Better Call Saul: Marco
April 6, 2015 9:16 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

In the Season 1 finale, Jimmy seizes the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend. Meanwhile, Chuck adjusts to a new way of life.

Kitty-cat notebooks for everybody!
posted by Catblack (115 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
So, it seems he decides to (eventually) become Saul all on his own there, not being pushed into it by anything but his own contempt for the straight and narrow. And, another beautifully shot episode to boot.
posted by Abon Sapi at 9:23 PM on April 6, 2015


Best Use Of Polk Salad Annie 2015: Better Call Saul

Best Use Of Polk Salad Annie 2014:
Live on Letterman, everyone has fun, Dave's enthusiasm at the end is the best
posted by maggieb at 9:36 PM on April 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Chicago montage filled me with a certain odd pride.

I figured Marco was going to die once they decided to do the watch thing one more time. But my brain is still reflexively trained to think in Breaking Bad terms and so I was expecting something far more horrifying/violent than the simple, sad tragedy of a friend dying of a heart attack long in the making.

I felt so sorry for the kid taking care of Chuck. Just jesus what a shot job to get to deal with.

Overall an incredibly satisfying finale.
posted by sparkletone at 10:33 PM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




I'm having a hard time with his decision at the end there, because I can't really see it as contempt for the straight and narrow.

Part of me wants to put his decision in terms of "what did the straight and narrow every do for me"?

But it did plenty. He was about to be on the partnership track in a big law firm. He has a couple of million dollars coming down the track to him as the elder abuse case moves along. He has the respect of his colleagues.

He never had the respect of his brother, but it was because he wasn't on the straight and narrow all along.

Part of me thinks it comes down to simple fun. He was digging being a conman again, and although his week vacation was great, he seemed anxious to get back to his clients.

Just writing this down makes me think that what it must be is that Saul was suffering. He was trying, desperately, to separate the part of himself that wants to be, and thrives, on the straight and narrow and the part of himself that wants, and thrives, on the edge. He realized he couldn't give up that part of himself in the parking lot at the end and drives away determined to synthesize his halves.

I suspect next season we'll see that that synthesize is not as easy at he seems to think.
posted by bswinburn at 11:05 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, holy shit. I caught Belize and the ring, but the Kevin Costner thing is in Breaking Bad too.
posted by sparkletone at 11:35 PM on April 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here's the BB scene, from "Abiquiú" in Season 3.
posted by Catblack at 12:22 AM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm thrilled that we have closure on the Chicago sunroof matter.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:02 AM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Nice Repo Man reference in the con montage. "I gotta get my wife's car our of this bad area."

Also, can I say how much I love the Bob Barker microphone Jimmy uses?
posted by bondcliff at 6:41 AM on April 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Also, can I say how much I love the Bob Barker microphone Jimmy uses?

In one of the insider podcasts, they talk about how they specifically went looking for one of those. The props people had to go on a bit of a hunt, but they delivered.

Made for an awesome mic drop!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:58 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


B is for breakdown.
posted by mattoxic at 7:09 AM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


One thing I enjoyed about this season finale is that if (God forbid) anything terrible were to happen to any of the principle actors and they couldn't film a second season, well ... it still gives a great intro to how Jimmy became Saul. It would function as a standalone season if necessary.
posted by komara at 10:04 AM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


The show did seem to end suggesting that the con game was "in Jimmy" all along. Feels a bit strange, as there were numerous tension points going on here. We thought that Chuck would push him over the edge due to betrayal, but he seems to have succumbed to his nature instead, which is what the speech was in part about, and also the visit home. But it also seems clear that if Chuck had embraced him, perhaps this wouldn't have happened. He had an opportunity for redemption with the other firm picking him up, but Jimmy said no. Was it because he really was, deep down, a con man? Or was it because it still wouldn't have elicited Chuck's approval, which is what he wanted most of all, and it naturally brought out good things in Jimmy? It's somewhat ironic that most of this wouldn't have happened without Chuck on both ends of the season: either becoming a lawyer in the first place, or eschewing the straight and narrow at the end of the day. In the end, it's a complex interrelationship between personalities and events. Pretty hallmark trait for both series thus far.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:13 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree with bswinburn. I'm having trouble with the end decision to turn to his dark side, because it seemed inconsistent with the job offer from the Santa Fe firm, which gives him an opportunity to get everything he wants while playing it straight. I'm reconciling it in my mind as a decision borne out of frustration from a combination of the sting of betrayal, and the conflicting need to keep an eye on Chuck, which traps him in Albuquerque. That last shot of the dividing lines on the road made a nice visual metaphor.

I love this show so much and the Bingo monologue was absolute genius.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:21 AM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I thought one of the Santa Fe lawyers was going to be the lawyerly-looking dude in the Chicago bar who buys the Kennedy dollar. Then, Jimmy would know he'd fucked up when he got to the courthouse and they recognised each other.

Clever bit of misdirection there, but it sets up for a payoff that Jimmy's decision to go back doesn't live up to.
posted by kandinski at 11:38 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd never known, until now, that someone using the phrase "Georgia O'Keefe hellscape" could make me want to laugh hysterically and almost tear up simultaneously. I was torn.
posted by raysmj at 11:53 AM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm having trouble with the end decision to turn to his dark side, because it seemed inconsistent with the job offer from the Santa Fe firm, which gives him an opportunity to get everything he wants while playing it straight.

I think Jimmy finally understands that he never actually wanted to be a biglaw-type successful lawyer in the first place. What he really wanted was for Chuck to like and respect him, and he thought he could accomplish that by being a respectable white-shoe lawyer just like Chuck.

Now that he's finally realized that Chuck will never, ever respect him as an equal, he's free to figure out what he actually wants - and in that last scene, he realizes that going into that courthouse and doing the ol' softshoe to impress a bunch of Hamlin types is not actually what would make him happy and isn't how he wants to live the rest of his life.
posted by dialetheia at 12:26 PM on April 7, 2015 [44 favorites]


I also had some trouble with this episode, and the choices Jimmy made. I've been trying to figure out what was going through his head as he went from debauchery in Cicero to feeling the pull to go back to his clients to blowing off a shot at a job at a big firm.

He connected the dots back to the Chicago Sunroof incident and identified that as the crucial moment that led him to ABQ. Why did he decide to re-visit those environs? It seems like an odd choice to me to try to go back to the place where he started on the path that led to such misery.

Once he was there, though, and having a great time with Marco, he eventually felt responsibility tugging at him to get back to his clients. He had to be cajoled into the last watch con because he wanted to get back to the his work.

And that small-time con life killed Marco. He died happy, though, and I guess that made a big impression on Jimmy. Maybe that's what led him to the decision to turn around and leave.

Did he realize that he couldn't be happy while he was trying to impress someone else (Chuck, Kim, Howard, the Santa Fe firm), or live up to someone else's expectations?

At this point, I think that maybe the corporate job would be the dark side for Jimmy. It's not what he ever really wanted. The chance to work with Chuck would have made it bearable, but it's not him. By leaving, he was turning back to his light side.

Part of it was probably, "Fuck you, Chuck. I will be a chimp with a machine gun," and part of it was a realization that he now had a tool (being a lawyer) that he'd never had before to up the ante on the life he always wanted in the first place.
posted by Shohn at 12:35 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


> By leaving, he was turning back to his light side.

