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David T. Cole

Better Call Saul In The Media

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I'm just waiting to find out who it was who said to Jimmy:  " 's all good, man" and for the light bulb to appear over his head.  I can't remember if it was referenced in BB or not.

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Anyone listening to the podcasts?  In my opinion they are totally living up to the high standard set by the BrBa ones.  I really enjoy and get a lot out of these. Just them talking about the sets and the cars and everything is so much fun.

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Is there any way to listen to the podcast without downloading to iTunes? Seems like for Breaking Bad you could listen through the browser or iTunes but the link they have on the AMC page just goes to iTunes.

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http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/better-call-saul-michael-mckean-chuck-jimmy-parents-mikes-past-1201445439/

 

‘Better Call Saul’ Q&A: Michael McKean Talks Chuck and Jimmy’s Parents, Mike’s Past
 

 

Heading into next week, it looks like a big episode for Jonathan Banks as Mike. As a fan of “Breaking Bad” were you excited to find out more about his character?
Yeah. I was told I wasn’t in it, so I read it more thoroughly than I would normally. Ordinarily you kind of look for your parts. You read it, but you’re always concentrating on your stuff and then when you see it you see everybody’s work. In this case it was like reading a short story. It’s really fabulous. Great writing in this one. It reminded me a little bit of Elmore Leonard’s stuff — out here on the edge of urban doom, and all the stakes are very high. And Jonathan’s an awfully good actor. I’ll be watching along with everyone else.

 

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-long-can-a-spinoff-like-better-call-saul-last/

Kind of interesting article about Spin Offs.

 

http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/03/03/better-call-saul-alpine-shepherd-boy-review
 

 

Well that was a bit of a heartbreaker. On the whole, Better Call Saul has balanced the drama with bursts of hilarity - as Breaking Bad did. What’s surprising is just how much pathos there is on this series. The writers’ lull us into a sense of ease with a comedic sequence followed by a placid - yet ripe with weird sexual tension - scene between Jimmy and Kim, when it hits us like a wave. Laid bare is Chuck’s insanity, and Jimmy’s refusal to abandon him in it.

 

http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/recaps/better-call-saul-recap-open-mike-night-20150302

 

With all due respect to James Morgan McGill's entrance into the glamorous and lucrative field of elder law, there's a very specific senior citizen in the silent, standout final scenes of tonight's Better Call Saul that has our undivided attention. The man with the legal plan disappears temporarily from the action — leaving one Mike Ehrmantraut front and center. How did this lovably gruff toll collector become Saul Goodman's private investigator, Gus Fring's lethal enforcer, and Walter White's eventual nemesis? This week's episode, titled "Alpine Shepherd Boy," hints that we may soon get the answer.

 

http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/better-call-saul-alpine-shepherd-boy-215942
 

 

There are two main points to “Alpine Shepherd Boy” (original title: “Jello”). One is the evolution of Jimmy’s business strategy, described above. He’s going to use his gift of gab and ability to ingratiate himself with people to charm some oldsters. The other is the question of what to do about Chuck. In a terrifying couple of sequences, we see what Chuck experiences when he is forcibly removed from his safe zone and hauled out into a buzzing, crackling, glowing world where the most innocent parts of the environment sear him to the bone. “Definitely no tasers, I can’t emphasize that enough,” he begs the police officers that his frightened neighbor has sent to his door. And what immediately follows? They pull their tasers. It’s Chuck’s worst nightmare, and the direction by Nicole Kassell puts us right inside his head.

 

Edited by Umbelina
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FiveThirtyEight is polling aggregation website created by analyst Nate Silver, and in How Long Can A Spinoff Like ‘Better Call Saul’ Last? they crunch the numbers from 70 spinoffs (ranging from After M.A.S.H. to Viva La Bam!). Their conclusion: “Based on precedent, we can expect a spinoff of 'Breaking Bad,' which ran for 62 episodes, to run for about 25 episodes—two seasons, give or take, by cable standards."

 

But they go on to say that:

“Better Call Saul,” which stars Bob Odenkirk, feels like more of a throwback to the 1970s spinoff model than the contemporary procedural model, celebrating character as much as atmosphere. Saul Goodman was the stealth favorite during the celebrated run of “Breaking Bad,” and cashing in that chit with an Odenkirk-focused show is a retro move, with Gilligan and AMC aping the 1970s sitcoms of Norman Lear (“All in the Family” and its numerous spinoffs) and Grant Tinker (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its offshoots) more than “CSI.” “Better Call Saul” is a relic. But would you really want to bet against Saul Goodman?
Edited by editorgrrl
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AVClub defends Better Call Saul's slowness.  Definitely must be a mileage varies thing, because I really haven't had that problem with this show.  Granted, it might be because of other stuff I watch.  I mean, I love Mad Men as much as the next fan, but that's a show that can really test your patience with certain episodes.

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AVClub defends Better Call Saul's slowness.

