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04/05/16 11:59 PM
“Fifi” takes up where the last ep left off, with Jimmy and
Kim preparing to share office space but not a legal partnership. Kim turns in her resignation to Howard, who
was expecting it but is taken off-guard by Kim’s announcement that she’s going
independent and not to Schweikart. Jimmy
had urged Kim to submit her resignation letter commando-style, as Howard would undoubtedly
move immediately to hang onto the Mesa Verde account that Kim had worked so
hard to bring in. Kim does it the
honorable way, but instantly calls her Mesa Verde contact to confirm a
meeting. She’s ecstatic as she believes
that she’s held on to the account, but Howard goes to Chuck, who swings into
action. Chuck actually braves the
fluorescent lights, cell phones and computers of the office to meet with Mesa
Verde, and we quickly realize that he’s as unscrupulous in his own way as
Jimmy, deftly planting seeds of doubt about Kim’s expertise. Jimmy is incensed when he finds out from Kim
how she was diddled out of the account, and when he finds Chuck incapacitated
from all of his EM exposure, he takes advantage of the Mesa Verde file boxes
sitting in Chuck’s house to do a little “creative editing.” Essentially, he regards Chuck’s actions as a
declaration of war; Chuck’s sabotage of his career is still bearable, but
screwing Kim out of an important starter account is beyond the pale. We’ll have to see just what the repercussions
are next week.
Again, not much Mike in this ep; he’s monitoring Hector
Salamanca and the cartel activities (they appear to be smuggling drugs across
the border in food trucks). There’s a
cute scene with Mike and his granddaughter drilling holes in a garden hose,
ostensibly to make a soaker for the rhododendrons, but it quickly turns much
darker as we see Mike in his darkened house fitting 10-penny nails through the
holes in the hose. Things might get
pretty nasty in the final eps of the season .
Oh, the “Fifi” of the title is an old B-29 bomber that is in
Albuquerque as a special exhibit. Jimmy
takes advantage of its presence by enlisting his film-geek buddies and a bogus “war
hero” to film footage for an ad. It’s
not clear what relationship, if any this has to the main plot but it serves as
a reminder that Jimmy intends to be “colorful” in drumming up business for
04/08/16 12:20 AM
04/10/16 1:09 AM
04/10/16 1:46 AM
04/13/16 12:52 AM
We’re fast approaching the end of the season, and naturally
the tension that’s been building for the last several eps is now being
released, with some devastating consequences . . .
“Nailed” begins with Mike, so I’ll go through his storyline
first. We find out the purpose of the
hose-with-nails-in-it pretty quickly as Mike spikes Hector’s drug-delivery
truck on a lonely stretch of blacktop.
He tapes up the driver, checks the tires (something he learned while
staking out Hector) and makes off with a cool $250K. He’s in a very festive mood, buying a packed
bar a round of drinks and bantering with Flo the waitress at the now-famous
diner, but he gets a call from Nacho for a meet. Hector hasn’t figured out who staged the hit,
but Nacho instantly made the connection because the truck driver was left alive
(any competitor would have whacked the driver as a matter of course). Mike assures him that the driver was not an
accomplice and that he’s finished with Hector.
Nacho then informs him in a chilling little exchange that the driver was
found on the highway by a Good Samaritan whom Hector shot in the face and
buried. Mike now has to face some
terribly unexpected consequences – a completely innocent person is dead because
of his actions, and you can tell it shakes him deeply.
Meanwhile, Jimmy’s little sabotage of Chuck has the expected results as the Mesa Verde hearing in front of the development commission
goes disastrously and Chuck is humiliated.
Mesa Verde returns to Kim, and Chuck quickly figures out who must be to
blame. When Kim and Jimmy come to Chuck’s
house to pick up the Mesa Verde files, Chuck erupts in self-righteous
indignation (and he has a very good idea as to exactly how Jimmy pulled his
fraud); great to hear him talk about being “stabbed in the back,” utterly
oblivious to the fact that he’s been doing exactly that to Jimmy for years. Kim listens stoically until Chuck goes
overboard by bloviating about how he wants to keep Jimmy from “ruining” Kim; as
Kim knows exactly who screwed her out of the Mesa Verde account in the first
place, that’s going too far. In one of
her best scenes, Kim lambasts Chuck for his utter failure to provide any real
guidance or support for Jimmy and points out his own culpability in keeping
Jimmy on the path he’s on. To keep
things fair, when they get back in the car Kim punches Jimmy, as she's pretty damn sure that he’s guilty as charged.