I don't know about dark or light, but a big part of the final scene was his admission to Mike that he's not going to be dissuaded from payola by his pesky conscience any longer.
posted by Abon Sapi at 12:37 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I also have trouble believing that Jimmy would turn away from the partner track at the new firm along with a chance to work on his own case. Even with his shady past, I think that Jimmy really loves the law and he's good at it. And, while it seemed like he had fun on his Marco vacation into his old life, he was eager to get back to ABQ to resume his new life again despite Marco's invitations to stay. He knew that he had outgrown his Cicero con life and was only a visiting tourist rather than the Prodigal Son.

The only thing that I can think of as a motivator for refusing success and accomplishment with the new firm is that Jimmy knows that his return to being Slippin' Jimmy in full-bloom would hurt and embarrass Chuck even though Chuck made it clear that he never saw Jimmy any other way. Is that enough of a reason? I'm not sure.
posted by quince at 1:05 PM on April 7, 2015


Yeah, the overly rigid "dark side/light side" binary was undermined very nicely by Mike's earlier speech to Walter Off-White (love that!) about how he's seen crooked evil cops and criminals with strict moral codes - what "side" you're on doesn't necessarily say anything about what kind of person you are.

Since the rest of the show had largely been framed in terms of this tension between his "good" side pursuing lawyerly prestige and his "bad" side scamming people, which judgy framing we now understand basically came from Chuck, Mike's speech serves a very important narrative purpose: it shatters that dichotomous framing and opens the door for Jimmy to set himself up as a "scammer for good".

He's going to use his bullshitting & scamming skills to help beat-down people who everyone thinks are scumbags, because he sees himself as one of them. He's trying to get them a second chance, to keep their lives from being forever ruined by an ill-considered Chicago sunroof. To him, that's much more compelling and probably even morally preferable to helping rich idiots like the Kettlemans.

I absolutely LOVED the bingo scene where he loses it. Best moment of the series for me. The microphone, the increasing Network-y unhinged anger/despair, the residents' silent concern, Bob's fantastic performance, and oh god the writing! "I did not know that his children were in the backseat. There was a level of tint that I maintain to this day was illegal in an Illinois licensed vehicle." Solid gold.

On a shallower note, I've had a huge crush on Bob Odenkirk for like, decades, and I am thrilled that he's finally getting the recognition he deserves both for his acting abilities and his leading-man qualities. Every day on tumblr I read a new post from someone who's like "um, I don't know if I should tell you guys, but I think I'm really attracted to Bob Odenkirk? What is happening". It's fantastic!
posted by dialetheia at 1:12 PM on April 7, 2015 [31 favorites]


My theory from awhile back was that Chuck and Jimmy both deal with the chaos of reality in different ways - Jimmy creates and exploits it, Chuck destroys it using logic/the law. My initial theory was that Jimmy was initially attracted to law because it was a lucrative con game that was legal and he realized there was no future for him in the petty stuff he was doing in Cicero. But I would add to that now that he was also seeking Chuck's approval and so trying to do things the "right" way.

I think that was the thing he was talking about that was "holding him back". Now that Chuck's approval is off the table, he realizes there's millions of dollars out there in the criminal underworld he has access to now as a lawyer, and as someone who creates and exploits chaos, that's way more up his alley than this fake-nice elderlaw stuff.
posted by bleep at 1:19 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


What do you do when you can live as a good person only by living in bad faith? Is it right to be an inauthentic helper of the elderly, or a self-realized and authentic scam artist?

It's nearly the exact same question that formed the basis of Breaking Bad, but it was handled much more maturely and less cartoonishly here.
posted by painquale at 3:00 PM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


I would say Breaking Bad was the cartoonish one. A mild-mannered chemistry teacher becomes an underworld super villain. Vs a lawyer decides what kind of law suits him best and why.
posted by bleep at 3:05 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's an great point, painquale.

Maybe you compromise by being a "self-realized and authentic scam artist," but one with a code of, uh, ethics (ish)?

His trip back to Cicero underlined two things for Jimmy, I think - that running these cons is fun, but the ones he was running aren't lucrative.

I haven't made an exhaustive list or anything, but all of his cons with Marco used a greedy person as the mark. Someone who was willing to steal a passed-out guy's wallet, or someone who was willing to outbid, by a couple of bucks, someone who seemed to be up for a payday with the Kennedy dollar.

These are the deserving marks. He'd never grift the older folks he's taken on as elder law clients, and he was morally outraged at how Sandpiper was trying to bleed them.

But in that final scene with Mike at the toll booth, he seems to overlay his own "code" about scams with how he handled the Kettlemans. He kicks himself so hard you can hear it five blocks away.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:07 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love this show so much and the Bingo monologue was absolute genius.

This show does a great job of revealing secrets that you didn't know needed to be revealed. Up until now, it didn't even dawn on me that the situation Chuck rescued him from at the beginning of the series had much to do with the eventual plot development, aside from the fact that he was arrested. Knowing what it was about, though, sort of puts an interesting spin on Chuck's reluctance to fully embrace him. It was a pretty unflattering picture in more than one way, and it was in the public record. While you still root for Jimmy to be redeemed (and his monologue did seem a type of public confession), you can see how it probably added to Chuck's turmoil at considering him a lawyer in the firm. It was a much deeper hold to have climbed out of so quickly, compared to his legitimate efforts.

Also, I thought it interesting that Jimmy's response to his brother wasn't to take the other job to get back at Chuck. I'm not sure what to think of that, except that he didn't see Chuck as an appropriate object of his revenge, even though he felt betrayed.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:10 PM on April 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


The bingo scene was so good. Also heightened by the crazy sound design both as they faded into the scene and all you hear at the balls, and the following extreme amplification and zooming in on each ball coming up. So much fun to watch.
posted by p3t3 at 3:55 PM on April 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


How statistically unlikely would it have been to get so many B balls in a row in the Bingo scene? I wonder if it was supposed to suggest that Jimmy's current status was due to fate, and in some sense, unavoidable.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:02 PM on April 7, 2015


Or that Jimmy interpreted it as fate, not that it necessarily was.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:15 PM on April 7, 2015


B is for ... Breaking.
B is for............................................................................................... Bad.
posted by bleep at 4:31 PM on April 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Quick thoughts: The first time I watched this the ending made deep sense but I couldn't quite put it in words. The more I thought about and verbalized it, the more I came to the conclusion that dialetheia did. It hit me pretty hard without the major motivational beats being spelled out on screen. Which was weird, because it is a pretty convoluted emotional path. Getting rejected by Chuck made him realize he was only in the law game for Chuck, and without his approval/validation he would always be a non-success, disreputable third-rate lawyer... and even at a nice firm, he'd be faking it. Moreso even than people who are "faking it until they make it"-- for him, faking it IS making it. He's a con man, whether for good or for evil.

On a shallower note, I've had a huge crush on Bob Odenkirk for like, decades, and I am thrilled that he's finally getting the recognition he deserves both for his acting abilities and his leading-man qualities. Every day on tumblr I read a new post from someone who's like "um, I don't know if I should tell you guys, but I think I'm really attracted to Bob Odenkirk? What is happening". It's fantastic!

AHHH!! Me too! I didn't know that was popping up on tumblr, but of course it is (where else to congregate around, and only around, your shame-crushes). But I wasn't that big of a Breaking Bad fan (had just watched Weeds, already experienced "plucky ascending amoral drug lord" plot, liked it better), so I told my boyfriend when this show premiered that I'd watch but "only because Bob Odenkirk is such a babe." He refused to believe a human woman could have such feelings.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:35 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


"I'm sorry I yelled at you."

That was a sweet moment. He's just deep down a good guy.