 

That shot of Mrs. Strauss fetching the Alpine shepherd boy was really slow. (According to the article, it was 1 minute, 26 seconds.) But it was also really funny. Even more so if you're of a certain age. (My great aunt loved her Hummel figurines.) Vince Gilligan mentioned it in the "Better Call Saul" Insider podcast. (Non-iTunes link.)

[The Harmar Stairlift] sits there, and it sits there, and then it sits there some more. And I love it. I love it. It makes me laugh every time.

 

I really liked this part of the A.V. Club piece, "86 Seconds to the Sofa: In Praise of Better Call Saul’s Slowness":

Better Call Saul creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould… understand that we’re all waiting for Saul Goodman to emerge, and they use that to enrich the story by making us feel the weight of the wait. In this respect, the Hummel collector’s descent down the stairs is a visual microcosm of the series’ preordained arc. Just as we know that Jimmy will transform into Saul, we know that the woman’s chair lift will reach the bottom of the stairs. Eventually.

The question—both for this scene from “Alpine Shepherd Boy” and for Saul as a whole—is why we are made to watch the parts of the journey where nothing happens. And the answer is that “nothing happens” constitutes an essential part of Jimmy McGill’s experience right now. Saul intends to make us sympathize with that emptiness.

and this:

We have already seen, in Breaking Bad and in parts of Saul, how Jimmy/Saul responds to a swirling crisis. In scenes like this one, we get to see how our hero responds to idleness, which presents a distinct set of challenges. The Hummel scene is the sort of choice that TV creators are only able to make after they have the credibility of a Breaking Bad-type success under their belt. It thrills me that Better Call Saul’s producers use this freedom to make emotionally honest choices that may irritate us but nonetheless draw us closer to their main character.
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Yeah, on the podcast Vince said he loves those kinds of shots and is grateful he has the freedom to do them.

 

It was slow but it was very effective at putting us in Jimmy's shoes.  They could have shown us Jimmy looking at his watch as the woman reached the bottom but that would have simply told us that Jimmy was waiting too long.  The slow, long shot choice actually made me feel his predicament.

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I recall describing Season 1 of Breaking Bad to my friends as painful. Viscerally painful. I support that certain writers/directors earn some indulgences but I think Vince G. has always used these techniques. He uses sensory experience to echo emotions.  

 

I find listening exhausting. I'm grateful for shows like BB and BCS that don't rely on dialogue or setting.

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/allenstjohn/2015/03/10/better-call-saul-episode-106-is-tvs-best-hour-since-breaking-bads-ozymandias-really/

 

'Better Call Saul' Episode 106 Is TV's Best Hour Since 'Breaking Bad's' Ozymandias. Really.

The episode didn't even focus on anything that really relates to Better Call Saul's current plot, as it was all about revealing Mike's backstory and explaining how a cop from Philly landed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And it was more tense, fascinating, and emotional than I ever could've imagined. The hour also doubled as yet another example of Better Call Saul's versatility; the episode was quite different from all five of those that preceded it, proving that Better Call Saul isn't concerned with being a good show that fits within a specific genre, it just wants to be a good show, period.     italics and bolding mine

(Note, most of these reviews are LOADED with Breaking Bad information.)

 

More:

http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/recaps/better-call-saul-recap-officer-down-20150309

    It begins and ends with actor Jonathan Banks. A perpetually commanding presence during his run on Breaking Bad, Banks was one of several performers who became major players simply because creator Vince Gilligan was so impressed with the work they'd done. (Mike was created simply because Walt and Jesse required help following Jane's death, and Bob Odenkirk's schedule wouldn't permit him to provide it as Saul Goodman.) Yet he was never really asked to display much range; aside from the rare smiling respite of pushing a granddaughter on the swings, Mike's facial expressions and tone of voice rarely changed. As Jimmy sarcastically puts it to the incredulous cops who've tracked Mike to New Mexico, "Don't let Mr. Ehrmantraut's dancing eyes and bubbly bon vivant personality fool you: He's actually, believe it or not, somewhat taciturn."

 

    Until tonight. At first, Mike is strong, silent and stoic: He handles a bullet wound with workmanlike efficiency, he sits stonefaced when his desperate daughter-in-law, Stacy, pleads for information about the death of her husband, and he responds to Jimmy's freaked-out realization of the case — "Your friends from Philly back there? They think you killed two cops!" — with an understated "Yep."

    But it's the calm before the storm. Soon Mike explodes, and the collapse of his deadpan demeanor is devastating to watch.

 

 


http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/better-call-saul-five-o-216272

    “Five-O” is the first episode of Better Call Saul that would fall flat, I think, without the viewer’s prior experience of Breaking Bad. (Spoilers follow; skip to next paragraph to avoid.)

 

    I don't agree with this line, but the rest is good.

