Better Call Saul: Mijo
February 9, 2015 9:33 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

As his troubles escalate to a boiling point, Jimmy finds himself in dire straits. An act of carelessness puts Chuck at risk.
posted by mathowie (59 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh yes, the excellence continues. Half way in, and it's quality through and through.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:01 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


That leg breaking scene was as bad as the ear cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs. Dang.

Now I can't wait to hear how he starts being a crooked lawyer for Tuco later on. Also can't wait to hear how Mike the sidekick/parking attendant starts working for him.

I never thought this show would be as good as Breaking Bad, but the first two episodes were really great.
posted by mathowie at 10:19 PM on February 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


And he says to Chuck he's not going back to the slippin' jimmy days.

Also really impressed with how they dialed back Tuco from complete insanity and he's even more menacing.
posted by lkc at 12:16 AM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Tuco hasn't tasted that blue meth yet.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 4:18 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I loved the scene when Tuco's henchman spoke up and Tuco walked up to him as if he were going to hurt him and said "Stop helping!" Callback to when he killed the same guy in BB for speaking up.

That leg breaking scene... oh man. My wife didn't watch BB because of the violence and I almost talked her into watching BCS because I figured it would be lighter, funnier. Glad I didn't.
posted by bondcliff at 5:23 AM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I found the opening section of this episode somewhat slow going. We know Tuco won't shoot Jimmy (hell, even people who've never seen Breaking Bad know that given the Cinnabon intro from the first episode), and we know that nothing bad is going to happen to Tuco's sweet old mom, so her interruptions didn't really cause any tension for me.

However, that scene out in the desert was a thing of beauty. It was hard to watch (that Reservoir Dogs comparison is apt), but watching Odenkirk's arc over the course of just that scene... I literally did a, "That's it. That's the show," out loud. The way everything falls out after that was also well done both in the immediate aftermath and in Jimmy really truly trying to move on (that public defender montage was a "lol yes this is definitely the Breaking Bad people" set of moments), but man.

But we got our first real, tentative but real, look at Saul tonight, and it was thrilling.
posted by sparkletone at 5:30 AM on February 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm really looking forward to watching Jimmy talking his way out of (and probably into) all kinds of trouble. Yes, loved the whole arc of the desert scene even though we knew he wasn't going to die. And the public defender montage was just a blast!

On the negative side for me: when are they going to bring a female character into this? Wikipedia tells me that's going to be the Kim character but I didn't understand anything about the sharing a cigarette scene.
posted by bobobox at 5:49 AM on February 10, 2015


Tuco hasn't tasted that blue meth yet.

This is why the characterization is always so good in this show. It's like they took the Tuco we already know and said, what would he be like if he were the kind of person we would get nervous about at just the thought of giving him meth? If I ran into BCS Tuco, that would be that guy.

I mean, I suppose he could be doing meth at this point, but I get the impression this is his pre-meth persona.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:52 AM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Petty with a prior!
(Any NM attorneys on board? Is NM as onerous as CA on petty with a prior?)
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:58 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I didn't understand anything about the sharing a cigarette scene.

If past performance is any indicator, they're going to trot that storyline out at some point, and it's going to have some kind of "oh, shit!" twist.

At least I hope so - I'm with you on this being a bit fuzzy. Again, if the first two episodes are any indication, there aren't going to be any loose threads left untrimmed in this thing.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:05 AM on February 10, 2015


I was trying to figure out why Nacho seemed so familiar both in the first episode and even more so in this one, only to have it hit me just now: Holy crap, that's Vaas (a major antagonist) from Far Cry 3. My (quite mixed) feelings on that game would be a major derail, but I think this might be the first time I've recognized an actor from a motion captured/digital performance first rather than from something more traditional they'd done first.
posted by sparkletone at 7:57 AM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


We know Tuco won't shoot Jimmy...we know that nothing bad is going to happen to Tuco's sweet old mom, so her interruptions didn't really cause any tension for me

I get the sense that Vince Gilligan & Co. are going to make this show just as watchable for folks ten years from now who hear it's a prequel and watch it first.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:58 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are only a couple of shows that make my heart race with stress - Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. But that desert scene took me right to that place. It's not a bad thing, it's a sign of great writing, production and acting that five minutes of TV can do that to me.

