Better Call Saul: Fall
June 13, 2017 5:08 PM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Jimmy visits a friend and takes up an old pastime; Chuck and Hamlin argue over the future of the firm; Kim faces challenges.

AMC should give their episode summary writer a raise.
posted by absalom (78 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sometimes it's the things a character doesn't do that tell us a lot about them. Maybe Kim should have hired a paralegal on her own. Maybe Howard should consider what he can do to improve his cashflow in the near term. Maybe Jimmy should have asked her what she was in rush for and offered to drive. Maybe Chuck should take his doctor's advice and his partner's. Maybe Nacho shouldn't just wait for those pills to kill Hector. And maybe, on learning that Gustavo Fring is far more than he imagines, Mike should walk away.

Omission is also a visual and narrative strategy: it's what we don't see that leads to the big events here, whether it's the missing time that signals Kim's car accident, the failure of the ibuprofen pills to work their magic, the failure of Nacho's father to directly answer his question, or the narrative Lydia doesn't provide about Gus Fring and what he really is. There are blind turns, gaps in the road, willful and involuntary moments where consciousness, knowledge, or conscience just aren't there. And this precipitates a crash.

But none of them do: they continue on their courses, trusting in what they see as their strengths, wary of what they see as their vulnerabilities. All of them are willing to sacrifice something meaningful, something lasting, if it remains outside themselves, whether it's Jimmy abusing the trust he'd cultivating and throwing out more of his empathy, Kim sacrificing her health and (almost) her life rather than take anyone's help, and Howard and Chuck about to battle to mutual destruction because one cannot let go of his inherited position and the other cannot let go of his pride. And as this is a Vince Gilligan show, staying the course is a dangerous thing to do in a world of flawed characters; the refusal to listen to the good advice of others is always, always a fatal course in this show.

Indeed, some of the characters here are suffering under the weight of all their past bad decisions. There's Kim, whose partnership with Jimmy and insistent "go it alone" attitude catch up to her. Yes, those things are in part a legacy of the struggle she's had to make it out of Nowhereseville and into the legal profession, but it's often left her vulnerable, first to the abuse HHM dealt to her and the subtler way Jimmy undermines her autonomy by constantly trying to "save" her even when she doesn't ask him to. The tragedy is that she can trust no one around her, but she also can't hold up the whole world on her own. Her strength runs out, symbolically and literally: the same self-reliance that gets her car out of the sand means she's alone; the same micronapping that kept her going with Mesa Verde causes her accident here.

And likewise, Howard's reliance on Chuck as the brains behind his firm, and his obsessive professionalism here make him a target several times over. Jimmy' in need of quick cash, is busy undermining the Sandpiper case and the future of HHM's fortunes; and Chuck, intransigent as ever, now threatens Howard's firm in the immediate future. And of course, it was Howard placating Chuck for years that has left him open to destruction here, just as it was Howard running interference against Jimmy for years that created the kind of animosity that Jimmy can use to justify his actions with Irene, if only to himself and not to the audience.

So much of this is fallout from the McGill brothers' toxicity, with the exception opf Nachop's plight: that seems to be Nacho's own tendency to slip -- we learn here he'd worked for the Salamancas before, and it's not hard to infer that his father wanted him out the same way Jimmy's mom wanted him out of jail and out of trouble. But Nacho clearly gets something from it -- money, perhaps, or a sense of pride, or the sense of a way out of his father's limited prospects -- only to find that the shortcuts have their price. And of course the two fronts -- Hector's plan for the upholstery shop, Gus's web of ties to Madrigal -- make for a nice contrast between the low-rent, working-class criminality and dilemmas faced by the Ignacios of the world and the higher-class, higher stakes world of slick business fronts and international corporations that Mike is moving into.

As ever, though, it's Jimmy who gets to flip the motif and play the wicked counselor, the giver of *bad* advice, whether it's insisting on a party rather than honoring his allies' professionalism, engaging in bullying by proxy to force a settlement and get his payout, or even prodding Howard just before he does all this such that suspicions will surely be raised. And it's Jimmy who thus sets others on a path to ruin. How much of Kim's desperation is because she's literally and figuratively in the bed he made for them? How much of the Chuck-Howard split is down to Jimmy's fraud and coverup? And then there's poor Irene, betrayed in a deep and lasting way by someone who not two scenes earlier was trumpeting concern for his clients. Chuck is at last wrong: between last episode's "my father was a fool" and this episode's "maybe she doesn't need the money," Jimmy isn't a person with a good heart. Maybe he never was, given his plan to win the Kettlemans as clients back in the pilot. (How much of this is Chuck's fault,m too, is up for grabs; after all, it wasn't so long ago that it was Chuck giving Jimmy willfully bad advice for self-serving reasons.)

Unlike the other characters, Jimmy hasn't found his path leading into a pit, or into uncharted territory. No, he's the one who points people there. But of course, he'll get there himself one day. Some lines in the sand you can't cross twice.
posted by kewb at 5:37 PM on June 13 [23 favorites]


Among the many remarkable things about this show is the way it's successfully turned Chuck from an ostensible villain to a somewhat sympathetic character in the space of only a few episodes.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:09 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


This is an absolutely insignificant and irrelevant comment, but I loved - loved - Kim's outfit when she was visiting the oilfield. The workboots with that very well tailored suit works.

Also, that Kim drives a Mitsubishi Eclipse and pushes it out of that rut (and jumps into it while it was running away); I'm even more in love.

Yes, there are flimsy pipe fences around the derrick, but wouldn't/shouldn't bollards be a regulatory thing? Oh, right. Texas. How much damage would that have caused, anyway?

The cliffhanger this episode showed up in the first scene (she was obviously stressed out, conflicted, and running something that she's not sure about - there's something she knows that she isn't doing the right thing and hoping that something happens to ameliorate it), and cliffhanged in the last.

--

Jebus, Samalanca is an a-hole. And Mark Margolis sells it so well. ... In Breaking Bad, he's Tio Samalanca and here he's Hector. Wiki implies that Tio is a nickname - is Hector -> Tio common or is there some other reason?

--

Oh Jimmy. The mallwalking thing (and the bingo thing at the end of the episode) is disappointing, in a character development/likeability level. Also, that's an expensive/risky scam. If I went and bought the same shoe in all the sizes a retail store (with a reasonable return policy) had in stock - how much of a hassle would it reasonably be to return 16/18 of the purchases? Realistically, Saul should have a reasonable idea what Irene's shoe size is and limited to, at most, 5 or 6 sizes, instead of the trunk full. Unless there's an extended con that's coming down the chute.

Jeeze, the analogy with the peanuts. Tight. But, overall, the casual cruelty is troubling; manipulation is... acceptable... but the cruelty of the manipulation is hard.

Jimmy really burned bridges with Howard from the Chuck thing already, very much interested to see just how poisoned the blood will end up between them in the end.

Chuck, otoh, fuck Chuck. Any "positive" thing he's doing is purely to try to rehabilitate his own image. Zero apologies, zero taking ownership of any shit that his behaviour has caused. And now he's biting the hand that treated him well during his - frankly - bs mental health episode. I have mental health issues but I don't use it as blackmail leverage.

--

Damn, I've expressed this sentiment before and I'll say it again, Michael Mando is good. Wish him all the very best in the quantity and quality of future roles offered to him.
posted by porpoise at 7:57 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


"Tío" is just "Uncle" as far as I know. As in Tuco's uncle.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:03 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Tio- Uncle. It designates the relationship between him and his nephew(s) though some are more nephew-y than others vs, say, the east coast style use of the term.
posted by tilde at 8:06 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Pretty meaty episode with a lot happening, but the overshadowing thing for me was the precision, deep planning, and utter emotional brutality with which Jimmy cut off Irene from her posse to get her to flip. Throwing the bingo game to her just so that she would be forced to face the fact that all her friends hate her made me consider that the chimp wasn't at his most dangerous with a machine gun, but with a scalpel. He may rationalize it as that he's saving her and the others from the likelihood that some (if not most) of them may die before getting their settlement, but we know who he's really worried about, and it was just so fucking cruel.

Beyond that, mostly what kewb said above; Kim is only the first of many characters who's about to drive off the road. A couple of things: porpoise, in the background of one of the mall-walking scenes, there's a sign on a store advertising deep discounts--I wondered if that's where Jimmy got the shoes. And speaking of mall stores, I happened to notice a branch of the childrens' store, Crazy 8. Where have we heard that name before?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:24 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


the overshadowing thing for me was the precision, deep planning, and utter emotional brutality with which Jimmy cut off Irene from her posse to get her to flip

This is the episode where I finally said "Okay, there's Saul." We've had hints of him before, but Jimmy was Saul in every moment of this episode. Worse, he could only be Saul so effectively because he had been Jimmy so well in his previous dealings with Irene. A lot of authentic relationship building and solid legal work got him into a position where he could manipulate an old woman to enrich himself.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:22 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


I empathized so strongly with Kim, in this episode. She is so alone, and so much is all on her, with impossible deadlines that she can only just make if she doesn't sleep and carefully plans trips to the bathroom while documents are printing… and then just as she's trying desperately to get out the door to the Big Meeting, Jimmy waltzes in, demanding she pay attention to him Right Now. Worse, he doesn't do a damn thing to help her at all, he just keeps wanting her to pay homage to him while she's about to go work at landing a deal which would secure them financially.

I might be projecting a lot of myself and my ex-husband here, but $5 says this is what rips it for Kim, and makes her decide she's done with Jimmy.
posted by culfinglin at 10:08 PM on June 13 [14 favorites]


the same self-reliance that gets her car out of the sand means she's alone; the same micronapping that kept her going with Mesa Verde causes her accident here.

Thanks for the comment Kewb. As soon as I saw her rehearsing her lines in the car I knew she was going to crash. And then bang! So sublime was the telegraphing, I feel like an expert in mind control implanted the suggestion in my brain. Kim's in the car, her mind is on the case, she loses control. You only see the manipulation in hindsight though. This is genius level screenwriting. Coupled with the directing - anyone who's been knocked out and experienced time-loss knows will say yes, that's what it's like.

I've digested enough mainstream entertainment to safely guess the end after watching the first five minutes. There are formulas and tropes that creatives dare not stray from. If they want you to know there'll be a car crash, it'll be obvious. So obvious as to be insulting. Not here, this was so sublime, I didn't know that I knew. But then I had that feeling.

And it's not insulting. No one held my hand and dragged me to a conclusion here.

About Kim's self-reliance, 'call me if you need anything' says the guy with the truck designed for offroad work, 30 seconds before she gets bogged. I even saw that coming. We have big flat deserts in Australia and it's silly to take a car like that offroad. He couldn't have gone that far, just call him Kim!
posted by adept256 at 11:06 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Wow, this episode has so many conflicts.

Mike vs Gus (more of a cautious alliance than a conflict)
Jimmy vs Howard (Sandpiper settlement)
Chuck vs Howard
Nacho vs Hector
Kim vs Jimmy (just a tiny bit)
Kim vs Kim (surprisingly the one that ends in tragedy)

I notice this is maybe the first time Jimmy and Chuck have the same enemy. It makes me wonder if we'll see Jimmy and Chuck working together in an "enemy of my enemy" situation before the end of the season.

As soon as I saw her rehearsing her lines in the car I knew she was going to crash.

I didn't, and it's because this show fools me. The only reason a normal show would focus on one character in their car for a while would be because there's going to be a crash, but this show doesn't always do the obvious thing.

For example the scene with Nacho swapping the pills last week. He just carefully, slowly, nervously goes through the process, and in any other show there'd be a moment when he drops everything or someone sees what he's doing, but no, it works.

So Kim's accident completely caught me off guard, and yet in retrospect there was so much foreshadowing that it was a completely obvious thing to happen -- they've showed Kim being overworked and tired, and then she had a close call with the car earlier in the episode.
posted by mmoncur at 11:41 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Among the many remarkable things about this show is the way it's successfully turned Chuck from an ostensible villain to a somewhat sympathetic character in the space of only a few episodes.

I couldn't disagree more, and I'm basing my feelings about Chuck entirely on that scene in his kitchen. He just did the exact same thing to Howard that he did to his wife -- he knew Howard would storm over to confront him. He had the house perfectly prepared (all those unnecessary lights!) and was standing cooking soup, which could have been on the stove slow-cooking for hours so Chuck would have something to be "normal" with in front of him. He wants Howard to know he's putting prime beef out to pasture. The way he drops the mixer as soon as Howard's out the door is proof of that. It wasn't just the mixer that was an act, it was the entire staged setting.
posted by tracicle at 12:43 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


And I had to literally walk out of the room in tears during the bingo scene. What a callous, vicious person Jimmy/Saul can be. And he had no justification for it this time except his own need for quick cash.
posted by tracicle at 12:44 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Throwing the bingo game to her just so that she would be forced to face the fact that all her friends hate her made me consider that the chimp wasn't at his most dangerous with a machine gun, but with a scalpel.

Yeah, this was really hard to watch. The old folks have consistently been the one group Jimmy seemed to genuinely want to help, and now he's selling them out. I didn't think the writers quite earned this one, it seemed way more "Saul" than we've seen so far. He's certainly manipulated them before, but he always did it in a way that made them happy somehow. This was just cruel.

I do imagine Jimmy coming back after the settlement and convincing everyone to give Irene another chance... but maybe that's just wishful thinking, and it's certainly not something they'll show.

And yeah, Chuck calling Jimmy a chimp with a machine gun was a demeaning insult, a way for Chuck to feel better about himself, because in a lot of ways Jimmy is the smarter one. The manipulation of the Kettlemans, the Mesa Verde address swap, costing Chuck his malpractice insurance... Jimmy knows how to be subtle and incredibly clever.

(Really what that metaphor tells us, though, is that Chuck considers the law "a machine gun" that he himself is completely qualified to use whenever he sees fit. As Howard is now finding out.)
posted by mmoncur at 4:21 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Oh, Irene.

Oh, Kim.

This episode made my heart hurt.
posted by minsies at 5:18 AM on June 14 [8 favorites]


I notice this is maybe the first time Jimmy and Chuck have the same enemy. It makes me wonder if we'll see Jimmy and Chuck working together in an "enemy of my enemy" situation

Hmm. I wondered if Jimmy and Howard would team up against Chuck somehow. Jimmy needs money from the Sandpiper settlement, and Howard might need Jimmy's testimony of his brother's increasing incompetence if Chuck goes through with a suit against HHM.

It's hard for me to imagine Jimmy and Chuck (who?) teaming up on anything, but the door is open for a strategic alliance with Howard.

(I know Jimmy told Kim that Sandpiper had settled, but I'm not sure I trust that that's 100% done--or that he doesn't need Howard's help to ensure a timely disbursement.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:57 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Couldn't Jimmy have made a deal with HHM to sell his 15% of the settlement for a nice big round number? Cut him a check for $1,000,000, then let the company do their thing and that 15% becomes $2,000,000 down the road.

And wouldn't Irene have discussed the settlement -- like, at all -- with her friends?

I get that it's a narrative device to show what a sociopath Jimmy is, but 20 seconds of a conversation with Howard where they try to make a deal and can't would have made Jimmy's dire situation more understandable.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:20 AM on June 14 [5 favorites]


It's interesting to me that the writers decided to turn Jimmy into the dick when they very easily could have gone in a different direction:
1) Howard is continuing to hold out for the larger settlement for his own selfish reasons as well.
2) Many of these clients will die before they see any money if this settlement takes too long.
3) It has already been established that to an outsider, Jimmy has genuine concern for the elderly.
But instead of keeping Jimmy on the path to integrity, they take him down the selfish path that leads to Saul.

This is straw that will drive Kim away. She already feels guilty about what they did to Chuck, and he was an asshole. She's not going to stay with someone who takes advantage of innocent people like that.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:21 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Oh and settling this case may turn out well in the short run for Howard, if they are about to be cash strapped from having to buy Chuck out.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:22 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


(sorry, not 15% of the settlement -- I meant 1/15 of the settlement)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:27 AM on June 14


I'm always interested in the show's depiction of legal practice and interlawyer (?) politics. I used to practice at big law firms but I daydreamed about going solo, and everything I've read drove home that you have to have someone who can back you up. Either you explicitly partner with someone, or you end up in an arrangement like Kim and Jimmy's where you share office space and kind of keep each other vaguely informed on your matters in case you need them to cover a hearing.

The client needs that assurance, too. Because otherwise you're Mesa Verde or Gatwood Oil and your business is riding on one single person and what if she, I don't know, gets in a car wreck on the way to a big meeting?

