Better Call Saul: Cobbler
February 22, 2016 8:06 PM - Season 2, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Not all rides are created equal.

Mike sets a dummy straight. Jimmy reconsiders his options when Chuck reappears, and is inclined to follow his muse.
posted by mandolin conspiracy (82 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I might be able to contribute some thoughtful commentary if the term "squatcobbler" didn't keep making me laugh involuntarily.
posted by usonian at 8:53 PM on February 22, 2016 [11 favorites]


I almost rolled off the couch during that scene. Callback to "Chicago sunroof."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:04 PM on February 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Never not good. Man, I love this show.

So is his new boss the anti-Chuck? Playing his guitar versus Chuck's piano and taking Jimmy's value as a lawyer seriously?

Jimmy's connection with Kim is sweet, and brutally honest. I like their relationship. The hand on the leg that calmed Jimmy felt heartwarming.

Mike is in fine form. All the plot points work. He's still tough as nails and surprising.

Chucks saying he was there to "bear witness." Stop being a jerk, Chuck! Very ominous. What will that be to? Also, what was the significance with his pausing at the metronome? Is it a literally "playing with time" that prompted him to respond quickly to the situation, and thus why he shows up at the firm?

It felt good to have bad-lawyer-man stick up for Jimmy in front of Chuck.

We see glimmerings of Saul as he continues to feel the tension between Kim's expectations and Chuck's. Those are the pressure points that will eventually create Saul Goodman.

I thought for sure his new car work was going to be a Cadillac.

A couple of interesting shots:

1. Jimmy looking through the sunroof.

2. Jimmy being well received by his boss. I think the big thing Jimmy was stuttering over is if his boss knows his background, and if he would extend him the grace his brother didn't if he knew if.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:59 PM on February 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


I liked how the Mercedes doesn't "fit" Jimmy -- the cupholder won't hold his cup, and the sunroof just reminds him of Chicago...

Watching the very well-telegraphed beginning of the end of Jimmy and Kim's relationship is painful.

Chuck is in full evil mode now and Mr. Hamlin even tried to defend Jimmy against him... I'm worried he'll try to torpedo Jimmy's job before Jimmy torpedoes it himself.

I don't think Jimmy really has to "become" Saul Goodman at this point... His performance for Pryce / Daniel / Walter off-white was pure Saul. All that has to happen is for him to lose Jimmy McGill and Saul will be what's left.

Kim seemed a bit hypocritical hearing the Squat Cobbler story -- she's OK with Jimmy Lying to the cops to help a drug dealer avoid prosecution but manufacturing evidence crosses some kind of invisible line. In a certain way Kim and Chuck almost have less of a moral code than Saul does. His code might not match the legal one, but he has a code, and he's doomed to eternally wonder why nobody else--except maybe Mike--understands that.

(And the manufactured evidence might not even be something that would get him disbarred--he didn't present it in court, after all, and his client wasn't even under arrest.)

- Just caught something: Ed Begley Jr. tells Jimmy "I hope you've got a way to decompress. Everybody needs something." Jimmy's something is defending incompetent drug dealers...
posted by mmoncur at 1:34 AM on February 23, 2016 [9 favorites]


It's funny that they've got Ed Begley Jr. playing the anti-Chuck. I've always gotten him confused with Micheal McKean, like I often think of them as being the same person. I suppose I'm not the only one.

If there aren't 18 new bands named "Squat Cobbler" by now I'd be very surprised.

Loved the cup holder scene. This whole "2nd best lawyer" thing just doesn't fit.

So it's going to be Chuck that pushes Jimmy away from the legit law firm and towards Saul Goodman and then Kim will break it off with him, making his transformation to the dark side complete.

I could watch Mike do anything. Imaging Mike in a Bob Ross style painting TV show. How awesome would that be? Mike rules. I enjoyed his scene with Nacho. They both know what an idiot the Yo-Yo master is and even though they're not allies they agree to work together.

Really that was one of the most enjoyable episodes of a show that is almost always enjoyable.
posted by bondcliff at 5:58 AM on February 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


I like that they showed that Saul, er, Jimmy is good at his new job. From client outreach to incisive legal reasoning, there's no question he could fit in and cut the mustard.
posted by whuppy at 6:28 AM on February 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


Is there a word for the sort of fanfiction where you replace Kirk and Spock? Because Jimmy and Mike are totally Kirk and Spock.
posted by whuppy at 6:41 AM on February 23, 2016


It's amazing how this managed to be a rock-solid episode that moved Jimmy's story forwards, sideways, and all over all over the place and still managed to be a total Mike episode, too. Could anyone else have played Mike? I just can't imagine anyone else in this role other than Jonathan Banks.

I liked how the Mercedes doesn't "fit" Jimmy -- the cupholder won't hold his cup

And it was the cup Kim gave him so I was saying Fit! Fit! Fit! even though I knew it wouldn't. Like you said, the beginning of the end. I think Kim wants him to be someone she now realizes he really isn't, or at least won't be. Oh, and seeing bondcliff's comment about how being the 2nd best lawyer not fitting is also a great interpretation. God what a great show.

Howard meant well by going to Chuck's, but I'm afraid that set things in motion that can't be taken back.

It's funny that they've got Ed Begley Jr. playing the anti-Chuck. I've always gotten him confused with Micheal McKean, like I often think of them as being the same person. I suppose I'm not the only one.

It also reminded me of when he played Stan Sitwell on Arrested Developmet, who was the anti-George Sr. He and McKean are in all the Christopher Guest movies together (and Spinal Tap) so it would be easy to mix them up.

It felt good to have bad-lawyer-man stick up for Jimmy in front of Chuck.

Do you mean Howard? I think he's been the good guy all along, no?
posted by Room 641-A at 6:47 AM on February 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


Do you mean Howard? I think he's been the good guy all along, no?

Yes, I guess this was the big reveal at the end of the second season. I'm still smarting from how badly it felt like Howard treated him earlier on. Here I think they take him even further and put him out on the really decent end of the spectrum, almost closer to the other characters we like.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:59 AM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


If there aren't 18 new bands named "Squat Cobbler" by now I'd be very surprised.

I wonder if one of the secret goals of the writers is trying to see how many new definitions they can get on Urban Dictionary over the course of the show.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:03 AM on February 23, 2016 [13 favorites]


Here I think they take him even further

It looks like I lost a paragraph but yes, they really went out if their way to do this which is bittersweet because Howard's visit probably set into motion events that can't be undone, for better or worse. Probably worse.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:12 AM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wonder if one of the secret goals of the writers is trying to see how many new definitions they can get on Urban Dictionary over the course of the show.

You should ask Kelley Dixon to address this on the podcast.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:16 AM on February 23, 2016


(And the manufactured evidence might not even be something that would get him disbarred--he didn't present it in court, after all, and his client wasn't even under arrest.)

Is there a lawyer who can weigh in on the ethics of this? Does the fact that he's spinning a story to dissuade police from formally investigating, rather than manufacturing evidence that will be used in trial, make a difference? If not, it's an interesting contrast with how the police can lie through their teeth to get Cobblerman to voluntarily self-incriminate.
posted by cardboard at 7:19 AM on February 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


In my head I'm now hearing "Squat Cobbler" sung by the B52s in place of "Rock Lobster."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:17 AM on February 23, 2016 [16 favorites]


Do you mean Howard? I think he's been the good guy all along, no?


Good to Jimmy, yes, except when Jimmy forced his hand. But did you notice the bacon floating in the cooler when he refilled the ice? The guy doesn't actually care about Chuck.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:52 AM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is there a lawyer who can weigh in on the ethics of this?

Totally unethical. I think Kim's reaction (and, really, her whole character) were very accurate for how this would have played out between two lawyer friends.

NM Rules of Professional Conduct:
A lawyer shall not engage, or counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent or which misleads the court, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.
[...]
In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly:

(a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or

(b) fail to disclose a material fact to a third person when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client, unless disclosure is prohibited by Rule 16-106.
And, why Kim would say she can't hear about these kinds of things:
A lawyer having knowledge that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:02 AM on February 23, 2016 [15 favorites]


Is there a lawyer who can weigh in on the ethics of this? Does the fact that he's spinning a story to dissuade police from formally investigating, rather than manufacturing evidence that will be used in trial, make a difference?

I guess it doesn't make that much of a difference who actually makes up a cover story, since the communication between a lawyer and client is privileged and inadmissible. Fabricating evidence is a lot riskier since it's much more likely to fall apart if the police were to investigate it. This felt pretty authentic to me, but I'd also be interested to hear from someone actually involved in the legal system.
posted by zixyer at 10:03 AM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


As much as I enjoyed it I was kind of questioning why he even needed to come up with the whole squat cobbler story.

Wouldn't it be enough for the lawyer to say "he got his cards back. It's not illegal to have a hiding place in one's home or to drive a Hummer. There's no reason for further questions."

Or did they have enough PC, given their suspicion and whatever dumb things Walter Off-White already told them?

Yes, I realize they did it all to move the plot forward and for entertainment and to get the phrase "Squat Cobbler" into the lexicon but it didn't really seem necessary.
posted by bondcliff at 10:47 AM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Legally, you're right: there's no PC, only several things to raise suspicion (hidey-hole, flashy car, general evasiveness).
I would argue Jimmy is spinning his yarn of the cobblerite not to clear Off-White legally, but to remove his client from any suspicion and further scrutiny by giving the police a plausible but sordid explanation for Off-White's behaviour.
posted by cardboard at 11:15 AM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


I love Kim and Jimmy's relationship so much. She doesn't ask him to stop at the end of the episode, because she knows he won't - she just tells him that she can't know about it. I am not looking forward to watching things spectacularly fall apart.

