Better Call Saul: Five-O
March 9, 2015 9:15 PM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Mike’s tragic past comes back to haunt him, and he’s forced to seek help from an unusual source. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s moral compass is put to the test.
posted by Catblack (72 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think this episode is deserving of an Emmy. It like something a young Orson Welles would conjure up. Perfect on every level.
posted by Catblack at 9:23 PM on March 9, 2015 [18 favorites]


No doubt. This is the best hour of TV I've seen since- well, the last few eps of BB.

Actually, this might well be better. Johnathan Banks just fucking seared the screen.
posted by pjern at 9:27 PM on March 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just...wow. Was this ever good.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:38 PM on March 9, 2015


That was *so damn good*, I'm actually quite awestruck.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 9:51 PM on March 9, 2015


"I broke my boy."

Oh man. Very few things have made me teary eyed watching TV, but this scene was one that succeeded.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:02 PM on March 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


My comment to my wife at the end: "hey, remember back when we first heard about Better Call Saul and thought it was going to be a comedy?"

Yeah, this definitely belongs in the conversation with some of the more memorable Breaking Bad episodes. Jonathan Banks had a lot of great moments as Mike on Breaking Bad, but nothing like his spellbinding performance in tonight's episode.

It also opens the door for a prequel to the prequel where we follow Mike's son in the Philly PD.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:19 PM on March 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I had a hard time getting into this episode. The expository scene with the daughter-in-law was uncharacteristically awkward for this show, and the dirty cops were uncharacteristically one-dimensional.
posted by GrumpyDan at 10:36 PM on March 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


I have to agree with GrumpyDan, here. As much as I don't want it to be true, this was the weakest episode so far, for me. The daughter-in-law's lines/acting just seemed so awkward and weird. The crooked cop backstory was ehh. On the bright side, the next episode is sure to focus back on present day and Jimmy (I hope).
posted by destructive cactus at 10:44 PM on March 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was initially a little concerned when the details of Mike's past started getting teased out because that kind of betrayal-between-dirty-police sort of thing has been done so often, but jesus fucking christ, when you execute like that, it hardly matters if the material is in the least bit tired. I agree that the first half is a little clunky, perhaps (though I did like the bit of business with lifting the notepad), but that second half...

Mike's monologue/flashback in the second half of tonight was so completely heart breaking to me. Unless Banks somehow tops it, I hope this is the one they submit Jonathan Banks for when the Emmy's roll around.

The podcast can't get posted fast enough for me, as usual.
posted by sparkletone at 11:35 PM on March 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


And we're back to the episode titles ending in O, after last week's episode, the only one to break that pattern (this season). A reminder of episode titles past: Uno, Mijo, Nacho, Hero, and Alpine Shepherd Boy.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:46 PM on March 9, 2015


And we're back to the episode titles ending in O

I'm still irritated they couldn't come up with a good 'o' word to replace Jell-o, since they weren't allowed to use a trademark. It's the TV episode name equivalent of this to your DVD set covers (minus it being a play on Monk being a character who suffers from OCD).
posted by sparkletone at 11:49 PM on March 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sepinwall agrees with me about the submission thing. While over at AV Club, Donna Bowman doesn't say the E word, but does feel the episode is a little flat despite Banks' stellar work without the extra context having seen Breaking Bad provides.
posted by sparkletone at 11:59 PM on March 9, 2015


Breaking Bad wasn't this good straight off the bat.
Stunning.
posted by fullerine at 3:16 AM on March 10, 2015


Part of me kind of preferred having Mike's past a big mystery but... holy shit was that amazing.

And the brief scenes with Jimmy were perfect. "No, I look like a young Paul Newman... I'm dressed like Matlock."
posted by bondcliff at 6:28 AM on March 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I agree fully that the crooked cop story was threadbare, and that some of the first half of the episode was flimsy.