    Jonathan Banks plays this all so beautifully. It’s a real thrill to see him back at work, coloring in the backdrop he previously sketched, dangerous but deeply damaged, workmanlike but wounded, controlled but corroded. And the direction, by Breaking Bad veteran Adam Bernstein, is absolutely lyrical. He starts with the gliding perspective of a camera mounted low on the train pulling into Albuquerque station, shoots Jimmy’s coffee-stunt choreography with master-shot simplicity and restraint, and ends with Mike and Stacey in a tableau—almost a silhouette—from impossibly far across the room. I know I wasn’t the only one moved by Mike’s pain as he describes the futility of his attempt to save Matt by dragging him into the muck where Mike and the rest of the department had made their beds. “I made him lesser,” he mourns. “I made him like me. And the bastards killed him anyway.”

 

    Mike above all hates venality and hypocrisy, because he succumbed to them himself and destroyed the only thing that could have saved him. He’s disgusted by the clumsy, deluded schemes of amateurs, but he’s even more contemptuous of cops who talk about “doing good” while they, too, are just going along to get along. To him, it’s time for the whole sorry mess of us adults to off each other and get out of the way of Kaylee, who—with enough money in her duffel bag—might be able to start over and do it right, the way Matt would have if Mike hadn’t gotten in his way.

 

http://www.tv.com/news/better-call-saul-season-1-episode-6-five-o-review-142567549369/

Better Call Saul "Five-O" Review: Better Call the Emmys for Jonathan Banks

Hey Jonathan Banks, the Emmys called and they asked for you! The actor was the heart and soul of "Five-O," one of the best episodes to date of 2015's best new show to date, delivering a stunning performance that squeezed my eyeballs dry and left me sitting in stunned silence.

 

 

 

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/09/better-call-saul-recap-mike-backstory/

    It is a great, devastating 40-something minute drama.

    And that’s because of Jonathan Banks, an actor who has spent all of his on-camera minutes in both “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” making the most of a minimalist performance. He played everything so simply that in last week’s episode he was emoting with just an eyebrow. Not eyebrows, plural. His only reaction, in a couple of dialogue-free shots, was the quiver of a single eyebrow.

    The result is television executed at a level that is altogether too rare. There isn’t a spare frame or a moment that fails to move the story forward or a line of dialogue that seems false or out of place. Even the scene at the veterinarian’s office, where Mike goes to get stitches (he’s wounded in the Philadelphia shootout) is necessary, I would argue. It establishes the New Mexico underworld that Mike will soon enter.

 

  

  Fans of “Breaking Bad” will be accustomed to the tautness, tension and emotional force of “Five-O.” But those elements are here in the service of a story of filial guilt that would have seemed out of place in that show. It’s more and more clear that “Better Call Saul” isn’t “Breaking Bad” in a garish suit, as one might have expected when this season began. This series is great in its own unique way.

 

    http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-better-call-saul-five-o-drunk-mans-bluff

 

    I wouldn't want "Better Call Saul" to be this serious every week, as that's missing the point of building a show around the man who would be Saul Goodman. But the series did originate out of one of the darkest, angriest TV dramas ever made, and when you have a superb dramatic actor like Banks on hand, it helps to both get good value out of him and to remind you that Mike is, was and will be far more than our hero's sarcastic, world-weary foil. His work throughout the episode was wonderful, but that last scene — where Mike tells Matt's widow exactly why her husband died, why he feels such guilt over it, and what he ultimately did about it — was some next-level, emotionally naked stuff. Banks didn't win an Emmy for his final "Breaking Bad" season, but he won't have Aaron Paul as competition this time around, and this is one hell of a submission episode, in addition to showing how deftly the new series can shift between its usual state and something that evokes the adventures of Walt and Jesse a bit more.

 

Another very in depth, insightful review here:

http://boingboing.net/2015/03/10/better-call-saul-reveals-the-t.html

Edited by Umbelina
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  May be somebody do not saw this video.It was made before last episode BB.Reference to Saul show up on 14 second on board of suspects.You will be interested to know that Saul  presents a different breed than the other "bad guys".It seems to me that  the author sympathizes with Saul,considers it more humane.Author is Egor Zhgun.        

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Better Call Saul Q&A – Jonathan Banks (Mike Ehrmantraut)

Vince Gilligan is wonderful and loves the character of Mike. He writes wonderful stuff for me. I’ve worked with both Vince and Peter Gould for years. I really enjoy working with all of the writers, but I also really enjoy them as people. We’re friends at this point. Do we always agree with each other? Maybe not, but you know what? I trust them completely.

 

 

Better Call Saul Q&A – Michael McKean (Chuck McGill)

Brothers are a complicated thing. We’re all individuals, but there are certain situations in life where we become custodians of one another, unwilling mentors or slaves. There are all sorts of family relationships, and they are always complicated. There’s a closeness, because even though Jimmy is a problem, Chuck is kind of a problem, too.

 

 

Better Call Saul Q&A – Peter Gould (Showrunner)

Walter White was a dark character. He was a man who knew he was at the end of his life. [JImmy] McGill, no matter how tough things get, has a buoyancy to him which makes him very different to write. That’s the DNA that creates the difference between this show and Breaking Bad.

