View Full Version : Better Call Saul

Spun Lepton
01-10-2015, 06:01 PM
Full 2-minute trailer. Looks promising!!


01-10-2015, 06:32 PM
Gilligan said at TCA that Walter & Jesse aren't in the first season, but "everything else is on the table."

That feels like a mistake.

Ezee E
01-12-2015, 06:03 AM
I think that allows the show to be more about Saul, and whatever story they're trying to tell. Good move to me.

02-09-2015, 03:39 PM
I think that allows the show to be more about Saul, and whatever story they're trying to tell. Good move to me.

I think Irish may have meant the opposite, that any/all other direct references to Breaking Bad might hinder the show from standing on its own. Which overall in the premiere was not a problem, thought they did a great job. Until the end... A little worried by that development in the very first episode, but I'll trust these writers for now.

02-10-2015, 05:22 PM
Pretty great so far.

Odenkirk is channeling his friend Larry David big time during his run ins with the parking attendant.

Really hits the ground running. I'm wondering if the plan is a shorter run than Breaking Bad?

Spun Lepton
02-10-2015, 05:52 PM
I was also a little put off by the cameo at the end of Ep1. I also trust the writers, so, we'll see.

02-10-2015, 06:18 PM
I don't think it's going to be a cameo appearance, though. Right?

I mean, I'm pretty sure he's going to be a driving force in this season.

Have people heard otherwise?

Spun Lepton
02-10-2015, 07:34 PM
I don't think it's going to be a cameo appearance, though. Right?

I mean, I'm pretty sure he's going to be a driving force in this season.

Have people heard otherwise?

I haven't heard anything. I'm just worried about them using callbacks to BB as a crutch.

02-10-2015, 07:41 PM
I'm just worried about them using callbacks to BB as a crutch.

I agree.

02-11-2015, 12:52 AM
In Gilligan I Trust.

Even without the big surprise reveal in episode 2, it was still a strong episode because of the entertaining narrative choices, juxtaposing standard exposition with things like the vending machine coffee montage, a great way to illustrate Saul's resolve to tough it out as a public defender. And even better, on the heels of the gruesome desert revenge, was Saul's recognition of his ill-proposed scam, knowingly shown against the backdrop of a smiling hooker, some crispy breadsticks, and set to the goofy strains of Esquivel's Boulevard of Broken Dreams (I thought it was a music video or extended commercial at first!).

All this and lines like, "The only way this car's worth five hundred dollars is if there's a three hundred dollar hooker in the back!"

Yeah, I'm in for the long haul.

Spun Lepton
02-11-2015, 03:47 AM
Okay, the second episode really eased a lot of worries. That was quite good.

02-11-2015, 06:54 PM
That montage towards the end of episode 2 was fantastic.

Ezee E
02-11-2015, 11:09 PM
I feel like it's a car trying to get started. Just needs to turn the key one more time, and it'll be working just fine.

02-12-2015, 04:59 PM
That montage towards the end of episode 2 was fantastic.
Which one? There were many.

I am bursting with happiness about this show. The first episode was more surprising than good, but that's probably because I was expecting something much lighter for some reason. The way they handled Tuco's appearance was brilliant. It was like an exaggerated version of every scene he had in Breaking Bad.

Spun Lepton
02-13-2015, 03:09 AM
The leg-breaking scene was SO GODDAMN GOOD. That was the scene which made me realize I was in for the long run. I loved how the scene's tone changes throughout. Saul bargains for his life, intense. Saul bargains for the twins lives, IN-FUCKING-TENSE and shockingly funny. And then the camera just LINGERS on Saul as Tuco breaks the twins' legs. I felt his dispair, I could see, "this is my fault" written on his face as he's forced to stand there and watch.

Just incredible. So well thought-out and so well performed.

I'm sold. I'm in for the long haul for Saul! Bahahaha ... haha .. ha ... ahem.

I'm also extremely happy for Bob Odenkirk. My theory that comedians make the best dramatic actors continues uncontested.

02-21-2015, 03:26 AM
I'm enjoying the show a great deal. I really admire Gilligan as a writer and I think that he and Gould (and the rest of the staff) are off to a great start here. It's nice to have this very specific mode of storytelling back in my life. It's visually superb, too.