I really want to see him be a good lawyer, and that's part of what makes this whole thing more emotional for me, knowing where it is going.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:03 PM on April 7, 2015


Clearly Jimmy's final decision was made because he has been possessed by the spirit of Marco who is trapped in the pinky ring like smoke on the water.
posted by Sparx at 5:53 PM on April 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


Wow, another great episode, and I'm with everyone else on the emotional roller coaster.

God, Chekov's Rolex had my stomach in knots because you knew it was going to be a turning point, but I thought maybe Jimmy would get caught. It's too bad Marco died, but damn, I hope the last week of my life is as much fun.

I really want to see him be a good lawyer, and that's part of what makes this whole thing more emotional for me, knowing where it is going.

I wonder what would have happened if the job offer hadn't happened. He really did seem to care about his elderly clients, and when he told Marco he had to go back, whatever reluctance he expressed didn't seem aimed at the clients. To me it felt like that reunion you have with a college friend who is still partying hard every night and doesn't understand why 40-year old you can't just ditch work and hang out.

Knowing what it was about, though, sort of puts an interesting spin on Chuck's reluctance to fully embrace him.

I guess nailing Jimmy as a sex offender wasn't enough. Christ, what an asshole.

Does anyone know when we get season two? I'm seeing vague mentions of 2016 but that can't be right, can it?
posted by Room 641-A at 6:07 PM on April 7, 2015


Every day on tumblr I read a new post from someone who's like "um, I don't know if I should tell you guys, but I think I'm really attracted to Bob Odenkirk? What is happening".

I believe this generally gets referred to as "Odenthirst."
posted by sparkletone at 6:11 PM on April 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


From one of the HitFlix articles this thread sent me down:

"Howard is a nice guy who sometimes comes across as a jerk, while Chuck is a jerk who thinks he's a nice guy."
posted by absalom at 6:29 PM on April 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also: "And that small-time con life killed Marco. He died happy, though, and I guess that made a big impression on Jimmy. Maybe that's what led him to the decision to turn around and leave."

Based on the opening flash-forward, this really resonated with me. Marco went through ten years as a nobody before going out in the proverbial blaze of glory. Jimmy embraces that lifestyle, but we know it end with him being banished to a bleak life not that far removed from Marco's nozzles.

Except Marco's despair is replaced by "Gene's" paranoia, I guess. Not sure which is worse.
posted by absalom at 6:39 PM on April 7, 2015


I think Jimmy's love of Chuck is overridden by his love for Marco.

Jimmy is motivated by his love for his mentors a) Chuck and b) Marco. Jimmy's big hesitancy in taking the Santa Fe job is, I think, he would be at odds with his mentor, who has betrayed him horribly.

Jimmy brought joy to Marco by engaging in the binge conning. The happiest week of his life, Marco said. Jimmy is obviously deeply tied to Marco -- his farewell to him prior to leaving for ABQ, his regret at not visiting Marco during a visit to his funeral. Marco's influence of Jimmy is apparent in the fact that he gets him to do the last con despite Jimmy''s protestations. Jimmy is torn between his obligation to his clients and to Marco. Marco is that important to Jimmy.

I think the episode would have worked better if we had seen Marco more in flashbacks. But it sort of feels like this was sorted out after the writers determined that Chuck was the betrayer.

Did I hear it right that Jimmy surmised that Chuck had influenced the prosecutor to charge him with a more serious crime for the "Chicago Sunroof" episode? I thought I heard that the charges had been elevated to indecent exposure, and Chuck was somehow related to that.
posted by angrycat at 6:50 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


On a shallower note, I've had a huge crush on Bob Odenkirk for like, decades, and I am thrilled that he's finally getting the recognition he deserves both for his acting abilities and his leading-man qualities. Every day on tumblr I read a new post from someone who's like "um, I don't know if I should tell you guys, but I think I'm really attracted to Bob Odenkirk? What is happening". It's fantastic!

Yeah I had a moment in the exchange:
"You said you were Kevin Costner!"
"Well I was last night."

And I think I would have fallen back into his arms on that stained horrible mattress. What is wrong with me.
posted by angrycat at 6:55 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Kind of a gut punch how the effort of ten straight years culminating in the lucky break with the Sandpiper case and the chance of a new job (and one assumes, with Kim) in the end seemed like false identity, for nothing. The deus ex giveth and it taketh away.
posted by yoHighness at 7:00 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel like the thrill of the con is being able to control someone, to manipulate someone without having to force them into it. At a big firm, he would be powerless, and he now knows he can't make chuck proud that way. Lawyering on his own terms also allows him to metaphorically shit into the sunroofs of some assholes in relative safety.
posted by snofoam at 7:13 PM on April 7, 2015


Clearly Jimmy's final decision was made because he has been possessed by the spirit of Marco who is trapped in the pinky ring like smoke on the water.
posted by Sparx


It's so obvious once you point it out.
posted by isthmus at 7:19 PM on April 7, 2015


How statistically unlikely...

Before drawing the first B, there are 11 numbers already drawn (there might be a goof here, the number of lit numbers on the board *might* vary from 9 to 11, but after starting to draw the B numbers, there are at maximum 11 drawn numbers). No visible B had been drawn up to then.

In Bingo there are 5 letters at 15 numbers each for a total of 75 possible draws.

He draws B2, B4, B12, B7, B5, and B.... I don't think he ever says the number but in some shots it looks like a B8. So 6 in a row before giving up.

So, 75 possible draws. 11 already drawn leaving 64.

15 of those remaining draws are Bs.

There are 49 other balls.

15/49 = 30.61% of a B
14/48 = 29.17% of a B = 8.928% of 2 Bs in a row
13/47 = 27.66% of a B = 2.469% of 3 Bs in a row
12/46 = 26.09% of a B = 0.6441% of 4 Bs in a row
11/45 = 24.44% of a B = 0.1574% of 5 Bs in a row
10/44 = 22.73% of a B = 0.0358% of 6 Bs in a row after drawing 11 numbers before drawing the first B.

So 1:2,795 attempts. I'm not going to work out what the odds are of drawing those exact B#'s in that order.

I'd love to have my work checked. I'd be surprised if I didn't make a mistake somewhere, likely at the outset, given how much vodka is in me right now.

(There might be a small goof; when he drew B7, the B7 on the sign should have been flashing. B12 is flashing when he's talking about B7. During his speech after drawing B8[?] B2 is flashing.)
posted by porpoise at 7:45 PM on April 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Is it just me, or have they not uploaded the last podcast?
posted by donajo at 7:46 PM on April 7, 2015


Beautiful point out by Sparx; and yes, Saul wears it in BB.

I'm not totally sold on the motivation for Saul 'breaking bad.'

"Yeah. Well. I know what stopped me. And you know what? It's never stopping me again."

Is the crux here, I think. Which doesn't totally make sense unless Jimmy is setting up Mike. (?)

Jimmy wanted to make Chuck proud. He doesn't need to throw away his (terrible journey, as he knows from Kim, but potentially decent payoff) "partner track" job in order to not make Chuck proud.

I can totally see why Jimmy totally loves (eventually) being Saul, but the break here... I'm not following well.
posted by porpoise at 7:59 PM on April 7, 2015


SHIT!

15/64 = 23.44%
14/63 = 22.22% = 5.20%
13/62 = 20.96% = 1.090%
12/61 = 19.67% = 0.2145%
11/60 = 18.33% = 0.03932%
10/59 = 16.95% = 0.0000666%

= 1:15,015 tries.

Holy crap, I wonder if they worked that out so the odds of 0.0000666%?!
posted by porpoise at 8:06 PM on April 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


What stopped him from taking that money was thinking that doing things Chuck's way would make Chuck love him/be his friend/think positively of him/whatever, and wanting that more than he wanted the money. He realizes now that nothing will make Chuck love him, and in that case he'd rather just have the money (not that particular money, but whatever other illicit money bags are floating around Albuquerque waiting for him.) That false idea about how to make Chuck love him won't be stopping him anymore.
posted by bleep at 8:09 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mike is Jimmy's new older brother figure and his new partner in crime, replacing both Chuck and Marco.
posted by isthmus at 8:12 PM on April 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


The next draw would be

9/58 = 15.52% = 0.00000001

1=100,000, with cumulative rounding errors.

--

Ok, I'm kinda liking Mike as Jimmy's new brother figure.

Unlike most people re-living their past glory who have a bit of success, who then realize that current life is better, Jimmy realizes that what he loves best - like his recently departed friend - is the thrill of risk taking.

Taking a risk as a white shoe lawyer means that if he fails, he loses the respect of his peers. Taking a risk as a shady lawyer means he loses liberty (ie., community service for getting caught Chicago Sunroofing a car with a couple of cub scouts still in it).
posted by porpoise at 8:20 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The last bit doesn't sit well with me completely either, and I think it's because I felt like at least a part of why Jimmy didn't just steal the Kettleman money was because he wanted to help Kim get them back as clients. I get that he is not going to let his need for approval from Chuck get in his way again -- and that maybe he doesn't want to be miserable like Marco was (and maybe even Kim is), trying the straight and narrow -- but I still feel like the "it's never going to stop me again" doesn't fully acknowledge that his loyalty to Kim is as of yet unmarred. It will be interesting to see what they do with that relationship now that Jimmy has blown off the deal she set up for him.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:55 PM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe this isn't the part where Jimmy totally flips sides. Perhaps there are more motivations to come next season, and he still grapples with the same vices and virtues that made him such a compelling character this season.

I'm not really ready yet to say goodbye to the old Jimmy.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:11 PM on April 7, 2015


I think part of it, nodded at in the bingo breakdown, is that elder law is just a terrible specialty for Jimmy McGill. It is. It's an admirable field; it's non-flashy and respectable all get-out, and Jimmy jumped into it this season with both eyes on Chuck. But aside from some extremely basic senior-flattery, there's basically nothing in the day-to-day course of wills and guardianships that plays to what Slipping Jimmy enjoys or is good at. Jimmy loves helping people, but he also loves being silver-tongued and fast on his feet, and for the moment he's backed himself into a specialty where there's almost no scope for that. If this is what letting other people define your career leads to...
posted by ormondsacker at 9:13 PM on April 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Is it just me, or have they not uploaded the last podcast?

Kelley Tweeted that it will be late:

https://twitter.com/kelleydixon/status/585116647968485377
https://twitter.com/kelleydixon/status/585533616232497155
https://twitter.com/kelleydixon/status/585535935292530688
posted by primethyme at 10:02 PM on April 7, 2015


"Yeah. Well. I know what stopped me. And you know what? It's never stopping me again."

I think a *bunch* of things are motivating Jimmy in this scene and in the one before it where he doesn't go for the "partner track" job. Or at least my brain thought of a bunch of things...

- He's realized that not only will Chuck never be proud of him, Chuck's going to *actively work against him*. So being a "normal" successful lawyer has lost lots of its appeal.

- On some level he thought the whole lawyer career was something he owed to Chuck for "saving him". Now that's gone. Why bother?

- Taking that job would inevitably lead to appearing in the same courtroom as Chuck.

- Jimmy never wanted that kind of success. He could have left HHM and got a junior associate lawyer job anywhere else long ago. He doesn't want that, he wants to be the guy you call. He wants to be like Hamlin or Chuck, not one step above the mailroom. He wants a shortcut to success rather than putting in the hard work, much like Chuck accused him of last week.

- Not to say Jimmy doesn't want to work hard. But he wants to work hard being brilliant and clever and tricky, not doing stacks of paperwork. He wants to be a crusader for justice.

- He realizes taking that job won't lead to being successful like Chuck or Hamlin, it will lead to being a second-rate cog in the machine, as exciting as Marco's "standpipe" job. He must know this -- look at Kim, she's been a lawyer at HHM for years, she has a better education than Jimmy and more experience and the ability to toe the company line, but she *still* can't make partner.

- He got another taste of "Slippin' Jimmy" in Chicago, and he doesn't want to let that go. He wants to use that aspect of his personality -- fast thinking on his feet and a bit of risk-taking.

- He's probably afraid of commitment and responsibility to some degree -- there's a reason he became Slippin' Jimmy in the first place, when he could have got a respectable job long ago.

I don't know if Jimmy himself realizes this yet, but he loves three things: being a lawyer, pulling cons, and helping people. The way for him to combine those into a career is to be Saul Goodman in his own office, not to be third-year-associate-with-a-chance-of-partnership Jimmy in the Santa Fe firm.
posted by mmoncur at 10:51 PM on April 7, 2015 [24 favorites]


I'm not going to work out what the odds are of drawing those exact B#'s in that order.

Funny enough, this calculation is easier than just picking the B's:

B2 : 1/64=.015625
B4 : 1/63=.015873
B12: 1/62=.016129
B7 : 1/61=.016393
B5 : 1/60=.016667
B8 : 1/59=.016949

B2-B4-B12-B7-B5-B8=(product of the above) 0.00000000185%

(This seems like a very low chance, but any specific group of 6 balls would have this same probability)
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:54 AM on April 8, 2015


Oh my god! Those are the coordinates on the Lotto ticket in Breaking Bad!!!!!






just kidding they aren't.
posted by ian1977 at 8:19 AM on April 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Really noticeable in this one how much longer they let scenes play than most other shows: the bingo, the Kennedy-half-dollar grift; there's an unflinching focus about it. (Chuck instructing Ernesto also plays slightly longer than it might in other shows, just to amp up the awkwardness.)

An interesting interview with Peter Gould touches on possible S2 directions:
The other thing that really surprised us was how much we liked Jimmy McGill. We root for this character in a way that I was never expecting. I was expecting Saul Goodman to be full of mischief and full of energy and fun, but I wasn't expecting to root for him and feel for him the way I feel for Jimmy. It's put us in an interesting place, because we've gotten to the point where we love Jimmy McGill. We like Saul Goodman, but we love Jimmy McGill. So what does that mean if we have a character we love who is going to metamorphasize into this amoral guy who is certainly likeable, but not necessarily someone you would root for? That's a real creative challenge, and it's one we're still working with, and it's not something that we expected.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:30 AM on April 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm so glad we got to see Jimmy and Hamlin make up.

Sepinwall's mention of smoking was interesting to me. Previously, I had strictly seen Jimmy's stolen puffs from Kim's cigarettes as a mark of their familiarity, but in this episode, which has him toying with his old life, he bums a whole smoke from somebody else. Maybe the show is pointing something out about knowing that something is bad for you and doing it anyway.
posted by heatvision at 8:32 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to read through prior FanFare posts, what everyone picked up on, and where we were duped.

I really liked the voice mail call-back (heh), which mirrored earlier in the series where Jimmy was trying to make it on his own beyond being a public defender. He'd come to his office, hoping for any voice messages, and nothing. Then he pulled the billboard stunt, and the calls came pouring in, but for a bunch of weird cases that would have been difficult to win and his pay was questionable (I really want some Big Ricky Sandia Bucks). But now that he has found his niche, he gets real calls for real clients, even if they're small dollar clients. He's a good guy, and he turns away from further cons and scams for those people who need help. He likes to help people, even if he doesn't get a huge return.