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A few good points:

(lovely observations about the cinematography/sets)

But TV cannot live on meticulous mise en scène alone — you've got to tell a story, and that's where Saul falters this week.

 

(a better review)

 

He’s done the right thing, and it’s cost him at every turn.

 

 

http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/better-call-saul-bingo-216613
 

 

But for Jimmy, who has already furnished the Law Offices of James M. McGill Esq. with cocobolo desks in his imagination, “the right thing” is a slide back to the bottom of the Sisyphean slope. And after such hard climbing, too. That ladder up to the billboard gave him a head start; branded bingo cards and jello cups are moving him up, one will at a time. It’s the shoebox full of Kettle-cash, though, that will fund his “room to grow, dream big” base camp. To Kim, he explains it as “investing in myself.” Hiring a real receptionist instead of adopting a lilting British accent whenever he answers his phone. Meeting his clients in a conference room instead of a diner. And bringing Kim along, so she can escape HHM and take on a partnership where she’s really appreciated.

 

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/16/better-call-saul-recap-season-1-episode-7-bingo/

 

After the extraordinary heights reached by last week’s episode, which focused on the wrenching, pre-Albuquerque history of Mike Ehrmantraut, “Better Call Saul” returned to its main plot threads with a more subdued 47 minutes of television. The good news is that Mike’s profile on the show has now been elevated. This week’s episode featured plenty of Mr. Ehrmantraut. More importantly, it included several scenes with Mike and Jimmy.

Dramatically speaking, these guys need each other. Jimmy’s hand-waving, smart-aleck shtick shines brightest against the bleak background of Mike’s weather-beaten soul. And Mike is so morose and terse that the loquacious Jimmy is his perfect foil.

 

 

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Saulbacks: An Exhaustive Compendium of 'Breaking Bad' References in 'Better Call Saul' (Or are they Saulforwards?)

Better Call Saul may be a spin-off of Breaking Bad, but it's become clear you don't need to know the original to enjoy the prequel. That said, familiarity with Breaking Bad makes Better Call Saul better by turning it into a treasure hunt for satisfying callbacks. Some of the Saulbacks, as we're calling them, have been obvious, others subtle, and many debatable. For fans of Breaking Bad, they're winks that reward years of commitment. Vince Gilligan has said as much, telling the Hollywood Reporter, "We love rewarding the audience that pays strict, close attention. We love little Easter eggs."

 

Each week, we're cataloguing those Easter eggs, at least all those that we notice, and updating this post.

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The train tracks to Albuquerque

The sixth episode of Better Call Saul finally gave us the Mike Ehrmantraut backstory we've been pining for since the stone-faced ex-cop appeared in season two of Breaking Bad. Unlike previous episodes of the prequel, though, it didn't provide much in the way of "Saulbacks." It did, however, have a few reference points that reminded us of Breaking Bad, so let's focus on those, starting with the train tracks that brought Mike to Albuquerque. As the camera showed them running through the desert, the tracks brought to mind the tracks that carried the train Walt, Jesse, and Todd ripped off for an "ocean" of methylamine. It was that haul that made the partnerships between Walt, Jesse, and Mike possible. And it was that partnership that ultimately led to Mike's death. In a sense, the same tracks that brought Mike to Albuquerque are what got him killed.

 

Oh man, HOW did I miss this? 

 

Once again, goes to show the poetic way Vince operates when he tells a story.

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http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-better-call-saul-rico-a-night-at-the-opera

On the one hand, "Better Call Saul" would seem to be hamstrung by what we know is coming for Jimmy and Mike. Every time Jimmy seems close to some huge financial score, for instance, we know it probably has to fall apart somehow, because a Jimmy McGill who is a successful civil attorney has no need to become Saul Goodman. So when Chuck made the $20 million demand of the Sandpiper attorneys, my mind immediately began wondering how they would blow the case, and/or how they might win without any significant money going to Jimmy(**).

(**) My guess right now? Using Chuck's copier code will in some way allow Howard to weasel HHM into getting most or all of Jimmy's cut of the class action.

 

 

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http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/better-call-saul-rico-216921

It puts Jimmy’s current existence, plugging away at those wills and pretending to be his own receptionist, in perspective. If he’s tempted to take short cuts, like we saw in “Uno” with the skaters, who the hell can blame him? Doing things the right way has gotten him next to nowhere. The powers that control the riches seem determined to keep him in rags. Even his brother doesn’t know how to react to Jimmy’s initiative. ”So, are you proud of me?” Jimmy prompts, a bit pathetically, after revealing his law degree and Esq. title. But to his next query, “consider hiring me,” Chuck absentmindedly fires back: “As what?”

