Better Call Saul: Slip
June 6, 2017 5:45 PM - Season 3, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Jimmy is pushed to desperate measures. Nacho picks up a skill and Mike explores an alliance. Kim stands up to Hamlin.
posted by rhizome (58 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Holy shit, Kim!

That was one of the most subtle, yet effective scenes for showing her character development this season, IMO. Watching her masterfully pass that check over to Hamlin in front of lunch meeting guests, then watching him stare her down all blurry in the background as she hits her stride with her own clients just a few tables over gave me immense feels. Like, "I'm sticking it to the man and he can't handle that I'm not just another damsel in distress anymore" kind of feels.

Anyone who's paid off a student loan knows that life-changing sense of relief. And she tamped it down immediately, because hey, business is business! That's my girl, Kim. Could not have loved it more...

I literally had to get up and pace the room during Nacho's pill-switch scene. Holy shit, Nacho! Preemptively cracking the A/C unit to hide his own terror sweats and make Tio Hector remove his jacket was masterful, indeed.

As much as I love watching Mike just Doing Mike Things, I'm grateful that Gilligan gives every character at some point or other a chance to shine in their individual processes. Seeing how each person plans, executes and evaluates their next move is just as entertaining (if not more so, at least for me) as watching Slippin' Jimmy scamming the rubes.

Weirdly, I was super turned-off the moment I realized Jimmy was going to fall back (heh) into his shenanigans and con the Sklars into paying for those commercials. As soon as he realized they were onto him, he pinned them to the mat the only way he knows how: threatening a liability lawsuit.

Jimmy, I can't believe I'm saying this, but... don't prove Chuck right. He doesn't deserve the satisfaction. (Even though we all know that eventually, Saul ends up in the Cinnabon Purgatory that he earned for himself.)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:07 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


I like pretty much everything about this show, but it has become all about Kim for me now. Whew.

Well, OK, and Nacho. That pill bottle throwing practice! That sweaty money-counting intensity! Double whew.
posted by minsies at 6:30 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I wasn't too impressed with Jimmy's scheme with the community-service guy, anyone in that job would be pretty hardened to the threat of a lawsuit. And the slip 'n fall in the music shop doesn't seem like it would be that threatening to any experienced shopkeeper. Most of Jimmy's schemes are successful because they're aimed at marks who are already trying to cheat someone. The first target here was a jerk, the second pair were pretty justifiably upset at Jimmy.

Is there a reason Nacho couldn't just skip the pills and dump whatever he's giving Hector into his coffee? I guess it's some special poison designed to look like a heart attack. Maybe he needs multiple doses or whatever, but it was still jarring to see him go through all that trouble and then have Hector ask for a refill.
posted by skewed at 7:29 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


It was Ibuprofen: we see the bottle off to the side in one the shots.

It's not poison, just a placebo, so the next time Tio's heart gets weak the pills don't kick it back right again.
posted by absalom at 7:43 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


It was Ibuprofen: we see the bottle off to the side in one the shots.


Ah, that makes more sense, thanks.
posted by skewed at 7:47 PM on June 6


Has there been any indication of how many seasons there will be of this show?

We know where most of the character arcs are heading except for Kim. She was great in that scene with Howard - last week she was stressing about the Chuck court case and her actions, this week she was owning it. You could probably position everyone else into their BB starting situations in two more episodes but Kim's story feels like it has longer to run.

Chuck's comment to the doctor "what have I done", immediately made me think he had regret for Jimmy and then almost as quickly decide he must be talking about something else!
posted by toamouse at 11:40 PM on June 6


I think they have it set up where Kim could be gone in two-three episodes max. They just have to fill in the dark past that has caught up to her and I for one will be along for the ride.
posted by rhizome at 12:34 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Everyone in this episode was heading for some kind of explosion (maybe with the exception of Nacho, who's causing one). Jimmy, Chuck, Kim, Hector are all gearing up for various types of physical and emotional breakdowns. Will they all come to a head at once?
posted by tracicle at 3:23 AM on June 7


For anyone wondering timelines, Kim's check was dated March 2003, and the beginning of Breaking Bad is estimated to be September 2008.
posted by yellowbinder at 5:06 AM on June 7 [10 favorites]


Anyone who's paid off a student loan knows that life-changing sense of relief.

Hell, I felt pretty awesome when I got it down to five figures. I agree that I really enjoy where Kim is as a character right now, which makes me want to turn off the show forever because I know it won't last.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:23 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Has there been any indication of how many seasons there will be of this show?

I assume the ratings are good? My guess is Gilligan will end it after five seasons, though at the rate things are happening now I could see them ending it next season. In fact, as much as I love this show I'd rather have them finish up than drag it out.

I loved the looks on Jimmy's face when he got a taste of just how easy it is to get paid by drug dealers. He became Saul in that moment.

Kim is going to be ok. I used to think something terrible was going to happen to her but now I think she'll just outgrow Jimmy. In fact maybe Gilligan's next show should be about Kim. It could take place at the same time as Breaking Bad but just feature Kim winning all the cases and being a badass.

Nacho, on the other hand, isn't going to last to the end of this season, I think.

I want Mike to host a show on PBS where every episode he just spends six hours in the desert doing something methodically and then when he finishes he goes home and cracks a beer.

Fuck Chuck. Seriously, fuck Chuck.
posted by bondcliff at 6:42 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


Nacho, on the other hand, isn't going to last to the end of this season, I think.

Huh, I 100% thought he was in Breaking Bad. I guess I recognize the actor from Orphan Black.

I thought it was interesting that Chuck described that moment in the courtroom as being the worst of his life because it forced him to realize he was crazy, not because he was exposed as being crazy to other people. A tiny sliver of an indication that he might not be the absolute worst.
posted by something something at 7:15 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


There's a reference to an Ignacio in Breaking bad (when White holds Saul at gunpoint when we first meet him, Saul cries out ""it wasn't me, it was Ignacio.")

Might be a different Ignacio, though.
posted by maxsparber at 7:19 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Were we supposed to know who's body Mike found in the desert?

the second pair were pretty justifiably upset at Jimmy

Why were they "justifiably" upset? Because he was charging them more than the base rate for air time? That doesn't seem like a reason to get mad at someone (especially someone who's actually shooting the commercial in addition to the airtime). I agree with Jimmy's sentiment, that they probably deserve some kind of comeuppance. I don't think they deserved Slippin' Jimmy, but that's the only way he knows how to solve his problems.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:36 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


I think the body in the desert belonged to the passing motorist who freed the driver of the truck Mike sabotaged, and was murdered for his efforts.
posted by maxsparber at 7:48 AM on June 7 [11 favorites]


Huh, I 100% thought he was in Breaking Bad. I guess I recognize the actor from Orphan Black.

Me too. I was reasonably calm during Nacho's pill switching because I was so sure he made it to Breaking Bad!

I used to think something terrible was going to happen to her but now I think she'll just outgrow Jimmy.

With money being the focus of the last couple episodes and the writing emphasizing Jimmy stealing from his parents' till, I wondered if Jimmy might steal from Kim -- is that technically embezzling from their partnership? I think if she believes that even she can't trust Jimmy, then she'll be out.

It was Ibuprofen: we see the bottle off to the side in one the shots.

This show is definitely smarter than I am. I never understood that, and I just glossed over Nacho needing to switch the pills back.
posted by gladly at 8:47 AM on June 7


the second pair were pretty justifiably upset at Jimmy

>Why were they "justifiably" upset?


My thoughts exactly. I got really aggravated at the Sklars (well, their characters) because some people take that attitude when dealing with creative professionals. Anyone who has done graphic design or something similar has run into it. "Wait, that logo is just a cool font in a shape. I could have a guy do that in 15 minutes. Why are you charging me $500?" I could recreate just about any logo in existence in very little time as well, but you pay for the creative process, the idea, and time to get to that end result. That's what Saul was selling: the whole package. And the Sklars just refused to understand.

I have no idea if Saul's rate was reasonable for producing the ads, but I was totally on his side on this one. They agreed to a price based on the "first one's free" and then were assholes. I love the Sklars so much that it says a lot about the writing and their acting that they made me hate their characters.
posted by The Deej at 8:57 AM on June 7 [17 favorites]


"I was reasonably calm during Nacho's pill switching because I was so sure he made it to Breaking Bad!"

I was so nervous. My wife said something like, "At least we know the pill thing works because of what happened to Don Hector" and I was like, "Are you even watching the same show I am?"

I think the writers would love for us to think that this pill-switching is what puts Don Hector into the chair with the ding-ding-ding and whoops! turns out Nacho was caught and killed and the stroke came from something else altogether, like getting upset at Nacho's betrayal or whatever else serves for dramatic irony.

tense tense tense
posted by komara at 9:03 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


I expected the pill switching scene to end with Nacho looking up to see that the cook had been watching him.
posted by bondcliff at 9:13 AM on June 7 [13 favorites]


Oh no! I thought Nacho was safe, too, and I was also remembering him from Orphan Black rather than Breaking Bad.

Yikes, yikes, yikes.
posted by minsies at 9:54 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


It's tough to watch Jimmy slipping even though we've always known where this show is ultimately headed. It's hard to fault the ABQ In Tune guys for raising an eyebrow at the discrepancy between Jimmy's rate and the TV station's (something like $4000 if I heard the numbers correctly?) but it was the dickish "Why shouldn't we just take your commercial to the TV station ourselves, and pay you nothing?" move that pushed Jimmy over the edge. He didn't just pull the pratfall to get the money he needed to cover his expenses, he shook them down for a nice guitar and practice amp too just as an extra, spiteful little "No, fuck you!" The scene with him lying there in the office and sulkily noodling around with it* reminded me of every kid who's ever been more into wanting a thing more than actually having it.

Other than Kim asking him if he'd been to a doctor, I didn't see any strong indication from her that she wasn't buying his story, so it seemed awkward and pointed when he asked her "You believe me, don't you?" as she was leaving the room. Like, the moment might have passed if he hadn't given her cause to consider that maybe she shouldn't believe him. I hope Kim is having doubts about Jimmy by now. (I'm still doubtful that she'll get out of the BCS/BB universe free and clear.)

At a basic human level it was good to see Chuck (though still an asshole) getting better... but in light of whatever's happened with his malpractice insurance I wouldn't be surprised if he's wrapped in a space blanket the next time we see him, ranting and raving about Jimmy.