As someone said in the thread for Ep 1, the PD scenes seemed to show very well the grind of being at the bottom of the legal food chain. I was never a criminal lawyer but 20 years ago I did enough county court small claim and legal aid work to get the feeling of authenticity in those scenes, despite the slight dramatic overplay.
posted by essexjan at 8:32 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


This episode has forever changed the way I think of bread sticks.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:33 AM on February 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


I didn't understand anything about the sharing a cigarette scene.

That's one of the things I was getting at with this comment in the last thread. You're not supposed to understand it; you're supposed to wonder about it. There's so much in this show that's like that, even in just these two episodes, and I love it. It's just intrigue on top of intrigue.

Like, the babysteps they take to introduce the brother: Why's Saul tearing up that check? What's his relationship to this successful law firm with his name in it? Why are they sending him money? Who's Chuck? Why does he need to ground himself? Etc., etc.

So, yeah: Who's this lady Saul's sharing a cigarette with? What is their relationship? I thought it was a pretty great subtextual way to subtly indicate that there is a relationship there, without just straight-up laying down the foundational backstory the way most pilots would. The show doesn't just tell us what we need to know so the story can get rolling, it makes us want to know.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:57 AM on February 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


"You got a mouth on you."

"... Thank you."
posted by isthmus at 10:06 AM on February 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


Michael Mando, who plays Nacho, also plays Vic on Orphan Black. I really liked his performance here.
posted by isthmus at 10:18 AM on February 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


"You got a mouth on you."

"... Thank you."


That reminds me that I find myself rather tickled by echoes of some Odenkirk's Mr. Show characters, particularly when Jimmy's giving a declamatory speech, cf. "Swear to God" with Rev. Winton Dupree (nsfw).

Speaking of Mr. Show, Michael McKean and Odenkirk once did a sketch as law professor and law student.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:23 AM on February 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


I really loved how the whole desert scene built Jimmy up as the "best attorney in the world" and then all the following scenes showing him running with it, especially the "petty with a prior" beat. But you're still gonna need an additional sticker, Jimmy.

The brothers are so wonderfully awful, sort of Bizarro World Napoleon Dynamites.

And what about Better Call Saul: The Song?! I think it's as good as The Heisenberg Song; I loved the escalation from stolen George Foreman Grill to creepy ice cream van.

I hope the episode titles will be as interesting as the BB titles.

That leg breaking scene was as bad as the ear cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs.

And yet somehow still not nearly as awful as last week's The Americans!

Michael Mando, who plays Nacho, also plays Vic on Orphan Black

Ah, that's it!

"You got a mouth on you."

That reminded me of "Damn, son, you like to talk as much as I do." from last week's Justified.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:56 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


"You - you're the worst lawyer ever!"
"I talked you from a death sentence down to six months' probation. I'm the best lawyer ever."
posted by naju at 2:31 PM on February 10, 2015 [22 favorites]


I was trying to figure out why Nacho seemed so familiar both in the first episode and even more so in this one, only to have it hit me just now: Holy crap, that's Vaas (a major antagonist) from Far Cry 3.

Oh my word. It is.

"I talked you from a death sentence down to six months' probation. I'm the best lawyer ever."

I can't believe how much of a goldmine for quotes that this show is. That was my favorite one.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:51 PM on February 10, 2015


I like how, for all of Jimmy's sleaziness and opportunism, a little bit of goodness peaks through. Like, he could've left those two kids there to get skinned or whatever Tuco was planning. Maybe most of us would have. But he pushed his luck with a madman and defended those kids, risking his own life, and they're going to be alright eventually.