Kim helped Jimmy out that day he ran out on a waiting room full of clients. Jimmy has never stepped up to help Kim. But I think that's got as much to do with Kim's personality as it does Jimmy's. She unsticks her car herself, even though it's risky. She cuts a check for the tuition reimbursement. She works her way through the entire waiting room instead of asking them to reschedule, and she's not giving those clients back to Jimmy afterwards; she's committed now.

I don't know what's in store for Kim but I'm feeling this mix of eager anticipation and dread.

This is an absolutely insignificant and irrelevant comment, but I loved - loved - Kim's outfit when she was visiting the oilfield. The workboots with that very well tailored suit works.

Rhea Seehorn is on the podcast this week, and I don't think it's spoiling anything to say she talks about Kim's clothes. The costume designer, from the very beginning, had the idea that while Kim will wear suit separates, they'll always be a little mismatched--like a navy blazer and navy skirt but in slightly different fabrics. She said she envisioned Kim shopping for separates at Marshalls. (And the clothes are deliberately not well tailored.) In this particular scene it looked like she was wearing dark-wash bootcut jeans and a flecked navy blazer. Along with the boots, it's exactly what a client-focused lawyer would wear to meet an oilman in an oil field. Practical and a little rugged but pulled together just enough to keep it professional. Contrast this practicality with the ridiculous image of Howard scaling Chuck's wall in his bespoke suit.
posted by mama casserole at 6:33 AM on June 14 [11 favorites]


I notice this is maybe the first time Jimmy and Chuck have the same enemy.

Oh and settling this case may turn out well in the short run for Howard, if they are about to be cash strapped from having to buy Chuck out.

I was expecting these two storylines to collide in a more obvious way. There was some talk from Howard about the straw that broke the camel's back, which makes me wonder if he authorised Irene's settlement only because he knew he'd need the resources to use against Chuck. I mean, Irene as the class representative can do whatever she wants, but I'm sure Howard could have had Erin(?) talk her back down. But the fight with Chuck is going to take all his concentration, as well as the windfall of money, so he chose not to put any more effort into extending the Sandpiper suit.

As for Chuck being sympathetic, I didn't say that he's been redeemed or that he's a good guy. But we see him facing up to his problem at last and seeking out help to deal with it... with nothing to show for the effort because Jimmy narced on him to the insurance company and now Howard wants to cut him loose.

Chuck without the law is like Jimmy without the hustle (both kinds), and we've already seen the dark shit Jimmy is falling back into since his license was suspended. He can no more settle down to write books than Jimmy can sit out his suspension with community service work and a legitimate side job shooting TV commercials.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:54 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


As for Chuck being sympathetic, I didn't say that he's been redeemed or that he's a good guy. But we see him facing up to his problem at last and seeking out help to deal with it... with nothing to show for the effort because Jimmy narced on him to the insurance company and now Howard wants to cut him loose.

I'm not arguing with you, honest; I am interested in how different viewers see him. To me, his whole recovery process feels like it's part of some wider vengeance-motivated scheme. We've seen how Chuck can play the long game just as well as, probably better even than, Jimmy. I think he's covering it well, but only because we get small glimpses of him without Jimmy to draw our attention to him. He is working his ass off to seem normal but I don't think he really buys his own act. I think he's using that deep well of willpower he has to force his perceived pain down in order to bring Jimmy down somehow, once and for all.

After all, for all the crap that got slung (rightfully for the most part) at Chuck in that bar hearing, Jimmy ended up getting off pretty light: one year's suspension will seem like nothing to Chuck, when he thinks Jimmy is ruining law by existing in that world at all. He will want Jimmy to pay, and pay, and keep paying until he's nothing.
posted by tracicle at 10:54 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


The thing about Chuck for me is that Howard is fundamentally right about his judgment. I mean, obviously Chuck was correct that Jimmy is an unscrupulous lawyer and that he did change the Mesa Verde documents, but Chuck's obsession with keeping Jimmy down is unhealthy and directly led to any number of negative consequences for HHM and absolutely no gain whatsoever for the firm as a whole. Chuck roped Howard himself into a ridiculous scheme to punish Jimmy and used firm resources to pursue a personal vendetta which ended up costing the firm dearly in both overhead costs and damaged client relationships.

It's one of the reasons I find myself surprisingly sympathetic to Howard. He's not a good or nice person, and clearly he's actually only in this for the money and prestige he can accrue to himself, but at least that means he has a goal beyond screwing over his brother. He's absolutely a dick to Jimmy and Kim (and to a lesser extent, Chuck), but, for God's sake, he's been constantly dealing with McGill brothers drama for, what, a year now (I actually have no idea how much in-universe time the show has covered so far), not to mention all the hassles that Chuck presented even when his relationship with Jimmy was good. It doesn't make outbursts of anger and cruelty right or acceptable, but I can partly understand it.
posted by Copronymus at 11:19 AM on June 14 [10 favorites]


Last episode I saw the glimmer of a possibility for a redemption arc for Chuck. Now we see that's off the table, but c'mon how amazing could that have been? Through intense self-examination and effort, Chuck trends morally upward, becoming more other-centered and compassionate, a fully-realized human being. Meanwhile, Jimmy slips down into Saul. Inevitably, there comes a moment of truth where Chuck tries to save Jimmy from himself (this time, for all the right reasons), but to no avail because Jimmy can't believe in his brother's good will.

By contrast, Chuck using his recovery to enable being Chuckier than ever feels like a letdown.
posted by whuppy at 11:37 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


My other hare-brained headcanon is the Final Break Which Transforms Jimmy to Saul involves simultaneously burning bridges with Kim, Chuck, and Howard, who find themselves in an awkward alliance for one last shot at saving Jimmy's soul. But even I get that that's a lot of spinning plates.
posted by whuppy at 11:44 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


And maybe, on learning that Gustavo Fring is far more than he imagines, Mike should walk away.

I wonder how it hit Mike when, after spending so much effort in his life trying to stay as far off the man's radar as possible, to be told that his existence is basically a rounding error.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:01 PM on June 14 [9 favorites]


And, by "the man" I mean, of course, The Man, and not Gus, if that wasn't clear.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:13 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Kim helped Jimmy out that day he ran out on a waiting room full of clients. Jimmy has never stepped up to help Kim. But I think that's got as much to do with Kim's personality as it does Jimmy's. She unsticks her car herself, even though it's risky. She cuts a check for the tuition reimbursement. She works her way through the entire waiting room instead of asking them to reschedule…

Yeah, Kim absolutely Gets Shit Done. (Can you imagine Kim and Mike teaming up to do… well, anything? That's my new dream political ticket: Wexler & Erhmentraut 2020) Jimmy has helped Kim indirectly with the Mesa Verde case… but arguably, only to undercut Chuck. Jimmy could easily have stopped what he was doing and driven Kim to her meeting with the oil company, but that would've required him to be less self-absorbed and emotionally needy.
posted by culfinglin at 1:40 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Kim Wexler is the most rich and interesting female character I've seen on a male-dominated TV show in ages.

Which is why the brutal shocker of an accident that ended this week's episode struck me as so damn cruel and unnecessary. Think about it: this is the 2nd season in a row where the penultimate episode climaxed in a shocking, atypical moment of violence. So many rich emotional and intellectual conflicts, as mmoncur pointed out above, and *this* - a fucking shocking car crash? - is how they ramp things up for the end? It felt lazy when Chuck fell and hit his head at the end of last season, and this feels almost as bad.
posted by mediareport at 2:53 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


In other apparently unpopular opinions, I think Jimmy is motivated at least in part by concern for the seniors. He was genuinely shocked at the size of the offer from Sandpiper, even doing the math out loud for us to emphasize the point, and clearly has a point about HHM not exactly being in the same place as the elderly plaintiffs on early settling. When Jimmy came to him, Howard completely ignored his point about what was best for the elderly clients and threatened to cut Jimmy out completely if he tried to peel away clients. Jimmy clearly doesn't like what he's doing to Irene but he also clearly thinks she's being ripped off by HHM, which makes him a bit less unsympathetic. More than a bit, even.
posted by mediareport at 3:00 AM on June 15 [5 favorites]


This seems a little unfair to me. Kim's car accident has been heavily foreshadowed, not only in this episode but in prior ones, with her microsleeps in the car, and Jimmy's own car troubles, and arguably event he "flopsy" from the very first episode. And it gives the show a way to tie together Jimmy's undependability -- it's fairly clear he and Francesca will be too drunk to head out themselves, and he didn't offer to drive -- and aggravate his savior complex with regard to Kim -- she's in this because he's more interested in impressing her with what he does than helping her with what she does.