*Having Jimmy playing Smoke on the Water on a Ritchie Blackmore signature guitar is a nice little nod to Hero in S1, where Marco was singing the riff as "Butt-butt-hole, butt-butt-butthole." That was also the first time we hear Jimmy use the name "Saul Goodman."
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 10:02 AM on June 7 [10 favorites]


That "You believe me, don't you?" bothered me so much. He's starting to treat Kim like a mark, and now she knows it, too.
posted by minsies at 10:37 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


The weird think about the Smoke on the Water riff is that he was playing it wrong - famously it's a riff you can play with one finger if you want to, and he was using barred E-shape chords (I think). The effect was to modulate it into a different kind of key. Fantastically annoying, I kind of wanted to be able to rip the guitar from his hands and say "No, you do it like this". A very Jimmy thing to do.
posted by Grangousier at 11:59 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Could be to save them music licensing fees?

I think Jimmy playing so poorly also serves to show he didn't even really want the guitar, he just wanted "justice".
posted by onya at 12:07 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


I was *really* hoping that the flashback scene with Marco was going to explain the money Chuck claims Jimmy stole from their parents. I doubt he was referring to a bunch of rare coins hidden in the roofspace, though.
posted by tracicle at 12:45 PM on June 7


After all this, could Chuck's surprising fate be . . . a redemption arc?
posted by whuppy at 2:02 PM on June 7


I took the flashback as clearing Jimmy of Chuck's allegations. If he had been stealing from his dad, why not admit it to his (literal) partner in crime?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:29 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


The weird think about the Smoke on the Water riff is that he was playing it wrong - famously it's a riff you can play with one finger if you want to, and he was using barred E-shape chords (I think).

Steve Morse confirms.
posted by thelonius at 4:41 PM on June 7 [5 favorites]


a nice little nod to Hero in S1, where Marco was singing the riff as "Butt-butt-hole, butt-butt-butthole." That was also the first time we hear Jimmy use the name "Saul Goodman."

Only because it's a funny word to hear coming out of my TV, I noticed that Marco uses "butthole" in the flashback in this episode!
posted by rhizome at 4:51 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


In most dramas, a loss of status is a climax, a payoff. Here, it's the start of character exploration: how the characters deal with such losses is often the site where moral choice, class position, and desire intersect, and much is revealed. For some characters, like Howard or (to some extent) Kim, the response is to hustle twice as hard to make up the loss, to undo it. For others, like Jimmy, Nacho, or Mike, the solution is to find a way to make whoever had a part int hat loss pay, and to get a little righteousness into the mix. And for Chuck, it seems, the answer is to minimize the loss, to make it something controllable.

Int his episode, however, we see every one of those strategies go a little sour. Howard and Kim engage in social brinksmanship, and start, perhaps, to face some ugly truths about the flaws of the McGill brother they've been protecting (in no small part to protect themselves). Granted, Howard is landed gentry defending the dignity of the family name and the estate...err, law firm, and Kim is self-made middle class working herself into the ground to keep up and avoid feeling guilt or obligation or dependency.

For Chuck, it all goes wrong when he's forced to consider self-awareness for a moment, rather than mere self-regard, and this small loss of ego, however momentary, precedes the sharper loss: his discovery that things won't go back to where they were, that his old status and position are not going to be quickly reclaimed. That malpractice rate hike, the damage to his reputation, and even his progress against his psychosomatic condition are going to be slow to heal, and some of the damage -- tellingly, there's no "family" in that fantasy party alongside "colleagues and friends" -- is simply irrecoverable.

For Mike, you fix the unfixable, recuperate your psychic and moral losses by proxy. You can't find Anita's husband, but you can find the body of the Good Samaritan for *his* family. You can't save Matty, but you can maybe save Nacho from himself and make sure Kaylee will want for nothing. Whatever grimy acts that takes are what it takes.

And then there's Jimmy. And Jimmy recovers from losses by finding someone to blame. He's good at defining others as rubes and marks when they fall, and he's equally good at defining others as elitist pricks when he falls. Granted, there are plenty of elitist pricks around to confirm that diagnosis, but Jimmy's ultimate revenge on someone is always to make them a mark, a rube, and thus make himself the sharp one, the winner, in however small a way.

But then, one of the running themes in the show has been the pettiness of power, especially power plus familiarity. It's there in every small-time authoritarian Jimmy runs across in this episode, in Hector's casual sadism and bullying, in Chuck's treatment of Jimmy. And here, we see that it goes both ways: that Kim, goaded by bHoward, will respond snark for snark and passive-aggression for passive-aggression; and that Jimmy, as we saw last episode, will use the power of the con to exact revenge on those he can exert power over.

But it's worth noting that Jimmy threatens his marks here with financial ruin; it's the opposite of the cons we saw him running with Marco in Chicago, where the mark's greed or desire got them. This is the first time we've really seen Slippin' Jimmy pull his actual "slip-and-fall" since all the way back in the pilot, where he did it by proxy to try to look the hero to the Kettlemans. Here, though, it's more like extortion than anything else. And Saul Goodman slides fully into place once Jimmy helps a man he knows is a drug dealer get to what he knows is a drug deal using his con-man mojo in conjunction with his legal know-how. The chimp has figured out how to take the safety off of that machine gun.