The third episode felt like the show putting a very distinct step forward. More generally, I think the character of Chuck is probably one of the most intriguing and valuable assets so far. McKean's performance has been really great. Odenkirk has been surprising me as well. As usual, Jonathan Banks is wonderful and I expect great things (Odenkirk was hyping an upcoming Mike-centric episode during a recent interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lfVasKQiJQ): "I know there's one episode with a great focus on the Mike character that is as dark as anything they've written [...] that, I've heard, is just a powerhouse"). I'm not sure about the rest of the cast yet. Although, I do think Nacho is a promising antagonist and Michael Mando is eminently watchable.

Given Jimmy's characterization, I'm really curious about what, exactly, will propel him into the Saul Goodman persona. It will be very interesting to see how they pull that off in a credible and organic fashion. In Breaking Bad (spoilers), Saul proposed killing off at least three characters (Badger, Jesse [twice!], and Hank) at various points. For some reason, I find the friction between Saul Goodman's monstrousness and Jimmy McGill a little more disturbing than Walter White's descent. Maybe that's because Breaking Bad is over and I've long since acclimated myself to Walt's repulsive qualities, or maybe it's because Walt's darker edge felt pretty salient even early in the first season. Comparatively, Jimmy emerges as a much more sympathetic character here; his "Slippin' Jimmy" inclinations means that he's a bit of a scoundrel, yes, but he's also more demonstrably concerned about doing right. There's something like sweetness in Odenkirk's performance this time around, which is notably borne out in his conversations with Kim and his concern for his brother's well-being. There are definite shades of the occasionally raffish Saul, but Jimmy is clearly way less vile and far more likeable and decent.

I mean, it's really hard to reconcile the guy standing out by that phone booth at night, nervously warning "Team Kettleman," with the man who will, in a few years, nonchalantly propose murdering three people without the slightest bit of compunction.

02-21-2015, 05:58 PM
In Breaking Bad (spoilers), Saul proposed killing off at least three characters (Badger, Jesse [twice!], and Hank) at various points.

Oh, and there's also Saul's reference to two ex-wives, which I was reminded of after listening to the official podcast. Gilligan's response to this: "We want this thing to live and breathe [...] the trouble is, a lot of the stuff that was said as a throwaway line on an old episode of Breaking Bad, now we have to abide by. And that is its own special kind of hell." :D

On another note, Gilligan and Gould have also heaped lots of praise on the two actors playing the Kettlemans (Julie Ann Emery and Jeremy Shamos). I can already see the comedic and/or off-kilter dramatic potential with them. Their scenes have been pretty great so far (especially at the end of episode three).

02-26-2015, 03:40 AM
Four episodes in, I'm obviously as impressed with the craft as I was with BB, because the same people are working on it. The lines are just as funny, the directing just as intense (Michelle MacLaren on that second ep, boy howdy), the cinematography just as beautiful, and Odenkirk, as we all well know, is amazing.

I just don't care for the actual plot of the thing. I don't care about this embezzlement family. I don't care about Saul's efforts to be their lawyer. I don't care about Tuco's pretty boy partner that seems to be Saul's only connection to crime. I'm not even sure what to make of his brother's mental illness. There doesn't seem to be a compelling hook to the show other than, "When did Jimmy become Saul?" Which never struck me as that interesting of a question to ask to begin with.

I kinda... just want to see more of the broken, paranoid, Cinnabon manager?

Ezee E
02-26-2015, 03:46 PM
Good point, and I agree fully. I'd rather see how Saul recovers from those events.

We never saw his point of view during BB, so it's entirely possible all these people are still alive. Except Nacho, I'm sure he's dead, and I'm thinking Saul will manipulate Tuco into killing him for his own life.

02-28-2015, 06:43 AM
There doesn't seem to be a compelling hook to the show other than, "When did Jimmy become Saul?" Which never struck me as that interesting of a question to ask to begin with.