I also agree that without prior Breaking Bad knowledge Banks's performance wouldn't have as much of an impact. Thankfully, I am in that target market and damn. Just damn. That scene about killed me. Totally redeemed all awkwardness in the lead-up.
posted by komara at 6:34 AM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep, that last monologue was some of the best acting I've seen. Give Jonathan Banks all the Emmys.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:07 AM on March 10, 2015


Jonathan Banks Q&A in Variety

BCS Co-creator Peter Gould & Jonathan Banks from yesterday's Fresh Air broadcast
. Banks comes in at about 10:00. Note: major Breaking Bad spoilers throughout.


I loved the performance. I understand the criticisms about the awkward exposition and the lack of nuance to the crooked cops, but I think the tradeoffs were necessary in order to tell the whole story in one episode.
posted by gimli at 8:08 AM on March 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


No doubt. This is the best hour of TV I've seen since- well, the last few eps of BB.

I was going to say it's the best hour of television since Mike told a version of that story to Walter White, but no one's mentioned it. Am I misremembering that scene in Walter's living room? Either way, I remember thinking Jonathan Banks couldn't top his monologue in that episode but this was a true tour de force.

But this past was definitly touched on in BB so it felt like a natural continuation and not at all a weak part of the story.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:14 AM on March 10, 2015


I am confused about the interplay between scenes with Stacey (Mike's daughter-in-law) in this episode and the last episode. We're introduced to Stacey when she sees him sitting outside her house in his car; color drains from her face, she doesn't speak to him, and she drives on. Later, the Philly police show up at his door.

In this episode, after Mike is freed, he calls Stacey and goes to her house late at night. She admits that she called the Philly PD but not to sic them on Mike, but because she "had heard about [the partner and the sergeant]" and that she had found money in an old suitcase. She is hopeful that Matt's killer will be found, but doesn't think that Mike has anything to do with the killing. She does still believe it was him on the phone with Matt that night, but she doesn't seem to think that Mike was involved in Matt's death. But she thinks Matt was a dirty cop. Mike yells that Matt wasn't dirty, slams out of the house, then sits and thinks in the car, then goes back in and confesses to her that he was dirty and Matt was not.

But the scene from the last episode doesn't seem to make any sense with this. Why wouldn't Stacey talk to Mike on the street if she didn't blame him for Matt's death? Why did she just happen to call the Philly PD right after she saw him on the street, and why did it seem that seeing her on the street was linked to the Philly PD showing up at *Mike's* door?
posted by aabbbiee at 8:16 AM on March 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Now I'm speculating:
Perhaps Stacey was embarrassed to see Mike on the street, because she thought that Mike was clean and trying to keep Matt clean. That's what she thought the phone call was about. She's been avoiding Mike since she found the money because she's embarrassed. She sees him on the street and decides to do the "right thing" and report the money. She thinks that's what Mike would have done, because she thinks Mike was clean. She somehow mentions Mike to the Philly PD and then they come for him, because they believe he's linked to the other deaths. But she doesn't know this so it's not her intention to sic the Philly PD on Mike.

It's not a secret that he's in Albuquerque, though- he told the bar owner in the flashback as he left the bar alone and drunk.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:27 AM on March 10, 2015


I was going to say it's the best hour of television since Mike told a version of that story to Walter White, but no one's mentioned it.

I think you're thinking of the "half measure" story he told, which had nothing at all to do with this. I don't remember much about Mike's past coming up in BB other than when Hank pointed out that Mike was a former cop with some sort of dirt on him.
posted by bondcliff at 8:31 AM on March 10, 2015


You're absolutely right, that's what I was thinking of. My mind went to "Banks' fantastic cop story speech in BB" but filled it in with the few details I knew about the current story; I stand corrected. (My memory is so bad that if I'm the only one who thinks it happened it probably didn't.)

I still don't think the story was weak, and even though I saw the end game in the flashback coming a mile away I didn't expect the gun switch. They could have written any number of ways Mike doesn't get killed by the cop but that was a nice touch following the notebook heist earlier.

The podcast can't get posted fast enough for me, as usual.