But he still hasn't learned to think about what happens after he shoots. One of the great pleasures of the show is hearing Kim tell people just who they are, to their faces: Howard, a hypocrite who prizes image above all else; Chuck, a wretched, almost pitiable, embittered man with a petty grudge against his brother; and Jimmy, a fool who never thinks things all the way through. One of its great frustrations is the way they refuse to listen to her and instead condescend in return, and that, too happens here more than once. Of all the major characters on the show, she's the one for whom understanding others is always at least partly genuine, never merely instrumental.
posted by kewb at 6:04 PM on June 7 [13 favorites]


- I appreciated the flashback at the beginning, not only because I too think that there's more to the death of Chuck Sr.'s business than Chuck Jr. knows or will admit, but because there's also a subtle comparison between Jimmy's critique of his father's business practices and what the Sklars are willing to do to save a few bucks. There are very few clean people in this show, and usually they're only clean (or relatively cleaner) because some of the dirty people are willing to become dirtier on their behalf: Nacho for his father, Jimmy for Kim (although she feels dirty because of what happened to Chuck). There's something grimly symbolic about Jimmy and Marco literally cleaning the coin to run a scam, and it's the opposite bookend from that handshake between Mike and Gus for the latter to launder the money of the former (possibly involving his new laundry?) in exchange for unstated services rendered in the future.

- Great performance from Michael Mando, especially in the lead-up to planting the pills; I could literally see the failure version of that scene, with the bottle hitting the floor and the pills rattling, and Don Hector looking up at Nacho, realizing what he was trying to do.

- My opinion of Howard has softened since the end of S1, when we find out that it's actually Chuck who has been stifling Jimmy's law career, and subsequently when it becomes more clear just how much he's had to clean up after Chuck due to his partner's breakdown. But his little condescending bit with the Mesa Verde people brought back the dickish Hamlindigo-clad Howard we used to know and loathe. He totally deserved Kim's reaction, and I hope that we'll get to see him eventually regret tearing up that check. No law firm is too big to fail (and look who they're using for illustrations!).
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:28 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


The character development of this show is aces.

Kim, goes without saying.

Nacho, though, he's smart enough to practice the thing AND remembers to count when doing it. I know a lot of people hate "training montages" but I love them - especially when its smart, like Michael Weston in Burn Notice who trains, runs, and eats yogurt pretty regularly; and it ends up being salient plot points.

Although I was kind of annoyed seeing the empty pill capsules being filled - sloppy sloppy sloppy; BUT that's to be expected from someone who's not done this thing before. A step up would be to show crushed/otherwise-failed capsules. They're kind of fragile/brittle especially if they aren't super fresh.

Filling the faux capsules with ibuprofen is... smart, but not super-smart. The chances of getting caught is negligible; who's going to test those pills? Visual examination is probably the highest degree of sleuthing anyone would be expected to do. But if they test the pills, they'll show no nitroglycerin (?) and investigate further and (trivially) determine that it was ibuprofen. Personally, I'd ... I'm not sure what I'd do since if they did test and I only used the bulking/excipient agents, that would surely lead to an inquiry (for recall/quality assurance purposes - this is a pharmaceutical under the aegis of the FDA) for that particular lot - and find nothing wrong with the lot except for the pills in question.

It might take longer, but I'd replace 1/3 of the pills with fake ones; shifts of the odds of testing a "real" pill increases while decreasing the odds of taking a "fake" pill. I'm assuming that Nacho is planning on precipitating a "medical event" so... it kind of washes out.

Also, isn't nitroglycerin typically sublingual tablets/breath-strip-like tabs? It's much faster acting (and more potent - hepatic bypass) than oral administration. Rather harder to counterfeit, though - but the baseball cards guy could probably procure just as easily.

Another bit of awesome - climbing a building to fuck with a HVAC unit. But that's a personal affinity for me, I've done that before for... strong reasons. (I didn't damage the units, just turned them off bypassing a padlock meant for it not to be able to be turned off - or turned back on again without a key)

--

Saul being screwed by the music store people; yeah, that hit a nerve and I'm sure it did for a ton of people. $450 per airing is $3,125 for 7 commercials. Saul was asking for $6000 ($6500?) - that's a pretty fair markup - the music store people were just being jerks especially since the commercial was so effective. AND Saul's out the $450 for getting it aired in the first place.

--

Back to character development; I cannot believe that Mike would do a handshake deal without knowing the particulars.

Yes, everyone* on this show is hustling and taking risks for various reasons but I can't see Mike being desperate enough to take the plunge unless there's some reveal that hasn't been made yet.

I'm pretty sure he pings Gus as someone he can work with, on an abstract level at least, so I can't see it being a play where Mike is intending to burn Gus.

*except the McGill father - I'm really looking forward to seeing how that particular backstory plays out
posted by porpoise at 7:53 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Who else thinks that Jimmy actually did hurt his back a bit taking the fall? Obviously not badly enough to give him a real, lasting injury, but it definitely seems like laying on his back in his office was caused by genuine pain. Bodies don't bounce back as well in their late 30s or 40s or however old Jimmy's supposed to be at this point than they do when you're a 20-something smartass running cons in Cicero.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:29 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


I think the Good Samaritan is that lady 'a husband.

And I'll give Mike leeway on finding the body. He's new in town and wouldn't have known how fast or slow scrub would grow out there. The second they went to the overhead wide shot I picked the 11pm grid. Little new scrub growth. The hand was artistically, if artificially (to me) framed. But I grew up on caliche not that red desert so... but I called it when he parked on the metal detector (though again) even that shallow a grave - not picking up the ring.

Yeah, Jimmy was just pissed at the extra effing over the music twins were going for. You'd think he'd make them sign a contract. Jeeze.

I see kim having saved herself with the check to Hamlin, and on to saving Jimmy with taking on the client. He'll work off the books as a paralegal for her to make up his share.

And fuck Chuck.
posted by tilde at 8:31 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Yep, agree with really hurt -- shows he's aging and that he's starting to notice.

That bandaid box is in S1E1 -- wondered when it'd come up.
posted by tilde at 8:32 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Who else thinks that Jimmy actually did hurt his back a bit taking the fall? Obviously not badly enough to give him a real, lasting injury, but it definitely seems like laying on his back in his office was caused by genuine pain.

Wasn't there a scene in BB in which he's laying on the floor in his strip-mall office?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:37 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Why were they "justifiably" upset?

Yeah, I guess you're right, he wasn't ripping them off. I still feel like the two cons we see from Jimmy are out of character, and the music store one in particular just doesn't ring true. You don't pull a slip and fall scam on someone you have a history with, especially not 30 seconds after you lost a dispute over a business deal in front of impartial witnesses.
posted by skewed at 8:50 PM on June 7


The dumb thing about the Sklar commercial thing is that nobody like that needs seven different commercials. Kind of a hole in Saul's business instincts.
posted by rhizome at 9:05 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


You don't pull a slip and fall scam on someone you have a history with

Jimmy made sure to film his fall to spook the guitar brothers into settling rather than litigating. As with all scams, the trick is to get the mark to take your bait and choose the path that they think will be better for them. In this case it's the avoidance of an expensive, sure-thing lawsuit with a cheaper payoff to a small time hustler.
posted by cardboard at 9:09 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


It may be just me, or it may be there's something else off that I'm not recognizing, but usually Jimmy's scams seem plausible with only a normal level of suspension of disbelief. The scam on the stock market guy or the fake-rare Kennedy coin--I could see those working in the "real" world given enough attempts, and waiting long enough for the right mark. But these two scams just took me right out of the drama.
posted by skewed at 9:36 PM on June 7


But if they test the pills, they'll show no nitroglycerin (?) and investigate further

Which is why Mike told Nacho to 'swap them back after'.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:00 AM on June 8 [8 favorites]


My sense is that Jimmy isn't scamming them in the usual sense of getting them to believe what he says: he's threatening to tie them up in costly litigation that they might well win, but that would be more trouble than simply paying him off now. He's moved from con jobs to something closer to extortion.

Halloween Jack, above, makes a great point about Jimmy's idea about his his father should have "do what it takes" to keep their family business running, and that his father was a fool for paying out to con men. By that logic, should his father have stiffed a "Saul Goodman" as well?

And porpoise points out another subtle runner in this and the previous episode: people making bad decisions in the moment because they have some other need, fear, or desire. This covers Kim taking on the extra workload when she can barely keep up with her current client, Chuck trying to rush his therapy, and Mike going all in with Gus. Every one of them thinks it's a short-term fix or a quickie solution to a problem; every one of them seems to be underestimating the long-term difficulty involved.

As is so often the case on the show, Jimmy gets to flip --or should we say trip up? -- the motif: his rash, bad deals were last episode, when the rest of the cast seemed like they were starting to make good choices and plan more carefully for their futures, and in this episode he's the character forcing those hasty, poor decisions on others to get hat he wants. He's still not thinking ahead in some ways, of course. But, as ever, Jimmy is a spinner of tales and personae and knows how to turn personal consequences into negative externalities for others for at least a while. All it costs him is that much more of his very long-term future and that much more of the personal relationships he loves so, of the likability he trades on. (Saul Goodman, Esq., is many things, but "liked by the people around him" really isn't one of them.)
posted by kewb at 3:02 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Oh no! I thought Nacho was safe, too, and I was also remembering him from Orphan Black rather than Breaking Bad.

It's a bit of a tangent, but I first ran into Michael Mando in Far Cry 3, in which he is an awesome villain.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:05 AM on June 8 [2 favorites]


These scams are a turning point for Jimmy. Previously, his marks have fallen for something and don't know it until later. With these two, the ruse is laid bare and the marks know full well they're being scammed but they have to go along with it because to not do so is too costly. That's a change and a risk for Jimmy.

I do think that Jimmy actually hurt his back (slipped a disc maybe?). His pain reaction was very genuine, which is a fun nod to us the audience. Plus, it's been a long time since he's done this scam and he's not who he used to be. I think he realises that he has to level up his con game, which is why he's completely run with it in the community service scam. He's becoming who he is now.

Kim knows it too. She's taking on the client herself because A) she's angry (at everyone) and channelling that into work because she's determined and scrappy, and B) she knows she's about to get screwed. It's an interesting reversal on her trying to pay Hamlin to CYA. She's accepted Jimmy's payment and the case for the same reason.

