Better Call Saul: Black and Blue
May 9, 2022 5:57 PM - Season 6, Episode 5 - Subscribe

While business booms for Jimmy, the vise tightens on the cat-and-mouse game between Gus and Lalo.
posted by Rhaomi (30 comments total)
 
lol, LI:E

Another slow burn. Interesting that even though they know Howard is onto them, the plan continues full speed ahead.

Also Lalo continues to be unreasonably handsome. It’s almost unfair.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:16 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]


This was such a subdued but menacing episode; I loved it.
posted by destructive cactus at 9:28 PM on May 9


I appreciate that they didn't make Jimmy have Hutch Mansell's abilities.
posted by porpoise at 9:34 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


I am now expecting one helluva payoff with Lalo; they can't build suspense for multiple episodes without giving us something great.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:58 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Howard’s PI is going to have a very bad time very soon, huh?

Gus definitely seems less in control. Presumably he’s not going to make a fatal mistake, but is going to make a near-fatal one?
posted by supercres at 10:01 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


At first I thought Gus had abandoned his house for the security of the superlab out of sheer paranoia, but then I saw this A+ observation in the Reddit post-episode discussion:
Gus pitched “Spice Curls” in the meeting with Madrigal/Schuler last season. When he said it again to the customer, it triggered his brain to thinking Lalo might dig into Madrigal/Germany/Werner.
Guess that explains why he planted the gun -- he knows there's a showdown coming.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:51 PM on May 9 [9 favorites]


I don't think they were expecting a boxing match but I do think Jimmy and Kim were expecting Howard to figure it out -- as soon as he heard about a situation involving a prostitute that happened while Cliff was meeting with Kim, he'd know exactly what was happening. So I guess there's another layer to this?
posted by mmoncur at 12:31 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


At first I thought Kimmy and Jimmy's plan was to replace the judge with a lookalike but that is too far fetched for this show. So now I think they are going to make Howard think they replaced the judge so that Mr. Hamlin can have his "Chicanery" moment. I hope he tries to pill off the judge's mustache.

(N)either way, something hilarious is brewing with Mike's guys and Howard's guy tailing the -immies.
posted by guiseroom at 5:18 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I have to admit, I have completely forgotten any scenes from earlier seasons of Lalo finding out about/suspecting the construction of the super lab, or any Madrigal/Germany connection, so him appearing in Germany to shake down Werner’s wife was completely out of left field for me. This is why I need “Previously on…” montages to provide me with context!

So the sticker on the bottom of the slide rule trophy is the one clue connecting Werner to Gus that the lawyers missed in their sweep? Did anyone see what it was? If it’s for a trophy-making company owned by Madrigal that seems too tenuous a connection?

Saul’s performance in the ring cracked me up. I also love that Jesse Ennis plays Clifford’s associate after seeing her hilarious turn as a chaotic evil admin assistant in Mythic Quest.
posted by ejs at 6:00 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Hmmm. That spice curls thing was just strange, we shouldn’t have to have some Reddit user with a weirdly long memory to explain what the hell was going on there. Also, sometimes I appreciate the show not treating me like an idiot, but IRL it’s been four years and one pandemic since all this Werner business played out, so a bit more of a helping hand from the dialogue or something would have been nice. And I didn’t dig that boxing ring sketch, it seemed like a fun idea that should have stayed in the writers room. Maybe I’m in a bad mood today, but that felt like the first dud episode in a while.
posted by chill at 7:09 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


So the sticker on the bottom of the slide rule trophy is the one clue connecting Werner to Gus that the lawyers missed in their sweep? Did anyone see what it was? If it’s for a trophy-making company owned by Madrigal that seems too tenuous a connection?

The slide rule trophy was signed "Love, Your Boys." Margarethe tells Lalo that Werner called the crew his boys. So it was a memorial gift (presumably because the terms of their arrangement prohibited them from attending the funeral). Lalo can find out from the manufacturer (it said Voelker or Voelker's on the sticker) who placed the order, track down at least one member of the crew, and then get more info about the lab. This is why Gus is counting steps and tampering with plugs and hiding guns.

My partner thinks the one young loose cannon guy (the one Mike punched) will spill, but I think it's going to be the one Mike didn't punch. The one whose parting shot was that Werner was worth ten of Mike.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 8:01 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I always feel sorry for Howard.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 10:11 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I like Howard too despite him being a dick earlier in the series but when you're the second in command to another dick you don't have a whole lot of options. But I like how Howard will always be straight with you and tell you how it is. I noticed that when he was like "Hey this must have been difficult for you. You came to me as a friend and I appreciate that." Social bonds have to be consciously groomed and Howard gets that.
posted by bleep at 11:58 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


That was also why Howard was like hey we gotta settle this like men. It's a logical conclusion to come to, and the right thing to do is figure out how to do a duel legally. Jimmy fucked up by not walking away and he knew it.
posted by bleep at 12:09 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I found this episode a bit slow to be honest. I didnt mind last episodes slow burn, but a lot of this felt like marking time; I didnt get much out of more shots of Gus being nervous.

That said, loved the stuff with Howard and Lalo. I am looking forward to how Kim and Jimmys ploy plays out.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:15 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


There’s a nice detail 33 mins in that sets up the coffee shop scene with Kim and Viola (just before the beautiful coffee cup reflection). We see the outside of the shop with Kim on the left wearing a dark suit and thinking about her plan. Smaller and slightly out of focus on the right also sitting in the shop is another woman with blond hair like Kim’s (but down) and she’s wearing Kim’s signature blue. I mistook her for old (younger) Kim for a moment.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:25 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


IRL it’s been four years and one pandemic since all this Werner business played out

Even though I know this is true, I'm still kind of gobsmacked thinking about it. But, yeah.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:10 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I loved the way Lalo re-appeared in the show. We might have expected to see him tailing somebody in a car or bursting through a door - but instead he is in a German bar playing the part of a dumb American well enough to lure in Margarita as a mark. He knows she would be smart and assertive enough to be disdainful of Sally Ride, rather than Valentina Tereshkova - as being the first woman in space and that this would provide a natural seeming introduction. He was even well enough prepared to know Little Bear must be spoken to in German (and hurray for the dog surviving).

(The slide rule music, in the cold open, is Brahams In Stiller Nacht sang by Pink Martini with the von Trapps - which is to say three of the grand children of the captain and Maria.)
posted by rongorongo at 2:20 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]


He was even well enough prepared to know Little Bear must be spoken to in German (and hurray for the dog surviving).

Not really important, but he was speaking to Bärchen / Osito in Spanish.
posted by uncleozzy at 3:58 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


This is why I need “Previously on…” montages to provide me with context!

Related... if somebody could remind me what/how/why Saul and Kim are setting up Howard, that'd be great thanks.
posted by entropone at 6:55 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Related... if somebody could remind me what/how/why Saul and Kim are setting up Howard, that'd be great thanks.
Would recommend: Why are Kim and Jimmy Going after Howard?
posted by rongorongo at 7:09 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I like the slow burn episodes! Lalo's trip to Germany seemed awfully improbable to me but then this show doesn't always need to make the most logical sense. The boxing scene was dumb though. The same whiplash tone problem that keeps bugging me as the show has developed; the Howard story is just really goofy compared to the cartel story.

Mostly I was amazed at the location for the German shots. Here's a still image. None of the online sources seem to have the location yet. I can't imagine they went to Germany just for this shot. I suppose you could comp in the signage, streetcar, and church steeples and make any appropriate American suburb look like a German suburb. But that exterior is way too green to be Albuquerque; that visual contrast is what makes this setting so vibrant.
posted by Nelson at 7:20 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Nelson: from this article about the production of the episode, they say the house was in Albuquerque:

We had to find a bar setting and an interior and an exterior for Margarethe’s house that felt like they were outside of our Albuquerque, New Mexico world. We knew visual effects would be some part of it, but our hope is always that we can start with the practical and then embroider on the practical to make it something special and new. So we started looking after 602, and part of it was driving around the city just to see what stuck out until we found a really unusual house. And the modern interior was perfect. Even the size and scale of the appliances felt part of the European aesthetic. And then our production design and set decoration team made it even more specific.

posted by neustile at 8:31 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]


I liked the video that rongorongo linked to. Listening to the insider podcast it seems like the creators like Howard a lot more than that guy does. Howard is the good guy in their eyes and they lingered over the phrase “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness”
posted by shothotbot at 7:14 PM on May 11


I'm pretty sure their vendetta against Howard is integral to their Sandpiper strategy. Nothing personal. (Okay, maybe 40% personal / 60% strategic, whatever.) For whatever reason, they've goaded Howard into keeping a tail on Jimmy, and they've got some sort of unrevealed next move.

Or maybe they're playing this chess game just to *really* stick it to the guy, I dunno.

Much respect to Howard for recognizing how hard it must have been for Cliff. And to Patrick Fabian for playing the rock-solid wisdom beneath the veneer.
posted by whuppy at 5:20 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


For whatever reason, they've goaded Howard into keeping a tail on Jimmy, and they've got some sort of unrevealed next move.

Right, when they're discussing the judge's mustache, presumably it's because they want Howard's PI to tell him that Jimmy met with the judge, when of course it was really some costumed confederate. Presumably to paint Howard as dangerous and unstable in front of the Sandpiper clients, but hopefully there's something more to it.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:50 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Prediction: Kim's fate is entwined with the Sandpiper chess game. She takes the fall. I just hope Saul isn't a complete shit about it.
posted by whuppy at 7:22 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Can't believe how relieved I was that Margarethe called it a night instead of inviting Lalo in, or that open window at the end. I suspect that whichever of Werner's crew that Lalo catches up with won't be that lucky.

One other thing that stuck out for me in this episode was Cliff watching Howard's leg while the associate was talking. You can just hear him thinking, yep, crack or meth.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:59 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


I felt that the open window did not necessarily imply that Lalo escaped that way. While we know Lalo is Superman and specifically, good at jumping from high places (second-storey windows)—I now recall the scene where Lalo('s double) jumps a long way onto the top of Jimmy's belly-up car in the desert, shown in the trailer for this season—we know that he is also a cruel villain. I thought the show was asking the viewer to decide if Lalo murdered the woman using the window as a distraction, or if he just left that way.

(This was one example in a longer comment I drafted about the "cryptic" quality of the show sometimes being over-used, echoing some critical comments above, which I sympathize with re this episode.)
posted by sylvanshine at 8:03 AM on May 14


Why are Kim and Jimmy Going after Howard?

I noticed in the flashback scenes to Jimmy and Kim's early days at HHM they were both wearing white shirts with vertical stripes (she had a teal sweater on top).
posted by kirkaracha at 9:09 AM on May 17


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