Better Call Saul: Sabrosito
May 2, 2017 1:26 PM - Season 3, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Jimmy calls in a favor from Mike. Meanwhile, new complications disrupt the Salamancas' business; and Chuck and Jimmy struggle to compromise.
posted by gladly (82 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a little surprised by how much I want to see Jimmy and Kim somehow deliver comeuppance to Chuck. Intellectually, I know Chuck is right about Jimmy, but he's such an asshole about it. When the prosecutor wanted Jimmy to apologize to Chuck, I wasn't sure he could do it. Instead, I thought Bob Odenkirk delivered a really good monologue -- his voice was somewhere between angry and heartbroken.

I was never one of the Breaking Bad fans who loved Walter White, but I did and still love Gus Fring. I could never bring myself to see him as a villain, and in this episode, when he's good to his employees, even as he's lying to them, I still think he's good somehow. If there could be an ethical meth kingpin, I think Fring would be it.

The opening shots from under the swimming pool took me right back to Breaking Bad and that damn bear.
posted by gladly at 1:41 PM on May 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


BCS podcast is up
posted by Room 641-A at 2:24 PM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


When Chuck made a correction to the check amount I wanted to throw my projector at his stupid face on the wall.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:53 PM on May 2, 2017 [12 favorites]


Whir. Whir. Whir. WHIR! WHIR! WHIR! Mike chasing off Chuck with the drill is maybe my favorite moment of the series. But also just seeing Chuck with Mike was a great melding of worlds.

Was anyone else expecting a surprise appearance by Hank during the DEA bust?

I love that Jimmy doesn't appear until the middle of the episode.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:59 PM on May 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


I was never one of the Breaking Bad fans who loved Walter White, but I did and still love Gus Fring. I could never bring myself to see him as a villain, and in this episode, when he's good to his employees, even as he's lying to them, I still think he's good somehow. If there could be an ethical meth kingpin, I think Fring would be it.
But that was the other clever seduction of Breaking Bad: making you like, or at least enjoy, Gus enough that you turn a blind eye to the fact that he too is an amoral and ruthless criminal, capable of acts of shocking violence. Box Cutter worked so well because it sharply revealed that side of Gus.

I wonder if BCS is building a similar arc for Gus this season; and if Mike is going to be complicit enough in it that he becomes becomes Gus's right-hand man.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:13 PM on May 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


So Jimmy didn't actually destroy evidence, he destroyed a copy. Not sure why they needed Mike to get the photos for though?
posted by onya at 4:39 PM on May 2, 2017


Not sure why they needed Mike to get the photos for though?

To discredit Chuck. Jimmy's defense versus the tape - if it is played openly - is that he was telling his poor, crazy brother a lie to keep Chuck from feeling despair at his own dwindling mental faculties.

That defense only works if people believe Chuck's totally nuts, and the pictures are pertinent to that.
posted by mordax at 4:43 PM on May 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


As always, I need a second watch to get going here, but I loved seeing Kim powering through another set of phone calls again. It's neat having this prequel where we know the fate of so many characters and it's all intermingled with characters whose future is unknown, including the main character. I can't wait to see what Kim and Jimmy have planned.

For all his faults, I'm really going to miss Jimmy.

When Chuck made a correction to the check amount I wanted to throw my projector at his stupid face on the wall.

Okay, so this is where I admit I once worked* with Michael McKean who was Not Nice to me and I take out all my disappointment and resentment by really hating Chuck. And while I'm admitting stuff, sometimes Kim's relationship with/to Jimmy hits a little close to home. I'v dated a lot of Jimmys. :/

On preview, So Jimmy didn't actually destroy evidence, he destroyed a copy. Not sure why they needed Mike to get the photos for though?

i think that's two separate things. Weren't the photos of the inside of the house? I think the two tapes could show that Chuck was setting up Jimmy, but i have to rewatch to see the photos again.

On double preview, mordax probably has it.


*Just a one day gig.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:46 PM on May 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


This was the first episode to have me worried about the direction that the series is taking. I don't care about the schlocky cartel storyline. I want to see more of Jimmy and Kim and Chuck. Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad, and I'd prefer if it didn't backslide. But by bringing back Esposito as another lead and focusing on his story, it's hard to see the writers extricating themselves.

The pulp about cartoonish supervillains bringing drugs over the border plays differently now too.
posted by painquale at 5:06 PM on May 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


Loved the Don Eladio (helado, get it?) swimming pool death callback: that's how I know I'm in safe hands again.

My biggest question is: could Fring possibly have something to do with Hector's eventual stroke, turning him into a drooling wreck and shadow of the swaggering bossman we're treated to in this ep? I mean, is that even possible?
posted by Chichibio at 5:24 PM on May 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Whir. Whir. Whir. WHIR! WHIR! WHIR! Mike chasing off Chuck with the drill is maybe my favorite moment of the series.

LOL. I concur.

"Meet my friend, Mr. DEWALT. Hey. Pal. Where are you going?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:35 PM on May 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


If last episode's theme was about indirect reverberations, the wake of passage that the "big" people leave in their wake, this episode was about the transgression of space, the violation of boundaries, the cross-contamination of violently opposed worlds and worldviews.

Most episodes of this show have a few "key" shots or scenes that connect to the theme, and this episode's central shot -- lovingly framed, carefully lingered on -- is the meeting between Mike and Gus at the security gate. Of course, it's Gus, the great criminal antagonist of Breaking Bad, in the very last place he should be as a criminal with a legitimate cover: the parking lot, at night, of a courthouse, conducting illicit affairs himself. But it's set up by the more predictable (for BB fans) irony (and boundary-breaking) of Gus playing his role as a legitimate businessman, receiving accolades for his charity...and by Hector's invasion of Gus's "safe" space, his cover, which comes witht he literal, crass contamination of the dung on his shoes and the figurative contamination of Hector's supply in Gus's heretofore well-bounded operation.

But it's the psychological and moral damage wrought by these transgressions against boundaries that plays out in that "key" scene at the courthouse parking lot. Mike's line in the nighttime visit, "I'm just glad to have Hector Salamanca out of my head," highlights the theme directly, but notice how the characters are positioned and framed. Mike stands before the crossbar at the exit. Gus stands just beyond it, just past the physical boundary between the world of justice and law and the streets of Albuquerque, where the Nachos and Viktors roam.

And in that scene, we see two characters cross usually rigid, self-defined boundaries of their own: Mike, who accepts Gus's offer of more regular employment despite his "business isn't personal" mentality of only a moment before; and Gus, the controlled, calm, professional, letting the mask slip -- even the mask he wears around criminals -- to reveal that his interest in Hector Salamanca is bitterly *personal*. In dialogue, in character development, and in imagery, the parking garage scene is about the disturbances and the lingering effects of transgressing boundaries, invading spaces.