Personally, I think they're doing a pretty good job of turning that question into an interesting one by, for instance, showing us that Jimmy legitimately cares about being a decent person, and by surrounding him with good characters. He's a desperate careerist, but it's a careerism bound up in morality, family (Chuck), and friendship (Kim), and the expectations erected through all those channels. Saul Goodman is clearly a very grotesque version of the careerism we're seeing in these early episodes (which makes him, retroactively, a more tragic character). In other words, we're now being shown that Goodman is in stark contrast to the kind of potential (as a man, as a lawyer) that Chuck and Kim saw in Jimmy, and that Jimmy/Saul once saw in himself. So, I think they're setting up a pretty strong foundation here, as far as significant motivations, bonds, and loyalties are concerned.

See, for instance, that tremendous scene in the nail salon with Jimmy and Kim, where they're discussing the billboard, etc. There's a specific kind of interpersonal tenderness there that wasn't found very often in Breaking Bad (the closest correlate is probably Jesse and Jane). Maybe this is because the affection feels more reciprocal here (i.e., Jimmy's comment about Kim deserving someone better than Hamlin), whereas Walt often felt like he was actively resisting anything resembling real, meaningful affection with his family. I also think Chuck has come across as a really promising and sympathetic character. I'm moved by his resilient sense of dignity and the way this is punctuated by such strange, psychic frailty. I also like the 'loving but critical older brother' angle, which I think is being handled really well.

So, yeah: characters like Kim and Chuck have not only endeared themselves to me rather quickly, but they also inform and magnify Jimmy's failures in an interesting way. We've already met Saul, so we know Jimmy will ultimately disappoint these people. Yet the effective performances and characterizations, coupled with Jimmy's honest aspirations, has me interested in seeing the process of that failure.

On that note, it seems like they're portraying Jimmy as being very much at the mercy of his own insecurities and bad habits, as well as a cruel and contingent universe that seems bent on defining him as a bad person (i.e., Nacho seeing Jimmy for what he apparently is and scoffing at his honest protestations [in episode 2], Betsy Kettleman telling him he's the type of lawyer that only guilty people hire [in episode 4], etc.). So far, these kind of aspects are helping to turn Saul's origin into a point of interest rather than an irrelevant footnote.

03-01-2015, 12:04 AM
I kinda... just want to see more of the broken, paranoid, Cinnabon manager?

Gilligan said we'll see more of him for sure.

BTW, wasn't that Gilligan himself in the latest episode? As one of the people looking up in the billboard sequence?

03-02-2015, 08:39 PM
So far, I'm finding Jimmy/Saul to be a far more interesting, nuanced, complex, and sympathetic character than Walt ever was.

I didn't really like BB until S3.

I've liked this since episode 1; of course a lot of that has to do with how much I ended up liking BB.

03-03-2015, 05:06 AM
I am just really not loving this. I'm barely even liking it. I don't know what you all see that I do not. Every episode takes me three attempts to get through because I fall asleep. There's no zip. There's no movement. There doesn't feel like a vision or a purpose for any of this. And I just don't care about anything that's happening because nothing really IS happening. I keep waiting for some sort of episode game-changer that pulls the focus together. Mike, maybe? Please?

I continue to watch because I continue to hope that it gets its act together and if it does I don't want to have to catch up from the beginning. But I feel like every episode is a bit of a chore, even if there are a couple fun moments in some of them.

03-03-2015, 06:10 AM
It's bad, but it's bad in interesting ways. There's a distinct lack of focus. Like somebody said "spinoff" before they had any ideas at all (interviews with Gilligan leading up to the premiere sorta bear this out).

The show plays like Breaking Bad Lite and I'm fascinated to see them flop around while the audience runs in the other direction.

03-04-2015, 12:58 PM
W... What? What are you guys watching?

I'm loving this. Like Gittes says, the question of how Jimmy becomes Saul has done nothing if not become more layered and interesting.

03-05-2015, 12:46 AM
The Jell-O scene at the nursing home was so great. I appreciated the rendition of one of the greatest pieces of film music ever (The Third Man music).

"Watch out, that's my will writing hand!"

03-05-2015, 01:04 AM
Exactly. I don't understand how such learned and sophisticated fellas such as yourselves cannot fall in love with this show.