The next time Jimmy and Chuck meet is going to be the real showdown. They've both turned their corners, Chuck is heading up (redemption), Jimmy is on his way back down… I guarantee a fundamental misunderstanding (epic understatement) when they pass each other on that road again. I don't think Jimmy will know what to do with Chuck's new life and he certainly won't trust it. If he lashes out and that crushes Chuck, it'll be too late to stop it. And I suspect it won't be a far off pattern from whatever happened to his dad and made their parents old abandoned shop look like Chuck's dark house.

Sounds like Mike and Gus need a lawyer to make their money laundering "in paper" and "transactional" like they say. Also, that they're not directly connected. I'm wondering if they're going to enlist the help of Jimmy or Saul?

I noticed that the drug dealer's sock roll had the fake $50 from nacho in it, that was a nice touch. Small town.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:06 AM on June 8 [7 favorites]


Even if Jimmy didn't hurt his back, he often likes to 'bask' in his victory anyway. Running a scam where the payoff is $700 and the privilege of lying down as a giant f.u. to the boss is *classic* Jimmy. It's just a desert instead of a pool or office rug.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:11 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


I think the Good Samaritan is that lady 'a husband.

I forgot all about that lady. And now that explains the wedding ring.

I don't remember the conversation he had with her. Did she describe her husband disappearing in a way that made Mike put 2 and 2 together?
posted by bondcliff at 6:18 AM on June 8 [3 favorites]


She did say her husband died 8 (I think) years ago though. Would his hand still look that good after 8 years?
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:29 AM on June 8


Ahh, ok. Maybe it had nothing to do with her husband then, and it was only the Good Samaritan. I had completely forgotten the conversation he had with her.
posted by bondcliff at 6:49 AM on June 8


The woman talking about her husband and the pain of not knowing what happened to him made Mike think about the Good Samaritan and try to make things right. Which as we know in the BB/BCS universe rarely leads to anything good.
posted by cardboard at 7:08 AM on June 8 [6 favorites]


Good point on the husband being gone 8 years ... she's just what made him think of the Good Samaritan. Re watching BB reminded me about Jesse coming clean about dirtbike kid.

I think Jimmy/Saul might help Gus and Mike with paperwork, but maybe not ... remember in BB Saul professed not even to know who Gus was when he did the set up with Walter. "I know a guy who knows a guy" but then again, I guess so, other wise how would he know the guy that knows the guy ... business wise. Not like Mike yaps.

And at some point after Hector is incapacitated (if we get that far in this series, I agree it might be a fakeout) Gus will feel safe employing Mike and allowing him to continue to freelance for Saul in BB.
posted by tilde at 7:33 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Saul Goodman slides fully into place once Jimmy helps a man he knows is a drug dealer get to what he knows is a drug deal using his con-man mojo in conjunction with his legal know-how.

Yep. Slippin' Jimmy was the old con; this was the emergence of Saul Goodman, *criminal* lawyer.

BB Saul professed not even to know who Gus was when he did the set up with Walter. "I know a guy who knows a guy" but then again, I guess so, other wise how would he know the guy that knows the guy ... business wise.

I read that bit of Breaking Bad a bit differently: that at that point Saul does know at least something of who Gus is and what he does, but that he also knows that Gus's cartel affiliation is too dangerously outside of his small-league criminality. And thus the use of Mike as an intermediary, to attempt to keep some safe distance.

(Recast in BCS's light, BB becomes the story of the rise and fall of Saul Goodman as he becomes more and more hopelessly entangled with Walt, the big fish who Saul's too greedy to cut the line on and who eventually drags him under.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:56 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


I like to think of BB as the bell curve in the middle, and BCS (with flashforwards) will be the tails on either side of it.
posted by rhizome at 4:31 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]


Another thing I realised about the Richie Blackmore signature Straw: it has a scalloped fretboard, which means the the wood between the frets has been filed away. Essentially, Jimmy has blagged himself a guitar that's unnecessarily difficult to play so it's sounds good.
posted by Grangousier at 3:51 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


(Of course, my Mac decides that "Strat" isn't a proper word, but knows that "Straw" is. Not as Californian as it thinks it is, my Mac.)
posted by Grangousier at 5:06 PM on June 10


I'm catching up, so maybe my points here are addressed in the next episode.

iamkimiam: These scams are a turning point for Jimmy. Previously, his marks have fallen for something and don't know it until later. With these two, the ruse is laid bare and the marks know full well they're being scammed but they have to go along with it because to not do so is too costly. That's a change and a risk for Jimmy.

We had a deal, Kyle: Yep. Slippin' Jimmy was the old con; this was the emergence of Saul Goodman, *criminal* lawyer.

Exactly. But for me, it feels like he used to be punching up, scamming wealthy rubes who are looking for a get-rich scheme, but now he's using his powers of (being an) attorney to punch down. You dupe rich people and run, because there could be real repercussions (except Slippin' Jimmy was a known conman, and I could see the impulsive Jimmy not realizing how badly he burns bridges with such big, public scams -- unless of course his marks don't talk as to save face in the community). But when you're using the power of the law for evil, you're a local villain.