And that nighttime scene has its counterparts in two other sets of scenes: most obviously the shocking contact between Mike and Chuck, where Jimmy's shady world of crime invades Chuck's heretofore very personal, very safe space. Not only are Mike and Chuck two characters who would not cross paths otherwise -- Chuck's hardly going to roll p to the courthouse in the driver's seat -- but that house has otherwise been a place governed entirely by Chuck, Chuck's private world, where family disputes and professional work happen, and not much else. Jimmy's "crime" was breaking down the door to confront Chuck for his betrayal, but his transgression against his brother by sending in Mike to take pictures of Chuck's living conditions, feels like a far worse violation of his brother's space and world, however sympathetic the show asks us to be given Chuck's conduct for two seasons and some change.

And the other scene, a quieter one but no less important, is the contamination Jimmy has brought to the offices of Kim Wexler, Attorney at Law, and her neighbor, lover, but not business partner James McGill, Esq. Now, Jimmy and Kim are actively engaged in a criminal conspiracy: the things she never wanted to know about, she is now actively abetting, breaking her own rules from the previous season and choosing alliance with Jimmy (against Chuck) over her duty as an officer of the court. But then, the ADA from Belen has visibly brought something other than professional detachment into the proceedings as well, as we saw last time with her being invited into Chuck's space as not only an officer of the court, but also a confidant, and here, much more visibly, as a friend to the man she calls "Charles" and a for of the man she calls "Mr. McGill."

But what the show keeps telling us is that those borders have always been porous to quiet, clever crossings, flirtations with overt transgression, that now they are not so strong after all. Jimmy taking advantage of Chuck's delirium last seasons to forge the Mesa Verde documents, Mike's allowing personal enmity any place at all in his otherwise compartmentalized life, Jimmy conning his way into the Air Force base, and Howard's ludicrous trespassing were all subtle, covert, easily overlooked. But they let something in all the same.

And of course, the flashbacks have shown us that Jimmy, to Chuck, has felt like a transgressor practically since he landed in Albuquerque: first "invading" Chuck's marriage, then stepping into Chuck's "sacred space" of the law. And maybe that's part of his conversion disorder, his EM sensitivity psychosomatism. When his sense of boundaries is violated, he begins to imagine some invisible contamination invading him, just as when Jimmy feels Chuck has brought something vicious into their familial bond, he views it as destruction and corruption deserving of a response in kind, albeit more literally so. In this way, they're both rather like Hector, for whom the sudden reemergence of Gus as a rival -- that damned shirt and packets of neatly wrapped money showing up humiliatingly in the place Hector thought he'd run Gus out of years ago -- justifies his own invasion of Gus's businesses in both civilian and criminal life, and his deliberate blurring of the boundary between Gus's cover and his illicit business.

And that takes us back tot he other key scene, the one that ends the teaser and sets the real theme: Don Eladio penetrating the surface of the water, and Hector, at the end of that scene, shot through the refractory, forever disturbed surface of that same water. Those hard, untroubled boundaries were always an illusion, a myth, just like the fable of "America, where the righteous have nothing to fear" and the bad hombres scurry back across the border that Gus sells his employees on. (And it's delightful commentary that the white assistant manager buys it fully that the U.S. is just not a space that can be transgressed against in that way, while the Latinx employees visibly don't buy in at all.) The law was never the pure realm of decency; the line between Chuck and Jimmy was never so sharply drawn; the notion that some ethical wall keeps injustice out of the justice system was never so; and the bonds of family were never inviolable. The brief, colorful existence of Saul Goodman will be a testament to that.
posted by kewb at 5:59 PM on May 2, 2017 [23 favorites]


Apologies for bringing in politics. Ignore that bit or write it off as too much of a stretch if you'd like.
posted by kewb at 6:00 PM on May 2, 2017


(Though I will clarify that I think that speech of Gus's is a splendid twitting of American exceptionalism and xenophobia.)
posted by kewb at 6:07 PM on May 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


On double preview, mordax probably has it.

I meant to add when I was posting:

I'm basing this on something Jimmy said when looking at the photos. The shot he stopped on and discussed was a gas lamp on top of a pile of paper products, which is a blatant (and nutty) fire hazard. He seemed gleeful about that, but I don't think Jimmy wants Chuck dead either.

Plus, Jimmy mentions on the tape, 'I'll just point out I was telling you what you needed to hear, comforting a brother.'

Between those two things, the play seems cut and dried to me, even if the outcome's bound to be complicated.

If last episode's theme was about indirect reverberations, the wake of passage that the "big" people leave in their wake, this episode was about the transgression of space, the violation of boundaries, the cross-contamination of violently opposed worlds and worldviews.

... that was a really neat set of observations. Thanks for sharing. :)
posted by mordax at 6:15 PM on May 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


Mike stands before the crossbar at the exit. Gus stands just beyond it, just past the physical boundary between the world of justice and law and the streets of Albuquerque, where the Nachos and Viktors roam.

I was strangely transfixed by that gate.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:20 PM on May 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Between those two things, the play seems cut and dried to me, even if the outcome's bound to be complicated.

Further evidence - Chuck's condescending line to Kim about the standard of evidence being lower in a bar hearing is a nice setup for Kim introducing her own evidence, the photos, at the hearing in a future episode.
posted by kithrater at 6:20 PM on May 2, 2017 [9 favorites]


I'm basing this on something Jimmy said when looking at the photos. The shot he stopped on and discussed was a gas lamp on top of a pile of paper products, which is a blatant (and nutty) fire hazard. He seemed gleeful about that, but I don't think Jimmy wants Chuck dead either.

But if there were a *cough* accident with a lantern, but Chuck got out safely...

Also, Mike replaced the door and presumably the lock...the tape may not be the only thing with a duplicate?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:21 PM on May 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Kim introducing her own evidence, the photos, at the hearing in a future episode.

Now that I think about it, how does Kim explain where the photos came from? Jimmy was already worried that Chuck might have reason to call back the actual repair company, and Chuck would have to know that Mike is the only one who could have taken the photos, which would blow the whole thing up.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:28 PM on May 2, 2017


But if there were a *cough* accident with a lantern, but Chuck got out safely...

The thing is, if Jimmy wanted something like that, he wouldn't need pictures. He already knows there are lamps in there - he's been over countless times.

Plus, Jimmy's a trickster at heart, and one thing about BB: people stick to their modus operandi.

Upon preview:
Now that I think about it, how does Kim explain where the photos came from?

