Better Call Saul: Nippy
July 25, 2022 6:01 PM - Season 6, Episode 10 - Subscribe

A new player enters the game.
posted by Rhaomi (132 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
[Production note: the role of Jeff the cab driver was recast between seasons due to the original actor's contractual obligations to an HBO series.]
posted by Rhaomi at 7:19 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Well, that explains my confusion at the beginning of the episode. I get that they had to do what they had to do, but I feel like they could've done better casting the new guy. Where the original character was menacing and pushy, this one just seemed befuddled.

That said, I really enjoyed the episode, and liked the way it echoed both the "Dead Freight" episode of BB, trying to pull off an undetected heist, and Walter crying on cue in Hank's office. Not to mention the way Gene was channeling Mike in the preparing-for-a-mysterious-caper department. It was a nice change of pace from the action-packed last few episodes as well. And Carol Burnett!
posted by Crane Shot at 7:57 PM on July 25 [10 favorites]


I missed color! Watching a whole ep in b&w was a little tough for me. Not sure they totally pulled it off.

But this...
liked the way it echoed both the "Dead Freight" episode of BB

--yes!! So interesting how they are changing the tone so deftly.

Have cinnabons ever looked so gross? I don't like them IRL, for all the reasons that were so visibly displayed in this episode--the rising of the buns while baking (with all the fat kind of leaking out), the over-sweetness of the frosting lathered on top, the eating of them with a knife and fork--because unlike a normal cinnamon roll, cinnabons are so over the top that you can't just eat them with your fingers! Ew. Also a person so engrossed by something he's eating that he can be distracted from his actual job.

Interesting how this connects to Howard. Jimmy and Kim set Howard up to make him look like an addict, even though he wasn't one. In the current situation, Gene apparently uses an actual addiction (to sweets, not cocaine) to set up the scene for his heist.
posted by torticat at 9:37 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


It’s pretty funny that he could just sit facing the cameras while eating but does not.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:51 PM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Where the original character was menacing and pushy, this one just seemed befuddled.

Pat Healy is usually quite meanacing, so I’m thinking maybe his performance was due to some weird directorial choices.
posted by holborne at 10:29 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Where the original character was menacing and pushy, this one just seemed befuddled.

Definitely! He even seemed a bit shy to be a cab driver.

I liked the episode despite this, although after the last few episodes I pretty much expected a Salamanca with a gun to suddenly show up at any time.

I'm not sure the heist was worthwhile (There has to be a bunch of cash somewhere, why do something that elaborate for a few thousand worth of hard-to-fence clothing?) but maybe that was the point, Gene was more interested in getting that guy out of his way than in making tons of money.

I don't think "mutually assured destruction" works very well here. Does the world know Saul Goodman was involved with Walter White? I assume it was in the news. In which case Cab Driver Guy could go to the cops anytime and say "I stole a few things from Cottonwood mall, if you offer me immunity I'll give you information on a major player in one of the largest drug operations in US history."

Carol Burnett was great.

Gene lives in a black-and-white world. I feel like if he had purchased the colorful shirt and tie at the end of the episode, the color would have faded in as he walked out. But for now he's staying in the black-and-white world...
posted by mmoncur at 12:21 AM on July 26 [7 favorites]


"Just when I think I got out...I push myself right back in!"

Gene sure didn't like getting recognized! It's too bad they had to recast Jeff, I agree he's a simp. This may be the last we see of him, given Gene's wrap-up, but at the same time, the best laid plans...

I totally missed Chekhov's grease smear!

So my butt-sourced prediction is that Breaking Bad is being entirely skipped over and the rest of the episodes will be the remaining story of Gene.
posted by rhizome at 2:21 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


why do something that elaborate for a few thousand worth of hard-to-fence clothing?

It's just the crime. Now Gene can hold it over them, motivating them not to recognize him again.
posted by rhizome at 2:47 AM on July 26 [4 favorites]


Kim was the beating heart of the show for me, so the apparent confirmation in this episode that they ended her story 4 episodes before the end is so disappointing. Her rushed, very surprising and unsatisfying ending had me missing her so much in this week's well-filmed hijinks. I'm guessing that will continue with whatever the writers have planned for last couple of hours, but I honestly can't see right now how the show comes back from that.
posted by mediareport at 4:23 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


I liked how Slippin Jimmy almost had the scheme undone by a real slip and fall.

Loved the episode but I too was a little confused by the recast because of the guy's lack of menace. He was SO menacing and bullying to Gene in the previous scene with the different actor and in this they stripped all of that and it felt a little off. I get they had no choice to recast but some of that wrong feeling lands with writing and directing mistakes, I feel.

I was worried when he said that shit about kingpins and such. He really outed himself there as a guy who the news might not have mentioned in connection with Walter White? Uh oh.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:13 AM on July 26 [8 favorites]


I agree that Kim is the beating heart of the show. I would bet all of my reclusive thousands that she returns for the final episode, maybe final two, and that her absence in the interim is part of the narrative design.

For us to feel the depths of Saul's loss, I think we have to experience the loss of Kim alongside him. I believe it's Kim's absence– not the loss of his Saul persona and all its trappings– that drained the color out of Jimmy McGill's world.

I'm thrilled by the possibility that the show could go anywhere in the last three episodes, but I think Kim's return is all but guaranteed.
posted by reclusive_thousandaire at 6:33 AM on July 26 [14 favorites]


I gasped aloud when Jimmy cut that wire on Marion's chair. SO EVIL. He absolutely knew how much pride she took in her independence, he engineered the ice on the sidewalk to make it just tough enough to stymie her chair, and then, to literally cut a wire that a disabled person depends on, to make her dependent on him (even temporarily) .... I know he had done awful things before, but this specific sabotage and manipulation was so breathtakingly cruel.

Also: Frank's utter ineptitude ("life's ups and life's downs") in consoling his new acquaintance/friend Gene who has just demonstrated huge vulnerability and opened the depths of his pain -- darkly funny and reminded me of a Coen brothers movie.
posted by brainwane at 7:26 AM on July 26 [9 favorites]


Does Gene stay friends with the security guys? His breakdown does provide a good excuse to taper off his visits to the camera den.

I'm pretty bad at predicting where this show is headed, but I think Gene might have been better off just poisoning Jeff or something. He's just as addicted to running scams now (2015?) as he was in Albuquerque, and now that the genie is out of the bottle, I don't see how he can stop.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:33 AM on July 26 [4 favorites]


tiny frying pan said: I liked how Slippin Jimmy almost had the scheme undone by a real slip and fall. YES! Nicely caught!!

My spouse and I noticed the shoe scuff mark on the floor and Kathy's order to get it cleaned, but predicted the issue would be that the cleaner would be in the shop during the robbery -- and I thought maybe Jeff would (without telling Jimmy) have a gun on him during the robbery, and panic and shoot the cleaner. I also thought Ricky(?), Jeff's friend, might turn out to be a bit like Todd from Breaking Bad. Of course I was wrong in all these things.

I admire Kathy and hope she doesn't catch hell when the thousands of dollars in inventory theft -- at least tens of thousands, I bet -- comes to light.

Jimmy, as a store manager, is reasonably well placed to occasionally steal food from the Cinnabon, but if I understand correctly, the cartons get counted regularly to check for pilferage (and so they know when to order more). Two missing cartons a week can probably get voided out as defective or spoiled or something, and maybe even two a day depending on how much trade the shop does every day. But even if someone from corporate comes auditing, probably Gene can truthfully say that he has been regularly supplying the mall security folks with some free food, and corporate would understand that -- heck, maybe there's even a code in the register for "freebie for cops".
posted by brainwane at 7:39 AM on July 26


Why do people think we have seen the last of Kim ? I fully expect a Kim/Jimmy reunion.
posted by Pendragon at 8:15 AM on July 26 [6 favorites]


So my butt-sourced prediction is that Breaking Bad is being entirely skipped over and the rest of the episodes will be the remaining story of Gene.

If I recall correctly, it’s was announced at some point that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are set to make an appearance.
posted by holborne at 8:27 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Jimmy, as a store manager, is reasonably well placed to occasionally steal food from the Cinnabon, but if I understand correctly, the cartons get counted regularly to check for pilferage (and so they know when to order more).

I just assumed Jimmy payed for the buns.
posted by Pendragon at 8:29 AM on July 26 [7 favorites]


I didn't remember the cab drivers face so I didn't realize he'd been recast. I liked how the new guy looked just like Darryl from Letterkenny so in my mind that was Darryl from Letterkenny after a few rough years being apart from the boys. Yes yes the great Carol Burnett contradicted that but I'm flexible.

There was a very quick shot during the montage of Jimmy doing the same routine of bringing the buns where it showed that during this time was the time when he got trapped in the dumpster room and carved SG WAS HERE into the wall. I felt that this was to let us know that Slipping Jimmy still is who he is under that moustache & still is going to do what he's going to. Understand the system well enough, understand how people work well enough, to make things go the way HE wants them to go. Kim was the same & that's what they saw in each other.
posted by bleep at 8:40 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


Gene said that he'd had a 50-year-old chemistry teacher crying in his office and a year later he had a pile of cash as big as a VW - definitely a Walter White reference.

I, too, was glad for the break from the Salamanca/Saul/Fring storyline, and Carol Burnett was great. Jeff was definitely mis-cast though, imo. The 'other' Jeff was so awful that at the time I thought Gene would have no option but to kill him.

I do love a good heist, and the planning around this one was excellent. I wonder how easy it'd be to fence that stuff in Omaha, though.

I have only ever eaten a Cinnabon once, when I was changing planes in Charlotte, landing on a flight from Heathrow and heading out to Columbus. I was starving and didn't have time to do anything but grab a Cinnabon before I got on the plane, one of those 50-seater commuter planes. It was zipped in a tote bag but after we were airborne and allowed our tray tables down, I got it out and all over the plane I could hear people saying "OMG, I can smell Cinnabon". It was so huge I gave the guy next to me half of it and I thought he was going to ask me to marry him, he was so happy.
posted by essexjan at 8:43 AM on July 26 [8 favorites]


So I guess Macy's didn't want the Cinnabon-esque product placement in this one? or anyone; the store was unnamed other than "department store".

( IMDB says the Cinnabon location is NM's Cottonwood Mall and the anchor there is JC Penney, but the high-end stuff they were lifting felt a lot more Macy's to me? Also: not actually a Cinnabon in that mall; I guess the Cinnabon storefront is all set-dressing.)

Not at all convinced that Jeff is smart enough to stick to the "mutual assured destruction; we're done" deal.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:12 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Pendragon, that makes SO MUCH SENSE.
posted by brainwane at 9:13 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Also: everything Saul says in his ugly-crying distraction is true; that and the wistful lingering over the garish shirt+tie makes me wonder if Gene is going to continue to break bad just to live a little.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:18 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


Not a profound thing to say, but one of Jimmy's biggest issues has always been that he's very lonely - in some sense even the lifelong scams are a way of "dealing" with loneliness by making him think he's better than other people rather than actually forming connections (Marco and Kimmy shortcircuited this defense mechanism because they could scam folks together). It's interesting to see him improvise and pull on some more honest feelings as a result.

My sense is that Jeff the cab driver wasn't trying to be menacing or threatening or take advantage of Jimmy, or even use Jimmy to get some sort of life he wanted; that was Jimmy's perception, and assumption, because that's how he interacts with people. I think Jeff mostly thought that "Saul Goodman" was a cool celebrity sighting, one who carries this aura of danger and excess that Jeff admires, and he was just excited to find him. I think he was pretty confused by Jimmy's behavior - aggressively (and successfully) selling him on the heist (and also maybe helping to teach Jeff his own internal misdirection - i.e., what you're looking for isn't connection, it's to be better than them, to be one of the ones living the glamorous life), and then when the fun was over, threatening him, telling him he's not his friend, etc.

Honestly, of all the final outcomes for Jimmy, making friends with some guy who knew about and admired Saul might not have been the worst... and then you get to hang out with Carol Burnett!!!
posted by nightcoast at 9:19 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


(I suppose part of his reaction to Jeff is also just pure fear at being exposed, not just a cynical worldview.)
posted by nightcoast at 9:21 AM on July 26


My sense is that Jeff the cab driver wasn't trying to be menacing or threatening or take advantage of Jimmy, or even use Jimmy to get some sort of life he wanted;

He forced him like a bully to say who he was though. Maybe the menace was supposed to only scare US, the audience and was fairly innocuous. I mean, these guys definitely didn't think they were threatening his life by outing him, but that's the truth of it for Saul.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:24 AM on July 26 [4 favorites]


Also, we don't know what the general public knows about Saul Goodman - they might assume he's criminal but we've been given nothing to think people who remember his commercials know he's an actual criminal and definitely not that he had anything to do with a meth kingpin.

I think Gene is wrong to assume that he was being outed, obviously now that we've met the guys further. He made a dangerous mistake with that.

He IS in danger by being outed, but probably not by Saul Goodman fans. But he can't tell the difference in his isolation.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:27 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I think Jeff mostly thought that "Saul Goodman" was a cool celebrity sighting, one who carries this aura of danger and excess that Jeff admires, and he was just excited to find him.

Possibly, but when he forces Gene to say his "Better Call Saul!" tagline three times, he tells him "you're a little rusty, but you'll do better next time" before telling Gene how to contact him if he ever needs him. So even if he never intended anything as sinister as blackmailing him or turning him in, he clearly was eager to involve himself in Saul's life and definitely seemed asshole enough to turn on him at some point if Saul ever pissed him off.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:56 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Hats off to the writers for making us wait nearly two whole seasons for this story to be picked up again, only to (apparently) resolve it in one episode. I was anticipating some BB-style unintended consequences to sprawl things out over the remainder of the series, but instead we got a brilliantly detailed show-don't-tell character piece: Jimmy is still the maestro, slipping right back into the groove. He felt alive again for the first time in years, so what's next? AFAICT, the only unfinished business at this point is Kim.
posted by whuppy at 10:17 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


If these shows have taught me anything about their own structure, what's next is...comeuppance.
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:27 AM on July 26 [6 favorites]


Gene wasn't trying to gain any material thing with that robbery. He was trying to ensure that the cab driver would be in a position that he wouldn't risk ratting out Gene, but also giving him a little something to make him be okay with keeping silent. It's a win-win for everybody there.

And that's an interesting part of Jimmy. Before? He wanted to be loved, and respected, for who he was. He wanted his brother and others to see him as a good, smart guy, and he went to the trouble to put himself through law school to get it. But it didn't work: his brother never trusted him, he couldn't get the respect he wanted, so he transformed himself. To hell with respect from the rich lawyer set, he'll settle for fame and fortune, and he was willing to change himself into Saul to pull that off.

Once that went sideways, he transformed himself again, into Gene, and it certainly appears what he wants more than anything is just to survive, to not get knocked off by criminal elements. And he can continue to be a con artist to do it. In this case, to help a guy rob a department store in order to keep his (Gene's) cover.

BUT. We've seen that despite all of these disguises, deep down, he's still Jimmy. He wants to be loved. And the one person who really, truly loved him was Kim. So OTOH I want to say that I called it. But OTOH we still have three episodes left. Which is a LOT of time. So here's a prediction: at least part of the last three eps will involve current, black-and-white Gene meeting up again with Kim. I don't know how, or why yet, but I suspect that's where he'll get his comeuppance. He'll be able to finally realize that he had the one thing he wanted, and he blew it.
posted by nushustu at 10:36 AM on July 26 [5 favorites]


I think a lot of the menacing aura from the old actor comes from the assumption a lot of us probably made at the time that he was part of some mysterious underworld scheme to entrap Gene. Re-watching the original scene with the knowledge he's just a socially awkward nobody who wants to buddy up with a local legend (and maybe razz him a bit about his secret identify), it still works. And it sort of makes sense that he's a whole different person (in-universe and IRL) once the tables have turned and the context has changed.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:43 AM on July 26 [4 favorites]


He'll be able to finally realize that he had the one thing he wanted, and he blew it.

I think he knew that before she walked out the door, to be honest. Even as Saul, he reads (now) as a broken shell of his former self. The gaudy, almost Trumpian monument to bad taste that is his home and lifestyle as Saul doesn't seem to make him happy at all. He might even be happier as Gene, content to joke around with his employees (shades of Gus) and then come home to his pleasant (if suspiciously big) house and watch old movies. But I think now that he's tasted blood again, that won't do the trick anymore.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:11 AM on July 26 [4 favorites]


lmao:
I am not crazy! I am not crazy. I know he swapped those actors! I knew it was Don Harvey. The officer from that HBO show, as if I could ever make such a mistake. Never. Never! I just- I just couldn’t prove it. He-he covered his tracks. He got that idiot at the casting department to lie for him. You think this is something? You think this is bad? This, this recasting? He’s done worse. Kaylee's actress! Are you telling me that a character just happens to constantly change like that? No! He orchestrated it! Vince! He desecrated the continuity! And I worshipped him! I shouldn't have, I took him in as my own hero. What was I thinking? He’ll never change. He’ll NEVER change. Ever since he was on the X-Files, always the same. Couldn’t keep his hands out of the casting decisions. But not our Vincent! Couldn’t be precious Vincent! Thinking we're blind. And he gets to be a show runner? What a sick joke! I should’ve stopped him when I had the chance! And you, you have to stop him, you…
posted by Rhaomi at 11:43 AM on July 26 [10 favorites]


Re-watching the Magic Man scene, I'm again impressed with how ambiguous this show can be. Is Jeff being menacing in getting Jimmy to perform Saul? Or is he just excited about the sheer charisma of Saul, and is (like probably part of a lot of us watching!) just hoping to see that fire and showmanship reemerge (don't just say the line, really mean it), but the presence of the cops and Jimmy's fear of being found out is making him/us paranoid? I think both reads on the scene work...

I also think Jimmy simultaneously really doesn't want to be found out, but also really wants to give in and be that old self; I think some of Jeff's intensity seemed to me to be the menace of temptation more than threat, but maybe that makes Jeff all the more dangerous to Jimmy. And agreed, he was pretty intent on getting it out of him, when he clearly did not want to acknowledge who he was.
posted by nightcoast at 11:43 AM on July 26


The thing I felt most in this episode was the bewildering difficulty of trying to make small talk with intense sports fans. I honestly, truly, no lie learned a lot about how to handle this situation in the future. I'm taking notes!
posted by ssmith at 11:55 AM on July 26 [7 favorites]


nightcoast: "Re-watching the Magic Man scene, I'm again impressed with how ambiguous this show can be. Is Jeff being menacing in getting Jimmy to perform Saul? Or is he just excited about the sheer charisma of Saul"

It also helps that his amused, aggressively friendly vibe is eerily similar to Lalo's facade.

ssmith: "The thing I felt most in this episode was the bewildering difficulty of trying to make small talk with intense sports fans. I honestly, truly, no lie learned a lot about how to handle this situation in the future. I'm taking notes!"

"Did you see that ludicrous display last night?"
posted by Rhaomi at 12:03 PM on July 26 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure of the significance of it beyond the fact that apparently Gene/Saul/Jimmy watches a lot of movies in his down time, but the shipment number--1968AE35? The AE-35 unit was the part of the Discovery that HAL kept reporting was malfunctioning in 2001: A Space Odyssey...which was released in 1968.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:20 PM on July 26 [13 favorites]


Someone else said it, but I agree: absolute master class in how to keep small talk pace on a subject you know nothing about. Should have watched this during my MBA days.

Kim’s definitely not done. I agree there is a strong parallel with Saul and the audience losing Kim so abruptly, that storytelling mechanic is meant to serve the same purpose for us as it does for JimmySaul. This is not a show that resolves things for resolution’s sake, but there are a bunch of outstanding questions. Where is she and what did she do between Howard’s death and Breaking Bad, let alone the Gene timeline? Was she able to fix the missing lunch with the foundation? What happened to her dream of providing rich-person-quality legal counsel to people of lower SES? I thought that when they referred to using the Sandpiper money for her goals, Saul was supporting her. I don’t remember her having substantial involvement with Sandpiper, to the degree that she would also get a portion of the common fund. Although now they are married and assuming the settlement comes in before the marriage is dissolved, she’d be entitled to some of it. Is she really done with Giselle? We just saw Gene return to a psychological place—albeit maybe not completely voluntarily from his perspective—where a con was justified. If Viktor isn’t around, is that enough for Giselle to withstand temptation? Particularly if the con doesn’t involve vengeance? Is *Kim* a “criminal lawyer” except she uses her powers for good instead of a Constitution-wallpapered drywall hole filled with cash? Also the internet exists in 2015, though I can’t remember if Gene has internet. It would not surprise me in the least bit if Gene is keeping tabs on her; the narrow almost-didn’t-happen win of the department store con surely has Gene thinking about Kim, for better or for worse. Gould, Gilligan, et al know how important Kim is to us and I trust that they wouldn’t leave her story there. They gave Nacho, Lalo, and Howard (and Gus, and Walt, and Hank) great, show-stopping, meaningful endings; they will do the same with Kim.

I think this is also a turning point for Gene. He was so scared of being discovered, rightfully so. But now he has been and he handled it, plus he rekindled Slippin’ Jimmy. Maybe I need to go back and watch—and stop being such a hopeful optimist—but I find it really difficult to believe Gene is how JMM ends his days, just fondling loose diamonds and watching old VHS of his greatest hits. I’m curious how solid the post-vacuum identities are. Gene was terrified of being found out at the hospital with his SSN but it was fine. Very specific guidelines about what the disappeared can do and not do seem like something Mr. Disappearer would discuss with his clients. He discussed it with Walt, but Walt was hotter than Goodman so the rules would have necessarily been stricter. Dude’s inOmaha, a metro area of roughly 700-800K in 2015. Maintaining a false identity in an urban area has to be harder than Alaska or rural New Hampshire.

Other thoughts:
Marion was great but I’d heard speculation that Carol Burnett was going to be playing Judge Papadoumian, which would have been awesome.
Does the JMM American Greed episode exist in Gene’s world? Or was that just for us slash Vince who went bonkers for it on the podcast?
posted by emkelley at 12:51 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]



I missed color! Watching a whole ep in b&w was a little tough for me. Not sure they totally pulled it off.


The leaves on the trees in what was supposedly the snowy season in Nebraska really bothered me every time there was an outdoor shot.

The gaudy, almost Trumpian monument to bad taste that is his home and lifestyle as Saul doesn't seem to make him happy at all.

It's weird because it's entirely Saul window dressing that none of his clients (except the sex workers I suppose) are ever going to see. It's just a very gaudy, expensive prop in the taste that Jimmy McGill imagines a lawyer like Saul Goodman to have. It makes sense for Jimmy to go full method I suppose, but it also seems like an over-the-top waste of money when he could be stashing cash in offshore accounts and living a slightly less gaudy, lonely life.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:58 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


What was the deal with the ring?
posted by willF at 1:06 PM on July 26


That's Marco's ring- in the first season Marco is Jimmy's partner in crime. Marco has a heart attack during their final scam. Marco's mom gives Jimmy the ring at the funeral and he wears it as Saul. So you might say it's symbolic of his time running cons.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:18 PM on July 26 [9 favorites]


I honestly don't know what to make of this episode. It was quite good, but the placement in the season strikes me as odd. I have a feeling it will sit better once the final 3 episodes air.
posted by rhymedirective at 1:28 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


What episode does the corn-fed truck driver make an appearance? I remember the taxi driver and the Cinnabon workers but don't recall when that fellow first showed up.
posted by fiercekitten at 1:39 PM on July 26


This is not a show that resolves things for resolution’s sake, but there are a bunch of outstanding questions...

I will be perfectly fine if we never hear of or see Kim again. She made a decisive split and is gone, particularly for Jimmy. We know why. That's enough for me personally. That's the sort of loss that many experience. Closure is a myth most times. It would be brilliant if they leave it there against the everything has to be resolved trend, particularly these days. I have no questions about her or any of the characters. I thought Camino focusing on what happened to Jesse after Breaking Bad was the worst thing the Gilligan team produced.

That said I'm not opposed to seeing and learning about where and in which state (not State) she's was in after but if not, totally fine.
posted by juiceCake at 1:43 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


The truck driver is Jeff's friend, he was with him (the other actor playing him) in the mall scene telling Gene he knew who he was.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:52 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


The new opening credit sequence with the VCR was interesting. Wonder if we'll get more of that over the last few episodes.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:54 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I sing along to the credit music so I was pretty startled by that! Worried what it's hinting at.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:00 PM on July 26


Ah, thanks for explaining the ring significance, oneirodynia, I had totally forgotten that.

Also, a little Easter egg - Tom Schnauz cheese
posted by nightcoast at 2:27 PM on July 26


1968AE35? The AE-35 unit was the part of the Discovery that HAL kept reporting was malfunctioning in 2001: A Space Odyssey...which was released in 1968.
posted by Mr. Bad Example


Wow, good one! Shades of "Ice Station Zebra Associates."
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:37 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


By the end of the episode, I also saw this con as a one-and-done way to dispose of the threat to his secret identity. I think Gene really has hung it up for good unless absolutely necessary. Not that he doesn't enjoy the thrill a bit, of course, old habits and all that, but the risk is much too high for him to do it just for giggles. IMO, hanging up the shirt/tie combo was also a symbol that he's hung up the Saul identity for good.

In one of the beautiful ironies of this show, the things that Jimmy lacks, friendship, love, and connection, are the very things he could have, authentically! if he gave up his cons. He amassed a network of new friends who very much enjoyed his company (an impressive feat as anyone who has tried to make friends as adults can attest), and lived a normal-ish life making small talk, sharing drinks and food with others while just shooting the shit, but he can't let anyone in, for numerous reasons.

I love how this show impresses upon the audience again and again that the rewards the characters gain are never worth what they lose. A quiet life with love to spare, even if it means worrying about the bills, facing the daily grind, not having the cars, the clothes, the cash...it's better.
posted by petiteviolette at 3:07 PM on July 26 [7 favorites]


It is now some time since I watched the closing episodes of Breaking Bad - so can anybody summarise for me whether Gene is hiding from anybody specific in Omaha?

The earlier Gene scenes all seemed to show him cowering in mortal fear or discovery. But at the end of Nippy he seems to have recovered some joy in life through a return to scamming. And that comes over as being an unexpected side-effect for him. Maybe it is the thrill of pulling off the con that convinces Gene he should be able to bluff a pursuer from his old life, just as he bluffs the security guards.

Oh and the dog: definitely a ‘Nippy’!
posted by rongorongo at 3:15 PM on July 26


The store was similar to if not the same as where Kim was shoplifting. Lancaster’s in Omaha. Regional department stores are something Gen Xers grew up with - we had Gibson’s before Walmart, and in Florida Burdines before they were bought out by Macys.

I assumed maintenance would be coming across Slippin Jeffery as well.

But (sigh) having worked in department stores in the mall, unless the mall closed at 8, the staff wouldn’t be gone by 9:45. Just like Gene’s staff leaves at 9:30, the dept store would close at 9 and stay till 10 shutting down, especially the manager and the cash office.

Edit: Kim’s store was Swenson’s.
posted by tilde at 3:18 PM on July 26


I'm seeing the parallels more and more. As Gus cannot be friends genuinely with the wine bar guy, Gene can't be friends with the security guards either.
posted by tiny frying pan at 3:19 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Kim grew up in Nebraska, right? Gene isn't too far away.
posted by tiny frying pan at 3:21 PM on July 26


Perhaps it's the black-and-white cinematography, but much of this episode spun out as a sort of extended homage to Hitchcock. As in Hitchcock's films, we have here suspense -- not just the suspense of the caper itself, but the real suspense, in which Jimmy/Saul/Gene has so much more to lose than his one-off accomplices, in which the threat of discovery or the implication of danger comes from the most innocuous sources, and in which kindness is very often the mask of manipulation.

And yet the episode also plays, to some extent, with the bathetic nature of Gene's surrounds as a context for Saul-like activity, however genuine and stark the danger to Jimmy/Saul/Gene himself may be. In the scene where Jimmy/Saul/Gene brings up "the game" to Jeff the cabbie, the soundtrack plays almost as a sitcom soundtrack. The tensest moments of the episode are caused by an almost comical pratfall, and even the threat of the authorities comes mostly in the person of a jolly guard who -- to Jimmy/Saul/Gene's visible amusement -- methodically eats his Cinnabon with a fork and knife as if he were a gourmand and this a fine restaurant.

I mean, Hitchcock's films certainly had their share of laughs -- usually queasy ones -- playing the incongruity of, say, a cheery song against the terror of kidnappings, espionage, and murders. But here, everything is so small, so absurdly low-stakes, for everyone but Jimmy. The grand caper amounts to elaborate, extended shoplifting; the big payoff is a relatively small-scale heist, especially when we're invited to contrast it with Walter White's "pile of money the size of a Volkswagon;" and even the threat to Jimmy/Gene/Saul is less the menacing gangsters or secret megalomaniacs we've seen before, but rather a naive wannabe criminal who needs to be psyched up fro the crime by his quasi-blackmail victim.

So much of this sets up the final shot, with Saul's -- and distinctly Saul's -- nostalgia for his previous persona, which he imagines fully resuming before literally and figuratively choosing to fade into the background blur of Gene Takovic's less-than-a-life. For the character, it's a moment of temptation, one that's fed by the zest for life he rediscovers in both the conspiracy to rob and the seemingly successful reversal of the blackmail that is his true motive.

But for us, as the audience, I think the intent is not to suggest dangerous temptation, but rather the extent to which Saul Goodman has been destroyed, like Jimmy McGill before him, by all that he has lost. Jimmy McGill's fall was a tragedy, the result of a poisonous brother and an elitist establishment, as well as flaws of impulsivity on Jimmy's part. From there, he becomes Saul Goodman, consiglieri to a burgeoning drug empire glorying in the tacky splendor of his corrupt law offices and McMansion...and that, too, is stripped away, this time more by the flaws of Walter White -- hubris, with this season's opener showing the literal stripping away of Saul's gaudy trappings, and a cardboard cutout of Saul himself left floating in a pool, another self lost, discarded, removed.

And so, here, Slippin' Jimmy becomes Nostalgic Gene, but with all his past methods reenacted as farce, not tragedy. even the slip-and-fall this time is not Jimmy's scam, nor a scam he coached as in the very first episode of this series, but a genuine, ridiculous accident by some bumbler he's involuntarily become entangled with, something stupid that must be improvised around. The low-rent caper, the worse-than-Heisenberg amateurishness of the co-conspirators, even the way the planning of the heist happens in mundane sites like a shopping mall and a snow-covered field in Nebraska all suggest how hollow, unsustainable, and fundamentally absurd Saul's brief reemergence really is, like a regional theatre company version of a Broadway smash. Even the Saul costume is not really worn, but put up in front of a mirror, a bit like those old carnival cutouts where someone sticks their head through a hole as if it's atop a cutout of some more vibrant, fictional figure.

Even what's at stake is less impressive: the freedom to keep grinding out an existence as Gene Takovic, to wear a third, unwanted persona after the first two identities didn't work out. So the one part of all of this that is, for Jimmy/Gene/Saul, the most disingenuous -- his speech on loneliness for the security guard, comically stretched out with empty gasping and histrionic to maximize the distraction -- is, for the audience, quite true. It is more of a dramatic, significant character moment than the running flirtations with becoming Saul Goodman again, which even Gene knows is not possible. Gene Takovic is neither the striving for acceptance of Jimmy McGill nor the hedonistic escape of Saul Goodman, but merely a way to avoid prison, to avoid total and final destruction as a person in the world.

But Jimmy was destroyed, and Saul had to go, so there's just Gene. Our title sequence, in which the old commercial is not only stopped at a blue VCR screen, but erased with the REC button, suggests that this is the last of Gene's nostalgia for Saul, a last longing look at that past glory before it must be overwritten, wiped away for good, like 72 hours of security footage, or like the McGill name. So goes the Goodman brand.

But what next? Not much, one suspects, unless the recklessness and impulsivity keep rearing up and lead Jimmy/Saul/Gene to one last bit of destruction in pursuit of....what? The past? Love? Legacy? A very risky proposition, considering where his pursuit of these things has led him before, and considering how much the prusuit has cost him already.

One could paraphrase Oscar Wilde here: To lose one self may be regarded as misfortune; to lose two seems like carelessness. To lose a third would be positively willful.
posted by kewb at 3:21 PM on July 26 [13 favorites]


I can't follow a kewb. But what did y'all think of the little song Gene had Jeff memorize?
posted by tiny frying pan at 3:25 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


Have not caught up on all the comments but just want to say this is lovely, reclusive_thousandaire:

I believe it’s Kim’s absence– not the loss of his Saul persona and all its trappings– that drained the color out of Jimmy McGill’s world

I complained upthread about the b&w, but the scene where Gene pairs a garish tie with an equally garish shirt, all in b&w, was moving in a weird way!
posted by torticat at 4:17 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


I can't follow a kewb. But what did y'all think of the little song Gene had Jeff memorize?

Brought me back to his bingo days! Jimmy/Saul/Gene's nothing if not an artist...
posted by nightcoast at 4:55 PM on July 26 [5 favorites]


The song also kept him from thinking too critically about what this meant or what more could come.
posted by tilde at 4:57 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


It is now some time since I watched the closing episodes of Breaking Bad - so can anybody summarise for me whether Gene is hiding from anybody specific in Omaha?

I suppose he's hiding from the police/FBI, who were definitely onto Walter White's operation and Saul would be an accomplice, and what's left of the white supremacist gang that Walter attacked on his way out. Maybe anyone remaining from the Meth operation that would know that Saul got away with a large sum of money. Jesse Pinkman for example, although we know that's not in his character.
posted by mmoncur at 5:07 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


The song/chant was also a reference to the Dirty Dozen
posted by Zonker at 5:10 PM on July 26 [7 favorites]


The new opening credit sequence with the VCR was interesting.

In the podcast a couple of weeks ago, I think, they said they were degrading the opening title more and more as the series continues.
posted by willF at 6:03 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


I love that! Like Gene's old VHS tape of his Better Call Saul years.

(I wonder if those kids in his film crew went into the movie biz)
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:17 PM on July 26


Apparently the sports references nail the time to October 2010.

I miss Kim too but perhaps she has to be missing for a while for us to really get the stakes.
posted by shothotbot at 7:41 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


2010 seems...off. I'm pretty sure that's the in-story year that the events of Breaking Bad end.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:56 PM on July 26


The final episode of BB -"Felina"- takes place during the first week of September, 2010.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:22 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the reminder about who Gene could be hiding from specifically, mmoncur. I guess what we know in this episode, that we did not know in previously, is that that the real spectre that stalks him is Lalo. Jimmy has been reassured, falsely, about Lalo's demise before and is probably not willing to trust a second hand assurance from Mike, that he really did die this time. We see him mention Lalo as somebody he believes to be alive when we first see him at the start of BB - so why should that have changed now in Omaha? Indeed, if Lalo had not been killed off three episodes back - we would surely be expecting him to arrive in this timeline.

Lalo is a far more terrifying figure to Jimmy/Gene/Saul than a generic visit from law enforcement: the latter might put him in prison (where he would, I suspect, flourish) but the former would skin him alive. So I read this episode as being like the moment when one stops running from an unseen pursuer: if they have not caught you by now then maybe they have stopped looking; maybe they were never there.
posted by rongorongo at 12:03 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


...The teaser ...

Once again, no teaser discussion please. It is not part of the episode.
posted by Pendragon at 3:18 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


One deleted. Sorry, no teasers or other info about upcoming episodes / seasons, please!
posted by taz at 3:19 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


rongorongo said: Lalo is a far more terrifying figure to Jimmy/Gene/Saul than a generic visit from law enforcement: the latter might put him in prison (where he would, I suspect, flourish) but the former would skin him alive. So I read this episode as being like the moment when one stops running from an unseen pursuer: if they have not caught you by now then maybe they have stopped looking; maybe they were never there.

It's easy to imagine Jimmy as the "shop" in prison, the person you go to to get what you need from "outside" or to broker information.

Horror movie is definitely another cinematic style that this show uses frequently. Some of the earlier stuff with the cabbie, especially his introduction sequence, was filmed like horror, with the cabbie's face never fully seen, while Jimmy rides in the cab. It reminds me a little of the similarly unseen truck driver in the classic, early Spielberg film Duel.

This episode reverses that a little; now it's the cabbie coming home to see that the monster knows where he lives and has gulled his mother. Suspense thrillers have their share of overlap with horror, of course; Hitchcock's Psycho is a blending of the crime thriller and a prototype slasher movie, and the 1978 original version of Halloween has some overlapping elements as well.

Jimmy/Saul/Gene is, of course, much less malign than a slasher, at least in terms of his immediate actions and their intended consequences. Lalo better fits the movie archetype of the implacable, inescapable killer, and he gets plenty of visuals that have him melting in or out of the darkness or coming out of some spooky, isolated woodlands to stalk someone in their cabin. The twin Salamanca Cousins get filmed with quite a bit of horror genre style in their early appearances on this show, and much more so in their Breaking Bad appearances.

I guess the difference is that the ABQverse always goes for more of a film noir resolution, for moral horror. The slasher-style physical dangers are less central to the show, and the monsters tend to be killed in crime thriller fashion, in the end. When a character dies, a lot of the emphasis is really on what it does to the survivors: grief, shock, loss of legacy, moral collapse. One of the ideas of the ABQ-verse is that there are unjust deaths and scary killers, but that being killed is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen to someone.
posted by kewb at 4:12 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Here is an interesting interview with the episode’s director, Michelle MacLaren, where she talks about studying vintage noir films to help with filming in black-and-white.
posted by marguerite at 6:23 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


juiceCake
I will be perfectly fine if we never hear of or see Kim again. She made a decisive split and is gone, particularly for Jimmy. We know why. That's enough for me personally. That's the sort of loss that many experience. Closure is a myth most times.

This could be true (and it would work); but in terms of how the showrunners operate, I think emkelley's comment is more compelling (just in terms of predictions):
Gould, Gilligan, et al know how important Kim is to us and I trust that they wouldn’t leave her story there. They gave Nacho, Lalo, and Howard (and Gus, and Walt, and Hank) great, show-stopping, meaningful endings; they will do the same with Kim.

We're not done with Kim! No important character has been dispatched with so little ceremony, and Kim's possibly the most intriguing/beloved of them all.
posted by torticat at 7:41 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Well, intriguing, anyway! Nacho, Mike, Hank (in his way), and Jesse were pretty well-beloved.

Jesse got a whole movie to complete his story.

Interesting though, that all of those characters are men. Skyler didn't get a particularly spectacular send-off, did she? Even though she'd been central to the whole BB story. Maybe women in this world are treated as sort of innocent bystanders (even when they are utterly complicit, as both Skyler and Kim are), and let off the hook.
posted by torticat at 8:00 AM on July 27


Skyler was given a coda, in the sense that we saw her life after Walt, with her son and sis-in-law, or at least that's what I remember.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:32 AM on July 27


But yeah, no legal (or otherwise) comeuppance for Skyler.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:33 AM on July 27


Interesting though, that all of those characters are men. Skyler didn't get a particularly spectacular send-off, did she? Even though she'd been central to the whole BB story. Maybe women in this world are treated as sort of innocent bystanders (even when they are utterly complicit, as both Skyler and Kim are), and let off the hook.

I guess that depends on what you mean by "let off the hook." Skyler didn't die, but her life and reputation were completely ruined and she was traumatized and left alone to care for her two children. Kim didn't go to prison (and neither did Jimmy, as of yet), but she lost her life's work and the love of her life, and has to start over with the baggage of guilt. You don't have to end up in the carceral system to be punished for your misdeeds in BB Universe. I would argue that BCS is an extended study in what justice means, and how the harshness of a punishment has little correlation with the gravity of the infraction.
posted by petiteviolette at 11:31 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


...The teaser ...

Once again, no teaser discussion please. It is not part of the episode.


I don't feel strongly either way, but how is a post credits scene not part of the episode? It's not a preview. We discussed the one in this episode in the FanFare thread.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:14 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Because it isn't. AMC is showing them but Netflix not.
posted by Pendragon at 1:21 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


And in that thread you can even see people commenting on the fact that it isn't shown everywhere.
posted by Pendragon at 1:22 PM on July 27


I saw the scene with the shirt and tie a bit like Gus' scene in the wine bar - a last opportunity to savour a different life before turning your back on it. While there's still the opportunity to invent something sentimental, I'd quite like Jimmy to dive into being Gene, maybe meet a nice lady who used to be a lawyer once, and settle down.

He honestly seems (to me) to like people, but needs the grift to make contact with them. If he learns that that isn't necessary he could have a much nicer life.

It won't be like that, of course, and we have three weeks before the final dénoument and I suppose there has to be blood, but I'd still like Jimmy (or Gene) and Kim to have a happy ending.
posted by Grangousier at 2:18 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


I found Marion's house, in Albequerque.

This is the corner where she got stuck.

(Obviously the winter scenes in Nebraska were filmed in the summer in Albequerque.)
posted by oneirodynia at 2:41 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Just to echo Pendragon, BCS runs on streaming service Stan here in Australia. They don’t run the previews either, and AMC tends to geoblock their YouTube clips.
posted by dumbland at 6:06 PM on July 27


AV Club: Prepare yourselves: The next episode of Better Call Saul is titled "Breaking Bad"
One of the questions hanging over the back half of BCS’s final season has, after all, been when Gould and Gilligan might deploy the appearances by Breaking Bad stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston that they promised fans back in April. And, sure: Better Call Saul is a show that loves a little clever misdirection, and “Breaking Bad” might turn out to be another episode about the high-stakes drama of Gene The Cinnabon Man. (Press images for the episode suggest it’ll at least partially take place in monochrOmaha.) But at the very least, that title—and the released synopsis, “The partners escalate their enterprise to new levels”—is clearly angling to make us think we might be back in ABQ, possibly at the height of Heisenberg’s reign.

Also—as more than one person has pointed out—the episode title works as a long-delayed joke: The character of Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman was, after all, introduced in an episode of Breaking Bad titled “Better Call Saul,” more than 13 years ago at this point. Gould and Gilligan are apparently repaying the favor, creating a reciprocal relationship between the two shows.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:28 PM on July 27 [7 favorites]


The partners could refer to Jeff and his friend. Perhaps they have a taste for the game and carry on, jeopardising Gene.
I just have a hunch that the Breaking Bad stuff will come in the following (and penultimate episode) but that’s purely on the basis that it’s directed by Vince Gilligan.
posted by chill at 11:23 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


she lost her life's work and the love of her life, and has to start over with the baggage of guilt. You don't have to end up in the carceral system to be punished for your misdeeds in BB Universe. I would argue that BCS is an extended study in what justice means, and how the harshness of a punishment has little correlation with the gravity of the infraction.

Well said petiteviolette! And well worth thinking about. Am curious, do you think that Kim's misdeeds deserve something graver than what she has dealt to herself?

Unlike Skyler (and btw I never understood the Skyler-hatred, and in fact found it quite offensive)--Kim never signed on or agreed to a criminal enterprise, or certainly not a deadly one. She did initiate a caper that was in part revenge (you mess with my career--and Jimmy's!--I will mess with yours) and in equal part something she thought was for the greater good--using the sandpiper money to actually help people.

She did also know that Lalo was still alive, and withheld that information for self-serving purposes (Mike has equal guilt for that) and thus dragged Jimmy/Saul down. But the outcome of that was obviously unintentional.

I don't personally feel like the punishment (her self-immolation) fits the crime. I'm of course talking from a narrative perspective, not a legal one!
posted by torticat at 3:00 AM on July 28


tiny frying pan
Skyler was given a coda, in the sense that we saw her life after Walt, with her son and sis-in-law, or at least that's what I remember.

Fair! I'm still curious where the show will go with Kim. I don't feel like they've been super great with their women characters. Skyler, Kim, we are talking about. Marie was interesting, but functioned really only as a supporting relationship for Hank. Same with Mike's daughter-in-law, and his granddaughter for that matter. Jane was used, and disposed of, to move Jesse's story along. As was Jesse's other girlfriend. Same with Lydia/Walter.

Kim has the possibility to be something different.
posted by torticat at 3:32 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


I'm still curious where the show will go with Kim. I don't feel like they've been super great with their women characters. Skyler, Kim, we are talking about.
Kim and Skyler are about the same age. I'd be a heavy backer of a final episode made over to them finally meeting up and getting to bitch about everything: penny pinching accountancy and law businesses in ABQ, Saul's dry cleaning, idiots at car washes, trust fund formation, burner phones in every drawer, good advice unheeded...
posted by rongorongo at 5:12 AM on July 28 [7 favorites]


Am curious, do you think that Kim's misdeeds deserve something graver than what she has dealt to herself?

Unlike Skyler (and btw I never understood the Skyler-hatred, and in fact found it quite offensive)--Kim never signed on or agreed to a criminal enterprise, or certainly not a deadly one


She was part of the illegal Huel Babbinaeux scheme, even after she castigated Jimmy for fabricating that pie evidence (I agree, not deadly). She also was more responsible for Howard's death than Jimmy, in the sense that she pushed for the scheme to "take him down."

I don't think, in the way this show moves, that she got her karmic payback, no. Still bracing myself for something else.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:30 AM on July 28


I appreciate all the positive comments about this episode. Honestly I hated it; it felt like a bottle episode, the showrunners indulging the desire to film the dumbest heist movie ever. And I like heist movies! But I like the ordinary drama of this show much better. And I really only care about Kim's story at this point, and not at all about post-Breaking-Bad events in the land of black and white Omaha. The people demand more Kim!

But the comments here were helpful and made me appreciate the subtle artistry of this episode that I missed out on. And it was well made, despite my annoyance with the story. Sometimes a show needs a pause from the intense drama, I'm hoping they're lined up for more compelling (to me) stuff for the last few episodes.
posted by Nelson at 7:38 AM on July 28 [6 favorites]


They had to wrap up the Gene storyline. If putting the shirt back on the rack is indeed the ending of the Gene part, then it’s fine. But if this was the last episode of the whole show, it would be a pretty major disappointment. So, placing it here probably makes sense. Even if it is technically the last stuff chronologically, it wouldn’t make sense for it to be the finale.
posted by snofoam at 9:33 AM on July 28


Just occurred to me that "Jeffy" was like a yappy little dog nipping at Saul's heels... he's the real Nippy.
posted by umber vowel at 11:05 AM on July 28


And then in a meeting today introducing new “priority band rankings” (not fantasy battle of the bands, sorry):

“Man, we need to make up a little song or something so we can remember all these.”
posted by tilde at 2:28 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Just to echo Pendragon, BCS runs on streaming service Stan here in Australia. They don’t run the previews either, and AMC tends to geoblock their YouTube clips.

It's not a preview as in "on the next episode of Better Call Saul etcetera"- it is a 20 second black and white scene with no visible humans and a voice-over (in this particular case, a snippet of dialog from a previous episode over an image that I don't recall seeing, in black and white). Whatever you want to call them all they do is deepen the mystery, there's not a conclusive thing about any of the ones I've seen until perhaps viewed in retrospect. The teaser/post credit/whatever thingie that was shown way back in May was a black and white still of Jimmy and Kim's apartment and a line from this week's episode: "...and after all that, a happy ending." I'm not sure how that counts as a spoiler because one could only speculate what it meant- and even now it doesn't mean a whole lot knowing that Gene was talking about Nippy the dog.

I'm fine not discussing them if that's what people prefer, but they aren't previews or promos in the normal sense.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:56 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


I’ve been holding on to this and after my second watch — I see this episode as a tribute to Kim.

Slippin Jimmy got better at the cons as a lawyer, and even in BB he had some good stuff going, loan out to ice station zebra, money laundering, and then in the switch to BCS, the cell phones and tv commercials grow with some Slippin Jimmy in there and then the adaptation of Saul Goodman.

But Kim got him on the longer, broader con. Not just making squat cobbler videos, but setting up Huell’s Birnam Woods. She got him going on the Mesa Verde situation (land grab) though I think he did surprise her a bit at the end? The number switching on his brother was short term, no long con.

But the Howard thing was a lonnng complicated thing, and she was the driver though they worked it out together. He got to see her thinking and work it out.

This was a long valentine to Kim.
posted by tilde at 3:16 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


"...and after all that, a happy ending." I'm not sure how that counts as a spoiler because one could only speculate what it meant- and even now it doesn't mean a whole lot knowing that Gene was talking about Nippy the dog.

Totally did not catch that! Thank you, oneirodynia.

I feel like these so-called spoilers are kind of like "next week on Mad Men." Spoiler-averse people will avoid them like the plague, and that's fair; but the previews, such as they are, REALLY do not tell you anything, and in fact are more likely to misdirect. Or just go absolutely nowhere, for comic effect.
posted by torticat at 4:42 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


This was a long valentine to Kim.
tilde--curious whether you are suggesting that was her send-off?
posted by torticat at 4:44 PM on July 28


Might be her send off, yes. An homage from when they were Jimmy and Kim.
posted by tilde at 4:52 PM on July 28


She was part of the illegal Huel Babbinaeux scheme

It just occurred to me, there are only three episodes left to find out...IS HUELL STILL WAITING?
posted by rhizome at 4:54 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


What was the deal with the ring?

Feel like this is worth a bit more discussion! Gene putting on the slippin' Jimmy ring to get himself geared up to teach Jeffie "the game." I'm not sure whether that was just a little plot signifier, or whether the ring is going to come up again.
posted by torticat at 5:11 PM on July 28


In the podcast a couple of weeks ago, I think, they said they were degrading the opening title more and more as the series continues.

I'd noticed that the season 6 title sequences were all in black-and-white, of course, but I hadn't noticed that this deterioration has been going on since the very beginning. YouTube user James Gelet has been posting compilations of each intro across all six seasons, if you want to watch the gradual decay: Every season up till now, of course, has only had 10 episodes, whereas this one only has 13. Is it shallow of me to be more on tenterhooks about what the show's plan for its final three title cards is than I am about the actual plot structures? I've always been a sucker for games played with title sequences, and BCS's were outstanding before I noticed they've been playing a long game all this time.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 8:38 AM on July 29 [6 favorites]


(Worth pointing out, perhaps, is that there is a brief frame of the "real" video footage in the Season 6 title sequences, always about 7 seconds in. The Episode 10 titles, meanwhile, have brief footage of the episode 1 intro, reinforcing the the sense that what we're seeing is both cyclical and falling apart.)
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 8:42 AM on July 29


I think it’s noteworthy that Kim renounces her legal license (which isn’t really irrevocable, but for purposes of the show, I don’t believe there’s any going back for her), and Jimmy/Saul/Gene will never be able to practice again because he can’t openly be Jimmy or Saul. So any Gene-era reunion between him and Kim will necessarily involve a non-lawyer identity for both of them. We’ve been given a pretty good picture of Gene’s life, and it’s pretty bleak, literally without color. I don’t think the show is going to end with Gene at that point, he’s going to have the opportunity to decide what kind of Gene he wants to be.

I think Kim will get the same opportunity—but when? I have a feeling we have seen the end of BCS-era Kim, but maybe we revisit her during the BB era (where she could see what’s become of Saul from afar). Maybe it will be Gene-era Kim, and a reunion of sorts, but it’s hard for me to imagine that ending well.

As for Marco’s ring, that marked Jimmy’s transition into Saul, and I think will be used as some sort of signifier of Gene’s ultimate identity. There’s another talisman that I wouldn’t be surprised to see make another appearance—the bottle-stopper of Zafiro Anejo they showed earlier this season. That played a similar role as Marco’s ring for Kim. I think this would be kind of cheesy, but they do not seem shy about some heavy handed symbolism from time to time.

“Man, we need to make up a little song or something so we can remember all these.”

I was taking my kids to get some groceries and they were listing snacks that they wanted, I came up with this to remember while we were driving: “One, two, cocoa pebbles just for you; three, four, Nutella from the store . . .” And that was as far as I could get.
posted by skewed at 9:02 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Don't know if this has been mentioned before, but if Francesca picks up the call in the last episode (as opposed to one of the two others yet to come), it will be set on Jimmy's fiftieth birthday, where the first episode of Breaking Bad was set on Walter's fiftieth birthday.
posted by Grangousier at 9:28 AM on July 29 [3 favorites]


Didn't the bottle stopper end up rolling around the street outside Saul's house after the Fed raid? Happened at some point earlier this season; not sure how Gene would have recovered it if he'd already been vacuumed.
posted by minsies at 10:04 AM on July 29 [5 favorites]


I don't know what you mean by "picks up the call," what is Francesca doing and how do we know Jimmy's birthday? I feel like I have no idea what this references)
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:22 AM on July 29


Yeah, you’re right on the timeline minsies, so it wouldn’t make much sense for Gene to have it.
posted by skewed at 12:10 PM on July 29


Oh, sorry - during the scene where Saul's clearing out his office before the vacuum cleaner salesman, he gives Francesca a lawyer's card, tells her to say Jimmy sent her, and says to be at a particular phone booth at a particular time on a particular date (that slips my mind at the moment, but I think is November 12th), which it turns out will be his fiftieth birthday.

Second watch with my wife - one thing is that what he promises Jeff is to show him The Game - the thrill, the risk, the satisfying but strangely unshiftable booty and then the fear of arrest and incarceration hanging over him. I'd say Gene came through in spades.

And Gene's reading The Moon's A Balloon, volume one of David Niven's autobiography. I don't know if that signifies anything.
posted by Grangousier at 12:59 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


How do we find out his birthday? I saw a clip of that again, but am missing the birthday thing. I believe you, just curious.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:03 PM on July 29


I got it from this page, and I confess that I trust that they got it from somewhere in-series, because it's not the kind of thing that just makes things up. It might be on his driving license in one shot or another. Anyway, according to that November 12th 2010 is Jimmy's fiftieth birthday.
posted by Grangousier at 1:14 PM on July 29


Screen rant has: "As revealed by his driver's licence in Better Call Saul season 5 episode "JMM", when Jimmy and Kim are getting married, he was born on November 12, 1960."

My birthday is the following day (different year). He's a Scorpio!
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:24 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


It's not easy being Scorpio.
posted by Grangousier at 1:39 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


That is my birthday day! (and Neil Young's,Tonya Harding and Charles Manson's)

Now I know why Jimmy is so sneaky and full of secrets.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:40 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


“...it felt like a bottle episode...”

When did people start using "bottle episode" the way you're thinking? For decades it's meant a deliberately cheap episode, using few actors and a minimum of pre-existing sets. You know, like being bottled-up, in a bottle. An entire episode in a stuck elevator is a good example. This was definitely not an inexpensive episode to make.

The snowfall was unseasonably early/late — there were indications of this in the early dialogue. Whether or not it looked real (or was real), snow on leafy trees is probably something that happens in Omaha. I once lived just a block over from the filming location, BTW.

Also, there is a Cinnabon in Cottonwood Mall. There was a DMV office next door, which is how I know.

I thought the B&W photography was gorgeous.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:47 AM on July 30


You're right I misused the term. The classic bottle episode in Breaking Bad is Fly, which not coincidentally is one of the best written episodes of that show.

What I was trying to convey was how claustrophobic the world is, Gene trapped in the life and culture of the mall. Structurally it's not small at all; the mall itself is an enormous set, there's other indoor sets, a bunch of outdoor shots, guest actors playing new characters with significant stories of their own. They got Carol Burnett for cryin out loud!

But somehow that all conspired to just make the world feel even smaller to me. That all Gene can do is a Slippin' Jimmy heist, a sad small one, with a bunch of losers. I really didn't enjoy it while watching it or writing my first comment. Writing this now though on reflection I appreciate the artistry of making Gene's world feel so constrained despite the relative diversity of cast and settings for this episode. The black and white is a part of that for sure.
posted by Nelson at 9:26 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


Wow, I thought Fly was the WORST episode of Breaking Bad ever.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:44 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


From perusing the internet, there's little doubt that "Fly" is the most divisive episode of BB. As reconfirmed here...
posted by deeker at 10:20 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]


A more strict reading of a bottle episode can also mean that doesn’t affect the storyline materially, seasonally speaking, like the West Wing episode when they were in lockdown over a shooter with some precocious high school kids.
posted by tilde at 11:22 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


IIRC, "bottle episode" entered the common lexicon from an episode of Community.
posted by rhizome at 11:29 AM on July 30


M-W says it dates from 2003; "bottle show" has been in use almost as long as I've been alive.

My first awareness of it came from all the discussion about "The Chinese Restaurant" episode of Seinfeld. I'm pretty sure the term was used on TWoP in the 00s.

It's always been associated in my mind with the "clip episode (show)" which I've known of much, much longer.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:41 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Ugh I hate clip shows. TWOP is probably where I picked it up. I hear a lot of folks like Community, but I mostly recognize their “darkest timeline” memes.
posted by tilde at 12:32 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


tilde is correct - a bottle episode is just an episode that tells a story that is tangential to the main storyline; it doesn't imply being "cheap". One could argue that "4 Days Out" is also a bottle episode. That and Fly are both good.
posted by transient at 3:54 PM on July 30


I'm a descriptivist, so if that's become the dominant usage, that is indeed what it means. It didn't previously mean that and most reference sources indicate that it still doesn't, including Merriam-Webster (which is among the most descriptivist dictionaries).
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:39 PM on July 30


Yeah by definition this episode was not a bottle episode. Way too many characters and settings and props and lighting and etc. I tend to go with Wikipedia and the usage of the industry.

In episodic television, a bottle episode is produced cheaply and restricted in scope to use as few regular cast members, effects, and sets as possible. Bottle episodes are usually shot on sets built for other episodes, frequently the main interior sets for a series, and consist largely of dialogue and scenes for which no special preparations are needed.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:57 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I don't consider it a bottle episode unless it was obviously done on the cheap so that the budget could be put towards the big action scenes.
posted by whuppy at 6:46 PM on July 30


You're right though, Nelson. It *felt* like a bottle episode. The fact it technically wasn't one didn't mean it didn't have that "self-contained/isolated" feel of a classic bottle episode. I felt much the same way as you to this episode. I wouldn't say I *hated* it, but it didn't sit well with me and I did find it self-indulgent (and listening to the podcast, I kind of find it to have been even more self-indulgent in hindsight!). It kind of felt like if El Camino had been an episode of Breaking Bad towards the end of its final season.
I am glad to be in the minority feeling this way.
posted by chill at 12:41 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


I think part of the bottle episode feeling was that most of the cast was missing for this episode. Kim wasn't there, Mike and Gus weren't there, Lalo and Howard weren't there for obvious reasons but they were for many of the previous episodes. This one was just an hour of Saul, who wasn't even Saul anymore...
posted by mmoncur at 1:08 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Visit Beautiful Omaha, Nebraska: Home of the World's Largest Bottle Episode!™
posted by Rhaomi at 10:52 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


So I guess Macy's didn't want the Cinnabon-esque product placement in this one? or anyone; the store was unnamed other than "department store".

Just listened to the podcast and they mentioned they couldn’t get permission to shoot in any real stores so created their own from scratch.
posted by onya at 11:28 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]




Also, there is a Cinnabon in Cottonwood Mall.

Not any more:
It wasn’t the first time Marsh had to build a store from scratch. In fact, between Season 4 and 5 of “Better Call Saul,” the Cinnabon that Gene works at in Omaha (which is filmed in Albuquerque’s Cottonwood Mall) went out of business. Luckily, the production team was able to purchase a lot of what was left — tables, chairs, Coke machines, the massive cake mixer — but Marsh says they nonetheless “had to painstakingly go back and reverse engineer what was missing and put it all back together.” Teaming up with Cinnabon, they were also able to reacquire the specialty oven, dough sheeter and proofers.
(Variety article; spoiler warning: describes events/locations that appear in the next episode.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:16 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


Have cinnabons ever looked so gross?

The first cinnabon of the episode gave me such Eraserhead vibes that I had to turn to my partner and ask, "So I just... cut them up like regular chickens?"
posted by fountainofdoubt at 3:17 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


The leaves on the trees in what was supposedly the snowy season in Nebraska really bothered me every time there was an outdoor shot.

It absolutely looked like summer shot in B&W with fake snow on the ground, couldn't believe for one second it was snow and it really bothered me for some reason. Came here to say this, happy I'm not the only one. I'm not usually a stickler for TV shows not getting this right, but this show is so consistently good, I'm sad they didn't do it right.

I thought we'd spend a few episode in the BB era but I guess there isn't really a point in doing this, we know what happened, we've seen it already, what left to tell?
posted by WaterAndPixels at 5:03 PM on August 30


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