Well, at least until his conversation with Mike at the end, after the camera frames him in profile, looking right (east), to his past and he turns around and turns his back on the option to be part of a Big Law firm.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:48 AM on April 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


The other thing that really surprised us was how much we liked Jimmy McGill. We root for this character in a way that I was never expecting. I was expecting Saul Goodman to be full of mischief and full of energy and fun, but I wasn't expecting to root for him and feel for him the way I feel for Jimmy. It's put us in an interesting place, because we've gotten to the point where we love Jimmy McGill. We like Saul Goodman, but we love Jimmy McGill. So what does that mean if we have a character we love who is going to metamorphasize into this amoral guy who is certainly likeable, but not necessarily someone you would root for? That's a real creative challenge, and it's one we're still working with, and it's not something that we expected.

With all of its artistic merit and good story telling, I wonder if the series would have succeeded half as well without this unexpectedly wonderful component. I rarely do this for anything I've watched, even Breaking Bad, but I've watched a number of episodes of BCS twice in a row, simply because I missed the characters when they are gone.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:20 AM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would say Breaking Bad was the cartoonish one.

I find both BB and BCS to be fabulous live action graphic novels, which, in addition to the I suppose we'd call it human elements and cultural/societal/spiritual insights, is why it's so entertaining. The bingo sequence could very easily be a few panels in a few pages of a graphic novel.

Sure, both series definitely bleed into the unlikely, improbable, and fantastic, but it's a lot of fun, and miles better than major network shows. I'm not expecting The Wire when I watch these, but I am expecting great stories, some insight, etc.

I am aware that Watchmen has gotten some literary respect as it were, but fortunately, the same sort of genre, if you will, in television, gets the respect it deserves, which is a lot, when it's done well, which in the case of BB and BCS, it very much is.
posted by juiceCake at 10:14 AM on April 8, 2015 [1 favorite]




Kevin McFarland, BoingBoing:
What “Marco” argues, subtly, over the course of an hour without ever coming out and saying it directly, is that the price Chuck exacted from Jimmy all those years ago may have overcompensated for the life Jimmy was leading as a petty con man. In yoking Jimmy to a job in the mailroom, he thought he’d have control over his brother’s destiny, but instead he both gave Jimmy ambition to alter his life considerably and a spot to aim for that Chuck could never accept due to his tragically limited view of Jimmy’s abilities.
He notes the Chekhov's cough, something I also noticed as rather clunky foreshadowing: every time Marco coughed and clutched his chest was a "this isn't going to go well for this guy" signpost.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:00 PM on April 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, can I say how much I love the Bob Barker microphone Jimmy uses?

I was thinking Gene Rayburn, but I knew that wasn't quite right.

I guess I had failed to pay attention to the credits during his previous appearance but it was a genuine shock to me to realize that Marco is also Todd from Last Man On Earth.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:09 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Finally got to see it, and it was brilliant. No problem with the turn at all. I see it like Irina's turn in Gorky Park when Arkady shows her the reconstructed heads of her dead friends and she has to confront the fact that everything she's believed in is a lie.

The thing is, that week in Chicago wasn't just the best week in Marco's life. It was the best week Jimmy had had in a decade. He dipped a finger in the slippin' and slipped in. After that, the partner track lawyer job is just standpipes.

Remember when Jimmy talked the saketeboarders down from a death sentence to six moths' probation? BEST LAWYER EVER, he declared, and that's the kind of lawyer he wants to be. Not the plodding corporate kind, the spectacular kind. He'd probably love to represent OJ but the drug thugs will do. They need his skills more than innocent people do. They need more skill than innocent people do. That's a thing his brilliant corporate lawyer brother can't do. And so for the first time in maybe ever, Jimmy has an idea how he can do honest work that he can take pride in, without it being a suck up to the respect he now knows his brother will never give him.
posted by localroger at 7:17 PM on April 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


They need more skill than innocent people do. That's a thing his brilliant corporate lawyer brother can't do.

Kinda makes you wonder what he could have done for the Kettlemans if they had hired him in the first place.
posted by isthmus at 8:54 PM on April 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here's the cliffhanger: Is the "thing that's never stopping [him] again" the need for Chuck's approval? Or is he really turning his back on doing "the right thing"?

I.e. is he going to be his own vision of "best lawyer ever" or is he gonna be the chimp with the machine gun on the hunt for suckers? Chuck may not be able to tell the difference, but we can. And I think we're still set up to root for some form of redemption for Jimmy.
posted by whuppy at 6:50 AM on April 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I misread isthmus' question about Jimmy working for the Kettlemans if they hired him the first place, and thought the question was about HHM hiring him in the beginning. In response to that question, I don't think he'd play well with others, and he'd piss off his brother, who said that "The law is sacred! If you abuse that power, people get hurt." Except "good" lawyers use loopholes and legalities to get rich, guilty clients off all the time.

So we're back to "good criminals and bad cops," the fact that your job doesn't make you who you are, which Chuck can't see. He only sees good lawyers and bad lawyers, as in those who did their work to get where they are and those who took shortcuts and "abuse the power" of the law.

But back to the question of the Kettlemans hiring him in the beginning - he wouldn't have done better than Kim, because 16 months sounds like an amazing deal for embezzling 1.6 million dollars and doing a terrible job of covering his trails. Craig was no brains, it was all Betsy, who could control him with a touch on the hand. And we saw Jimmy frantically looking through his law books for any prior case that might shed light on the case before him. In the end, even the slightly matured end-of-season Jimmy couldn't think of anything beyond getting the money back, going as far as to pay back what he spent, making the total whole again. Really, I think the Kettlemans got the best of everything - a chance to "camp out" for a few nights, live that dream of getting away with their ill-gotten gains, they'll be kept out of the news, and Craig will be back home in less than two years, instead of up to 30.


he going to be his own vision of "best lawyer ever" or is he gonna be the chimp with the machine gun on the hunt for suckers?

I don't see that a chimp with a machine gun could hunt. Rather, it seems that image portrays shots fired wildly everywhere, hurting good people and bad people alike. I think Chuck's point was that law is too powerful to wield without real control and understanding; you can't stake short cuts with the law, Slippin' Jimmy style.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:17 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


One question: the offering of a mimosa to the ladies who were duped by the Kevin Costner bit, he was offering them spoiled orange juice, right? I didn't see any champagne around.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:29 AM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I rarely thought my (ill-spent?) days gaming would come in handy, but:

Chuck is Lawful Good. A Paladin: cool powers but a real asshole to be around.

That last scene with Mike? That's Jimmy slippin' again but this time from Chaotic Neutral to that rarest of alignments, True Neutral.
posted by digitalprimate at 11:09 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


And really, True Neutral is a constant transient state requiring active, vigilant slippage in order to not land one way or the other.
posted by Abon Sapi at 11:30 AM on April 9, 2015


Wouldn't Chuck be lawful evil? He's not a particularly good guy. I wouldn't even call him neutral.
posted by bleep at 11:30 AM on April 9, 2015


"One question: the offering of a mimosa to the ladies who were duped by the Kevin Costner bit, he was offering them spoiled orange juice, right? I didn't see any champagne around."

I don't know where you're getting the idea that the orange juice was spoiled. I took his comment as a deliberate dig at the situation. "You thought you were getting Costner, turns out you got McGill."

You know, like someone would say, "C'mon in and grab yerself some filet mignon" as they gesture to the skillet full of ground chuck that they're browning. They were clearly not staying in a high-rent joint and I thought it was obvious he was being facetious.
posted by komara at 11:50 AM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't Chuck be lawful evil? He's not a particularly good guy. I wouldn't even call him neutral.

Based on what a douche he was to Ernesto about the fucking apples, I vote yes.

What's wrong with "Oh hey - one quick addition to the grocery list. If you see any Fujis can you grab some? I love those. Awesome. Thanks."

Being a Big Shot Partner does not give you the right to shit on people who work for you. In fact, it makes you scum. And reveals your true character.

I took his comment as a deliberate dig at the situation. "You thought you were getting Costner, turns out you got McGill."

Yeah, kind of "shame on you for being so self-centred that you didn't think to question why Kevin Costner or his manager would be staying in this crappy basement apartment. Boy, don't you feel stupid."

He conned the woman, yeah. But he didn't take advantage, as far as we know.

Just like his other scams, you don't have to take the wallet, bid on the coin, or go home with someone claiming to be Kevin Costner. You can always walk away. But if you're greedy, you won't. The marks opt in, at least as far as the ethical universe of Jimmy McGill is concerned.

So that skews his alignment somewhere into the good-ish spectrum of neutrality, or even chaos. Evil, absolutely not.

Then again, I'd almost be willing to make the case for chaotic good: "Chaotic Good characters always intend to do the right thing, but their methods are generally disorganized and often out of sync with the rest of society. They may create conflict in a team if they feel they are being pushed around, and often view extensive organization and planning as pointless, preferring to improvise."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:06 PM on April 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think chaotic good is right for Jimmy. He thrives on chaos and leans towards good. Whereas Chuck thrives on law and leads towards bad.
posted by bleep at 12:08 PM on April 9, 2015


Being a Big Shot Partner does not give you the right to shit on people who work for you.

Wow that was a totally different read than I got. So being curt instead of overly polite means he was shitting in his employee? And now you've gone and made me defend the guy who was shitty to his brother instead of being honest in the first place.
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:09 PM on April 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think Chuck was deliberately, consciously treating Ernie badly even though the poor guy was obviously feeling very uncomfortable as Chuck went on and on. He was just being incredibly socially awkward and condescending as he tried to balance a request for a specific kind of apple -- which is fair enough -- with a desire not to appear demanding, which basically turned him into this.
posted by maudlin at 8:35 PM on April 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Wow that was a totally different read than I got. So being curt instead of overly polite means he was shitting in his employee? And now you've gone and made me defend the guy who was shitty to his brother instead of being honest in the first place.

I may have to rewatch that scene, but I read it as him turning the fact he was getting apples that were too tart into some personal failing. But I freely admit this is a visceral reaction to his tone and delivery.

He was just being incredibly socially awkward and condescending as he tried to balance a request for a specific kind of apple -- which is fair enough -- with a desire not to appear demanding, which basically turned him into this.

Funny, that. I've always read Bill Lumberg's TPS cover page lecture the way I read Chuck's, too. Unintentionally or not, there's something in both Chuck and Lumberg's speeches, something in their delivery and tone, that I absorb as a little twist of the knife that says "you're totally incompetent, aren't you?" but without coming out an explicitly saying it. I read it as a power trip coupled with a certain moral cowardice.

So it could be that some lousy work experiences are colouring my reading of it and leave me in danger of being crushed under the weight of my own cynicism.

Mind you, I can understand a different reading of the Chuck/Ernie scene. It makes complete sense. I just can't feel it.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:06 AM on April 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I read it as a power trip coupled with a certain moral cowardice.

Oh, I find your interpretation completely plausible, and phrased better than mine.
posted by maudlin at 8:10 AM on April 10, 2015


Chuck is brilliant and very detail oriented. He wants things a certain way, he needs things a certain way, and he can't understand when people don't take Very Important Details as seriously as he does. The same way that Jimmy doesn't take the law in the serious fashion Chuck thinks it deserves. He is accustomed to being disappointed because his standards are so high people rarely meet them. He's just trying to be helpful by suggesting that Ernie write things down.

I am Chuck, in this sense, but I try not to be such a jerk about it. Just this morning I texted my SO, "where are these certain pillows that are usually on the couch?" because I am used to things a certain way and if they are not that way I get a bit agitated. You guys, I might be a little bit of a jerk, tho, sorry. Chuck was totally the surprise standout character for me this season and McKean's acting is really perfect.
posted by bobobox at 8:34 AM on April 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's fine to want things a certain way and to say so but its cowardly and phony and patronizing to dance around it and make the other person stand there and try to guess, as if it's completely obvious and not just something you came up with.
posted by bleep at 9:59 AM on April 10, 2015


You guys, I might be a little bit of a jerk, tho, sorry.

Nah. Now THIS would be jerkiness:

"What made you think moving those pillows off the couch was a good idea?"

But yeah, McKean has been awesome to watch in that role.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:32 AM on April 10, 2015


"McKean has been awesome to watch in that role."

I don't particularly care for McKean. I mean, I don't dislike him or anything, he just never resonated with me. I see his face and I'm all like, "oh, it's ... that guy. From those movies with those other guys." That's how I felt about him the first two or maybe even three episodes of Better Call Saul in which he appeared.

Now? Now he's 100% Chuck McGill. Absolutely nailed the part. I'll have a hard time un-seeing him after this.
posted by komara at 11:25 AM on April 10, 2015


One little thing I like about Chuck's Fuji apples bit was that it ultimately ties into the bigger plot and Jimmy's decision at the end. It was basically a demonstration of what it would be like to be at the bottom of the totem pole working for Chuck, or most supervising partners in that world. The "it's okay if you write this down" in particular seemed like a tip of the hand toward an analogy for being a low-level associate at this certain kind of white-shoe firm (and from what I could tell, Ernesto was.) In a way, it's clueing the viewer in to the world that Jimmy experienced for years as the mail guy at HHM. Jimmy has a good idea of how he will be treated as a new associate at the Sante Fe firm based on his experiences, and it's not particularly inviting. Nor can we, as viewers getting a peek into Jimmy's personality, endure much of him being passive-agressively shit on in a corporate setting. We can handle seeing Kim in that setting, because she's more or less game for what it takes. But I don't think any of us can see Jimmy thriving in such a place all that easily, as good of a lawyer/advocate as he would no doubt be.
posted by naju at 11:25 AM on April 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


Related to my last comment: what is it about Vince Gilligan that he can take (primarily) comedic actors like Michael McKean and Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk and coax and nourish these incredible dramatic performances from them?
posted by komara at 11:27 AM on April 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Michael McKeen did the Morris Fletcher character in X-Files - a wonderful scum-baggy role.
posted by porpoise at 1:04 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was so glad Jimmy chose to become Saul as I'd spent the whole episode dreading the inevitable bad luck which would force him down that path.

Never be ashamed of who you are.
posted by fullerine at 11:01 AM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nah, Chuck should be ashamed of who he is.
posted by Monochrome at 2:00 PM on April 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Chuck is brilliant and very detail oriented. He wants things a certain way, he needs things a certain way, and he can't understand when people don't take Very Important Details as seriously as he does. The same way that Jimmy doesn't take the law in the serious fashion Chuck thinks it deserves. He is accustomed to being disappointed because his standards are so high people rarely meet them.

And what's more is that Chuck can't even meet them himself. His "illness" seems to be some kind of extreme psychosomatic condition that just happens to give him an excuse to check out of living life. He doesn't have to live up to his own standards, and hey -- it's not his fault! For reasons wholly outside of his control, all he can do is sit on the sidelines and just judge the hell out of everyone else all day. Why, if he could go out there, by God, he'd show them all how it's really done...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:33 AM on April 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Related to my last comment: what is it about Vince Gilligan that he can take (primarily) comedic actors like Michael McKean and Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk and coax and nourish these incredible dramatic performances from them?