There's the back-and-forth with Tuco about Hammurabi, and justice - I think this will emerge as one of the primary themes of the show. What is justice all about? What makes a good lawyer (or a good person in general), and is it different from the standards we usually go by?
posted by naju at 3:01 PM on February 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


The odd thing about Jimmy/Saul is that basically he's a good person and a fairly talented lawyer who wants to help people. He certainly doesn't want to go out of his way to hurt anyone. That's why the series will make an interesting counterpart to Breaking Bad - Walt lies constantly about everything, and while one simply assumes that Jimmy is lying, like it's part of his persona, he is telling the truth more than likely (I actually thought the line in Breaking Bad about his actually being an Irish guy called Jimmy McGill was a lie).
posted by Grangousier at 4:02 PM on February 10, 2015 [19 favorites]


Oh, this episode also opened up with a cook!
posted by Room 641-A at 5:03 PM on February 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well, looks like "Slippin' Jimmy" wasn't bullshit after all.
posted by absalom at 5:11 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tuco hasn't tasted that blue meth yet.

Tight, tight, tight!

And yet somehow still not nearly as awful as last week's The Americans!

Yeah but these guys were still alive.

On the negative side for me: when are they going to bring a female character into this? Wikipedia tells me that's going to be the Kim character but I didn't understand anything about the sharing a cigarette scene.


I don't think the woman in that scene was Kim. I recognized the actress from her former role on a soap opera and she's not who's indicated either on Wikipedia or IMDB to be playing Kim.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:21 PM on February 10, 2015


The already good news is that he doesn't have a wife to automatically fill the "shrew" role. I mostly trust them to continue to give us good characters and good plotting, yet I still angstily await to see how it goes. If I'm being honest with myself, the lack of at least one (pretty please just one) good female character can ruin a good show for me *cough* True Detective *cough*.

Will Jimmy/Saul have a character arc? This gets back to the fact that we already know where he ends up and some of how. Again, I think this is in really good hands with the Breaking Bad team and I have faith - just curious to see how it plays out. I'm not jealous of the writers here, it seems a difficult task.
posted by bobobox at 5:54 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


That desert scene was brutal. One scene of that intensity a season would probably take years off my life.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:03 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mostly trust them to continue to give us good characters and good plotting, yet I still angstily await to see how it goes.

Yeah, I agree. I was with them until Season 5 of Breaking Bad. I particularly didn't like the finale of S5 when it seemed like they went Team Walt. So I approached Better Call Saul with skepticism - I trust that the show will be well written, well acted, and well directed, but I don't entirely trust what they will do with that in the end.

Still, I'm enjoying it so far.
posted by isthmus at 7:42 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought the leg-breaking was one of the funniest and grimmest scenes in TV, in recent memory.

Reservoir Dogs's ear-slicing was over-the-top (and I would argue gratuitous) violence to show what the stakes were, to show what a sociopath the villain is, and to show what an unjust world the characters inhabit. It felt kinda flat, TBH; it situated itself as a sort of proving of what a Badass Movie You Are Watching. It was an illustration on par with a children's book villain waving a skull flag; a broad signifier of nebulous but easily-categorized Evil.

But this torture was so much more nuanced! It was a triumph for Saul! It was a mercy to the boys! The kids lived! They are generally fine! I very much agree with naju's take:

I think this will emerge as one of the primary themes of the show. What is justice all about?

The whole basis of the desert scene seems to be an extremely visceral way of saying that "justice" is always fundamentally horrifying and subject to random individuals' whims and vagaries, with no universal touchstone. It is wrenched kicking and screaming and bloody from shitty situations and blind luck. If the show is able to live up to the potential of this mission statement, I think it's going to be ten times the narrative that Breaking Bad ever was.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:25 PM on February 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


But this torture was so much more nuanced! It was a triumph for Saul! It was a mercy to the boys! The kids lived! They are generally fine!

The pacing of that entire scene was remarkable.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:55 PM on February 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


"Take off the space blanket, Chuck," is my husband's go-to line for the week.

This happened a lot with BB as well; one or two lines from each episode would stick and we'd say them to each other in random places until they were replaced in the next ep. I love that the quality of production from writing to visuals (those desert scenes could have come from the BB archives if it wasn't for the actors in them) to acting has stayed consistently high so far.