And ugh, Chuck's "bear witness" thing (like SpacemanStix said). Yuck, yuck, yuck.
posted by minsies at 11:49 AM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


The writers have pulled off deft twists before, but two episodes into this season it seems likely that things are not going to end well for Kim; so far she's participated in the tequila scam* and now has knowledge of Jimmy's fabricating evidence. I also thought it was interesting and unfortunate that Howard made a point of mentioning to Chuck that Kim had pushed hard to hook Jimmy up at Davis & Main; I can imagine Chuck taking out his anger on her, since Jimmy's not around much anymore.

One way or another it seems like she's being set up to have her career destroyed as a result of Jimmy's actions, while Slipping Jimmy manages to come out in the free and clear but so disgusted with himself (and lacking Kim as a voice of restraint) that he burns the rest of his bridges and becomes Saul Goodman.

* We know that Ken Wins is a local and an opportunistic jerk. It's not hard to imagine him having sweet talked one or more senior citizens into investing their life's savings with him, and wouldn't it be interesting/awful if he got dragged into HHM or Davis & Main to be deposed over something related to the Sandpiper case?
posted by usonian at 12:06 PM on February 23, 2016 [10 favorites]


Was also curious about the piece Chuck was playing...Here we go:

In darkness, Chuck sits at the piano, his eyes gazing at the sheet music for “Sicilienne,” a piece originally composed (but never used) for a five-act comédie-ballet that skewers aristocratic snobbery. It was intended for piano and cello together; it is iterated here as a sad solo performance, sapped of its envisioned humor.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:21 PM on February 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


I want to see that video.
posted by essexjan at 1:09 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like this show more than Breaking Bad. Seeing that whole world again, minus the terrifying hubris of Walter White, is just so much *fun*.

Specific thoughts:
* I think Jimmy made up the 'squat cobbling' thing specifically to burn Walter Off-White. Mike presumably doesn't want the idiot talking to the cops about anything else later, and this burns that bridge in a way that also creates a hilarious, hilarious story. It feels like classic Slip Jimmy: cram as much fun into the scam as possible, while keeping it functional.

* Poor Kim. I concur that things are liable to end badly for her, while Jimmy gets away clean enough to become Saul.

* Man, Chuck is rotten.
posted by mordax at 1:15 PM on February 23, 2016 [9 favorites]


Oh oh oh who is Rebecca Bois?
posted by Room 641-A at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I want to see that video.

I can't really think of a better use for MeFi Jobs.
posted by bondcliff at 1:37 PM on February 23, 2016 [9 favorites]


* I think Jimmy made up the 'squat cobbling' thing specifically to burn Walter Off-White. Mike presumably doesn't want the idiot talking to the cops about anything else later, and this burns that bridge in a way that also creates a hilarious, hilarious story. It feels like classic Slip Jimmy: cram as much fun into the scam as possible, while keeping it functional.

Totally agree.

Let's watch the the scene again.

I love how he keeps baiting the hook for the cops.

"The world is a rich tapestry, my friends."

I said that to someone at work today, and it just drew a blank stare.

God, I love this show.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:43 PM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


I can't really think of a better use for MeFi Jobs.

Would you get different results west of the Rockies?

Also, crybaby squat or non?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:45 PM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Let's start with the big question: do the squat cobbler videos exist?

Proksch: It's something I know people will want to see, and Vince [Gilligan] and [executive producer Peter Gould] have hinted on the podcast that you may somehow, some way, at some point, get to see them -- if they do indeed exist. I will say this, though: if they do exist, they'll be some of the most disturbing things you will ever see.
posted by Knappster at 1:48 PM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


I now desperately want an excuse to use "Squat Cobbler" as an online name. Also:

Walter Off-White

I'm inordinately pleased people are still using this.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:09 PM on February 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


Let's watch the the scene yt again.

I missed that its full name is the Hoboken Squat Cobbler!
posted by Room 641-A at 2:13 PM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ooh! Looks like ep 202 of the Insider podcast is now available. BRB, gonna learn more about Hoboken Squat Cobbler/Boston Splat/etc.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:24 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would pay to have my username changed to Squat Cobbler!
posted by areaperson at 4:09 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's no way Squat Cobbler isn't a riff on Cake Farts. Really really really NSFW.
posted by yellowbinder at 4:31 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jimmy told the interrogating officers that he was not there as the lawyer for Daniel Warmolt, but only there as a friend, for moral support or something. How does that affect the ethics of what he did?
posted by Chitownfats at 4:53 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jimmy interrupts Chuck's piano to the extent that the delivering of the news of Jimmy taking a partner-track job and the rumination upon same means that he can't focus on the piano.

Jimmy interrupts Ed Begely's guitar to give him some news that could win the case (I guess I don't know contract law from a hole in the ground).

I'm glad Gilligan and Co. are still fucking around with POV shots.
posted by angrycat at 5:08 PM on February 23, 2016 [7 favorites]


Jimmy told the interrogating officers that he was not there as the lawyer for Daniel Warmolt, but only there as a friend, for moral support or something. How does that affect the ethics of what he did?

I'd be shocked if that impacted anything melissasaurus said above. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure a lawyer can't just say 'this is for entertainment purposes only' when interacting with the police on the direct behalf of a third party. (Even if that is somehow a thing, it's still got to be grounds for termination at his new firm - he's engaging in visibly shady behavior that could harm their reputation.)
posted by mordax at 5:23 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, I'm sure it would say all sorts of bad about Jimmy, but I'm also pretty sure that the declaration of being legal representation, for a client, is a lot more than a mere formality.
posted by Chitownfats at 5:44 PM on February 23, 2016


When Jimmy said he was only there for moral support he wasn't serious: Jimmy and the cops already knew each other and it was all part of the police/lawyer dance. Cops know that once the target is lawyered up they're probably not going to get the voluntary confession they're hoping to get if the target is unrepresented.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:19 PM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


You're going way beyond what actually happened, reading into things. And I'm quite aware of the police fishing expedition. They screwed themselves when they accepted Jimmy's presence without him claiming to be in attendance as a lawyer. In your parlance, he told them specifically that he wasn't part of the dance, that he was there to help *them* as much as Warmolt. They were the unethical ones, questioning someone they wanted to be a suspect without the "dance" of Miranda rights, etc. There's no law compelling them to be honest, and there is no law compelling Jimmy either. They were the ones that turned an investigation into an unwarranted search, which got their blood up in the first place. Now, I think in a general sense, Jimmy, as an officer of the court, would face some censure, but the murkiness of Jimmy's careful framing of his presence in the interrogation room, and the cops' idiocy of even letting him blather and actually *swallowing* the story would prevent him of ever facing such.
posted by Chitownfats at 6:45 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jimmy told the interrogating officers that he was not there as the lawyer for Daniel Warmolt, but only there as a friend, for moral support or something. How does that affect the ethics of what he did?

My take was that he was definitely there as a lawyer (did he explicitly say otherwise?), but Walter Off-White having a lawyer there when the police haven't even hinted at pressing charges looks like a defensive move, which is suspicious. Saying "I'm here for moral support" is basically just dodging that suspicion a bit.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:46 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Look, to be part of that interrogation as a lawyer he would have actually had to declare himself as such, and have the assent of Warmolt to that fact. It isn't one of those "Oh, it goes without saying" things.
posted by Chitownfats at 6:52 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


For lawyer's ethics purposes, my understanding is that Jimmy's actions would at least create confusion over whether he is representing Off-White, such that even if there was no engagement letter or official "appearance" he is still required to treat it as an attorney-client relationship (hence why you'll often see the IANYL/TINLA disclaimers, though whether they effectively disclaim is another issue). There are a lot of restrictions on lawyers doing things that seem lawyer-esque while claiming to not be acting as a lawyer.

Regardless, he also has an ethical duty to the law and the profession that has nothing to do with an attorney-client relationship. And, he's probably prohibited from taking outside clients because the firm likely has a robust conflicts screening process (they'd have to make sure representing Off-White doesn't conflict with other clients or the firm's attorney's interests) and their malpractice insurance probably prohibits representing anyone outside of that process.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:00 PM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


What I love about Chuck's dickery is this: He's right. Not only that, we know he's right. We know that Jimmy ends up being the lawyer equivalent of a chimp with a machine gun, because we've already seen it.

I've always said that Breaking Bad is secretly a tragic comedy. Well, Saul is not-at-all secretly a comic tragedy, for the simple fact that we know how all of this turns out.

All the nonsense with Walter Off-White is hilarious, but ultimately that subplot ends (or does it??) with Jimmy keeping a guilty man out of jail, and compromising his legal ethics in the process. That's some dark stuff.

I also liked that last episode ended on Jimmy in a room by himself flicking a light switch off and on, then this episode opens with a metronome flicking back and forth. Subtle, genius stuff.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:25 PM on February 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


All I'm saying is the the fetish movie isn't manufactured evidence, it's more of a detective IQ test.The police could've just said "Ok, he had a freaky movie *along with* what we think were drugs hidden in the baseboard", but they didn't, and nothing Jimmy said deterred them from saying that, except their own career-chilling gullibility.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:50 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


melissasaurus: Where did he take Warmolt as a client?
posted by Chitownfats at 7:56 PM on February 23, 2016


And Jimmy wasn't there to aid Off-White. He was there as a favor to Mike. The point wasn't simply to be the drug dealer's lawyer, but instead to burn that lead so thoroughly that the police will drop it. If he had done everything by the book, who knows how long cops would be sniffing around.

It's why Mike asks if he's still feeling morally flexible. This wasn't Jimmy exercising his skills as a criminal lawyer. This was the first real appearance of Saul, the criminal-lawyer.
posted by maxsparber at 7:59 PM on February 23, 2016 [9 favorites]


Couple of observations about Mike:

1. I don't know if we've ever seen him as caught off guard as when Pryce pulled up in his Hummer. It was the one random occurrence that could turn his life upside down. Not just because of the police issue, but because Pryce knew where he worked. In a world in which Mike finds you, he was really put in a compromised spot that he's rarely in. And it's Pryce who found him, which must have been additionally grating. It contrasts well with Mike tracking down Nacho with seeming ease.

2. Mike is a softy, which we already knew. When Pryce said that he had to get the cards back because "some of them were my Dad's", you could see him almost tearing up, probably thinking about his relationship with his son. That has to be why he turned on a dime. Mike is the nicest, softest hearted guy who would ever shoot you in the head if he had a job to do.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:00 PM on February 23, 2016 [14 favorites]


I just rewatched the scene, and there's no way Jimmy isn't there as his lawyer. That's the only way he would have been able to even get into the interrogation room. Plus, Jimmy explicitly says "I'm here in a more advisory capacity" and "He just wanted a friendly face next to him." Jimmy spent the entire first season as a public defender; he knows the cops and they know him, so he's using his role as Pryce's lawyer to throw him off his client's scent. "Look at us! Four friends!" is Jimmy's way of saying "You're not speaking to my client without me."

Note the shift in tone when Pryce leaves the room: There's no longer a danger that Pryce can incriminate himself, at which point, Jimmy can take advantage of his pre existing relationship with the cops to con them.

It doesn't make sense otherwise because cops don't let friends of a target into an interrogation so they can provide "moral support."

This scene is one of the reasons I love this show so freaking much, because while Pryce is in the room, the subtext is speaking louder than the text because the actors are brilliant.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:22 PM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


A lawyer shall not (a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person;

Interestingly, the made up story told to the cops didn't bother Kim. It's only when she found out that evidence was fabricated.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:36 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's no way Squat Cobbler isn't a riff on Cake Farts. Really really really NSFW.

I will take that advisory seriously because I am not stupid.
posted by scalefree at 9:24 PM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


As much as I enjoyed it I was kind of questioning why he even needed to come up with the whole squat cobbler story.

Wouldn't it be enough for the lawyer to say "he got his cards back. It's not illegal to have a hiding place in one's home or to drive a Hummer. There's no reason for further questions."


If he did that, the cops would add "Got a lawyer quickly" to the list of reasons to be suspicious of Daniel. Once Saul walks into the room, it makes Daniel WAY more suspicious until Jimmy gives them an alternative answer for their suspicions (Daniel's weird, nervous behavior, the Hummer, the hiding place.)

It's why Mike asks if he's still feeling morally flexible. This wasn't Jimmy exercising his skills as a criminal lawyer. This was the first real appearance of Saul, the criminal-lawyer.

Maybe. I think we've seen him last season. Negotiating with Tuco by impersonating an FBI agent and then discussing how they should just break their legs was definitely Saul. And there was plenty of deception and "moral flexibility" with the Kettlemans too (fabricating evidence? Try breaking and entering to steal evidence from your own client.)

This was the first (short) case that Jimmy worked entirely in Saul mode, though. There were none of the Jimmy McGill trademarks (sincerity, making up for lack of conventional legal talent with tons of hard work) in that case. It was all Saul.
posted by mmoncur at 10:29 PM on February 23, 2016


2. Mike is a softy, which we already knew.

Yep. I think Mike's motivation with Pryce was mostly to save his own skin -- it's easy to imagine that guy getting nervous and taking a deal to turn over all the information he has, which would put Mike clearly in the frame.

But the reason that Mike dealt with that by calling Saul instead of by beating Pryce to a pulp-- he's definitely a softy.
posted by mmoncur at 10:34 PM on February 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I didn't think Pri(/y?)ce knew where to find Mike - he was going to see the cops because they'd asked him to come in, and Mike just happened to be the parking lot guy, right?

They both seemed surprised. Maybe I missed something in that exchange?
posted by minsies at 11:34 PM on February 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


Nope, that's exactly right.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:38 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Speaking of which, that Jurassic Park water shot was great.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:40 PM on February 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


I didn't think Pri(/y?)ce knew where to find Mike - he was going to see the cops because they'd asked him to come in, and Mike just happened to be the parking lot guy, right?