And the show's intentions for the crash are signaled pretty clearly by showing that Kim is alive, if hurt, and by that final image of the papers for the Gattwell case blowing around int he wind from their neat little binders. It's an admittedly spectacular display of Kim hitting her limits and losing control, a powerful visual metaphor.

Think back to Chuck's head injury. The cliffhanger there wasn't "is Chuck dead/brain-damaged/insane," it's "will Jimmy run in and expose himself or stand back in horror and guilt to save himself?" The follow-up wasn't about any goofy soap-opera consequences of conking one's noggin, but about Jimmy's act of exposure and Chuck's discovery that this was one of Jimmy's limits, and that played out across the rest of Season 2 and into much of this season.

It's worth remembering that this is much more a suspense show at heart than a quiet character study. It's always used the threat of sudden or highly visible and visual danger, even if it's just the subjective threat Chuck experienced in earlier episodes. It's the show that gave us Jimmy "rescuing" a man from a billboard in what was shot and presented as a (staged) act of derring-do, had Jimmy kick in a door and smash open a desk a few episodes back, and more generally gives us spectacular con tricks like Huell's bump-and-plant act in the Bar hearing episode, Chuck's Mylar cave o' crazy last season, and Jimmy's magnetic bingo game this episode. It's odd to call the car crash atypical, but not, say, Jimmy's flopsy-with-a-rimshot from last episode, staged as a burst of physical comedy but also intended to heighten the character and moral conflicts.

The Sandpiper settlement is an interesting one, too: Howard doesn't deny Jimmy's reasoning, but Jimmy doesn't deny Howard's either. And the math we hear Jimmy doing is just him calculating his payout, his 20% of the 33% pool set aside for the lawyers. Recall that back when the whole Sandpiper magilla started, Chuck's starting offer was $20 million as a settlement, and that was before the case went interstate and added loads of people to the class. Sandpiper's current offer is a shade over $17 million...and it's an initial settlement offer in this big class action.

Both the reasoning Jimmy gives when he's alone in the teaser and the means he uses to push Irene towards settlement are fairly good indicators that this is about his need for cash, not the clients'; note that he never tells them an actual dollar amount, and uses peanuts as a deliberate visual metaphor instead. And note that the person irene is talking to isn't Howard or an HHM lackey, but Erin of Davis and Main, the super-straight-arrow tat Jimmy did end runs around in Season 2 because he just can't "do" straight legal work. As soon as Jimmy hears that, he winces and stops trying to convince Irene directly. Why might that be, exactly? because he'll lose an argument with her (and probably be reported to the bar besides). There's a reason that Kim is surprised at how fast the case has been settled, and she even says "Class actions don't move that fast."

It may be a case of Jimmy doing the righ tthing for the wrong reasons, but the show sends up big, blinding signals that this time, Jimmy really is just rationalizing his way to an outcome he needs more than anyone else. It's why his method of pressuring Irene revolves around creating a personal crisis for her and generating envy among her friends, to convince them that Irene doesn't care about them and has financial assets they don't. If Jimmy's in the right about the settlement, then why does he need to act so disingenuously and inflict so much emotional violence to make it happen? And why is he only math-ing out his share, not theirs, in the parking lot?
posted by kewb at 3:57 AM on June 15 [11 favorites]


If Jimmy's in the right about the settlement, then why does he need to act so disingenuously and inflict so much emotional violence to make it happen?

Yeah, on the one hand, the quicker the case settles, the more likely the claimaints are to be able to enjoy their share directly. On the other hand, they don't seem to be hurting much and might rather leave that settlement to heirs in any case. The cruelty of Jimmy's play is heartbreaking and we don't even get the usual remorseful facial expressions about it -- Jimmy might have felt bad about isolating Irene (but would have done it anyway), but there's zero indication that Jimmy-as-Saul is thinking of anything but his paycheck.

Something that hasn't been mentioned yet, so far as I can tell, is Nacho's glass of milk. When his father told him to get out, he could have left it there on the table, but instead he takes it to the sink and gently -- there's almost a complete lack of glass-rattling -- dumps it out. I'm half-surprised we didn't get 30 seconds of him washing it. It's a small, quiet character moment that I thought was really nice.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:07 AM on June 15 [7 favorites]


I think Jimmy is motivated at least in part by concern for the seniors.

This is, of course, what's great about the writing in this show. Nobody has only one motivation.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:51 AM on June 15 [6 favorites]


tobascodagama, exactly - no one is so one-dimensional that they're all good or all bad, purely greedy or completely a saint. Kim can be Gizelle with Jimmy, swindling rich douches for free drinks and a check they'll never cash (or will they?), while Chuck can be a great legal mind, but also super petty and vindictive about past transgressions.

This was the most tense episode I've seen in a while, because I was full of anticipation for all the characters. Everything is falling down/ into place, but I'm still not sure where that will be for everyone. Sure, it's easy to say "everything is telegraphed" after it happens, but I also think this show is crafted so well as to provide a range of options that, in retrospect, can all be equally considered to be well telegraphed in advance. Just like the characters, the plot pieces aren't single-purpose, which is good for writers who want to give themselves options for future episodes and seasons, and is also enjoyable as a viewer because there's something to fill in for yourself.

I loved that Chuck and Jimmy were paralleled so clearly (but not mirror images) between the prior episode and this one. Last time, we saw Jimmy become Saul, using the law to threaten people and win, in the short term -- very much a Jimmy scope for planning. Here we saw Chuck threaten the insurance company representatives similarly, except they're used to legal threats, so Chuck, being Chuck, is ready to play the long game. He even starts rattling off how to proceed to Howard, who is done with the McGill drama. Also, Chuck stages not one but TWO scenes to convince other people (and himself, to a degree) that he's 100% normal again, similar to Jimmy setting up the drum stick tumble (WITH THAT CYMBAL HIT! SO DAMNED GOOD!) in the last episode. They're more similar than they are willing to admit.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:55 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


That the show obviously (in retrospect) foreshadowed Kim's horrific crash doesn't mean the crash was a brilliant writing move at this point. That upping the violence shockingly in the penultimate episode of a season is now a pattern is disappointing on such a compelling character study of a show. I found the crash itself an over-the-top, blatantly obvious metaphor that should have ended on the writing room floor.

It's worth remembering that this is much more a suspense show at heart than a quiet character study.

Wow. Obviously, I could not disagree more with the above oddly binary framing of the heart of this mostly marvelous show.
posted by mediareport at 8:49 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Jimmy gives when he's alone in the teaser

I'm not sure what this means because I skipped the rest of that paragraph because I avoid previews of upcoming episodes and thought it was considered a major faux pas to talk about previews on Fanfare. Apologies if I've misread the comment, but I do think a norm against commenting about preview clips without spoiler warnings is a minimal request.
posted by mediareport at 9:04 AM on June 15


I think the car crash fits well. It seemed clear that Kim was taking on more than she can reasonably handle--Mesa Verde itself is more than enough work for a solo lawyer! At that point, it seems like one of two things is inevitable--(1) she hits her mental limits and makes a significant error in her documents or research or (2) she hits her physical limits and collapses from exhaustion/gets hooked on stimulants/has a car crash. Given that we've already had a big storyline about errors in legal documents, path 2 seems the better way forward to me, and I think a car crash, caused by Kim's exhaustion as she's racing to yet another responsibility she has tackled, is completely in keeping with the character we know. It wasn't overly gratuitous or melodramatic. Kim's shocked, but she's up and walking around. There's not a big physical injury. But she hit the limit of what one human is able to do. Kim has put her own health at risk to try to make up for the money that Jimmy is no longer bringing in because his lack of control earned him a suspension from the law.

In the meantime, Jimmy is mall-walking and bingo-calling, drinking to his big payout. The contrast is pronounced, and I think a lot of women will find resonance in Kim sacrificing her sleep and her health to make up for the shortcomings of a male partner who is getting drunk and celebrating, completely oblivious to the stresses she is dealing with.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:19 AM on June 15 [17 favorites]


I'm not sure what this means because I skipped the rest of that paragraph because I avoid previews of upcoming episodes and thought it was considered a major faux pas to talk about previews on Fanfare. Apologies if I've misread the comment, but I do think a norm against commenting about preview clips without spoiler warnings is a minimal request.

"Teaser" aka cold open is the first scene of the episode, before the opening credits. When Jimmy pops in on Irene with the cat cookies, learns about the settlement offer, and then does the math in his head outside by his car.
posted by mama casserole at 9:32 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


There's not a big physical injury

It looked to me like she has a broken arm.
posted by thelonius at 10:52 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


mediareport: Think about it: this is the 2nd season in a row where the penultimate episode climaxed in a shocking, atypical moment of violence.

