Better Call Saul: Coushatta
September 25, 2018 7:24 AM - Season 4, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Jimmy goes to great lengths to right a wrong, as Kim pulls out all the stops for a case; Mike lets his team blow off steam; Nacho receives a visitor.

Better Call Saul Recap: Bayou Bayou, Baby (Kenny Herzog for Vulture)
We had Kim figured all wrong. And so did Jimmy. And that might be the duo’s undoing. Jimmy needs a straight arrow, someone to ground him and keep him honest. If his partner in life suddenly becomes his enabler in crime — a real-deal Viktor and Giselle, a notion nailed on the head by Kim’s rubbing her keepsake Zafiro stopper like a talisman — then they’re both going down in flames, eventually. (Or, perhaps, simply working the same shift at an Omaha Cinnabon.)
Better Call Saul’ Review: The Con Is On In the Scattered but Terrifying ‘Coushatta’ -- Season 4, Episode 8, keeps moving these stories forward, with tragedy on the horizon. (Liz Shannon Miller for Indie Wire)

Soundtrack for the episode, via Tunefind.
posted by filthy light thief (73 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Bob: Listen, Kim, I I know what's on your mind. The thing that we did I mean, it was nuts. And I dumped it in your lap.
Ex parte communication, contempt of court. I mean, what, we're talking about a couple hundred counts of mail fraud? I could have wrecked you with Schweikart. Could bone me, too. I mean, I'm this close to being reinstated.
I mean, come on. Kim don't worry. No one's gonna know about it. Be like it never happened. And also I agree we are totally done with all that, over and out, no more.
Kim: Let's do it again.

O.O

"they’re both going down in flames, eventually. (Or, perhaps, simply working the same shift at an Omaha Cinnabon.)"

They can't work the same shift, or we would have (likely) seen her already. So clearly she's working the other shift as another shift manager. That makes sense, right?

I would love to see some BB scenes expanded, like Jimmy's tour of the possible office space that *surprise-but not a surprise* was with Huell, but instead a scene unfolds further, to show Kim working in an adjacent office or the building next door.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:35 AM on September 25, 2018


God that was a fun episode. Also, that church website is worth a click. Make sure you click the donate button!
posted by azpenguin at 7:54 AM on September 25, 2018 [12 favorites]


We never see or hear of her in BB so her situation's already resolved by then. Presumably she takes the fall for him & goes to prison alone.
posted by scalefree at 7:57 AM on September 25, 2018


So, we were all pretty much correct about the Germans being treated to a night at a strip club. Turns out, it was in ABQ.

I did notice Mike give the hefeweizen guy a long look as he walked away from the bar with his bottle, kind of signaling there would be more to come with the guy. I didn't expect the lead guy being a weak link, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:18 AM on September 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


That look Mike had when Werner corrected the local dude’s German pronunciation of “wheat beer” at the bar was a look of a dude who knew he was going to have to kill someone he liked. Werner and the rest of the Germans are never leaving that hole they dug. Maybe we’ll see them entombed in that concrete support that got damaged and needs to get re-poured. If that’s the case, it was a brilliant bit of misdirection to portray Kai as the one who would be problematic while Werner was the one who accidentally exposed them.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:19 AM on September 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


Man, the Slippin' Jimmy / Kimmy stuff in this episode was straight-up thrilling. And the long push-in on the post office ... just quiet contemplation, a chance to breathe and reflect on the as-yet-unrevealed scam. Friggin great TV.

The Mike stuff was necessary, but sort of corny, and I agree that all of those guys are going to wind up disappeared. Maybe in a plane crash. But definitely not living beyond this project.

Nacho and his dad aren't going to make it to Canada, are they.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:25 AM on September 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Maybe we’ll see them entombed in that concrete support that got damaged and needs to get re-poured.

Well, they keep talking about that big rock that's going to have to be blasted out. Chekhov's boulder?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:27 AM on September 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, Kim has great taste in music.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:59 AM on September 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Maybe Kim will be Saul's first criminal client.

I hated this episode. It was so good, and so hard to watch. I'm overwhelmed now with panicky dread for everyone I still had hopes for. Kim, Nacho, Nacho's dad, Werner. They're all going down in very unpleasant ways. Darn it.
posted by Dojie at 10:28 AM on September 25, 2018


God that was a fun episode. Also, that church website is worth a click. Make sure you click the donate button!

Ha! That's great.
posted by homunculus at 11:29 AM on September 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ok, that was fun but I want to see the real episode now.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:07 PM on September 25, 2018


I saw it on tiny screen this morning. Wasn’t too surprised about Nachos apartment, but the Canada thing seemed smart but sad because I figured they wouldn’t make it.

When Lalo introduced himself I wanted to bawl. That does not look good at all. (I binged BB the other week and BCS this weekend)
posted by tilde at 12:33 PM on September 25, 2018


Wasn’t too surprised about Nachos apartment

I was really struck by how it mirrored Jesse's house. Except for all the art, not sure what's up with that.
posted by scalefree at 1:01 PM on September 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


tilde: When Lalo introduced himself I wanted to bawl. That does not look good at all. (I binged BB the other week and BCS this weekend)

Who Is Better Call Saul's Lalo Salamanca? Here's What Breaking Bad Tells Us. Nick Venable Provides a recap on Cinema Blend, because I totally forgot Saul's introduction in BB season two, in the episode called "Better Call Saul" (rough transcript for a refresher of where Saul is freaking out that Lalo's guys found him, and throws Nacho (Ignacio) under the bus).


I hated this episode. It was so good, and so hard to watch. I'm overwhelmed now with panicky dread for everyone I still had hopes for. Kim, Nacho, Nacho's dad, Werner. They're all going down in very unpleasant ways. Darn it.

I get that Breaking Bad clearly sets up expectations, but wouldn't it be more of an interesting twist if the expected endings (death, or jail time) don't happen?

What if Kim gets to be the superior criminal lawyer, and lives a life of wealth and comfort? And what if Nacho does make it to Manitoba with his dad? Or at least his dad can make it, right? (Really, I'm hoping they don't go full Breaking Bad in Saul, because I just don't want that kind of darkness right now.)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:20 PM on September 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the recap filthy, outside of that one sentence in BB I wasn't sure just who Lalo was or what he actually represents. I hear tons of fanboys saying "Ooh, it's Lalo! Squeee!" but I don't understand the justification.

That being said, another good episode. I like how they show don't tell about Kim slowly sliding down the slope of "criminal" law because she's obviously bored to tears with Mesa Verde.

I for one thought Jimmy and Kim were finito after last week, but it's nice (to me) to see them reestablish their relationship even though I still don't fully understand Kim's motivations. That's probably for the best though, because it will make her inevitable downfall even better to watch.

The bit with Jimmy and the phones with the film students in that tiny room was hilarious to watch. "I've been taking more improv classes.", indeed.

Are there only two more episodes? How are they gonna fit all these open plot lines into just two more episodes before the inevitable cliffhanger? And how are they gonna top last season's? If there's one thing I think the writers are gonna do, it's deliver an astounding cliffhanger.

See y'all next week.
posted by Sphinx at 2:21 PM on September 25, 2018


If Kim is a bitchin’ fixer, a Criminal lawyer on par with Chuck, and maybe even buys in with Hamlin, no wonder Francesca is PISSED in BB.
posted by tilde at 2:22 PM on September 25, 2018


Except for all the art, not sure what's up with that.


It’s a contrast to the lifestyle we see shown in BB of crazy eight. Crazy 8 iis also Nachos junior right now looks like.

Also a contrast to Tucos set up, it looks like he (Tuco) lived where he worked in that building.

Plus it gets away from some of those tv trope stereotypes about Hispanics. It’s still breaks my heart that one of the most talented chicas I went to school with did not get to pursue her dream/skill of operatic singing. I wish I’d neber looked her up on Facebook and just went on assuming she’d made it.
posted by tilde at 2:26 PM on September 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh, Kim.

I thought the split screen last week broke my heart. I guess it just got more smashed this week.

But then: maybe filthy light thief is right! Maybe this is how she gets out and does whatever the hell she wants with all her money!

And maybe Werner won't end up in a hole.

Ugh. C'mon, show. Someone's got to get out of this in a way that's better than a stack of VHS and a Cinnabon.

There was no actual Huell in this episode, right? Just the images in the court docs and on the very, very good website?
posted by minsies at 6:40 PM on September 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Borussia Dortmund (soccer team in the Bundesliga, Germany's highest league) jersey on Kai was a nice touch. It made me think that one of their young stars (an American named Christian Pulisic) is like 6 years old during that scene.

Also, the kit sponsor on that jersey was actually the previous (in the BCS timeframe) sponsor. So Kai is not only a fan, he carries around a 8ish to 20ish year old jersey. No plastic fan is Kai.
posted by sideshow at 9:01 PM on September 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Saul, when bailing, pulled a shitvton of old wrapped money out of a wall that was solid, not made to open and shut. A few episodes back.

His half of something from a last hurrah scam with Kim/Giselle? He didn’t want to have to touch it if he didn’t have to?
posted by tilde at 9:09 PM on September 25, 2018


Probably some of Walt’s barrel money that he pinched because it was oozing everywhere.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:20 PM on September 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think Kim is just going to lose her license to practice law, blame Jimmy, and that'll be that.

Though I'm hoping for an eventual black and white Gene/Kim reunion when the show ends. I think a happy ending to all this for someone would be nice.
posted by bondcliff at 6:13 AM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


This was the first episode all season in which Kim and Jimmy kiss or show any physical affection at all--and now Kim is caressing Jimmy in post-scam bliss. So what's the basis of their relationship? I think they're both pretty confused about what they want and need from each other. Kim has arrived professionally, but isn't really satisfied. Jimmy is at a crossroads and is inclined towards the path of least resistance, except for his desire to be someone that Kim will want to be with.

Is Kim really going to want to keep putting her career at risk? Does Jimmy want to be the person who helps Kim break bad? I don't think the Kim that we've come to know is really going to want to be a partner in crime with Saul, she just needs to let off some steam and have some fun in her life. Jimmy on the other hand, I think he's going to be worried about how serious Kim be about a scam artist.

Really, this show is about Kim and Jimmy's bad decisions to go to law school and the eventual fallout--shoulda posted an AskMe before applying.
posted by skewed at 7:01 AM on September 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


Here we go, I'm ready to put my stake in the ground regarding Kim's Fate: Can't say killed, jailed or merely disbarred, but a scam is gonna go horrifically South, likely as a result of her flying too close to the Sun.
posted by whuppy at 8:24 AM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


There is just no realistic way this is going to end well.
posted by maxsparber at 8:48 AM on September 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


I keep thinking about this episode, trying to convince myself I didn't hate it. I can't get there in any meaningful way. Also, I feel like a total prude being so down on these wild recent developments in the show, especially in KimmiSaul.

But seriously.

The acting was amazing, but the writing was broken on this one. I do not understand Kim's motivations at all anymore. They don't make sense with who she is and who she has been, with the hostility especially ramped up in the scenes _earlier in the episode_.

She's been stonewalling Jimmy for months, more so after the situation he put her in, which she reacted very negatively to. So all that anger and dissatisfaction — which has been raging and refueled for months and months — is just … gone now? She had forgiveness sex and a renewed love of crimes and it's all been washed away? If so, I want to see the come down episode, cause that will be EPIC.

People just aren't that compartmentalized. I have a hard time believing that she's done this 180 fueled by what the prosecutor said. Is Kim steady and focussed, or is she easily swayed and quick to let go of things? I realise people can be both, but the amount of contradiction here with her character is laughable, in a stereotypical noirish 'women sure are fickle and mysterious' kinda way.

And is Jimmy such a sucker, such a bad read of people that he just accepts this change in Kim and their relationship, unquestioned?

We've been missing a bunch of scenes here.

I feel like this is all pulled out of a hat so we the viewers can continue to watch them go on wacky crime adventures. Okay, but weird.

And the switcharoo with Kai/Vernor … so contrived! _Of course_ random guy shows up a bar and orders a Hefeweizen of all things and of course Vernor corrects him and pays for his beer … who does that?! And therefore sets up a small social transaction to be repaid, which of course ends up in an overfriendly pub gathering … when does that actually happen?!

The second that Vernor opened his mouth at the bar to talk about that postcard (of course there was a postcard of the friggin' Sydney Opera House, which of course reminded him of his dad's building of it and engineering and made him all wistful), I thought, 'shit, they're setting him up to die'. It's like when Buffy's mom started getting this small side plot, with meeting a man and getting flowers and being happy, I was like, 'nooooooooooo'. At this point, I'm going to be annoyed if he doesn't die, because what else was this emotional setup for?

I could go on, but it's just more ranting, sorry. I'm also angry because I'm agreeing with the Bald Move guys for once and it's making me question everything now.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:45 AM on September 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


My optimistic response is that this show is already not realistic, so why worry about realism? I mean it's built on plausible fantasies, and Huell's rescue was the most fantastic so far. Let's lay out the parts:
  1. Kim buys a ton of office supplies -- realistic
  2. Jimmy sets up a bank of burner phones with appropriate phone numbers -- feasible
  3. Jimmy (in his University of American Samoa Law School sweatshirt, natch) drives to Louisiana to mail a bunch of "save our hero" postcards, paying some strangers to help him in the process* -- plausible
  4. Kim or Jimmy get someone to set up the Free Will Baptist Church website -- plausible
  5. Someone taking a half dozen shots of Huell doing good and honest things, like in a Volunteer Firefighter shirt or singing in a choir -- possible
  6. Jimmy accurately cross-references all those phone numbers with those cards -- possible
  7. Jimmy and the UNM film school students, answers the correct phones in convincing enough ways to fool the already skeptical ADA Suzanne Ericsen (their whiteboard wasn't any key to the phones**) -- now we're stretching reality
I figure the realistic point happens without question; the feasible one could probably go off without a hitch, but once you get into plausible, there's more chance for something to go wrong. And all put together, there are a TON of ways it could have fallen apart, and instantly backfired in Kim's face, either directly impacting her career, or indirectly and being focused on her "scumbag, disbarred lawyer witness" ... who is also her boyfriend (which isn't yet clear?).

* Or ADA Ericsen comes back and tests the envelopes a DNA profile from the envelopes, if not (also) fingerprints, which pins this all on Jimmy, if not also Kim. I felt like the licking of envelopes was a emphasized more than necessary, and he could have done what people do when they have to seal a TON of envelopes: a damp sponge.

(My other fear is that Jimmy is more widely linked to Kim as romantic partners, which taints Kim.)

** The board had the following notes:
  • K.I.S.S. -- Keep It Simple, Stupid
  • Be Nice
  • Be A Friend In [Jesus] (boxed)
  • Less is More
  • Manners, Manners, Manner!
  • FREE WILL BAPTIST *
  • Coushatta coo-SHAH-tuh
  • Bogan Lane
  • Huell Babineau (pronunciation key)
  • (And more things I couldn't make out)

posted by filthy light thief at 10:49 AM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Jimmy put stickers on the phones with the information about who the person on this end of the phone was supposed to be. That's what he was doing when his landlady came to talk to him late at night. It's all pretty implausible, but I don't think that looking at a sticker on a phone before you answer it is more implausible than the rest of it.
posted by Quonab at 11:00 AM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Good point.

My initial detailing of how fantastic this episode was came in response to maxsparber's comment: There is just no realistic way this is going to end well.

And a snarky reply, channeling the spirit of my (still alive) father-in-law, in response to why something happened in a show or movie: "that's what it said in the script." ;) But that doesn't mean that the script is well-written ...

iamkimiam: The acting was amazing, but the writing was broken on this one. I do not understand Kim's motivations at all anymore. They don't make sense with who she is and who she has been, with the hostility especially ramped up in the scenes _earlier in the episode_.

Interesting point, which made me think about something that Peter Gould said in one of the BCS Insider podcasts: when writing the episodes, the actions of the characters might seem illogical, but the writers are thinking of the arc of the story from the motivations of the characters, so in the end it should be more clear what they were thinking along the way. [Very rough recap, forgot which episode it was from this season]

So I hope it makes sense in the end, but I agree, her character hasn't been moving forward as expected.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:14 AM on September 26, 2018


Or ADA Ericsen comes back and tests the envelopes a DNA profile from the envelopes, if not (also) fingerprints, which pins this all on Jimmy, if not also Kim. I felt like the licking of envelopes was a emphasized more than necessary, and he could have done what people do when they have to seal a TON of envelopes: a damp sponge.

No DA's office is going to pay to DNA test some mail that isn't materially relevant on a nothing assault case.
posted by Automocar at 11:23 AM on September 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


I hear you, and I totally agree. Where it breaks for me is when they betray their rules of the world they built. In the BB/BCS universe, crazy plots can happen and the details are really well crafted, re: stickers on the phone. I buy that (and maybe I should simply accept the Vernor bar scene like I do with the Huell plotline).

They also go to great lengths with character development, showing us believable reactions of the people involved, which are thought out and consistent for who those people are. There are very few unexpected emotional beats where we say to ourselves, 'didn't know this character had this quality until I saw them do X.' It's more like, 'I know who this person is, I've seen it here here and here, so I want to witness the emotional response they'll have in crazy situation Y.'

Kim and Jimmy's interactions this episode strayed from that, imho. They've been showing us Kim's dissatisfaction and negative reactions to the things Jimmy says and does all season long. Have a hard time believing that she's put that all aside because she realised that she was really just missing the thrill of heists.

And Jimmy is an excellent read of people, and has the know-how to use that to his advantage as well. We see that he knows it, in all the moments he pauses and thinks better of saying something to her. To Ms. Nguyen, "I think we're past that." … he believes it to be true. Have a hard time believing that either he massively misread Kim or that he knew this is what she needed and was biding his time for when the moment was right for her to come around.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:26 AM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


And a snarky reply, channeling the spirit of my (still alive) father-in-law, in response to why something happened in a show or movie: "that's what it said in the script." ;) But that doesn't mean that the script is well-written ...

I think it was here on MeFi where they were talking about Westeros in Game of Thrones, something like,

How big is Westeros? Plot-sized.
How do characters travel in Westeros? They move at the speed of plot.

posted by iamkimiam at 11:30 AM on September 26, 2018


I largely agree with iamkimiam's analysis on this, I don't think Kim's reactions make sense given the three seasons they've spent building her character. It didn't make me hate this episode, just wary that maybe they're off the rails a little here and hoping there will be a reasonable pay off that makes sense of Kim's behavior. Because the hallmark of great shows sticking around too long is characters losing agency and behaving out-of-character in order to move along the plot. It's important (to me) that a show that is built primarily on great characters respect those characters. It's hard to do, because we're not going to tune in to watch these great characters watch paint dry, you've got to have drama. But when that drama is manufactured by characters acting in a way that doesn't make sense for them, it's no better than having everything driven by crazy random coincidences. I don't think that's quite happening here, the show has built in enough goodwill for me to believe that Kim's choices will make sense at some point, but I don't see it right now.
posted by skewed at 11:31 AM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't think Kim's reactions make sense given the three seasons they've spent building her character.

She's snapped back to being an earlier Kim. The one who was initially attracted to Jimmy. The one who liked his little cons, and enjoyed being part of them.

These past few seasons were Kim experimenting with who she thinks she should be, and it's gotten her a job that bores her, a broken arm, and, with Hamlin, Hamlin and McGill, a look at her future. She wasn't helping out pro bono criminal cases out of a need to do good. It turns out she was doing it because that's the sort of thing that attracts her. Which is why she hasn't chewed Jimmy out for being a drop phone salesman. Why her reactions have been so guarded.

Because she was figuring out who she is. And she's the Kim who sneaks smokes with Jimmy and cons businessmen out of tequila.
posted by maxsparber at 12:35 PM on September 26, 2018 [16 favorites]


Loved the juxtaposition of the Coushatta project with Kim shooting down Kevin's request.
posted by whuppy at 12:45 PM on September 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Have a hard time believing that either he massively misread Kim or that he knew this is what she needed and was biding his time for when the moment was right for her to come around.

And is Jimmy such a sucker, such a bad read of people that he just accepts this change in Kim and their relationship, unquestioned?


Jimmy loves Kim so much he will lie to himself about the state of their relationship. He doesn’t care why and tells himself it’s back to how things were.
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:42 PM on September 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


Kim stuck by jimmy through some pretty big cons and shams. She knows who he is. She may think she wants him to be on the straight and narrow, but that really doesn't do anything for her. In the montage last week that showed them growing apart, it was exactly because he was presenting himself as a workaday shlub who picked up dinner every night and made juice every morning. That's what made her start to drift away from him. He wasn't exciting anymore.

But the Coushatta scam, well, that awakened something in her. That reminded her who Jimmy could be, and who she really wants to be, deep down. I think that's also why she's so satisfied by the public defender stuff- it puts her closer to the underworld, to the bad people, to living by her wits.
posted by Shohn at 1:53 PM on September 26, 2018 [22 favorites]


I'm starting to come around to this way of looking at things, thanks!
posted by iamkimiam at 2:05 PM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


...but a scam is gonna go horrifically South, likely as a result of her flying too close to the Sun.

I’m now wondering if the “do it again” Kim has in mind is to scam Mesa Verde? She’s so obviously over MV, and she has the kind of insider knowledge that can be leveraged for maximum effect.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:17 PM on September 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


I’m now wondering if the “do it again” Kim has in mind is to scam Mesa Verde?

Ooooooh. I like the way you think.
posted by azpenguin at 2:24 PM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Considering how they've gone out of their way recently to remind us that the bank president is both grandiose, greedy, and eager to cut corners, he seems like the perfect sort of mark for a Jimmy-style grift.
posted by skewed at 2:29 PM on September 26, 2018 [6 favorites]


Her anger at him is getting caught and an internal struggle to “do it again”. My take. Probably bored with Meda Verde and him being boring too. She left Nebraska to GTFO to the city ... I spent my teen years plotting to GTFO of the southwest.

I am as good as Kim at my Mesa Verde equivalent. But about hour six today I was so tired of it because my Kevin and Paiges were hollering at each other near me and smarmy dudeBRo was LOUDLY talking about his bleeping ENORMOUS CALVES and all the trouble they give him and I wanted to stab my eardrums.

Any time I start a “boring cube job” I get restless. I’m so damn Kim and it’s lovely to see that reflection of myself. But I gots bills, yo.
posted by tilde at 2:31 PM on September 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


This show gets every little detail. As happened to me when Mike wiped down a gun in a previous season, this episode I joked to myself, "sure, the seat beside Jimmy on the bus just happens to be empty", and sure enough they have a guy come by who wants the seat, and the whole thing is used to show Jimmy's character!
posted by sylvanshine at 2:56 PM on September 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Interestingly, the wall of professional separation between Jimmy and Kim is specifically what makes the scam work: she's colluding with him on the overall plan, but he handles the legwork and her actions (aside from the collusion) boil down to buying office supplies and otherwise throwing a lot of perfectly legal paperwork at the case. To spoil Breaking Bad, it's more than a little reminiscent of the Walt/Skyler relationship and, interestingly of the one time Saul works with Skyler to scam the car wash owner out of the full price for his business.

It's funny how this show brings back everything old again, but with a twist: two seasons ago, we had Jimmy on a bus illegally soliciting clients to join the class action suit, and here we have him on a bus as a normal shlub, paying people to create fake letters of support for Huell and running yet another scam with the film students. In season three, it was Jimmy pulling a scam with Daniel Wormald to get him out of hot water due to his own literally criminal stupidity, and here he and Kim pull a much more elegant scam, one that's less humiliating for the client. And the end takes us straight back to the days of Giselle and Viktor, carefree con artist secret identities of our two lovebirds. It's hilarious that Huell is so incidental to an episode that's entirely about his fate, because of course it's not about his fate, but rather Kim's.

But what's the symbol of Giselle? The metal top of that tequila bottle they scammed out of Ken Wins. That was a drunken escapade of sorts for Kim, and the first time the show gave us Jimmy and Kim as romantic partners. That was also around the time Chuck was solemnly telling everyone that Jimmy's con games were like an addiction for Jimmy. (it's also when, during Kim's "rainmaking" phone call sessions, we got bits of conversation that suggested binge drinking in law school, enough that her cohort remembered that about her in particular.) What's the signal of Jimmy and Kim's connection, from as far back as episode 1? The shared cigarette, the nicotine rush for two people trapped in the dispiriting butt-end of the legal profession.

And look elsewhere in this episode: where the legal-plot is the psychological addiction, where the substances and the sex are incidental to he psychological rush of walking a razor's edge, the crime-plot shows us the transactional version of the same thing going bad, whether it's Nacho's safehouse where the women are paid in drugs or the Germans out for booze and contact with sex workers, and where overindulgence allows out the psychological demons rather than representing their free reign. Both Kai and Werner get little too drunk, and each creates an existential threat that's countered with other existential threats. The careful correction of the pronunciation of Hefeweizen calls attention to this, as does Werner's excuse hat he simply "had too much beer." And there's Jimmy, sure he's losing Kim, being left the whole bottle by his surprisingly sympathetic landlord.

But the drinks and the con games are actually signs of a desire to escape, hammering home that the Germans, like Kim, and like Nacho, are starting to crack under all this pressure of others' agendas, others' timetables, others' unreasonable dreams and demands. They aren't freeing themselves with their risky R and R, but rather confirming how trapped they feel. Notice how many of our characters spend lots of tim in spaces that signify enclosure, imprisonment: Kim shot through the blinds or int he cramped conference rooms that make up the spaces of her life now, Nacho filmed through his safehouse's barred windows and then from within an actual safe, culminating in that low-angle shot when he goes to meet Lalo, a shot that makes sure we seen the gridded and barred windows of the restaurant as well. Even the film students get stick in a boiler room office. No on needs that extreme an escape unless they really do feel trapped.

Our typical "Slippin' Jimmy" twist in the theme this time is fairly obvious. His entire plot is about getting one unearned reprieve after another, and it's visually signaled throughout the episode. Jimmy moving down to a small office and peering through a hole in the wall, like some oubliette prisoner, isn't his being trapped in Saul Goodman and sleazy solitude after all, as he's pulled out into the light, quite literally, twice over in this episode, first by taking bus out of town tot he wide open Couchatta, LA, and then called out of that crummy office by Kim into the sun, with her.

Likewise, his fears of exile from Kim's life and his dreams of a future together and then, again ironically, out of his efforts to set her "free" of the risks of being near him, a risk she's become fond of taking. The lonely little aquarium with one fish in it from their shared apartment gives way, in a nice matching cut, to the vibrant, fish-filled aquarium of the nail salon that is his base of operations. This isn't Jimmy losing his true partner for a gaudy bunch of substitutes; it's the colorful world of Saul Goodman starting to replace the blue little corner of the world shared by Jimmy and Kim.

And it's interesting that it's Kim who succumbs to impulsivity at the end, while Jimmy tries to do what he sees as the fair and responsible thing. I think this is the real difference between them, now: Jimmy was once the guy who ran from his pain by running home to play con games with Marco, but that ended with Marco dying, still in denial, palliated by the rush of the con. Jimmy also saw Chuck die in a similar sort of denial, espousing his apathy about Jimmy and flashing to the world how "cured" he was only to succumb to his mental illness and kill himself. If he reads the wrong things into Kim for much of this episode -- she knows I'm no good for her, she just hasn't come out and said it yet -- what she tells him at the end is at once exactly what he's always wanted and exactly what should perhaps be the last thing he wants.
posted by kewb at 4:20 PM on September 26, 2018 [9 favorites]


Starting to think that this has been a tease all along. They've been playing it as if Kim loves Jimmy, is sometimes seduced by Slippin' Jimmy, but is mostly repulsed by glimpses of Saul.

I think both characters would probably even basically agree with that up until now in the story, if they were pressed (and if references to Saul as a full-blown character made any sense to them at this point).

But it looks like Kim (and maybe now, Jimmy) are slowly realizing that maybe Kim really loves Slippin' Jimmy, cares for Jimmy - especially when she can help him (but maybe finds him a bit boring and pathetic when she lets herself really think about it), and... I don't think anybody is really sure how she will respond to full Saul, anymore.

None of this would really surprise me in real life, because people contain multitudes, and the two of them have a long history together, most of which we haven't been privy to, yet. And I think it's pretty clear that Kim isn't necessarily sure which parts of herself make her happy, either. She's smart, she has a good heart. But she has a dark side, too. A dark side she enjoys.

I don't want to see Breakin' Bad Kim, but I'd rather see that (if she survives or even thrives) than watch her be "successful" but unfulfilled, or worse, broken by her relationship to Saul.

At this point, my dream ending to the series would be if out of everyone, Kim turns out to be the true criminal mastermind. The only one who can actually make everything work. We don't see her in Breaking Bad because she has simply already outgrown everybody. And She. Is. Loving. It.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:21 PM on September 26, 2018 [11 favorites]


kewb, I am such a literalist. I never could read symbolism in much of anything; i always need “cliff notes”.

This show is cram packed but reading your analyses really help me dig it all out and enjoy it more. Thank you.
posted by tilde at 4:56 PM on September 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


I also wonder if part of Kim's indecision is that Jimmy isn't really her match. He's not half the lawyer she is. He works hard when he's on the case (or working a scam), but Kim came close to working herself to death. And I'm not sure that Jimmy can even spell ethics, but Kim knows exactly where the lines are and is very adept at fitting within them - most of the time.

But Slippin' Jimmy is a con artist. He takes Kim's plan and raises it to a whole 'nother level.

I think Kim respects Slippin' Jimmy - or at least his skill - in a way she can never really respect James M. McGill, Attorney at Law.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:35 PM on September 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


So Nacho's stash of fuck-you money in the safe: his cut, or has he been skimming extra from the cartel? And Lalo, with his "good head for numbers", is here "to make sure the business is running in order".

I don't think this ends well for Nacho.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:43 PM on September 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


So Nacho's stash of fuck-you money in the safe: his cut, or has he been skimming extra from the cartel?

I think he’s too smart to be skimming, especially given that he’s Gus’ mole. I can’t see him doing anything to draw undue attention to himself.

Bit, yeah, there’s definitely a black cloud hanging over Nacho.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:22 PM on September 26, 2018


Why are we insisting that Kim is going to suffer some massive calamity just because she doesn't exist in Breaking Bad? I guess. If that's truly the case, I see it as something shocking, like Walt killing that drug dealer with his Aztec. If she goes out with a bang, it's gotta be because she does something completely out of character, as opposed to someone doing it to her.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:09 PM on September 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


But what's the symbol of Giselle? The metal top of that tequila bottle they scammed out of Ken Wins. That was a drunken escapade of sorts for Kim, and the first time the show gave us Jimmy and Kim as romantic partners. That was also around the time Chuck was solemnly telling everyone that Jimmy's con games were like an addiction for Jimmy.

I think you nailed it there. Saul is like a drug for Kim. Bad for her and she knows it, but she loves it. Jimmy the strait-laced clerk at a cell-phone store who hopes to soon be a barely-decent lawyer does nothing for her, but Slippin' Jimmy the scammer is dangerously attractive.

I don't feel like Kim is badly written this season, just that she's figuring herself out. She got all the success she ever wanted with Mesa Verde, and all she got for it was impossible stress and a broken arm. Then she moved to S&C, became even more of a success, and she's just piling up stupid little horse trophies in a cupboard. None of it is making her as happy as she hoped, and she's desperately reaching for the thing that does make her happy (skirting the law with Jimmy).

I think Jimmy will take any break he can get in his relationship with Kim, but it looks more and more like she's attracted to the worst part of him. Almost using him for the thrill. And I think that's been shown before -- when Jimmy has had legitimate success like at Davis & Main, Kim was supportive and congratulated him, but it certainly didn't make her more romantically interested. But when they're both working on a scam she's madly in love.

This might lead to the end of their relationship: Kim takes risks for the thrill, but Jimmy does it because he's good at it and it's the only way he knows to get results. Maybe while Jimmy is settling in as a "criminal" lawyer, crossing exactly the lines that need to be crossed and not an inch further, Kim will want to take bigger and bigger risks. Maybe she'll ironically be bored of him because he's so "legitimate" as Saul Goodman. Or, like someone said above, she might take something too far and become Saul Goodman's first client. Or maybe the Vacuum repairman's first client.
posted by mmoncur at 3:19 AM on September 27, 2018 [5 favorites]


This episode was all about the main characters (Jimmy, Kim, Mike, Nacho) trying to get out of the boxes that they've been put in or crawled into, and sometimes just finding themselves in a different box. Jimmy went to heroic lengths to make the scheme work (Albuquerque to Coushatta is about a thirteen-hour drive--not including the numerous stops that a passenger bus would make along the way--and, even if it gave Jimmy time to work on the mail, he then had the same trip back), only to find out that Kim wants more of the same. How do you top a scheme like that? And, even if you try, will you still have the same great good luck that Jimmy and Kim had? (All it would have taken would have been ADA Ericsen calling directory assistance for Coushatta, maybe to see if Huell was indeed some sort of local hero or just to see if he had some hometown skeletons in his closet, and finding out that Free Will Baptist doesn't exist. For that matter, that could still happen...) Kim is in an even more precarious position, as she's probably made a serious enemy in Ericsen, and can't pull off any more stunts involving big-ticket associates without arousing suspicion. I doubt that she'll fall too far--I think that Vince Gilligan is probably too aware of how badly Skyler was regarded in BB to throw his female lead for this show under the bus--but I think that she will get into some serious trouble before the show's end, even if she keeps the partnership or otherwise does well.

And, on the more criminal side of things, Nacho doesn't seem to much enjoy his fancy digs and party girls, and even though he's got his and his dad's escape at least partly planned out, the bits from BB's "Better Call Saul" mentioning him and Lalo hint that he won't get out. Lalo is somehow scarier for not trying at all to be scary. And Mike is not only literally stuck in a box of sorts--the excavation site--but also literally an explosive situation. Kai may have been a plotting headfake; even though he's still obviously a dick, Werner may be the one who fucks things up. I would not terribly miss Kai if he were made an example of, but even if Werner gets out of the job alive, he probably won't do so without scars of some sort. He's just a friendly guy who wants to buy someone in the strip club a beer and chat about this neat little problem that he's working on. I already feel bad for him.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:24 AM on September 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


I spent about 30 min thinking about this as I was stuck in a forced sit still and don’t talk situations with little stimulation (a deprivation tank would be wasted on me).

Francesca is pisssed and Saul is pretty gross towards her in BB. Calling her pretty tits and the like.

He’s also all in on scumbag lawyer but also standing up for the little guy ... he’s not doing elder law unless you count the exhibitionists.

Something drops Kim out / away by BB. Unless they flash forward enough like they did with the shredding scene.

Could, and not to excuse the loud sexist shit he throws as Francesca in BB as the equivalent of BSG’s glowing red spines, could the sexist shit be a cover behavior to feed into Kinms non existence in BB?

Also, we didn’t see her in BB but it might be a lack of intersection. Until jimmy and Huell got into it with the cops, she stayed fully away from the cell phone game . Hell, his track suit “uniform” s are hanging on the back of his office door at the salon.

We never went home with jimmy in BB and except for early on before DAVIS and Main she didn’t come to his salon office.
posted by tilde at 10:51 AM on September 27, 2018


Yeah, part of me also hopes for a late reveal that Saul and Gizelle are still together, but I don't think that really works with what we see in BB. Saul mentions his "second wife" and alludes to patronizing sex workers in some of his earlier appearances on BB. Don't think that can be squared with a continuing relationship with Kim.

I doubt Kim will die, and at this point I doubt she'll have her life destroyed, but I can't imagine that she and Jimmy aren't broken up by the end of BCS.
posted by skewed at 11:05 AM on September 27, 2018


Saul mentions his "second wife" and alludes to patronizing sex workers in some of his earlier appearances on BB. Don't think that can be squared with a continuing relationship with Kim.

But that can be squared with Saul trying to portray an image of being Saul.

I keep thinking about the Gene scene at the beginning of this season, when he handed the card out and said "tell 'em Jimmy sent you." More and more I'm thinking maybe that was Kim he sent them to.
posted by bondcliff at 11:38 AM on September 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


We've got about 4 years between BCS and BB at this point, right? Still plenty of time for Kim to leave the picture of her own volition. Although, I'm not really sure about the Superlab, is it really going to take 5 years to build?
posted by Automocar at 11:40 AM on September 27, 2018


Something drops Kim out / away by BB. Unless they flash forward enough like they did with the shredding scene.

Recall that, in that flash-forward, Saul gives his secretary a number to call and “Tell them Jimmy sent you” (or words to that effect.) Could that be Kim she’s going to call?

I really do hope Kim lives through all this.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:57 PM on September 27, 2018


I'm starting to swing away from the "Jimmy becomes Saul" assumption toward "Saul is just another persona that Jimmy puts on to pull a longer con than we've seen him do up to this point." One thing to consider here is that, so far in canon, we've seen Saul for less than two years; BB takes place over exactly two years--from Walt's 50th birthday to his 52nd (assuming that he does everything after getting the gun on the same day)--and we first see Saul well into the second season. Factor in that a lot of Saul's mannerisms and behavior toward other people seems designed to be offputting, and it becomes a heck of a way to function in public without having people try to get to know him in private. Which could be pretty lonely, if there weren't actually someone in his private life... someone that he would be trying to deflect attention away from.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:17 PM on September 27, 2018


Ahhh, yeah. I misremembered that as being a B&W Gene scene, but it was the other flash forward. In any event, I think it means Kim is still out there and doing ok.
posted by bondcliff at 2:17 PM on September 27, 2018


Money was in the bowling bag in the ceiling in “quite a ride” but behind the wall, as I was wondering, was a Small brown kraft paper box shoe box size.

That box is in the first episode and has the bandaid tin with the coins, pictures of McGill family growing up, a passport, the video tape of his commercials he pulls out to watch, and a photo dev envelope that says 2/1 and is from a 60 min photo place in Maine. It also says 25x2 so there were 25 good shots on the roll and double prints were made.

Also a stack of money with pesos on top.


And either a charcoal filter, old hanky or tie, or it’s a berrrry small block of weed. He kept it hidden in his pantry behind a wall panel
posted by tilde at 5:05 PM on September 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


tilde, I never even thought of going back and looking at the box from S1E1. That passport isn't American.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:58 PM on September 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


Watch the scene when Jimmy arrives at the Coushatta post office and how the camera moves. Notice the changing perspective of the trees in the background. The building they used for the post office was in New Mexico. There were no trees behind it. It's all visual effects (Listen to the beginning of this week's Better Call Saul Insider podcast for the details).
posted by ShooBoo at 11:59 PM on September 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


I thought it wasn’t US passport but I wasn’t 💯 sure or 💯 awake.
posted by tilde at 8:32 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Recall that, in that flash-forward, Saul gives his secretary a number to call and “Tell them Jimmy sent you” (or words to that effect.) Could that be Kim she’s going to call?

I've heard this theory before (maybe here?) but the problem with it is that Francesca knows Kim, worked for her, so why wouldn't Saul just say "call Kim, she'll help you"?
posted by Automocar at 8:59 AM on September 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


Look, man, if you want to destroy my wild-ass-guess with your "facts" and "references to things that actually happened in the show" and "completely solid debunking", then... well... I guess that'll just have to be fine.
posted by bondcliff at 10:39 AM on September 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


In season 2, episode 7, Mike goes with Jimmy to tell the prosecutors that the gun didn’t belong to tuco. It’s ADA Suzanne Ericsen. Jimmy was the lawyer that ruined her case against Tuco! That's why she's out to get him.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:48 AM on September 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


It’s a small town. I remember the prosecutor ribbing Jimmy when he was being processed for assaulting Chuck.
posted by tilde at 7:31 AM on September 29, 2018


I’m now wondering if the “do it again” Kim has in mind is to scam Mesa Verde?

Kim is bored out of her mind with Mesa Verde but there's still some of the good girl who wants to please the client in there as well. Kevin wants a fancy Tucumcari-style bank building in Lubbock on the original timeline. Maybe Kim sees a way to please the client while adding some private pizzaz to her banking practice: a spurious letter writing campaign to the Lubbock land-use board/city council in support of new building plans.

THAT would get her in trouble. At least the Coushatta letter-writing campaign took place outside of Albuquerque/New Mexico. A letter-writing campaign by fake Lubbock citizens to the Lubbock town officials is too close to home and would get uncovered fast.
posted by marguerite at 5:17 AM on September 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think Kim would scam Mesa Verde.

There's a supposed code that grifters have, "You can't cheat an honest man." Every time Jimmy and Kim scam somebody it's someone who deserves it -- someone dishonest, or loud and annoying, or excessively boastful, or rude. Someone who deserves to be knocked off their pedestal.

Jimmy twists this "code" to fit his needs (the Kettlemans deserved it because they were being stupid. The Neff Copiers guy deserved it because he had no idea how to properly run a business.)

Kim was only willing to scam the prosecutor because she was being overly zealous, and either racism or a vendetta against Jimmy was making her impose a way harsher sentence on Huell than he deserved.

Mesa Verde hasn't done anything wrong and Kim is loyal -- even when she was sick of the job she brought them to Schweikart rather than abandon them.
posted by mmoncur at 8:10 PM on September 30, 2018


And the switcharoo with Kai/Vernor … so contrived! _Of course_ random guy shows up a bar and orders a Hefeweizen of all things and of course Vernor corrects him and pays for his beer … who does that?! And therefore sets up a small social transaction to be repaid, which of course ends up in an overfriendly pub gathering … when does that actually happen?!

Yeah this was contrived, though not the part where a dude making a random comment during ordering drinks ends up with him following back and holding forth on other stuff, and I don't even think many of them had been in physical isolation that long.

However it offended me greatly as an audience member that after all they've done, all the interview procedures, all the stuff with the giant man cave.... that they'd just take them to some local place, tell them where they are? In fuckin' ABQ? Let them see signs and look around and presumably now know where they are working? What the fuck, show... ALL OF THEM WOULD NOW KNOW THEY ARE GOING TO BE KILLED.

Yes that was true all along, and the only question really is how glum Mike's going to be about it. 1000% glum because he doesn't stop it, or 1001% glum because he does it himself?

I really loved seasons 2 and 3 of this show. Michael McKean was amazing, and Chuck was such a good character. Don't get me wrong, I love all the main characters, but Chuck was such a glorious, righteous heel. This season has feels like it's gotten stuck in a rut a bit. Lots of treading water and Significant Emoting.
posted by fleacircus at 1:05 AM on October 2, 2018 [3 favorites]


Better Call Saul Insider Podcast 408: Coushatta; podcast hosted by Chris McCaleb (no Kelley again), with Peter and Vince, Joey Reinisch, Mike Bearmantrout, Gordon Smith, Thomas Golubich, and Michael Mando (running late, possibly in traffic?).
  • Chris: speaking of traffic, there's a lot of driving in this teaser! How did BCS travel all the way to Louisiana? Gordon: early hope that they could get most of the driving around Albuquerque with a splinter unit doing more on-location shot. Peter: Also a hope that AMC's sister-show Preacher, run by Sam Catlin, could do a shot with Bob, but then we realized it wasn't just one shot. Gordon: The teaser shot over the course of several days, interior of the bus shot with splinter unit with A Camera operator and DP for the day Paul. Peter: Thought about doing green screen and hiring someone to shoot plates, aka location backdrops, but that didn't feel like BCS. Reminds Peter of one of his favorite movies, Midnight Run.
  • The little post office/ bait and tackle shop/ general store shot is lots of digital effects applied to a church [Looks like the area, but not sure if this is the right building -- ed.], from the roofline on up, including the trees. Wrong kind of trees, shooting in April, so not enough greenery, even in some of the driving shoots. Incredibly complicated shot, with camera movement. Vince: "it blew my mind when I was told this." Alicia, post-supervisor, smiled for the first time in weeks to hear that Vince didn't realize it was digital. Crafty Apes, out of Atlanta, did that work, and also worked with Chris and Joey on Lodge 49, as well as Melissa on Halt and Catch Fire.
  • Gordon almost got car sick, which lead to a goofy tangent on Emmy nomination recognition. Chris: you gotta bring it to work. Vince: Put it on a helmet. Gordon: I'll get a t-shirt made. Chris: Wear it on a chain like Flava-flav. Gordon: maybe I'll get it tattooed on someplace. Vince: your forehead, people gotta see it. Peter, back on topic: the only time I get carsick is when I'm watching a monitor, and it's shaking one way, while the vehicle is going another. Gordon: We were shooting back in the bus, and the monitor was mounted basically on the dashboard of the bus. Vince: I was shooting for 409, and I remember watching you in the distance, maybe a half mile away, driving back and forth on the same road.
  • Peter, on casting: happy to have director Jim McKay back, last seen in season one of BB. He grounded the scene in reality, like all the extras. Gordon: Shout out to Albuquerque Casting, most of them are locals, picked by Kiera Aray (?), who brought in a lot of interesting faces. Very natural.
  • Gordon: I haven't been to Coushatta, it's a real place, but bigger than we made it feel. Maybe this is on the outskirts. We're not trying to cast aspersions to the lovely people of Coushatta, but represent the kind of town we want to see.
  • Peter: the scene just got better with the Les McCann track, "Burning Coal," and I'm a big Les McCann Fan. Thomas: I'm also a big Les McCann Fan, and I love that it's really soulful jazz, always going somewhere, feeling a little bit improvised, something like Jimmy. Vince: It's always so much fun to see what you'll come up with for this show, and Breaking Bad. Thomas: "Nobody could ask for a better canvas, I just get to do a little painting." BB and BCS are different, though they they have some of the same elements, but you'd never get the extended montages in BB like you do here in BCS, and that gives the space to use whole songs, which is a gift to musicians and artists. Gordon: I think finding the right song is deceptively simple. Like this scene, there's a build-up and a movement, and if the track didn't have that, it would bring the scene down. It needs to do a lot to night fight against the forward movement of the montage. Chris: It can't have a lot of lyrics, or it'll clash. And then when you get the right song, like the Lola Marsh episode from last time, it feels effortless.
  • Chris cut the teaser, but this episode is Joey's first (editing) credit. Chris: it all goes downhill from here. You should just retire now. Peter: I remember Kelley telling you that you're not going to get coverage on other shows like you will here. Chris: She's right. There's nothing like these shows. Thomas: Everyone's honing in on something, from the actors to the costume designer. We're all trying to reach a collective vision, based on the leadership of Vince and Peter. I'm always excited to see what finally clicks.
  • Enter the polite Michael Mando! Chris: you're looking good, like you've healed from all the wounds you've taken on this season. Michael: at least the physical ones. That's why I'm late. Michael: I wonder where he went in those 10 months that we didn't see him? Maybe he went to Hawaii. Chris: We pick up with what appears to be a very different Nacho. Michael: There are different ways you can react to something so traumatic like that. You can either implode and you can't go on because you're so traumatized. Or like a bone break, it heals stronger. I want to hear from Peter and Vince so I want to hear from them, but I think that's what happened here. Vince: It's interesting. Peter: That's not what I had thought, but I like it, and it's absolutely legitimate. It makes perfect sense. Michael: What were you thinking? Peter: I wasn't thinking about bones. It's interesting to see him back, pulled in so many different directions. He's in the Tuco seat for the Salamancas, but he's also secretly working for Gus Fring. I think this is the life he wanted long ago when he started out dealing drugs and running with Tuco. Michael: That's interesting, I didn't think of it that way. The reason he went into this business has always been an exclamation mark for me. He seems ashamed of what he's doing. I can't understand Nacho without thinking about his father, who clearly loves him and is probably one of the most moral people in this whole BB universe. Shout out to Juan Carlos Cantu, who called me last night or this morning, "I can't remember. I didn't pick up, but I'll call you back." Gordon: Typical father-son. Chris: Actually, we have him on the line. Juan Carlos? Michael: I've always felt that Nacho didn't have interest in taking Tuco's position, but rather that he wanted to make money. But why does he want to make money if his dad has a shop? Is it not making money? He's hiding this from his dad, so he can't be planning to do it forever. I know what I think, but I know how it works with Vince and Peter -- you tell them something you think, and they do the opposite. I learned my lesson. But this I think is true, but you can tell me if I'm wrong. The materialistic thing is a front, but his heart, represented by his safe, is further closed off from that material world when he shuts the door. His plan is to go to Canada, away from the drug world. He's up there with Mike Ermentrout the bear. Chris: I believe it's Mike Bearmantraut. Peter: It's still pretty dangerous. Michael: He'll still need his gun. Gordon: As a Canadian, I think you can speak to what Canada represents for us. Michael: When you go up in to the mountains, it feels like ... I can't tell you, because you'll do the opposite. Peter: Then tell us what you don't want us to do. Michael: If a guy goes up to somewhere like British Columbia, I think he's turned off from the whole cartel world, who has interest, from the moment we met him, in power; he's not power hungry, he's not ego driven ... Vince: He loves the metric system. Michael: I actually pitched to Gordon the idea that he had a book about the metric system in his room. The Origins of the Metric System. Chris: I think that all makes sense. You might hang out with people who do things that you aren't comfortable with, but the trappings of that life are alluring. Michael: So I wonder why he got into this in the first place. When he tells his father that he works for Hector Salamanca, you can see his father's face just drop, like he's the most appalling person in the community. He let his father down. So why did he need the money? Nacho's super power is that he's not ego driven, unlike everyone else. He's had a fall-out with Jimmy, with Mike, with Hector, with Tuco. All the conversations have been slanted to one side, here's what I'm going to do, you (Nacho) have to figure out how to adjust.
  • From Nacho's point of view, Gus's actions seem beyond the scope of what was necessary. Michael's thoughts are that Gus is the smartest guy in the room, and he knows Nacho doesn't know about Gus's need to torture Hector, so what Nacho did didn't go behind Gus's back, and Gus knows that. Gus also recognizes how horrible Hector is to other people. Vince: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Michael: Yes! You think Gus would start with a conversation, instead of torturing you for trying to save someone that they care. Nacho's cornerstone is that he's thinking that no one gives a shit about what is right; every pretends to uphold the code of the underground, but everyone is fighting for themselves. Vince: Gus definitely doesn't care about Nacho, but just thinks about how he can use him. But I don't think of what he did was torturing Nacho, but very pragmatically and coldbloodedly using him to further his interests. Nacho is just another insect to Gus; he's not taking out his anger on Nacho. Gordon: I think Gus killing Arturo is to ensure that Nacho is in that power position, and stays in line. I have moved you up in the hierarchy, and you are mine. Miguel: That I can understand. But then in episode 3, getting shot in the shoulder, I get it. Getting shot in the stomach, I get it. Then getting left out alone in the desert for 10 hours, that's the torture to me. Gordon: But he couldn't come away from that unscathed, or he'd look like a suspect. Michael: I get it, but from Nacho's point of view, Gus isn't a logical person whose actions and choices can be discussed anymore. Thomas: But Nacho is just a piece in Gus's chess game. Your character, in a lot of ways, is like Domingo. You come into this trying to make a little bit of money, then cruelty comes into play, and you're taking on this cruelty. The Salamanca family is like this poison that gets into anybody who touches it, but Gus is the only one who can move around it. You're just one pawn in this larger game. Peter: Nacho is different, more pragmatic, trying to survive. Gus and Hector are motivated by revenge, wounds and injury, while Nacho is motivated by love of his father. He's the most human and vulnerable of them. I'm worried about him. These other guys are kind of crazy. Gordon: He reminds me of Jesse in this way, wondering "What is wrong with these people?" Michael: That's what I love about him in episode 8, he isn't hardened by this, he's still motivated by his love of his father.
  • Peter: The first moment we see the true Nacho is when he goes into his new house, closes the door and puts down his gun. Then he hunches over, there's this release of breath. We see everything out there is an act. And he hates it. Gordon: Shout-out to Blingy, who is imposing and funny. Chris: And he sells something - the look on his face when Nacho motions him closer sells the idea that everyone is afraid of Nacho now. And he is the scary guy, he pulls out his earring. But he isn't scary, because he doesn't kill him or mortally wound him, shoot him a million times in the desert and leave him to die. Michael: I think he's teaching him a lesson. I can talk about this moment forever; you defend your character like a lawyer, because this is what drives you. I don't like to see him turn into Hector. The fight in his heart is against the method of the other guys. He gives Blingy a chance to learn -- work with me and make money, or cross me and it gets worse. Gordon: And he's teaching Domingo a lesson; if Crazy 8 doesn't keep these guys in line, he has to, which gives Nacho a layer between him and these guys. "Blingy's gonna come and Blingy's gonna go," but Domingo's going to be the guy to keep things in line.
  • Chris: The next scene is all about music, both score (original compositions by David Porter) and sourced (the stuff that's playing in the world, the diegetic music). "If you recognize a song, chances are it's going to cost a lot to get the rights." Segue to Thomas talking about managing the music budget -- music in this episode is relentless, and by the time we got to Kim's headphones, we were out of music. Luckily we could get that Stereolab track [Tempter -- Live 1993 Bard College, for reference only] for an extremely reasonable price, so I give them so much respect for that kindness. It feels so right to her. Gordon is also a big driver of music, but his email list ended up in a string of calls where the answer was we weren't going to get the song for less than $15k, which wasn't feasible. How do you convince someone whose heard of the show that you don't have money, and all season long it's been that conversation. Peter: But also not having all the money to do all the things improves things. The first playlist for Kim was very conventional, what you'd hear on the radio a lot, but I wasn't happy with that. She's not going to search out indie bands, but she's not going to listen to something super common. I think way, waaay back to Breaking Bad, where we were going to have Jesse confront a junkyard dog -- Vince: a $25k guard dog -- Peter: Instead, we had that awful scene with the port-a-potty. Peter: which was more memorable. Michael: Have you thought of recording new music? [Already discussed in the prior episode]. Thomas: when it works, it's great, but when it doesn't, you're left wishing "I wish we had gone with that pre-recorded song we sort of liked." Michael: A great, popular song also comes loaded with emotions. Peter: It feels like freeloading, pulling in emotions associated with that song, drifting off of something. Chris: We try to avoid that. Thomas: As much as I complained at that time, those limitations gave us a much more interesting pallet in Breaking Bad. We ended up using music very minimally, because we didn't have music to fill all the scenes. Dave is also a minimal composer. But in this episode, we didn't hold anything in reserve, but it didn't feel showy. It's nice to have a bit more breathing space, but I think we do good work with the limited budget.
  • The payoff on the scam! Peter: I have crawdads in my pants. Chris: I love seeing Mr. Show-like Bob come back in, to show off his comedy capabilities, even in the dailies. Peter: Bob had this character, Hal Tankerbell [series of clips, opens with a inappropriate joke skit, audio NSFW], which was what I was hoping with when we wrote the scene. He's still Jimmy McGill, but he's so frickin' great. Julie Pearl is also great, who plays ADA Ericsen, because the straight person is just as important. Gordon: There was a bump in the road. Our actors who aren't regulars, as a security measure, don't get all the script. But because the way the scene was slugged, the headings of the scenes, it's a cross-cutting scene, and they mistakenly didn't give her about half of the scene with Jimmy. She came in wondering why she was prepping for the scene. She showed us a big black box where much of the scene was in her script, so Bob was there, reading lines off for the first half of the day. Vince: This is very unusual on any show. Peter: On a day off. Gordon: And she knocked it out.
  • Michael asks about any specialties in the writing room, but that doesn't happen in this show.
  • Peter asks about the script changing frequently, and Michael talks about the "don't know your lines" nightmare, where the closest he's come was to have the script change after rehearsal. He likes the Scorsese and De Niro model - improvise a lot in rehearsal, and then in set you know what the scene is about, so any changes can be handled with ease. And humility is a gift - come in thinking anything can change and be able to roll with it. For example, Michael planned to stand up in the milk scene, but it was the opposite, all seated. "Prepare, and let it go." Peter's director nightmare: not knowing anything about the script. Vince's nightmare is coming into class after skipping class all year, only to come into a test. Peter recalls the Top Secret scene where Val Kilmer is back in high school, about to take a test he didn't know about, only to wake up to be tortured by Nazis and says "Oh thank god."
  • And then there's Lalo Salamanca. Michael: How concrete is Nacho's plan? Peter: Why you don't you tell us? Michael: I've learned my lesson. I was asked by a journalist how Walter White could come back, and how he could interact with Nacho. I said maybe Walter was Nacho's teacher. A couple months later Vince says in an interview: "Some goofball had the idea that Nacho could be in Walter White's class in Better Call Saul, but that's not going to happen." Peter: There's still a lot of story left in this season.
  • Michael: Nacho has a plan, with those Canadian passports. Peter: But is Nacho's dad on board with this? Does he even know about this? Are they even going to Canada, or going some other place as Canadians? Michael: What's Nacho's relationship with his dad at this point? Gordon: Whatever is planned, but Lalo casts a dark cloud over all that. Michael: As soon as I see Domingo's face, Nacho knows something's wrong, he goes for his gun. This man does the most disrespectful thing -- goes into another person's kitchen. He doesn't call ahead, and now he's here, playing his music loudly. Everything he says is so nice, but what he does is underhanded. The two guys are almost hostages. Nacho can't place him, but he knows he's crazy and dangerous.
  • Michael Mando ends with his best You Better Call Saul!

posted by filthy light thief at 12:40 PM on October 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Or, like someone said above, she might take something too far and become Saul Goodman's first client. Or maybe the Vacuum repairman's first client.
Or even, conceivably, and accomplice of Ed, the vacuum repairman! As a skilled and fastidious lawyer, with an interest in the drama of criminal lives - and who herself appears to have come from a hidden past - Kim could do very well in that role. Being a vanishing agent for wealthy criminals would also be a lucrative gig.
posted by rongorongo at 2:57 AM on October 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Late to this. It was pure joy watching Bob Odenkirk doing a deep swamp Ca-jawn Baptist accent. So hilarious.

I think this episode is the fulcrum of the whole show. Better Call Saul is not about Saul; it's about Kim, her descent into corruption. This is the episode where she slides from the up-tilting part of the lever to the down-tilting. She's on her way to destruction now.
posted by Nelson at 9:23 PM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


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