setsuled: (Skull Tree)


Better Call Saul continued on a very good, solid streak with Monday's new episode, which finds Jimmy in the aftermath of a victory that turns out to have been a bit Pyrrhic.

Spoilers after the screenshot.



I really love the way the show is slowly cooking Jimmy's (Bob Odenkirk) slow decent. For some reason Kim (Rhea Seehorn) is keen to shed the extra expense of the law offices she shares with Jimmy so now he's faced with the hopeless endeavour of holding up his half of the rent when he was barely making ends meet as it was. His scheme to make money by making commercials for people doesn't seem like it's going to pan out and he has to deal with community service at the same time. By the time he breaks down in the insurance office, it does feel like he's having a death from a thousand cuts.



But how real was that break down? My guess is Jimmy was using his real emotions as a tool to get back at Chuck in some little way. Though the ugliness of what actually happened emphasises that Jimmy's not terribly justified in revenge. Kim, who can afford the introspection with her cushy Mesa Verde job, is accruing feelings in the opposite direction of Jimmy's.



It's harder to enjoy this show now after Twin Peaks since the minor characters are so important in Better Call Saul and Twin Peaks outshines it so totally. I thought the makeup girl trying to give her money back to Jimmy was sweet but no-one has that peculiar roundedness that every minor character seems to have on Twin Peaks. Anyway, I have to stop, I need to tell myself I'll be able to talk about Twin Peaks again in two weeks, one if Showtime puts up episode five on its web site a week early.



Where was I? I love the balancing act they're playing with Jimmy. You can see his heart dying under the weight of cynicism and resentment piling up. It's a much more delicate and complex moral dilemma than Walter White had though it is fundamentally similar. I'm both looking forward to and dreading Jimmy's downfall.
setsuled: (Frog Leaf)


Another good episode of Better Call Saul last night, this one written by Ann Cherkis. The drug dealer subplot still isn't lighting my world on fire but it wasn't very annoying this time and fortunately there was plenty of Jimmy stuff.

Spoilers after the screenshot



Or should I call him Saul? I loved that commercial at the end, which felt very much like Bob Odenkirk in comedian mode--there was the young man from The Ben Stiller Show. I'm still a little disappointed by the retconning of "Saul Goodman"'s origin. It would feel weird now having Jimmy create the name as a cynical ploy to prey on Jewish stereotypes but that sleaziness was what we loved about him. By and large, though, this television series has improved the character.



Meanwhile, whatever Chuck's faults are, Michael McKean really made me want some of that scotch. Macallan isn't even my favourite brand. But he really sold enjoying the aroma before finally drinking.



I'd almost forgot about Nacho (Michael Mando) who's supposed to be a main character. If he's not in next week's episode, I'll probably forget him entirely. Last night he was moderately interesting, as were Gus and Hector. The show still hasn't given me anything to justify a prequel to their rivalry on Breaking Bad.

I'm guessing the show will finally tie Saul and Gus together by the end of the season. My prediction is Jimmy will be compelled to do some kind of legal work for Gus and uses the alias to avoid violating his suspension. I guess he can't be disbarred, though, considering he's practising law in Breaking Bad. There are a lot of reasons Breaking Bad takes tension out of Better Call Saul--we know Gus, Hector, Mike, and Saul are going to make it through the series, for instance, with only Hector really being scathed. That's partly why the show's at its best when Saul is being creatively criminal.

Twitter Sonnet #993

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A dancing ray engulfed the glacier's brow.
Convinced, the sages tramped to arrow's den.
Amazement sorts the caller at the bow.
Intonations have told of callow climes.
Resolving copper cooled the state police.
In papers caught in spokes of wired times.
Evasion paints the sun on flared release.
In amber time the questions crack to pawn.
Adrenaline adroitly pumps the eye.
The crowd was blending with a single fawn.
Before the paper's blue it needs a dye.
A sandwich drips with pepper thoughts and cheese.
Continually the sky demands its fees.
setsuled: (Skull Tree)


I'm not sure I can begin to tell you how much I loved last night's new Better Call Saul. Satisfying and cruel, its simple cleverness only half concealing a much thornier reality. Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean deserve great praise for this one.

Spoilers after the screenshot



On the one hand, this is a story about how Jimmy (Odenkirk) escapes from and claims victory over the seemingly inescapable and petty machinations of Chuck (McKean). On that level, it feels good. Chuck manipulates the situation in order to humiliate Jimmy because of the lifelong axe Chuck's had to grind against him, Jimmy's obvious affection never being enough to satisfy Chuck's need.



On the other hand, this is a story about how Jimmy sabotaged Chuck's business and reputation and then gets away with it by publicly humiliating Chuck in a way Chuck could never have been prepared for, exposing Chuck to a truth about his own psychological state about which Chuck was firmly unaware. Whatever else may have happened, there are few things crueller than what Jimmy did to Chuck at the end of this episode, and yet what choice did Jimmy have?



The courtroom drama has all the structure of a satisfying hero versus villain story. It looks like Chuck and Howard (Patrick Fabian) have an iron-clad case and Jimmy's going to get disbarred, probably eventually dragging Kim (Rhea Seehorn) down with him, and she's clearly not ready to face directly her own complicity in Jimmy's crime. So the effect on her would be professionally and psychologically devastating. So the sudden reversal thanks to a plan Jimmy and Kim hatched to have a battery planted on Chuck has the feeling of a dramatic, last minute heroic act. Yet . . .

Theoretically, suffering professional and psychological repercussions are what should happen to people who commit fraud for personal gain. It's only that Chuck and Howard had been such dicks to Jimmy and Kim that gives us pause. This is where the show hits the same grey area as Breaking Bad with Walter's built up resentment over the success of his former business partner.



I honestly thought they'd made all the hay they could from the Chuck storyline in season one but this episode shows I was definitely wrong. Now I want to see the fallout. But I still want Jimmy to start wearing the cool suits.

On a side note, what happened to the attorney played by Kimberly Herbert Gregory, I thought she was representing Howard and Chuck?

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