Jimmy used to go over there all the time, and those were on film - no date stamps. As long as there's no way to verify a date from the shots, Jimmy can just say he got them before he was barred from the house.
posted by mordax at 6:31 PM on May 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Jimmy used to go over there all the time, and those were on film - no date stamps.

... except, of course, for the dates on the newspapers on which the lantern was placed.
posted by kithrater at 6:32 PM on May 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Only if they're legible. Remember, we're not talking Star Trek here - nobody's going to get more detail out of them than a cheap, disposable camera offers in poor light.
posted by mordax at 6:33 PM on May 2, 2017


Plus, Jimmy's a trickster at heart, and one thing about BB: people stick to their modus operandi.

Good point.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:39 PM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also, as we saw back in the first two episodes, Jimmy is quite squeamish at and morally disgusted by violence.
posted by kewb at 6:56 PM on May 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Remember, we're not talking Star Trek here

Ha I didn't think of that, or even that it's not 2017.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:58 PM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


So Kim was fully participating in Jimmy's shenanigans, correct, by making the phone calls? That's a first, and I think a significant development in her character. She's choosing Jimmy over the technicalities of the law, and she's playing a bit by Jimmy's rules to give him the best defense possible.

Also, Chuck. Even if we think he's right in being disturbed about Jimmy's behavior, he's not grieving about a fallen brother. He's exulting in his dawnfall because he likes the law better than his brother. I think that's what hurts Jimmy.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:27 PM on May 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Hector! (Look at me, Hector, look at me.)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:36 PM on May 2, 2017


The photos also tie into Kim's, "Jackpot."

> how does Kim explain where the photos came from?

Chuck condescendingly mansplaining that the bar for evidence in a disciplinary hearing is really low - that might be why the photos could be kosher damning evidence. Chuck pulls some borderline shenanigan evidence submission, Kim gets to do the same.

> I once worked* with Michael McKean who was Not Nice to me

Yeah, I was kind of put off of Michael McKean in general from his role in X-Files (super sleazy government middle-manager type who switches bodies with Mulder for while); the "act" was a little telling that it didn't take too much acting on his part.
posted by porpoise at 7:40 PM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


SpacemanStix: So Kim was fully participating in Jimmy's shenanigans, correct, by making the phone calls? That's a first, and I think a significant development in her character.

Also at the bar when they scammed that business guy out of free drinks by pretending to be trust fund kids needed a place to put their cash. Kim has a tiny bit of grifter in her bones, but the ratio for her and Jimmy are ying & yang reversed.
posted by bluecore at 9:37 PM on May 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Whir. Whir. Whir. WHIR! WHIR! WHIR! Mike chasing off Chuck with the drill is maybe my favorite moment of the series.


My favorite part of this was imagining the scene between Jimmy and Mike where they plan this. Jimmy saying "Just make a power-tool make some noise or something. He'll run away like a scared rat!" and Mike raising one eyebrow just a bit and saying "Okay..."

They didn't need to film that scene, I know the characters and I know exactly how it would have gone.
posted by mmoncur at 2:55 AM on May 3, 2017 [8 favorites]


I'm not entirely sure what Kim and Jimmy are planning and the significance of the final scene.

My initial reading of it is that Kim was hoisting Chuck by his own petard -- that she was secretly recording the conversation (New Mexico is a one-party consent state, which is why Chuck was able to get away with his recording) which essentially is Chuck's confession that he planned the whole thing, he provoked Jimmy into breaking into the house. Which is the crime for which Jimmy confessed. Meanwhile, there's still no proof (aside from Jimmy "confession" on tape) that Jimmy actually did the whole Mesa Verde thing as Chuck claims while, meanwhile, there's an enormous amount of documentation that Chuck is, um, mentally unsound. And the photos will back that up. Both the recording and the photos will meet the low standards for the bar hearing. So Kim and Jimmy's narrative is that a) Chuck is mentally ill, with a psychosomatic condition and is paranoid; b) he made a simple mistake in the Mesa Verde filing but his paranoia meant he wrongly blamed Jimmy for it; c) in his paranoia, he anticipated Jimmy's "confession" and so recorded it, despite his psychosomatic illness; d) Jimmy has always been there, caring for Chuck, and the "confession" was an attempt to comfort his very ill brother; e) Chuck then became even more paranoid and carefully planned to further manipulate Jimmy, using Ernesto, into losing his temper and breaking into the house, demanding the tape; and, finally, f) therefore, Chuck is clearly mentally ill, all of this stemmed from his paranoia and manipulation and the one thing that Jimmy did wrong, he has rightly fully admitted to while, meanwhile, if anyone, it's Chuck who is unfit to practice law for numerous reasons. The photos and the medical records and (if I'm right) Kim's recording of Chuck admitting that the destroyed tape was the duplicate (indicating unambiguously Chuck's manipulation) will meet the standards of evidence for the bar hearing.

The thing is, the only thing Jimmy has been proven to have done, and has confessed to have done, is break into Chuck's house, angry, and destroying the tape. But look at the surrounding context -- Chuck is clearly very mentally ill, Jimmy's been taking care of him for a long time, and Chuck makes a simple error on a legal document and concocts a convoluted and paranoid explanation that it's all Jimmy's fault and so enacts two separate convoluted and ethically shaky plans to both get Jimmy to "confess" to this and to then provoke Jimmy into B&E. There's little reason to believe, even given Jimmy's taped confession, Chuck's version of these events. Chuck is clearly very mentally unhealthy. It's a wonder that anyone in the legal world is abetting Chuck's illness and wouldn't the bar association be wary of this? So as for the matter of who is fit to practice the law, it seems like in context Jimmy's mistake is bad, but explicable and forgivable in context while, in contrast, Chuck is deeply unfit and has demonstrated that in at least three different serious ways.

As noted above, Mike's role in this isn't airtight -- the appointment was canceled and the company surely would corroborate Chuck's claim that Mike doesn't work for them and that he took the photos. But that's only if Chuck has any reason to think anything about Mike in the first place and that the photos had not been taken some other time, by Jimmy, and, even then, the people in the bar hearing would have to, at that point, having already learned how nutty Chuck was, decide to give yet another paranoid theory of Chuck's credence and investigate it. Even though it wouldn't disprove anything.

Seems to me that there's every reason to think that the bar hearing will conclude that there were extenuating circumstances in Jimmy's offense. But that the whole episode justifies a hearing about Chuck's competence. Chuck has a better reputation and connections, but the whole thing will embarrass everyone, including Howard, and at some point the establishment will cut its losses and cut its ties to Chuck. Meanwhile, from their point of view, Jimmy looks like a success story, a loving brother who made his way to a law degree and license and practice in the face of both his brother's powerful, paranoid opposition and while actually taking care of Chuck while he's ill. It is completely believable that this could go in Jimmy's favor and against Chuck.