Yes, that's exactly right. I was just pointing out the (irony?) of how easily Mike was found on accident, versus all the hard work Mike puts into finding people to make it looks easy. Mike's rarely on the disadvantaged end of something like this, and it was so out of the blue. Nacho's expression when Mike walked in the store was a very comical mirroring of Mike when Pryce rolled up in the Hummerbee.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:54 PM on February 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


For that matter, if Mike doesn't want criminals to find out where he is, working the parking lot at the police station / court might not be the best idea. A lot of the people he works for / with are going to end up there for one reason or another.
posted by mmoncur at 1:04 AM on February 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


Also, what was the significance with his pausing at the metronome? Is it a literally "playing with time" that prompted him to respond quickly to the situation, and thus why he shows up at the firm?

I think that the metronome was a metaphor for the precision that is lost to Chuck because of his mental illness. He hides his disordered thinking from Jimmy for so long in season 1 because he doesn't want to admit to weakness; being superior to Jimmy is an integral part of the way Chuck sees himself. He was using that metronome to practice his accuracy, but feeling frustrated with his progress. Then he hears Jimmy is working, and it comes into sharp focus that Jimmy is currently much more together than he is, and he wants to prove to himself that he's still better than Jimmy. So he leaves in his crinkly jacket to 'bear witness' to what he expects to see--Jimmy being a fuckup. That must have been disappointing for him.

In the hallway afterwards, it seemed like Chuck expected to get more out of him; maybe he hoped that Jimmy would express once again that he needed him. Jimmy barely talking to him, and then the conversation ending with his cellphone ringing, was poignant. Chuck is sad and I wonder what will happen to him.
posted by heatvision at 4:47 AM on February 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Chuck's not right. Chuck made Saul when he crushed Jimmy.
posted by whuppy at 5:04 AM on February 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Saul was always there, but Jimmy would have continued to try to suppress that instinct if his faith in Chuck wasn't damaged.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:23 AM on February 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


-Do you mean Howard? I think he's been the good guy all along, no?

-Yes, I guess this was the big reveal at the end of the second season. I'm still smarting from how badly it felt like Howard treated him earlier on. Here I think they take him even further and put him out on the really decent end of the spectrum, almost closer to the other characters we like.

For those of you who feel that the writers have made Howard Hamlin's character nicer this season, you should rewatch season 1. Howard was a pretty good guy the ENTIRE TIME. I know, it's hard to believe given all the mustache-twirling that he did in season 1, but it turns out he was a nice guy forced into a shitty situation who endured Jimmy's endless prodding with a decent sense of humor. The entire time!

If you can only rewatch one episode, the one with the billboard (Hero) is a good one.
posted by aabbbiee at 6:31 AM on February 24, 2016 [15 favorites]


if Mike doesn't want criminals to find out where he is, working the parking lot at the police station / court might not be the best idea.

I get the feeling Mike works there so he can get a sense of who's coming and going. He probably also makes a lot of connections, from both sides of the law, working in that booth.

Plus, Mike is the kind of guy who keeps a go bag handy. If things ever get bad he can just walk away from that job without a second thought.

Mike knows exactly what he's doing at all times, is what I'm saying.
posted by bondcliff at 7:17 AM on February 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Just to flesh out my earlier objection: The writers set out in Season 1 how hard Jimmy worked to straighten himself out after relocating to ABQ, and how the entire motivation for the turnaround was Chuck's approval. This episode showed that he could cut the mustard at his dream job (absent Chuck's "bearing witness").

Chuck's dickery was (and remains) the sole insurmountable obstacle to Slippin' Jimmy becoming accepted-member-of-the-legal-community James McGill, Esq. (And wow is Michael McKean good.)

Chuck's not right so much as his contempt is self-fulfilling.
posted by whuppy at 7:40 AM on February 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm actually not entirely convinced that Saul/Slippin' Jimmy would not at some point surface, regardless of Chuck's actions. Jimmy's reaction to Chuck's betrayal was to quit the law entirely. What brought him back and will eventually lead to the return of Saul Goodman was Kim. But the episode goes out of its way to show that the White Hat (to borrow a motif from Scandal) doesn't actually fit Jimmy that well.

At any rate, though, when I said that Chuck was "right", I mainly meant that in a dramatic irony sense. We, the audience, know that Jimmy eventually turns into precisely the thing that Chuck fears.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:51 AM on February 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, I see what you were saying, SpacemanStix - that Pri(/y)e knew where Mike worked once he pulled up, not that he'd known before he got there.

That'll teach me for responding to things before 8 in the morning!
posted by minsies at 9:18 AM on February 24, 2016


Ohhh, cobbler, I see. I thought the show was going to involve shoes. I'm not really a pie person, though.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:06 PM on February 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


So the guys on the AV Club's Polite Fight have this theory that Jimmy is pulling some kind of long con on Davis & Main, that he took the job for that purpose and now he's setting things up somehow.

Any thoughts? I haven't seen anyone here say anything similar.

Personally, I think it's unlikely. I think Jimmy is torn between two potential futures, and we're just seeing him try to keep one foot in both of them right now. Also he's not a long-con artist -- all of his Slippin' Jimmy cons were quick, and even the thing with the skaters and (accidentally) Tuco's Abuelita only took a day.

Most importantly, I think Jimmy follows the hustler code of "you can't cheat an honest man." The show has gone out of its way to show that Davis & Main is a kind, honest place that hasn't done anything to deserve a con.

But then again, after his "It's never going to stop me again" speech last season, taking the job at D&M did seem like an unexpected choice...
posted by mmoncur at 7:46 PM on February 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


I thought it was pretty clear that Jimmy went to D&M because he believed it would impress Kim more than bumming around living off his short cons.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:50 PM on February 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


Yes, Davis & Main is all about Kim, because Kim makes him happy even if playing it straight does not. He does love the law, though, and he's not entirely miserable at present. I agree with the assessment that Jimmy is not about the long con. I think betting on that outcome is going to go poorly, though of course I wouldn't give up on a con being involved at some point if he has to burn some bridges.

But honestly I've given up trying to predict where this show will go. I only hope for certain people getting into certain rooms together, and then loving every second of it when they do. I made my husband stop this episode when Jimmy walked into the interrogation room with Walter Off-White and the officers, because I was hoping hoping hoping for a scene with them together, and when it happened I was just so giddy with anticipation that I had to take a minute to breathe! And then it was a hell of a scene!
But I stopped trying to predict the plot of this series last year, because even though we all know where this is ultimately going, it will be a better ride if I sit back and enjoy it. (I don't have to fill time on a video series, though.)
posted by aabbbiee at 7:47 AM on February 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I agree with everything in this thread. I just wanted to add that it was funny that he had to actually produce a video. He was trying to make the detectives imagine things that were so disgusting that they would never want to see, so they would drop the inquiry right there. But it didn't work. It seemed like a rare failure of Slipping Jimmy's ability to make people believe what he wants them to believe. Kind of like how "Jedi mind tricks" only work on the weak-minded.
posted by bleep at 10:42 AM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think Jimmy wanted to make the video. Plus Mike probably asked Jimmy to ensure that Walter Off-White is effectively deterred forever from the path of crime, and something shameful like this is perfect (while also true Jimmy fashion). Off-White will be so humiliated by this experience that he will avoid anything to do with Jimmy, or other lawyers, or Mike, or other criminals, and certainly does not want to have to face the police again, now that they've seen him in this position. He might even leave Albuquerque, and that would be best for everyone.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:20 AM on February 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


It just seemed like he was being cautiously vague in his description of the acts and only got detailed when the detectives weren't buying it. It seemed to me like a situation that he was losing control of, culminating in something dangerous, crossing the line from a vague tall tale that he could control to an actual thing that could get him in trouble. That was definitely how it felt to me. I guess having the video is extra insurance but Wormall (that's what his name sounds like to me) felt pretty well neutralized already.
posted by bleep at 12:50 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Man, I could watch Banks-as-Ehrmantrout and Odenkirk-as-Jimmy all day. I was smiling ear to ear during their prototypical scenes in this episode.

According to IMDB, the character's name is "Daniel 'Pryce' Wormald".
posted by dfan at 1:46 PM on February 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


But honestly I've given up trying to predict where this show will go. I only hope for certain people getting into certain rooms together, and then loving every second of it when they do.

That is SO true. The actors are so good--and the writing and staging--that I'll watch it no matter where it goes. I wouldn't have chosen "Jimmy gets into Elder Law" as an exciting development, but it was awesome when it happened.

Heck, I'd love this show if Jimmy just worked a Davis & Main for five years with the occasional side job with Mike, and then at the end of the series he changes his name to Saul Goodman and opens an office in a strip mall. Part of me hopes for this, of course, because I'm sure Chuck's betrayal isn't the only tragedy we'll see.
posted by mmoncur at 4:40 PM on February 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


I really hope that last scene is not setting up that Kim eventually gets disbarred because Jimmy legalish shenanigans.
posted by asockpuppet at 5:13 PM on February 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm a little conflicted. There's a part of me that believes that cons are Jimmy's release and so even without Chuck's dickery, eventually Slippin' Jimmy would show up when the pressure mounted. On the other hand. Chuck is clearly a catalyst for that. Jimmy is already in a pretty high pressure situation-new job, big case-his first big legit gig. And then the brother who totally has been screwing him over in an epic capacity shows up at this new gig. I mean the stress level just sky rocketed. Maybe if Chuck hadn't shown Jimmy would have found something with Kim that would function as a release. Maybe not as good as a con, but something. I want to believe that, which makes Jimmy's transformation even more tragic.

I'm less enamored of Kim's behavior which seems pretty inconsistent-laughing to the point of fabricated evidence and then "oh wait...no." And there's a part of me that think Kim will probably be the one who ends up pushing Jimmy into becoming Saul-that not one, but two people he really trusts betray him.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:38 PM on February 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


"It just seemed like he was being cautiously vague in his description of the acts and only got detailed when the detectives weren't buying it. It seemed to me like a situation that he was losing control of, culminating in something dangerous, crossing the line from a vague tall tale that he could control to an actual thing that could get him in trouble. That was definitely how it felt to me."

That might be with regard to providing an actual video, but I think that being coy and being "forced" to slowly reveal details is sort a fundamental tactic for conning someone. You can see how Jimmy does this with Ken Wins in the tequila con -- he asks the question, walks away, Ken calls him back, and this happens at least twice. A mark needs to feel like they're in control and so you give them the openings you want them to take.

"There's a part of me that believes that cons are Jimmy's release and so even without Chuck's dickery, eventually Slippin' Jimmy would show up when the pressure mounted. On the other hand. Chuck is clearly a catalyst for that."

I think that both perspectives are true -- it's that Jimmy and Chuck's relationship established a certain dynamic that baked this risk-taking and self-destructive into Jimmy when he was young. So to some degree this is who he really is. But, also, Chuck played a big role in making Jimmy into the person he is and, more importantly, he clearly continues to do so. Chuck saying that he's "bearing witness" pushes Jimmy in a certain direction.

This is an almost stereotypical good kid / bad kid and older sibling / younger sibling relationship. The two are common and maybe it's worse when the good kid is the older one. Chuck has an emotional need for Jimmy to be the screw-up and so he both props Jimmy up and then makes it easy for JImmy to be knocked down. Likewise, Jimmy has an emotional need to try to please Chuck and disappoint him. So he allows himself to be helped by Chuck and to find himself trying to live up to Chuck's expectations, and then he does risky, self-destructive things and disappoints Chuck. And Chuck's illness didn't really change this dynamic, although it might have. Instead, it sort of intensified it.

So while ultimately Jimmy is responsible for the decisions he makes and it's definitely true that he's not really the kind of person he's trying to be (and that he's happier when he's less constrained), it's also the case that Chuck could play a much more positive role in Jimmy's life rather than the mostly destructive one we've seen.

The reveal of Chuck's sabotage of Jimmy's legal career was very well done and was totally organic and realistic. I have no problems with it. And I think it's also okay for the audience to get some time to enjoy their anger at Chuck. That said, I worry that the show is setting Chuck up to be more of a villain than he ought to be. Real people like Chuck usually don't understand at all what they're doing. And, also, as was mentioned earlier, to a large degree Chuck is right. Even when on the straight-and-narrow, Jimmy's professional ethics aren't that great. Regardless of everything, Chuck undoubtedly loves Jimmy. Or at least he thinks he does, in some sense. I'd like to see the audience's feelings about Chuck be complicated somehow and so I hope that the "bear witness" is a sort of peak assholery.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:46 PM on February 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


I wonder how long Jimmy will stay at Davis & Main. He doesn't look up to Chuck anymore, and I think he's a little directionless now as a result. He floated in the pool for a while, and worked a little and scammed a little. Looks like they're setting up Clifford to be a possible mentor; he seems kind and generous. They may get along well.
posted by heatvision at 4:46 AM on February 26, 2016


Kim seemed a bit hypocritical hearing the Squat Cobbler story -- she's OK with Jimmy Lying to the cops to help a drug dealer avoid prosecution but manufacturing evidence crosses some kind of invisible line.

Ohh, on re-watch, Kim isn't upset about that line, or that he risked his job at D & M over the falsified evidence, she's upset that he risked their future by doing something that could really get him in trouble.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:59 PM on February 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


That's my read on it too. She wants him to toe the line because she can't torpedo her life for him... but she loves him. Of course she gets upset.

This week's episode 😁
posted by stoneandstar at 10:08 PM on February 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


We've spoken here before about the way VG lets scenes and dialogue breathe by not rushing them. On re-re-watch, I timed it and the first two full minutes of this episode had no dialogue, just the sound of the piano and the metronome, all while we watch Chuck playing.

That's a long time. I switched on a random drama (a Law & Order franchise) and in that same time there were four scenes, and two of those were at a funeral so it's not like it was a jam-packed action movie.

Btw, on the podcast they have a long, funny conversation about how the Squat Cobbler came to be.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:51 PM on March 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


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