You make a good point about this pattern, but I'll make the point that these acts of violence are strikingly normal, given the "world" of this show and Breaking Bad. We've had Nacho severely beat up a Krazy 8 for coming up short, at the uninterested demand of Don Hector, and there's been much worse in Breaking Bad, but that's all intentional violence, carried out in the drug world.

Chuck and Kim are both impacted by self-inflicted violence, due in both cases to them pushing themselves to the point of physically breaking. That's my take-away from these two scenes: lawyers exist in the cerebral, "character study" world until they cross some threshold -- getting involved with gangs and drugs, in the case of Jimmy, or exceeding their physical limitations, for Kim and Chuck. Even Jimmy, reverting to Slippin' Jimmy, has reached the limits of his ability to talk his way out of a situation, so he turns to self-inflicted injury.

Yes, the pattern can become a formula, which can be a lazy way to structure a show, or it can be used to strengthen character comparisons. I'm leaning with the latter in this case.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:04 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


What happens after the triggering event is always the most important thing. Chuck's fall precipitated pretty much the entire plot of the current season. What is Kim's crash going to cause?
posted by tobascodagama at 11:38 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


One thing that struck me about Jimmy's plan to isolate Irene from her friends is how that plan required a level of intense understanding of all-female group dynamics, which seems unusual in anyone who didn't live through being a teenage girl. I've often joked that if I were ever to take my rightful place as Bitch-Queen of the Known Universe, I'll be appointing a crack squad of thirteen-year-old girls as my interrogators of prisoners, because they are the cruelest creatures under the sun. It seems so strange that Jimmy knows the laws of Woman World well enough to manipulate the group to bring about Irene's ostracism, but at the same time, he's clueless about recognizing the stresses Kim is under.
posted by culfinglin at 1:23 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


I assumed that he figured out the dynamic from hanging out with this specific group of old ladies back when he was in his "Jimmy from the TV" elder law phase.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:54 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


It seems so strange that Jimmy knows the laws of Woman World well enough

We do know from the Chuck deathbed scene that Jimmy and Mom appear to have been closer than Chuck and Mom, so I think there's probably a connection there.
posted by rhizome at 2:00 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


It seems so strange that Jimmy knows the laws of Woman World well enough to manipulate the group to bring about Irene's ostracism, but at the same time, he's clueless about recognizing the stresses Kim is under.

I think he was baffled Kim didn't just drop everything because he's the hero what solved all the problems in that scene. Really, I feel like he was frustrated by her continuing to the client meeting instead of giving him props for keeping the office, and got that she was frustrated but didn't see why she had a right to feel that way. (Both McGill brothers have similar needs there, which is fascinating.)

As for understanding the dynamics of that group: can't be a good con man without a deep understanding of interpersonal dynamics. That's Job #1 for a guy who runs the sort of scams he has.
posted by mordax at 4:12 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


I think the car crash fits well. It seemed clear that Kim was taking on more than she can reasonably handle--Mesa Verde itself is more than enough work for a solo lawyer!

I agree, and I see it more as a wake-up call for Kim than a moment of violence. She'll probably walk away from it with minor injuries, but it's made it very clear she bit off more than she could chew.

And this is Jimmy's fault, in a way. Kim agreed to their "partnership" and I think she expected some help from Jimmy with her work, and certainly some help paying the bills. Instead, she ended up with a partner who isn't even a lawyer for the next year. She's NOT going to fail and lose the lease on the building, so as soon as she realizes Jimmy won't be much help she starts taking on extra work herself.

As for understanding the dynamics of that group: can't be a good con man without a deep understanding of interpersonal dynamics. That's Job #1 for a guy who runs the sort of scams he has.

Not only that, he learns which buttons to push for each individual mark. One of the earliest examples is when he talks down Tuco in the desert in season 1. First he tries telling the truth: He's an innocent lawyer that accidentally involved Tuco's grandmother in a scam. That doesn't work on Tuco because he doesn't care about innocent bystanders and the story sounds crazy.

He tries scaring him by pretending to be FBI, but Nacho breaks down his story. But in the process he realizes Tuco wants to be treated like he's powerful and important, and the one thing he cares about is his family. So he starts talking in those terms, and he convinces Tuco not to kill his "clients".

Similarly, he offers Irene cookies and friendship - not insincerely, I think. He tries offering her friendly advice, but he realizes she trusts Erin at Davis and Main. He tries talking about getting her money sooner, but she's not worried about money so that doesn't work. So he realizes that her friendship with the other ladies is the button he can push.
posted by mmoncur at 7:32 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


After watching it a couple of times, it seems that Kim fell asleep at the wheel with her eyes open. Is this what happened? Is it a statement about her overworking herself to pick up some of the slack to make the payments? It stands in quite a contrast then to other people operating with selfish motivations, especially if the crash is foreshadowing something that might be coming up. Jimmy eventually "crashes" because he's being selfish, Kim crashes because she's being caring. Metaphorical maybe for what is coming up next between the two of them?

I have been very, very wrong before in my guesses, so this is probably not in the same universe as being correct.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:35 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


"it seems that Kim fell asleep at the wheel with her eyes open"

I don't think you can take that at face value - a decent bit of time passes between when we see her stop talking and when the wreck takes place. While she's talking we see her in a densely-populated urban area and the wreck appears to be more middle-of-nowhere.

If they had shown her driving drowsy or given us any other indications then the immediacy and force of the wreck would have been diminished.
posted by komara at 8:35 PM on June 15


My take is that Kim is just waaaay past due on long uninterupted high quality sleep.

She was already looking and micro-behaving as haggard as hell in the opening scene. I immediately picked up on her obvious stress and long-term fatigue.

Her car getting stuck and her running after it and averting disaster at the last moment - that's a heckuva lot of ADRENALIN!!1!

Especially when you're tired and stressed out.

It takes a lot out of you, adrenalin rushes. Without long lasting non-interupted truly restful sleep, the tolls that fatigue poisons and adrenalin (epinephrin/norepinephrin) and stress hormones are really really hard to get rid of.

Not to mention nutrition over the last few weeks.

Toss in a little anxiety/depression and you've got a fuckup coming up.

/knocks wood
posted by porpoise at 9:17 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


While she's talking we see her in a densely-populated urban area and the wreck appears to be more middle-of-nowhere.

I rewound this part because I was all, "what just happened?" After she's talking you see her kind of zone out, and there's some traffic in the background. Then it cuts to the crash, and the camera zooms out and it kiiinda looks like she's still around a bit of civilization, not too much different than what she was driving past for it to have been longer than a minute or so. Hard to read much more into it, but I'm sure the next episode will reveal this earthshaking detail.
posted by rhizome at 10:51 PM on June 15


The crash is shot with a jump-cut similar to when she took a 5-minute nap in the Mesa Verde parking lot a couple of episodes ago.
posted by cardboard at 6:11 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


Hard to read much more into it, but I'm sure the next episode will reveal this earthshaking detail.

This sounds sarcastic. As others have mentioned, the filmmakers are just referencing previous scenes to show that Kim fell asleep during her drive.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:57 AM on June 16


