Better Call Saul TV show (Breaking Bad spin-off with Bob Odenkirk)

Jayhawker wrote:

What I would say is that BCS is just rolling on from where Breaking Bad was in its last two seasons, which were the best and most compelling. But yes, this series hit the ground running.

Yeah I was thinking the cast and crew probably had a lot of stuff already figured out due to the lessons learned from BB. Obviously there's some degree of overlap in the people working on both shows. Standing on the shoulders of giants and all that.

One other thing I find impressive about this show is the cinematography. Shots are often framed in really interesting ways that reflect the mood of the scene, and I noticed some clever transitions to the flashback scenes. BB did a great job of the cinematography too. Both of these shows are really gorgeous at times.

I figured I'd keep an ironic distance from the plight of the Man Who Would Be Saul, and yet...

The wife and I are really hooked. I can't believe there's only three episodes left...already! Seems like we just started watching.

Spoiler:

The scene where Jimmy and Charles are facing off with the Sandpiper lawyers was brilliant and heartwrenching.
I predicted the final scene when Charles suddenly said the settlement price.
My only question now is whether Charles will finally recognize how mentally ill he has become or if he will spiral further down.

I love this show.

Odenkirk is amazing in this show. It's a pleasure just to watch him act.

Maq wrote:

Odenkirk is amazing in this show. It's a pleasure just to watch him act.

Yes, I hit my DVR's 10-second rewind a few times so my wife and I could see

Spoiler:

when Jimmy is reviewing the woman's invoices, recognizes something shady is going on--he's certainly an expert at that--and asks if others have the same thing on theirs.

My concern is that there are two episodes left and a case like that takes years to reach any kind of resolution unless a settlement is reached, so unless the writers expect us to hear about the price of syringes for the next several seasons, something's gotta give.

Keithustus wrote:
Maq wrote:

Odenkirk is amazing in this show. It's a pleasure just to watch him act.

Yes, I hit my DVR's 10-second rewind a few times so my wife and I could see

Spoiler:

when Jimmy is reviewing the woman's invoices, recognizes something shady is going on--he's certainly an expert at that--and asks if others have the same thing on theirs.

My concern is that there are two episodes left and a case like that takes years to reach any kind of resolution unless a settlement is reached, so unless the writers expect us to hear about the price of syringes for the next several seasons, something's gotta give.

The brother's connection to the law firm will collapse the whole thing.

This show is really unexpectedly sad. By BB, for whatever reason, Chuck and Kim aren't around, and I really like Chuck and Kim.

Here is the groovy track from when Mike was stealing the money:

Loved that entire sequence. The cinematography is so amazing in this show. They say so much without saying anything at all.

Wife and I are watching the new episode, anyone else catch Trevor from GTA V in the scene with Mike? Noticed it right away with his voice, plus the fact the they modeled the character after him. Gotta say that was pretty cool.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

This show is really unexpectedly sad. By BB, for whatever reason, Chuck and Kim aren't around, and I really like Chuck and Kim.

/sigh.

...So....WOW...I haven't felt so completely compelled by a particular television episode as by the latter half of last night's since probably the first season finale of Buffy. In both cases, the shows were good but not spectacular to that point, and then a scene or sequence of scenes made me go, "What?! Really?! Now I must watch them all!" My wife and I watched the last scene twice just for good measure.

Spoiler:

What do you suppose Hamlin told Kim? I postulate something simple like "it's Chuck who doesn't want Jimmy here" but my wife thinks he told her the multitude of details.

What all do you think was spoken about during the Chuck-Howard phone call? I posit that Hamlin tentatively queried Chuck to the effect of "he's been in practice for a few years, he's not been disciplined by the bar, and he's found this great case. Maybe he could work here" but that Chuck would have responded with, "yes, but he's still as irresponsible as when he passed the bar, and you were right about the billboard incident being an advertising stunt."

Chuck is a weird character, to say the least. But ever since he recommended that Jimmy not use his own name for his practice, I've suspected that he has an utter lack of respect for his brother. What we don't know is how much of that is earned. Obviously Jimmy came off as a real ass when he called his brother to get bailed out of jail.

And really, it would be more surprising that the firm would have hired Jimmy when he passed the bar than that his brother was against it. Firms are notoriously hung up on pedigree. No other firm was interested in hiring him, either. the entire scene of him celebrating like he was going to be a lawyer for that firm seemed appropriately naive on his part.

I suspect that Hamlin would have been willing to take Jimmy in with this case, but that he is being asked by Chuck not to. What I have wondered form the very beginning is whether Hamlin is actually a bad guy. Is he really taking advantage of Chuck, or is he actually doing right by him. My initial thoughts was that Jimmy was trying to get his brother to cash out in order to more easily get access to his money. The checks Hamlin was sending to Jimmy weren't chump change, although I'm unclear what they were supposed to be for.