I know! It's 9:30am PST, people. Someone hit the "upload" button already!
posted by Room 641-A at 9:28 AM on March 10, 2015


Yeah, I was confused with the timing as well, aabbbiee. It didn't make sense when she's the one who picked him up at the train station, and there wasn't much time for the stare at each other from the car thing to happen between Mike arriving in ABQ and the cops showing up at his door, right? I guess there was enough time for Mike to ask Jimmy for the correct stickers eleventy-million times, but it seemed a lot more compressed here.
posted by minsies at 1:20 PM on March 10, 2015


I think it's actually earlier that the cops show up at his door. It's really hard to parse, but the way I have it figured, she picks him up from the train station and they have a daytime conversation about the dead son/husband at the picnic table outside in which Mike won't tell her anything about that phone call or anything else but says he's sober and wants to support her and his granddaughter. He gets sewn up at the vet, gets the parkinglot monitor job and meets Jimmy, and then months go by during Jimmy is getting up to all kinds of hijinx with his cucumber water, Tuco, Kettleman shenanigans, billboard caper, crazy spaceblanket brother, barrister rivalries, blah blah blah--and who knows what Mike is doing all that time, but it's evident that when the cops show up at Mike's door, he's been in Albuquerque for months. I don't know when the nightime conversations happen between Mike and Stacey, but it's post-cops. Either after the cops show up on his porch but before he gets arrested or after Jimmy gets him out of the holding cell? There are two nighttime talks, one where he gets mad at her because she thinks the $$ means Matt was dirty and one (the same night? does he storm out and then come back in?) where he comes completely clean. They keep flashing backwards and forwards and I never can figure out when or where anything's supposed to be happening. But my impression is that the scene where he drives by and she blanches is the closest-to-present-time event in the episode: I'm thinking it has to have happened after the conversation where she asks what happened to the two shot cops and he says, "You know what happened; can you live with it?" So she must be looking at him and trying to answer his question. Is my guess.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:33 PM on March 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


The two nighttime talks happen on the same night. He goes there angry, blows up when she suggests that Matt was dirty, and storms out. We see him get in his car and sit there. Then we get the flashback to Philadelphia. As the flashback ends, the voiceover begins and we return to Mike sitting in his car. He gets out of the car and goes back into the house, where the voiceover narration joins up with the action- it's Mike confessing to Stacey in her living room. She's wearing the same pajamas in both scenes.

There aren't any flashforwards in the episode (as in, jumping forward from the present day, which is supposed to be 2002), just a couple of flashbacks, both to 6 months prior (first was the day Mike arrives in Albuquerque; second was the night before he leaves Philadelphia). I think the drive-by staring contest between Mike and Stacey happened in the same present day, before the Philly PD show up.

(Also, I was really frustrated that Kaylee looks like she's about 6 or 7, when Kaylee in 2002 would have been a toddler, according to the Breaking Bad timeline.)
posted by aabbbiee at 2:58 PM on March 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


(Also, I was really frustrated that Kaylee looks like she's about 6 or 7, when Kaylee in 2002 would have been a toddler, according to the Breaking Bad timeline.)

I was surprised this didn't come up on the podcast this week (or if they did I missed it), but this pretty much had to have been a pragmatic decision. They did mention that the little girl was played by twins, as happens so often because of rules about how long you can have a child working on something. I'm guessing finding toddler-age kids, and twins no less, proved impractical.

Yeah, it's an error, but a minor one in the end and it didn't bother me.
posted by sparkletone at 5:03 PM on March 10, 2015


I didn't mind that the crooked cop story was somewhat undeveloped. In order to keep Mike's back story all in one episode, something had to give. I wasn't interested in them all that much. The fake drunk scene was really strongly telegraphed to the viewer, I think that some could have been cut there. I was subtle like a hammer. But, still, it was well done with details like the music and bar racket sounding like it was all underwater.