Speaking of turning points, Krazy-8 has progressed quickly from chipper young man to dark and brooding drug dealing middle man.


porpoise: Filling the faux capsules with ibuprofen is... smart, but not super-smart. The chances of getting caught is negligible; who's going to test those pills?

I could be wrong, but it looked like Don Hector would pop some pills without counting how many he took, but as a quick fix to his own (health) problems. While I don't think he'd down a whole bottle if the first couple didn't work, he could work his way through them pretty fast. Also, remember that he's an old school drug dealer from Mexico, so I don't think he's buying those pills through legitimate US channels. I assume he's getting them from a Mexican pharmacist, likely one who is associated with the cartel, and I could see him going after that pharmacist for trying to make a bigger profit (or get revenge) by giving Don Hector the wrong medicine.


kewb: And porpoise points out another subtle runner in this and the previous episode: people making bad decisions in the moment because they have some other need, fear, or desire. This covers Kim taking on the extra workload when she can barely keep up with her current client, Chuck trying to rush his therapy, and Mike going all in with Gus. Every one of them thinks it's a short-term fix or a quickie solution to a problem; every one of them seems to be underestimating the long-term difficulty involved.

I agree that this theme of quick fixes and long-term costs is going to bite most people, but with some variations on what the motivations or goals are here. Mike works with Gus because they 1) are working towards a shared goal (of undermining Don Hector), and 2) they have a shared interest in acting with caution, attention to detail, and being utterly professional in everything they do, while keeping "non-players" out of the game.

And Kim started out by declining to take on a new client, but then wanted to look strong and capable in the face of Howard's very public power play and offered to review the case and send them to the best firm. She only took the case on in full after talking with Jimmy, and she looks like she gets an "A Ha!" moment and tells Billy Gatwood "I think I may have a solution to your problem myself."


minsies: That "You believe me, don't you?" bothered me so much. He's starting to treat Kim like a mark, and now she knows it, too.

I'm not feeling that yet. I really feel like in the general theme of "pushing yourself too hard (to the point of making a significant failure more likely)," Chuck and Jimmy are running the closest in parallel. Both are working with female colleagues who they are trying to convince. Chuck tells Dr. Lara Cruz "Doctor, I wouldn't have believed I could come so far so quickly. And I have to give you the lion's share of the credit." Later in that scene, he asks "Then perhaps, uh, my recovery might be speedier than your run-of-the-mill patient. Isn't that possible?" In something of a mirror, the injured Jimmy, lying on the floor, tells Kim "Oh, it's it's not as bad as it looks. I just need to rest it. It'll be fine." Then when Kim offers to cover Jimmy's half so he can take it easy and recover, he says "I appreciate the thought, but no. I'll do what I have to do to take care of my half. You do what you have to do to take care of yours. End of story. ...I mean, you believe me, right?"

Both men want the women to believe that they can recover, that they can take care of themselves, and even recover quickly while the women caution them to take it slowly. If you're being generous, you could even think that Jimmy doesn't want Kim to be like his mother too much -- believe his lie about the injury (or that Algebra Two was actually a free period), but don't give him anything special, like his half of the rent and utilities (or a pack of Little Debbie's), because that kind of kindness, those hand-outs, can ruin you. He really wants to save Kim from being a complete rube, like his parents were. You can be kind, but don't be a soft touch, or people will exploit you.

And in a way, Kim just said yes when she should have probably said no, specifically so she wouldn't look like she was soft or incapable. But I assume she has a plan to make it work. Did you see her grid of sticky notes in her office? She's organized and realistic, mostly. At least, that's what I'm telling myself now.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:26 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