I would submit that Odenkirk has always had a (not-always-utilized) talent for disappearing into characters, and that it's part of his comedic chops: see, e.g., the last donut or (same character) "I said, 'what.'" or even the iguana skit.

Which is apparently what Gilligan noticed, too, per this AV Club interview:
It’s testament to Vince Gilligan spotting something in me when it wasn’t very easily displayed. I’ve asked him why he gave me the part in the first place and he says Mr. Show. I personally can look at things like “Prenatal Pageant” and say that I think that performance was pretty modulated and good and kind of deep for a comedy sketch. It was played with complete commitment, but the chances that anyone would notice that outside of my own instincts on it are surprising. Really, deeply surprising. Shocking. So the fact that Vince gave me the chance—it’s a testament to Vince seeing what is on the surface and maybe what it indicates on another level.
While I'm down this rabbit hole, am I over-reaching to think that the "Hail Satan" last episode and the "Dalai Lama's got nothing on me" in this one are tiny Mr. Show callbacks? If not, are there more I've missed?
posted by felix grundy at 10:31 AM on April 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


The podcast for the finale is finally up!
posted by sparkletone at 9:32 AM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


So when is season two coming out? I'm ready to go.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:24 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I called yesterday, "The Saddest Monday."
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:09 PM on April 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I decided to re-watch the season from the beginning, to look at it all with eyes that are informed by how the season ends. What struck me right off the bat is how utterly excruciating it must have been for Jimmy to be working at Cinnabon, in light of the major sacrifices he made to have the kind of work life that he considered meaningful. Instead of looking disgruntled now, he looks like he's in a special type of hell that he helped create.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:42 PM on April 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I just noticed in episode two that it's really clear that Jimmy understands there is a direct connection between his conman days and Chuck's illness.
Why are you in that space blanket?

I told you... you brought your cellphone into my house.

Uh, Chuck, um, did you... [Sighs] Chuck, did you read this?

Read what? Uh, this, um, this bill... did you read it?

Emergency-room bill...

Yeah, I may have glanced at it. It fell out of your pocket.

Hey, Chuck, listen, I... I know how this looks. I'm down to my last dime, and, suddenly, I'm paying for broken legs, but... It's... it's not that. I swear. [Chuckles] This represents a good thing, ultimately.

Okay. I... I'm not backsliding. This isn't slippin' Jimmy.

Fine.

Take off the space blanket, will you, please, Chuck?

It helps.

Take off the space blanket.

I didn't do anything wrong.

It has nothing to do with that.

It was your phone. [Sighs]

Take off the space blanket.

Why?

Take off the space blanket, Chuck. Come on. Take off the blanket. [Grunts] Thank you.
The reason I bring this up is because I think there was speculation before on whether Jimmy's actions were the cause of chuck's illness. I think that not only is this right (at least in part), but Jimmy knew it was right. So, motivations for him being on the straight and narrow were not simply because he wanted his brother to be proud of him, but because he probably thought that his actions had the potential to hurt Chuck. So when he drives away at the end of the season, he's not only giving up on winning his brother's approval, he's also doing it knowing that it won't be good for Chuck. At this point, though, he's caught between two impossible scenarios: becoming a prestigious lawyer, and Chuck gets sick because Jimmy didn't deserve it; or becoming a conman, and Chuck gets sick as before. I think he was in a no-win situation, and he simply had to walk away from having responsibility for Chuck's illness and embrace what he deep down wanted to do.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:33 AM on April 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


What struck me right off the bat is how utterly excruciating it must have been for Jimmy to be working at Cinnabon

I still can't imagine why Jimmy has to actually work at a Cinnabon. Even if he somehow lost all of the money he got from Walt, there has to be a better undercover job. Okay, I can imagine one reason: Cinnabon must have paid a lot of money to be lengthily featured in the opening sequence of this hot new series.
posted by isthmus at 9:03 PM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't remember exactly why Saul took off at the end of Breaking Bad. What sort of heat falling upon him was he worried about? Was he worried about the law, or was he worried about Lydia's people, or was he worried about Todd and his gang? His fear at the bruiser at the Cinnabon suggested to me that he was scared of criminal retribution, not the police; it's too bad that he apparently doesn't know that Walt kinda tied up all the loose ends.
posted by painquale at 3:54 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mostly the law, IMO. The events at To'hajilee exposed Walt, and Saul would have come under intense scrutiny as a conspirator. (As indeed Skyler, who stayed, did.)

Although like you say, his paranoia at the Cinnabon does suggest he's still afraid of retribution from past associates. Walt was national news, so presumably Saul/Gene would know about the events of the finale. Maybe he's afraid there's buddies of the neonazis out there looking for payback?

All that said though: I think the Cinnabon opening was mostly fanservice.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:21 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


So I re-watched episode three, and it includes the flashback when Chuck gets Jimmy out of jail. What totally slipped my mind is that at that time Chuck does tell Jimmy that he has the chance to be labeled a sex offender, and Jimmy does explaine that he did a "Chicago Sunroof." No additional details about this are provided.

It seems that this slang term was totally made up for the show (Urban Dictionary (warning: you may not want to confirm this for yourself, some entries are vile) lists the earliest reference to this in March of 2015, when the show started, and all of the references after are various incorrect guesses until the show airs Jimmy's amazing monologue about the event on 4/6/15). So apparently you were supposed to think about his arrest in somewhat vague yet transgressive terms until the great reveal. I had forgotten that any details were given at all, and as such, didn't realize that we should have continued to wonder what that all might have been about.

I also found it interesting that Chuck said this, when he agrees to help Jimmy:
Chuck: Jimmy, if I do this... If... Do not make a fool out of me.
Jimmy: I promise I wont.
It ends up that Chuck does think that Jimmy makes a fool out of him, but not in the way that the original context of the discussion suggests. This is what puts Jimmy in a no-win situation at the end of the season.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:33 PM on April 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Episode five:

Chuck is in the hospital, trying to convince the staff that his sensitivity to electricity is a real thing, listing off all of his symptoms. He is trying to prevent the diagnosis that this is simply a mental issue that requires psychiatric commitment. The doctor asks Chuck when this all started, and Chuck says about 18 months ago. Cut to Jimmy, who clearly looks a bit sheepish. At this point, based on Jimmy's reaction, we infer that it's the time that Jimmy started working with Chuck again, or Jimmy secured Chuck's help regarding his legal troubles. Jimmy knows that it's a psychiatric condition that has much to do with him. This confirms the interpretation above about episode three, where Jimmy has already put the pieces together regarding how his own actions impact Chuck's health. Chuck always tries to pass it off as a real physical condition, but Jimmy knows it's much about him and his behavior. This is why Jimmy hides the paper in episode four so Chuck can't find it. It's also why, when Chuck goes to great lengths to find the paper and confirm Jimmy's extracurricular activities, the episode ends with Chuck wrapping his head with the tinfoil blanket more intently upon his realization of Jimmy's shenanigans.

Cut ahead a couple of minutes, the doctor wants Chuck to be committed. Jimmy starts to leave the room to talk to talk to the doctor, and Chuck says to Jimmy: "I just want to go home." This is a clear reversal of the time in episode three where Jimmy begs Chuck intently to help him stay out of jail. Now Jimmy is advocating for Chuck, as his brother did for him, to keep him out of involuntary psychiatric commitment.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:34 PM on April 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Right at the end of episode five, Jimmy has a cordial interaction with Mike as he leaves the parking structure. It was nice and was with mutual respect, as Jimmy has all his stickers. After, we see a subtle and almost nondescript scene in which Mike trades his work post in the early morning light with the next worker as she comes in to sit in his place in the booth. This is EXACTLY the half-way point of the entire season. At this point, we know that the story ramps up to interweave the stories of both Mike and Jimmy, with the gentle hand-off to Mike at this point as this weaving starts to take place.

Man, this show is a well thought out piece of art.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:57 PM on April 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I haven't listened to it yet but, the latest episode of the Nerdist Writer's Panel is a BCS one and features: Peter Gould, Thomas Schnauz, Gennifer Hutchison, Gordon Smith, and special guest Michael McKean.
posted by sparkletone at 11:43 PM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]




Fantastic link, TMOTAT. I'd totally forgotten about how much color played a role in BB.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:54 PM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am Vince Gilligan, ask me anything. A few of the answers are about Better Call Saul specifically, including...
What other characters from Breaking Bad might we see in Better Call Saul?

Anybody and everybody. The sky’s the limit! That’s the beauty of this format. The story takes place six years in the past, where all the Breaking Bad characters are alive and well, but that’s not to promise that you’ll see every character that we introduced in Breaking Bad. We’re still feeling our way through Jimmy McGill’s format, discovering how and why he becomes Saul Goodman -- and in the process, there's any number of directions our story can take. So I couldn’t really tell you even if I wanted to who will show up, or when. Better Call Saul is still very much a work in progress.
posted by Nelson at 4:22 PM on April 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


The Visual Echoes Between Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad Go Deeper Than You Imagined, edited by Jacob T. Swinney
posted by growabrain at 2:48 PM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


growabrain, I think that would make a very good FPP by itself, and a great one with a little more meat.

I've said here before that I thought Vince Gilligan was producing some Coen Bros-level work, but this video reminded it's not just VG. VG and his Director of Photography, Michael Slovis, are TV's Coen Bros & Roger Deakins.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:49 AM on October 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought the Chekhov's cough was telegraphed a bit too hard, and the heart attack pulled me out of the story a bit, but still this was a very strong season and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Also, I'm pretty sure that's Jesse's basement (where they had the lab, and the, ah, bike lock) re-dressed to be Marco's basement in Chicago.
posted by johnofjack at 7:12 PM on January 6, 2016


Also, I'm not going to post this in the commentary on the first episode--even as a cryptic comment, it'd point out that there's something to figure out--but after watching through the first season and then starting again from the beginning, in the first episode it was obvious to me what Chuck was really after when he mentioned Jimmy needing to change his name. I think Chuck may have been the one to raise the complaint with Hamlin, and that Chuck's consistently been using Hamlin to do his dirty work so that he wouldn't have to confront Jimmy directly.
posted by johnofjack at 6:21 PM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Agreed, when I rewatched the whole season Chuck felt more like a bad guy and Hamlin felt more like a good guy (or at least a neutral one) starting with Episode 1… Considering that the writers didn't even know what would happen when they wrote it, it's amazing how much it seems like they're foreshadowing Chuck's betrayal.
posted by mmoncur at 11:05 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just finished a second rewatch this weekend (new season coming soon!!)

I can't believe the difference in Hamlin's character on rewatch. I can't believe how much of what I thought was standard boilerplate mustache-twirling villainy just dissipates the second-time through. Lines that seemed to crackle with evil on first watch are barely mild frustration the second time. It's beautifully constructed and Patrick Fabian does an amazing job with it.

Yes, with the billboard stuff, Jimmy believes he's fighting Hamlin for the use of the McGill name, but he's really fighting Chuck. Hamlin goes through the motions on Chuck's behalf, but barely fights the name issue at all, just the rest of it (the logo, the Hamlindigo blue, the outfit). (And later when Sandpiper's legal counsel calls Jimmy in the dumpster, that lawyer does ask if Jimmy is related to Chuck.)

It's beautifully done, the whole show. But the Hamlin turnaround is quite amazing.
posted by aabbbiee at 7:47 AM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I rewatched the first season recently too, and it's such a beautiful slow build to the final shot of Jimmy driving away from the courthouse. Very little happens in the first season, plot-wise: there are two episodes dealing with the skate punks and Tuco, two episodes that revolve around the Kettlemen, one episode with Mike's backstory, and the remaining 5 episodes are about Jimmy trying to care for and/or please Chuck. When he realizes that Chuck is actively hampering his career as a lawyer, it hits like a ton of bricks. I can't wait for the new season to start.
posted by donajo at 10:00 AM on February 15, 2016


Episode five:

Chuck is in the hospital, trying to convince the staff that his sensitivity to electricity is a real thing, listing off all of his symptoms. He is trying to prevent the diagnosis that this is simply a mental issue that requires psychiatric commitment. The doctor asks Chuck when this all started, and Chuck says about 18 months ago. Cut to Jimmy, who clearly looks a bit sheepish. At this point, based on Jimmy's reaction, we infer that it's the time that Jimmy started working with Chuck again, or Jimmy secured Chuck's help regarding his legal troubles.


I think we can surmise that Chuck's affliction is caused by Jimmy, but this timeline doesn't work. Chuck bails Jimmy out, and takes him to ABQ, to work in the mail room. Jimmy finishes his undergrad, then gets accepted to University of American Samoa (Go LandCrabs!), fails the bar twice, and then passes. Finishing the degree (assume one semester, 6 months), law school (3 years), three tries at the bar (18 months), you're at a mimimum 5 years of the ten.

I theorize (and I haven't looked to see whether this would be true or not anywhere else) that Chuck's troubles began when Jimmy passed the bar, because he couldn't bear to have someone as untrustworthy as Jimmy share the same degree, the same responsibility.

What a great show. Can't wait to start on Season 2!
posted by China Grover at 6:30 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I finally got around to watching this! And found it amazing, of course. One thing I didn't see mentioned is that despite it all, Jimmy still cares very deeply about Chuck's well-being: making sure Hamlin will continue to take care of everything down to giving him details on when to pick up which newspapers, dropping by the house to see how he's getting by with Ernesto's help even though he can't bring himself to go in and check on Chuck in person. And in my mind, this has to be another factor in Jimmy throwing away the Santa Fe opportunity: because Jimmy's not really "done" with Chuck, not in his heart, and taking the Santa Fe job means he won't be in Albuquerque if Chuck needs him. He could have taken Marco's advice and headed back to Chicago to make bank as a lawyer in Slippin' Jimmy's old stomping grounds if this turn was all about slipping back into the con life and walking away from Chuck. He was right on the cusp of success yet again, and had to leave it on the table yet again, last time to help Kim come back from the cornfield and this time because he couldn't leave Chuck at more than arm's length. But his week with Marco reminded him that there's opportunity for a kind of success in Slippin' Jimmy, and this first step towards Saul is a way to get there and fulfill his family obligations.

Speaking of Marco, ever since I first saw his comedic chops as maybe the best part of a middling show in Running Wilde, I've really wanted Mel Rodriguez to play Harcourt Fenton Mudd in the Star Trek reboot movies. And I want it more than ever after seeing him as a conman.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:08 PM on April 22, 2016


I don't know if Jimmy himself realizes this yet, but he loves three things: being a lawyer, pulling cons, and helping people. The way for him to combine those into a career is to be Saul Goodman in his own office, not to be third-year-associate-with-a-chance-of-partnership Jimmy in the Santa Fe firm.

Man, know thyself.

Which is where I feel like Jimmy's going wrong, shifting from accepting Chuck's vision of him to accepting Marco's. Mike is a different kind of Oracle. And I dread Jimmy's discovery process--what if Saul is the result of fundamentally misunderstanding himself?
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:38 PM on July 29, 2017


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