Better Call Saul: Point and Shoot
July 11, 2022 7:06 PM - Season 6, Episode 8 - Subscribe

An unexpected visitor forces Jimmy and Kim to face the consequences of their actions.
posted by Rhaomi (86 comments total)
 
Hoo boy!! When that episode started, I thought “this feels more like a series finale than the start of the second half of the season.” And when it was over I thought ”that felt more like a series finale than the start of the second half of the season.”

I did not at all expect that this would be Lalo’s last episode. But is anyone else besides me now even more nervous for Kim? I feel like I’m being lulled into a sense of false security.

Of course Vince Gilligan is a masterful director, but one shot that killed me was the closeup on Kim through the security camera, her face an indistinct smear of pixels as blurry as her immediate future.
posted by ejs at 9:08 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


I think it's very poetic that if Kimmy & Jimmy had elected to not be the kind of people who fuck with other people, ie drawing Howard to their apartment, then Lalo couldn't have gotten in to involve them in his plan. Both Howard & Lalo represent the two of them screwing around with both sides of the system. And then the two of them being secretly buried in the foundations of the setting of the next series.

And sure you could say well if it had happened differently then it wouldn't have been poetic at all but then it would be a different show that we didn't watch.
posted by bleep at 9:41 PM on July 11 [7 favorites]


I’m not surprised they wrapped up Lalo’s arc now, because they have a few episodes left to get to Gene in Omaha, so they can’t spend too much time on the cartel side of things. Lalo going out laughing was a fitting touch.

Also, Rhea Seehorn is just nailing this. Playing some e that wrecked and that nervous for that long has to be exhausting.
posted by azpenguin at 9:43 PM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Also, this explains why Saul's first words in the next series are about Nacho & Lalo. So, the whole series previous to this one had to tell us everything about what this "Nacho" was doing and why, and why it involved Saul, and who "Lalo" was, and I would say they succeeded!
posted by bleep at 9:44 PM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Sad but well done. I love how Mike made Jimmy and Kim's scheme into a cover story for Howard's murder, putting the final nail in the coffin for any fond memories they might have had about how clever they were, and tying their scheme to Howard's death even more firmly.

Gus was SCARED in the lab, even though he anticipated Lalo's move. He emptied out his gun and then kept shooting. It was fascinating to see just what it takes to rattle him. Although I think he was more bothered by the bullet holes in his suit than by his injuries.

I'm trying to be positive about Kim, I hope this whole thing was the last straw for her and she decides to move to Nebraska and become a public defender. Or maybe even call and order a new belt for a Hoover Max Extract Pressure Pro.

I feel like Jimmy expected Kim to go straight to the cops or to Mike, little did he know she'd actually try to shoot someone to save Jimmy. Lalo knew she'd do it, though, so she'd be a fine distraction.

I tried to imagine what it would be like to watch this show BEFORE Breaking Bad. I'm watching it and I know Jimmy can't die, Gus can't die, Mike, Titus... watching this and thinking anyone could die would be brutal, especially after the previous episode.
posted by mmoncur at 12:39 AM on July 12 [8 favorites]


Once Mike became involved, I thought they might go the "First Blood" route of faking a photo of 'dead' Gus covered in ketchup for Kim to take back to Lalo.

One thing I might have missed - when Lalo left, he turned up the volume full blast on the TV (Born Yesterday, IIRC). But when Mike arrived, the apartment was in silence. Was Jimmy somehow able to turn off the TV when he knocked the chair over?

Howard's burial reminded me of what happened to Hank in BB - tossed into a pit, no marker, no-one ever knowing where he was. At least Howard's family will get a type of resolution, albeit false, of what happened to him.
posted by essexjan at 5:26 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


One thing I might have missed - when Lalo left, he turned up the volume full blast on the TV (Born Yesterday, IIRC). But when Mike arrived, the apartment was in silence. Was Jimmy somehow able to turn off the TV when he knocked the chair over?

I think it was a DVD, which probably would have gone back to the menu after it finished.
posted by rhymedirective at 6:28 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


Kind of funny that Gilligan has us rooting for Gus.

Given Gus' reaction to hearing "Jimmy talked Lalo into it..." I suspect he's now going to ask Jimmy to come work for him because "he sees things in people" and Kim will want no part of that. I think they'll have a sad ending together, but Kim will ultimately be ok. But of course this is a Vince Gilligan joint so nothing I expect will actually end up happening.
posted by bondcliff at 6:40 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]




The misdirection at the beginning totally worked on me; it wasn't until the shot of Lalo pulling up at the laundry that I realized that he used Jimmy+Kim to draw Gus's protection away. Although: why does Gus go from his home -- which presumably has a safe room as part of Mike's fortifications -- to the laundry? And how does Lalo know he would do so? "Because the plot requires it", I guess?

Howard literally got fridged.

Did the 3 or 4 henchmen that Lalo shot upstairs in the laundry not qualify for the pit burial?

Given Gus' reaction to hearing "Jimmy talked Lalo into it..." I suspect he's now going to ask Jimmy to come work for him because "he sees things in people"

Heh; we're rewatching the AMC Breaking Bad marathon and just got to the ep where Gus tells Jesse that.

It doesn't feel like Saul and Gus have that close a working relationship in BB? In BB Saul's certainly aware of Gus and what he does -- and does BCS so far support Saul knowing that Gus is the meth guy? does Saul even know of Gus's existence at this point? -- but doesn't interact with him directly; he makes an "I know a guy who knows a guy" referral through Mike.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:54 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


Did the 3 or 4 henchmen that Lalo shot upstairs in the laundry not qualify for the pit burial?

Good catch, though I imagine they got the proper funeral they couldn't/wouldn't give Howard and Lalo.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:05 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


Also, several direct references to moments in Breaking Bad here: the Kim/Gus knock at the door/shoot him plan is an echo of Jesse/Gale in Breaking Bad -- and both with a reluctant shooter pressured into it by circumstance and an insistent partner; the crane shot of Kim approaching Gus's house is an duplicate of Walt's similar attempt in Thirty-Eight Snub.

(Also, Gus's platinum bad-guy medical plan of having a Mexican doctor on call is a callback to Salud/Crawl Space.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:09 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


Although: why does Gus go from his home -- which presumably has a safe room as part of Mike's fortifications -- to the laundry? And how does Lalo know he would do so?

Lalo didn't know. He called it a happy accident. Lalo was originally just going to tape the lab.
posted by Pendragon at 9:33 AM on July 12 [6 favorites]


why does Gus go from his home -- which presumably has a safe room as part of Mike's fortifications -- to the laundry? And how does Lalo know he would do so? "Because the plot requires it", I guess?

Well, Gus knows that the laundry lab is a huge risk because Don Eladio finding out about it would reveal that Gus wants to be a manufacturer, not just a distributor, which is why Gus went to such extraordinary lengths (and expense) to keep its construction a secret. Gus knows that Lalo is interested in finding out what's been going on, because of his chasing after Werner (and whatever Gus knows about Lalo's poking around Europe, which may be nothing or little). And Gus has to know that Lalo sending a rank amateur in an impossibly ham-fisted attempt at taking him out was a diversion, meaning that Lalo may be less interested in killing him directly than in proving the existence of the laundry lab, which would then bring the full wrath of the cartel down on Gus. Finally, Gus appreciates just how crafty and cunning Lalo is, not only for getting this far but for escaping the hit.

