Better Call Saul: Wiedersehen
October 2, 2018 6:58 AM - Season 4, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Jimmy and Kim unburden themselves, risking their relationship in the process; Nacho makes the rounds with Lalo; Mike has cause to worry.

‘Better Call Saul’ Recap: Insincerely Yours -- The German crew have to blow up a boulder — and Kim and Jimmy nearly come to blows after a visit to the reinstatement board (Alan Sepinwall for Rolling Stone)
Jimmy makes two mistakes at his bar reinstatement hearing. The more obvious one, which Kim calls him out for, is that he never once mentions Chuck. The three lawyers hearing his case very clearly want him to say something kind about his late, professionally great brother, and it never even occurs to Jimmy to do it. When Kim brings up Chuck during their argument on the parking garage roof, he’s surprised by the very idea. He argues, rightly, that citing his sibling as an inspiration would have been the height of insincerity, given how their relationship wound up, and would have only lived down to the panel’s assumptions about him.

The more important mistake, to me, comes a few moments earlier in the interview. One of the panelists asks what the law means to Jimmy, and it’s clear from the look on his face and the long pause before he begins fully answering that this has never occurred to him, either. This is him failing to invoke Chuck in spirit as much as name.
‘Better Call Saul’ Season 4, Episode 9: For Whom the Bell Tings (David Segal for New York Times)
Of course Hector Salamanca’s wheelchair bell has an origin story. Naturally, it involves sadism and murder.
No tracks in this episode, at least as currently listed on Tunefind.
posted by filthy light thief (49 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was surprised Jimmy didn't get his license back. I wonder where they'll go with that. Is there a chance he could register as Saul Goodman and get it that way? I know absolutely nothing about this sort of thing.

I'm not sure I care about the German's escaping. We know the lab gets built, so trying to make that suspenseful seems a bit pointless. I suspect it will lead to Mike having to make the decision to kill the Germans, or at least just the main guy.
posted by bondcliff at 7:44 AM on October 2


I don't see how Kim explains away the building plans switcheroo to the folks at Mesa Verde.

Previously: Paige , I agree with the very obvious fact this would be impossible without a whole lot of re-filing and approvals, causing months of delay
A short time later: Paige, we are all set for the new building. We didn't need any other work from you and there were no hearings

Sure, Kevin would just be "Great!" but I'd think Paige would have some questions.
posted by mikepop at 8:06 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Oh, Kevin'll be thrilled! As described in a previous podcast, he's a rich boy who became a richer man, and he's used to having his wishes granted.

Kim most likely burning her relationship with Paige here, which was already tested when she chose to ignore her pressing calls for a PD case*. And more than than, Kim is a verified miracle worker, so she just pushed the bar higher for what she could get done, and reduces Kevin's scope of "impossible" when it comes to having Kim involved.

* Then again, I'm not sure how good of friends Kim and Paige were in the first place, or if they were operating from shared respect from young women who have busted their butts to get where they are. I feel like Paige is now part of Mesa Verde in Kim's mind, making her part of something she would rather not be dealing with, because it's not as rewarding as the work she's doing elsewhere (and in other ways). And in the end, if anyone could convince Paige that Kim just worked extra hard and Got It Done, it would be Kim. Who knows, she might even find some obscure planning regulation that allows for a plan revision without the protracted review process.

Continuing on Kim, her relationship with Jimmy is heartbreaking. For a moment, Kim became Chuck to Jimmy, judging him and finding him wanting. Jimmy was sincere when he said "I messed it all up," but he could be sincere with Kim because she was there for him, again. She was waiting for him to come back, not waiting for a call while she was off somewhere else, doing something else, like prepping for another case, as seen in the fantastic split-screen montage when they were eating dinner alone.

So Jimmy can't break Kim's heart that easily, and maybe she even can rationalize his actions by seeing that roof-top tirade as him dealing with Chuck's death. (And choosing to not think of someone is a choice in how you deal with their memory, their legacy.) She gives him a chance to make things right, and she's still going to bat for him.

Cynically, maybe she sees him as a project? Not consciously, but if she's able to say "you're always down," she might see him as the perpetual underdog, someone who needs support. Or maybe he's that rebellion she has put out of most her life, until now? I don't know, I'm grabbing at straws. In the podcast for the last episode, Peter Gould said "there's a lot of story left" in the next two episodes, and seeing how situations have switched so dramatically in a single scene, let alone a whole episode, I believe it, so my guessing may all be made moot in the next episode.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:52 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


I can't believe Jimmy didn't mention Chuck during the hearing. Talk about a blind spot.
posted by Pendragon at 12:37 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


This episode really came together for me. Kim makes sense again, Jimmy's path to Saul is finally laid bare, Gus's longstanding hatred for the Salamancas has been stacked to Breaking Bad height and Mike has a no-half-measure situation on his hands. Next episode is going to be epic.

Am I right in that Nacho had no lines this episode? Amazing acting on Michael Mando's part.

I fucking love that Kim called out Jimmy on his equating her feelings for him as measured in office spaces. She doesn't care about status symbols and never has. Even the dinner party with the partners, she wasn't angry with Jimmy for the reasons he thinks she was.

If she cared about status she wouldn't wear same hairstyle every day and five business suits in rotation. Her bank 'trophies' are placed on the wall perfunctorily; they don't make her smile the way that seeing the stamp of approval on each page of the swapped architectural drawings does. And the mug with the nail polish — that was from her, but the briefcase was for Jimmy (he likes the flash).

The suit Jimmy was wearing was insincere. It was authentically a Saul suit, disguised in black.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:59 PM on October 2 [10 favorites]


I love that Nacho drives a Javelin … made by AMC. Nice touch.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:40 PM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Am I right in that Nacho had no lines this episode? Amazing acting on Michael Mando's part.

He said, in response to Lalo's inquiry, "Nothing means no."
posted by juiceCake at 3:15 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


I love that Nacho drives a Javelin …

Not merely a Javelin. An AMX.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:34 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


The German guy escaping is great because they went to great lengths to show us that he is a nice guy and Mike likes him. It’s all adding up to illuminating the absolutely enourmous emotional investment that Mike has in the lab, that it would not be in character for him to even hint at, so they’re showing us. It’s adding that much more weight to that scene in breaking bad when Mike finally lets go of his composure and the price he pays for that.
posted by bleep at 4:48 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


The German is also, as has been noted before, a Walter White analogue: Werner, the match in name for Heisenberg, complete with the young hothead partner he protects who turns out to be a better fit for the culture of Gus's cartel than the "older, wiser" talent who got them all hired in the first place.

But who care's about clever call-aheads when there's a visual theme to explore! And "visual" is the word, as the theme for this episode is "visibility." The suspense of the opening scene, with Kim pulling what we know is a con job before that big panel of glass, people shuffling behind it, is in her exposure, her visibility, trapped between two panes: that wall, our screens. And yet seeing isn't knowing, whether it's the seamless success of Kim's con job or the way Werner turns the seeming safety of absolute surveillance into one big blind spot. You can look at something head on, see it as completely as the eye will allow (or the camera, as this is a show), and be fooled.

Other times, visibility can be a weapon. Is Lalo really lying, exactly, at any point in this episode? Not really. Is Gus? Not really. Double meanings abound, but Lalo's offer really is an "investment" in a franchise, even if it's also a test of Gus's loyalty. He uses the affect of openness as a weapon at every point, a counterpart to Gus's polite reserve, feeling out its limits. Gus, via his veneer of etiquette, does the same in his way. Does Gus really lie to Lalo? He's perfectly happy with the current arrangements: Hector paralyzed, with Don Eladio and Juan Bolsa fooled. And he's sure there's no bad blood with the Salamancas, because that would make their side of things real. And only Gus's side is real, for Gus.

Ultimately, Gus and Lalo come across as two psychopaths of different sorts, trading pleasantries that mask their games of life and death, both knowing what is really meant. It's one mask of sanity to another mask of sanity, obviously false joviality stalemated by obviously false humility. Their affect is bullshit, but their statements are relatively direct from a certain perspective. Here, it's Nacho pinned between the diaphanous "screens" Gus and Lalo put up, reduced to gestures of helplessness and anxious looks when ever one of his bosses gives him a disapproving, expectant stare.

Normally, that sort of deceptively transparent false fronting would be the cue for "Saul Goodman, ladies and gentlemen!" But Jimmy's mostly busy fronting to himself while everybody else sees through him. He's sincere in believing that he was sincere, and in his expression of apathy about Chuck. That's not true, of course, and everyone else but him seems to know it. But he's also not lying. He's just so deeply buried in denial, so immersed in the damage he and his brother have inflicted on each other and themselves, that he doesn't even see it as damage anymore. But he keeps looking for a Chuck figure to define himself against, to rage against. At the same time, he's uncharacteristically incompetent at reading others: his denial is all over the panel's faces, audible in their polite deferrals, and only Jimmy doesn't see it.

The con job is Kim's idea: like her scam against the ADA, it plays not to greed, but to empathy and shared experience. There, it was constructing a community of feeling out of whole cloth for Huell. Here, it's leveraging her deep understanding of the perils of working womanhood. Tellingly, she casts Jimmy in the role of the inadequate helpmeet, not even a spouse or partner but a brother. And she again and again casts herself as the person who cleans up his messes, who protects him from his worst self, his inadequacies. Pair that with her public defense work and her desire, for all that, to work impossible miracles for Kevin of Mesa Verde, and we can at least tell what the law means to Kim Wexler.

That diner scene on the way back from Lubbock is the Jimmy twist in visibility, as is the later scene with the mirrors that first separate him from Kim, then unite them int he same picture again. In the diner, we can see Kim's reflection brightly; Jimmy's is faint, even invisible; the light's not behind him and he just gets swallowed up in the dark night past that window. (Another screen sandwich, and again Kim is visible, pinned by Jimmy's question about "good.") But Jimmy has no reflection. It's not that he has no soul or some cliché like that. It's that he has no power of reflection; he finds himself in the ways others perceive him. When he feels down, it's because someone's looking down; when he's a good friend, it's because someone sees him as such; but ask him what the law means to him, or about his brother, and he goes blank. He doesn't want to see some things about himself or his desires, and so for him they're simply not there, not relevant, even if everyone else can see them.

This is why Kim's "we'll know it when we see it," helpfully flagged up as Stewart Potter's definition of obscenity, is, well, obscene. As Jimmy demonstrates throughout the episode, it's usually more a case of seeing it where you want to pretend you know it. What does the law mean to Jimmy McGill? A way to gain equal status with Chuck, with Kim, with Howard so they have to accept him as like them, as worthy of their respect and affection? A weapon to defend others and himself from powerful and entitled people? A stage on which to perform his heart out, the place he can create and express his best, most whole self?

What does Jimmy McGill mean to Jimmy McGill?
posted by kewb at 5:46 PM on October 2 [8 favorites]


One of the panelists asks what the law means to Jimmy, and it’s clear from the look on his face and the long pause before he begins fully answering that this has never occurred to him, either. This is him failing to invoke Chuck in spirit as much as name.

Maybe this is because I'm dealing with my own relatively minor interactions with the judicial branch, but I think it's especially heartbreaking part of the answer that Jimmy eventually stumbles onto about "What does the law mean to you" is both sincere and accurate:

Basically: "The law is tremendously complex. I worked my ass off to figure it all out even a little bit and I've found satisfaction in helping people who would otherwise be completely lost navigate their way through it all and I've missed that experience"is a *tremendously* more virtuous mission statement and human response than any amount of Chuck McGill philosophical bullshit about the beauty of the law in all it's wonderful abstraction.
posted by absalom at 6:03 PM on October 2 [17 favorites]


The first real sign of how screwed up Jimmy still is over Chuck's life/death this season was his inability to toss off a sentimental line about how he was inspired to pursue law by working at his brother's firm. Kim was right; that's all they were waiting for. We've seen again and again how much the Albuquerque legal community thought of Chuck. The board lawyer asked a sentimental question, and Jimmy gave a sentimental answer -- but not the right answer. It was striking because Jimmy is spectacular at reading people. The last time he missed a step this badly was his evaluation of Hamlin (and by extension, Chuck) in the first season.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:24 PM on October 2 [2 favorites]


I don’t understand where Werner thinks he’s going. It’s not like the warehouse is right next to the airport. It’s relatively removed from everything, isn’t it? He’ll die of exposure out in some arroyo before Mike can find him and put a bullet in him.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:30 PM on October 2


I'm hoping Mike is still doing "Half measures" right now. Otherwise Werner is toast.

I thought Werner seemed OK until he saw "Wiedersehen" scrawled on the wall. Like maybe one of the crew wrote it as a threat to him. But it just really means "goodbye" or "meet again" so maybe it was just a funny thing they wrote ("Goodbye, big chunk of rock") that reminded Werner of his missing his wife?

I also thought for sure Werner was lying and something was going on beyond missing his wife, but he really talked to her on the phone and they were listening in, so I guess that's it.

Kudos to marguerite in the previous thread for guessing that Kim wanted to do a scam on Mesa Verde's behalf to get their crazy building approved.

I loved the acting in this one, especially the silent parts: Nacho reacting to Lalo's meeting with Gus, and Jimmy walking out of the interview. You could see it on his face -- the interview was done, but he was thinking of turning around and going back in to say something about Chuck that he knew they wanted to hear. But he doesn't want Chuck to get credit (again) for Jimmy being a lawyer. He wants to do it on his own merits.

I'm not sure how Jimmy is going to become "Saul Goodman, Attorney at Law" even with Kim's help. Good old-fashioned identity forgery wouldn't work since half the legal community knows Jimmy and he'd be in trouble the first time they saw a TV ad.
posted by mmoncur at 9:42 PM on October 2


One more:

I thought for sure the moment when Jimmy used slightly illegal means to become Attorney Saul Goodman, would be the moment Kim left him for good after one too many lines crossed.

But now I'm starting to think he might make that change with Kim's help, or it might even be her idea.

And now I'm worried that at times between the Saul scenes in Breaking Bad, Jimmy is going to visit Kim in prison...
posted by mmoncur at 9:46 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Jimmy did what he was supposed to do. He completed his PPD. He held gainful employment during his suspension. He followed their rules, jumped through their hoops. And what did he get for it? A still-suspended license and a chance to re-apply in a year.

This is the world according to Jimmy. It’s not the first time. When he follows the rules and does the right thing, he gets the short end of the stick. When he plays fast and loose, when he lets Slippin’ Jimmy come out to play, he gets what he wants. And when it comes to scamming people, he is damned good at it. Slippin’ Jimmy is fun for Kim. Regular, law-abiding Jimmy bores her. It’s almost as if the world is telling him he needs to stick to being Slippin’ Jimmy.
posted by azpenguin at 12:13 AM on October 3 [10 favorites]


He said, in response to Lalo's inquiry, "Nothing means no."

There was also the brief conversation about the chicken farm way out of town - but yes, his overall silence spoke much more than any words in the episode.

He followed their rules, jumped through their hoops

And even after all of that, it turns out he still has to praise Chuck as the mighty God of Law. Even in death, Chuck is still fucking Jimmy over. Jimmy will always be in Chuck's shadow - another push towards becoming Saul..
posted by jontyjago at 2:57 AM on October 3 [7 favorites]


I was surprised Jimmy didn't get his license back. I wonder where they'll go with that.

Kim mentioned an appeal process.

It's still true, so I'll say it again: the more the show focuses on Breaking Bad origin stuff (Hector's bell, really? Who cares?) the less interesting it becomes. And the clumsy attempts to get us to care about Werner, with the speech about his wife, the panic attack, and his shaking hands, before suddenly giving him a much bigger role in the story in the season's penultimate episode, felt really jarring.

I still enjoy the show; it's so well-acted and well-made I can't imagine stopping. But the storylines this season have been much more dull than in previous seasons.
posted by mediareport at 4:05 AM on October 3 [10 favorites]


I agree with that mediareport.
Breaking Bad in particular was brilliant at pulling together various strands at the end of each season in a really satisfying way. Each episodic "con" or whatever was fun to watch play out on its own while also fitting in with a wider arc that gradually revealed itself by the time we went in to the final episode. But the motivations of the key characters have been insufficiently consistent here that I feel like we're seeing more cracks in the overall structure than usual. With one episode to go, I'd expect things to be more coherent by this point, but Werner suddenly hotfooting it because he misses his wife? Jimmy not mentioning Chuck in a hearing? It feels like you can see them trying to get from a to b within each episode with insufficient consideration of the wider arc of the series.
I wonder if this is somehow a consequence of Vince Gilligan stepping back this season.
posted by chill at 5:36 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


I think the talk about the dog was code. If my hubby went away forvstiff like this there damn well would be a code, an extensive one.
The first real sign of how screwed up Jimmy still is over Chuck's life/death this season was his inability to toss off a sentimental line about how he was inspired to pursue law by working at his brother's firm.


It’s WORSE than that. He said he went to work at A law firm, not CHUCKS law firm. He buried Chuck completely. They read the transcript. They KNOW.
posted by tilde at 5:40 AM on October 3 [9 favorites]


I think there's a decent chance that there's more to Werner's escape than just wanting to see his wife. He could very well be up to something. I don't know what it could be, though.
posted by Shohn at 6:58 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


And even after all of that, it turns out he still has to praise Chuck as the mighty God of Law. Even in death, Chuck is still fucking Jimmy over. Jimmy will always be in Chuck's shadow - another push towards becoming Saul..

It's not about paying homage to Chuck. Jimmy is there because he was suspended on charges brought by Chuck, who then had a mental breakdown at the bar hearing at which Jimmy was the defendant. When Jimmy fails to address the elephant in the room, it makes his remorse statement hollow: there's no sense that Jimmy acknowledges that he broke into Chuck's house and threatened him, nor that there was a bunch of weirdness around this cassette tape Jimmy destroyed....but that's what his whole suspension is about!

Hell, if Jimmy had said that his brother was originally part of why he went into law, but then his mental illness caused strains between them, and this led to a feud that got out of hand and caused Jimmy to act rashly -- all true! -- he would hardly have to "pay homage" to Chuck, and he'd come off as sincere.

The tragedy is that Jimmy's sincerity is built on a deep level of denial, which is pretty clearly signposted when Jimmy basically says to Kim what he wishes he could have said to Chuck and the Kettlemans back in late season 1. But as Kim has pointed out, it's not really her job (or the review committee's job) to process Jimmy's emotional damage. That's why you pay a psychiatrist, and if you won't do that, then you do the work yourself. Jimmy isn't doing that.

Jimmy's "I enjoy advocacy" speech at the panel is also interesting: he does mean it, but he also meant what he said to Kim during their road trip back from Texas: his new client base is going to be made up of the idiots to whom he's sold drop phones, and Jimmy uses the phrase "idiots." Jimmy has this whole odd mix of contempt and sympathy going on, for himself, for his criminal contacts, and even for Kim -- look at how he goes from "you only want me when I'm down" to a rueful "I messed it all up."

Yes, a lot of that is Chuck's fault. It sucks that Jimmy has to deal with this damage. But he doesn't. He just tries to ignore it, and when it leads him to unproductive or even self-destructive behavior, he expects it to be excused or for others to save him. And he also uses it to justify taking advantage of some people while enabling the destructive and self-destructive actions of others. At what point is Jimmy McGill accountable for himself?
posted by kewb at 7:24 AM on October 3 [11 favorites]


I think a huge issue between Kim and Jimmy is that the things that Kim loves Jimmy for are the things that he hates about himself. And I think that Jimmy's black hole of self-contempt is going to consume them if nothing else does.
posted by rue72 at 7:58 AM on October 3 [5 favorites]


Kim and Jimmy's scene in the parking garage was so great, I imagine in retrospect it will be the season defining moment, maybe the entire series. Seahorn's portrayal of Kim is so understated, so controlled, that when she lets go, it's huge. And Odenkirk seems to know Jimmy so well, specifically his weaknesses re Kim that it ratchets between them up to 11. Between this and The Americans, it's been a great year for dramatic confrontations filmed in parking garages.


Buuut, the season overall is kind of creaky. Hector's bell, ugh, that was clunky fan service at its worst. Mike has been pretty much idle since the initial burst of episodes 1-2, he's basically just settled in as Gus's right-hand man. Nacho's in the back seat for his own storyline, I'm sure he'll take some sort of action on his own behalf in the next episode, but his story doesn't really have much of him in it, we just see him glowering in the background. The whole cartel side of the show is taking up a lot of time but not really doing anything that interesting, certainly not developing Mike, Gus or Nacho in the ways those characters deserve (particularly the latter, in my opinion).
posted by skewed at 8:21 AM on October 3 [7 favorites]


*Is* Vince Gilligan pulling back? He directed this episode...
posted by emkelley at 12:55 PM on October 3


What I thought was so heartbreaking is that the only person Jimmy managed to convince that he's being sincere is himself. He's such a good bullshit artist, but he's his own dupe in this. He wasn't lying to the committee, he was making a sales pitch. And he bought what he was selling, but they didn't. They saw through him like Chuck always saw through him. Like Kim sees through him as soon as he gets up on the garage.

And what's so sad about Kim seeing through him so easily, too, is that it makes it clear that she's one of "them," the respectable people who are always the ones to see through him (like Chuck), and it also makes it suspect that she wants to be with Jimmy. If she sees through him, then she knows he's a lowlife, and yet she got with him and stays with him anyway. So is she just slumming it? That's Jimmy's worry, I think. That it's not just that she doesn't believe in him -- which would be bad enough -- but that she's with him BECAUSE she doesn't believe in him. That what she loves about him is that he's a lowlife and always will be.

Personally, I don't think Kim thinks of herself as slumming it. But I do think that she wouldn't want to be with Jimmy if he were to go totally straight. Kim likes the thrill of the negotiation, the bluff -- and the higher the stakes the better. So when a whale of a client is on the line, that's fun and exciting for her. Or when someone's future is at stake (like with her PD clients), that's fun and exciting for her. Or when she's scamming somebody and putting herself and Jimmy at risk, that's fun and exciting for her, too. And Jimmy is a great (literal!) partner in crime when it comes to all that -- he's a good game player and he's willing to go all in. If he weren't willing to be her partner in crime, then he couldn't really be a partner to her, and their relationship would dissolve.

But whereas those games and negotiations put pink in Kim's cheeks, I think they're self-destructive for Jimmy. Kim has proven herself a success, she's gotten into the boardroom and paid her debts, and now she's just got to figure out how to feel alive after meeting the goals that really matter to her -- and I think the thrills she gets from these confidence games and battles of wits and bluffs against the county prosecutor etc are how she's doing it (at least for now). I don't think it's coming from a dark place, really -- she's just fighting ennui.

I think for Jimmy, it's a different story. In his mind, he's fighting to protect himself. I think Jimmy has this compulsion to SELL SELL SELL! and run these games because he is so desperate to be the wolf rather than the sheep (getting fleeced). To him, it's zero sum, so if he's not the predator, he's the prey. So especially when he's feeling the most prey-like and vulnerable, he gets out there and starts fleecing whoever he can get his hands on. But I think that he is always in this weird headspace of feeling intense contempt for his "prey" even while identifying with them. And he takes this shit seriously in a way that I just don't think that Kim does. He thinks that conning people MEANS something. About them and about himself, and about how the world works. This isn't a thrill for him the way that it is for Kim. I think the difference in their perspectives is simply that for him what they're doing has symbolic weight that it doesn't for her. For Jimmy, the law office has symbolic weight, the cons have symbolic weight, the license has symbolic weight. Kim sees some of these symbols -- like the Tequila bottle topper -- and they're meaningful for her personally, as an individual. She uses them to reflect on her own feelings. We see her reflect onscreen and eventually take action based on her conclusions. But for Jimmy, these symbols are things he tries to read in order to understand things outside of himself better -- "things" like the world, his place in it, other people, his relationships with them. I don't get the sense that he reflects the way that Kim does. He has a strangely cold and distant relationship with himself, he's constantly trying to get out of his own head and into other people's.

Anyway, I hope that the Committee's rejection of his reinstatement forces him to be more real about his feelings about Chuck. I have no idea what being more real would even entail, but it was just too bizarre when Jimmy claimed not to even think of Chuck at the hearing. It's like Jimmy is trying to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind his whole relationship with his brother, and it is getting to be a bit much.
posted by rue72 at 3:21 PM on October 3 [10 favorites]


I don’t understand where Werner thinks he’s going. It’s not like the warehouse is right next to the airport.

I'm guessing that neither Werner nor his crew know exactly where they're staying or where they're working - they're buttoned into the back of the truck before it leaves the sally port.

But yeah, Werner's gonna have a tough getaway.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:38 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]


I can't believe Jimmy didn't mention Chuck during the hearing. Talk about a blind spot.

I'm pretty sure Chuck happily forgot about Jimmy any time he could. It seems to be part of McGill nature to be blind to family when not using those connections to prop oneself up in some way. Chuck never really believed that he needed Jimmy, and now Jimmy believes he no longer needs Chuck. Jimmy's overweening self-interest is somewhat tempered by empathy now, but it's in his blood to become as mercenary as Chuck.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:14 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]


a no-half-measure situation on his hands. Next episode is going to be epic.

I rewatched this episode tonight, and I noticed a couple of things. Werner only smoked half of his cigarette when he put it out, and the camera lingered on it. A half-meaure situation is afoot.

Also, maybe this is obvious, but the phone call was almost certainly all code ("dog is peeing everywhere"; "let's meet at the hot springs when I get back.") He looked physically relaxed after the call, and plans were in motion. I've been wondering what has been bothering him, and I think it goes back to Werner's original look of realiziation when Mike confronts him after the bar episode. When Mike asked him, "Do you know what I'm saying to you?" when he stressed the weight of who they were working for and how much they were getting paid, Werner clearly put the pieces together. So, when he was down in the basement checking the wires, he had a panic attack because he thougth he was being set up to be taken out. Then he saw the wire askew, and he relaxed.

I think Werner thinks that it's very likely he's going to be killed at the end of this, if not before -- as it's obvious to him now it's something illegal, he's already been confronted, and Mike told him that others knowing the location of the laundromat is a liability (which Werner knows) -- and he's made plans.

I always regret predicting what might happen, as Gilligan and company always comes up with something better than I think up. But I wonder if he feels sorry for Werner at some point, doesn't take him out, and it causes him problems. Hence, "no half-measures" later.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:32 PM on October 3 [11 favorites]


I think the talk about the dog was code.

I do too. I also think he might've gotten some general idea of where he is via his wife. Together they may have been able to help him prepare for being out in the elements if the project turned out to be problematic and he decided to go AWOL. If not, then he's probably as good as dead even before Mike finds him.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:42 PM on October 3 [2 favorites]


Because, really, who HAPPENS to carry heavy duty camera pickup nuking laser pointers when you usually use measuring tape?
posted by tilde at 11:27 PM on October 3 [3 favorites]


There was also the brief conversation about the chicken farm way out of town - but yes, his overall silence spoke much more than any words in the episode.

His shrug to Gus was positively eloquent.
posted by scalefree at 12:00 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]


*Is* Vince Gilligan pulling back? He directed this episode...
I can't remember where I read/heard it (but found a brief mention of it here), but I think this episode was his only significant creative involvement the season, and certainly in the podcast he appears an interested outsider as to the creative decisions made.
posted by chill at 1:38 AM on October 4


I think Werner thinks that it's very likely he's going to be killed at the end of this, if not before -- as it's obvious to him now it's something illegal...

I assumed he knew the job was for something illegal from the outset. The first guy we saw interviewed for the project was very obviously someone who worked on the wrong side of the law. I just assumed that there existed this subset of engineers who were known to dabble in criminal projects. I mean, being bagged and driven hours out of the way just for the interview would have tipped-off any semi-intelligent person that this wasn't exactly a wholesome endeavor.

It would be hard to believe that an up-and-up white-hat would have a secret code set-up with his wife. That's something someone who regularly works on shady projects like this would do, imho.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:16 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


I waited and waited to pull the trigger on predicting Kim's fate, and one episode later the "noping out" scenario looks far more likely than "seduced by the Slipping side."

God I love this show.
posted by whuppy at 5:30 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


I think Jimmy is going to win on appeal with Kim's help if for no other reason than pacing/timeline logistics. Jimmy's already toiled away in a regular job, he has the clients, he has the Saul Goodman name on business cards. And we've already done the "many months passed" music montage.

Season finale next week, so maybe we'll see Jimmy win on appeal and Kim busted for her Mesa Verde scheme at the same time.
posted by mikepop at 6:20 AM on October 4


We've known that Jimmy had to be broken in a way that takes him from the Jimmy we know and love to the Saul Goodman that seems to be so different. I'm really impressed by how well they are creating a story that makes this transition seem plausible, although I'm hating it every step of the way. The only thing that isn't totally breaking my heart is that the Gene storyline suggests that redemption may also be in his future.

It must be painful for him to work at Cinnabon as Gene. Every other "regular job" he's held, even as a lawyer, seemed to kill him in its monotony. The double whammy is that he can't take on anything he considers fun as it could potentially draw attention to himself.

I wonder if we'll see any interesting cameos in the finale.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:02 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Kudos to marguerite in the previous thread for guessing that Kim wanted to do a scam on Mesa Verde's behalf to get their crazy building approved.

Indeed, good catch!

I'll do my usual podcast write-up tomorrow, but one thing that bothered me about the discussion this time is that it sounds like they didn't confer with land use planning folks about the potential impacts. Folks on the episode thought that making the building 13% bigger was the most "victimless" crime of Kim's creation, and the only one would get in trouble might be Shirley if anyone realized the plans were different than approved but Shirley stamped them off as original, something that the podcast team thought was unlikely.

Except 13% bigger is a significant change, and in "Coushatta," Paige said what Kevin wanted was a much larger footprint than the current Lubbock design (rough transcript), and Kim was looking at the setbacks. Without looking at an actual design and going through the City of Lubbock's Code of Ordinances, it might be that the larger design does comply with all the regulations, but if it took almost two months to get local approval, they were scrutinizing something, like fire code compliance, building setbacks, possibly size restrictions, and that might have included a public hearing process. In short, swapping building plans is a really big deal. /city planner rant
posted by filthy light thief at 8:06 AM on October 4 [6 favorites]


Also, maybe this is obvious, but the phone call was almost certainly all code

I was going to say something about this, how the surveillance trailer was foreshadowing. The bloodless banality of the conversation, when we had just seen Werner talking about how much he misses her, etc. Also, his "wife," as far as we know, and...Kai, was it? being a pill might have been to take the attention off everybody else, particularly Werner's planning. "I thought you said he was your demolitions expert."
posted by rhizome at 9:12 AM on October 4


SpacemanStix: I've been wondering what has been bothering him, and I think it goes back to Werner's original look of realiziation when Mike confronts him after the bar episode. When Mike asked him, "Do you know what I'm saying to you?" when he stressed the weight of who they were working for and how much they were getting paid, Werner clearly put the pieces together. So, when he was down in the basement checking the wires, he had a panic attack because he thougth he was being set up to be taken out. Then he saw the wire askew, and he relaxed.

A couple thoughts on this: Werner would have to be pretty dense to not know what he's getting into after his path from the Denver airport to *mysterious dig location,* where he'd have to excavate under an existing building without being noticed by anyone outside. And looping back to land use and building permits, excavations need SERIOUS permits. I know he's not from the U.S., but I imagine that Germans are also keen on strict permitting, particularly with regards to digging under an existing building. Work like that is not done to bypass local building permits alone, like trying to do some internal renovations to an existing house to make it into a duplex so someone could illegally rent out space. And money is not an issue? Yeah, it's related to serious crime.

Also, Werner volunteered to go down in the hole, and Mike even questioned why he was going down there. "It's my job, Michael" was Werner's justification. If you're worried about being taken out, why opt to go down with the explosives? To save Kai? Maybe, but I didn't get that level of paternal care from Werner.

I'm opting to believe that Werner is really getting cabin fever, though I'm also skeptical he left just to see his wife. I wonder if his Margarethe is someone or something else. Then again, I also agree with those who think that this season of BCS feels like there's more awkward stories being strung together to get from Point A to B, instead of naturally building the story and letting it flow, so maybe they forced the fit with the amount of time left in this season, to get to some Point B.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:38 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Ye comment thread of little faith. Just because you don’t know what’s happening doesn’t mean the writers are fucking up or cutting corners. I’m pretty sure this show has earned our trust.
posted by bleep at 3:26 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]


I'm wondering how they were located by their people after escaping. I guess there's a town relatively close if they had to have the gravel truck go over the train tracks as a diversion. Maybe that was their hint that they could escape. I have to think Mike would have had contingencies for that, though.
posted by rhizome at 3:31 PM on October 4


I wish the writers weren't afraid to get rid of Jonathan Banks for a season or two. They have basically nothing for Mike to do, but his B-plot has commanded a huge chunk of the season.

I feel similarly about Gus and Nacho and Hector, to be honest. I never liked that Jimmy and Kim and Chuck had to share their screentime with Breaking Bad 2, but it's been especially annoying this season and I assume it'll only get worse.
posted by painquale at 5:21 PM on October 4 [8 favorites]


The thing about the Nacho and now Lalo storyline is that they are going to converge with the Saul storyline. That's what it has been building to through the entire show. Next season we will see what happens to them, presumably along with the return of Tuco.
posted by guiseroom at 7:00 AM on October 5


I *really* liked the Lalo/Gus conversation; like cats sizing each other up, neither of them being truthful and both of them knowing it.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:42 PM on October 5


Not read the thread because I'm watching it right now, but two thoughts: we've been going "Oh, poor Kim, I worry about her", but isn't that a bit... old fashioned? Why can't she be as corruptible as Jimmy? Worse, even. Perhaps even better at it.

And there are two different languages, spoken by native speakers, subtitled here. Rather than English speakers doing accents. How far we've come. (Which sounds sarcastic, but I mean it. I do wish we hadn't needed to come so far.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:59 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


> And there are two different languages, spoken by native speakers, subtitled here. Rather than English speakers doing accents. How far we've come. (Which sounds sarcastic, but I mean it. I do wish we hadn't needed to come so far.)

Minor nitpick for some, but Giancarlo Esposito's Spanish is far from native. I wish they'd given Gus a backstory that explains why, because to my native-speaker ears it's pretty distracting, especially in front of someone like Tony Dalton. Michael Mando's is a bit better, but again: not native. We can tell.

At the same time, I 100% agree with your sentiment. Watching Dexter, I loved the constant bouncing between Spanish and English, but I can't remember any interesting information or plot point being delivered in Spanish. The code-switching was there just for colour. Having actual dialogue in Spanish makes Better Call Saul more immersive.
posted by kandinski at 5:15 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


I wrote that when, I think, Rainer Bock was speaking, and was thinking of Tony Dalton, who just seemed more fluid and playful in his speech than the others (for obvious reasons) - I checked up his Wikipedia entry to make sure. I knew about Giancarlo Esposito, but I think it's something they're taking more seriously these days - Mark Margolis as Hector is a legacy casting from the first season of Breaking Bad, and I don't think they'd do that now, or I hope not.

Gus is supposed to be Chilean, too, isn't he? Which is even more particular. One thing I think is curious (though sadly unsurprising) is the way Hollywood has a category for South American, which includes Mexico (which isn't in South America), all the Central American countries and all the actual South American countries (even those as different as Argentina, Chile and Peru). Noting that Portuguese-speaking Brazil gets to be differentiated one can easily come to the conclusion that they think they're all the same because they all speak Spanish.

But I think Gilligan's team try harder than many other teams. I'd love it if there were more Mexican characters who weren't involved in crime at all, but I suppose given the nature of the programme one would be hard put to find many characters anywhere who aren't involved in crime.
posted by Grangousier at 5:33 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


How to use a laser pointer to temporarily neutralize a camera sensorr- just for the benefit of anybody who thought this might have been pure MacGuffin.

It seems plausible that something like a laser pointer could be used to temporarily cause a flare out of the image on a camera from a distance of tens of meters away. Best would be to use a rifle scope and tripod to help with aiming - no kind of equipment that builders doing surveys would have been without. There would probably be no pixel burnout as we saw (because that is a screen rather than sensor phenomenon) - but the idea that the Germans could have used such a technique to block surveillance at key moments of an escape - it not beyond the pale.

And a little irony - as Werner was the guy selected for the job because he did not use a laser for his measuring.
posted by rongorongo at 1:08 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


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