Better Call Saul: Amarillo
March 1, 2016 8:28 AM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Jimmy takes a waltz across Texas to build momentum on the Sandpiper case. Kim convinces him that following the rules just might be the way to go. Mike faces a career decision.

Jimmy impresses Kim with his knack for the theatrical. Jimmy's lack of explicit signoff from Clifford Main comes back to bite him in the ass.
posted by mandolin conspiracy (70 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You could hear Chuck's jacket crinkling every so softly in the background as he confronts Jimmy in the conference room.

As irritated as I am at Chuck, if he's having a more serious mental breakdown than has already depicted, it would create symptoms consistent with being confrontational and antagonistic toward Jimmy. I wonder if we'll end up seeing him as a more sympathetic character as things go on. It's hard to see it now, but he started to remind me of other people I've known who have suffered from mental illness and went through dramatic personality changes. I can understand Chuck having the concerns that he's had, but it seem like it's going to a whole new level that is driven by anxiety and hostility that isn't quite on the rails, despite Chuck's reservations.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:24 AM on March 1, 2016


Oh, god, Clifford's phone call to Jimmy is the most devilish cliffhanger of anything I've watched in recent memory. Jimmy only has to sweat one night before getting called on the carpet over the TV ad, but we have to wait an entire week... for what is probably going to be an extremely unpleasant scene to watch.

Jimmy knew that the right thing to do would be to run the ad by Clifford, but having heard about the endless meetings and nitpicking over the previous TV ad decided it would be easier to ask forgiveness than permission... and has seriously misread the laid-back, affable, guitar-playing persona that Clifford likes to affect.

It also seems like we may have underestimated how far Kim/Howard stuck their necks out to get Jimmy that job.
posted by usonian at 9:41 AM on March 1, 2016 [11 favorites]


I'm still not sure why Jimmy didn't clear the commercial with Main before running it. He knew that he should have- and he almost did. Getting hung up on the fact that he is the 'head of the division' doesn't seem like something that would matter that much to Jimmy. I get that he inherently rebels against any authority, but this was such a bad idea, and there wasn't really any benefit to bucking the system in this case. Did he thing that the partners wouldn't go for it? Was this about Chuck? I don't know. It didn't ring true to me.
posted by Shohn at 9:44 AM on March 1, 2016


Dammit, Jimmy. Can't blame this one on Chuck.
posted by whuppy at 10:04 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I liked how Jimmy improvised the dolly shot he wanted for the commercial with the stair lift. It's such a small detail but it shows how clever he can be with what little he has to work with.
posted by cazoo at 10:24 AM on March 1, 2016 [32 favorites]


A couple of BB references:

When Kim mentioned her favorite movie was Ice Station Zebra I got really excited, thinking "hey, that's the name of Saul's company!" and then got really sad knowing he obviously named it for his lost love.

Did you notice the pig Mike was putting batteries in was the same pig he attached to the door as a decoy in Breaking Bad when he had some killin' to do?
posted by bondcliff at 10:27 AM on March 1, 2016 [30 favorites]


I'm still not sure why Jimmy didn't clear the commercial with Main before running it. He knew that he should have- and he almost did. Getting hung up on the fact that he is the 'head of the division' doesn't seem like something that would matter that much to Jimmy. I get that he inherently rebels against any authority, but this was such a bad idea, and there wasn't really any benefit to bucking the system in this case. Did he thing that the partners wouldn't go for it? Was this about Chuck? I don't know. It didn't ring true to me.

It was a seriously boneheaded move. It could be the authority thing, but I was wondering if it was Jimmy wanting to win over the approval of anti-Chuck through his own inherent merit. The last time he made a commercial to promote lawyering, Chuck just about had a breakdown. I think this was supposed to mirror that episode, but in order for it to "undo" that previous deviancy, it had to be a response to Jimmy's direct initiative, not a sign-off. I think in Jimmy's mind, his new creation may undo the bad, but he is seriously stepping on some toes. I think he perhaps thought that it would be well received due to the results, but in his anxiety to please, he miscalculated.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:28 AM on March 1, 2016


I'm still not sure why Jimmy didn't clear the commercial with Main before running it. He knew that he should have- and he almost did.

I think it's consistent with Jimmy's character up to this point...he can't resist flicking that switch even though the sign says "don't." He stood outside of Main's office and

Did he thing that the partners wouldn't go for it? Was this about Chuck? I don't know. It didn't ring true to me.

As the story about the scorpion goes, "I'm sorry, it's in my nature," is maybe the explanation.

But I'm kind of thinking, though, that he thought this was a calculated gamble. If he won, the results would trump his lack of adherence to protocol. "I didn't break any laws to do this - what more do you want?"

Based on the pedigree of David & Main as a firm, it kind of makes sense that Clifford would be wrapped pretty tight about his name and reputation being sullied (in his view) by a downmarket ambulance-chasing ad, despite his guitar-playing "It's all good, man" front.