BCS Insider Podcast 309, hosted by Kelley Dixon and Chris McCaleb, Peter and Vince, episode writer Gordon Smith, and music supervisor Thomas Golubic, and special guest, Rhea Seehorn.
  • Rhea is doing press interviews, and is wearing her ponytail look, because apparently that has its own following (srsly interviewers, get over women's looks, or ask men about such details in as much detail)
  • But really, the ponytail has a lot of thought put into it - no-nonsense yet stylish. Fact: the ponytail is now 85% of Rhea's real hair, though it was 100% her hair in the first season. Coiling her hair has taken its damage, and now there's an armature of sorts, which is hidden within her real hair
  • Also, Rhea's jewelry: changing jewelry isn't a priority, so she sticks with one solid look. Jennifer Bryant detailed the look, also covering the clothing, as mama casserole noted - slightly mis-matched, because Kim still shops at Marshalls, at which point Rhea started crying. Both Jennifer and Rhea were on the same page, though they were working with a limited character story. Sharp-eyed viewers may pick out the fact that Kim's outfits, as separates, get re-used in various ways and combinations.
  • Directed by Minkie Spiro, probably best known for directing specials of Downton Abbey, with stops at Shuteye and Good Girls Revolt. Kelley supports Minkie's "fresh eye" to the direction of this episode, but wasn't the editor for this episode, so she got to see the episode with her own fresh eyes. She even viewed the car crash frame-by-frame to appreciate the editing. Chris didn't see the crash coming either, even though he said he could look back and see how everything built to that moment. (Rhea hadn't seen the episode yet, so she's not sure what everyone is talking about.)
  • Peter talks about how everyone has seen a ton of car crashes by this point, and instead of something visually spectacular, they wanted to make it about how Kim experiences the crash, like Kim experienced the micro-nap -- time disappears for the viewer, not just the character. Peter said he asked a horror director (he doesn't remember the name) about making the perfect jump-scare, and that other director said it's all about the acting. Technical trickery, filming and directing doesn't help if the acting isn't on point. (My thought on this violence: you don't see it coming, as you would in other shows or movies -- there's no musical cues, no watching the car drift, roll and flip.)
  • Vince tells the story of when his girlfriend Holly, watched the scene, then asked with utter seriousness: "You're not going to kill off Kim, are you? Because if you do, I'll have to murder all of you." Everyone laughs, but no one confirms nor denies Kim's future.
  • Kim gets bleeped to hide some spoiler! Weird.
  • The writers have been setting the stage for the crash all season -- she's burning the candle at both ends, not sleeping at home, has a gym membership so she can shower, and she's been killing herself and the pressure has been going up and up. They kicked around other options, including coming out of a meeting and forgetting what happened, but this was the most logical event -- being sleep-deprived is as bad as being under the influence of alcohol. Go get your sleep! (The more you know!)
  • Car crash location: a curve on Bobby Foster (Google maps), just up the road from the studio, but it was a hard location to pin downx due to the number of requirements. The car was at a really steep angle, to the point that the car door hinges were bent from re-opening down-slope. (Breaking Bad tie-in facts: Walter White has driven on this road a number of times, and Jesse got dropped off here.)
  • Robin (Sweet?), Melissa (Bernstein?) and Nina (Jack?) found a way to squeeze a lot into this very full episode.
  • Kelley asked about how they toned the car crash with a novice BCS director. Peter said that this is mostly written in the script, but Minkie then brought it to life. At the same time, they gave directors the lattitude to shoot various different angles.
  • Rhea says she has talked with Minkie about framing, which she takes from her photo journalism days.
  • On shooting the scene: the boulder is a fake, created by the art department, and the car is a "stunt double" for Kim's usual car, which they wrecked before bringing to the location. The airbag was shot in reverse -- Kim started with her face buried in the bag, then yanked her head back. The paper was blown around by a big fan (a Ritter), but the first few takes turned Rhea into a paper mummy à la Office Space. The final take was done with Joe, flattened in the trunk of the car, tossing out paper to get it all to blow more naturally in the wind.
  • You can't tell in the final product, but the oil field shot was really cold. Meanwhile, Rhea is in a thin jacket, over two days, trying to figure out how to un-stick her car in real time, per Minkie's direction. Rhea was more thrilled to be in an iconic wide Breaking Bad shot, even more than she was cold. On top of all of that, they could barely heard each other, because the wind was that bad.
  • Michael Novatne and Steve Brown made a custom pump jack, through a combination of the art department, SFX and VFX to make the pump actually move. They actually had black-clad ninja-grips pulling ropes to make the pumps go up and down on the first day, as the motor didn't work until the second day (everyone agreed it would be great to see this as an extra somewhere). The background jacks were VFX via the CAD files used to make the full-scale model.
  • Also, SFX had to control the movement of the car with a cable, even though Rhea wanted to do it all herself. So her stunt double, Heather Bonomo, mimicked Rhea to become like Rhea-as-Kim. Minkie set up the process of pushing the car, and they had to make it not funny by keeping Rhea from falling on her butt, which makes things funny. Pro tip: it's not funny if you fall on your hip.
  • Vince praises Rhea and the other actors, saying they'd be funny if they want to be funny, but not if they don't want to be funny. His weird aside: David Bowie walked through NYC without being noticing. A journalist asked him he stayed hidden, to which David said "I don't have it turned on." So Bowie turned it on, and people suddenly noticed him. (Looking for some reference to this anecdote, I found that Bowie enjoyed near anonymity in 2012.)
  • Rhea turned down the scripted idea of going to get her phone, contemplates calling Billy, but decided it wasn't needed. Rhea said "I made a look, and that was enough." She and everyone else agreed she couldn't call her client and ask for help.
  • Thomas, on 308 and the pill/training montage: the music is an early track from Fink's blues album. The song pick was actually done in editing. It was actually a placeholder, but they liked it and it stuck.
  • That background clip is a scene from The Night of the Hunter, possibly in the script as "The Night Of the Hunter or some such," specifically for the love and hate knuckle tats
  • Boz Scaggs finally appears, after being mentioned by Walter White in BB.
  • More on music: placeholder music is rarely used, Thomas and Dave have different approaches to making music for the scenes, when they're picking or making music -- Thomas reads up and thinks about it for a while, but Dave watches the episode once the night before and goes in almost as fresh as the audience. And in spotting sessions, Dave might even say "I don't need to be in there." Scoring is like acting, when the musical team is trying to read the scene, and they discuss what role the music will play. And picking the score order when reviewing the scene is another game, played depending on the patience of those who will listen, if they want to try something weird to clense the palate, or something really minimal to see where to go. Scoring also pairs with characters, not quite going to the point of each character having a theme, but rather a vibe. Kelley always puts in music when cutting a montage, while Vince likes to watch them silent first.
  • Attention to Jean Effron, who plays Irene, and was cast back in Season 1 to simply say "Bingo!"
  • A quick touch on the trouble with the inevitable, pushing Jimmy to harm his clients, and there's a discussion on how both Jimmy and Howard are right, that neither side is really looking out for the clients, but both are in it for the money.
  • "When there's Madrigal, you know there's not a Segway far behind." Madrigal Houston is shot in a weird mirrored building across from the studio, and another location "in the crotch of the 40 and 25"
  • A shout-out of congrats to Thomas and the other music supervisors for their Emmy nomination. (I'm not seeing this nomination listed on Emmys.com, but BCS has 14 other noms, but no wins ... yet)
  • Thomas takes out the episode with his weird Angry German Mother version of Better Call Saul.
If you're looking to take your own Better Call Saul tour of the Albuquerque region, in person or virtually, this custom Google Maps collection of location pins is really detailed, and splits the locations into seasons, then orders the locations by appearance in each episode.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:15 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


Something that hasn't been mentioned yet, so far as I can tell, is Nacho's glass of milk. When his father told him to get out, he could have left it there on the table, but instead he takes it to the sink and gently -- there's almost a complete lack of glass-rattling -- dumps it out. I'm half-surprised we didn't get 30 seconds of him washing it. It's a small, quiet character moment that I thought was really nice.
Yes. I loved this moment too.
I love all of Nacho's scenes in fact, really hope the actor gets some really good roles following on from BCS.
posted by Fence at 9:41 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


This sounds sarcastic.

Sorry, I meant it to be self-deprecating since I rewound and​ inched through the possibilities!
posted by rhizome at 10:26 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Fence: I love all of Nacho's scenes in fact, really hope the actor gets some really good roles following on from BCS.

It was mentioned in the discussion in a previous episode, but if you haven't seen Michael Mando in Orphan Black, you should do that. IMDB says he's only in 13 episodes (mostly in the first season), but he is spectacular as Vic.

(I am also hoping he gets a lot of other work!)
posted by minsies at 11:33 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


(I'm not seeing this nomination listed on Emmys.com, but BCS has 14 other noms, but no wins ... yet)

That none of those nominations are for Rhea or Michael McKean is bullshit. I mean, Jonathan Banks is great, but come on.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:42 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


The crash is shot with a jump-cut similar to when she took a 5-minute nap in the Mesa Verde parking lot a couple of episodes ago.

And on the way out the door before the accident, she tells Jimmy "I don't have five minutes."
posted by Uncle Ira at 2:54 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Kim has put her own health at risk to try to make up for the money that Jimmy is no longer bringing in because his lack of control earned him a suspension from the law.

I don't think Kim is burning the candle at both ends for the money. She tried to hand off a $14K+ check to Howard just last week, and was upset when he refused it. She was still set on saying no to the oil case -- up until the very moment Jimmy refused her offer of money, too, and insisted on paying his own share of the expenses (with the big bag of cash from the music store payoff).