I preferred this episode to Ep. 1, maybe because it clarified Chuck's situation a little more (or less?) and because it gave us the first real glimpse of Saul Goodman. There was a definite There he is! moment.
posted by tracicle at 5:17 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I appreciated the throw-away detail that Jimmy* understood the exchange between Tuco and his abuelita in Spanish. He's not as dumb as he looks. Unlike the skateboard brothers.

*Are we calling him Jimmy or Saul?
posted by donajo at 10:35 AM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think right now there's Jimmy, and then there's Saul. Jimmy has a long way to go to become the Saul we know and ...love?

Did we know his name was Jimmy McGill in BB? I feel like we knew his real name wasn't Saul Goodman, but I don't remember it being Jimmy, either.
posted by tracicle at 10:50 AM on February 11, 2015


This episode was dark; really setting a post in the sand that it's going to be hitting the "drama" half of "comedy drama" quite hard.

Did we know his name was Jimmy McGill in BB?

We know his real name is McGill; he told it to Walt when they first met, when Walt was pretending to be Badger's uncle:
SAUL: Mayhew. Is that Irish or English?
WALT: Irish.
SAUL: Faith and begorra. A fellow potato-eater. My real name is McGill. The Jew thing I just do for the homeboys. They all want a pipe-hitting member of the tribe, so to speak. I digress.
Don't remember if the "Jimmy" was ever revealed.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:22 AM on February 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also, just as in Breaking Bad, there are signs here that he's actually a pretty competent lawyer: he finds exactly the right language to talk Tuco down, by appealing to his sense of grandiosity. "Like a judge." And he's effective as a public defender in the montage.

I liked also that although the leg-breaking / breadstick-snapping ostensibly terrifies Jimmy back into playing it straight, there's still a hint in the montage that he's willing to bend the rules: "Judge has to see your mother. Well, do you know anyone who looks like her?"
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:27 AM on February 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't think the woman in that scene was Kim. I recognized the actress from her former role on a soap opera and she's not who's indicated either on Wikipedia or IMDB to be playing Kim.

Oops, got the scenes confused. I was thinking of the woman in the breadsticks scene. Yeah, the woman Jimmy shared the cigarette with is probably Kim.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:13 AM on February 12, 2015


Kim is also the woman who was sitting next to Hamlin at the conference table in Uno, and she passes Jimmy in the lobby of the courthouse during the "Jimmy defends all the people" montage in Mijo.
posted by donajo at 10:12 AM on February 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is there some rule about swearing on this show? Because Tuco having a fit about his grandmother being called a bizznatch was -- I was okay when he was offended at first, but when he kept repeating it like it was the worst term ever, it was surprising.

(I know they restricted the use of fuck on BB.)
posted by jeather at 6:29 PM on February 12, 2015


I'm sorry -- I'm dim. What was the deal with the cell phones? Has that been explained?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:43 AM on February 13, 2015


I don't think it mattered to Tuco what word they used, they disrespected his grandmother. Same with Hector right before he (Tuco) died. I thought the choice of insult was perfect for those dorkballs.

Come to think of it, Tuco was cooking in that scene, too!!
posted by Room 641-A at 3:52 AM on February 13, 2015


It only struck me today - I'm probably very late to the party getting this, but anyway: this is basically a superhero origin story, isn't it? Klutzy Jimmy McGill / Peter Parker gets super-lawyer/spider powers and becomes Saul Goodman/Spiderman. I only hope that Chuck isn't in the Uncle Ben role.
posted by Grangousier at 11:40 AM on February 13, 2015


I liked very much that The Scene In The Desert also had Gonzo and No-Doze, even if mostly as extras. I was curious to see if they went to the trouble to get the same actors back from their brief appearances seven years ago.

Here are their character pages from imdb:
Gonzo (Character)
from "Breaking Bad" (2008)

"Better Call Saul"
- Mijo (2015) TV episode, Played by Jesus Jr.