I wouldn't mind the show taking a detour and focusing more heavily on Mike next season. Regardless, his speech about the difference in bad and good, and with being a criminal was excellent, and really feeds into the quandary Jimmy continues to find himself in. Over and over, Jimmy tries to do the right thing, but always has his legs knocked out from under him. That is exactly what Jimmy finds himself struggling with. He has a tendency to be a bad guy, but is trying to avoid that. So now he is in the process of becoming a criminal lawyer, in which criminal is the noun and lawyer is the adjective. But it is not for a lack of trying to rid himself of "slipping' Jimmy."

Honestly, I've found this season as compelling and meaningful as any of the Breaking Bad seasons. It's great storytelling and character development, which is what made Breaking Bad so great. I really can't wait to see how the finale plays out.

Good analysis.

Jayhawker wrote:

What I have wondered form the very beginning is whether Hamlin is actually a bad guy. Is he really taking advantage of Chuck, or is he actually doing right by him. My initial thoughts was that Jimmy was trying to get his brother to cash out in order to more easily get access to his money. The checks Hamlin was sending to Jimmy weren't chump change, although I'm unclear what they were supposed to be for.

I see no evidence of deception from Hamlin, just rightfully earned arrogance, unapproachability, and little skill in or inclination to use empathy. He is, in all of his encounters with Jimmy, the more adult and professional one--blunt and cold but not disrespectful or explosive. He seems very concerned about his fellow founding partner Chuck: blocking Jimmy's naive attempt to cash him out, showing concern in the hospital, and arranging for Chuck's ceremonial return to the office. AFAIK, it wasn't until last night's conversation with Kim that we saw him truly raise his voice or respond in a manner more rude or unexpected than declining to justify how the firm is managed.

Therefore, though Jimmy clearly thinks that Howard is the bad guy, I don't really see evidence of that; to the contrary, I think he is looking out for Chuck as much as Jimmy is.

I don't know a lot about how large firms work but I believe Howard is sincere when he explains the checks in episode 1: Chuck is a founding asset to the firm and he expects him back. The money is because he is "on sabbatical." It's probably some portion of dividends from the firm's shares and / or revenue for some period of time then adjusted to some fraction of what Chuck had been earning while active. HHM is benefiting from Chuck's name on the trade name even without him practicing, since apparently he is one of the most well regarded attorneys in Albuquerque if not New Mexico, if we can extrapolate from the elderly residence company's attorney.

Who is the other founding partner Hamlin? His wife, now retired?

After watching last night's episode I had a couple thoughts about what Chuck's motives might be:

1. He still feels his brother is that same irresponsible "Jumpin' Jimmy" from before. He doesn't want him at Hamlin because he finds Jimmy an embarrassment. It could be he's worried that hiring him will somehow soil the firm's reputation, or that Jimmy might do something on a case that could end up making them liable.

2. He's jealous that Jimmy was able to get his law degree, pass the bar, and become a better lawyer so quickly, whereas for Chuck it took "years and years of hard work to get where he is."

3. Chuck knows Jimmy is a better lawyer because he himself had worked for some of those elderly people and missed the very obvious cases of fraud entirely. Chuck can't have Jimmy at Hamlin, even after he brought in a multi-million dollar case. Why? My personal opinion is that he's worried Jimmy will upstage him.

4. Chuck's mind is obviously deteriorating and he's losing or has already lost the edge he once had. In his world he was always the successful attorney and his brother the screw up. Now it's all changing: Jimmy is being responsible and has become a real lawyer, while Chuck is wrapped in a space blanket sitting in a run-down house with no electricity. He knows this, and his ego simply will not let him accept that their roles are reversing. He can't be a screw up! He's Charles McGill, hot shot attorney and partner at his own firm! His name is on the outside of the building for God's sake! How on earth can this no-good scam artist, who got a law degree from the University of American Samoa of all places, become a better lawyer than he is?

Chuck is pure jealousy (as opposed to envy). The Law is his. He's the smart one. He's the hard working one. He's the honourable one. He's the better son. Cognitive dissonance is a bitch.

I believe that Howard really cares for Chuck, even to a fault. He probably sees himself as the brother Chuck "deserves" instead of the one he has. He played his role brilliantly when it was the three of them.

Spoiler:

"I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner,

and it worked, because I believed it!"

After such a great set of episodes, the finale was a bit of a clunker. I thought the look into what he left in Chicago, along with his week of reliving the memories, was cool, but it didn't feel right here. In essence, this entire episode was all backstory that sets up for an interesting second season. But it felt more like a second to last chapter than a final. It made the the last scene feel forced, and seems to imply the good hearted Jimmy we grew to love during this season has flipped a switch into opportunistic Saul. It felt rushed.

The final Bingo season was really heartbreaking, though. Was there an obvious connection to the letter B that I am missing. Obviously he brought up Betrayal and Brother. Should we infer that it was also a callback to Breaking Bad? It did seem to be the cathartic moment that will bring Saul, who is basically Slipping' Jimmy to the forefront of Jimmy's personality.

But man, that moment, the moment he decides to pass on the partnership at a legitimate firm, working on the case he created, in order to become Saul. That has to be one he stews over as he has his nightly drink in Omaha. Seeing how he got that point really puts another spin on the opening scene of the series, if you contrast it with Walter White's final scene in Breaking Bad. Both feature the main character looking back at their "glory days."

The difference is, those glory days of Saul cut his life short while leaving him forced to continue living it. Part of the issue I had with Breaking Bad's all-to-perfect ending can really be illustrated with how they decided to show Jimmy's reflection on his life compared to Walter's. Breaking Bad's ending only works with Walters acceptance of his imminent death. that allows him to have the rose colored glasses about what his role really was in horrific damage he caused to those around him. By contrast, Jimmy's decision to walk on the dark side left him with apparently years to think about all the decisions he has made and their impact on the people around him.

All in all, this was really a fantastic first season, and I can see why they were so quick to order up a second. And regardless of the clunker of the finale, it did accomplish its main mission, which was to set us up for the emergence of Saul in season 2. And for that, I really can't wait!

Agree with Jayhawker. Though I brushed over your comments on Breaking Bad since I will not watch that series until this one is over. Hopefully we'll see a more neutral and centered Jimmy/Saul in season 2 and not a full-on conning Saul...

From the NYT review:

Throughout this entire season, aside from a brief moment when he considers keeping that $1.5 million, Jimmy McGill appears to be a reformed man. He’s genuinely helping those elderly people with their wills and estates. I can see him rejecting corporate life. The embrace of the felonious life
makes me scratch my head.

Well, your mission now is to watch all of Breaking Bad before season 2 starts. Hell, I might re-watch it myself. Well, more likely just rewatch favorite episodes, especially the one MS with Saul and Mike.

While this show stands on its own incredibly well, I still think there is a lot of depth you might miss from not having seen who these characters become. Plus, Breaking Bad is kind of awesome.

Why would I do that? I like following things in chronological order unless there is a overwhelmingly compelling reason to veer from it (e.g. Machete order). I think it'll be more fun to see the full Jimmy/Saul transition then learn who this Walter White guy is.

Fair enough.

I was thinking, and I believe they really were building for this move to the dark side. You had Nacho telling him to call him when he realizes what side he is on, Mike's confidence that Jimmy would follow through with the plan, and even the absurdity of the Kettlemans focused on which side he was on.

But mostly, it was Mike's chat with his "employer" during the protection job. You can be a criminal and a good guy. But at some point you need to accept that you are a criminal, because if you don't, you will continue to find yourself in a state of conflict. That's exactly where Jimmy was through all of season one.

He was at his best when scheming. Even though he was doing right by his elder clients, he assumed a role in order to get there business, donning a Matlock suit and making corny jokes.

I still think the show needed one more episode to get where he was in that last scene, but I really do get him embracing the criminal world.

Also, helping the Kettleman's via shady means, helping Nacho via shady means,. writing that writ on freaking toilet paper.
Slick Jimmy isn't amoral, he's just slick.

I read an interview with co-creator Peter Gould that suggests assuming that the events of last night's episode represent the shift from Jimmy to Saul and the "embrace of a felonious lifestyle" would be an oversimplification. It appears there is more to come in Jimmy's evolution.

If you've watched the whole season, the interview is an interesting read.

It's gonna be fun reading about all of the little stuff I didn't pick up on. Here's a good article with some, including this.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/wKrMMMv.jpg)
9. The final shot, of the double yellow lines, obviously represents those lines you’re not supposed to cross and hints that Jimmy will do that very thing in the future.
B Dog wrote:

interview

Very good, thank you. And now I know that Keiko O'Brien was on Mash!

I'm glad to know they won't binary-flip Jimmy into a dispassionate criminal nearly so quickly. Looks like "what was stopping him" could just mean trying to live up to Chuck's expectations. Which he wasn't very good at anyway, see billboard stunt.

Jayhawker wrote:

good article

and now I know too much about marked-currency scams.

So hey, how bout the new season you guys? I thought the first episode was good, but oddly perhaps I found the IT guy drug dealer subplot more interesting than Jimmy's scenes.

I'm going to have trouble if Jimmy goes too far to the "dark side." Part of what I liked about S1 was his decency, which really wasn't much on display in that first episode.

The first two episodes were great. We all know where he ends up so he can't really stay clean. He is going to have a big fall sooner or later.

gore wrote:

So hey, how bout the new season you guys? I thought the first episode was good, but oddly perhaps I found the IT guy drug dealer subplot more interesting than Jimmy's scenes.

I'm going to have trouble if Jimmy goes too far to the "dark side." Part of what I liked about S1 was his decency, which really wasn't much on display in that first episode.

Prepare to be disappointed. If his statement to Mike in the finale last season that he wasn't going to make the same mistake again wasn't clear enough, they even had him drive off symbolically crossing the center line. This season will almost certainly be about scams and and making money on the side.

I thought the scene at the end last night, having pie with Kim, spoke volumes. I liked how she took a pretty funny scheme on Jimmy's part and flipped it it on its head as something way outside her comfort zone. With the way that conversation ended, I think they will struggle with Jimmy's, not so much drift, but high speed plunge to the dark side.

I think it will all work, because we will get more criminals like the IT guy, and Jimmy will get plenty of opportunities to sell a story. For me, the season picked right up where Season 1 left off and is headed in the right direction.