And the PPD takes care of the problem on the criminal justice side. Jimmy cooperated fully with that.

The beautiful thing about all of this is that basically Chuck outsmarted himself. If he'd just gone with the prosecution, then there's a good chance that Jimmy would have been suspended from the bar anyway, if convicted, and on the basis of that conviction. On the other hand, ultimately, this is Jimmy's fault for doing the whole Mesa Verde thing in the first place. BB and BCS are tragedies, people succumbing to their tragic flaws. That's why I still worry about Kim. I want Kim to end up okay. But Kim has her own vices, and it would work perfectly in the narrative if she, too, doesn't escape their consequences.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:59 AM on May 3, 2017 [23 favorites]


Yeah, Kim signing on to all of this out of...what, undying love for Jimmy? or wanting to get back at Chuck after all his petty dickishness? might be the weakest part of the show. That she's now secretly recording Chuck (the only possible read of her "bingo" at the end) seems like a pretty big leap from where she was at the end of last season.
posted by mediareport at 4:19 AM on May 3, 2017


Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad, and I'd prefer if it didn't backslide.

The show's writers said a while back they like Jimmy and didn't want to see him turn into Saul too fast, but felt pressure to move that along. I think that's a shame, and many of the decisions to align the show more closely with That Other Show just seem to me to weaken this one.
posted by mediareport at 4:27 AM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


Jimmy asks Mike if he also got "the other thing." Mike responds yes, that he found it in an address book. What do you think this is? The ex-wife's contact info? I can't think of what else it would be. She would be a valuable witness to Chuck's mental state and it feels like her story will be told, particularly after Jimmy brought her up when he was shouting at Chuck during the break-in.
I thought Jimmy's apology to Chuck was masterful. Seemingly so heartfelt and emotional and full of barbs ("how could a brother do this?") that only Chuck would detect.
posted by areaperson at 6:00 AM on May 3, 2017 [11 favorites]


Another entry for the one-word masterful line reading: Kim's "Chuck."
(Previously, Mike's "Yeah" and Kim's "Okay.")

Who will win the coveted Golden Bullion Cube?
posted by whuppy at 6:12 AM on May 3, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think Mike is going to be the one to somehow give Hector the stroke. Did we ever see Mike and Hector together in Breaking Bad? I think Mike dealt with some of Hector's people but never Hector.

Still wondering why Michael Mando is in the opening credits when he has a such a small part. I have a feeling they expected to do more with him but the show went in another direction.

I agree about Kim. I don't see her pulling tricks like that. Not on that level, and not while she's acting as Jimmy's attorney. Still, I really want to see the two of them stick it to Chuck.

Nice opening shot from the pool. Right out of Breaking Bad.
posted by bondcliff at 6:23 AM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


Ah, I was thinking standards for conviction, as in civil vs criminal (thanks, OJ!) but this makes sense now.

Re: "Breaking Kim" don't she and Jimmy make a joke about Viktor-with-a-k and Gizelle? I think Kim's more like Jimmy than she wants to admit.

From the podcast: it was so cold when they were shooting the pool scene that Steven Bauer's (Don Eladio) teeth were chattering. They manages to work around it, mostly, but there were a few takes they needed where I guess you can tell a little if you're looking for it. Also, his speedos were specially made by the wardrobe Dept to give him slightly more coverage and warmth!

Still wondering why Michael Mando is in the opening credits when he has a such a small part. I have a feeling they expected to do more with him but the show went in another direction.

Yes, I read that somewhere, because Jimmy was originally going to become Saul in S1.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:39 AM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Kim signing on to all of this out of...what, undying love for Jimmy? or wanting to get back at Chuck after all his petty dickishness?

Not so petty, given that he tried to grab Mesa Verde away from her. Also, WRT kewb's masterful comment above, yes, Jimmy (personally and via Mike) has violated the sanctity of Chuck's home... but it should be remembered that Chuck had invited Jimmy into his home and even depended on him when it suited him, knowing all along that he'd sabotaged Jimmy's career (not completely, since he'd obviously known that Jimmy was working chump-change cases, but enough so that Jimmy wouldn't be a quote-endquote real lawyer), and kicked him to the curb when he was confronted about it. And then he similarly used and disposed of Ernesto.

Chuck's reputation may be based on his being a hot-shit lawyer, and he may have actually done some good mentoring of junior lawyers in the past... but I don't think that it was ever done purely out of the goodness of his heart (remember that he helped Kim get out of document review when she was still at HHM only after he tried to poison her relationship with Jimmy by implying that her brother stole $14,000 from their dad's business), and some of his reputation in the lawyer community may be that he can be very vindictive when he's crossed. He may find that he has far fewer allies than he thinks if he really goes to war.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:44 AM on May 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


I just wanted to say that I like this show and also that every time they talk about using the tape in an legal context I remember that Chuck was ALSO Mr. Green in Clue and when they find out they're being recorded he says something like "point of order, tape recordings are not admissible as evidence!" but I guess that doesn't hold true for bar hearings.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:55 AM on May 3, 2017 [6 favorites]


I can't see exactly how "damaged" vs. "destroyed" is gonna pay off, but I suspect some epic briar-patching.
posted by whuppy at 8:33 AM on May 3, 2017


I wonder if they are playing Chuck and the "destroyed" is going to bite him when he comes up with a copy and Kim is pushing the paranoid/manipulating angle.
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:40 AM on May 3, 2017 [11 favorites]


My initial reading of it is that Kim was hoisting Chuck by his own petard -- that she was secretly recording the conversation (New Mexico is a one-party consent state, which is why Chuck was able to get away with his recording) which essentially is Chuck's confession that he planned the whole thing

*facepalm*
Missed that. That's smart, and makes sense both in context and just from a general narrative point of view. Nice.

Not so petty, given that he tried to grab Mesa Verde away from her.

Also, if people think Jimmy actually pulled off the con - versus got caught in a tight spot by a now crazy Chuck - it'll poison Kim's relationship with Mesa Verde. In their shoes, I'd want to drop her, which would absolutely destroy her career at this delicate stage.

She stands to lose as much as Jimmy off of this now.
posted by mordax at 9:12 AM on May 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


I can't imagine how BCS could be much better, but it would be a tiny bit worse without these discussions.

Also, we were talking about "what if" Fring's return had been kept under wraps and I think of the sheer excitement in seeing Tuco and I think half my head would have exploded.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:27 AM on May 3, 2017 [5 favorites]


When Chuck made a correction to the check amount

I thought Chuck's actual goal was to get the cassette mentioned in the confession (at least in the list of what was "destroyed") since up to that point it had not been.
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:33 AM on May 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


The pettiness of "destroyed" may bite Chuck in the ass when it comes out that he knew he had that second tape; it implies intentionality and vindictiveness.