Jimmy knew that the right thing to do would be to run the ad by Clifford, but having heard about the endless meetings and nitpicking over the previous TV ad decided it would be easier to ask forgiveness than permission... and has seriously misread the laid-back, affable, guitar-playing persona that Clifford likes to affect.

My pet theories, FWIW:

That Jimmy would misread Main (I mean, Slippin' Jimmy's a stone-cold pro at reading people) is a little hard to swallow.

So maybe we're left with Jimmy taking a gamble he knew was high risk. But even if it fails (and it looks like it's backfired big time), he can still tell himself "I never sold out and did it may way. They don't want results? Fine. But I proved I could get results - and I didn't even break any ABA rules!" But he's used to talking himself out of situations, so...

Or maybe it was his way of testing whether or not he really belonged there. Main's reaction kind of proves that Chuck isn't the only due diligence/due process stickler - meaning that this career is not really for Jimmy. They've made his decision for him.

Or, if Jimmy did misread Main, he's kicking himself really hard because reading people is his thing.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:30 AM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


He didn't misread Main. Main explicitly okayed the idea of running a commercial and told Jimmy it was his call since it's his department. Main seems to me to be throwing Jimmy under the bus for some other reason that we're not yet privy to.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:02 AM on March 1, 2016


Main explicitly okayed the idea

No, he said they would talk about it when he came back from his trip.
posted by Pendragon at 11:24 AM on March 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


From what little we know of Main, I'm pretty sure he meant “we’ll talk about the commercial idea *after* I get back from vacation.” The tedium is reinforced when we see the lackluster mesothelioma commercial they came up with before and hear how much committee discussion was involved.

Jimmy is obviously impatient and thinks the commercial will work, so he takes the gamble, assuming he will be forgiven. I’m thinking he’ll be able to talk his way out of it this time, since there was a bit of room for misinterpretation.
posted by whatnot at 11:24 AM on March 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


It can be very hard to suss out Jimmy's motives based on one episode. His last commercial had a bunch of layers to it -- him hassling a former coworker, him making it viral, etc.

Sometimes we don't know what Jimmy is up to until it all plays out.
posted by maxsparber at 11:46 AM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think he'll be able to talk his way out of it, too - this time, at least. But his see-sawing back and forth between James McGill and Slippin' Jimmy (or between wanting Kim's approval and company vs. wanting to do things his way) is probably going to get more manic as the season goes on, and he'll increasingly struggle to keep the right persona in the right place.

Any idea why Jimmy's being so quiet in the Sandpiper meetings with all the other lawyers? Is it just Chuck? He went ahead with that ribbon candy joke during the last episode, but just sat there in this one. No one's worried about his tactics (until Chuck mentions it) - it seemed out of character for him to not say anything at all. He's usually fairly quick to be self-deprecating (if nothing else) in those sorts of situations.
posted by minsies at 12:04 PM on March 1, 2016


It can't be a coincidence that this episode title ends in an O and that it brings back the Alpine Shepherd Boy.

Did s01e05 contain anything about Amarillo? Maybe the writers intend a headcanon title swap.
posted by painquale at 12:15 PM on March 1, 2016


Any idea why Jimmy's being so quiet in the Sandpiper meetings with all the other lawyers?

He's maybe a bit intimidated? He hasn't practiced big-firm law before; although he's familiar with the HHM offices from his mailroom years, he's not used to the dynamics of the boardroom meetings. I think we saw a bit of that last episode too, when he was initially nervous and tongue-tied until Kim's reassuring touch.

And, yes, Chuck sitting there like an unexploded bomb probably doesn't help.

(I think also the combination of "Jimmy's used to being his own boss" plus "Jimmy chafes under having an actual boss" is what leads to him running the commercial without Clifford's approval: he's used to enacting his own ideas as soon as he has them, and he resents the likelihood of his ideas being held back by Davis & Main's bureaucracy.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:18 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think he'll talk his way out of serious trouble, but have client outreach taken away from him, or put under serious oversight, which he'll chafe against and have to find increasingly dubious ways to wiggle out from.

The worst thing about Chuck is that we know he's right about Jimmy, because we know where Jimmy ends up. And we know that Chuck is in large part the cause of it too. It's Jimmy's eagerness to please and need for Chuck's approval (and Kim's) that got him into this predicament in the first place, making Chuck's dire warnings a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's practically freakin' Sophocles.
posted by speicus at 12:22 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I liked how Jimmy improvised the dolly shot he wanted for the commercial with the stair lift.

Also the economy of the storytelling there: no need to show them filming the commercial, we get the "ah-ha, they used the stairlift!" realization by watching the commercial.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:32 PM on March 1, 2016 [17 favorites]


It was a seriously boneheaded move.

There's a part of me that is mad -- like, pissed -- at VG because I'm like, OMG what are you doing? You're gonna ruin everything!

What happened to Talking Saul? Was that just a one-off?
posted by Room 641-A at 12:41 PM on March 1, 2016


Did anyone else think that maybe Mike was going to be meeting Gus Fring?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:12 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Did anyone else think that maybe Mike was going to be meeting Gus Fring?

I was thinking this is where Tuco Salamanca would be back in the picture.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:31 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


- Jimmy not going to Clifford for approval: I didn't like that, it seemed a bit obvious to me. But then again it does fit the character. Jimmy's impatient, he doesn't want to wait until Monday to discuss it and then go back and forth for a month about what color things are. He just wants to work his but off and get results, which works great when he's the boss but not so much now.

- Kim thought the commercial looked "professional" -- maybe he thought that was good enough?

- Similarly, I'm not sure what the "solicitation" rules are but I'm pretty sure Jimmy was ignoring them in Amarillo. Chuck's an asshole to point that out in the meeting in front of everyone, but he's probably right. And you could see Jimmy and Kim's relationship falling apart when they talked about that.

- Yes, I also was expecting Gus Fring or Tuco. Seemed too dramatic for Nacho.(But they asked for Mike specifically -- neither of them would know his name yet.) I'm just glad it wasn't Walter Off-White -- that would have been too much.

I guess we're still seeing Mike evolve too - he's not really the cold-blooded fixer of Breaking Bad yet. He's only shot a couple of people that we know of, and they deserved it for killing his son. He has the same personality so I forget his character is changing too.

- Mike's daughter-in-law: Is she just massively paranoid and wrong about the gunshots, or is she playing Mike to get more money from him? Also loved seeing Checkhov's electric pig.

- How old is his granddaughter now... 20?
posted by mmoncur at 1:33 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Can anyone remind me if we ever see his daughter-in-law during Breaking Bad? Or is it just the kid. Because I'm starting to develop a really nervous theory.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 1:38 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is she just massively paranoid and wrong about the gunshots, or is she playing Mike to get more money from him?

I thought Mike seemed unconvinced, but I'm unclear what her motive might be: scam, paranoia, or actual mental illness.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:41 PM on March 1, 2016


Well, her husband was shot dead and the murder was never solved. That tends to leave psychological scars.
posted by Pendragon at 1:51 PM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, wait, didn't Mike tell her the whole story last season ? Never mind then.
posted by Pendragon at 1:53 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can anyone remind me if we ever see his daughter-in-law during Breaking Bad? Or is it just the kid. Because I'm starting to develop a really nervous theory.


Just the kid...
posted by mmoncur at 1:58 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't really want to be right about this, but I'm wondering if the Kaylee in BB is the same person as the one in BCS. What if, through his actions in the criminal underworld, Mike causes the death of his grand-daughter and daughter-in-law. That would make him sufficiently stone-hearted to work for Fring. Perhaps the Kaylee in BB is some other kid that he adopts, and gives his name to, for nostalgic or penitent purposes?
posted by mrjohnmuller at 2:31 PM on March 1, 2016


Ep. 203 of the Insider podcast is now up. They're being nice and quick with them this season. Yay!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:49 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can anyone remind me if we ever see his daughter-in-law during Breaking Bad?

Yes, she's in the background in Season 3, episode 13. Mike is dropping Kaylee off at home, they talk about a rhinoceros, he gives her some balloons, a woman appears in the background (a different actress than the one who plays Kaylee's mom now), Mike says "I see your mama, don't keep her waiting." Mike waves, mama waves, Kaylee runs to mama. Mike takes the rest of his balloons to Chow's chemical warehouse and does his thing to the cartel dudes there.
posted by peeedro at 4:34 PM on March 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


Screen capture of that scene with Mike, Kaylee and mama with CC turned on.
posted by peeedro at 5:12 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]




I get mad at Jimmy for being a boneheaded too but it actually makes sense to me. He KNOWS how to get results and he needs to know every part of the con inside and out (whether it's a real con or a legit con like advertising) to pull it off. I think we're seeing more and more that cons are his true talent; not "the same skills that make him good at cons can make him good at the straight game" but that he actually does exceed in the straight game through pulling off more and more elaborate cons. He goes a little further than people who get far through hard work, just not enough to get seriously caught until now. Obviously his time at Main was a ticking time bomb but I think it was literally true that he couldn't succeed at Main by playing the straight game. He'd deflate. He can't do things by committee.
posted by stoneandstar at 5:39 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Man, I was so in Jimmy's head in that moment when he paused at Clifford's door, listening to the guitar. Like I could will him to go in there. "Ach" I said when he walked back to his office, "come on dude, just be going back to get your harmonica." NOPE
posted by rhizome at 8:00 PM on March 1, 2016


I think Jimmy clearly knew that he was supposed to have approval for that ad before airing it. Still, that whole story line hit a little close to home for me, because I once had a job where I was repeatedly yelled at for not getting approval for stuff that should have been mine to decide (or at least where the boundaries were not drawn very clearly, and after the fact it was presented as if they were clear as day). For me it's a testament to how well-written this show is that I got a very real pit in my stomach when Jimmy got that call...
posted by primethyme at 8:10 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Stacey Ehrmantraut

Is anyone else getting confused as to whether scenes they're thinking of are from BB or BCS? I was thinking that as I was reading last week's thread and trying to remember what show had the episode with Saul buying the billboard ads (it was from BCS).
posted by triggerfinger at 8:47 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Is she just massively paranoid and wrong about the gunshots, or is she playing Mike to get more money from him?"

Mike was out there - awake - all night, and he heard nothing. When she came up with this BS about gunshots hitting her house the next day, Mike knew she was making stuff up. And yet ... he gave in and suggested exactly what she wanted to hear about him financing a move to a new place. It's clear that his love for his granddaughter clouds his judgement.
posted by komara at 9:18 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


"What happened to Talking Saul? Was that just a one-off?"

The AMC site says it will return in April 18th -- I'm unsure of BCS's schedule, so that may be near the end?

But for those interested, I watched the one episode that aired after the premiere and I don't think it had any spoilers and it was otherwise pretty interesting (Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Vince Gilligan, and Peter Gould). I've never watched Talking Dead and it's apparently the same guy, set, and everything and he's kinda smarmy. Rhea Seehorn is very enthusiastic and has lots of interesting things to say.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:42 PM on March 1, 2016


When Kim mentioned her favorite movie was Ice Station Zebra I got really excited, thinking "hey, that's the name of Saul's company!" and then got really sad knowing he obviously named it for his lost love.

Who says she's lost? A big developing theme here (as it was in BB) is the compartmentalization between James McGill and Slippin' Jimmy. What if there was still some of James left during the Saul Goodman years? IIRC, we never saw where Saul lived--the closest we got was his stopping in at the nail salon, which I think he owned by then. And we know next to nothing about his Omaha life; we saw a little of his home, where there didn't seem to be anyone else, but... OK, I'm kind of reaching here, but still, there's hope.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:17 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


One thing I like about this run in the BB world is that everything about the dialog and direction supports Kim's reservations about Jimmy's conduct, and that without invalidating the legitimate grievances that Jimmy has with the institutional actors that are working against him. The last time we had a woman disagreeing with the protagonist's choices in this universe, it was roughly three seasons' worth of Skyler being portrayed as a nagging shrew. I think the elaboration of Jimmy's ethical quandary here benefits from Kim's objections being depicted as totally reasonable.
posted by invitapriore at 10:45 PM on March 1, 2016 [12 favorites]


And, man, I've said this to myself a lot, but the segment on the bus again made me think about how glad I am that they gave Bob Odenkirk's character a show to himself, because holy shit does he have the chops to carry it.
posted by invitapriore at 10:50 PM on March 1, 2016 [21 favorites]


Well, I live in Omaha, so I'll swing by the Cinnabon and see what's up.

(an hour later)

That turned out not to work.
posted by maxsparber at 5:55 AM on March 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


It's clear that his love for his granddaughter clouds his judgement.

Mike feels tremendous guilt over what happened to his son, and to some extent he is even responsible. It's not just love for his granddaughter, but also duty that is clouding his judgment. Still, his eyes are open. He's not taking this next step blindly.
posted by aabbbiee at 7:57 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I rewatched the final scenes again from this episode, and when Jimmy is done talking to his boss about the commercial and fakes that it went well, he sits down next to Kim. The shot frames Kim just long enough to feel ominous. It's hard to detect, but oh man it was there. I'm nervous to think about what that means.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:27 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


When she came up with this BS about gunshots hitting her house the next day, Mike knew she was making stuff up. And yet ... he gave in and suggested exactly what she wanted to hear about him financing a move to a new place. It's clear that his love for his granddaughter clouds his judgement.

I wouldn't say it's clouding his judgement. He realizes that she was either making it up or dreaming it but despite whether or not it's real, her trauma is. He doesn't want them to feel alone; he is kind of a well-written example of a man doing emotional labor, albeit in a macho way and in a somewhat dubious context. Mike is always that way; he's not a sociopath, but he has... "a certain set of skills." When he said "I believe you" it was delivered so well-- he knows what she's saying is bullshit one way or another but he can see her emotion and terror. And I have no idea what that notch on her garage was; it seems like she might be hearing/seeing real things and projecting her terror onto them.

I don't think she was trying to manipulate him, either. She seemed pretty serious when she asked him not to make her regret telling him. Whatever is happening with her it doesn't seem intentional.

I love that Kim is presented as an actually sympathetic Skyler. (I didn't hate Skyler, but the show didn't exactly ask you to love her.) She's a fun person, she just... isn't a conwoman. She's not a criminal. She's so real and relatable; probably one of my top favorite characters of all time, despite her relatively minor role. She just feels so real and it's pretty much a reflection of my whole life (being a goof with goof friends but generally trying to run my life more "legit" than most of them). A tough row to hoe for most women... we have to work twice as hard and be twice as serious as most men to get to the top, so if there is any ambition at all, there is often a big divide between one's personality and responsibilities. We can't assume (kind of like Jimmy) that we can get by on charm alone or keep having friends to take care of us and pick us back up when we throw opportunities away.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2016 [16 favorites]


Also: "So what did I miss? Did anything blow up yet?"

Something's going to blow up.
posted by speicus at 2:24 PM on March 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


I feel that having said "It's clear that his love for his granddaughter clouds his judgement" may be inaccurate, and certainly others here feel that way. It would have been more accurate to say that his love for his granddaughter leads him to ... man, I don't know how to say it.

So let me start here. Perhaps it's an uncharitable reading of the character but I don't buy for a second that Mike's daughter believes this business about the gunshots. I think she is absolutely 100% making it up, every last bit. Remember, this conversation starts as soon as he puts money on the counter and she says, paraphrased, "I can't take that / you don't have to do that" and Mike says that of course he does. Now that she has established her position as someone that doesn't need charity (which I am sure Mike sees through) she begins with the whole, "... but there is this other problem that would require money to solve." Maybe she really does believe that she can't take his money for no reason but she sure can take it for a reason that she has manufactured.

Mike sat out there. Mike knows there were no gunshots. Mike knows that chip on the garage wall could be from anything ... and if his granddaughter weren't in play I'm sure he'd tell his daughter, "Don't think I don't know what you're doing."

But if he says that then she has every reason to cut him off and so the risk of losing his granddaughter leads him to say, "Yep, I see. Bullets. Gunshots. Well, let's get you moved."

to which I don't think she even said, "Thank you" but instead just turned and went inside.

She's a faker, he knows it, and he's tolerating it because of his love for his granddaughter. Maybe it's not "clouding his judgment" but it's influencing him to make decisions he wouldn't make otherwise.
posted by komara at 3:07 PM on March 2, 2016


When I watched it I thought she mistook sound of newspapers hitting the pavement as gunshots, same as Mike did during his stakeout. I was expecting him to tap on the delivery van window with his gun, say "throw them on the lawns from now on" and leave it at that.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 3:51 PM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


According to the latest podcast, the bullet situation is left ambiguous, at least for now. I'm going to butcher the very eloquent explanation, but basically they have a connection and a bond and they understand each other. I.e., for now it doesn't matter what her motivation is or what his interpretation is.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:42 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


When Kim mentioned her favorite movie was Ice Station Zebra I got really excited, thinking "hey, that's the name of Saul's company!" and then got really sad knowing he obviously named it for his lost love.

I think it's worse than that. I think he names it for his dead lost love. Yeah, I think Kim's death will be part of what pushes Jimmy to become Saul. You heard it here first.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:07 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dammit, Jimmy. Can't blame this one on Chuck.

Yuuuuup. This is 100% Jimmy. Chuck is Cassandra on this, mark my words.

I feel so bad for Kim. She did her friend a favour because she honestly believed in him. And we the audience want so badly to believe in him, too. But it's going to go very, very badly for her. At the very least, I think Howard is going to take her off the partner track, possibly off the Sandpiper case as well. I don't think she'll get fired -- yet -- but her career is going to take a major setback over this.

We've already seen how fragile her position at HHM is. Her endorsement of Jimmy will definitely be seen as a second strike against her judgment (the first being the Kettleman case, as unfair as that punishment was to her), which will likely see her exiled to either the North Pole or the South Pole for her trouble.

I think the third strike will happen when D&M finds out about Jimmy's "pro bono" work and somehow discovers that Kim knew about Jimmy fabricating evidence but didn't report him. She's going to get disbarred over it, while Jimmy talks his way out of it somehow. I hope I'm wrong, but that's how I see this playing out for Kim.

As for Stacey and the gunshots, I'm not completely sure how to read that, but I suspect either it's PTSD or there's some other danger that she doesn't feel comfortable telling Mike about it. I think Mike's payments could be serving as a PTSD trigger for her. She knows now that he's a guy who takes dirty money, so she must have her (accurate) suspicions about where it's coming from.

BB was often about the damage that Walt did to other people in his life and to innocent bystanders, and I think that theme is what ties it to BCS. Chuck develops an EM allergy because he's afraid of the chimp with a machine gun. Kim will have her career derailed because she stuck up for Jimmy. Stacey gets PTSD because Mike is supporting her with dirty money that she can't afford to turn down.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:21 PM on March 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


"...which will likely see her exiled to either the North Pole or the South Pole for her trouble."

Roswell, if HHM has an office there.

Speaking as someone who was sent by the district office to manage a retail store in Roswell, I think I would have preferred the South Pole.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:14 AM on March 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


I guess I can see Jimmy's logic in not talking to Cliff first. After hearing that the committee spent months arguing about the "swirls" in the background on the last commercial, Jimmy didn't want that, so he figured if he got some results then everything would be OK.

It's really something that makes Jimmy like myself -- I am most comfortable running my own business because I'd rather just do something than have a meeting about it. (And I, too, have gotten in trouble in a previous job for doing something (solving a problem) without approval.)

My problem with the whole thing, though, is that he paid for the airtime, shipped off the tape, and commandeered half of the staff to answer phones without Clifford (or a partner or associate with equal objections) hearing about it.

Stacey: I think they're keeping her ambiguous on purpose -- she could just have PTSD and be going nuts hearing newspapers, or she could be manipulating Mike, or (most surprisingly) there could be actual gunshots and/or danger. We'll find out eventually...

Chuck: I know he's basically right, and he's mentally ill, but he's also an asshole. He could privately talk to Jimmy about his concerns-- like Kim did-- but he brings them up in front of everyone instead. He's just plain out to destroy Jimmy at this point.

Kim: She doesn't have to get disbarred to lose her job at HHM, and that would be enough to create a serious rift with Jimmy.
posted by mmoncur at 4:06 AM on March 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Roswell, if HHM has an office there.

I mean, Vince Gilligan did used to write for the X-Files...

I agree there are lots of horrible things that could happen to Kim to drive a stake in the heart of her and Jimmy's relationship, but I'm seeing disbarment as Chekhov's Gun for this season. She warned Jimmy that he could get disbarred for falsifying evidence and that she could also get in trouble for hiding her knowledge of it, so by the laws of tragedy that warning will reflect back upon her.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:37 AM on March 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad the squat cobbler tape didn't get switched for the commercial tape. That would have been a disappointment.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:27 AM on March 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


usonian: It also seems like we may have underestimated how far Kim/Howard stuck their necks out to get Jimmy that job.

Kim is in a precarious place - HHM isn't good to her, and she's had to really pull herself out from Office Support with Jimmy and the others to be a Real Lawyer, but she's got a long road ahead of her to become a partner. Then Jimmy pretty much stumbles on a huge case, and Kim, who is doing well in her long haul towards partner at HHM, supports Jimmy to Howard. Howard supports Jimmy with Davis & Main, because Chuck won't accept Jimmy as a "real" lawyer. But it's really Kim's name, and future at HHM, on the line. Howard is already a partner and 1/3rd of HHM, he'll be fine if Jimmy slips at D&M, and he can pass the blame to Kim, "Jimmy's friend from back in the day," and she's back at the bottom of the totem pole, doing grunt work.

If Jimmy slips, it's going to hit Kim hard.

As for the ad, mmoncur has it - Jimmy saw the boring mesothelioma commercial, which went through meeting after meeting for the design and speed of background swirls (which actually look pretty good, but that's beside the point). Jimmy knows he's pushing his luck as the lead in outreach by taking on the ad, but again he's risking someone's name by running the ad without the partners' approval. Clifford is laid back, as long as protocol is followed. But if you break rank and put the name of Davis & Main on something, that's big.

In short, Jimmy is risking the reputation of others here. He can talk his way out of things for himself, and he's fine - that's who he is. But Kim and Clifford don't function fast-and-loose - they're both by-the-books, even if they can play casual and care-free. Law is Serious Business to them, if not as much as Chuck.

Speaking of Chuck, he's the reason Jimmy clams up in the meeting - Chuck is the only one who has judged Jimmy and found him lacking. Howard seems to like Jimmy well enough, even after the billboard stunt. Clifford hired him and speaks highly of him, but Chuck? He still can't believe that Davis & Main would hire Jimmy as a lawyer, which is a real punch to the gut. There's Jimmy, getting more clients, understanding where they keep their paperwork, but Chuck is Mr. The Law Is God, and You Are Not Showing True Respect To It, which is likely to save this case from scrutiny that Jimmy's actions will bring upon it. Paying off a bus driver to "break down" where Jimmy happens to be, so he can then talk to the one respondent in person, when she happens to be surrounded by fellow Sandpiper residents? And he happened to have a set of forms on clipboards? Sandpiper's lawyers would tear that chain of coincidences apart in a minute.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:02 AM on March 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


As for the relationship between Mike and Stacey and Stacey's fear of gun violence in her neighborhood - Mike directly lead to the death of his son, Stacey's husband. Mike owns that and confessed as much to Stacey, and she seems to be using this guilt (and access to additional funds of uncertain sources). I'm still torn as to what she actually believes regarding the safety of that neighborhood - the aerial shot of the neighborhood looked pretty much like a nice little neighborhood. But her husband died at the hands of corrupt cops, and she's starting over in a new land, trying to take care of her daughter on her own. She may well have PTSD, and being sleep-deprived, she may believe the newspapers were gun shots.

I don't think she's directly conning Mike, and I don't feel that he's not blinded by love for his grand daughter or guilt over the death of his son. He realizes this scenario is more complicated because of his feelings for his grand daughter and guilt towards his daughter-in-law, and the latter may be leveraging some of that guilt, but I think he's come to terms with all that, one way or another.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:45 AM on March 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


According to the latest podcast, the bullet situation is left ambiguous, at least for now

That's pretty much business as usual for the podcast: Vince Gilligan's always been very careful about spoilers on these and always deflects what's-coming-up questions with "well, let's wait and see".

(It also sidetracked into a brief but interesting discussion of authorial intent centered around the finale of Breaking Bad: that he still gets asked questions about the characters' motivations and fates, that he knows the answers, but that ultimately he feels that what the viewer made of it is more important.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:58 AM on March 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's one thing about her mistaking the newspapers for gunshots, but I think Mike's stakeout also illustrated how quiet the neighborhood is. What are the reasons three gunshots would be fired? Mike falls asleep because nothing is happening within earshot, and then when a car starts approaching, the scene is stretched out enough that I had time to think, "this car is going to start flooring it or something, right?" Nope.

Now, this doesn't mean shots weren't fired the night before, but I think Mike knows that and when he doesn't know who or what to believe, he might just align his pick to his sympathies. Does he have zillions of dollars yet?
posted by rhizome at 12:04 PM on March 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Chuck? He still can't believe that Davis & Main would hire Jimmy as a lawyer, which is a real punch to the gut.

Yep... I get the impression that-- probably due to a hard-to-impress father -- Chuck built his whole idea of success on being a lawyer. And indirectly on being superior to Jimmy. "See, Dad? I passed the bar. I made partner." And when his con-artist little brother becomes a lawyer too, it invalidates all of that and drives him nuts. Every legal success Jimmy has is a punch in the gut to him. Especially because Jimmy is succeeding by being a showman, if not a con artist, and not worshipping The Law like Chuck.
posted by mmoncur at 5:26 PM on March 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


On the podcast VG and the crew spent a lot of time talking about Chuck's house, which is almost like a character itself. It was really interesting to hear how difficult it is to shoot "the absence of electricity" without using the filming lights you need in order convey the world Chuck is living in. (One thing I didn't realize is that more scenes are shot there than any other set.) The interior of the house is supposed to be aspirational; the dark wood and paneling echo English, old money, East Coast establishment, and is now, to me, very obviously supposed to be removed from the actual house in the actual location. (Or what is supposed to be the same house. The interior is a set.) This is also established by the choice of music, which mandolin conspiracy spoke to in the last thread:
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. (emphasis mine)
All this got me re-watching to start keeping tabs on the new BCS color code (As a rule, hotter colors are associated with crime.) A few standouts:

In the scene with the investment banker the restaurant is yellow, Jimmy is wearing a pink shirt and Kim is in her usual blue. The wallpaper in their hotel room is blue and red. The tequila bottle is blue and the stopper they took is red but that may be a holdover from BB. Pryce is all about the yellows and greens, as is D & M to a lesser extent. (The large painting behind the receptionist had to be altered from the original red.) One of the paintings in Jimmy's office is of a man who appears to be falling (or slipping?) and he is wearing a red shirt and blue pants. There is another painting of a box car which is blue. (Also, the box car is stationed next to a NSEW directional sign.) Howard is the bluest, but most of the people around Jimmy are blue or blue-ish. Nacho is wearing a red shirt at the drug deal and of course Jimmy is wearing all white at the bus hijacking. There are really too many examples to list. With all this in mind, the black and white scenes are extra-interesting.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:18 AM on March 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


mmoncur: I get the impression that-- probably due to a hard-to-impress father -- Chuck built his whole idea of success on being a lawyer. And indirectly on being superior to Jimmy.

Maybe, but I'm not getting quite that from this scene in the 9th episode of season 1:
You're not a real lawyer. University of American Samoa, for Christ's sake. An online course? What a joke. I worked my ass off to get where I am. And you take these shortcuts and you think suddenly you're my peer? You do what I do because you're funny and you can make people laugh? I committed my life to this! You don't slide into it like a cheap pair of slippers and reap all the rewards.
...
People don't change. You're Slippin' Jimmy. And Slippin' Jimmy I can handle just fine. But Slippin' Jimmy with a law degree is like a chimp with a machine gun.
Chuck has his mind made up about Jimmy - he's a quick-talking con-man, which is the antithesis of The Law for Chuck.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:13 AM on March 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well, I don't think those two ideas are mutually exclusive at all. I think it's very telling that Chuck's EM sensitivity only manifests after Jimmy passes the bar. Chuck does have legitimate concerns about Jimmy's ability to follow ethical guidelines, but at the same time having to think of Jimmy as anything even remotely like a peer is a massive blow to his psyche that leads to him withdrawing into his little hardwood cave.

(Speaking of which, I hadn't been thinking about this before, but a house furnished like Chuck's in the middle of New Mexico with no air conditioning must be absolute torture.)
posted by tobascodagama at 7:39 AM on March 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I committed my life to this!

I wonder if this will be a linchpin, since it's apparent (or predictable?) that Jimmy also committed his life to what he's doing.
posted by rhizome at 1:22 PM on March 4, 2016


"Speaking of which, I hadn't been thinking about this before, but a house furnished like Chuck's in the middle of New Mexico with no air conditioning must be absolute torture."

It wouldn't be that bad, depending upon what "bad" means to you. It's low humidity and a mile in elevation (like Denver). One thing about both shows that's annoyed me is that it snows in the winter but they never show this and only play up the "intolerably hot desert" thing (which the west mesa or anywhere north isn't, although you don't have to go that far to the south and drop in elevation before it gets much hotter). It gets really damn cold down there where Chuck lives (ABQ Country Club area) in the winter -- I lived about eight blocks away from Chuck's house for a couple of years with only a wood stove for heat and it got really freaking cold -- sometimes as bad as it was in the mountains outside Santa Fe (where I lived the following two years also with only wood-burning as a heating source) -- below 10F. It's often actually colder in the valley than in the heights in the winter because the colder air is denser and pools down by the river. I think Chuck has a fireplace so that will help a bit, but he's got a problem in the winter as well as the summer.

Anyway, Albuquerque doesn't hit the upper nineties as often as you might think during the summer and with the dry air it's much cooler in the shade. If you keep the curtains drawn when the sun would otherwise shine through, and then open the windows at night (when it will drop down into the fifties), it won't be too bad. In fact, if you open all doors and windows and there's a breeze during the day, it will be fairly comfortable.

Albuquerque is not Phoenix or El Paso or wherever. And Santa Fe, at only sixty miles away and another thousand feet or more in elevation, is cool in the summer and downright cold and snowy in the winter.

Sorry, this is a sore spot for me. And I recognize that for people who live in places where 80F is "hot", ABQ will be very hot. Still, it's nothing like Tuscon at 115F for ten consecutive days or Houston at 103F and 85% humidity. I know what "hot" is and ABQ is mild by comparison.

† But Albuquerque has frequent winter fireplace / wood smoke "no burn" air quality days because in the winter there's often an inversion layer that will trap smog and smoke -- back in the 70s it got very bad. When I lived down there by Old Town, I had an exemption because the wood stove was my only source of heat. Chuck wouldn't get an exemption and he'd get fined for burning his fireplace on no burn days.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:19 PM on March 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm still not sure why Jimmy didn't clear the commercial with Main before running it. He knew that he should have- and he almost did.

It just hit me like a bullet on the rewatch: It's all in the scene in which they are watching the old commercial and his legal assistant starts talking about the swirl and drops the line "And then there was the issue about speed..I remember there were a lot meetings about that" Jimmy says "I bet".

Jimmy is going to have to leave Davis and Main because he thinks it's going to kill his creative side, his showman side, i.e. everything he loves about the job, i.e., his Saul.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:36 PM on March 7, 2016


What strikes me most about the end of the last episode isn't Jimmy's decision to do the commercial without approval; it's Jimmy's sudden decision to lie to Kim after the phone call from Clifford. "Golden Boy," sure, but what the hell is he thinking fucking up something so good with that kind of bullshit?
posted by mediareport at 7:04 PM on March 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


She's a faker, he knows it, and he's tolerating it because of his love for his granddaughter. Maybe it's not "clouding his judgment" but it's influencing him to make decisions he wouldn't make otherwise.

I do not believe we ever see her in BB except in a single background shot? It could be that relationship is also heading for some sort of fracture when he's inevitably forced to confront her about it.
posted by absalom at 3:27 PM on March 9, 2016


There is room for a lot to happen. If I was going to list things on a piece of paper, I think it would pencil out that Mike's life has at least as many compilcations as Jimmy's.
posted by rhizome at 3:54 PM on March 9, 2016


I'm wiht mediareport: this episode is the one where Jimmy starts conning Kim. I mean maybe he bent the truth with her a bit before, but this episode he goes full-on con on Kim. And it's going to blow up spectacularly. Particularly sad because know from the first episode this season she's got a bit of grift in her, too. So bring her in already, Jimmy, you're made for each other!
posted by Nelson at 9:54 PM on March 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


How old is his granddaughter now... 20?

What are we supposed to believe: this is some kind of magic xylophone child? But yeah, I guess some future plot point requires Kaylee to be older than a toddler so the writers felt they had no alternative to this permanent third grader.
posted by Monochrome at 11:16 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


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