I agree that Jonathan's performance was tremendous. It washed away any flaws that the episode had. Stacey's character seems a bit undeveloped to me. Or, just strange. She's so clear about not caring whether Matt was dirty or not and just wanting his killers to be punished and thrown away for killing the love of her life. Yet, when she finds out that Mike took care of them, she's weirdly flat. These are dirty cops who murdered her husband out of greed and fear and then, presumably, acted like they were devastated while she had to go through the public shock and tragedy of losing her husband and having to raise her daughter alone. Perhaps I'm cold-blooded, but in her place I would have hugged Mike and thanked him for executing those scumbags. She couldn't even tell him that she'd be OK with the information that she so desperately demanded from Mike in the first place. The timing seemed off, but I took her giving him the cold shoulder as she drove by his parked car as a sign that she still wasn't sure whether she could live with Mike having murdered those two.
posted by quince at 6:44 PM on March 10, 2015


Loved to see Jonathan Banks' acting; not as pleased with the writing, it felt especially weak for a show that often goes out of its way to avoid exposition. The crooked cops were okay. I guess the disappointment is partly because characters in the Breaking Bad universe tend to commit crimes in more interesting ways.

I'm surprised to see folks having difficulty with the timeline in this episode, it seemed pretty straightforward to me. But I still don't get which purpose the Stacey scene from the previous episode serves.
posted by maskd at 6:57 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


My interpretation of the timeline:
  1. Matty is offered bribe, calls Mike in middle of night and is overheard by Stacey.
  2. Matty gets shot after taking the money.
  3. Mike starts (the long con?) descending into a drunken stupor in grief.
  4. (flashback for #11) A few months later, Mike tells Hoffman and Fensky he knows they killed Matty; Mike plays the drunk to get their guard down, kills Hoffman and Fensky, and gets shot himself.
  5. The next day, Mike heads to Albuquerque.
  6. (beginning of episode) Mike arrives in ABQ, meets with Stacey, and they talk about the three deaths. Mike tries to reassure her that everyone was clean, but Stacey doesn't buy it. Tension between them ensues. Mike gets treated at the vet.
  7. Months pass.
  8. Mike shows up at Stacey's house after pulling a night shift. Stacey sees him and drives off.
  9. Stacey talks to the Philly cops about her suspicions.
  10. Soon after, the Philly cops show up on Mike's doorstep. Mike goes downtown for questioning, spilled coffee and Jimmy McGill.
  11. Mike calls Stacey and goes to her house to tell her Matty wasn't dirty. Mike goes to his car to think on it (flashback to item 4).
  12. Mike comes back to Stacey's house and comes clean on how he knows Matty wasn't dirty. Roll credits.

posted by cardboard at 7:29 PM on March 10, 2015 [19 favorites]


The ep was so great, a tiny little flaw has been bugging me; when Mike puts on his jacket after the vet sews him up, he puts his good arm in first. Didn't feel like Banks has ever had a serious shoulder injury. I know, tiny nitpick. I guess Banks could be showing how tough Mike is by unnecessarily straining his newly sewn up wound.

I wonder what the gang in Community would make of Prof. Buzz Hickey, if Hickey was also a (former cop) double cop killer?
posted by porpoise at 7:49 PM on March 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think staring, furious Stacey is a woman who realizes that Mike did almost as much damage to her husband as his killers. Sorta, "Thanks for killing them, now eat a bullet yourself, ok?"
posted by Chitownfats at 11:51 PM on March 10, 2015


"...in her place I would have hugged Mike and thanked him for executing those scumbags."
Not me. In my place on the blue sofa under the snuggly purple blanket in front of the television with the frosty cold bottle of Abita amber I want to hug Mike and thank him for executing those scumbags, for sure. Furthermore, I want to hug Mike and thank him for everything he does in either show. He's about my favorite character since... I dunno, Larry McMurtry's Billy the Kid, whom I also want to hug. But in her place I don't think I'd want to get close enough to Mike to hug Mike. In her place I think I'd be packing up and leaving Albuquerque to get me and my strangely old toddler as far away from Mike as possible. Mike is terrifying.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:57 AM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine what a five-day train ride feels like with a bullet in your shoulder.