03-05-2015, 04:22 AM
I will admit, however, that the commode scene was a misfire. The time spent on that could have been used far more wisely. At least it was brief and negligible, though.

03-10-2015, 02:57 AM
Excellent Episode.

Ezee E
03-10-2015, 03:19 AM
Excellent Episode.

Been waiting.

If this weren't a prequel for Breaking Bad, I probably would have given up on it. But I feel like it has to all be adding up to something. Looks like it's doing just that

03-10-2015, 12:01 PM
"Five-O" was fantastic. I had been eagerly anticipating a more sustained focus on Mike, and this episode did a great job of illuminating the history of the character and ratcheting up the (already considerable) pathos. I liked the bleak, film noir shadings, which obviously suits Mike/Jonathan Banks.

Loved the cinematography (that's not to say that the other ones have been a slouch in this regard; I like the way the interiors of Chuck's house have been shot, for example). The interior of the bar was really striking, as was the train station from the beginning, etc. Lovely. It's definitely a sumptuously mounted episode.

I also liked the bloomy look of that early scene with Mike and Stacey in the backyard, which, notwithstanding the uneasy/depressing discussion, beautifully captured the look and feel of a summer's afternoon enveloping a lived-in space (those verdant, sun-drenched backgrounds in shallow focus, the hot light and shadows bisecting the terrace, etc., as well as the use of props like the lemonade pitcher and the scattered toys, and Kaylee swinging in the background). Part of the appeal probably has something to do with the fact that I really wish it was summer right now.

03-17-2015, 03:37 PM
"Five-O" was the first solid indication that this show could be better than Breaking Bad.

Ezee E
03-17-2015, 11:46 PM
"Five-O" was the first solid indication that this show could be better than Breaking Bad.

Definitely don't get that much of an inclination from that episode, but it was good.

The last episode brought it backwards a little again. The main difference between the two is that Breaking Bad was so suspense-driven and intense, while also bringing great character development and conflict. Better Call Saul really only has one of those.

03-18-2015, 03:28 PM
I think it all comes down to expectations. If every one of you is going to expect a Breaking Bad clone or the same brand of violence, suspense and drama, then yes, I predict you are not going to enjoy it.

Me, I'm watching the best show on TV in a long, long time. I'm sorry if you can't partake.

03-19-2015, 08:25 AM
I think this does have the potential to be a better show for me than Breaking Bad, simply because I find the struggle to be better as a person a more compelling overarching theme than the damage wrought by hubris.

I love Breaking Bad but I watched it as an observer, whereas with this show I can relate. I found this latest episode quite moving.

03-19-2015, 08:29 AM
Also, if people think this show is slow then they should give Rectify a shot (my pick for best show currently going).

03-21-2015, 01:28 AM
I think this does have the potential to be a better show for me than Breaking Bad, simply because I find the struggle to be better as a person a more compelling overarching theme than the damage wrought by hubris.

Yes. This. I'd much rather watch an actualizing process than a disintegration. My opinion about BB ultimately fell in the negative, though it has its reasons to watch it. This, though, is very clearly a show worth watching.

03-21-2015, 06:55 AM
I was surprised that the reflection of a crew member showed up in the last shot (worst timing) of this recent episode. Whoever it is also crouches down midway through, which suggests he realized his gaffe and didn't tell anyone. It's a pivotal moment, so it's a shame that a blunder like this made it through. I imagine this is the sort of thing that could be easily adjusted for the DVD and Bluray release.


Otherwise, I'm still loving the visuals. Great shots abound.

03-21-2015, 03:04 PM
Kieslowski's Red, otherwise a tremendous film in every way, will forever be marred for me by the same thing.

03-24-2015, 11:00 AM
Some intriguing developments this week. They established an interesting angle via the Sandpiper Crossing skulduggery. A lot of compelling stuff: Jimmy's hardscrabble efforts, collaborating with Chuck (the hug was touching), the mounting conflict between them and Sandpiper's lawyers, etc. A great ending, too.

Ezee E
03-25-2015, 03:24 AM
Yeah. This was probably my favorite episode of the season to tell the truth.

They must have some long range plans for this. Right now, it doesn't seem anything close to "Saul Goodman."