Kim is actually in a very strong financial position right now, possibly the strongest of her life. I think she actually doesn't like that these men were refusing to take her money, and so she's doubling down on proving herself as capable, independent, etc.

I think *Jimmy,* on the other hand, is perpetually anxious about money. It's possible there has not been a single episode in this series in which he hasn't discussed money (and lack thereof) out loud. I feel for him that he's anxious about it, because I am definitely like that, too! But the truth is that he currently doesn't need it in a practical sense, either. He's got a big sack of cash at home, another random $700 he got from community service, whatever remains of his bonus, etc etc etc. This desperation for money RIGHT THIS SECOND, the delusion that once he has money "all our troubles are over" -- that's coming from some emotional issue, not a practical one.

One thing that struck me about Jimmy's plan to isolate Irene from her friends is how that plan required a level of intense understanding of all-female group dynamics, which seems unusual in anyone who didn't live through being a teenage girl.

I think that he understood the dynamic not just because he knows people in general and knows these women in particular, but because *he himself* was feeling like he made Irene's friends feel. He felt powerless and voiceless -- in his mind he *needed* that money, but he couldn't do a damn thing about it. He feels helpless to get the things he needs (wants). Howard hammered that home to him in their confrontation in the garage.

So Jimmy just made Irene's friends feel similarly to he did, knowing that they didn't have the restrictions he had, and could pressure her directly to do what he/they wanted her to do. If he made them feel powerless, they'd bite back against Irene and show her just how much power they really have.

In the meantime, Jimmy is mall-walking and bingo-calling, drinking to his big payout. The contrast is pronounced, and I think a lot of women will find resonance in Kim sacrificing her sleep and her health to make up for the shortcomings of a male partner who is getting drunk and celebrating, completely oblivious to the stresses she is dealing with.

Honestly, I am sympathetic to Jimmy, in that I think it's completely valid for him to feel neglected and lonely in their relationship. He has brought up to Kim again and again how little he's seen her, that she's not sleeping at home, etc. Then she offers him money instead of actually spending any time with him (last episode). In fact, she offers him money, ends the conversation, and immediately takes on the oil case and virtually guarantees that she's going to be even more absent in their relationship than she already is. I don't think that what he wants is at all unreasonable.

There's nothing wrong with Kim being ambitious, but I would be really upset if I were in Jimmy's shoes. If I were having a huge crisis of the scope that Jimmy is having currently, and and my boyfriend's response were to sleep at the office night after night and then deny me even a 5 minute conversation that I'm literally begging him for...I would consider breaking up. I don't think I could handle that. I would just feel so lonely, hurt, and unloved in that situation.

I think that Kim just legitimately feels that she does not have time for Jimmy's shit, and she's not really that worried about putting much effort into their relationship because she doesn't consider him partner material anyway (as in life partner, as well as law partner) so there's an inevitable end date to their "thing" in her mind anyway.

It's kind of awful -- when Jimmy brought Kim a legal issue (his bar hearing), Kim was 100% there and available and the two of them were side-by-side. As soon as that legal issue cleared up, she was on to the next case, though, I guess. Chuck was the same way, in that when Jimmy brought Sandpiper to him, suddenly Chuck was all systems go on being in the trenches with Jimmy, but as soon as Sandpiper was gone, Chuck was, too. These people are really bad at work-life balance or compartmentalizing or something. It also reminds me of how Chuck said that he brought Jimmy into his own firm (instead of into his own home), and how Jimmy proposed becoming partners at law with Kim (instead of proposing). What's with them all being such workaholics?
posted by rue72 at 5:41 PM on June 16 [10 favorites]


Excellent point, rue72.

Kim's ok now (maybe she feels like Jimmy helped get her into this position) financially.

Success leads to success and she's now at the point where she really needs a partner to take care of a lot of the work.

It should be Jimmy, but she's reluctant to give it to Saul.

Her overworking herself isn't about money per se, but about reputation and perceived success while "and backwards in high heels."
posted by porpoise at 8:13 PM on June 16


"it seems that Kim fell asleep at the wheel with her eyes open"

Based on the podcast discussion, I think they were trying to evoke the sense of list time people often experience after a crash. Kim doesn't remember the moments just before the crash. To her it seems like she was just driving along, then BLAM! We are seeing things from her perspective.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:30 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]


I seem to recall upon watching that scene again that her eyes are slowly starting to shut in the seconds before the jump-cut to the airbag in her face.
posted by some loser at 7:22 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


some loser, that makes sense with what was discussed in the podcast - they wanted to put us there with Kim, kind of nodding off with her talking through how she'll present the information to everyone, then zoning out, before the scene cuts to indicate she fell asleep, when we also cut from the scene, until she (and we) are slammed awake with a crash.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:42 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Am I the last person to find out that Rhea is pronounced "Ray?"
posted by rhizome at 9:56 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Something I thought was interesting is that Jimmy is blanking Chuck in pretty much the same way he got Irene's friends to blank her. They even highlighted it in this episode when Howard brought up Chuck's name, and Jimmy said, "Chuck who?"

(The difference is that Chuck probably couldn't care less about Jimmy's feelings, and maybe hasn't even noticed that Jimmy has blanked him, what with the pea-soup haze of self-righteousness and self-absorption that constantly surrounds Chuck anyway. And don't get me wrong, I LIKE Chuck. He's got a fundamental toughness to him that I just can't help but admire. But the man is at least as insufferable as Jimmy is incorrigible!).

Anyway, did Jimmy identify Irene with Chuck? Is that why he could look right at her vulnerability, fragility, and trust for him -- and hurt her anyway? Jimmy also used to see Chuck as vulnerable, fragile, loving/trusting toward him, and that bit him in the ass. Maybe he's done underestimating anybody now. Maybe he forced Irene to break down in the face of coldness and exclusion in the way that he would like to force Chuck to break down.

I wonder how Jimmy felt when Irene was crying and said that she wished the suit never existed. Apparently, she values her relationships over money or status or whatever else, and the loss of her relationships makes the prospect of whatever she might get from the suit taste like ash in her mouth. But Jimmy knows that Chuck would NEVER EVER have said that. Jimmy can blank and punish Chuck to his dying day, and Chuck will STILL crow about being right to bring that bar hearing down on Jimmy. Chuck's only regret will always be that he didn't win and that Jimmy didn't get punished worse.

And in truth, I don't think Jimmy would ever have expressed the sentiment that Irene did, either. But with Jimmy, I think it's not because he's domineering and aggressive the way that Chuck is, I think it's because he's distrustful, and would have a hard time acknowledging that anybody has that kind of power over him or his emotions. I think Jimmy would rather take the money and run, but out of fearfulness (at making himself vulnerable) more than anything.

As outgoing as Jimmy is, he's very emotionally cautious. Every time shit has really gone down for him (like when Chuck said he was a chimp with a machine gun, or after the bar hearing), he's explicitly denied feeling anything and has pretty visibly, obviously tried to harden himself and shut down emotionally. At best, at times like that, he slips into some role and expresses emotion as part of his "character." He even visibly deadened his feelings on screen a couple times in this episode, I think -- when he paused before putting the magnetized balls in the BINGO globe, for example. In my perspective, you could see him have an impulse to take mercy on Irene, but then consciously harden his heart and vow to stick with the plan (and dumped in the balls).

I don't think he could be open and honest like Irene was when she cried for her friendships and wished the suit didn't exist, not because relationships don't matter to him the way they do to her, but because he's too defensive and emotionally alienated from himself to lay himself bare that way.
posted by rue72 at 10:07 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I wonder how Jimmy felt when Irene was crying and said that she wished the suit never existed.

This is a very interesting question to me. When Jimmy was first pressing for the settlement, I was convinced that it was because he cared for the claimants and didn't want it going on forever, as they could use the money. But then his process for moving things along was very hurtful to Irene. Is this a matter of Jimmy creating some pain for the greatert good, which is sometimes his MO? Or is he more concerned because, deep down, he really needs the money now, especially to keep up his promises with Kim?
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:17 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


SpacemanStix, I think that those two things aren't necessarily incompatible; I mean, he does need the money (although not as much as he did before he got the Sklars to buy the rest of the ads, or before his little deal with the dealer on the community service crew), and I think that he probably rationalizes his behavior on the surface by pretending that it's really for Irene's and the others' good, but I also think that he's reacting in no small part due to the wounded pride of a hustler who's been hustled--mostly by Chuck, but also by getting stuck with uncancellable financial burdens (the ads, the insurance).

Also, has anyone connected Mesa Verde with Mesa Credit Union from BB? It could be just a coincidence, since they're in the Southwest, but still.

Also too: David Bowie walked through NYC without being noticed. A journalist asked him he stayed hidden, to which David said "I don't have it turned on." So Bowie turned it on, and people suddenly noticed him. I understand that Dan Aykroyd can also do this at will; I've read a story of how John Belushi would walk around Chicago not long after The Blues Brothers was released and was of course mobbed by fans... while Aykroyd, a few steps behind him, was unnoticed.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:01 PM on June 17


SpacemanStix, I think that those two things aren't necessarily incompatible; I mean, he does need the money (although not as much as he did before he got the Sklars to buy the rest of the ads, or before his little deal with the dealer on the community service crew), and I think that he probably rationalizes his behavior on the surface by pretending that it's really for Irene's and the others' good, but I also think that he's reacting in no small part due to the wounded pride of a hustler who's been hustled--mostly by Chuck, but also by getting stuck with uncancellable financial burdens (the ads, the insurance).

This is one of the great marvels of this show. The characters are multidimensional, and you are constantly holding in tension the polar tensions between their virtues and vices. I think the fact that we can talk about characters with this much depth, and genuinely not feel as if we are imposing our own narrative on the intent of the writers, is perhaps one of the (nearly) unprecedented things that Gilligan and company have brought to television. I actually can't think of another show that has made me think discussions like this are even worth having. Perhaps about plots and such, but not clues that make you think you are discovering deep and sometimes conflicting things about the characters' psyches.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:17 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Is this a matter of Jimmy creating some pain for the greatert good, which is sometimes his MO? Or is he more concerned because, deep down, he really needs the money now, especially to keep up his promises with Kim?

To me, it came off as Jimmy just really wanting to get his hands on his share. But I will say that I don't think he thought he was doing the claimants *wrong* by urging them to take the deal.

He would have more incentive to wait for the bigger payout than any of them do anyway. What he was explaining with the peanut analogy is true, I think. If I understood correctly, he's due to get a 15th of the total settlement, whereas the individual claimants are only due to get less than a 1,000th.

So anyway, I don't think that Jimmy was being greedy by pushing them to take the offer. Being greedy would have meant holding out. I think that Jimmy just cannot grok the mindset of turning down a bird in the hand for two in the bush. That's not how he thinks. And I think he was being frank when he said to Irene at the very beginning that OF COURSE you take the money and run. This is also the man who would have been willing to accept Sandpiper's initial offer, which was something like $50K total, if Chuck hadn't been in the room at the time and suggested the $20M figure instead. Jimmy has a very desperate, nickle-and-dime approach to money.

That said, I think that orchestrating this ruse was unhinged on Jimmy's part. It was completely impractical, insensible. Howard told Jimmy that if he interfered, he would put his entire payout at risk. And Jimmy doesn't even need money that badly right now, his bills are paid for at least the month and he's already unloaded his TV airtime. I think that the previous episode tried to make it clear that he and Kim are both actually fine financially at the moment, in order to also make clear that Jimmy's worries about money right now are coming from an emotional place, not a rational place.

That has always been true of Jimmy's worries about money, though. Like at the beginning of the show, when he kept pressing for HHM to buy Chuck out, and was talking about being worried that Chuck was broke and would lose his house and would end up out on the street. Chuck is a founding partner of a huge corporate law firm, there was never any real danger of him being destitute. Jimmy's anxiety and desperation always sticks in my mind, because it was so irrational. And I don't think that Jimmy was trying to play Chuck to get at the money or anything, I think he genuinely was stressed out and thought they needed it, imagined how much better their lives would be if only they had it.

I think that Jimmy was so desperate for a buyout for Chuck at that time because he latched onto the idea of the money as a lifeline -- like if they just had money, their troubles would be over. Their lives would be fine, they would be fine. Just like Jimmy is fantasizing now, that the Sandpiper settlement is a lifeline and all his troubles will be over once he gets it.

It's delusional, but I think that it's what he needs in order to get through the day, because the thought of a lifeline dropping into his hands is the only thing that gives him hope that his problems actually are surmountable and will be over one day. I think it's his version of a rescue fantasy. He's not imagining a white knight coming to save him, he's imagining a big bag of cash.

Anyway, I'm sad at the thought of the alternate universe of this show, the universe where Jimmy and Chuck get along, and the conversation between Howard and Chuck could have been about promoting Jimmy from associate at HHM to partner so that he could work Chuck's cases with him as his "helper" and keep Chuck's insurance premiums low, and meanwhile, Chuck could get Jimmy to think bigger and have more patience with the Sandpiper negotiations and to just leave Irene be.
posted by rue72 at 8:37 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


rue72: Anyway, did Jimmy identify Irene with Chuck? Is that why he could look right at her vulnerability, fragility, and trust for him -- and hurt her anyway? Jimmy also used to see Chuck as vulnerable, fragile, loving/trusting toward him, and that bit him in the ass. Maybe he's done underestimating anybody now. Maybe he forced Irene to break down in the face of coldness and exclusion in the way that he would like to force Chuck to break down.

Interesting, I hadn't thought of that possible connection. Here's another justification, from the podcast for last episode, specifically about getting $700 from the drug dealer to get him out of community service for the day:
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.
Extending that to this episode, Irene hurt Jimmy, in that she turned down the significant settlement and kept him from getting his cut. He realized he couldn't directly ask her to settle for him to get his cut, so he nudged her, but she didn't catch those hints.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:44 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I think that Jimmy was so desperate for a buyout for Chuck at that time because he latched onto the idea of the money as a lifeline -- like if they just had money, their troubles would be over.

This is similar to the journey WW goes through on BB -- there's a number, then there's a bigger number, then it's the power.

Jimmy has enjoyed being slipping Jimmy and he also not wants to be slipping Jimmy and he thinks if he can get solid enough nest egg he can not be slipping Jimmy and still be who he wants to be even if he's not got Chuck proud of him.

Or he thinks there's a number that will make Chuck proud of him, if he's even going to go back to that well. Or he'll get to a point where he can help the underserved and get to be slipping Jimmy sometimes for the fun and or enough money to be able to help the underserved as Saul.
posted by tilde at 9:20 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I've been realizing for awhile that I don't want to see Jimmy turn into Saul, even though that was the premise that created the show in the first place, and made me start watching. Because what an interesting idea, right? How did Saul become who he became? I just didn't realize we'd all like Jimmy so much such that it would be a painful journey, rather than simply a curious one. This is actually more painful for me than knowing WW was going to end badly.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:23 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


the thought of a lifeline dropping into his hands is the only thing that gives him hope that his problems actually are surmountable and will be over one day

This certainly rings true. And it adds a little more depth to the repeated Bingo motif, as well. Bingo is a thing old people play, but it's specifically a gambling game that old people play. Jimmy's story (and Walt's) are basically the Gambler's Ruin fallacy. Unless you can stop yourself at some point and cash out, you will run out of money.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:28 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I've been realizing for awhile that I don't want to see Jimmy turn into Saul, even though that was the premise that created the show in the first place, and made me start watching.

Except that this time there is a bit of hope. Jimmy turns to Saul, but then we also know that he turns to Gene--and who knows? Gene might be an okay fellow. He might have learned his lessons. And maybe there is life after Cinnabon. Walt's story ended in Breaking Bad, but Jimmy's story continues. There's an Act III.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:54 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


That is true. I keep forgetting that Gene lets us see Saul in a different light, too. If there is a redemptive arc to all this, that would be pretty cool. I can't imagine another narrative purpose for our quieter moments with Gene (although I've been surprised before).
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:01 PM on June 18


Can I just say, I'm not ready for this season to be over?
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:21 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


For the Nacho fans out there, this interview with Michael Mando aired on CBC today:

Michael Mando on being good at being a bad guy
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:54 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I for one did not see the car crash coming. There was certainly an air of something bad about to happen, but the focus had been on the binder that was missing the survey, and then with Jimmy coming in with all his distraction-making and carryings-on, it seemed that neither Kim nor the receptionist actually fixed the issue. So I thought she was going to show up at the meeting and this "careless mistake" was going to be her undoing (and of course all Jimmy's fault for bugging her while she was trying to get done and go.)

The car crash came as a complete shock to me. And then her walking around dazed and bloodied amidst all the case paperwork floating through the air, bringing home the point that the paperwork was the least of her worries now. I thought that was brilliant.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:59 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


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