BCS Insider Podcast 308, hosted by Kelley Dixon and Chris McCaleb, with Peter and Vince, episode writer Heather Marion, head costume designer, Jennifer L. Bryan and Patrick Fabian
  • As a sort of introduction, we learn Patrick did not run a triathlon recently, but was in High Plank position for five minutes before recording this podcast, which sounds impressive, but Bob Odenkirk held it for 7.5 minutes at some yoga retreat, because he didn't want to be outdone. And he didn't really know it was an impressive feat, he was just being manly or something.
  • Jennifer has Terminator vision to scan actors for costuming, and Peter and Vince talk about wearing rigs and steady cams, and shaving of heads, for solidarity and general team support.
  • Patrick is a real triathlete, and did the Nautica Malibu Tri on the morning that he attended the Emmy's. Patrick: "That bastard, Jon Cryer, won the Nautica Malibu Triathlon on the same day he hosted the Emmy's" ... "That's Duckie kicking your ass"
  • Heather talks about working for Jeff Garlin, who connected her to BCS's writers room as her first big gig after getting her Masters for screenwriting from UCLA Associate Producer in Dealin' with Idiots where she also worked with Bob Odenkirk.
  • Patrick notes she wrote his audition scene, and he credits her for his role. He was a bit bitter for not getting a part on Dog with a Blog, but instead got this role.
  • Jennifer talks about how to make BCS different from BB, semi-wiping the BB slate from her head and starting from something new. she relates this to the hidden prior image of the Mona Lisa behind the image we now know. They also talk about Jimmy's image, and how he still looks to Kim for guidance and approval. A fun talk on taking four vests to make Saul's director vest, and the minor evolution of Hamlin's look.
  • Meme-ification of Howard's wall vault (where is this? I haven't found any images)
  • Howard totally has Gob-like thoughts, a la Arrested Development -- "Yeah, like I'm going to spill coffee all over this $3,000 suit! COME ON!"
  • Jennifer also talks about the difficulty of finding Howard's tie, the round collars and bars, which are now available in stores. Stefano (sp?) makes Howard's suits, as well as Jimmy's awkward suits, but those really baffle them.
  • Patrick says he dresses like he's in Guns 'n' Roses, "Valley Husband" look, but finally got a full outfit from Stefano, which made him feel like a big boy.
  • Gus is one of the few character who keeps a very similar look between BB and BCS; he has a subtle Shadow Plaid (Google image search)
  • Opening teaser: Vince asked about the location, but it's a modified scene. Last Man on Earth let BCS borrow Mel.
  • Noted the flashlight (again with the light and dark), and the band-aid box. Chris: re-arrange the letters of the episode titles to get a geolocation for the band-aid box, and if you go at the right time, you can meet Wes McFloss. [FAKE]
  • The aging of the store, and lighting of the scene, really brought that stage set to life. Kelley asked her FB friends about Moon Pies in the 1970s, which weren't regionally accurate, and Bob also caught that in the early script, so instead they had Little Debbie's.
  • Props to the Prop Guy, Mark Hansen, who finds the right things, and he worked with Michael Mando to figure out the pill switching.
  • Mike Bearmantrout confirmed that Niccolò Paganini, Old Long Hands, is who Vince wanted when citing the range of director Adam Bernstein
  • The pill switch scenes came from the writers' room, including the sweaty hands and the sticky pill; Mark made the Tic-Tac container.
  • Dave Porter's music for the scene; creating the suspense in all aspects, including editing; keeping track of Teo; visual storytelling, leans heavily on editors. Vince: "It's like blaming the lost game on the last batter." Others: "but sometimes they do."
  • Kelley: love your characters, not for what they do, but for their motivation to portray them as best as you can. Vince: You're rooting for someone who is doing a terrible thing. [SPOILER ALERT for Psycho.] That's a problem with the industry now, where so much is focused on character likability, instead of relatability.
  • Kelley: Assistant Taylor C. Ervin (? -- she didn't mention his last name) received a note from Peter, about wanting to see Mike keep digging but move around, and seeing multiple Mikes came up in post.
  • Heather: The high shot is not actually Mike. It was shot by the b-team, and it was Jonathan's stunt double. The prop department did research to make sure the metal detector was period-accurate, down to the sounds it made. The hand being found was on a stage, and that was a real person's hand. Heather's family "has monopoly on death in Southern Nebraska," and her father provided professional input on how to age the hand accurately for the desert region.
  • Fun fact: Heather drove a hearse around for a few years on New Years Eve, which was a big hit.
  • Heather also wrote the pie-sitting scene, over a lunch break, with the limited direction of "write a half a page on someone sitting in a pie and crying"
  • Back to the Sklar brothers, and the return of Slippin' Jimmy - no one recalls who was the first to bring him back, but Peter is thrilled to finally see Jimmy slip. Kelley talks through the technical details of motion control and mapping Bob Odenkirk's face onto a stunt man in the switch in the beginning of the fall. [BUT THEY GLOSS OVER THE CYMBAL HIT!]
  • Patrick asks why they don't just have Bob do the fall himself, after all, he climbed a wall in a suit!
  • Patrick shares how Howard portrays the restaurant exchange, where Howard's mask slips. "I mean, at a valet stand, how embarrassing!" It's two seasons of pent-up anger being released.
  • Focusing on the color of objects three times in a row, which are unrelated to the thing that causes you stress, is an actual coping technique.
  • Bob Odenkirk drops in with 5 minutes to go in the episode, and Kelley asks about the Mug Mealer exchange, one of the first times we see Saul Goodman come out, which baffles Bob -- he really doesn't remember until he's prompted more. Bob says this isn't Saul, it's still Jimmy, manipulating people, thinking about what matters to them and using it against them, then negotiating with them, which makes him a good lawyer. But Saul is the guy who really doesn't care about the collateral damage, and knows it, where Jimmy will hurt others but doesn't realize the collateral damage he creates. Saul has more self-awareness that Jimmy still doesn't have. He has a choice to be mercenary, from being hurt over and over. "People learn the wrong lessons from life."
  • Vince throws a parting plug for Anne (FanFare series page) with an E (IMDb page), produced by BB producer Moira Walley-Beckett.
  • And Patrick closes with his best Better Call Saul, under the pressure of Bob's steely gaze.

posted by filthy light thief at 8:45 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Oh, one final thing: I was going to question Mike's use of a metal detector to find arrowheads, but metal arrowheads have been found in New Mexico (Arrowheadology forum discussion with photos).
posted by filthy light thief at 8:59 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


filthy light thief - interesting! I took Jimmy's comment to be be remarking on the whole conversation (that he fell during production, that the music store threw in the guitar because they were so impressed, etc.), not only about him being able to cover his half of the costs.

Anyway, I can definitely see where you're coming from!
posted by minsies at 11:59 AM on June 15


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