Kim's "bingo" reminded me of the earlier episode with Jimmy emceeing the bingo night. I love this show.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:48 AM on May 3, 2017 [6 favorites]


Mike's Nice to fix something for once, especially when viewed next to his parking lot conversation with Gus, was everything for me this episode. Gus's speech to the team at Los Pollos Hermanos was similarly superb. (And Lyle! Oh, Lyle, your applause.)

I would almost be willing to bet money that Mike and Gus are a combined causal factor in Hector's stroke, somehow. Gus more or less admits his plans for Hector to Mike when he says that a shot to the head would've been too good for him.

I'm not sure that Kim and Jimmy's plan is as simple as recording Chuck's admission that the tape was duplicated. It seems too easy, at this point, especially considering all of Chuck's machinations to get Jimmy to break into his house.
posted by minsies at 11:02 AM on May 3, 2017 [10 favorites]


"Too humane."

Still wondering why Michael Mando is in the opening credits when he has a such a small part. I have a feeling they expected to do more with him but the show went in another direction.

I had wondered that too; he was significant in the previous seasons but has been mostly sidelined in the Gus/Hector/Mike storyline.

It's mentioned on the Insider podcast that this is his first appearance this season.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:34 AM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Too humane."

Yes, that. Thanks for the reminder!
posted by minsies at 11:40 AM on May 3, 2017


I love that long ago Gilligan and Co. decided to toss an old guy in a wheelchair communicating via bell as part of the larger Tuco / Walt / Jesse storyline and now that has developed into a major component of a prequel show that was originally going to be a 30 minute sitcom.

They've mentioned before on the podcast that they often write themselves into a corner but they're far too humble to talk about how freaking great they are at writing themselves out of those corners.
posted by bondcliff at 12:07 PM on May 3, 2017 [15 favorites]


From somewhere, not me: the fire station where Fring was talking is where Walter White dropped off Holly in "Ozymandias."
posted by Room 641-A at 12:24 PM on May 3, 2017 [7 favorites]


Mike's 'Nice to fix something for once'

And the next time you see him, he's reading Handyman magazine <3
posted by KateViolet at 3:09 PM on May 3, 2017 [20 favorites]


I loved that. It's like Mike found a new hobby.
posted by bondcliff at 5:17 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


Nacho's a great character. Intelligent, level-headed, game-recognize-game with Mike, etc.

I would like to see more of him, but on the other hand I want him safely on the periphery. (According to the interview, he's the "Ignacio" name-checked in Breaking Bad, but that doesn't mean he's still alive.)
posted by whuppy at 5:48 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Still wondering why Michael Mando is in the opening credits when he has a such a small part. I have a feeling they expected to do more with him but the show went in another direction.

A commenter over at Sepinwall's review (in the sidebar) mentioned that the same thing happens in Orphan Black, which I had forgotten about. More Michael Mando!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:41 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


LizBoBiz: I wonder if they are playing Chuck and the "destroyed" is going to bite him when he comes up with a copy and Kim is pushing the paranoid/manipulating angle.

When he comes up with the original - if Kim did record that conversation, and I'm not 100% convinced she did*, it'll pin Chuck and Howard to the fact that they made a copy of the recording, then put the copy in the cassette recorder so the original would remain intact when Jimmy came back to destroy the evidence. From the discussion in this thread, I'm guessing now that this all plays back to the paranoia angle. (Imagine me talking very animatedly, waiving my hands around as I get excited about how many details are fit into this, not as lecturing others on what I think happened - that's my intent with the emphasis above.)

* In this transcript, which I assume is based off of closed captions or official descriptive text from an episode purchased or streamed online, where they include official transcripts, the sounds at the end are described as follows:

[Door opens] [Telephone rings in distance] [Elevator bell dings] [Metal detector whining] [Elevator bell dings]

The whirring is what I would have assumed was a tape recorder, but we'll see soon enough, I'm sure.


kewb: this episode's central shot -- lovingly framed, carefully lingered on -- is the meeting between Mike and Gus at the security gate.
...
Mike, who accepts Gus's offer of more regular employment despite his "business isn't personal" mentality of only a moment before; and Gus, the controlled, calm, professional, letting the mask slip -- even the mask he wears around criminals -- to reveal that his interest in Hector Salamanca is bitterly *personal*.


I don't think Mike has fully bought in just yet. I read that scene as Mike being framed more central, though still not dead center (balanced), while Gus is far to the right, into the darkness, not his usual location, as we were reminded by his charity visit to the fire station (fore-warning of a future fire? "I hope to never need your services"). Anyway, here's the exchange, with notes on the musical cues (from the transcript), for emphasis:
Mike: I'm just glad to have Salamanca out of my head.
[Ominous music plays]
Gus: Well, perhaps, in the future you will consider working for me.
Mike: Could be. That'd depend on the work.
[Music continues]
Gus: Would you care to know why I stopped you from killing Hector? Like you said it wasn't in your interest. A bullet to the head would have been far too humane.
[Music builds] [Vehicle door opens, closes]
"That'd depend on the work" and his earlier comment "Nice to fix something for once." all sound like a not too subtle nod to future work as Gus's "cleaner" or "fixer," which would ensure that he can keep his grand daughter in a safe (feeling) environment.

Other stray observations:
  • Gus shows us that a person with true power doesn't need to flaunt it. Someone with real muscle doesn't need to flex to be seen as strong. (Well, at least in America *cue eagles soaring and fireworks in the background, as I take a superhero pose*)
  • I loved that not only was that particular speech by Gus for his white manager, who wanted to get the police involved, and his Latinx employees just came back to work and had their heads down, but also the Latinx customers were the first ones to head for the door, knowing when they saw a confrontation (and by "loved," I mean I loved that Vince and crew knew that this is the dual realities that Americans inhabit - white people can pretend that everything is safe and in order, thanks to the police, even though instability and danger is only a "strong man" away)
  • Jimmy tells Mike "Hasta luego," which Google currently says means "bye," but a more close translation is "see you later," which seems like what they were intending
  • What does Gus do with his wealth? Did we ever get a hint of that in BB? Or does he just keep expanding his cartel-backed empire, for the day he eventually retires?
  • The terms of James' deal include that he must maintain lawful employment, and "must only associate with law-abiding citizens" - another nod to the eventual transition of Jimmy to Saul; also, as lawyers, this is an interesting stipulation to make - couldn't they argue on the lawfulness of various acts, or that this is wholly untenable, given the broad range and application of laws? For example, jaywalking is illegal, as is littering, but everyone has done one or the other, or both, at some point in their lives.

posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on May 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


Do we have a timeline of scenes taken at Don Eladio's pool?

1.Gus and partner (business and/or romantic) show up at the pool to proposition Eladio. (BB)
2. Gus' partner gets killed by Don Eladio's people. (were these the same scenes? I don't remember.) (BB)
3. The scene from this episode
4. Gus kills Eladio and his people (BB)

The A/V club seemed to say that #3 occurred before #1 and #2.

I may be misremembering things from Breaking Bad. I thought in #1 Gus was very young and inexperienced. In this episode he seems a bit more built up.
posted by bondcliff at 8:28 AM on May 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Re: the scene at the resturant, in t podcast they mention that they cut a ton from that scene. Hector takes a stroll through the place, fucking with the customers. I think they mentioned he puts out his cigar in someone's meal, etc. I'd love to see that. (I think that's separate from the very good observation that flt makes about Gus's speech and the customers who leave first.)

I also didn't make the connection that at Don Eladio's we meet Hector's driver, Xavier, who Hector later kills after Mike's hijacking in the desert.

Better Call Saul: me talking very animatedly, waiving my hands around as I get excited about how many details are fit into this
posted by Room 641-A at 8:52 AM on May 4, 2017 [8 favorites]


Room 641-A: Re: the scene at the resturant, in t podcast they mention that they cut a ton from that scene.

And I think it's better for those cuts (looking forward to listening in full later). You still get the clear separation between Hector and Gus, but without being an overt asshole. As noted in BB, Hector is "an old-school gangster," which in this case means he's ruled by emotions and a need for respect, which he enforces by public shows of strength and disrespecting others' rules and requests. Putting out his cigar in someone's food is a lot more overt than having your toughs standing by the doors.

Gus, on the other hand, is new-school: divide your public and private personas, keeping the public side as open and positive as possible, even low-key, because this separates you from the flashy drug dealers in their suped-up cars and excessive jewelry. We know, from BB, that his drug-managing side is old-school tough, but that's a necessity of the trade - you can't tell the cops that your rivals stole your product. But why tell everyone that you're a bad-ass, when you can be polite and get respect for being kind?

Also, smart people will pick up on the personal strength from not looking to others for protection. At least, that's what I read from Nacho's hesitant look back at Gus when he followed Hector out of the restaurant.


bondcliff: Do we have a timeline of scenes taken at Don Eladio's pool?

The Breaking Bad wikia has a detailed timeline for Gustavo Fring, including what we know about him (or at least what he has offered to various parties as his background). There, we're reminded that it was Hector who shot Gustavo's partner (and possible lover), the gifted chemist named Maximino Arciniega. And there is the source of Gus' hatred of Hector and Don Eladio, so maybe all his efforts really are a long game to kill those who killed his partner/lover, and money made is beside the point?

(And in further reflection, and to answer my own question about how he uses his earnings from his highly successful drug sub-cartel, I guess he lives well enough, from the brief shot we had of his house. But the successful restaurant business could carry that forward, if he had a chance to leave the illegal drug world.)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:12 AM on May 4, 2017 [5 favorites]


(And in further reflection, and to answer my own question about how he uses his earnings from his highly successful drug sub-cartel, I guess he lives well enough, from the brief shot we had of his house. But the successful restaurant business could carry that forward, if he had a chance to leave the illegal drug world.)

Not to romanticize Gus too much, but it sometimes feels like he's using the drug money to finance his true dream, running the cleanest and most efficient chicken restaurant in the Southwest. If there was ever a fictional character whose passion would be running a spotless KFC that never screws up your order or runs out of bread, it's Gus.
posted by Copronymus at 2:28 PM on May 4, 2017 [11 favorites]


When he comes up with the original - if Kim did record that conversation, and I'm not 100% convinced she did*, it'll pin Chuck and Howard to the fact that they made a copy of the recording, then put the copy in the cassette recorder so the original would remain intact when Jimmy came back to destroy the evidence.

I don't know how deep the writers are willing to wade into the legal weeds, but Kim could be preparing to make the argument that Jimmy's misdeeds are not crimes of moral turpitude. Conviction of a CMT leads to mandatory disbarment, however a disciplinary board has more discretion concerning less serious crimes. Malicious destruction of property is a crime of moral turpitude, but breaking and entering and damage of property are not.

In Jimmy's PPD, "destroyed a cassette tape" gets changed to "damaged property belonging to the victim", maybe Chuck and Howard are so focused getting the tape into evidence that Kim's big scoop was to slide "damaged" v "destroyed" under their noses. Then Chuck admits that the issue was over the recording itself, not the $2.98 tape, and that recording was both a duplicate and a part of an elaborate plot (by a psychologically unwell person) to manipulate Jimmy.

Or that might be too much legal hair-splitting to make for a satisfying storyline... I dunno. Also I am not a lawyer, so my interpretation of New Mexico Legal Ethics does not even meet the standards of the University of American Samoa's law program.
posted by peeedro at 7:07 AM on May 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


All of the speculation I've read about the name change from "Jimmy McGill" to "Saul Goodman" has assumed that it would be imposed by Chuck in order to preserve his good name.

What if it's really because our heroes are about to trash Chuck's reputation so hard that even Slippin' Jimmy needs a Brand New Day?
posted by whuppy at 8:29 AM on May 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


Peedro, I twigged on the word switch, too. I think you may be on to something, IANAL as well.

Whuppy, or it turns into a huge shitshow with Jimmy the only one left in ABQ afterwards, and even then he has to Loompanics his way to a new identity. :-)
posted by rhizome at 8:38 AM on May 5, 2017 [2 favorites]


rhizome: even then he has to Loompanics his way to a new identity

He seems to be so well known in ABQ, which really is a big-little city that you can only make a new start if you change your profession (and friends, but we see he already has connections that carry from Jimmy to Saul). In other words, he's already involved in the local law community, so he'd have to really start over to have a new identity, like he does at the end of BB. That is how you start over - move away, change your name and profession.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 AM on May 5, 2017


I twigged on the word switch, too.

Kim even says, "Let's see if we can get away with that."
posted by Room 641-A at 10:29 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


The beautiful thing about all of this is that basically Chuck outsmarted himself.

I've made predictions about what it feels like should happen next. I'm always wrong, which adds to the brilliance of the show, I think; we feel we should know, and then something else happens, which ends up being better. However, in reading your take on what the future holds, I'm going to be astonished if that isn't correct.

In my mind, there will be a moment between Chuck and Jimmy that is almost identical to when Jesse buys his parent's house in BB after they disowned him for using drugs. Chuck will be gobsmacked, with a moment in which it clicks for him that he played himself. I imagine Jimmy's response being similar to Jesse. Jesse just goes inside and shuts the door. Jimmy isn't going to exult in the win, but he'll be content that he did, while also being sad about the broken relationship. He might keep up his promise that he'll never talk to Chuck again.

Who knows on that last paragraph, but I bet you are right about the rest.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:17 AM on May 5, 2017 [5 favorites]


I really don't know. It makes a lot of sense, but, similar to your experience, the show often wonderfully defies my expectations.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:57 AM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Kim's plan?

A great and interesting read about the legal complexities and why Chuck is probably going to end up outplaying himself.
posted by absalom at 1:37 PM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


Look, I don't want to give Chuck any ideas, but there is one thing that hasn't been mentioned, and that's the guy at the copy shop. Oh, crap, and Ernesto.

It's not a criminal case, so the cops wouldn't get involved, right? But Chuck was suspicious before he passed out, asking to see CC tapes. Maybe he forgot, but if he can find a way to unnerve either of them into confessing that Jimmy was there while he was asleep, well, that would be enough for a bar hearing, right?
posted by Room 641-A at 1:56 PM on May 5, 2017


Finally getting around to writing up notes from the podcast:
  • Kelley Dixon: "Hey everybody, we're back for episode 304, this is the Breaking Bad insider podcast" -- everybody "No it's not!"
  • In attendance: co-host Chris McCaleb, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, plus special guests episode director Tom Schnauz (or as Jonathan Banks likes to say, Tom Schnozz, or The Little Prince, or fuckhead, or shitface ...), executive producer Nina Jack, and director of photography Marshall Adams (reddit BCS thread)
  • Marshall talks about the new Panasonic camera with the 5000 ISO chip, which leads to moonlight polluting a scene (and parking lots, a whole block away, can also mess with the lighting on-set), and has lead to staff tripping over cords in the dark, and *spoiler about a scene in an upcoming scene*
  • Episode 1 flashback tangent: the lightning was real and an accidental capture, and Vince joked that if they had made it after the fact, it would have been more Boris Karloff-ey, all jagged and green; also, lighting is a real safety concern, to the point that it can shut down filming if it's too close (maybe 6 miles, folks can't remember the distance, but there are 3 groups measuring the distance to lightning strikes, with a tool you can possibly buy at a home improvement shop)
  • More on the drone shot from season 3 episode 1 (Adams has the proper FAA license to operate a drone)
  • And more on cameras and lighting: 3 crews under Marshall: camera crew, plus gaffers who handle the electrical part, and the key grip provides camera support and "flagging" (curtains to keep the light out)
  • Schnauz got to go Back to Mexico! Yaah! But as Room 641-A noted upthread, it was cooold. Don Eladio's scenes were shot in the course of a week, lots of chasing the sun (first week of daylight savings time) and managing fountains (turning them off when they're not in-shot but adding audio back in, then turning them back on and managing sound when they're in-shot);
  • Steven Bauer (Don Eladio) is another person who was coached to speak appropriate Spanish
  • Don's house hasn't changed, except if you look closely, the deck is stained a different color - but that's OK, this is 6 years earlier (than something)
  • The "shooting style" was "old-school Breaking Bad," but done by necessity, not desire -- BCS is shot differently (with dolly track, I assume), compared to hand-held cameras, as was the norm in BB. Dolly shots are smooth, but time-consuming to set up, so hand-held is easy when time is of the essence
  • Fun fact: film makers are mostly focused on time - chasing the light and managing time on the set, as well as looking at the clock when you're editing down the final product, more so for TV than movies (cue close quote: "the lack of limits is the enemy of art," which might have been "absence of limitations was the enemy of art," and could possibly be attributed to Orson Welles)
  • Marshall Adams can make sunlight "in small quantities" - close-up shots are easier to light as if it were natural light
  • ADR (automated dialog replacement, a misnomer as there's no real automation, but rather the art of making the dialog fit): Kathryn Madsen is wonderful at this, smooths things out with Spanish in the teaser, works with the fountain, etc.
  • Eladio is a Spanish name that means "he who came from Greece," and they workshopped the name for a while (Peter Gould posted a list of names that were considered, on Twitter)
  • Time tracking: older flashbacks in the late 1980s, this teaser was around 1999, and Breaking Bad is in 2007 (when Gus poisons everyone) -- Hector peed in the pool before this scene.
  • Javier Grajeda (Juan Bolsa) was Bryan Cranston's room-mate back in college
  • First appearance of Nacho this season (how did I not notice that yet - probably because, as the crew notes, there are a lot of characters to follow; and as Room 641-A noted upthread, Jimmy and Kim don't show up until halfway in the episode)
  • Chuck and Mike: a long oner, with someone flagging to Mike when Chuck got close -- almost 180 degrees, unusual in that the room set has a ceiling -- all lit through the windows, which was taken into consideration when building the set
  • Praise for the cast, for their minor actions: Chuck slumps at Jimmy's comment "no matter how I was provoked" -- all doing little things without needing direction to do so
  • As Room 641-A mentioned already, Hector's scene was cut short, and there are whole scenes that were cut because it was written (and shot) long, most material cut from this episode than others this season, material that they fought to include in the script -- high hopes for outtakes / extended edition on BluRay (in other words: small-part actors, it wasn't you, it was time)
  • Gould said this episode felt like episode 63 of Breaking Bad
  • Shifting the musical cues: Kelley played with the music in the Mike and Gus after-hours discussion, which shifted how the scene felt; initially, it made Gus's initial discussion feel more ominous, but now it feels like Mike's decision is the major point
  • Kelley talks about the show runners bringing the writers in the room, which Vince credits back to Chris Carter -- technology has made film-making easier and faster, but that doesn't help the writing
  • Kelley, when asked what makes a good editor, replied: "pay attention in English class" - narrative is very important
  • Similarly, Marshall Adams notes that the camera folks shouldn't make creative camera shots if they don't add to the story
  • Lyle! Harrison Thomas shout-out, first noted for his role in The Stanford Prison Experiment
  • No cheat sheets: again celebrating the choices and skills of b-roll camera folks and editors, who catch or make something great and unexpected
  • Kelley: what's the plan for Jimmy and Kim? Peter: mystery is a very important part of storytelling, and we want the viewers to come back for more. (And the legal-ese of the wording of the document is something he doesn't even understand.) Vince: your patience will be rewarded. Soon.

posted by filthy light thief at 2:15 PM on May 5, 2017 [9 favorites]


I'm loving the way BCS is developing the backstories from BB in a way that deeply enrich my appreciation of both programs. These guys are the best.
posted by hwestiii at 6:57 AM on May 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't come to these discussions much, so I'm wondering if there has been any discussion about the possible long game, or absence of one, for Kim. To the best of my recollection, she is completely absent from Breaking Bad, which implies to me either a full break-up between her and Jimmy/Saul or perhaps even worse.
posted by hwestiii at 7:09 AM on May 6, 2017


I've personally avoided the Kim conversation because I worry about what will happen to her and I don't want to think about it. We know that Gene is in Omaha and Kim has some connection (or more?) to Nebraska, but for me, Kim's fate is the most stomach-churning part of the show.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:27 AM on May 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


It seems like there are really just two paths forward for Kim: stick with Jimmy 100% and be destroyed, or waver and become detached from him (because trying to distance yourself from Jimmy a little is something he will take as a betrayal).

My sense (in the absence of a sharply defined backstory) is that Kim likes Jimmy's con games because being part of them gives her a feeling of power in the face of the legitimate systems that have denigrated her talent, hard work, and brilliance all her life. She enjoyed going after KEN WINS and the philandering husband in her barroom scams, but isn't interested in actually making money from them; and she's willing to push back against the HHM partners and reject another version of the same deal at Schweikert, Coakley, Et Al., but she ultimately wants to run a legitimate solo practice.

The problem is that all of this has been tainted by the Brothers McGill, who have used Kim as a prop in their interpersonal conflict. Jimmy has, at a basic level, spoiled her solo practice: as long she has Mesa Verde as a client, and Jimmy in the office next door, she's going to have to deal with his ethical lapses and, worse, his self-serving "heroism" and shortsightedness the same way she had to deal with Howard's and Chuck's equally self-serving mansplaining, condescension, and patronizing attitudes, wrapped in their own "heroic" narratives of professionalism at all costs and abstract principles above all people, respectively.

Jimmy has used their bond to inveigle himself into her personal and professional lives, and Chuck would do the same given the opportunity. It's notable that Jimmy and Chuck both offer her alliances on the condition that she become enemies with the other McGill, and that both of them (and Howard) stick her with cleanup and scut work they can't be bothered with, with little interest in her own ambitions. And when they fuck up, it's Kim's job to save them from themselves and take their side in the family conflict. (She's been more loyal to Jimmy, and thus done more for him, but Chuck was unsubtly offering her that same arrangement, sans romance and friendship, in Season 2 when he told her about his and Jimmy's father.)

Tellingly, in Season 2 both Jimmy and Chuck expect Kim to fetch the coffee when they're busy with Serious Things, and her default role at both HHM and not-Wexler-McGill has been to do the difficult emotional labor of retaining high-maintenance clients: the Kettlemans at HHM, and the old people Jimmy abandons in the lobby when he's too busy with his war on Chuck.

The show has boxed her into a corner of having to either give up something or have it taken away. Either she saves herself by splitting from Jimmy, professionally (and, inevitably, personally) at great financial and emotional cost to herself, or she loses her profession and personal life when it finally comes down to Jimmy (equally inevitably) doing what he has to in order to escape personal consequences. Being on Jimmy's side means being an enabler.

(Chuck is a horrible person, but part of his grudge against Jimmy is that he sees anyone who takes Jimmy's side -- including his parents and himself in the past -- as Jimmy's enablers, and his brother as someone pathologically drawn to the illicit shortcut. And as is often the case with Chuck, he may have reached the right answer for the wrong reasons. He just doesn't see that *antagonizing* Jimmy also prompts the same behaviors as bailing him out or making excuses for him.)

Perhaps that's the endgame for Kim: what happens when she gets honest with Jimmy about his behavior? I don't imagine Jimmy accepting that viewpoint at all, any more than Chuck will accept anyone else's view of him.
posted by kewb at 9:46 AM on May 6, 2017 [12 favorites]


I had a stray thought last week that gives me a bit of hope for Kim's survival: during the B+W opening title of the previous episode (Sunk Costs, at about 1:47) we see a woman's hand tapping cigarette ash into the Scales of Justice figure in the future Saul Goodman's office. Kim's hand, maybe? or did we ever see Skyler White in that setting in Breaking Bad?
posted by Corvid at 2:21 PM on May 6, 2017


super glossy red nails don't seem much like Kim's style. Gisele's maybe, though?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:23 PM on May 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Either I missed this earlier or it has new meaning now:

Los Pollos Hermanos Employee Training: Customer Service
posted by Room 641-A at 3:25 PM on May 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


I loved that not only was that particular speech by Gus for his white manager, who wanted to get the police involved, and his Latinx employees just came back to work and had their heads down, but also the Latinx customers were the first ones to head for the door, knowing when they saw a confrontation

And for my part, I loved that Gus selects Lyle, who seems to be the only gringo on the payroll and who is absolutely linguistically floored by Hector's ¿El jefe esta aquí? - as assistant manager for Los Pollos Hermanos.
posted by rongorongo at 12:58 AM on May 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


It's a wonder that anyone in the legal world is abetting Chuck's illness and wouldn't the bar association be wary of this?

Well, I think an important bit of context is that 2002/3 was, IIRC, pretty much the height of "cell phones cause cancer" hysteria, and Chuck was hardly the only person claiming electrostatic hypersensitivity at the time either. Fear of new technologies like cell phones and wifi was just kind of in the atmosphere, so I'm not totally surprised that people would accommodate Chuck... though it's still, even in that environment, a tremendous expression of his privilege.

What does Gus do with his wealth?

He's established as a very charitable person. As filthy light thief suggests, Gus seems to be motivated (in the present of BCS, if not when he first started out as a chicken/drug kingpin) primarily by his desire for revenge against Hector Salamanca, with money being only a secondary concern. So he might as well give it away.

She enjoyed going after KEN WINS

God damn. It's actually the same guy. I totally missed that.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:56 PM on May 9, 2017


Whoa, I skippee right over that above. Nice call.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:07 PM on May 9, 2017


What does Gus do with his wealth?
He has it cleaned and sorted and freeze-dried it into air-tight cuboids of $100 bills. Perfectly laundered like his shirt. Just to fuck off Hector.
(This week I read that Pablo Escobar spent $2,500 a month just on rubber bands to control his giant stash of cash - and there was still so much of it that rats ate 10%. Notice that Hector is a rubber band guy).
posted by rongorongo at 11:04 PM on May 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


Just have to put a stake in the ground before tonight's episode begins. Whatever Chuck's fate is, it's gonna throw Jimmy into a tailspin.
posted by whuppy at 4:22 PM on May 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Said tailspin being the root of Kim's fate.
posted by whuppy at 4:31 PM on May 15, 2017


« Older The Leftovers: Crazy Whitefell...   |  Podcast: Alice Isn't Dead: Par... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments