Better Call Saul: Mabel
April 11, 2017 6:23 AM - Season 3, Episode 1 - Subscribe

The repercussions of Chuck's scheme test Jimmy and Kim's fledgling law practices - and their romance - as never before. This imminent existential threat presses Jimmy's faltering moral compass to the limit. Meanwhile, Mike searches for a mysterious adversary who seems to know almost everything about his business.
posted by gladly (109 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
All this time I've enjoyed BCS as something that A.) happened before Breaking Bad and therefore B.) would have a definite end date - the start of Breaking Bad.

The now-timeline Cinnabon scene made me feel like they're testing the waters for a post-Breaking Bad BCS, and I found that I didn't mind that idea at all. I mean I don't really think they're gonna do it, I think they're gonna stop when they butt up against BB, but the bit with the shoplifter and his reaction made me realize that it doesn't really matter when it's set, I think I'd watch Odenkirk as Jimmy/Saul at any point in his life.
posted by komara at 6:50 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


That shot in the junkyard office, after Mike had gone all French Connection on the car. It was a low, wide shot of him sitting exhausted and frustrated in the chair. The sheer perfection of the stained drop ceiling tiles made me squee.
posted by whuppy at 6:52 AM on April 11 [11 favorites]


A great start to what promises to be an exciting season.

I have to say something and even though I suspect everyone in this thread knows what's coming, saying it might be a spoiler. It's possible people have avoided all possible BCS news, previews, and even the "next week on BCS" at the end of last night's episode. So I'm going to attempt to say it without, you know, actually saying it.

I wish Vince and Co. kept The Big Spoiler a secret. It would have made the sequence with Mike all the more suspenseful and made the ultimate reveal that much more exciting. I suspect they knew they couldn't keep it a secret, it would have gotten out anyway, and that's why they revealed what's coming, both through last season's shows and various S3 promos. It's too bad they had to do that because imagine if they hadn't. Imagine after all this, all that Mike went through last night, after the "don't" note, after everything, imagine if what you probably suspected but didn't actually know, happened. That would be pretty fucking baller.

So I wish I didn't know. I would probably suspect, but I wish I didn't know.

But I do know, so whatever. I'm looking forward to it.

Was that the same junk yard where various events happened in BB? I'm gonna say yes.

Loved the Mike stuff. I could watch him calmly work for days, like a criminal version of Mythbusters.

I hate that we have to wait at least another year for another Cinnabon sequence. I feel like they're going to lead to something eventually.

God damn I love this show.
posted by bondcliff at 6:55 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


The next spinoff should be Mike rebuilding carburetors. That's all I'd need.
posted by whuppy at 6:58 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


The next spinoff should be Mike rebuilding carburetors.

Could split his time with Nick Offerman sanding wood. Or drinking whisky.

I think the upcoming Big Spoiler was never going to be a secret. I have been waiting for this moment from the first episode. Now it's almost here and I couldn't be more satisfied with the buildup.

God I hope we're talking about the same thing.
posted by tracicle at 7:26 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


God I hope we're talking about the same thing.

Yes, I'm talking about the return of Wendy the Meth Head.
posted by bondcliff at 7:27 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]


What exactly was Mike doing when he wired a radio to the tracking device and left the radio playing for hours? To accelerate the running-down of the battery so the tracker would die? Why not just remove the battery, then?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:49 AM on April 11


Are we supposed to know what Chuck's plan is? Also, Howard. Wow. Patrick Fabian is fantastic. A second viewing is in order.


I wish Vince and Co. kept The Big Spoiler a secret.

Remember how they hid the secret in the scrambled first letters of last season's episode titles? On Talking Saul (when does Chris Hardwick sleep??) Gilligan and Gould said that not only did fans decode the secret sooner than expected -- if at all -- but the fans decoded it before they even spoke to the spoiler involved (and joked that AMC was probably thrilled about having to negotiate after that.)

Why not just remove the battery, then?

He wanted to run it down knowing that the low battery warning would show up on the tracker.That way he could lure those guys out to replace the battery, correctly guessing that they would opt to just quickly switch out gas caps, taking Mike's tracker back with them.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:57 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Why not just remove the battery, then?

To make it look more natural that there was a period of "low battery" and then death instead of insta-death, I think. Maybe he didn't like the way it showed up when he simply removed the battery from his test unit?

I was worried they were going to have him fall asleep at the window until I realized that this is Mike we're talking about.
posted by ftm at 8:00 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Hmm, no BCS podcast yet. I really hope Talking Saul isn't going to supplant the podcast.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:12 AM on April 11


To make it look more natural that there was a period of "low battery" and then death instead of insta-death, I think.

Is he tracking them back too? If they took the gas cap with the dying battery, I thought Mike was using his tracker to somehow follow dying signal.
posted by gladly at 8:17 AM on April 11


He slipped the brand new one (the one he owns) in the gas cap. The bad-guy dead-battery one is in his trash can; the bad-guy full-battery one is on his stoop.

It makes it seem like whoever is tracking him is a professional operation that can afford several of these things vs. fumbling to change the battery at the curb side. DEA/gov't/other?
posted by ftm at 8:23 AM on April 11


Yes, he's tracking them. I found every scene with Mike was delightfully tense, especially with so many dimly-lit scenes.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:23 AM on April 11


He slipped the brand new one (the one he owns) in the gas cap. The bad-guy dead-battery one is in his trash can; the bad-guy full-battery one is on his stoop.
Wait, how are there three of them? So confused by the devices.

Was that the same junk yard where various events happened in BB? I'm gonna say yes.
I do believe it is the same owner as the BB junkyard lawyer, yes
posted by thelonius at 9:14 AM on April 11


The bad guys have (at least) two so they can just switch the full one for the dead one. That's what they came and did. Then he took the new full one, tossed it aside so they didn't know he was coming, and headed out to find them.

Mike also has one that he bought to (a) figure out how the low battery warning works, and (b) track the bad guys back to their lair. That one is now with the bad guys, they're taking it to change the battery and have it ready for the next switch.

Now I'm glad I stayed sober for this episode!
posted by ftm at 9:31 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


"Wait, how are there three of them? So confused by the devices."

Device [null]: planted by the bad guys in the gas cap of Mike's station wagon.
Device A: planted by the bad guys in the gas cap of Mike's sedan at home.
Device B: purchased by Mike for understanding of how these things work.
Device C: replacement device "delivered" by bad guys in the middle of the night, to attach to Mike's sedan - instead of swapping out the dead battery on Device A.

Mike pulls A out of his car, brings it inside. He replaces it with B, puts B (for which he has the tracker) back on his car. He drains A so that the bad guys will see it drain, think the battery is dead. He's betting that they will just grab-and-replace with another unit instead of doing a battery swap in public in the middle of the night.

and he's correct. The bad guys come and take the gas cap that they think has Device A with its dead battery, but instead they've really grabbed B, Mike's device that he can track. They put in C so that they can keep track of Mike.

Mike goes out, takes C off his car and drops it on his lawn so that they don't know he's on the move, and takes off in search of B.