Part of me kind of preferred having Mike's past a big mystery but... holy shit was that amazing.

I was happy that this storyline was confined to one episode. It was satisfying that they didn't leave any cliffhangers and we now have this backstory so we can return to Saul as the main focus. There were a couple of (maybe just one) episodes of Breaking Bad where Mike played too large a role for my tastes. They kept emphasizing how much of a badass he was and it stopped being believable. This episode pulled the character back for me and made him seem real again.
posted by GrapeApiary at 7:45 AM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


The daughter-in-law's lines/acting just seemed so awkward and weird.

I felt that a bit too: not jarringly so, but she seemed just a tad wooden up against Banks.

I did not mind at all that this was a Mike-based episode, although I do wonder how much it was story-driven and how much it was a "hey, we've got to give him more to do this time". (Or even, "hey, let's get Jonathan an Emmy.") In a way, though, with its filling-in of backstory: this feels a little like BCS's version of BB's Hermanos episode.

Stealing the notebook: presumably this is all about finding out what the cops know? Because it's surely not going to make any difference to their investigation. And you'd think also that, once they realize the notebook is missing, it's going to be pretty obvious to them how it got lifted.

Question: why did Jimmy decide to go along with the coffee-spilling plan?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:30 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jimmy went along with the coffee-spilling plan A. so that he could later ask, "How did you know I would go along with the coffee-spilling plan" and Mike could laugh sadly with a mixture of sympathy and disgust and we could all realize, "O, it is his tragic flaw: he is Slippin' Jimmy for life, try though he might to be a better man;" and B. because Mike did him a solid when the two cops were chivvying him similar to the way those two Philly cops were chivvying Mike plus after he heard the story he found himself on Mike's side and wanting to help him.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:51 AM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I just wanted to say that I'm thrilled that this show is turning out so well. It's great having another quality show to watch, but I really didn't want to deal with the disappointment of a swing-and-a-miss on this one. They are really hitting it out of the ballpark.

Also, I didn't anticipate that they would be so intentional about making connections to Breaking Bad. The story elements stand on their own without the connections, but it seriously takes every episode up about 10 notches to see how it's carefully woven together.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:13 AM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe also (C) simply because Jimmy enjoys pulling a scam; but I think that's just another version of (A) "his tragic flaw."

I liked that Mike's drunk act was also a scam -- at least on that night. Although maybe as noted above a longer con that allowed him to also convincingly tell the two detectives "you know how I was."

I'm partway through the Insider podcast, which has Jonathan Banks on it, and dear God, it's a rambling backslappy affair. But: this was indeed scripted as "the Banks episode." Also, some interesting discussion on the monologue's inversion of show-don't-tell: we don't ever see Matty, he exists for us only via Mike's retelling. The Robert Shaw monologue in Jaws is invoked. They note that framing the reveal as a monologue keeps the focus on the now: the consequences of what happened in Philadelphia on Mike and his daughter-in-law's relationship.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:32 AM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I completely agree with the idea that Mike was given a little bit too much bad-assness in some episodes of BB, it was good to see that tempered here in this episode as he is forced to admit that he played a significant role in his own son's death, and he has to live with the fact that his revenge alienates him from the only family he has left.

And now that Mike's backstory has been more fleshed out, and he seems to be destined to be a co-lead in the same way Jessie was in BB, one question about Mike starts to become indispensable: Where did Gus come into all of this? Sounds like a season 2 or 3 development to me.
posted by skewed at 11:39 AM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


The way Mike finds the crooked vet, and the vet's offer ("I know people... I could get you some work") suggests that Mike could slip very effortlessly into organized crime: he knows how to make those connections. By contrast Jimmy right now seems much more of a tourist in that world: it's only by his scam accidentally crossing paths with Tuco and Nacho that he was exposed to anything nastier than his PD "petty with a prior" clients.

I'd been expecting Nacho to be the hook that pulls Jimmy into criminal law, but it looks now like it's Mike who's going to be his ongoing client. (Because those detectives are going to be back, right?)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:11 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK, finished the podcast. Two other things.

(Breaking Bad spoiler) They note that Mike didn't ask for a lawyer when Hank & Gomie questioned him; he's perfectly capable of stonewalling by himself. He asked for Jimmy purely to enable the coffee-spill pickpocketing.

The script had the line as "I broke my son"; the change to "my boy" was an ad-lib.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:07 PM on March 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


My question is, how dirty was Mike? He implies to his daughter-in-law that he stole money, but I hardly think that hit on the cops could have been the work of someone new to assassinating folks.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:17 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm just realizing how tragic this all makes the ending of Breaking Bad. I mean, it certainly felt bad to lose a great character like Mike, but now he's a pretty tragic character in his own right. And we learn this all in retrospect as he regrets his decisions regarding his son and tries to find some redemption via his granddaughter.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:22 PM on March 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


My comment to my wife at the end: "hey, remember back when we first heard about Better Call Saul and thought it was going to be a comedy?"


I was not interested in Better Call Saul when I heard about it because I (for what possible reason?) thought that it was going to be Saul meets Night Court. It is so much better than that.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:48 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I hardly think that hit on the cops could have been the work of someone new to assassinating folks.

I imagine if you go further back with Mike you see some sort of military experience, which is an easy shorthand for BEEN THROUGH SOME SHIT / BADASS but that's just speculation and I don't actually think they would write that into the character. Dirty Philly cop covers a lot of nefarious ground and satisfies my desire to know his origins.
posted by GrapeApiary at 5:40 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else notice that this was the first episode without an appearance by everyone's favorite character, cucumber water? I was hoping it'd turn up in every single one.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:05 AM on March 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


The script had the line as "I broke my son"; the change to "my boy" was an ad-lib.

Haven't listened to the podcast yet, but there was something about his delivery of this line that had me thinking it was some sort of homage, conscious or not, to Brando's "Look how they massacred my boy" in The Godfather, except this was worse because he did this to his own son who wanted to do the right thing.

Or that could just be the cumulative effect of years upon years of repeat viewings of The Godfather that has me seeing references where they don't really exist.

Carry on.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:40 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I imagine if you go further back with Mike you see some sort of military experience

He's about the right age to have been conscripted for Vietnam. I can't imagine him volunteering, cop or no cop.

I must confess, I'm finding the idea of assessing each episode as a discrete thing (and awarding points out of whatever) increasingly odd - there's something much more like a novel about BCS, particularly an Elmore Leonard novel (Leonard has to be the patron saint of the Breaking Bad 'verse, doesn't he?). This is true for me of more and more TV series.
posted by Grangousier at 11:59 AM on March 12, 2015


Did anyone else notice that this was the first episode without an appearance by everyone's favorite character, cucumber water?

CW will no doubt be the focal-character for the next spin off.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 12:43 PM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


CW will no doubt be the focal-character for the next spin off.

AMC presents For Customers Only.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:07 PM on March 12, 2015 [23 favorites]


The script had the line as "I broke my son"; the change to "my boy" was an ad-lib.
Haven't listened to the podcast yet, but there was something about his delivery of this line that had me thinking it was some sort of homage, conscious or not, to Brando's "Look how they massacred my boy" in The Godfather, except this was worse because he did this to his own son who wanted to do the right thing.


In the podcast (which is indeed a blackslappy affair) Banks talks about his kids -- who both work on the show -- in similar terms and I can see "my boy" being a more familiar and personal turn of phrase.

Also from the podcast: Even though I didn't really think about it, I feel really dumb for not realizing that "5-0" was meant as the slang for cops, as in Hawaii 5-0.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:28 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I started listening to the podcasts today and the backslappiness is pretty distracting.
I respect Gilligan for wanting to acknowledge the work of all those people who make a show run but usually don't get any acknowledgment, but at a certain point you start breaking up your thoughts to insert the callout.
posted by Seamus at 3:16 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's also one of the reasons I don't really get down with DVD commentaries much.
posted by box at 5:55 PM on March 12, 2015


Yeah, that's also one of the reasons I don't really get down with DVD commentaries much.