 

Chuck soft-pedals the significance of the Sandpiper financial statements Jimmy’s so excited about—partly because he can’t believe he missed it himself, but partly because he’s accustomed to throwing cold water on Jimmy’s enthusiasms. (“Even a stopped clock is right twice a day,” Jimmy comforts him self-deprecatingly.) And he shakes his head at the dumpster-diving stunt, sure that Jimmy must have trespassed or burgled or something. Everybody assumes that if Jimmy’s doing something, it can’t be worth doing.

They should trust his instincts. Who’s better at recognizing a scam than a former scammer?

 

How much does Mike care about Kaylee? When Stacey calls to ask if he’ll babysit, he waves a car through the open parking-lot barrier without paying or showing stickers! And of course, when Stacey lets drop that she’s worried about money, he visits that connected veterinarian to ask about getting some work in ABQ’s underworld. That, too. But no stickers! Stacey calls up and all the sudden it’s anarchy in that parking lot!

 

This one is interesting, in a way because it's one of the few NON-raves I've see about this show.  NYT's has generally posted some pretty favorable reviews.  This week?  Not so much.  http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/23/better-call-saul-recap-season-1-episode-8-rico/

 

AND, another.  This one is making some very interesting points about Chuck.  http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/03/24/better-call-saul-rico-review

 

I’m not sure I like where’s this is going. To be clear: I love the series that Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have created, but as a viewer, it's painful to watch.

 

 

Each step towards success has been followed by a kick in the gut

 

Jimmy’s hostility toward the flaxen locks lawyer has always made sense (Hamlin is clearly trying to screw Chuck). However, the personal enmity between the two became that much clearer in “RICO”. Hamlin has thwarted Jimmy at every turn. Yet, it isn’t really Hamlin that betrayed Jimmy – it's Chuck.

 

 

It’s been frustrating to watch Jimmy interact with his brother, because – seemingly - no matter how hard the former works for Chuck’s approval, it will never be forthcoming. Sure, Chuck will indulge Jimmy in moments, condescend to him a bit about his budding law practice – but he will never really embrace him as an equal. Nor will he side with Jimmy over Hamlin, who he does respect as a peer. The truth is that Chuck doesn’t like the idea of he and Jimmy on a level playing field. The creators have hit upon something very raw and honest about family dynamics in Chuck and Jimmy’s relationship.

Chuck is comforted by the idea of “Jimmy the screw up”. Sure, there may be a part of him that feels stress when he believes that Jimmy is backsliding. There’s an equally strong impulse to keep him contained in a “less than” position, because Chuck defines himself as much by his own actions as by who he is as compared to his brother. It often works that way within family dynamics.

 

Edited by Umbelina
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http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/better-call-saul-pimento-217233

But Jimmy has just confirmed what he’s always suspected: His future was written in stone years ago. His brother doesn’t believe he can change. And so he’s been systematically blocking any chance Jimmy might have had to do differently.

“Pimento” culminates in one of the bitterest scenes I’ve ever witnessed on television. It’s taken nine episodes to build to this point and give this exchange its impact—remarkably efficient, compared to the seasons it might take another show to accumulate this much pent-up emotion and illustrate in the present the baggage of this much backstory.

 

http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/03/31/better-call-saul-pimento-review

From the first, Better Call Saul has – by necessity – acted in some ways like a Greek Tragedy. Those who watched Breaking Bad know where the scrappy Mr. McGill’s journey will eventually lead him. So Jimmy’s transformation into Saul had to be compelling enough to retain the viewer’s attention, even with that foreknowledge. Better Call Saul co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have more than succeeded in that goal. The unfolding downfall of Jimmy McGill is not only arresting, but also agonizing to witness.

The core of the show’s success is due to just how shockingly easy it’s been to empathize with Jimmy McGill. Breaking Bad fans will note that the key difference between Walt and Jimmy is the latter’s tooth and nail fight for his own soul. Walt relished in is his descent, while Jimmy is desperate – even is spite of himself  – to be the good guy. Yet we know that he won’t be, he can’t be. All along it's seemed clear that Chuck would be the key to Jimmy’s undoing, but these last few installments have revealed the nature of Chuck’s role in his brother's fall.

 

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/03/30/better-call-saul-peter-gould-jimmy-chuck

It was a devastating development for The Man Who Will Become Saul, and one that took even the show’s writers by surprise when they brainstormed “Pimento,” the second-to-last episode of Better Call Saul’s first season.

 

“Part of the reason Jimmy’s always gotten into trouble is because he could never equal Chuck,” Gould continues. “Chuck was always the good brother. But from Chuck’s point of view, Jimmy was the one who got all the attention. Jimmy was the kid who would make everyone laugh with a joke. And Chuck, for all his ability and all his brains, really doesn’t have the common touch. And we realized—and it came as a shock to us—that on some level, Chuck is jealous of Jimmy. And that Hamlin wasn’t the problem for Jimmy, really; it’s Chuck.

 

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That was brutal.

The dramatic high point of “Pimento,” and of the entire season of “Better Call Saul” thus far, is the revelation that Chuck has actively blocked the career of his younger brother, Jimmy. It’s a terrible shift. Chuck started the season as Jimmy’s ward, as dependent on him as a child is on their parent. Now, he is revealed as Jimmy’s saboteur. And just as bad, he has lied and schemed to conceal that role.

It’s Shakespearean, this betrayal, although most of the Bard’s double crosses are helpfully telegraphed by the betrayer, in monologues with the audience. Chuck never tips his hand, though clues about his intentions are now visible in hindsight. If nothing else, we knew that Chuck was sanctimonious and proud to an insufferable degree. To the extent that character is destiny, this was foreordained.

The twist is that Chuck uses deceit and fakery to block Jimmy, all because Chuck believes that Jimmy is morally lacking, given to deceit and fakery. Put another way, Chuck has demonstrated the very flaws he bemoans in his younger brother.

 

http://collider.com/better-call-saul-recap-season-1-episode-9/

 

“Pimento” may be Better Call Saul‘s finest episode yet, as both the humor and the emotional payout felt completely balanced. We knew that Jimmy’s Sandpiper case was going to implode on him somehow, but nothing could have prepared him for the betrayal that came from within his own ranks. One of the most devastating things about the revelation that Chuck had always been the one holding Jimmy back at HHM — and not Howard — was a sense of wasted time. Jimmy has hated Howard for so long, making him the focus of his drive for success, and also his revenge. And now, with incredible intrigue, one considers the man of Howard himself. He’s taken shit from Jimmy for so long, anger that he knew should have been aimed at Chuck, and never said a word (until now, to Kim). The implications are incredible to consider.

better-call-saul-recap-bob-odenkirk

 

Throughout this season, we’ve gotten Jimmy McGill’s backstory as Slippin’ Jimmy both in flashbacks and through some of his present-day schemes. With the Sandpiper case, though, he really seemed to be turning things around. After he gave his Kettleman money back and handed them over to Kim (his most selfless move to date), he seemed to be on a new course, morally and career-wise. Only something as severe as Chuck’s betrayal could knock him off of that course handling elder law, and doggedly pursuing a juicy class action lawsuit. He not only had the wind taken out of his sails regarding his new, positive path, but also regarding his hatred, which had for so many years been entirely misplaced. He has nothing.

 

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2015/03/30/better-call-saul-recap-season-1-episode-9-pimento/

I never imagined that “Better Call Saul” could actually get more heartbreaking than what we saw during the harrowing events depicted in “Five-O,” but “Pimento” just absolutely destroyed me.

We’ll get back to the major plot points and entanglements of the episode shortly, but the final scene of “Pimento” has been stuck in my brain since I first time watched it this past weekend and, every single time I think about it, it’s like a punch to the gut.

 

It’s interesting, however, to see just how proud Jimmy is of Chuck when they arrive. He’s Jimmy’s hero, which makes the episode’s conclusion all the more crushing.

 

 

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/better-call-saul-recap-pimento/

• Bob Odenkirk said that he was frequently asked, during the making of “Breaking Bad,” if he would want to hang out with his character, Saul, at parties and his answer was always “no way.” Goodman was putting on a show, he said, and the show was a little annoying. Jimmy, on the other hand, is someone he likes.

 

Edited by Umbelina
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'Better Call Saul' exec producer Peter Gould on that Jimmy-Chuck shocker in 'Pimento'

It makes Chuck deeply uncomfortable for so many reasons—some of them legitimate—to have Jimmy be a lawyer at his level. And one of the things I love about the scene at the end of episode 9 that [co-executive producer] Tom Schnauz wrote, and that Bob and Michael played, is that Chuck is not all wrong. Especially those of us who watched Breaking Bad know that there is an element of truth to what he says: ‘The law is sacred. If you abuse that power, people get hurt. This is not a game.’ And that brings up the question: How much is that a self-fulfilling prophecy? Does Jimmy act out because deep down, he believes what Chuck thinks of him?”

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Proof that opinions do vary: someone at EW has more of a negative take on this show.  Basically, it sounds like the writers thinks this show doesn't know what it wants to be, which, personally, I disagree.  I think the show obviously is about Jimmy's journey into becoming Saul and this is almost his own way of "Breaking Bad."  At the end, the writer basically sounds like he or she wanted this show to be about "Saul", and doesn't like that it has been about Jimmy/pre-Saul, which, for me, that has what made the show work.  As much as I loved Saul, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if we automatically jumped into his early days.  Seeing how he was formed and what kind of man he used to be as Jimmy, is actually making me more invested in Saul now.

 

Another reason I think this is because, on the other hand, the writer seemed to praise all the Mike stuff, because he basically feels like this is Breaking Bad's Mike, compared to Jimmy being different to Saul.  And, I can see that (although, I still think Mike has showed much more emotion here then he did on BB), but, IMO, as much as I love Mike, I don't think I would enjoy a show just about him doing his Mike stuff.  He a great supporting character, but I'm all about Jimmy as the lead.

 

Still, I guess it's interesting to hear another take.  Still, I frankly have way more faith in Vince/Peter then this guy.  Hopefully, they keep doing what they are doing and don't get pressured into making Jimmy into Saul too quickly.

Edited by thuganomics85
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My favorite comment in the comments area and a thought I had was that Breaking Bad was not about a consistent character.  I don't think anyone could have predicted that Walter White in the pilot would become Heisenberg.  And the character wasn't consistent either.  He'd be badass in a finale and go back to seeming somewhat timid the next season.  He'd look to walk away but then his arrogant side would pop up. 

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The shit didn't hit the fan. It just slid through the sunroof.

 

Nothing shocking happened during Better Call Saul's season finale. No one was murdered and no one was betrayed; no one poisoned a kid, caused an aircraft collision, or blew a drug lord's face off. The show's inaugural go-round ended not with a bang but a guitar riff, as Jimmy McGill sped away from the square life and toward "Saul Goodman, Attorney-at-Law," singing "Smoke on the Water" all the while. Ironically, this refusal to be daring is the most daring thing the show could have done. Written and directed by Peter Gould, the co-creator of both the character and his solo series, tonight's episode — "Marco" — played out with the confidence that we didn't need to see fireworks to enjoy the show. And you know what? That's probably right.

 

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/recaps/better-call-saul-recap-go-east-young-man-20150406#ixzz3WgTFbhJ0

 

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I love Rolling Stone author Sean T. Collins' apologetic for the montage scene that so many of us thought went on too long. After reading it, all's right in my BCS fan-mind:

The montage's spirit lingers long enough that the corny predictability of Marco's "one last con" death scene feels like it's phony on purpose, a wink at the idea that James Morgan McGill's moral downfall can be traced, like Bruce Wayne's Batman career, to an origin story involving death in a dark alley. Besides, it's not like Marco minds: His last words are literally "This was the greatest week of my life." Like Walter White bleeding out in his meth lab, the big man died doing what he loved.

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For fans of Michael Mando (Nacho): Q&A with him in my gym's newsletter. Apparently, he's a super healthy guy!

I totally agree that characters (most especially on this show) aren't black & white:

Speaking of the show, what’s it like playing a villain?

I think all actors would have the same response. We don’t like to think of our characters as good or bad. I think what’s interesting about Nacho is his level of ambition, his intelligence, patience and his courage. This is a guy who was told that he’d always be a peasant in life and he says, “No, I’m a king.”

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The article refers to Nacho's explosive return in the finale. I'm blanking here but I don't remember him appearing?

 

I think they meant the penultimate episode, "Pimento." It wasn't explosive, but I'm not to proud to admit I squeed when I saw him.

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Has a "regular" cast member ever been featured less in a season than Mando was in Season 1 of BCS? He appeared in less than half of the episodes and only had significant screentime in two of them.

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The actor and actress playing Allen and Montoya on Gotham, are probably right there with him.  They were listed as regulars and featured well in the beginning, but pretty much vanished in the latter half of the season.

 

I was/am bummed over the lack of Nacho, since I loved Michael Mando on Orphan Black and Far Cry 3.  I can't remember where I read it, but I do think Gould or another producer, did admit that there original plan had more of Nacho, but they ended up slowing down Jimmy's transformation, so that ended up not needing him as much.  That make sense, but I do hope he'll be used better in Season 2, if he's sticking around.

Edited by thuganomics85
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I think they meant the penultimate episode, "Pimento." It wasn't explosive, but I'm not to proud to admit I squeed when I saw him.

Oh thanks, they mention April 6th so I thought I was flaking out.  I agree his appearance wasn't explosive, but it was pleasantly surprising.

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Whoever fact-checked the Equinox gym newsletter (probably the writer) merely confirmed that the Better Call Saul season one finale would air on Monday, April 6—they failed to verify if Nacho was "set to make an explosive return" in said episode.

 

That said, it's always good to see the show getting publicity. Here's an Entertainment Weekly Q&A, "Bob Odenkirk on the Better Call Saul finale and his new Netflix sketch show with David Cross":

[Jimmy] has been driven, and powerfully, by the desire to be worthy of and gain his brother’s respect and appreciation and support. He has faced a hard truth, which is: He will never, ever get that. It’s one of the hardest things to deal with, and I think it can crush people. What I hear in the last moments of this episode is an angry energy that says, “F— all that. I’m gonna cut loose, and I’m gonna stop trying to gain the approval of the people around me and the world around me.” There’s something really wonderful and freeing and exciting about that—and there’s also something really scary and dangerous. (laughs)
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OMG, that article is SO good!

 

Will your performance change a bit moving forward now that you are closer to becoming Saul Goodman?

You only saw Saul Goodman in his public persona and the only time you saw a crack in that was when he had a gun to his head—you saw that a few times, but only for brief moments. So while I do think that there may be a little more Saul Goodman in the upcoming season, you also saw a lot of Saul Goodman in this season. Even though he’s called Jimmy McGill, when he’s out in the desert negotiating in the second episode, that was pure Saul Goodman. Saul Goodman, as presented in Breaking Bad, was a wonderfully fun, but a little bit of a thin character, and I’m not sure he can lose that many dimensions, both because we’ve already experienced that many, and because he’s at the core of this show. You’re not only going to see him in his office: You’re going to see him go home and deal with the consequences of his choices. I don’t think he’ll ever be just pure Saul Goodman for a whole episode and never see Jimmy McGill in the course of that episode. We now have a far, far more fleshed-out character, and he’s going to remain that way.

 

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Thanks! I love Emily Nussbaum. But I wish I understood this bit at the end:

 

 

Jimmy’s all surface, Chuck argues; and it’s true that, in some sense, our hero’s been playing dress-up all season long. In one episode, he mimics the threads of a corporate lawyer he loathes; in another, he dons a white Matlock suit. Before trials, he psychs himself up by yelling “Showtime!,” in a nod to “All That Jazz.” Once “Better Call Saul” puts on the black hat, at last, it may ultimately be a show about how manhood operates as a form of theatre—and how fun it is when you finally nail the role. ♦

 

I guess she means that when Jimmy becomes Saul, he'll be a stronger, less conflicted character. Then, as a man who's comfortable in a black hat, he will do things that are inherently more dramatic than anything Jimmy did/could do.  

 

If that's what she means, I would say that Jimmy's fascinating because he isn't just one thing. His contradictions and complications are the reason the show is powerful. 

 

She is also unhappy with the difference in style from week to week.

 

 

One week, it’s a thriller; another, it’s a quirky procedural, full of thickly drawn portraits of loser clients; then it’s a solemn noir about Mike Ehrmantraut’s past.

 

I think that on this point she just has to loosen up and go with the flow.

 

I'll be really interested to see if she writes about BCS again.

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The black hat seems like a very on the nose Heisenberg reference.

 

I am not a Breaking Bad alumnus, so I had to google "black hat Heisenberg" to understand this. Snazzy!

 

I'm still not on board with her overall point. There's something lost and something gained when you choose to make a complicated character more ... what's the word, elemental? And the same thing applies to taking a vibrant but flatter character and adding nuance. To me, BCS is working beautifully on its own terms. She's one of the few critics who doesn't think so. 

 

Her piece will be an interesting read a few years from now, when we know how effective the choices for BCS have been in the long run. 

 

(edited for clarity)

Edited by duVerre
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I am not a Breaking Bad alumnus, so I had to google "black hat Heisenberg" to understand this. Snazzy!

 

I'm still not on board with her overall point. There's something lost and something gained when you choose to make a complicated character more ... what's the word, elemental? And the same thing applies to taking a vibrant but flatter character and adding nuance. To me, BCS is working beautifully on its own terms. She's one of the few critics who doesn't think so. 

 

Her piece will be an interesting read a few years ago, when we know how effective the choices for BCS have been in the long run. 

 

(edited for clarity)

I find it interesting that you didn't watch Breaking Bad but are watching this show. The best sign of a spin off is when you don't need to have seen the original. I was watching Saul clips from BB and he was funny but also unkind and really crude towards women a lot of the time. I'd forgotten that as it's been awhile since I've seen BB. It sounds like Emily Nussbaum thinks BCS is a little confused and she is anticipating the entrance of full blown Saul. I feel less excited about seeing that happen. The transition is more interesting to me too.

 

As a sidenote, I teach a class a couple times a week and I've been doing the "Showtime!" schtick as I leave the parking garage. It helps psych me up to teach, lol! 

Edited by Soobs
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If you read that article from Odenkirk, he points out that Saul wasn't all that fleshed out in BB, and this show has allowed that to happen.  He implied that Jimmy won't "disappear" when Saul Goodman comes out on this show, he will still be there, in a more layered portrayal of this character. 

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I find it interesting that you didn't watch Breaking Bad but are watching this show. The best sign of a spin off is when you don't need to have seen the original.

 

Oh, it's completely engaging to me. I can imagine, though, that if there was a Mad Men spin-off, I'd be wondering if viewers who hadn't seen the original were getting full value from it. 

 

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Well this sucks for Michele McLaren. She and Warner Brothers parted ways over "creative differences" on The Wonder Woman movie.  I am not a Comics fan but I was looking forward to seeing what she was going to do with a feature.

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/wonder-woman-movie-loses-director-788500

 

I can only hope this means she'll now have time for another ep of Better Call Saul.

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Well my interest level in the Wonder Woman film went from about an 88 out of 100 to about 0.2. MM should be getting more feature film offers... perhaps she'll get something better than WW. And yeah, if it frees her up to direct more BCS or Game of Thrones that would not be a bad thing for us viewers... but she definitely deserves feature film opportunities.

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