(Device A remains in his house, battery drained)
posted by komara at 9:33 AM on April 11 [10 favorites]


OK thanks - the third one is only there after they switch for the dead one
posted by thelonius at 9:33 AM on April 11


'Better Call Saul' Creators on Gene's Fate and Why 'The Waiting Is the Best Part' (Hollywood Reporter, spoilers for the premiere but not more than that)
posted by gladly at 9:45 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


One thing that really stood out to me last night - and whuppy hit on it too - is just how _different_ it looks from everything else on TV right now. The scene where Mike stops at the dirt road intersection and it's a long shot of mostly sky and dirt.

Previous seasons stuck out in my mind as being shot different, but this? This is freaking gorgeous!
posted by neilbert at 10:20 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Wait, how are there three of them? So confused by the devices.

I assumed the first one came from Mike's station wagon, the second one he found in his sedan at home, and the third one is the one he bought.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:42 AM on April 11


He left the station wagon tracker with the station wagon so as not to arouse suspicion (and assuming there was one with his car at home.)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:59 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


I do believe it is the same owner as the BB junkyard lawyer, yes

The other night I was watching Escape from Alcatraz and one of the prisoners looked familiar and all of a sudden I realized it was the dude from the junkyard in BB.

The scene where Mike stops at the dirt road intersection and it's a long shot of mostly sky and dirt.

I'm looking forward to hearing about that shot in the podcast, assuming they do one. That approaching storm looked like it may have been a happy accident.
posted by bondcliff at 11:03 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Of course, if someone has the resources to track Mike like this, his veterinarian fixer may be being watched too....
posted by cardboard at 11:06 AM on April 11


"That approaching storm looked like it may have been a happy accident."

Speaking as a photographer: if I were the DP for that scene I would have been like, "Find me an intersection where we can put the car facing this way and have that sky at his back" if that wasn't already the case.
posted by komara at 11:11 AM on April 11


I'm looking forward to hearing about that shot in the podcast, assuming they do one. That approaching storm looked like it may have been a happy accident.

I assumed the lightning was probably CG.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:50 PM on April 11


"I assumed the lightning was probably CG."

I'm Team Happy Accident here. I think you're hearing hoofbeats and thinking zebras.
posted by komara at 1:19 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


With all the time the BB crew spent talking about lighting scenes on the BB podcast (a lot!) I would be surprised and a little disappointed if it was CG.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:34 PM on April 11


The show has done the "Mike eats stuff to show the passage of time" thing before. Last time he was eating apples watching the Kettleman's house (and I was like whoa Mike, you might regret all that fiber tomorrow) but the symbolism was there with Mike gaining forbidden knowledge about were they hid the money. This time with the pistachios there was the analog between cracking open the gas cap as well as figuring out how he was being followed being the proverbial tough nut to crack. But it reminded me a little too much of this classic stakeout scene.

Are we supposed to know what Chuck's plan is?

His smile at the end of the scene, after Hamlin exhausts their legal options with the tape, made me think that Chuck is planning some kind of scam on Jimmy. To Chuck, Jimmy is a conman playing lawyer, so my guess is that these lawyers and going to try to play conmen to beat him at his own game. The other two big Chuck hints we got in this episode are how he talked down to both Ernesto and to Paige from the bank, his ego and arrogance are his defining characteristics. Plus with how Jimmy ends his conversation with his Air Force friend (essentially "you stay in your lane square person from square world, and I'm going to keep doing what I'm good at"), I could see Chuck trying to out-con Jimmy and even if Jimmy wins that contest he still loses.
posted by peeedro at 2:41 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Previous seasons stuck out in my mind as being shot different, but this? This is freaking gorgeous!

Yes yes yes. I'll also call out the overhead shot of Mike at the junk yard, and the scene in Chuck's library which recalled a sepia-toned photo, only Mylar.

That moment in the mall scene where Gene is debating whether he has to give up the shoplifter was absolutely perfect. BB and BCS do this so well--put you right in the character's head in just a moment with little or no dialogue.
posted by mama casserole at 2:42 PM on April 11


The BCS insider podcast is out, available from iTunes and other fine podcast establishments.

PS: do we know who Mabel is?
posted by Room 641-A at 3:27 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Poor Ernesto, again.

Mabel was from the 1921 book at the very beginning of the ep (the titular character).

The guy Mike paid for the tracker was the veterinarian fixer, or someone else?
posted by minsies at 4:48 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I'm nowhere near as smart or savvy as Mike, but I think there's a pretty good chance that I would notice a new/different gas cap on my car. That seems like the kind of thing that Mike would pick up on super-quick. I can buy that he wouldn't notice on the station wagon, which was basically a drop piece for this job, but not for his daily driver. It was a clever bit, but I think Mike would be a much tougher mark than that.

I wonder if there are any clues in the present-day opening scene. Last year, he was afraid to call the police to get him out of the dumpster enclosure, but now we see him (almost) defying them in the shoplifter encounter.
posted by Shohn at 5:33 PM on April 11


Was the vet - he asked about the dog, which is when I realized who he was.
posted by neilbert at 5:35 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


In the cold open, we see him struggle between the Gene and Saul sides of his personality. He's forced to help the cops, but when the cops thank him for it, Gene falls to the side and Saul comes out. He can't stand to be on the side of the cops at any point, whether Gene or Jimmy or Saul. So Saul gets the best of him in that moment and he calls out to advise the shoplifter.
In summary, this season will be about giving in to that base Saul instinct, overriding whatever safe Gene-ness is keeping Jimmy on the fence.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:18 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


As for Chuck's plan, it seemed to me that he wanted Ernesto to hear part of the tape (left it cued up and the play button pressed, so that when Ernesto put in new batteries, it would start right up). Then the big "you can never tell anyone!" speech was to ensure Ernesto gossips to someone. The question is who? I don't see him going to Mesa Verde directly, but Chuck has some probable outcome in mind.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:48 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Ernesto covered for Jimmy at the copy shop, which Chuck suspected, so I think Chuck is hoping Ernesto will go back and tell Jimmy about the tape. No idea what his plan is after that, though.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:01 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Ah, I forgot about Ernesto at the copy shop. I need to rewatch season 2. Okay, yeah, Ernesto tells Jimmy that Chuck has him on tape, and then...? Jimmy does something impulsive to cover his ass, but I can't see where this is going yet.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:13 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I think there's a pretty good chance that I would notice a new/different gas cap on my car.

That's true, but since they'd need to physically mess with the gas cap in the first place, and since they're tracking both of Mike's cars, they could probably find some time when they're sure Mike is far away from the station wagon and implant the bug in the existing gas cap.

Alternatively, Mike's antagonists did replace the station wagon's gas cap, and Mike did notice it, but sort of subconsciously so that he didn't really realize the cap was newer until he was going back over the entire car disassembly in his mind while waiting for the junkyard taxi.
posted by whir at 9:47 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I'm still not entirely sure whether Chuck's outburst/confession to Ernesto at the very end was a completely self-aware put-on in order to set Jimmy up for a trap, or whether it was just a kind of self-sabotaging reflex born out of internalized guilt towards Jimmy and his generally flouncy, melodramatic personality.
posted by whir at 9:51 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I need to rewatch season 2

That old saying, "Feed a fever, bingewatch season two a chest cold," worked out well with AMC's S2 marathon yesterday.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:33 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I forget how good this show is between seasons. I think it's the beautiful photography. Most of the other shows I watch have good-to-fantastic acting, but they fail to be the full package that BB and BCS are. I somehow enjoy the parts that would totally bore me in other shows.

That said, it would be nice to just binge watch, but there's no way I can wait for the end of the season to watch it all in one go.
posted by wierdo at 11:16 PM on April 11


Chuck definitely wanted Ernesto to find out. Not sure what his long term plan is though.

I was definitely confused about the fact that there were two trackers, one in Mike's station wagon and one in the sedan. Initially I thought he moved the tracker from the station wagon to the sedan, which seemed like a dead giveaway to the people tracking him.
posted by speicus at 11:17 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Let's see... If Chuck wanted Ernie to hear the tape, I suppose the next moves would be (a) Ernie tells Jimmy, and (b) Jimmy does something to try to cover it up, and (c) Chuck catches him. For example, Jimmy breaks into Chuck's house to get the tape, and gets in trouble for that?

Really I don't know because I'm not sure what Chuck wants. If he just wants Jimmy to quit the law, Jimmy offered that at the end of S2. I don't think he wants Jimmy arrested or anything like that.

I also don't think Hamlin would have anything to do with a scheme against Jimmy. Kim got Mesa Verde, but they're hardly HHM's only client and Hamlin has real work to do.

Frankly I wouldn't be surprised to see Howard call Jimmy and tell him about the tape next episode. Chuck's gone off the deep end here (even if he's right) and I'm not sure Howard is on board. After all, Jimmy's scheme might have ruined Mesa Verde's application, but Chuck's terrible attitude toward his client probably ensured they'd never come back to HHM.

I did enjoy the Jimmy/Kim drama as they tried to share an office and I'd totally watch that if that was the show. I'm a bit sad that it isn't in fact.
posted by mmoncur at 3:08 AM on April 12


Agreed that Chuck wants Ernesto to hear the tape and tell Jimmy. He went so overboard with his "Don't tell anyone!" speech that it had to be put on. It was such a Jimmy thing to do, too. Chuck would never admit that they're alike, but in that way they are. I also can't work out what Chuck thinks Jimmy will do. I think he will just keep it as something to hold over Jimmy's head to force him to break with Kim, or quit his practice. Jimmy also knows it's inadmissible, but alongside other evidence it could be enough to prove Jimmy tampered with the files.

I would have to watch it again, though, because I can't remember if Jimmy mentions that Kim knows what he did. Could that be the key?

Chuck knows the law well enough to realise the tape is inadmissible; he only wanted to play it for Howard to show how Jimmy sabotaged them. However, I did think that maybe Howard suspects Jimmy said it deliberately to make Chuck feel better, and so perhaps he doesn't take it as seriously as Chuck wants him to.
posted by tracicle at 3:32 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


This time with the pistachios there was the analog between cracking open the gas cap as well as figuring out how he was being followed being the proverbial tough nut to crack.

Also...pistachios are a tracer food, no?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:58 AM on April 12




So many beautifully shot scenes: the storm in the background on the dirt road, the overhead shot of Mike dismantling the car, but my favorite was the scene with Mike looking through the magnifying glass at the tracker. Half his face is obscured and we everything he's doing in the reflection of the magnifying glass. And then there's so many shots that are the view from things: the shot from inside the gas intake, inside Gene's lunchbag. Those are classic Gilligan.

This kind of art makes this show fun to watch, on top of the excellent writing, acting, etc.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:50 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]


Obscure Reference: Who Mable is.

Thank you! I love this show.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:59 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Also about the cold open: this is the first BCS cold open with any lines.
No one speaks in the season 1 cold open. In the season 2 cold open, Gene hollers and pounds on the door when he gets locked in the dumpster room, but no one else speaks and he doesn't really have lines.

So the first time that anyone speaks in Gene's Omaha is when the cop asks him about the shoplifter. And Gene doesn't say anything, finally feels forced to point out the shoplifter silently, and then sits there mute while the arrest happens. It's only after the cops thank him that Gene has a line, and that line is "SAY NOTHING, YOU UNDERSTAND? GET A LAWYER!"

Saul Goodman's first scene is in S1E8 of BB when he bursts into an interrogation room and chides a detective for speaking to a client (Badger) without his lawyer present.
posted by aabbbiee at 7:03 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


The S3E1 podcast is up!
posted by bondcliff at 7:11 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


The S3E1 podcast is up!

That's the other thing that was missing in my life (aside from BCS itself). I found myself really enjoying the podcast last season.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:51 AM on April 12


Re the podcast: at the risk of sounding like (more of) a VG fangirl, 1) I am constantly blown away by his generosity. A season's worth of podcasts is probably a good 20 hours of his very limited and very expensive time and 2) how quick he is to take any compliment and pass it along or share it with whichever crew members also made said compliment possible.

And I might as well use this comment for my seasonal promo of VG's interview with Kevin Pollack, a master class in writing for television.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:16 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


I think the idea of Chuck wanting Ernesto to hear the tape is great (my boyfriend and I were like "Ernesto is totally like... 'ooook....' right now," so it makes more sense that he wanted him to hear). So was the tape player on (and wound to the correct spot) and when the batteries went in it 'suddenly' started up? Because damn, two major plot arcs involving BATTERIES is very period appropriate I suppose.

We also really laughed at "I wrapped it up... for safety."
posted by stoneandstar at 9:21 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


In talking about seasons 1 and 2, I found myself a bit disconnected with how Saul's character in BB turned out. Last year, after watching BCS1-2, I went back and watched the entire series of BB again, and I felt a disconnect between the super likeable Jimmy in BCS, and Saul, whom I found to be distasteful (although not hateable, for sure). I think for the first time in this episode I saw a connection between their characters. It was right when Chuck told Jimmy that there is no way that he would ever forget what happened, and he was going to pay. I don't know if it was the look on his face, his hair, or what, but it felt like something broke in him at that moment, and it played out with Kim when he was trying to talk her into circumventing the law, and it culminated with his talk with the Airforce captain (and for sure when Jimmy was talking to him at the end like he was Chuck). He's been shady before, but now it felt less restrained - and it's fueled by his hurt with his brother.

I've come to think that BCS is about tragedy, which works best in retrospect, having watched BB. In BB, Mike and Saul were characters whom you didn't hate, but felt like they played the game, and the game played back, to an unfortunate ending. Here, the backstore makes them eminently likeable to the point that you actually care for them like family members. Also, it makes something else much more prominent: Gilligan said that in BB, you would start out liking Walter White but would hate him by the end. Here's, it's in reverse: you saw the bad guys for who they were, but now you have grow to like them. It's sort of a chiastic structure, actually, with Walter White now in the middle who is not simply unlikeable, but now has become something of the devil, knowing what we know.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:31 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


Yeah, stoneandstar, Chuck makes his kinda gross "Ha ha! My plan is going perfectly ... to plan!/I am so smrt" face once Ernesto's gone (or no longer looking at him, or whatever). Chuck had the tape all cued up and ready to go.
posted by minsies at 9:46 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


FYI, I'm re-listening to that VG interview and it's NSFW, with at least one early "fuck."
posted by Room 641-A at 10:01 AM on April 12


I would have to watch it again, though, because I can't remember if Jimmy mentions that Kim knows what he did. Could that be the key?

I just rewatched S2. Jimmy doesn't mention Kim's knowledge on the tape. The only thing he says about Kim is "I did it for Kim."

He also says a lot of things, like prominently mentioning the word "Insane" toward the beginning and a little later "Yes, everything happened EXACTLY like you said." that sound like he's humoring a crazy person, and considering Chuck convinced a number of medical professionals that he was crazy only days before, even if the tape was admissible Jimmy could easily defend himself by saying he was trying to appease his mentally ill brother by saying what he wanted to hear.

And Chuck would never bring this to a court anyway, or even the State Bar, because if anyone introduces (completely valid) evidence that Chuck has mental health issues they'd be on a court record and his career would be ruined even if Jimmy lost the case.

Full disclosure: I completely 100% believed that Chuck played the tape by accident and that he really was worried that Ernesto would talk. You've all convinced me I'm wrong though.
posted by mmoncur at 11:45 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I'm confused. Are you all talking about whether or not Kim knows what Jimmy did re Mesa Verde? Because she definitely knows about that.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:08 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Who Mable is.
posted by Obscure Reference


I'm not even going to say it
posted by thelonius at 1:27 PM on April 12 [7 favorites]


I assumed the first one came from Mike's station wagon, the second one he found in his sedan at home, and the third one is the one he bought.

There's 4. Last one is the one the guy swapped in to replace Mike's.
posted by scalefree at 4:48 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I sort of love that, after waiting eighty million years for season three, most everyone online is still tallking about these trackers, but not in a typlical, "let's destroy this premise because we're the internet" way but in really sincere, "I need to figure out exactly what Mike was doing" kind of way. I mean, we haven't even talked about Kim stressing out about the dashes and semicolons yet.(Just like I do when I post a comment here!)

This episode is up on demand now so I'm going to give it a second watch and look out for more details.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:06 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


I sort of love that, after waiting eighty million years for season three, most everyone online is still tallking about these trackers, but not in a typlical, "let's destroy this premise because we're the internet" way but in really sincere, "I need to figure out exactly what Mike was doing" kind of way. I mean, we haven't even talked about Kim stressing out about the dashes and semicolons yet.(Just like I do when I post a comment here!)

You made me realize that this is one of the few shows where if something doesn't make sense, I initially think that I'm doing it wrong and need to do some more research, versus it being a bad continuity issue.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:16 PM on April 12 [6 favorites]


I loved Kim's anxiety through punctuation.
posted by minsies at 6:57 PM on April 12 [4 favorites]


You made me realize that this is one of the few shows where if something doesn't make sense, I initially think that I'm doing it wrong and need to do some more research, versus it being a bad continuity issue.

Likewise. Man, I missed that.
posted by mordax at 7:26 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


I can't but help think that the copy clerk is central to Chuck's diabolical plan or conversely be a major factor in whatever it is Jimmy's going to do, but then again we may never hear or see of him again.

I'm loving how Jimmy and Mike's stories are running in parallel but are similar. Both of them are more frantic (I can't come up with the word, it's hard to call Mike a less than controlled man) at the moment and both have outside forces seemingly plotting against them and both of course, as we already know, are on a course that takes them deeper into the criminal side of life.

I thought the Mike tracker plot was very clear but I loved how much time that story took. In a conventional show I'd be surprised if the sequence lasted 2 minutes. It would 90% plot and 10% character whereas with BCS it's the reverse. A conventional show would focus on the caps, the tracking, the technology, with a scene here and there, brief, about Mike's frustration and/or patience but BCS allows us to continue to get into Mike's character, even if they are further examples of his character we already know about it. It's the experience of the methodical desperation as the car is torn apart and the patience of a predator to wait out the trap he set that makes this show, among so many other factors, outstanding.
posted by juiceCake at 7:45 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


And if this was most shows, the scene with the vet would be 90% exposition, down to exactly how many trackers there are.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:56 PM on April 12 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I love that they trust us to follow along. Plus, I really enjoy the thought and detail that goes into scenes of these people working. When I watch them, I really believe they're both good at what they do, and that they truly love it.

Mike's scenes *always* show what a stone cold operative he is. He's methodical. He's thorough. He's dogged. When he's taking apart the car there, you can see how his mind works better than if he were talking about it.

Ditto Jimmy or Kim or Chuck, for that matter. I could *feel* Kim's tension when she was obsessing over literally every bit of punctuation. I've been there myself with important papers or creative work.

I feel like this show - and BB before it - should literally be textbook examples of how to show rather than tell in film school.
posted by mordax at 8:18 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


"I assumed the lightning was probably CG."

No, man, that's my home. That's the late afternoon sky during the summer. This is the only television show I've seen that's filmed in New Mexico that does justice to the fucking sky. That fucking sky. There's nowhere else like it. I could smell the rain in the distance in that scene, feel the wind picking up. That land is where my soul was, is, and always will be.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:13 PM on April 12 [14 favorites]


That's the late afternoon sky during the summer. This is the only television show I've seen that's filmed in New Mexico that does justice to the fucking sky.

Man. I didn't live in Albuquerque very long, and it was not a fun time in my life, but I now regret not spending just a little more of it outside.
posted by mordax at 10:23 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I'm confused. Are you all talking about whether or not Kim knows what Jimmy did re Mesa Verde? Because she definitely knows about that.

More whether Jimmy let Chuck know that she knew. Because that would make her an accessory to the crime, and also ripe for blackmail or manipulation. But if he only said, "I did it for Kim," then there's no indication to Chuck that she knew.
posted by tracicle at 4:35 AM on April 13


In S2 (before the tape) Chuck is the one who tells Kim what he suspected Jimmy of doing. That's when she and Jimmy leave and she starts punching him in the car, and this is what "they will never talk about" ever again. (I think she refers to this while Jimmy is massaging her shoulders in this episode.) Instead of acting outraged, however, Kim turns on Chuck to defend Jimmy, calling Chuck a horrible brother.

What I just realized, though, is Chuck has now tried twice (Kim and now, Howard) to get people to turn on Jimmy over this, and while they may be pissed at Jimmy it backfires and those people turn on Chuck.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:33 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


(But yes, by telling Kim and Howard he is making them accessories.)
posted by Room 641-A at 6:34 AM on April 13


I don't think [Chuck] wants Jimmy arrested or anything like that.

This is not really a spoiler, as it's used to promote the new season, but consider this image.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:39 AM on April 13


"What I just realized, though, is Chuck has now tried twice (Kim and now, Howard) to get people to turn on Jimmy over this, and while they may be pissed at Jimmy it backfires and those people turn on Chuck."

It's interesting, isn't it? It's the moral conundrum of the show and quite a different one than Breaking Bad. What we saw with Walter White was that his supposed virtue, his nobility and love for family, was a facade, an excuse for him to indulge himself and his grievances. Jimmy is also not a good person, but in a different way. Like White, he's driven by hurt, insecurity, resentment ... but, unlike White, not rage. And that's a crucial difference. It's the distinction between hurt that results from selfishness and emotional insecurity and hurt that results from malevolence. Jimmy is a child in a real sense, he's developmentally stuck as a ne'er-do-well, insecure younger brother.

Chuck is not a child, emphatically. He defines himself as not being a child. And Chuck shares at least one key characteristic with Walter White -- a narcissistic sense of superiority. Not only that, Chuck has an anger, a rage. It's not Walter's wounded ego driven rage, but it is a similar kind of intense underlying resentment at the unfairness at the world. Chuck's psychosomatic illness is the tangible expression of his sense of being besieged, of being expected to endure.

For me, ethically, consequences almost always weigh much more heavily than intent. It seems clear that if we were to tally the harm done to others by both Jimmy and Chuck, it's Jimmy that is the clear villain here. But it's not quite so simple because, for one thing, I think that Chuck bears no small responsibility in shaping Jimmy, in carefully creating and cultivating the space within which Jimmy is who he is. Chuck needs Jimmy to be this way. That need is driven by Chuck's demons and its expression is, in a different way, toxic to the people around him.

Even so, it's still disconcerting to me that Chuck's evident malevolence makes him so much less sympathetic than Jimmy, despite all the hurt that Jimmy causes. My sense is that what's going on here is that we're unsettled by Chuck's self-righteousness and superiority more than we are Jimmy's flaws because, while heretofore Chuck's hurt of other people been relatively limited (compared to Jimmy, the monkey with a machine gun), it's unclear what Chuck's limits are, if any, were he to truly indulge that rage he feels. In this way, he's more like Walter White than Jimmy.

Jimmy is always a little unsure of himself, he's always walking a high-wire, he's always a little out of control. That means the damage he does is usually reckless and unfocused. But Chuck is something else entirely. Chuck is very sure of himself.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:13 AM on April 13 [8 favorites]


Jimmy is always a little unsure of himself, he's always walking a high-wire, he's always a little out of control. That means the damage he does is usually reckless and unfocused. But Chuck is something else entirely. Chuck is very sure of himself.

I'm really interested in underlying themes of the shows, and I've been wondering if part of it is something along the lines of small vices, horrible consequences. For Jimmy, Chuck, and Walter, their vices were their downfall, simply because they could not leave them alone. For many of us, we might go, we need to deal with that insecurity, or desire for perfection, or part of us that rebels against authority, and we keep them in check socially, for the most part. For the three of them, though, you get a sense that they just had to keep pick, pick, picking at those (normally) minor vices until the consequences go beyond what many would consider sane. Like, people dying and having their lives ruined. Walter's cancer was probably a good metaphor for it. Started with a small cough, ended up dead in a meth lab. It reminds me of the line that every significant bad decision had a lot of small ones leading up to it. This show is often about a series of smaller bad decisions and where they end up taking people.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:28 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Even so, it's still disconcerting to me that Chuck's evident malevolence makes him so much less sympathetic than Jimmy, despite all the hurt that Jimmy causes.

Apologizes for not being able to link to a source (been looking, can't find it again) but earlier this week I read or heard VG talk about how Jimmy was supposed to turn into Saul in season one (!) but they liked Jimmy and wanted to explore him more, and now, despite his faults, and despite knowing he will need to turn into Saul at some point, the writers are kind of bummed about it because they actually like Jimmy. (Paraphrased accurately, I think!)

Another thing about Jimmy is that he's not always mainly acting out of self-interest, which also adds some amount of sympathy. Everything Chuck does is malevolent, but Jimmy has broken the law for Kim and for the residents of Mesa Verde, he's lied to his bosses to drum up new Mesa Verde clients, and he's scammed obnoxious investors looking to take advantage of "Viktor" (with a K!) and Gizelle. He has also been devoted to his brother, doing everything he can to take care of him, which probably strikes a deep chord within many people. (He may be the only person who believes Chuck's illness is real, at least sometimes.)
posted by Room 641-A at 5:04 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Oops, also wanted to add that in my own experience, the BB and BCS decisions are the best on FanFare, due in large part to what VG and Co. are giving us to talk about.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:07 PM on April 13


Everything Chuck does is malevolent

Although, in the first season, Chuck genuinely helped Jimmy in ways that seemed out of brotherly compassion, or at least duty. It was definitely a bit condescending at times, as Chuck didn't think Jimmy would amount to much. What happened with Chuck, I think, is that he was so committed to the integrity of his career that it became more important than his relationships, although I have a hard time blaming him, on one hand. It was like taking someone hard-up into your house, and they wreck your stuff, including your beloved antique furniture that you meticulously preserved. Chuck loved the practice of law enough to preserve its integrity, which in itself isn't a crime; I'm not really sure what a good response would have been to Jimmy's shenanegans. There were things Jimmy did that if it was one of my siblings, I'm sure I would have felt very hurt, also. But it's also one of those things where if a relationship goes bad, there's sometimes enough blame to go around, and I think you could say that Chuck had vices that were entirely antagonistic to Jimmy early on in a way that prevented him from moving on to great things. Chuck's bottom line issue, I think, is that he couldn't imagine complete redemption for Jimmy without also feeling shame and a depressed sense of his own self worth. So, his love was limited, and when Jimmy pressed on the boundaries of Chuck's meaning for living early on, it's when Chuck's love become conditional.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:34 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


"So, his love was limited, and when Jimmy pressed on the boundaries of Chuck's meaning for living early on, it's when Chuck's love become conditional."

Yeah, that's a good way to think about it. There is, I think, a malevolence born of resentment in Chuck. I use the word malevolence advisedly -- I don't think that Chuck is necessarily monstrous, or potentially monstrous, like Walter White, but I think that this simmering resentment, with Jimmy as its target, is Chuck's fatal flaw from which the tragedy of his character arises. This high-achieving, responsible elder-child persona is both a straitjacket upon and the foundation of his psyche. He can't be anyone other than who he is, but Jimmy's irresponsibility coupled with his charm and likability is a kind of perpetual repudiation of Chuck's self-esteem. And, too, I guess pride naturally factors heavily in this. It's his pride, maybe, that prevents him from re-imagining a version of himself where Jimmy's vices could be tolerated. Or, rather, as you say, Chuck's love for Jimmy is not unconditional -- and I think we see that Jimmy's love for Chuck is (which is all the more challenging for Chuck). Jimmy doesn't like Chuck, but he loves him. Chuck neither likes nor fully loves Jimmy. He tries to, there's affection and there's duty, but it's contingent.

Chuck cannot forgive Jimmy's failures, which means he can't fully love him, which means that he can't quite find a way to really feel comfortable in his own life. Instead, Jimmy is a sort of constant irritation, a source of deep insecurity -- why do people seem to love Jimmy more and more easily than they do Chuck, even though Chuck is better behaved and admirable? And the insecure answer to that question is, well, maybe there's something deeply, secretly wrong with Chuck. A thought that fills Chuck with panic and drives him to shield behind walls and tinfoil and to obsess over Jimmy.

Jimmy is just as much trapped in this narrative, and his version of it is as much his tragic weakness. They're mirror images of each other, each feeling threatened by the other, like a constant accusation. Both of them have self-images that are defined as an opposition to the other and so for one of them to become more healthy, he'd need to reevaluate how he thinks about himself and his brother. But they're also pushing and shaping each other, so as long as they have a close relationship, neither is likely to become healthier until both do. All of which is unlikely.

You know: codependency.

I'm not at all religious, but when thinking and writing about this, I'm struck by how much the Christian roster of sins explains the audience's distinct reactions to Jimmy and Chuck. Jimmy's vices are avarice and a kind of lust, they're sins of passion. Chuck's vices are pride, envy, and I think, wrath. Even though Chuck hasn't done as many hurtful things as has Jimmy, there's something more alarming about him.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:12 AM on April 14 [8 favorites]


Although, in the first season, Chuck genuinely helped Jimmy in ways that seemed out of brotherly compassion, or at least duty. It was definitely a bit condescending at times, as Chuck didn't think Jimmy would amount to much.

I would say he did it out of duty, but I a big turning point was when Jimmy took Chuck's offer of a mailroom job but then had the nerve to become a lawyer.

And I just remembered that when their mother was in the hospital and Jimmy went out for food, mom thought Chuck was Jimmy, and when Jimmy returned and asked if she'd said anything before she died, Chuck said, "No."

Oh, and let's not forget that, despite Chuck's trash-talking, Chucks wife not only liked Jimmy, and not only laughed at the lawyer jokes Chuck obviously hated, but then she told Chuck a lawyer joke in bed!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:52 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Thorzdad: I assumed the lightning was probably CG.

Ivan Fyodorovich: No, man, that's my home. That's the late afternoon sky during the summer.

Yup, that's a summer storm, often seen in the distance, with the promise of rain that never comes to where you are. They're pretty reliable in July and August, and they generally include lightning.


minsies: Chuck had the tape all cued up and ready to go.

At first I thought it was an accident, but after reading this thread, I'm on Team Planned "Accident." Why did the tape play where it did? All Ernesto heard was Jimmy's voice, talking about something without context, so Ernesto doesn't know anything beyond the fact that Chuck recorded Jimmy, and Chuck wants it to be a secret. Why else would the tape be cued up at that point? Otherwise, it would have been left at the end of the recording, from where Howard had heard it, or rewound to the beginning, which seems more like where Chuck would leave it. Unless Chuck was listening to it to make notes, it felt oddly staged for maximum effect with minimum content.

But I get the feeling that the Air Force Captain's warning to Jimmy can also apply to Chuck: "The wheel is gonna turn... it always does."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


In Chuck's eyes, Jimmy is forever the selfish flim-flam man who can use charm to win people over, where Chuck sees himself bound by duty and honor, which he thinks should be valued more than charm, so he's hurt when it's not. I think he also puts his profession such a high pedestal that he's clearly uncomfortable with jokes about lawyers, while Rebecca was much more relaxed and probably enjoyed the goofy jokes as a counter-point to her serious husband. The first view we had of them was Chuck pushing her to raise an issue about another member of orchestra, but she hesitates, so he keeps pushing (transcript for S02E05 "Rebecca"), then he warns her about Jimmy, who is a goofy charmer and not the "acquired taste" as Chuck warned.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:32 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


And also, Jimmy can be serious and responsible if he has to be, but Chuck will never, ever be charming. He probably can't even fake being charming.

On a different subject, this article from last year isn't a spoiler, just a theory about Kim. I missed all the connections mentioned in previous episodes but I found this when searching for something about Gene's 'Royals' lunch box. (Glad to see that Uproxx is continuing its BCS beanplating with Reading Too Much Into ‘Better Call Saul’: Callbacks, Easter Eggs, And Theories.)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:09 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Not mentioned anywhere so far, Jimmy painting over the rainbow in the office.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:21 AM on April 14


Not mentioned anywhere so far, Jimmy painting over the rainbow in the office.

Because he has a much better idea. What's to bet it's a giant Statue of Liberty, or the Constitution 1.0?
posted by tracicle at 10:46 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


I could watch an entire series of Mike Reads The Fucking Manual.
posted by fullerine at 10:58 AM on April 14 [8 favorites]


Not mentioned anywhere so far, Jimmy painting over the rainbow in the office.

You mean half of the rainbow (unless Kim spent another hour on reviewing and revising the documents). A none-too-subtle contrast of Jimmy vs Kim.

A whole lot of interesting comments from Better Call Saul Insider #301:
  • Mike is already Mike - no one (except for the unnamed person who we're expecting to see soon) can get the drop on him (they referenced Walt trying to sneak up on Mike from BB)
  • The junk yard scene was a reference from The French Connection, but BCS learned from that movie and didn't re-create that movie moment
  • Mike Bearmantraut is back! (Mike just hipped them to BadBadNotGood) (He's a wild card, and a wild bear, and a stuffed bear, and he has ... a knife?)
  • Vince Gilligan did not have fun directing this and the next episode, and it's a lot of work to do two episodes back-to-back, which he hadn't done since BB -- but he enjoyed them
  • While the team is generally anti-tech, and they like the "period piece" of this show, but they're thrilled about their first drone shot in this show (on the plate, looking out over the valley) - there weren't any drone shots in BB
  • There's a tangent on Benedict Arnold and the difficulty of war in the the past
  • The bug was thought about for a long time, and partially inspired by the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., and the difficulty with powering a bug
  • The gas cap is an overlooked feature, which Mike wouldn't notice
  • Words don't matter any more (sad/goofy comment on the terminology for the bug / tracker / surveillance thing)
  • The tracker tracker was a custom build, made with a 3D printer, a screen and an Arduino, but the screen we saw was put in afterword in Post
  • The tracker was supposed to be military (something like MIL-SPEC), which guided the design process
  • Joe, the prop guy, is "OG," one of the last of the original Breaking Bad team
  • Inside tip on the opening: there was one store in the mall that didn't want to open early, so the new production designer, Michael Novotny, took still photos of this giant department store, blew them up with billboard techniques, and backlit, instead of Translight technology
  • Luckily, the cottonwood is the state tree of Nebraska, so they didn't have to rename Cottonwood Mall in Albuquerque
  • "Insider theory" on what happened to Gene: he had a panic attack
  • The two young ladies who are seen at Cinnabon actually work there
  • Vince's mom would read The Adventures of Mabel to him and his brother, and Vince doesn't mention the sordid scandals of Harry Thurston Peck, only his nostalgia for the book, which was interesting
  • Jonathan Banks is not impressed by either Jimmy or Chuck, and wouldn't want to have a beer with either of them. Advice to his daughters: if a guy lies to you, does it make him the worst human being in the world? But don't ever, ever, ever expect him to tell you the truth.
  • Vince and Peter Gould struggled with how to make Chuck's tape pay off, but the character figured it out in about 10 seconds; Chuck is the greatest actor in the world, and in ways a con man just as much as his brother
  • You can't visit the giant metal cowboy statue in person, because the production design team and construction department made the giant rusted metal statue, but it's made of foam core
  • But you can see the fountain, as that's part of the building, which is that bank was the same building as used in BB when Skyler is scamming the IRS
  • Dylan Riley Snyder, the "young skeeve" (his title in the script), got a lot of autograph requests, while Bob Odenkirk had none, because Dylan was in a Disney series
  • Easter egg: the photo booth has a lot of photos of the crew on the outside
  • This was another episode shot in the old Santa Fe Railway Shops in Albuquerque, but in a different area than prior BCS and BB shots
  • Jonathan Banks ends with a comment about the history of Saint Patrick (the podcast was recorded the day after St. Patrick's Day), then randomly says "Anyway, the jacarandas in bloom, the crepe myrtles in bloom in L.A., the traffic's miserable, if you can make your way to the beach, there's nothing like watching a pelican, just above the way, drifting on the wind." It's a rather poetic ending.

posted by filthy light thief at 11:30 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


"Luckily, the cottonwood is the state tree of Nebraska, so they didn't have to rename Cottonwood Mall in Albuquerque."

There used to be a DMV office next to the Cinnabon, I think. I was in there a couple of times. Sort of weird to have a DMV office in a big indoor mall. But, you know, there were gooey cinnamon roles nearby which was a plus.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:22 PM on April 14


I think the voice of the radio announcer when Mike is running down the battery is the guy who voices Dr. Krieger on Archer.
posted by traveler_ at 6:59 PM on April 14




I think the voice of the radio announcer when Mike is running down the battery is the guy who voices Dr. Krieger on Archer.

That's Lucky Yates. I didn't see the credit on IMDB but I did discover he was one of the actors on Good Eats!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:49 AM on April 15


From the Guardian interview with Odenkirk, at the bottom it says season 3 is on Netflix in the UK?!
posted by rhizome at 11:37 AM on April 15


Late to the party, but:

There's a recurring visual theme in this episode, not just the batteries, but the idea of something under a surface or paper over that reflects what *used to* make something work or motivate it. The batteries dying int he tracker, the old book that once bound Jimmy and Chuck together covered by Chuck's tinfoil form his scam, and even the rainbow Jimmy is painting over that represented his former hopes and dreams of a life with KIm.

But what this episode shows is that the deceptions and resentments are beginning to bury these old motives, desires, and hopes; they don't stand up for very long. Jimmy trying to reconnect with Chuck via the book is a failure, because what's happened since is still there; the people tracking Mike (no spoilers!) don't have the :"inside track" they thought they did; and Jimmy's very office goes from a place where he can play the kindly elder law specialist to the place where his past fraud catches up and his resentment of Chuck and the world at large boils over as a rant about how he's...what? Entitled to scam a little to get what he wants?

Albeit that Jimmy scams those with power and authority -- the Air Force officer, Chuck, Mesa Verde, and so on -- where Chuck leverages hierarchy, just as we saw last season. But those papered over pasts, even if they can't survive the present, are like little pockets of decay, waiting to reemerge in different, more destructive forms. Kim's dreams of a solo legal career are poisoned by Jimmy's scamming and irresponsibility: not only is she carrying what should be his clients, she can't even enjoy her big break because she knows what it's built on. The Air Force officer tracks Jimmy down. Chuck poisons Ernesto's and Howard's opinions of both McGill brothers, though he probably only thinks he's setting the dogs on Jimmy. And years ahead, the irrepressible Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman breaks out...just long enough to realize he can't survive if that happens again, just in time for fear and panic to knock him down.

This isn't an episode of reemergences and revelations, it's an episode of extinction bursts, the last little burst from the transmitter before the battery goes dead, before the core of something burns out and something new has to replace it.
posted by kewb at 1:50 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]


Great insight, kewb!

One things that's been bugging me is the elderly woman who insists that Kim includes her lily pond in the will. The internet (and Chris Hardwick) think this is a callback to Walt's lily of the valley, but lily of the valley doesn't grow on lily pads. I mean, I guess people know that and don't care but for some reason I want people to be wrong about this.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:36 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


One way to think of it is as a reference to the Mike plot and to the larger plotting of the show: the little details can matter, and overlooking them, missing the nooks and crannies, is how you get conned or outplayed.
posted by kewb at 3:38 PM on April 15


Device [null]: planted by the bad guys in the gas cap of Mike's station wagon.
Device A: planted by the bad guys in the gas cap of Mike's sedan at home.
Device B: purchased by Mike for understanding of how these things work.
Device C: replacement device "delivered" by bad guys in the middle of the night, to attach to Mike's sedan - instead of swapping out the dead battery on Device A.


So, upon rewatch. Mike figures out the tracker is in the gas cap at the junk yard. Fine. That and the station wagon are dust once it's figured out.

However, Mike is working at the parking garage after this. He finishes his shift, goes to his sedan, takes the gas cap off and puts it up on a ledge at the parking garage, after which he drives home, presumably without a gas cap. Once he's home he figures out how to get his own cap and tracker involved.

What's with the ledge cap?
posted by rhizome at 11:16 PM on April 15


I thought Mike left work to meet the vet, so he opened up the parking lot gate and left the cap so they wouldn't know he left?
posted by Room 641-A at 12:00 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I'm such a dim person that I only just worked out what Mike Bearmantraut is and how (and why) they do it, so any predictions from me should be taken salty, but I think the thing with the tape is that while they can't punish Jimmy directly, they can punish Ernie.

If he goes off and tells Jimmy about the tape, he will be committing a sackable offence. Jimmy's fundamental weakness (in this world, at least - I don't mean it as a human failing) is his compassion for other people. Punishing Ernie will be punishing and enraging Jimmy, which may make him expose himself further and opening himself to direct attack.

We see the conflict in Jimmy while he's trying to bullshit the Air Force officer.

I love the way that so much is conveyed without words. Something that annoys me hugely about a lot of movies and television is that way that all plot and character is conveyed through the medium of people standing there and delivering endless fucking monologues to each other, usually in rather too flowery words. This series features one character who's virtually silent and another who, although loquacious, speaks mostly in lies and is much more expressive and honest in his body language and affect.

Oh, and have they just moved to 4K for production? I agree that it looks amazing - that may be why.
posted by Grangousier at 9:14 AM on April 16


traveler_: I think the voice of the radio announcer when Mike is running down the battery is the guy who voices Dr. Krieger on Archer.

In keeping with the local authenticity (phone numbers seen in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are true New Mexico phone numbers, with show-related recorded messages) KDSK 92.7 FM is indeed a real New Mexico radio station, but it's based in Grants, NM, so coverage in the Albuquerque area is limited to the west side (possible radio coverage map). In short, it may be authentic New Mexico radio, not the voice actor Lucky Yates.


kewb: Albeit that Jimmy scams those with power and authority -- the Air Force officer, Chuck, Mesa Verde, and so on

And FWIW, those with money: douchey guys at bars who flaunt their wealth, and insurance companies with his Slippin' Jimmy routine. Really, anyone who will benefit him, like that school in S02E09. But he only lied to them for access to their large flag, just like he only scammed the air force captain to get an old bomber for a backdrop, so he'll argue that they're victimless crimes.


rhizome: From the Guardian interview with Odenkirk, at the bottom it says season 3 is on Netflix in the UK?!

AMC has broadcast rights in the US, and I assume those agreements also included timing when episodes are up on Netflix elsewhere, generally a day after they air in the US. Then the whole seasons are up on Netflix some months later.


Nitpicking the episode on re-watch: I was going to say that the radio station wasn't likely to be available as far as Mike's house, but he could live on the west side, so I'll call that one "possible." But there's a minor consistency goof when he's looking at the tracker screen - his face glows blue, but the screen is mostly white, as we see in the final version. This is likely because the screen we see was replaced in post production, and the device had a generic blue screen in the real shots.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:28 PM on April 16


"I was going to say that the radio station wasn't likely to be available as far as Mike's house, but he could live on the west side, so I'll call that one 'possible.'"

From the neighborhood, it could be a number of places, but very few on the West Mesa. From the first season, I think it's supposed to be in a "bad" neighborhood near dowtown, such as where Jesse's girlfriend lived, or Barelas, which is where he also meets the veterinarian. Which could be in the coverage area. But, really, I wouldn't nitpick about picking up a Grants radio station.

"But there's a minor consistency goof when he's looking at the tracker screen - his face glows blue, but the screen is mostly white, as we see in the final version. This is likely because the screen we see was replaced in post production, and the device had a generic blue screen in the real shots."

Yeah, it's kind of disappointing only because of this show's nearly impossible standards. Everything about the tracker scene amazed and delighted me. I noticed that some people here didn't quite follow how that all worked, so I asked my mother and her husband the day after they watched the episode if they followed it ... and they didn't. So I spelled it all out for them (as people have above). I understood what he was doing as soon as looked at the "battery low" indicator on the unit he bought. I remember thinking, "...wait, does this really make sense? Will this work?" And it does make sense and it would work. Even the fact that Mike counts on them swapping units instead of replacing the battery onsite makes perfect sense.

Anyway, I was astonished because tracking devices in the television and movies are always so incredibly unrealistic and uninformed. I mean, jeez, almost everyone believes that any given GPS system is transmitting one's location. But we've long had these depictions of unrealistic tiny devices that magically show someone's position on a map on a computer display, and I imagine that the average person is certain that this is ubiquitous and trivial. With ICs that integrate GPS and cellphone data, and the latest generation of batteries, only recently is it realistic that you could have a device of that size producing GPS data at long distance. But not in 2004 or whenever this is. A small radio device, run by small battery and used with a directional locator, is realistic. And they went to the trouble of making the receiver/locator device look realistic, both in its size and form, but although that was CG, it wasn't your typical tv/movie display screen -- it was like something you'd actually see.

So everything about that was painstakingly realistic and carefully thought out. And they didn't feel the need to hold the audience's hand through it. Which, clearly, is a bit of a problem for part of the audience. But I deeply appreciate it. As someone wrote above, it's a great example of how BCS shows, at length and detail, the characterization. It doesn't beat us over the head with it in dialogue and exposition.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:52 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I thought Mike left work to meet the vet, so he opened up the parking lot gate and left the cap so they wouldn't know he left?

I think I'm supposed to be smart to watch this show. If he isn't shown going and getting the cap afterward, well, I guess that's enough to throw me.
posted by rhizome at 3:40 PM on April 16


rhizome, that is me in The Americans threads.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:07 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


rhizome: From the Guardian interview with Odenkirk, at the bottom it says season 3 is on Netflix in the UK?!

AMC has broadcast rights in the US, and I assume those agreements also included timing when episodes are up on Netflix elsewhere, generally a day after they air in the US. Then the whole seasons are up on Netflix some months later.


BCS is marketed as a "Netflix Original" in every market but the US, since they bought the foreign rights.

Seems like false advertising to me, since Netflix isn't involved in production at all, but that's how it works.
posted by sideshow at 9:19 PM on April 17


Next episode is available. Anyone want to do the honours?
posted by adept256 at 9:29 PM on April 17


AMC doesn't produce the show, either - they only have limited distribution rights in the US. Wikipedia currently lists the Production companies as: High Bridge Productions, Crystal Diner Productions, Gran Via Productions, and Sony Pictures Television.

I finally saw Talking Saul, and here are my notes:
  • Gilligan and Gould mentioned that their first idea for BCS was a 30 minute comedy show, but the more they got into the character of Jimmy McGill, they realized he was more complicated, and they actually felt bad that he's going to become Saul.
  • Season 3 will be darker and more complicated. Rhea noted that we just saw the first of Saul in Jimmy, where he challenged the air force captain to make him take down the ad, but that in that scene, Jimmy also had a bit of Chuck's rage and ego, which makes Jimmy recoil in that scene.
  • G and G joked about being one-trick ponies, when Chris Hardwick pointed out that the transition of Walt to Heisenberg will be mirrored in Jimmy to Saul.
  • Rhea said that these show scripts have more narrative than most, but still keeps the cast guessing.
  • Jonathan and Rhea are great, with Jonathan joking about being happy to work alone because Rhea is too chipper, so she says she should show them the 2 AM texts where Jonathan asks for company after a day of running scripts alone.
  • G and G say there are no codes this season, due to the fans figuring out their hint before they had the chance to talk to [that actor].
  • They talked about the gas cap tracking device, and Jonathan pointed out that the French Connection was lazy with hiding the tracking device in the rocker panels.
  • Vince: Albuquerque is a beautiful place, New Mexico is in general. Jonathan: The Land of Enchantment (it's the state nickname). Vince: But it's like that episode of Star Trek where the space-hippies go to paradise (FanFare re-watch), but everything is designed to kill you. That's New Mexico. (Hey, we're not Australia, it's just hot in the summer, and many plants are stabby -- to be fair, Vince then says the land sucks the moisture out of you, and you need to slather on sunscreen.)
  • When asked how Mike felt about finally finding the tracker in the gas cap, Jonathan replied "Mike just moves on."
  • Rhea pointed out that this was a very busy day, and that her meeting with Paige Novick was the next day. She also reminded folks that Kim almost went into elder law, so helping the older lady write up her will to include the garden and pond wasn't so bad, except it was extra work
  • Rhea also pointed out that Kim is complicit in Jimmy's less-than-legal doings, and noted that good and bad isn't the same as legal and illegal.
  • On the semi-colon, Rhea said this was Kim's show of breaking a bit, that she wouldn't have a crying scene in the corner.
  • When discussing the lack of Kim in BB, Peter said we never saw Saul's home life, so she may or may not be around. Rhea asked "would you tell Walter White that you had a girlfriend? Why would you do that?" Then Chris suggested a "George Lucas pass on BB," to insert CG Kim into scenes.
  • Michael McKean: Chuck is pursuing "an egotists way of correcting an imbalance in the universe."
  • Jimmy knows when he's slippery, Chuck always thinks he's on the right side, so there's an arrogance to him.
  • When hearing the recording and Chuck's weird "I have a plan" moment, Howard is now clued into the fact there's more going on with Chuck.
  • The idea for draining the tracker battery came from Vince's youth, when he grew up with RadioShack.
  • For people of a certain age, Jonathan Banks is known for his role in the 1996 remake of Flipper, starring Paul Hogan and a young Elijah Wood.
  • Talking Bad returns June 12, after the BCS finale.

posted by filthy light thief at 8:35 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Great write up, I was waaay too lazy!

Talking Bad returns June 12, after the BCS finale.

I noticed the lack of show last night night, but at least we have the podcast. (Also, Talking Bad or Talking Saul?)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:11 AM on April 18


Eh, yeah - Talking Saul. Last season of BCS they only had two TS episodes, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:25 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


G and G say there are no codes this season

The first episode was "Mabel", the second is "Witness." M and W. W and M.

WEXLER AND MCGILL!

It's so crystal clear.

You're fooling nobody, Vince.
posted by bondcliff at 11:11 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


I was kind of hoping that Chris Hardwick discovered another day of the week and squeezed in a new show about BB references and callbacks in BCS.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:38 AM on April 18


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