"Breaking Bad"
- A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal (2008) TV episode, Played by Cesar Garcia
- Crazy Handful of Nothin' (2008) TV episode, Played by Cesar Garcia
and
No-Doze (Character)
from "Breaking Bad" (2008)

"Better Call Saul"
- Mijo (2015) TV episode, Played by Cesar Garcia

"Breaking Bad"
- A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal (2008) TV episode, Played by Jesus Jr.
- Crazy Handful of Nothin' (2008) TV episode, Played by Jesus Jr.
A quick check of the episode credits in each series verifies this is not a mistake: these are the actual credits. It seems odd that making a callback like this they would carelessly mix up the character names; I prefer to think that Tuco, for reasons all his own, swapped his henchmen's names in the mid-aughts.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:36 PM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm sorry -- I'm dim. What was the deal with the cell phones? Has that been explained?

Wait, which deal?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:29 PM on February 13, 2015


I am speculating that the question about cell phones concerns Chuck's apparent sensitivity to electromagnetic fields and his requirement that cell phones stay out of his house.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:25 AM on February 14, 2015


I went into it a little in this comment on the thread for the premiere episode. As richochet biscuit mentions, it seems that something's made Chuck believe he's hypersensitive to electromagnetism.
posted by sparkletone at 6:35 AM on February 14, 2015


Hence the space blanket.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 7:03 AM on February 14, 2015


I love the dark music that kicks in when Chuck realizes there's a cell phone inside the house.
posted by isthmus at 7:24 AM on February 14, 2015


Interesting that this thread about electromagnetic sensitivity (linked in sparkletone's earlier comment) mentions Vince Gilligan.

(Maybe he got the idea while googling himself. If so, hi Vince!)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:25 AM on February 14, 2015


I saw the behind the scenes episode on Amazon, and there's great bit where one of the red-haired twins mumbles something and the actor who plays Mike sighs a Mike sigh and sez with Mike weariness, 'say your name, kid.'
posted by angrycat at 4:28 PM on February 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is there some rule about swearing on this show? Because Tuco having a fit about his grandmother being called a bizznatch was -- I was okay when he was offended at first, but when he kept repeating it like it was the worst term ever, it was surprising.

(I know they restricted the use of fuck on BB.)


I don't think it was the specific language so much as it was the show of disrespect to his grandma, especially in her own home. His response seemed very much in keeping with the way the Salamanca family handled matters of family honor in BB.
posted by gimli at 4:46 PM on February 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


although what narrative arc would make Jimmy change his sartorial habits? In BCS, his suits look ill-fitting but at least he's trying.
posted by angrycat at 5:04 PM on February 14, 2015


the Salamanca family

I was remarking to the missus last night -- just coming to the end of the fourth season in a rewatch of BB -- that for a character who appeared in all of four episodes of the original show, we sure have met a lot of Tuco's extended family members. Off the top of my head: his uncle Hector, his two cousins Marco and Leonel, his brother-in-law Gonzo, his great-nephew (?) Joaquin, and now his abuelita. By contrast, the leader of Jesse's 12-step program also appears in four episodes, and we never even learn the guy's name.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:47 AM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wish this show aired in BB's old time slot. Late Mondays are not good for me.
posted by isthmus at 6:43 PM on February 15, 2015


you can get a vcr from goodwill for like two bucks

just sayin
posted by Sys Rq at 6:52 PM on February 15, 2015


Did anyone else find themselves spending the entire second half of this episode, including the desert scene, worried that Tuco didn't really get all of the "salsa" out of abuelita's carpet? I kept thinking, "hurry it up, Tuco, and go get the damned club soda, she's going to come downstairs any time now!"

This show is so good. They are nailing it right out of the gate.
posted by jbickers at 7:29 AM on February 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Waaay late to the party on this particular episode, but it finally hit me who Tuco and Jimmy were reminding me of during that desert negotiation scene. "He has no respect!", indeed.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:23 AM on February 18, 2015


I'm a lawyer! I passed the bar! Guys, ask me anything... not contract law

This one line is enough, in that situation, to make me consider this a good show. We've all been there...
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:24 PM on February 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, Jimmy/Saul does good work at gunpoint. His first Breaking Bad episode had a pretty stunning bit of work there; I don't remember if Walt or Jesse had him, but he did an amazing bit of weaseling out of it. I didn't expect him to be so cunning!
posted by Pronoiac at 12:21 PM on March 9, 2015


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