Same here. If you haven't, though, make an exception for the This is Spinal Tap DVD commentary (if you're a fan). They do it in character. It's pretty good.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:45 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


And of course, Michael McKean is in both This is Spinal Tap and Better Call Saul. So there's that.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:20 AM on March 13, 2015


Don't forget he was also in D.A.R.Y.L.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:25 AM on March 13, 2015


He was also on Mr. Show, in the Law School sketch.
posted by heatvision at 10:22 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The only thing that really bugged me is that he seems to be willingly inflaming the Philly cops' suspicions of him, first by saying nothing but "lawyer", and then the pickpocket routine, which the detective would have twigged to the moment he missed his notepad.

Right now they've got nothing on him but suspicious timing; it was an amazingly clever crime -- the kind where the victim does the hard work for you -- and he seems to have not left any useful trace; all the evidence (left the bar blind drunk and much later than the victims) points away from him. He's understandably curious about the investigation but if he wasn't really a suspect before he's bound to be now.

(Also he seems awfully old to have a son who was a wet-behind-the-ears cop a year or two earlier, but there's no getting around that if you want to keep Jonathan Banks as the actor. And man, do you ever want to.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:39 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's a good point. I guess the expected motivation for Mike's actions is that he knows that he didn't leave any evidence and didn't have an obvious motive. He just wanted to get the notebook so he could confirm for himself that they didn't have anything on him. But I don't think that fully explains his antagonistic attitude toward the detectives. As a cop, he had to know that he was making himself look guilty as hell.
posted by zixyer at 12:45 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hm, now that I think about it, he didn't believe they were on a fishing expedition: he thought they were there because they actively suspected him, because he can't think of any other reason they'd reach like that. He has to have the notebook because he has to know what they have because otherwise he won't know how to protect against it, and figures at this point he's really not going to make things worse.

Immediately on reading the notebook he makes a face and goes to Stacy and says (not asks) "you called the cops?" And she says yes, because of the money she found in the lining of the suitcase. So now he's kind of screwed up -- he might have been vaguely on their list of possible suspects but they didn't have anything: they came about Stacy, Matt and the money. But they're going to be very interested in him now.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:23 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


...Kaylee looks like she's about 6 or 7, when Kaylee in 2002 would have been a toddler, according to the Breaking Bad timeline.)

Correct me if I'm wrong but Kaylee looks like she's only about 6 or 7 in BB, and those scenes are like 7-8 years later. Sooo... um, shouldn't she actually be a baby or non-existent or something?

Why isn't this an important error? As long as they're not giving a damn, they could've used that Walmart doll from American Sniper. I can't say that's worse.
posted by dgaicun at 3:59 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why isn't this an important error? As long as they're not giving a damn, they could've used that Walmart doll from American Sniper. I can't say that's worse.

This is a show that makes you suspend a little disbelief. It's easier for me to overlook the age of Mike's granddaughter than it is for me to accept the "Slippin' Jimmy" flashbacks where Bob Odenkirk is (I think) supposed to be somewhere in his twenties, but I do it because this is a pretty great show and I'd rather enjoy it than nitpick it to death.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:23 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also he seems awfully old to have a son who was a wet-behind-the-ears cop a year or two earlier

Not everyone has their kids in their early 20's. I know a couple of guys who are raising kids who were born in their late thirties.
posted by localroger at 7:44 AM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know older parents are a lot more common these days but it wasn't unheard of even 50 years ago. Cite: My parents!
posted by Room 641-A at 9:55 AM on March 14, 2015


zixyer: I guess the expected motivation for Mike's actions is that he knows that he didn't leave any evidence and didn't have an obvious motive. He just wanted to get the notebook so he could confirm for himself that they didn't have anything on him. But I don't think that fully explains his antagonistic attitude toward the detectives. As a cop, he had to know that he was making himself look guilty as hell.

Maybe the detectives were included in the group of corrupt cops, so he didn't trust or respect them? And if he assumed they had nothing and wanted to confirm that, they wouldn't have anything more if they now know he lifted the notebook, which is still nothing but the idea that he was involved, and his revenge plot was really simple, as close to perfect as you can get for a revenge killing in that situation*. Then again, the detective could toss his jacket somewhere just to get the soggy clothing off of him, and assume it slipped out there.

* Someone could have seen him unlock the cop car door with the string, and someone could have seen or heard the exchange before he killed the two cops, but he only broke character in front of them at the last moment. Or someone could have seen him leaving the murder scene. But this is a few years ago, and unless someone really wants to come forward to clear their conscience, he's free.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:46 PM on March 14, 2015


Mike knows the only reason that the cops would fly across the country to interview him rather than call him on the phone is that they think he was somehow involved in the murder. He has nothing to gain from pretending to think he's not under suspicion. Having worked for a couple public defenders offices, and read plenty of police arrest reports, one of the most common mistakes guilty people make is being cooperative so as not to arose suspicion. The cops know people do this and try use it, Mike rightly doesn't bother to play their game, he plays his own.
posted by skewed at 6:19 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd been expecting Nacho to be the hook that pulls Jimmy into criminal law, but it looks now like it's Mike who's going to be his ongoing client. (Because those detectives are going to be back, right?)

Myself, I look forward to the return/introduction of detectives Kalanchoe and Munn.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:49 AM on March 15, 2015


Rewatching this, I kept getting the feeling that Stacey's speech, expressions and mannerisms reminded me strongly of someone. I finally realized that she was reminding me of both Andrea (Brock's mother) and Lydia from Breaking Bad. That seems odd. Is it a subtle Albuquerque accent I'm noticing? or maybe some similarity based in the writing, casting or directing? I can't pin it down, but it seems to be in the facial expressions and speech hesitations. It almost seems that there's a walking-on-eggs element of awkwardness built into all three of those characters.
posted by Corvid at 8:04 PM on March 20, 2015


Just catching up on this show as it has appeared on Netflix.

we're back to the episode titles ending in O, after last week's episode, the only one to break that pattern (this season). A reminder of episode titles past: Uno, Mijo, Nacho, Hero, and Alpine Shepherd Boy.

I noticed the "ending in O" thing as well for every episode of this season, with the exception of Alpine Shepherd Boy. Who, I figure, would yodel. And my Austrian father-in-law was fond of teaching his students in his intro chem course how to yodel - all you need is the phrase "A-little-old-lady-whoooooooo". I have no idea if that is what was going on with the titles, but I like it. It feels like it fits, somehow, in the world of Slippin' Jimmy and Mike.
posted by nubs at 9:20 AM on February 5, 2016


I kinda wanna make a new series post, but instead I'll just watch 'em again. Sorry, Hulu Seinfeld and Netflix SVU.
posted by box at 3:14 PM on February 6, 2016


He gives Jimmy the chance to ask one question, and Jimmy asks the question he's trying to figure out all season: What type of person am I?

There's a beautiful parallel between Matty and Jimmy. Matty's tragedy was that he was a 'good' person trying to follow in the footsteps of a 'dirty' mentor, his father. Jimmy, meanwhile, is a 'dirty' lawyer trying to follow in the footsteps of his 'good' lawyer brother. In both cases, the conflict comes from the fundamental tension between who they are and who they are trying to become/imitate.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:40 AM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Holy shit

obviously late to the party and I'm going to go read all your lovely comments now but

dang
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:55 AM on February 17


I can't remember - did we ever see Kaylee's mom in Breaking Bad? I feel like Mike wasn't her primary care giver, so I'm assuming she was still around then, but I don't remember it ever being addressed.

Anyway I enjoyed this episode a lot. I finally picked this show up after seeing mentions of it in the Fanfare thread for El Camino, and I'm pretty glad I did. It's not the show I thought it was. I was still laboring under the impression that it was a comedy, as mentioned above.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 4:16 AM on February 17


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