relieved that he's honored the agreement to the extent of sharing the most concerning news possible to the point where she's willing to accept it as their first bridge to cross.

    Kim has no idea how devouring and intricately connected Jimmy's client is to the Breaking Bad world, let alone the destruction that awaits from it, but she needs to meet Jimmy halfway over an agreement she proposed.  If Jimmy's "Just Make Money" motto is what puts him to the test, Kim's test above all else is her relationship with Jimmy mattering most. ("Just Maintain Marriage").  Clumsy acronyms notwithstanding, the point is she'll brush potential danger aside, as long as she's not alone and can pursue the fallacy of sunk costs with the man she knows. Plus, she's no stranger to envying a richer life going all the way back to dreaming of a house in the country back in season 2's "Cobbler".

    The thing is, while we have never seen Kim held at gunpoint or going head to head with a criminal adversary out in the desert, we know she can hold her own against the big wigs, regardless from what side of the law.  When Kim and Rich take the brunt of their failure in defending Mesa Verde against Saul, they apologize for not taking better control of the situation, but Kim marches bravely back into Kevin Wachtell's office to shift the blame back onto him.  She's right in pointing out that he ignored their legal advice several steps along the way, which helped lead to the mess they got in. They did their job but getting the job done requires both attorney and client to cooperate and that failed cooperation lands more on Kevin's end.  It takes a lot of guts for her to lay that truth out for him, but it's this exact level of honesty from a great lawyer that Kevin admires.

    For Kim to revive Kevin's faith in her after the fallout of Saul's actions, it says a lot. Sure, it's not the same thing as dealing with murderous drug kingpins and their cronies, but if a stammering Jimmy can use his lawyer skills to prevent a hot-headed Tuco from skinning the skater twins alive, Kim's chances are a little more promising.   Fearlessness combined with a more studied ability to argue and a greater awareness of her limited options when put in a tight spot, proves that given the day, Kim has some serious metal at her disposal.  That day nears closer and closer as Mike takes it upon himself to wait for her to leave the apartment before showing up to give Jimmy vital information in helping Lalo get off with bail.  Like Mike's decision to work for Gus, Kim has decided to play the cards the universe has dealt her so when the day comes of her possibly meeting someone in that world, it will be because of the choices she made along the way that lead her there, just as much as it was Jimmy's.

    Nacho is getting restless and demands Mike help him with his father now that Lalo is seemingly out of the picture.  Nacho wants out but when he tells Mike that Lalo has ordered him to burn down Los Pollos Hermanos, Mike angrily reinstates that Lalo's not out of the picture.  It's at this point that Gus realizes that Lalo must be dealt with in a more nuanced way that doesn't attract suspicion.  He can't be killed in prison as Lydia suggests (foreshadowing of her own form of problem solving) because any murder committed against a Salamanca on the North side of the border will only point more fingers towards Gus, leading to a chaotic war.  In the meantime, he must allow the destruction of his restaurant to lull Lalo in a false sense of control.  Thankfully, for Gus' sake, Saul Goodman was able to get Lalo out with bail, but with Jimmy being caught in the middle of this tug of war, it can only get more messy from here.  Jimmy might be more of a cog in this dangerous game of manipulation but it doesn't guarantee his or anyone else's safety.

    Gus meets with Madrigal Electromotive's subsidiary companies and pitches his new product line to Breaking Bad's Peter Schuler, the man who funds his operation and ultimately the man who will commit suicide once Gus and his operation collapses. It's here where we learn more about their history and bond as Gus visits him in his hotel suite. Mr. Schuler is growing paranoid and doesn't appreciate how hot their situation is with Lalo but Gus serves as a calming presence and most likely the only confident figure standing between Peter and a defibrillator.  It's possible Lydia is fueling Peter's paranoia with her own and using Peter as the catalyst for Madrigal Electromotive's disengagement from business with Gus.  Lydia almost feels like an invasive third wheel to this party and you can tell Gus isn't happy about it.

    What's most interesting about this scene is how Gus reminds Peter of the strong man he was back when their backs were against the wall in Chile. Once again, the show nods to Gus' past like it did earlier in the season when Lalo expressed resentment over what happened in Santiago, the country's capital.  It's rare when we get to see Gus in this form, free of the false facade as smiling owner of Los Pollos Hermanos or the brutal, dead-eyed composure when driven by the death of his partner, Max.  Peter comes off more than just another asset Gus can take a liking to, but there's a deeper connection here, that pre-exists his quest for revenge.  It's a connection Gus values most genuinely and it's because of something Peter did that Gus isn't willing to forget.  We're at a point where Better Call Saul is either creeping closer to uncovering the bigger picture to a mystery that has existed since Breaking Bad or the show is seeing how much bread crumbs it can leave us without revealing anything.  It's quite an intriguing balance between being too coy and leaving viewers with enough to form their own theories.

    Some tidbits:

    Jimmy's previous two marriages are established here, explaining away the conflicting throwaway line used in Breaking Bad before Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould knew they would be exploring Saul Goodman's character with a spinoff series.  One of his marriages was mentioned back in season 1's "Marco" when Jimmy tells the story of the "Chicago Sunroof".  It's good to know that Kim is not one of his wives that Jimmy catches sleeping with his step-dad as that would have never made sense.

    Kim has no middle name which the judge finds interesting.  It seems like more of a quirk, given how much emphasis the show has on character identity.  There's probably nothing to it, but it evokes intrigue to an audience who is always trained to question "why?" and "who are these people, really?"

    Speaking of names, Lalo seems confident that his false alias Jorge de Guzman won't get found out.  Does Lalo know Ed the Disappearer?  Also, now that Lalo is aware that the key witness in his case has been manipulated to ensure his imprisonment, it wouldn't be too far off to expect he'll be looking into that.  He definitely must know Gus and Mike are behind this.  The main question Lalo should be asking is how did anyone know where he was if Nacho was the last guy to know Lalo's whereabouts?.  And how did Saul learn this information without being contacted by those responsible? The line of deception is about to break.

    Last episode gave us a closing scene that Rhea Seehorn knocked out of the park.  Now Bob Odenkirk gives one of his best explosive performances as he unleashes on Howard.  What more do Emmy voters want?

    Your thoughts?

  33. Thumbs Up To This Post by: Steve

  34. #359
    Hired Goon Steve's Avatar
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    That final scene with Jimmy and Howard was amazing. One of Bob's best performances of his career. I couldn't help but be reminded of Chuck's "Chicanery" meltdown. Those McGill brothers can definitely be explosive when their berserk buttons are pressed.

    I loved the little nod to Jimmy's previous marriages. Vince Gilligan has admitted that the "my second wife screwed my stepdad" line was a thorn in his side that he wishes he could undo, so I'm glad they were able to correct that inconsistency for good.

    I wonder if we'll ever have another scene with Chuck again? We last saw him in the S4 finale. Surely that won't have been his last appearance. I feel like the matter between Jimmy and Chuck isn't quite closed yet. Chuck's last words to Jimmy, "you never mattered all that much to me," are probably still ringing in Jimmy's ears even if he won't admit it to himself. As far as we know, he has never told Kim or anybody about that. I hope that comes up again somehow.

    ---

    On another note, tonight's episode is supposedly gonna be a BIG one. Peter Gould tweeted last week saying that we should all watch these last three episodes ASAP Schrader. I'm assuming this means something very spoiler-y happens and he doesn't want us to find out what happens before watching it.


  35. #360
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    "Bagman"

    "What is it for?" - Jimmy McGill

    At the end of last episode, Jimmy declared himself a God in human's clothing who travels in worlds you can't imagine.  In "Bagman", Jimmy travels to a grim reality he was never prepared for; one fraught with violence, murder, and the notion of our lead character's own susceptibility and mortality.  Jimmy wasn't only warned by a frightened Kim not to go forth with driving near the U.S./Mexican border to collect $7 million of cartel money for Lalo's bail, but even Jimmy knew he needed to get out of this deadly fetch quest.  Lalo of all people, relieved him of this duty when sensing his insecurity, as he remained completely satisfied with Saul Goodman's services as a lawyer.  But it's almost as if the Saul part of Jimmy couldn't help but gamble with his own future by impulsively throwing a figure of $100,000 up in the air.  Money, as the episode will go on to prove, is what drives Jimmy but is it also what weighs down and confounds him?

    Jimmy once tried to reject Betsy Kettleman's bribe of $30,000 and ultimately returned it to her after taking it, because he was unwilling to accept the fact that he was the crooked man people saw him as.  By naming his price to Lalo, he's finally willing to determine exactly what his worth is as that crooked man.  The universe always told him who he was and he ignored it in the efforts to change and improve. Chuck and higher establishment fought back to keep Jimmy in place.  They sealed his fate from ever changing by shutting him out regardless of what he did to correct his past mistakes.  Take that and Chuck's last sentiments being "You never mattered all that much to me," and you have a man who's willing to embrace being a criminal lawyer to the max and rise to the top at all costs.  It's no wonder why Jimmy is willing to transcend the law by picking up Lalo's money, especially after selling an innocent, grieving family down the river.  At this point, he needs the right financial return to make up for that, but how far will he go to test his limits before becoming rattled to his core?

    The episode opens with two young men vigorously scrubbing two front car seats which are heavily blood-stained.  It's evocative of Breaking Bad season 2's black-and-white teasers, particularly in the episode "Over" where two body bags were found on Walter White's driveway.  The first question we're intended to ask when seeing this blood is "who might it belong to?", but then we're shown Tuco's cousins arriving to collect the money for Lalo's bail.  Nothing dire has happened to our characters yet, but this is the world Saul Goodman toys with.  A world where something horrific can and will happen.  It's not so much who's blood is on the car seats but what does this specific shot forebode? Is it symbolic towards the end of Jimmy and Kim's relationship? The destructive fate of Jimmy brought on by the undying and unfurled war between him and his brother?  Or of the harrowing trials and tribulations Jimmy and Mike are actually about to endure in this hour?  Something sideways is certainly about to go down as we're shown one of the head guys of the autobody shop making a suspiciously discreet call regarding the money the cousins are about to deliver.

    One of the gaps between the Saul Goodman of both shows is the Saul we meet in Breaking Bad possesses an insensitivity towards murder and violence as a viable option to his problems.  That's not to say he's completely desensitized, but he's more numb to the idea of it than any pre-existing rebellious character traits can give him credit for.  When Saul gets hijacked by cartel thugs who are ready to execute him without hesitation, he's immediately faced with something traumatic he's never experienced.  As his captors get picked off one by one and he goes into shock, this ordeal becomes a terrifying wake-up call.  He's not as high and mighty as he believed himself to be and in the blink of an eye, he realizes it can be all over for him.  Even when finding a handgun he can use to protect himself, he tosses it aside because being a killer is not who he is.  He has limits and this disturbs Jimmy because the inner-turmoil from his brother's death and the trajectory of the person he's becoming because of it, demands more from him.  The world he strives to inhabit is proving much more fierce then the battle that brews within him.

    Another important achievement from "Bagman" is uniting Jimmy and Mike as characters beyond occasional business acquaintances.  In Breaking Bad, before Mike threatens to break Saul's legs, they are introduced with a closer business arrangement than you would expect, given their mostly parallel narratives in this prequel series.  By having Mike and Jimmy weather the harshest elements of the desert together while evading the killers who hunt them, a profound history we never knew between the two has developed.  It begins to explain why Mike would serve as Saul's P.I. despite simultaneously working as Gus' soldier.  It's also oddly relieving to see Mike catch Jimmy with his pants down (figuratively compared to last episode), but in a more serious, concerning manner than that of the silly antics Mike is usually accustomed to dealing with.  The last time Mike truly saw Jimmy as someone more deeply troubled than the jester act that's usually performed, is when he learned of Chuck's grisly passing. Up until then, Jimmy was a shallow acquaintance who from time to time proved to be someone of use, but because Jimmy carries on with an indifference towards his brother's death, Mike is aware that's there's a more rounded, tortured human being behind Jimmy facade.

    This is one of those episodes that plays on Jimmy's vulnerability and while it was never necessarily expected that the writers would provide a survival story where Mike and Jimmy meet eye to eye on a more budding, spiritual level, it's still a catharsis the audience has been unconsciously starved for.  It's also an experiment with edge-of-your-seat tension which obviously is not derived from whether they survive the hour, but drawn out from how they survive it.  The 'how' factor of Better Call Saul has essentially always been the secret sauce as to why the show as a prequel is so compelling and "Bagman" dares to take that one step further by following the two main characters we know will outlive the better part of both series.  How they survive isn't the only source of tension, but how they interact and play off one another for an extended duration.  It's fulfilling to see them on the same page, mulling over their options to maintain their health, well-being, and will-power.  The more Jimmy slips off that page and is seemingly ready to give up or protest Mike's guidance, their camaraderie is in jeopardy.

    The Suzuki Esteem. The World's 2nd Best Lawyer mug. The urine-filled Davis & Main bottle. The space blanket. The money. The sniper rifle.  These are the six most notable symbolic objects to the episode.  Jimmy's old car getting tossed over the edge into a ditch is the end of an era.  It's Jimmy being forced to leave his scrappy upstart 'Charlie Hustle' persona behind.  Unless Gene Takovic can prove otherwise, Jimmy is never getting back to the guy who once thought he can turn his life around from the Slippin' Jimmy days.  If he wants to come out the other side from this desert nightmare, the Esteem is no more, but the money must go on.  The money is representative of the Saul Goodman counterpart.  A part that's always existed and fueled Jimmy but was always concealed the best he could before his relationship with his brother got out of hand.  The better part of Jimmy, who's fast coming to his senses, is willing to leave the money behind.  He comes up with a smart idea to bury the money and come back for it later, but Mike advises that they will lose it in the vast desert landscape regardless of how sure they are of distinguishable landmarks.  By having no choice but to carry the money, it again solidifies the idea that Saul Goodman must move forward whether Jimmy likes it or not.

    When Jimmy and Mike settle down for the night, Jimmy shares that his wife is aware of what he's doing and how him not coming home is going to make her worried sick.  Surprised that Jimmy would clue his wife (i.e. Kim) in on his dangerous pursuits, Mike states, plain and simple, that his wife is in the game now, in which Jimmy refuses to accept.  Jimmy can count his lucky stars that he turned down Kim's insistence to join him on this deadly trip, as she surely would have been just as likely to die as he almost was.  That said, as alluded by the bullet-riddled World's 2nd Best Lawyer mug which Jimmy hoped to save (a gift given to him by Kim in season 2's "Cobbler"), Kim is indeed in the game and is prone to collateral damage regardless if she stays home or not.  The final salt in Jimmy's wounds to this unfortunate epiphany is when Mike wraps himself in a space blanket, evoking memories of his older, wiser, and judgmental brother.  It's as if Chuck has risen beyond the grave, smugly rubbing Jimmy's nose in the validation of his screw-ups.  When Mike offers Jimmy a spare blanket to keep him warm, Jimmy refuses, because he can't give Chuck the satisfaction of the hole he's dug himself in.

    Kim might not physically be in the thick of it with Jimmy and Mike, but she does make the grave decision to masquerade as part of Lalo's legal team in order to meet to him face to face and get possible answers as to where Jimmy is. You can't blame Kim for going to Lalo. She knows Jimmy is doing something awfully dangerous and he hasn't come home in a day. If you love someone and deduce 80% the reason they are missing is because they're in danger (possibly dead), wouldn't you do anything you could? Even if it means making yourself known to a dangerous figure who has a better idea where your spouse is than anyone? Many might try the police but Kim can't just reveal to law enforcement what Jimmy is doing. It was a bad decision to go to Lalo but I don't think it was a stupid one. For her specific situation with Jimmy and because of who Kim is, she's compelled to play the game because as Mike points out, she's unquestionably in it.  Chuck warned Jimmy that he would hurt those around him because it's what he does.  Now Kim is directly in harm's way by making herself known to the most horrible person Jimmy has ever involved himself with.

    Let's not forget that Lalo is likely stewing over the strange revelation that the key witness in his murder case was manipulated to get him imprisoned and that Saul conveniently obtained this information to get him off with bail.  Lalo must have come to the conclusion that something's aloof, regardless to how Saul ties into it, but now that Lalo has learned of Saul's big mouth, revealing Lalo's true identity to his wife, he has further reason to question Saul's loyalty.  He's now more likely to discover that Saul is just as influenced by Gus' intentions as he is by Lalo's and that can only lead to bad things, especially now that Kim's life can be used as leverage.  Kim holds her own against Lalo in this scene, arguing spousal privilege and swatting down the thought that Jimmy might have run off with Lalo's money.  She at least has made it clear that Jimmy isn't foolish, and that her proposal to cooperate with Lalo is sincere.  Still, it's hard to watch a scene with Kim where she's outmatched and doesn't come out of a negotiation with what she hoped to gain.  She's left helpless and it's because of Jimmy that she's in this rut, but it's also just as much her own doing by having married the guy she knows can't help himself.

    Jimmy's faculties are wearing down.  He's overheated, dehydrated, and losing grip on what's pushing him forward.  When one of the bags of money tears, he's left stumbling around, trying to collect the loose cash that's fallen out.  He trips and gets his foot impaled by the barb of a cactus.  The unforgiving world he's forced to trench onward through is too much and he melts into the sand declaring his surrender.  Jimmy is now willing for death to consume him similar to Mike's defeated decision to take on the street gang earlier in the season.  The spite and resentment Jimmy holds for his brother does not exceed his will to survive and with that, the Saul Goodman shell crumbles and we're shown nothing but the inner-pain and suffering Jimmy McGill is willing to put an end to. This walkabout is the long-awaited therapy he seeked to avoid and he's ready to end the session sooner rather than later.  If the money can't be carried, then there is no Saul Goodman to push Jimmy forward and therefore he's left with the true form he can't bear.

    Mike explains to Jimmy what keeps him moving, being the people who wait and rely on him.  Mike is ready for death just the same but only if he's certain he did everything he could to get his family what they need.  This seeps into Jimmy as Mike notifies that the men who aim to kill them have returned, and Jimmy's reminded that he also has someone he cares about whose waiting for him.  Kim is the light at the end of his tunnel but if he's to get through it, he needs to face his demons. The moment Jimmy encloses himself in the reflective space blanket, he's not just playing bait to allow the universe to decide his fate, but he's coming to terms with Chuck's judgment of him, channeling his last moments with a suicide mission.  He'll continue to carry the money even in the face of death regardless what Chuck thinks.  Jimmy is prepared to own up to the man he's become and when he vocally tempts fate to do with him with what it will, it's not just the men in the red truck who he's referring to as an "asshole" and a "dickhead".  He's speaking to his brother.  "Yes Chuck, you're right about me.  Let me show you how right you are to the bitter end."



    The urine in the Davis & Main bottle is equivalent to Jimmy not willing to accept the circumstances he's brought upon himself.  Davis & Main was the straight-and-narrow opportunity that might have redeemed himself in Chuck's eyes if he didn't feel so hurt and betrayed by Chuck sabotaging his chances to join HHM.  Sure, there's a lot of back and forth to be argued over the constant corners Jimmy cut in the past and would continue to cut, but the Davis & Main job was a position he pissed away nonetheless, pun intended.  By finally guzzling the urine down at the end, it's again Jimmy coming to terms with the world that's been thrust upon him mostly from his own doing.  He doesn't need to rise above it like a Greek god, but he can no longer sugarcoat and pretend that this isn't the life he's chosen to lead.  The real baggage that was weighing Jimmy down wasn't the money, but Chuck's judgment of him.  The final shot of the space blanket being left behind, whisking away into the wind, shows that Jimmy can overcome Chuck no matter the odds.

    And the sniper rifle? I've said it in past reviews but notice how Mike's sniper rifle has never actually been used to kill anyone?  The first time it was introduced was when Nacho recruited Mike to solve the Tuco situation in season 2's "Gloves Off" (like "Bagman", also written by Gordon Smith).  Mike considered the assassination but quickly changed his mind, never even purchasing the gun for use.  In the season 2 finale, "Klick" (like "Bagman", also directed by Vince Gilligan), Mike had every intention to use the sniper rifle on Hector Salamanca but never went through with it because of Gus' protest not to.  Then in season 3's "Sunk Costs", Mike actually fired the sniper rifle but only to hit a shoe filled with cocaine in order to get Hector's drug mules in trouble with the border patrol, and in turn to hurt Hector's business.  "Bagman" is the first episode where Mike savagely eliminates his targets with this weapon.  It's more or less the ricin that never gets used on anyone until the end of Breaking Bad's run.  It preeminently serves to map out how far Mike has come from the guy who was willing to get pummeled in the face to land Tuco in jail rather than being the guy who pulls the trigger.  Werner Ziegler was an important character in getting Mike to this moment.

    Other thoughts:

    "Bagman" is more "4 Days Out" than "Fly", but it undoubtedly joins the ranks as one of the universe's most therapeutic examinations of two characters' relationships and a wonderful exercise in building to a climactic sense of tension.  It's already bubbling as one of the more controversial episodes as a vocal portion of the fanbase is already chalking it up as a slow, meandering piece with a lot of walking.  Me, personally it's one of the greatest examples of meditative character exploration that's filled with actual dread and well-choreographed action.  You couldn't ask for anything better.  This will certainly go down as one of the best installments Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad ever put out.  It's right up there with "Pimento", "Nailed, "Chicanery", or "Winner" in terms of masterful turning point episodes.

    Lalo quickly selling Saul on how much he's going to love his cousins, describing them as good boys is one of the funniest line deliveries in the hour. He says it as if they're all going to share a laugh and grab a beer together.  It just goes to show how much you shouldn't take Lalo's word for anything.  It was also wonderfully pathetic how Jimmy botches his greeting "Yo soy abogado" (I am a lawyer) on the first attempt after practicing it repeatedly before the cousins show up to give them the money.  He is no way prepared for what's in store for him.  You'll also note that he wastes water to clean a dirty spot on his shoe unaware of how much he'll cherish each drop of it later on.

    The song that plays during the beautiful desert roaming montage was "I Got The..." by Labi Siffre (1975).  I too am guilty of thinking it was an orchestrated rendition of Eminem's "My Name Is", never having realized that Eminem sampled the beat from this pre-existing source material.  The song has become my new go-to whenever being tasked to press on with something difficult like many of us are dealing with during this COVID-19 crisis which has been growing worse and worse as Better Call Saul season 5 airs.

    What did everyone else think?

  36. Thumbs Up To This Post by: Airoehead



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