That evening, as they are in bed (no sex scene – Kim’s working on documents)
she drops a casual observation that reminded me more than a little of Skylar
White – she knows the game that’s being played, and she’s making sure Jimmy
doesn’t screw up playing it. Jimmy
hurries down to the copy center where he conducted his document scam and bribes
the guy on duty to lie about his business to Chuck. Chuck arrives at the copy center shortly
after, fired up about catching Jimmy and redeeming his sense of self-worth, but
something goes terribly wrong . . .
We’re getting a full dose of character complexity here,
especially with Kim, who may be the most important character on the show at
this point. As LK noted earlier, with
the other characters (Jimmy, Mike, Hector, etc.) we know from Breaking Bad how they’ll end up, but Kim
is a free agent – we have no clue what path she’ll find herself on at the
end. She wants to be a “straight”
attorney, but we’ve seen that Jimmy appeals to her anarchist side and Howard
and Chuck have certainly been less than inspiring as role models for the “ethical”
side of the law. That brings out another
important point about the series – we see a lot of evidence that legal
practice, at least in the eyes of Gilligan and Co. involves manipulation and
appeals to emotion, regardless of whether you follow the letter of the law or not. Jimmy is clearly unethical and unscrupulous,
but Chuck also doesn’t hesitate to use the weaponry at his disposal in the
pursuit of his own perceived self-interest.
The finale should be very interesting, indeed . . .
EDIT: We also have another comic commercial bit as Jimmy fast-talks his way into filming on the grounds of a school. He's not quite Saul yet, but he's very, very close.
04/13/16 4:50 AM
04/15/16 2:15 AM
04/15/16 2:39 AM
04/16/16 12:38 AM
04/20/16 1:25 AM
Another season of Better
Call Saul comes to a close with “Klick.”
The title refers to the cliffhangers (or at least curious circumstances)
both Jimmy and Mike find themselves in at the end of the ep.
Mike is still furious at Hector for his killing of the
innocent Good Samaritan, and decides to take action. He tracks down Hector’s private hideaway by
following Nacho and Salamanca Cousin #1 when they are transporting the hapless
truck driver there. Mike purchases the
sniper rifle he originally declined to acquire from helpful gun dealer Lawson
and sets himself up to make the hit (his “klick” refers to military jargon; the
shot he needs to make to get Hector is 1 kilometer, or klick). He’s clearly at a crossroads for his character;
he watches cold-bloodedly as the Salamanca cousin shoots the truck driver, but
he can’t bring himself to make the kill shot on Hector as Nacho is between him
and the target. Mike then realizes that
his car horn is sounding continuously and retreats to investigate, only to find
a tree branch jammed in his car’s steering wheel and the cryptic note, “Don’t”
left on the windshield. Who left the
note? I have a pretty good idea who
(hint: someone else who hates the Salamanca cartel and has his own cold plan
for revenge), but we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.
Jimmy’s story, as always is entwined with Chuck’s as he
accompanies his injured brother to the hospital. As much as he should be totally estranged by
now, Jimmy can’t help feeling responsible for Chuck and stays by his side, even
as Chuck continues to be completely hostile.
Chuck undergoes an EKG, and CAT scan and other electromagnetic
bombardments and goes into a self-induced coma for several hours. Jimmy manages to get Chuck home under a TEG
(Temporary Emergency Guardian) order and returns to his office, only to get a
call from Howard; Chuck has retired!
Jimmy rushes to Chuck’s house to find that Chuck is now wallpapering the
entire living room in mylar and reflective foil. Chuck gives him a despairing spiel about how
he can no longer carry on knowing that he screwed up the Mesa Verde account; an
old con man like Jimmy should have seen through this bit instantly, but Jimmy loves and feels guilty about Chuck and he ends up confessing to the scam he pulled. He believes he’s OK
in doing so, as it will just be his word against Chuck’s, but Chuck has the
last laugh after Jimmy leaves as he triumphantly retrieves (with tongs) the
tape recorder he’d stashed under the sofa pillows; the second “klick” is the
sound of Chuck shutting down the machine.
I should also mention the poignant teaser, featuring a
flashback to Chuck and Jimmy sitting by their mother’s hospital bed waiting for
her to die. The exchange between
brothers and especially his mother’s final words drives home the depth of
jealousy and resentment Chuck feels towards Jimmy and his ne’er-do-well
existence; Chuck does everything by the book and keeps his nose clean, but he
can never inspire deep affection, even within his own family.
Nice conundrum for both major characters, especially Jimmy;
Chuck may think he’s got the goods on Jimmy, but he also seems to have
forgotten that all Jimmy needs to do is make a phone call to the hospital to
have Chuck put away for good. Does he
have the guts to do it? We’ll find out
04/22/16 12:05 AM
04/22/16 12:23 AM
So, what next? Geez, I'm almost regretting breaking my habit of only getting into shows when they're over so I don't have to wait between seasons.
04/22/16 1:17 AM
04/25/17 12:07 AM
Boy, S3 of Better Call Saul has been going for 3
weeks and we haven’t got the thread restarted!
Guess I’d better rectify that now that I’ve finally caught up. Since we’re getting a late start, I’ll just
post general thoughts on the first 3 eps – “Mabel,” “Witness” and “Sunk Costs.”
was under any delusion that Chuck is any less unscrupulous and unethical than
Jimmy, his scheme to trap his brother will be extremely enlightening. There’s no doubt that his plan was ingenious –
he knew that Jimmy’s taped confession from “Klick” would never be admissible in
court, and that Mesa Verde would never listen to him or Howard. No, the tape was a McGuffin – a device to
provoke Jimmy into a rash act. Ernesto
was the patsy that Chuck used and then discarded (in the process demonstrating
that he's far more callous in his treatment of people than Jimmy the grifter
ever was). He counted on Jimmy losing
his cool and doing something stupid out of a sense of betrayal, and he was
absolutely right – he even ensures that he has Howard and a PI present as
witnesses. He uses the legal system to
mousetrap Jimmy with a PPD (Pre-prosecutorial diversion) – Jimmy can plead
guilty to all charges and have his indictment dismissed, but at the cost of disbarrment. Chuck’s sanctimonious little homily to Jimmy
about how it’s all for his own good and how Chuck will “help” Jimmy find the
right path is a nauseating bit of hypocritical cant – it’s clear that Chuck is
motivated by revenge and jealousy throughout, and Jimmy’s riposte about Chuck’s
ultimate demise from his own phobias clearly strikes home. It’s in keeping with Gilligan’s Breaking Bad ethos that nobody is a good
guy here – Jimmy’s a crook and con man, but Chuck may be worse since he masks
his immorality in a cloak of legal virtue. The little scene in “Mabel” where Jimmy
reminisces about the storybook with Chuck is poignant – it’s clear that Jimmy
wants to retain some sense of family, but Chuck stops him cold. Chuck pontificates about wanting to save
Jimmy from destroying his life or others’, but I have a feeling that the life
that’s about to go down the drain is his own.
dealing with her own decisions – she’s helped Jimmy out a bit with the elder
law, but has been keeping her work largely separate from Jimmy’s. With Ernesto’s nervous revelation about what
he “accidentally” heard on Chuck’s tape, though Kim takes action. Jimmy initially tries to deal with everything
himself, but it’s obvious that he can’t deal with it alone. Kim finally takes the plunge we’ve all been
waiting for – she becomes Jimmy’s ally in his war against Chuck. It’s important to remember that Kim has her
own motivations – she knows exactly who tried to screw her out of the
Mesa Verde account, and her time in Howard’s doghouse must rankle as well. I have a feeling Chuck and Howard are going
to find out the hard way that underestimating Kim Wexler is a big mistake . . .
that a couple of million viewing households let out a cheer during “Witness”
when after all of Mike's meticulous checking and tracking of certain nefarious characters, a familiar chicken-vending establishment came into view. We’ve been waiting over 2 years for Mike to
meet Gus Fring, and we’ve finally gotten there.
Great scene when Jimmy is asked by Mike to case Los Pollos Hermanos to
find out who the bagman is dropping money to and Jimmy completely fails to
notice the clean-up guy nonchalantly sweeping up (and sweeping the money into
his dustpan). Gus’s initial meeting with
Mike is entirely in-character – Gus knows Mike’s skills and motivation, but he
also knows that Mike will not respond to threats or intimidation. Instead, he dangles bait – he doesn’t want
Hector Salamanca killed, but he’s quite open to having Hector continue to be
harassed. The whole set-up with the
Salamanca drivers was great, and a good way to show how different this show is
from Breaking Bad – Mike uses his
wits to put one up on Hector without a drop of blood being shed, even though we
get an elaborate presentation featuring Mike’s sniper rifle.
to the season – we should be getting some payoff on the Chuck/Jimmy vendetta
soon, and Gus and Mike are getting together.
Kim’s still a wild card, and there are several directions the season
could be going in, so stay tuned!
04/27/17 2:16 AM
04/27/17 10:56 PM
04/27/17 11:56 PM
04/29/17 12:57 AM
04/29/17 1:06 AM
05/01/17 11:56 PM
I can't believe Gilligan and Co. had much idea about Saul's backstory in Breaking Bad - they knew he started as Jimmy McGill, and that he had prior connections to the cartel and Mike, but he was never fully fleshed out in that series. I'll take a look to see if they ever talked about just how much they'd worked out for Saul beforehand . . .
is a Mike- and Gus-centric ep, which is a refreshing break from the Jimmy/Chuck
angst-fest and puts the spotlight on two characters whose relationship is such
a focus of Breaking Bad. The teaser shows us how things stand in the
cartel – the jefe (IIRC, the same one who will get a lethal gift of tequila
from Gustavo) receives the month’s haul from Hector, only to be stunned by the
much larger, neatly packaged bundles coming from Gus. He mocks Hector, using the Roman bobblehead
doll (“Sabrosito”) he received as a gift, and Hector’s anger and jealousy are obvious. Hector’s definitely got problems, as Mike’s
sabotage has brought the cops down on his head and his distribution network is
completely compromised. Hector decides
to try a power play on Gus, barging into Los Pollos Hermanos with a couple of
goons, intimidating the staff and telling Gus that he will carry all of Hector’s
traffic as well as his own. Hector is a
brutal man, but he’s badly misjudged his mark – he’s done exactly what Gus
wanted him to do, overstepping his bounds and committing an action that could
impact the business of the entire cartel.
Gus is now justified to do whatever he needs to do to keep his business
intact, and the little smile on his face as he cleans up his restaurant tells
us all we need to know.
accomplished what he wanted to do, namely put the screws on Hector
Salamanca. It’s not enough, though as we
see him sit immersed in melancholy at his daughter-in-law’s new house with his
granddaughter on his lap. He turns down
the payment from Gus – he did what he did for his own goals, not Gus’s, and he
considers the accounts squared. Gus is
impressed by Mike’s character and approaches him about the possibility of
(ill-gotten) gainful employment. Gus
knows that the death of the innocent civilian at Hector’s hands still gnaws at
Mike, and he lets Mike know that he stopped the execution of Hector, not from simple
business reasons but because he wants to make sure that Hector suffers as much
as possible – death is way too easy.
Not a lot of
Jimmy’s story in this one, but just enough to advance the plot. Howard and Chuck are smugly anticipating
victory because they control the game – apparently they’ve forgotten that they’re
dealing with someone who never follows the rules and now has allies who are as
devious as he is. Kim calls every
contractor in Albuquerque until she finally gets the one Chuck arranged to fix
his broken door, and Jimmy promptly arranges to have Mike show up as the
handyman. Great scene with Mike driving
Chuck away with his cordless screwdriver, then photographing the interior of
Chuck’s house as well as collecting other evidence. Jimmy is really taking the gloves off and
going after Chuck’s vulnerabilities – he knows that a clear depiction of Chuck’s
mental aberrations will have a powerful impact at any hearing, as well as the
fairly blatant entrapment tactics Chuck used.
Another good scene in the old café when Jimmy asks Mike what he thought
of Chuck, only to receive a blank stare in response – you never quite know what
Mike thinks of either Jimmy or Chuck.
scene is set at Jimmy’s deposition – he’s prepared an appropriately smarmy statement
to ostensibly meet Chuck’s terms and presents it to the prosecutor as well as
Chuck and Howard. The prosecutor (who’s
as big a sanctimonious hypocrite as every other DA on the surface of the
planet) demands that Jimmy personally apologize to Chuck, and Jimmy gets the
opportunity to “apologize” in a way that makes his own fury and resentment at
Chuck’s violation of the family completely clear. After the deposition, Kim tells Chuck and
Howard that she’ll be filing a motion to suppress the tape that she knows damn
well Chuck kept a copy of, and we get another fine moment of understated acting
when Chuck and Howard drip condescension all over her – you can see that Kim
really wants to nail these two male *ssh*les to the wall, and hopefully she’ll
get the chance to do just that.
of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad are drawing closer and
closer together – maybe we’ll get some other cameos. Hank?
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