What Lalo doesn't know, and which I think is probably a deliberate maneuver on Gus' part, is how willing Gus is to get personally involved in matters, which we already know because we've seen how far Gus went when he moved against Don Eladio in BB. Lalo is just too smart to take any bait but Gus himself, which is why Gus hid the gun in the lab in the first place--it would have been good if things hadn't gone that far, but Gus knew that it might.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:38 AM on July 12 [10 favorites]


Rhea Seehorn nominated for her first Emmy.
posted by Pendragon at 9:48 AM on July 12 [25 favorites]


FINALLY!!!!! I sure hope she wins to make up for the six she should have gotten already. I may quibble with “supporting”.
posted by emkelley at 10:12 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


Isn't this the episode where Bob Odenkirk had a heart attack? I can see why. Damn.

I loved Lalo's whole enthusiasm about "the place where you thought you made your dreams come true was really your tomb all along" or whatever. I'll bet Young Lalo was a big Edgar Allan Poe fan. What a great character. I'd be up for a Lalo: The '90s Adventures show, even if Lalo is 60 by then. It's fine.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:35 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


Did the 3 or 4 henchmen that Lalo shot upstairs in the laundry not qualify for the pit burial?

Good catch, though I imagine they got the proper funeral they couldn't/wouldn't give Howard and Lalo
.

Mike takes care of his guys.
posted by ejs at 11:13 AM on July 12 [8 favorites]


I am very fond of Lyle.
posted by brainwane at 11:54 AM on July 12 [6 favorites]


Someone on one of the fan podcasts said that the next spinoff should be "Better Dial Lyle"!
posted by Crane Shot at 12:04 PM on July 12 [5 favorites]


I'm sad to see Lalo go this early in the last half of this season: love love love Tony Dalton, who brought the same glee and charm to his role that Walter Huston did to Old Scratch in "The Devil and Daniel Webster." And I'm glad that the writers gave Mike some space to respect Howard before he was buried. Talk about a place being cursed.

I was wondering the same about the timing of Bob Odenkirk's cardiac collapse (was it in fact a heart attack or cardiac arrest? Not sure) and I wouldn't be surprised if it were during the filming of this episode. Very demanding on all levels. Thank God he survived.

And we got some black and white (Gene?) voiceover as the final credits rolled!
posted by Sheydem-tants at 12:41 PM on July 12 [3 favorites]


I would watch the HELL out of Better Dial Lyle. His little musical number cracked us both up.
posted by bleep at 12:58 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


This was not a funny episode, by any stretch but there was one moments that made me laugh out loud. Maybe it was sheer nerves, or maybe it was because I was looking for a break from the oppressive atmosphere of death and chiaroscuro, and the soundtrack's use of grating guitar and machine sounds to emphasize the tension and the horror.

The moment is Gus's incredulity that Jimmy managed to "talk Lalo out of it," out of sending him instead of Kim. I mean, it's probably not supposed to be funny. It's probably supposed to be the thing that's surprising enough and "off" enough that leads Gus to start wondering about Lalo's plan. Gus realizes, from this clue -- it didn't matter who was sent to shoot him -- that lao is distracting them all. And from there Gus half-guesses and half-infers Lalo's real plan. (There is a terrible joke to be made here about Gus "taking a shot in the dark" in more than one way when he triumphs over Lalo.)

And it's likely meant as part of a pattern across this series emphasizing the gift Jimmy has for using words and misdirection to influence the least likely targets in the worst of situations. It most directly echoes an earlier season's scene in which Lalo expressed amazement in an earlier season that Jimmy was able to talk down his more impulsively psychopathic cousin Tuco.

But it also plays off of Gus's prior impression of Jimmy, during the latter's clumsy use as Mike's decoy, when Jimmy was sent in to Los Pollos Hermanos, mostly to distract Gus with his fumbling while Mike got set for a subtler, longer game. Here, Gus gets to be impressed, or perhaps skeptical, that the obvious, flashy bumbler he saw then could talk anyone -- let alone Lalo -- out of anything. And that, too, is a clue that this is another decoy operation using Jimmy. It's another path to Gus's correct hunch; Gus resolves the incongruity by finding the pattern.

Perhaps it's only fitting that Jimmy, in turn, is subjected to a very warped visual echo of Gus's singular moment of trauma, his supervillain origin, as it were: forced to look into the eyes of a dad man, lying on the ground. But since Jimmy, throughout the series, tends to invert the meaning behind these superficial visual and structural resemblances, in this case the dead person is not his beloved partner, as it was for Gus, but rather his victim, Howard, an image that for most people would be a shocking vision of culpability. Jimmy may be thinking of Kim -- his actual beloved partner -- for much of his captivity in this episode, but in that moment, and in the denouement, Jimmy is made to look at Howard's death instead.

But since we know Jimmy will continue on the Saul Goodman path, a path he was already far down in his and Kim's callous frameup of Howard, we also know that this is not, at least from the outside, going to be the same kind of life-defining moment that has fueled Gus's monomaniacal quest for vengeance. Instead, jimmy's last glimpse of Howard -- this time, being carted out in a refrigerator -- is filmed as an ironized Godfather homage, with a sot that mirrors the famous ending of the movie when Kay is shut out of the Mafia life and its secrets by her husband. Here, Jimmy is theoretically being shut out -- Mike is trying to close off these loose ends -- but we know from Breaking Bad that Jimmy will pursue other opportunities to abet drug traffickers and make money, that he will stay connected to Mike, and that he will fall further into criminality. So this glimpse of Howard and that closing door are part of an experience terrifying enough that Jimmy will fear Lalo all the way into another series, but the meaning of the original Godfather image is flipped, so that Jimmy ultimately refuses to be fully shut out, and is far from the outsider accidentally drawn into the criminal underworld.

Indeed, unlike The Godfather's Michael Corleone, who fruitlessly tries to pretend his own wife and domestic life can somehow be partitioned off from his criminal life, Jimmy has repeatedly drawn Kim towards complicity, culminating in her decision to engage in criminal schemes with him. Even in this episode, his strategy for protecting her is to convince Lalo to make her the agent of what Jimmy and Kim both see as a sincere attempt at murder. He gets her out by putting her further in, which says much about how he is likely to react to this traumatizing, frightful experience. But then, his previous trauma in the desert as Lalo's bagman -- directly referenced here -- hardly dissuaded him from pursuing the path of a criminal lawyer. No wonder the angle and point of view of that Godfather shot are reversed here, as we look into the eyes of the person on whom the door is being shut, not at the vanishing glimpse of the underworld on the other side.

As the end of this prequel series draws closer, we are likewise seeing everything increasingly from a reverse angle, waiting for this past to become joined up with the chronologically later events of both Breaking Bad and this show's own flash-forwards. That confused temporality is best signaled by the visual and narrative strategy of the episode's cold open and its first scene.

In the cold open, we get -- without knowing it -- the chronologically latest scene of the episode, the final frameup of Howard, as the disgrace Jimmy and Kim planned for him become the staged suicide that Mike has arranged. Even this is revealed "backwards." We don't start from the car and move down to the awful evidence on the beach -- those very nice shoes -- but rather we are led backwards through the implied action, from the shoes to the footprints to the car, the camera pulling back, not pulling forward.

A similar strategy is used in the first shots after the opening credits, as we move from effect back to cause, from the pooling blood to Howard's body and finally to the shell casing of the bullet that killed him, and then to the people that made it happen, in various ways and to varying degrees.

As viewers, we're invited to work backwards from the horror to consider its causes, its agents, and all that led up to it. This is prequel logic, but it's also the logic of assessing culpability when something horrible has been done: from the horror itself to the means and then back to the agency that employed those means. Here, the very last scene chronologically is the first one presented to the viewer, and the story then dutifully works its way back around to that moment, as we've seen across this final season's cold opens. But in this episode, the very first scene signals the public erasure of that truth, of those events, their transformation into a hidden secret.

It should be a guilty secret, but we know that Jimmy will take on the role of the amorally jocular Saul Goodman soon enough. Is he trying to partition that guilt and trauma, to close the door on it? Or is he methodically erasing his conscience? That's one of the remaining mysteries the show still has to unravel, working backwards from Omaha and Breaking Bad to provide an accounting of just how Saul Goodman got there, how he did it, and ultimately why.
posted by kewb at 2:47 PM on July 12 [15 favorites]


kewb
The moment is Gus's incredulity that Jimmy managed to "talk Lalo out of it," out of sending him instead of Kim. I mean, it's probably not supposed to be funny. It's probably supposed to be the thing that's surprising enough and "off" enough that leads Gus to start wondering about Lalo's plan.

Yes. I think that is a more accurate reading than this is:
Given Gus' reaction to hearing "Jimmy talked Lalo into it..." I suspect he's now going to ask Jimmy to come work for him because "he sees things in people"

Gus wasn't impressed that Jimmy had talked Lalo out of anything; he felt that was a highly implausible scenario, and actually realized at that moment that they were being played by Lalo. Also that whatever was going on at the apartment was not the real story, so the laundromat must be the target.

I think we are supposed to believe (and this is convoluted and highly implausible itself, IMO!) that Lalo was pulling all the strings right up until Gus shot him. Lalo figured that neither Kim nor Saul would actually make it into the compound. He was counting on Ermentraut's taking down whichever of them made the run. He was counting on their telling Gus's security that he (Lalo) was at the apartment, and sending them there on a wild goose chase. Gus's showing up at the laundromat might have been a happy coincidence, or (I think more likely) it had been part of the plot, with Lalo's counting on Gus putting 2+2 together and heading to the location he most needed to protect, and without most of his security, which Lalo had already drawn off (did Lalo even know how to get into the lab, without Gus's "guided tour"?).

This last part would be the bit that I would find a little too cute on the part of the writers (Lalo's reading of Gus's mind so accurately). BUT when Gus & his guys got to the lab, Lalo was lying in wait for them. He wasn't down in the lab filming for Don Eladio. Also, he seemed to have the timeline completely figured out in advance (Gus's "bald gringo" should be arriving in about 13 minutes, etc.).
posted by torticat at 3:22 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


I am very fond of Lyle
I love how we see him loyally singing Los Pollos Hermanos’ jingle to himself as he opens the branch before dawn. And how could the theme tune of Gus’s fast food business be anything other than a version of “La cucaracha”?
posted by rongorongo at 3:35 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


When Lalo is taping Gus, he mentions wishing that he and Eladio could torture Gus, but, since Gus is here now, it all has to end fast. So I think that element is meant to be Lalo improvising around Gus's appearance at the lab.

He only considers Mike's response time after he takes Gus's phone and sees Mike is calling, and we see earlier that Lalo calculates driving time from Jimmy's and Kim's apartment. So that is what gives him an estimate on Mike getting from the apartment to the lab. It's roughly how long it took Lalo to make the same drive, give or take.

Lalo's initial plan seems to be to film the secret lab himself, show it to Eladio, and then the cartel turns on Gus and gives him a slow death. Ironically, if Gus hadn't turned up, it seems that Lalo would have failed to find the lab because of the well-disguised secret passage.
posted by kewb at 3:35 PM on July 12 [6 favorites]


So I think that element is meant to be Lalo improvising around Gus's appearance at the lab.

All of that seems plausible, too. (Specially what you said about Mike's call being the tip-off.) I still wonder, if Lalo knew how to access the lab, why he wasn't down there already* by the time Gus arrived; and if he didn't know, how he expected to access it. Like it seems to me that if he didn't know, he would have known he needed Gus to be there to let him in, and incorporated that into his plan.

*He'd had plenty of time; and if his intent was just to get the video & get out, he would have been quick about it. (Gus's guys had cameras on the place, and it was only by luck that Lalo got in there undetected in the first place.)

I haven't rewatched the first part of the season, so I might have some details wrong. Like he could have got instructions on entry from the Germans. Which still doesn't explain his loitering around upstairs though.

All this is kinda harping on a detail. Since the game of chess between Lalo and Gus has been such a large part of the season, though, and since BCS does not hand us these explanations on a platter, it's fun to try to figure them out.
posted by torticat at 4:29 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Lalo's plan was multi-part:

Step 1) Tell Hector that he was going after Gus (knowing that Mike was listening), so Mike would pull security from everywhere, including Jimmy and Kim's condo, leaving them vulnerable.

Step 2) Go to the condo and make one of them go after Gus.

Step 3) While Kim is travelling to Gus's, he goes to the laundry to film. You may ask why did he need to bother involving Jimmy and Kim if the threat to Gus was enough to leave only minimal security at the laundry. But it meant that Mike would have to travel to the condo first before he figured out that Lalo had gone to the laundry, maximizing his time to film whatever was inside. And it would have the secondary benefit of terrifying Jimmy and Kim out of cooperating in any way with Gus's side in the future.

I agree that he improvised once Gus showed up.
posted by dry white toast at 6:50 PM on July 12 [5 favorites]


We've seen a lot of prequels in the years since the Star Wars prequel trilogy. I don't think I can recall a moment that will so vividly colour future rewatches of its source material like I'll look at scenes in the lab in Breaking Bad going forward. Truly impressive.

Guns. Guns are everywhere in the ABQ-verse obviously, but the camera really focused on them on this episode. The way Lalo's gun is framed through the camcorder shots when he's pointing it at Gus. Gus stepping on Lalo's gun after he shoots him. And of course, the payoff of Gus's literal Chekovian Gun.

But what really stood out was the link between Kim doing the finger guns/cowboy thing in the Season 5 finale when she's trying to show Jimmy that she can roll in his world to her having to the sheer terror and horror of having to experience the consequences of what playing in this world really looks like.

In the grand scheme, being able to wield a gun is really the shibboleth of being able to navigate the "underworld". Kim thought she could do it, but that attempt will leave her scarred. The only one who comes close is Saul Goodman, by becoming a very particular kind of lawyer.

Like Omar said "I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase."
posted by dry white toast at 8:27 PM on July 12 [8 favorites]


But what really stood out was the link between Kim doing the finger guns/cowboy thing in the Season 5 finale when she's trying to show Jimmy that she can roll in his world to her having to the sheer terror and horror of having to experience the consequences of what playing in this world really looks like.

Oof! What a good observation.

I think one of the huge ambiguities in this episode had to do with the teary separation between Saul and Kim, when Saul insisted to Lalo that Kim was the better person for the job. All of Kim's pleas--"no, no!"--could have meant "Don't make me do this," or could have meant "Don't give yourself up for me." I think that Saul was thinking along the lines of the latter, while Kim (vindicating Mike's assessment of her) was thinking she would take the hard path and do whatever was necessary--even killing--in order to save Saul. I wonder how her choice will play out in their relationship going forward.
posted by torticat at 8:41 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]


I was actually just thinking that Jimmy was attempting to put her into a position with some agency, knowing that with her being able to make decisions that would give both of them their best shot of escaping. It's actually extremely romantic in that sense.
posted by bleep at 9:27 PM on July 12 [10 favorites]


Also, this explains why Saul's first words in the next series are about Nacho & Lalo.

Also, several direct references to moments in Breaking Bad here:


I thought Jimmy pleading with Lalo sounded familiar!

I also loved how the camera tracked with the chair when Lalo pulled it over to tie Jimmy to it. So many amazing, perfect little details!
posted by ishmael at 10:25 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]


Let me see if I can work out the labyrinthine planning contest between Lalo and Gus then:

Lalo spends considerable time quizzing the Germans about the lab. They tell him where it is, many details about its construction, and also that its entrance is concealed by an industrial washing machine. They also tell him the way the laundry is guarded and he thus works out a plausible weak spot to get in. Lalo's original plan was maybe to simply to sneak in and make a film of the lab to sent back to Don Eladio. All of that has to happen in a limited time window before he will be discovered: the operation will probably involve killing guards and thus help will be on its way. The hardest problem will be finding the entrance mechanism: the guards themselves may not know this and he has to know exactly where to find the switch. Also: he would still want to kill Gus as an act of revenge: and Gus is well guarded.

My assumption is that Lalo therefore plans for a way of getting The Chicken Man to let him in and show him the lab right from the beginning. Then kill him right there: proof existence of the lab for Eladio and revenge for himself.

In final preparation, Lalo goes to survey the lab from outside. However, he sees the place is buzzing with security and correctly deduces Gus has guessed something is up. Given this state of alert, Lalo needs to lure Gus to the laundry and simultaneously distract most of his security entourage elsewhere. As he ponders this, he sees a cockroach and is reminded of Jimmy and his prior meeting with him and Kim at their apartment. At this stage he can see that they would provide an effective distraction mechanism: Jimmy would do exactly as he was told if he believed his wife's life was at risk. Gus' security would more than competent at interrogating him before he shot anyone - and would give the game away that Lalo could be found guarding Kim and thus in a position where he could be caught: enough to send Mike rushing to the apartment - since time would be short. (It did not matter to Lalo that Jimmy and Kim switched roles). Jimmy and Kim thus provide the perfect tactical solution to his problem.

However, Lalo also figured out that Gus would smell a rat and that he would deduce Lalo had gone to the lab instead - exactly as he did. With his decoy operation, Lalo lures Gus to the lab to let him in and to be killed on camera - all in the window while Mike and the rest are distracted by apparent low hanging fruit. (In fact, it is the switching of Kim for Jimmy that tips off Gus - but if that had not been the trigger for him, no doubt something else would have been).

Gus: is thus out manoeuvred by Lalo all the way in terms of tactics. Nevertheless, on a strategic level, Gus correctly predicted Lalo's ideal end game would involve him getting access to the lab and also that he would seek to get in there with him: a reveal and an assassination in one go. Working backwards from that scenario he had the presence of mind to hide a gun on the site, wear body armour, and make some careful plans. Lalo foresaw all the moves to get to check mate - but Gus predicted the square where that would happen - irrespective of the route to get there: and he set up his trap accordingly. Lalo is the master predator, but Gus is the master trapper - just as he was with the cuati as a kid.
posted by rongorongo at 11:08 PM on July 12 [8 favorites]


Yup, rongorongo--I think that's right.

This is particularly significant, in terms of how the writers were setting up the whole game between Gus & Lalo:

Gus correctly predicted Lalo's ideal end game would involve him getting access to the lab and also that he would seek to get in there with him
posted by torticat at 11:53 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't think you guys are correct that Lalo expected Gus to come to the laundry. As Pendragon pointed out above, Lalo says to Gus that he had hoped to spend a lot of time with Eladio torturing Gus — which implies that he'd intended to gather the video evidence, present it to Don Eladio, and then Eladio would capture Gus and kill him. Gus's arrival at the laundry was unexpected — although Lalo being perceptive, he probably wasn't that surprised at Gus figuring things out.

The only problem with this reading is that it seems implausible that Lalo would have known how to enter the underground lab. He was delighted when Gus activated the switch. I don't recall if the engineers were privy to the entrance — but they would have to have been, wouldn't they? (Unless the concealed entrance was placed after they left the site. It's been so long, I don't recall what we were shown that season.) However, Lalo's delight might have not been surprise, but just at seeing the over-engineered deception.

“I feel like Jimmy expected Kim to go straight to the cops or to Mike, little did he know she'd actually try to shoot someone to save Jimmy. Lalo knew she'd do it, though, so she'd be a fine distraction.”

I agree with others that Lalo didn't originally intend to be talked into having Kim leave — what puzzled Gus and led to his realization was that Lalo must not have cared much either way to have have "let" Jimmy change his mind. Lalo is too methodical (like Gus) and too percpetive about people (like Gus) to not have had a definite preference for who would go and who would stay. That he apparently did not, implied to Gus that Lalo's true intentions were elsewhere. And where else could that be, given that Gus knew Lalo was investigating the lab?

Gus's placement of the gun wasn't so much Gus's ultimate plan to kill Lalo as it was being prepared for the possibility that Lalo would somehow confront him there. That seems unlikely, but that's how prepared Gus is.

The question I have, raised in your comment quote above, is what Jimmy (and Kim) thought might happen? What were their intentions? I felt that Kim's intense reluctance to go was a combination of not wanting to leave while Jimmy was Lalo's hostage, and a deep repulsion at the idea of shooting and killing someone. I don't know that she separated the two in her mind or understand which was the bigger fear, just that the whole thing was unthinkable. I think she had no idea why Jimmy was insisting — she was baffled and frustrated that Jimmy didn't understand that he wasn't doing her a favor. That having her kill someone was worse than her dying. To her, Jimmy seemed obtuse, I think. Not that she wanted Jimmy to kill anyone, either; just that Jimmy wasn't really doing her the favor he seemed to think he was.

But I really think Jimmy had a "plan". Not that there was anything he'd be able to do, but that he thought that somehow Kim would find a way out. I just don't know what he thought that might be. Usually, you'd think Jimmy was the schemer, but maybe he thought that, when it came down to it, Kim would be more likely to find a way and succeed. The problem with that theory is that she didn't — she just attempted to go through with it.

At the time, I was thinking that Jimmy expected the target to be guarded and Kim more likely to be stopped without being hurt. But what did Jimmy actually know? Did he know the target was Gus? I'm unclear on how much or how little he was aware of.

Your reading seems most likely: Jimmy thought Kim would go to the police or Mike. (Did Jimmy know Kim met Mike or who he was?) Lalo thought she'd actually do it, which was fine by him. Did he think Jimmy would? Surely not. I don't think Jimmy would. But it didn't really matter to Lalo — whoever Kim/Jimmy went to for help, they'd be directed to Gus's house and to the apartment, leaving Lalo space to get to the laundry. It doesn't totally hang together, but that's okay. My belief remained suspended.

“I think it was a DVD, which probably would have gone back to the menu after it finished.”

Definitely a No-Prize to you! Good one! Very convincing.

“Gus was scared in the lab, even though he anticipated Lalo's move. He emptied out his gun and then kept shooting. It was fascinating to see just what it takes to rattle him.”

Yeah, that was very revealing. It speaks to the version of Gus we see in BB. He'd come close to death when his partner was killed, I think. But this was escaping death by the slimmest of margins from a killer who was as terrifying in his own right as Gus himself. More so, really: Gus was frightened but Lalo, in the end, only laughed. Lalo was thinking: this whole time I've been reminding myself not to underestimate the Chicken Man and then I gave him time for a videotaped monologue??
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:41 AM on July 13 [11 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich said: But I really think Jimmy had a "plan". Not that there was anything he'd be able to do, but that he thought that somehow Kim would find a way out. I just don't know what he thought that might be. Usually, you'd think Jimmy was the schemer, but maybe he thought that, when it came down to it, Kim would be more likely to find a way and succeed. The problem with that theory is that she didn't — she just attempted to go through with it [....] Jimmy thought Kim would go to the police or Mike. (Did Jimmy know Kim met Mike or who he was?) Lalo thought she'd actually do it, which was fine by him.

This interpretation adds a nice little button to the recurring theme of Jimmy (and others) consistently misreading Kim while trying to influence her, largely by projecting their own thinking and desires onto her. Since Jimmy would use the time Lalo gives them to look for an out, he assumes Kim would do the same; indeed, she does, for a brief moment, consider alerting the police. But then she steels herself and decides to just go through with this awful deed, since she actually wants to save Jimmy.

This isn't that different from Jimmy not grasping how far Kim is willing to go to get revenge on Howard, or, more generally, how much she actually enjoys scamming as long as she can convince herself it's for a righteous purpose. For the same reasons, he's also shocked by her straightforward intimidation of the Kettlemans.

It's also not very different from the judge who patronizingly talked down to him when she started exploring indigent defense and public defense work as a way to reinvest meaning in her legal career, or Howard not realizing that Kim is not merely Jimmy's dupe, that Kim might very well both love Jimmy and completely hate his guts.

In one sense, Kim is much more direct in how she tries to handle situations than others think, and much more willing to accept difficult situations and take decisive action. The men around her keep assuming she is something else -- more frightened, more sympathetic to their sense of entitlement, more of an institutionalist -- in ways that let them imagine their agency overrides hers. And she, in turn, keeps proving them wrong, sometimes specifically to show them they are wrong.

But in another sense, Kim has a deeply conflicted sense of justice and a very complex relationship to the law. The law is not just a game to her, like it is to Saul/Jimmy, since she does often want to try to make the law live up to its promises to realize justice. She usually goes around the law and its institutions when they aren't working to do this.

But, like Jimmy, Kim is also someone who enjoys con games and successful, complex scams. Until her scheme against Howard, she was usually able to connect her ideas about justice with her love of the scam. But Howard's final rant at her and the actions she chooses to take here to try to save herself and Jimmy illustrate that her animosities and attachments aren't the same thing as these ideas of justice.

The show has invited us to connect all of this to her mess of a mother, an undependable addict who showed approval for her daughter in the context of pulling scams together. But the interesting thing in those flashbacks is really the ways young Kim had to draw her own lines, often situationally, in order to survive that kind of parenting. And her experience with the earrings also suggests that, in the longer term, she has gotten used to the idea that a cry for help -- either a direct one or through acting out and hoping someone notices -- will not work out the way she wants it to.

So, again, she has to find validation a different way, usually by either grinding it out to make a space for herself, as in her law career, or by being the one in charge of the scams, the planner on the inside from the start. And in both cases, there's an underlying self-destructive pattern, a kind of ongoing self-harm. All because the people around Kim -- everyone from her mother to HHM and the other big law firms to Jimmy -- keep failing to treat her as a person by deciding that what they think she should or would want is what she must want.
posted by kewb at 5:15 AM on July 13 [14 favorites]


Grrrrr...posted too fast: Basically Kim doesn't take advantage of Jimmy's "sacrifice" in sending her to escape or call the cops because she doesn't want Jimmy to die and because she doesn't believe she can trust anyone but herself to deal with this situation. Jimmy's choice is probably the only one he can make -- he knows she'd be dead two seconds later if he's the one to go out -- but it seems like it will still do a lot of damage to their relationship. As a couple, they share a lot of affinities, but Jimmy does not really understand who Kim is or what drives her; this is a big part of why their actions together have spiraled out to get them to this point and limit them to such awful choices.
posted by kewb at 5:24 AM on July 13 [10 favorites]


In one sense, Kim is much more direct in how she tries to handle situations than others think, and much more willing to accept difficult situations and take decisive action...she doesn't believe she can trust anyone but herself to deal with this situation.

The key Kim scene is the flashback in which her mom has failed to pick her up because she was drinking. She admires Jimmy and what he can do, but the latest con just got Howard killed. If she has to--and it's guaranteed that she doesn't want to have to go through anything remotely like this again--she'll pick up that cello and fucking walk.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:42 AM on July 13 [7 favorites]


I'm grateful the Lalo story is over. It was very good and I enjoyed the drama of it, but I was afraid these last few episodes were going to be spinning that out even further. Now it's done and we can focus on the center of the show: Saul Goodman's origin story and the mystery of Kim Wexler.

We know how Jimmy turns out already, although it seems a little implausible given how light and casual Saul was in Breaking Bad.

But Kim, we still have no idea what's going to happen to her. This episode definitely advanced her character arc a lot; she finally got close to the cartel violence, was personally ready to shoot a stranger just to save Jimmy. That's got to have an enormous impact on her. Reasonable to assume she's going to be scared straight and run far away from all the criminals except Jimmy, whom she seems to genuinely love. But Kim has Giselle in her too, and her thrill of getting away with things, and part of me fears she's going to end up embracing this whole escapade as evidence she really can hang with the cowboys.
posted by Nelson at 6:47 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]


The only problem with this reading is that it seems implausible that Lalo would have known how to enter the underground lab. He was delighted when Gus activated the switch.

I think Lalo had a pretty good idea, he probably got pretty good details from the German he tortured, and he's pretty good at figuring things out. I read his delight as sarcastic -- he definitely loved grinning and feigning enthusiasm in a scary way, and he was putting on a show for Don Eladio too.
posted by mmoncur at 6:48 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


he knows she'd be dead two seconds later if he's the one to go out
I think this might explain why Jimmy suggests Kim as being the one to go on the mission: he suspects Lalo doesn't really have any more information of value to him to get from Kim: so he could indeed just shoot her as soon as he has gone with as little consideration as he showed with Howard. On the other hand he has been Lalo's lawyer - and vividly recalls the events from "Bagman" - so there is more chance of Jimmy being able to use the information he has to be able to pique Lalo's interest and hence keep himself alive. After Kim leaves - we see him try exactly this approach as Lalo ties him up. (Lalo could have just killed either Kim or Jimmy - whoever was left behind - since he does not plan to talk to them again - but it is more effective to leave a live "hostage" in the apartment as this will take more time for Mike and his men to deal with).
posted by rongorongo at 6:49 AM on July 13 [5 favorites]


Here we are, everything tied up except for everybody's One Big Question: Kim's fate.

Here's my (as usual almost certainly worthless) prediction: We'll be spending the majority of the next five episodes answering that question in Gene's post-BB timeframe, where anything can happen. Zero plot armor, know what I'm sayin'?
posted by whuppy at 8:37 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]


“I was wondering the same about the timing of Bob Odenkirk's cardiac collapse (was it in fact a heart attack or cardiac arrest? Not sure) and I wouldn't be surprised if it were during the filming of this episode.”

It happened during the filming of next week's episode. He'd finished filming most of a scene, went to another big soundstage to listen to a Cubs game and ride a workout bike, and he collpased. Seehorn and Fabian were there. Seehorn helped him and the safety director came immediately and performed CPR — he had no pulse and they used a defibrillator three times to get it back. He was taken to Presbyterian Hospital where they used balloons to remove the plaque and they placed two stints.

I'm certain that the entrance to Presbyterian has appeared in the show, but I don't recall the episode. When is there a scene in a hospital?

Anyway, I think that's the biggest hospital in the state. I was born there, in fact, and several members of my family have died there, including my father. I've spent way too much time in that hospital.

The directions Lalo gives to Gus's house make sense, sort of, as on Carlisle south from I-40 you can get to a really nice older neighborhood in Southeast Heights around Ridgecrest Park, even though some really bad neighborhoods are nearby. (That's only about a mile west of the infamous "War Zone", which frequently appeared on "Cops".) Kim's near encounter with the police is at the stoplight on Zuni at Washington, facing west — which is actually very much in the area, though I can't see how she'd be exactly there. That's kind of interesting and I wonder if the house for the exteriors is actually around there. Why not vaguely use the real directions?

BTW, because Kim goes through the I-40 / I-25 interchange (the only freeway interchange here and it's a traffic mess, even greatly expanded) it implies their apartment is near downtown (makes sense for the show, though I'm not sure how many decent, safe apartments there are there) or further west across the river. Lalo thinks it's only 20 minutes there, though very late at night, so maybe they're downtown.

Lalo says Albuquerque is a city of a million people, which is basically correct now for the entire metro area — not far off for 18 years ago, as growth has slowed in the last 20 years. I wonder what most people think the size of ABQ is. It's a midsized city among midsized cities. Almost all the growth has been west of the river and, interestingly, that area appears almost not at all on these shows ... maybe because it's completely without distinction and looks like the newer suburbs of every western US city. It's creepy how these newer suburbs everywhere look exactly alike.

One of the notable things these shows have done — for better and worse — is they've mostly filmed either in the barrio and industrial neighborhoods, or in what was the suburbs of the ABQ post-war period where most of my family lived. Other than that, rarely, but consistently, they've filmed in the newer, expensive Sandia Heights in the foothills of the mountains (Hank's house, the Kettlemans' old house) or in the old money, leafy, Albuquerque Country Club area near dowtown and the river (Jessie's house, his parents' house, probably Howard's house, definitely Chuck's house). The closest any of these places come to the too-familiar modern suburb would be Hank's house, but it's more expensive than you'd expect and southwestern, so not really. But kind of.

The funny thing thing is that these shows depict almost nothing that's actually nice here. I mean, Albuquerque is basically my hometown and I love it, but most of it is pretty ugly. There are some really nice things here, but the shows don't show them and instead feature mostly the bad. The stuff they show that's not bad still isn't great, but it is distinctly Albuquerque and I really appreciate that about the show.

And even the bad stuff I'm often fond of. The sleazy motel on Central? So familiar to me. I haven't stayed there, but I was on a band trip when my small town band director unwittingly booked us at one just down the road and it was extremely amusing to me when my small-town bible-belt friends gawked at the streetwalkers loitering outside our motel.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:41 AM on July 13 [17 favorites]


Excellent context on ABQ, thank you. I lived in Santa Fe a couple of years (long ago) and would go down to the big city about once a week so I have a little of this context, but nothing like yours. I feel Breaking Bad showed off the city better than Better Call Saul. Maybe it was just because the show was newer and it the location was a novelty then. But BCS has always felt like a smaller budget show to me, so maybe they also are just a little limited?

The thing I'm surprised we don't see more of is all the old West stuff on Route 66 / Central. The sleazy motel is part of that, sure, but there's so much more really running the gamut from awful to glam. And it's all very interesting and iconic Albuquerque.
posted by Nelson at 9:58 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]


When I was watching Babylon 5 I followed along with the Lurker's Guide which, for each episode, summarized plot points, analyzed new info, quoted contemporaneous comments from the showrunner (from Usenet), and listed newly raised/unanswered questions, some of which hadn't occurred to me till I read them in the guide.

In that spirit, I'm reflecting on still-unanswered questions (as far as I know):

* Does HHM collapse, and do Schweikart & Cokely and Davis & Main take over that part of the regional legal market?
* What is the final resolution of the Sandpiper lawsuit?
* Will the Kettlemans attempt to have a final revenge on Kim & Jimmy?
* What will the relationship between Gus and Jimmy be by the end of this show?
* Does Jimmy genuinely believe that his Saul Goodman work is both fulfilling and a way to further justice in the world, and is he going to keep believing that? And will he continue to do it out of desire or because he feels he's lost all other options?
* Does Gene escape what's chasing him?
* Will Lyle make it out of this series alive and ok? (bolded because this is important to me)

[Questions that are Breaking Bad spoilers]

* Why is Kim no longer a visible part of Jimmy's life by the time of Breaking Bad?
* Is Gus going to partner with Madrigal Electromotive by the time the series ends? Is that part of how Los Pollos Hermanos goes multi-location?
* Will we meet Gale by the end of this show?


posted by brainwane at 10:00 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


The funny thing thing is that these shows depict almost nothing that's actually nice here. I mean, Albuquerque is basically my hometown and I love it, but most of it is pretty ugly. There are some really nice things here, but the shows don't show them and instead feature mostly the bad. The stuff they show that's not bad still isn't great, but it is distinctly Albuquerque and I really appreciate that about the show.

I've had a similar conversation with a cousin-in-law from Baltimore about the city as shown in The Wire.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:49 AM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Kim is much more direct in how she tries to handle situations than others think, and much more willing to accept difficult situations and take decisive action. The men around her keep assuming she is something else -- more frightened, more sympathetic to their sense of entitlement, more of an institutionalist

This is a good point. Mike gets her, though.
posted by torticat at 10:58 AM on July 13 [8 favorites]


“I lived in Santa Fe a couple of years (long ago) and would go down to the big city about once a week so I have a little of this context, but nothing like yours.”

Yeah, you've mentioned you were at Santa Fe Institute, which I found very interesting. I was at St. John's College at the Santa Fe campus in the early nineties. (Not because I'm New Mexican — there were exactly two other New Mexicans in my class year and most people here in NM have no idea the school exists, not even me until I discovered it was exactly where I wanted to be.)

I'd been interested in complexity since the mid-eighties and knew of SFI before I knew SJC existed, so freshman year (I was older and had gone to school elsewhere, but nothing transfers into SJC) I had an interview lined up to do co-op work at SFI — but I quickly discovered that freshman year at SJC is like first year in medical or law school: it's an enormous amount of work, intended to weed out the unsuitable. So I abandoned that ambition.

But that was before SFI had its own lecture hall and related facilities and so SJC hosted stuff for them. That was when I saw Murray Gell-Man lecture and my friend at the reception afterwards addressed him as "Mr. Gell-Mann" . . . as one does at SJC, though probably best not to in the case of a Nobel Prize physicist. (Also during that period I attended lectures in Santa Fe by Oliver Sacks, Daniel Dennett, and Chuck Jones, amongst others.)

There's a historical rivalry between ABQ and Santa Fe and Santa Feans can be super snobbish about it; but I adore Santa Fe and loved living there, not the least because it's beautiful. But small. I like both cities.

And so I've also wondered at how little these two shows have been in Santa Fe. It's only 60 miles.

It reinforces my sense that Gilligan has a distinct and unattractive vision for the setting of the show and avoids anything that deviates from it, even when it might make an effective contrast. The natural beauty we do often see are the spectacular open skies over the barren mesa — which is very thematically meaningful, I suspect.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:04 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]


BTW, the suburban California scenes in the recent Stranger Things season were filmed in Albuquerque (Netflix uses most of the soundstages at the studio here) and in that case they used locations that are that generic western US suburbia which BB/BCS clearly avoids.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:10 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Hi, brainwane.

Some of your questions have been answered so far, to wit:

What is the final resolution of the Sandpiper lawsuit?*

The previous episode of this season showed that Cliff Main announced to the class representatives that they were agreeing to a settlement for Sandpiper's earlier offer, having made it clear to Howard that the lawsuit had been permanently damaged their chances of a higher amount in arbitration or at trial.

* Does Jimmy genuinely believe that his Saul Goodman work is both fulfilling and a way to further justice in the world, and is he going to keep believing that? And will he continue to do it out of desire or because he feels he's lost all other options?

The last couple of episodes seem to show pretty clearly that Jimmy is happy to work for a range of two-bit, lowlife clients, like the guy who took a whiz in Saul's office, because it's a steady flow of cash. T

The last time we really see Jimmy use his legal practice to try to help the "little guy" in the face of unjust treatment is probably when he helped Kim save Henry Ackerman's home from Mesa Verde.

However, Jimmy has done nothing like that since he first was forced to work for Lalo and ended up helping the latter escape a murder charge. Since then, he seems to have embraced his reputation as "a friend of the cartel," using that to attract the kind of clients who'd want the lawyer that got Lalo Salamanca out of jail.

Breaking Bad spoiler questions that have been answered already

* Is Gus going to partner with Madrigal Electromotive by the time the series ends? Is that part of how Los Pollos Hermanos goes multi-location?

Gus is already working with Lydia, who helps him scout the laundromat location in Season 4 and also gives Mike a cover job as security consultant at Madrigal in later episodes of that season. Peter Schuler, who was seen in the opening episode of Season 5 of Breaking Bad, was also shown meeting Gus and Lydia last season. Gus's affiliation with Peter is stated to date back to Gus's time in South America, when Peter did something unspecified but important that Gus claims to owe him for.

* Will we meet Gale by the end of this show?

Gale has appeared in two or three episodes already, where he's shown working with Gus Fring and anxiously awaiting the completion of the superlab. Most notably, he appeared in the Season 4 finale.

posted by kewb at 11:34 AM on July 13 [4 favorites]


But Kim, we still have no idea what's going to happen to her.

My working theory is that she's going to take over the vet's "side business" to fund her pro bono law practice.

I don't think she's going anywhere. She gets too much of a thrill out of all of this.
posted by rhymedirective at 11:34 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


kewb: thank you! My memories completely failed me and I appreciate the reminders of answers!
posted by brainwane at 11:46 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering if we're going to see Gene somehow re-connect with Kim, however she's been hiding all this time.
posted by jquinby at 12:09 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


I don't think she's going anywhere. She gets too much of a thrill out of all of this.

She used to get too much of a thrill out of it. Last two episodes... watching an execution and then almost carrying out one herself... I don't think she ever signed up for that!

But we'll see. I think it's an interesting question. Mike has pegged her as being tougher than Jimmy, and we know how impervious (more or less) Saul is, in BB. Is Kim as tough, or tougher, than that?

Interesting that when Mike sat the two of them down, Jimmy said something like "we understand," while Kim actually repeated what Mike said: "this never happened."
posted by torticat at 3:16 PM on July 13 [6 favorites]


Also love how Mike's/Kim's words there ^^ echo Mad Men.
posted by torticat at 3:42 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


I am curious how any of you feel on rewatch, if the rest of you rewatch! On second viewing, it seemed VERY clear to me that Lalo was lying in wait for Gus, expecting him to show up. Seemed to me that his narrative on the video to Don Eladio had everything to do with his reverting to "plan A" (which Eladio had vehemently opposed) as opposed to a more measured plan that maybe would have allowed for a slower and more awful end to Gus's life.
posted by torticat at 6:17 PM on July 13


Sorry, I meant that Hector had vehemently opposed Lalo's plan A! Goodness, I need a rewatch to get all of this straight.
posted by torticat at 6:56 PM on July 13


Echoing mad men, I’d love to see: “All I know is that today was a work day and I didn’t get anything done!” Or whatever Peggy’s line is, I think from the Valentine’s Day episode.
posted by tilde at 7:01 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Yes, tilde, what you get is, from Mike, "it's just another day that ends in Y, that's all."

I have no idea what that is supposed to mean!
posted by torticat at 7:22 PM on July 13


It means nothing is out of the ordinary. All days end in Y.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:29 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


And we got some black and white (Gene?) voiceover as the final credits rolled!

Is this a different voiceover than the one some people saw last episode? I just checked and we don't have it on the file we watched.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:33 PM on July 13


There was no voiceover at the end of the episode (Netflix UK).
posted by essexjan at 6:53 AM on July 14


The voiceover was a promo for next week, it wasn't a part of the episode.
posted by rhymedirective at 7:18 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


It happened during the filming of next week's episode.
The article is misleading, it was this episode in which he had a heart attack (they discussed it in the podcast). Tony Dalton was there too but they had to keep that quiet as it would have been a major spoiler (that Lalo, Howard, Kim, Jimmy were in a scene together). I don’t think I realised how close to death he actually was, he sounds like a very lucky guy.
posted by chill at 3:06 PM on July 14


My read was that Jimmy knew that whoever stayed in the apartment was dead regardless. Why would Lalo let that person live? So he volunteered Kim, so that she might have a chance to escape. I don't think he was relying on her to come up with some genius plan. It was about saving her life.

Kim seemingly suspected the same and tried to refuse, but Lalo forced it. She went through with the assassination out of a desperate hope it would save Jimmy, because what else could she do? She had every reason to believe Lalo was sitting there with a gun to Jimmy's head, ready to kill him the moment she showed up with cops or failed to return.
posted by Emily's Fist at 5:28 PM on July 14 [10 favorites]


My read was that Jimmy knew that whoever stayed in the apartment was dead regardless. Why would Lalo let that person live?
Indeed: Jimmy is a grand-master of con games. He knows that Lalo is an unflinching assassin - evidence in the form of Howard's body right there. Why would such a person send a novice to kill and unknown stranger while he just waited around meekly for their return? Therefore - the ruse must be a distraction to buy time for Lalo to leave and do something else: Lalo means the person sent on the mission to be caught and questioned: to survive. On the other hand, whoever remains at the apartment probably has little value for Lalo: so better that this person is him.

I believe Kim works out this logic too - see the glances the pair exchange. She is not happy about leaving Jimmy for the same reasons he is not happy about leaving her - but she is stuck in a situation where she has no choice but to proceed with Lalo's instructions. She does probably recognise that Jimmy stands a bit more chance of surviving if left behind than she would. And maybe she also recognises that she has a cooler head (once she remembers her shoes).

TV Tropes writes about Fridge Logic - the feeling a viewer gets when, half an hour after watching a show, they open the fridge for a beer and suddenly realise that there is some massive plot hole in what they have just seen. Better Call Saul's writing shows the opposite effect (Fridge Brilliance) because of many elements like this: a considerable amount of the plot, like this, is left to viewers to piece together later.
posted by rongorongo at 10:44 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


HUGE plot hole that bothers me mightily: Mike doesn't remove Howard's wallet (and wedding ring) until they're ready to bury him, after he was transported in the fridge. That wallet would have been soaked in blood, spoiling the "Howard walked into the ocean" ruse.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:30 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Also. I was disappointed about Lalo and Gus. We knew there would be this exact showdown because of Gus previously hiding the gun. Which makes Gus again the intradimensional chess player, planning everything exactly how it's going to happen. Far-fetched. And then, he gets to make a dramatic speech about how much he hates the Salamancas? Exactly like Nacho did? The repetition bothers me. And on top of all that, it works perfectly? I think it would have been better if Gus had been hurt more - we know that he is brought down in Breaking Bad, and it would have been cool to see his plan NOT working quite so perfectly, since it would show his bravado and planning have flaws, that he has flaws, not elaborating more on his eerie omnipotentness. Catching one in the vest wasn't enough for me, nor being grazed by a bullet. Also wasn't believable to me that Lalo wouldn't have roughed him up worse during that exchange. A- from me.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:36 AM on July 15 [3 favorites]


I was also surprised Lalo met his end this episode, but I hope it means the last episodes are going to focus in on Jimmy and Kim. I do not care about further Gus developments, or even Mike, much as I like Mike.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:28 AM on July 15


Catching one in the vest wasn't enough for me, nor being grazed by a bullet.

I generally agree with your points, tiny frying pan, but Gus was definitely shot.

Not sure if it was clear, but that bullet went fully through his abdomen an exited out the other side- hence the need for a doctor even after he's been patched up.
posted by ishmael at 8:46 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Yeah. The TV trope of being shot in the side, missing all vital organs. Sorry, grazed was the wrong word.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:44 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I hope it means the last episodes are going to focus in on Jimmy and Kim. I do not care about further Gus developments, or even Mike, much as I like Mike.

I'm the opposite. Find the Mike/Gus/Salamanca side of the story far more interesting than Jimmy/Kim though it to is a great story.
posted by juiceCake at 12:52 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


HUGE plot hole that bothers me mightily: Mike doesn't remove Howard's wallet (and wedding ring) until they're ready to bury him, after he was transported in the fridge. That wallet would have been soaked in blood, spoiling the "Howard walked into the ocean" ruse.

I don't think that's the case. Blood is shown streaming away from Howard, "upward" relative to his head. His wallet was in his inside blazer pocket, near the front of his chest. By the time the body is put in the fridge, there is going to be no more bleeding.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:46 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Incredibly unrealistic. There would have been SO much more blood then pictured. That's TV for ya.

There are other bodily fluids to worry about as well as blood. Ahem. And the body would be shifted upright and jiggled around in a fridge during transport.

Mike is a professional and would never take that risk. He would have removed the wallet while the body was still in the apartment.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:19 PM on July 15


The wallet was in his interior breast pocket- even if they had shown him lying in a 5 liter pool of blood it wasn't going to go from the floor to his chest?
posted by oneirodynia at 8:29 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


And what difference does it make anyway? His body will never be found.
posted by bleep at 8:44 PM on July 15


Are you guys saying you actually wanted to see the characters and their home covered in blood for the sake of realism? I wouldn't have appreciated it.
posted by bleep at 8:45 PM on July 15


I don't want to argue - I find arguing the worst part of FanFare - I really just want to share thoughts about episodes - I disagree though. My point still stands about Mike's actions. He is a professional and likes things done a certain way. He would have taken care of that detail first.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:17 AM on July 16


Wasn't arguing just curious!
posted by bleep at 9:21 AM on July 16


And what difference does it make anyway? His body will never be found.

But his wallet will—it (and his wedding ring) were on the dashboard of his car at the fake suicide tableau.
posted by ejs at 11:04 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Are you guys saying you actually wanted to see the characters and their home covered in blood for the sake of realism? I wouldn't have appreciated it.

No one is saying this, and I don't know why you think that. tiny frying pan is saying they think there's a big plot hole and I'm saying I don't think there is. We saw a huge puddle of blood streaming away from Howard across the floor of the apartment already. There are no comments saying there needs to be more blood.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:51 PM on July 16


And no, I actually can't think of a good reason why Mike wouldn't have taken the wallet out of the breast pocket when they searched for Howard's keys before taking him away. It's possible he hadn't fully formulated the plan beyond "suicide" and while thinking about the type of guy Howard seemed to be decided that he would not have walked into the ocean with his wallet, but left it in the car to make it clear it was him so his wife would be able to have him declared dead more easily. Maybe Mike realized there'd be more law enforcement questions if the wallet wasn't found only after mulling over any possible loose ends, and deciding that in spite of being a "cokehead" and supposedly unstable Howard wouldn't have just gone into the ocean with his wallet in his pocket. Quite honestly I would have expected someone walking into the ocean to take off their blazer altogether but that obviously wasn't possible to stage in that way.

But I think it's a stretch to say the body would have bled while upright in the fridge, and would have bled onto the wallet. Blood starts to coagulate almost immediately and if you've ever touched coagualted blood it doesn't really "run" just is sticky, especially after the time elapsed since Howard was murdered.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:06 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I am here for Howard's (Bloody?) Wallet dialogue. I'd have to rewatch in order to suss out the gravitational aspects myself.
posted by rhizome at 12:35 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I'm on Team The Wallet Wouldn't Have Been Bloody.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:31 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Also, there was this clip from Breaking Bad [twitter, spoilers for BB] posted that suggests where Jimmy and Kim are relationship-wise--or maybe where Saul wants people (at least Walter White) to believe that it is--by the time of BB.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:36 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Hmmmmm. I'm inclined to think Saul is still basically a character Jimmy is playing, even into Breaking Bad, and I don't know that I would take what he says to Walt in this scene at face value. I realize that's me supplying an explanation for a scene that was written well before this show was a glimmer in anybody's eye, of course.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:28 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


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