03-27-2015, 08:44 AM

I won't be able to watch this, but I'm definitely curious about which episodes he's picked...particularly with regards to The Twilight Zone. That seems like one of the shows that very much informed his sensibilities as a writer, at least in terms of his X-Files work (I actually already knew he was a fan based on a few comments he's made in interviews; plus, he recently referred to "The After Hours" during the BCS podcast).

EDIT: I found a recent interview (http://metvnetwork.com/vince-gilligan-s-island) where he specifies one of his favourites: "Nervous Man In A Four Dollar Room" (be warned, though, there are some spoilers for that episode in his response).

03-31-2015, 05:57 AM
Heartbreaking stuff.

03-31-2015, 06:00 AM
I love Breaking Bad but I watched it as an observer, whereas with this show I can relate. I found this latest episode quite moving.

I've only seem the first couple episodes of Saul and am just skimming this thread, but I like this comment. Exactly how I felt about Breaking Bad, too.

03-31-2015, 04:12 PM
Keeps getting better and better.

03-31-2015, 05:49 PM
Such a great scene between McKean and Odenkirk. If that's what they spent the whole season building up to, it was totally worth it.

And, it's easy to take Banks' work for granted, but he is just so awesome in this.

Ezee E
04-05-2015, 02:05 PM
I should say that the one thing that's been overlooked in this thread and in reviews throughout is the breakthrough performance from Rhea Seehorn. I think she's fantastic.

04-05-2015, 03:51 PM
I commented on Kim on the last page (i.e., my reference to the scene in the nail salon and, later on in the post, the character more generally, etc.), but I didn't explicitly talk about Seehorn's performance. I agree; it's good. I'm not necessarily astounded by her contributions just yet, but I have no substantial complaints. There was a bit of awkwardness early on (see: the scene where Jimmy and Kim are in the Kettlemans' house after their apparent kidnapping). Still, I like the character a lot. I think this most recent episode was a strong example of Seehorn's talent.

04-05-2015, 04:07 PM
On another note, I like the contrast between Nacho's intimidating outward appearance and the almost dainty, light cadence of Michael Mando's voice. It's not something they planned for, I imagine, but it actually works, insofar as it accentuates his difference from the more conventional criminality that surrounds him. I mean, it's not the paranoiac aggression of Tuco nor the forbidding stoicism of, say, the Salamanca twins (or any number of background henchmen in this show and in Breaking Bad). As I saw someone else mention, he's like a mixture of Gus and Tuco, but even that doesn't quite seem like a perfect summary of the character. I know we've seen so little of him, but that won't stop me from speculating about his significance and why the soft-spoken voice is an interesting detail.

Ramble, ramble:

It's sort of like with Bob Odenkirk: there's something pliable and raffish about Odenkirk's face, which is partly why he's well-suited to this particular character. It's acting, of course, but there's also something about that face -- those arched, vaguely sinister brows hanging over beady eyes that so easily alternate between harried, doleful, and conspiratorial. Plus, there's the droopy, cartoonish (http://www.stutte.com/art/slippinjimmy_color.jpg) elasticity of his mouth, which seems tailor-made not only for flashing charmingly disreputable smiles, but also the most despondent grimaces (at Jimmy's most wretched points, it seems like Odenkirk's chin is trying to disappear into his bottom lip). In the same vein, a lot of people talk about the strange spectacle of Cranston's wrinkly mien or the world-weariness that seems indelibly etched onto Jonathan Banks' face.

Anyway, back to Nacho: as I was saying, Mando's voice is one of the ways in which he's set apart from a more stereotypical brand of gangsterism and machismo. If Odenkirk's physicality suggests something other than the world of competent, professional lawyers (a world that Jimmy covets), then little details like Nacho's voice, incidental as they may be, signal something similar: his vaguely ill-fitting place among the upper echelon of a criminal empire, perhaps? In other words, the serendipitious fact of Mando's soft-spoken voice may provide a way into talking about this character and his significance, even at this early point. It's a small performative detail that speaks to a larger possibility: Nacho doesn't perfectly cohere with the established criminal mold (if Gus were his boss, this would be a different discussion, but Tuco is defining top-tier criminality in this context; besides, like I said earlier, Nacho isn't quite like Gus, either, which further suggests his incompatibility with upper-echelon crime).

Also, I think I read somewhere that Nacho even resents the fact that he's called Nacho (it's something of an imposed nickname and perhaps he feels that it infantilizes him or is vaguely mocking). Later on, in Breaking Bad, Saul will refer to Nacho by his full, and probably preferred, name: Ignacio. Details like these suggests a character that wants to ascend his second tier position but can't due to imposed judgments and intractable circumstances. This has a lot to do with the fixed hierarchy of Tuco's business, but perhaps also relates to how, like Jimmy, Nacho has come to be characterized and reduced by those around him.

It suggests a theme of how we can come to be defined, against our personal will and aspirations, by a mixture of biological happenstance and social judgment (among other things). Remember, both Nacho and the Kettlemans, among others, quickly defined Jimmy based on some very early and paltry impressions. Jimmy's vibes and his bearing were apparently strong indications of his character. These precipitate (but perhaps not entirely inaccurate) judgments constitute a battle of attrition against Jimmy's soul: the more he's told that he seems like a bad guy, the more likely he is to capitulate to this external characterization of himself. That's why this latest judgment (in "Pimento"), which is not precipitate but has actually been percolating for years, and comes not from strangers but from family, is so devastating. I'm not of the belief that everyone is helpless against such things, but I appreciate the fact that the show is examining the considerable struggle of trying to control our destiny in the face of these kinds of external obstacles and judgments.

So, yeah, maybe Nacho is a guy who similarly has to deal with having his agency curtailed by the perceptions of others (not simply because of his voice, of course; what I'm saying is that this little performative detail fits into the theme of being unfairly pigeonholed/externally determined, and vaguely signals the idea of Nacho's difference and how this might relate to his impeded ambition, undermined place in the criminal world, etc.). Jimmy isn't seen as a bona fide lawyer, so he isn't allowed to become one, and Nacho probably isn't seen as a guy who could pass muster as a criminal kingpin (at least if we consider that, in Nacho's social circle, Tuco is Chuck, and therefore represents the unobtainable professional gold standard -- incidentally, like Chuck, Tuco is also struggling with his own psychic troubles and seems insecure about his status).

Perhaps, then, we can understand Nacho as another ambitious careerist whose dreams are both informed and prohibited by "familial" bonds. As Mike indicated, Tuco isn't the type who would brook Nacho's moonlighting -- the Kettleman scheme, the pills, etc. -- which is why secrecy is needed. Jimmy gets the mailroom, and Nacho gets to play second fiddle in a crime empire. They're both denied upward mobility by those in power, and they're not happy about it. The basis for this denial is complicated, but the show, subtextually and textually, is suggesting that this is partly related to maddeningly involuntary factors: not quite fitting the part, so to speak.

Some of these interpretations are speculative and tentative in nature, but my argument is partly based on how I've noticed Mando describing his character (he's referred to Nacho's "love" for Tuco, and something about how Nacho has his eyes on something bigger than his current lot; the latter, at least, has been made pretty obvious in the show itself).

04-07-2015, 09:48 AM
Ending of the latest episode pretty on the nose. Maybe misdirection?

04-07-2015, 03:58 PM

04-07-2015, 07:25 PM
This is precisely the kind of finale that will likely frustrate those who are expecting something comparable to the particular thrills of Breaking Bad's later seasons ("Face Off" or "Full Measure" it is not). That's not a complaint. Kudos to the writers for prioritizing the integrity of the story and committing to its distinct pace, rhythm, and concerns. It asks those who were onboard for Breaking Bad's season 5B roller coaster to slow down and acclimate to something comparatively more languid and nascent (this isn't an evaluative point; just noting the obvious differences between the two).

Some folks are struggling with this, though, and were clearly expecting a more shocking or intense cliffhanger. I've seen people complaining about Gould's strikingly gaudy montage, and arguing that this ought to have been cut. Ridiculous. Making allowances for that sort of thing is part of the unique flavour of this show.

Tuco seemed a bit shoehorned in near the beginning, and felt very much like an awkward way to ingratiate BB fans. It wasn't a preposterous development, and it gave us a new character (Nacho), but still, I'm glad the show ended up marching to the beat of its own drum.

Should we have seen more of Marco and Jimmy's relationship throughout the season, though? I'm still undecided about that.

04-07-2015, 08:19 PM
Oh. I didn't realise that was the final episode. Ending makes more sense now.

04-07-2015, 08:20 PM
By the way, Emily Nussbaum has finally weighed in. Unsurprisingly, it's a good piece (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/13/my-idea-of-fun). Liked these quoted bits (see below) in particular. In the second quote, her compelling argument recalls Irish's complaint from the first page (as he put it, "a distinct lack of focus"). I understand the criticism, but I still think there's enough connective thematic tissue and coherence here, even if Gilligan et al's "by the seat of our pants" writing tendencies (i.e. no rigorous, long-term planning) feels more noticeable.

As for her next point, in the same quote bubble, I agree. I really hope Betsy Kettleman returns next season. I already liked the character whole lot, but Nussbaum really crystallizes the appeal and makes me feel more assured in thinking of her as one of the season's major draws.

Taste has its own algorithms. Do you enjoy neon signs, closeups of coffee cups, and men smiling with angry eyes? (I do.) Do you think an extended gag about a toilet-training potty that says “Gosh, you’re big” is hilarious? (I did not.) Do you fantasize about being as confident in your macho wisdom as Mike? (Maybe?)

It’s a pungent, anarchic sequence, but after that episode the show seemed to lose focus, hopping from case to case, from style to style. 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. Ideas are invoked but not fully developed: Jimmy pulls off a phony-baloney P.R. stunt; he gets into elder law and plans to sue an old-age home. During more inconsistent episodes, I found myself craving the return of “Better Call Saul”’s standout character, the normcore grifter Betsy Kettleman, a suburban mom who stashes her cash in the bathroom of her McMansion. As played by Julie Ann Emery, with a fabulous air of unearned outrage, Betsy feels as dangerous as any thug: there’s weird comedy in her intractable insistence—even to the lawyer who saw her bag of cash—that she’s innocent. With her pursed lips and her bland bob, the character has echoes of “Breaking Bad”’s uptight Lydia, and of the whole nagging-wife dynamic that haunted Skyler White. But Emery’s oddball intensity makes Betsy feel like an original, less grounded in nostalgia than the show around her is, but well matched to its noir satisfactions.

04-07-2015, 09:41 PM
Never noticed the ring in Breaking Bad.


04-08-2015, 12:57 AM
Wow, that ring thing is an amazing detail. I didn't notice it either.

Was this a season finale? Fuck. I didn't watch it with that in mind.

04-14-2015, 10:32 PM

The bingo speech was exceptional, masterful delivery.

I like this SO MUCH more than the first season of Breaking Bad, but then again I don't think I'd be nearly as interested in it if it weren't for Breaking Bad.

I guess that's an impossible question for me to answer.

All I do know is that I love the show, and Odenkirk is fucking brilliant.

Morris Schæffer
08-02-2015, 03:13 PM
(Odenkirk was hyping an upcoming Mike-centric episode during a recent interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lfVasKQiJQ): "I know there's one episode with a great focus on the Mike character that is as dark as anything they've written [...] that, I've heard, is just a powerhouse").

Which I saw today and my God he wasn't kidding! Take a bow Mr. Banks, that was brilliantly acted. I'm surprised and delighted by how smoothly this show's gone down so far. I was skeptical what with this being a spin-off, but it manages to make time fly by and somehow keeping Breaking Bad pretty much out of it. It's extraordinary, and manages to be so despite plots we've seen a million times before. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like there's much happening at all, but then I've finally become an Odenkirk devotee. Man just kills every scene.

Edit: "Nacho is not-cho guy." :D

Morris Schæffer
08-04-2015, 05:18 AM
S'all good. Pretty great really. Powerful and when it ever so slightly detours into tension territory, as tense as any great thriller. By the way, I didn't notice at all, but my brother did. In the penultimate episode, in that parking garage: