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BETTER CALL SAUL


Jay
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Yea, exactly, he's been nailing the montage scenes. The courtroom montage in episodes 1 and 2, the payphone montage in episode 3, etc.

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After the desert / Tuco sequence, we return from commercial to see Jimmy with a girl at the bar with cleavage popping out, painted nails, and throwing all kinds of hints she's into Jimmy. But Jimmy gets distracted by a man breaking bread sticks behind her (reminding him of the broken legs in the desert) so he goes into the bathroom and throws up. The next time we see him, he barges into Chuck's house and crashes on his couch.

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It was well shot, edited, and scored.

The cinematography and editing is really good on this show, as is the sound design.

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Better Call Saul 1x04 Hero

 

Loved the opening prologue showing an old rolex scam of Saul's. And that he had thought of the name Saul Goodman long before he advertised it. They did a good job of making him young too, and it was nice to see Marshall from Alias pop up somewhere again!

 

The first act with the Kettlemans was nice, and you knew Jimmy would take the money. I love that he used it to basically look just like Hamlin and put up that billboard! The publicity stunt tied to it was a nice sequence too. And at the end, Jimmy finally gets some real calls! Will things go on the straight and narrow for the time being?

 

I also enjoyed Jimmy and Mike's interaction, a nice slow start to them working together more regularly. And Kim and Jimmy had a nice scene together too. It was cute that she called him wanting to go see The Thing, and a bit odd that when they got together in the salon neither of them brought it up. I like their interaction though, all the scenes they have had together so far have been very enjoyable.

 

Another nice Jimmy and Chuck scene closes the episode. You knew Chuck didn't believe Jimmy about the newspaper, and the sequence where he goes outside to get it was really well done. It's clear now he is suffering from this psychological condition, and not faking it for whatever reason. Jimmy really should have just taken out the one section of the paper he was written about in instead of trying to hide the whole paper.

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I don't completely understand why it was so upsetting to him that Jimmy made the news, and why Jimmy tried to hide it from him. Are we not supposed to know yet or did I miss something? Is it just because Chuck will see that the billboard looks like a Hamlin one?

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Chuck will know that the rescue was a set-up I think. And for some reason Jimmy wants Chuck to believe that he's gaining clients through honest hard work.

Chuck appears to be the opposite of Jimmy. A totally honest lawyer with a deep and unwielding sense of morality.

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He's going to wonder where Jimmy got the startup money to invest in a billboard and fancy suit, when he was scraping to make ends meet before. What changed so quickly?

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Alpine Shepherd Boy

Starts out with Chuck getting arrested because he stole a 50 cent newspaper. Might sound preposterous. But Chuck's anxiety makes it all very real. Great keyhole shot too.

We get a few more details about Chucks condition. How he thinks he is allergic to electricity. And how Jimmy, despite obviously caring deeply for him, doest want to see him committed.

It's very clear that of the two brothers Chuck is the dominant personality, always keeping Jimmy's scheming impulses (Slippin' Jimmy) in check. McKean asserts a forcefulness in his scene with Jimmy even when wrapped in tinfoil. He's not an easy man to please or to win over.

These scenes are mixed with stuff of Jimmy visiting new potential clients. Some funny stuff here. From comedy money to the hilarious sex toilet. Kim also comes into play here more. Like Chuck, she acts as a good influence on Jimmy. So I expect he will have to loose both before finally crossing over and becoming Darth V...eeehhh Saul

Like the idea of Jimmy trying to become a lawyer for the elderly and watching Matlock for tips on how to look.

Lot's a sly comedy in this episode, but the the tone shifts radically when it moves from Jimmy to Mike. We see him sitting at night in his little box. Sitting in a diner drinking coffee in silence. Observing a house with a woman looking at him with a mixture of fear and detachment. (His daughter).

What Better Call Saul is doing very well at the moment is something that most prequels fail to do. Keeping me interested in characters who I already know how they will end up. I think it's fairly certain that at some point Chuck will loose his hold over Jimmy, and that Kim will stop seeing him. But I wanna know how it all plays out. Same for Mike's story, which really seems to be beginning now.

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The direction is great, as is the writing of each individual scene. Acting is really good, too.

But I don't get this show as a whole.

Still waiting for something to actually happen.

Karol

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I'm just gonna leave this here so I remember to read it after I see the episode:

86 seconds to the sofa: In praise of Better Call Saul’s slowness

Slowness is goodness.

Agreed. Unless things become Bela Tarr-like slow, in which case it's challenging for most senses. But still fascinating.

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I don't know about that.

It's very well written, acted, and directed. Great to watch on screen. But it just seems a bit hollow. Waiting for things to pick up with a more definite course and purpose to help shape the show.

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Unlike BB which had a pilot that clearly introduced the basic premise of the show and clearly drew its main characters and their relations toward each other BCS basically starts with James McGill and slowly expands to reveal more about the other characters.

I rather like that.

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He's just not that interesting main character, that's the problem. It seems like one of those "how x became z" type of stories where we already know the outcome. Kind of like Anakin Skywalker. And same with that character, he's sort of mostly already there - he already was Slippin Jimmy. Not sure what the story is supposed to be, to be honest...

Or is it a story about building his empire?

Meh. It sort of stinks of prequel syndrome. Well written in moment-to-moment basis but with not drive at all.

At least so far.

Karol

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For me, apart from Jimmy, two elements make the show as great as it is: Mike's return (which feels perfectly natural) and his brother Chuck. Every time he's on screen, I'm in trance. McKean is absolutely phenomenal in this role, I can't get over how good he is. I truly hope he gets recognized.

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McKean is great, though I really like all the supporting cast. Will watch episode 5 this weekend.

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Better Call Saul 1x05 Alpine Shepherd Boy

 

Another solid episode, another fine performance by McKean. Will he earn this show it's only Emmy nomination next year?

 

I love that even after things were looking up for Jimmy after his billboard incident, he still has struggles getting worthwhile clients. The crazy secessionist and sex toilet guy were hilarious sequences! And Jimmy's eventual settling into elder law, with a nudge from Kim, was nice as well (I love his face on the bottom of the pudding cups).

 

The Chuck part of the episode was good too, as we finally have the characters discuss his ailment - not to mention a cameo from Clea Duvall! I've always liked her and wondered why she didn't get more work. The opening Chuck scene with the cops was a very well done sequence, as was the hospital sequence and ending return to home. I liked the effect they used for Chuck reacting to electricity (the taser and the light above his hospital bed).

 

The final part of the episode randomly changes to be all about Mike. Despite coming out of nowhere, the entire sequence was very effective. We know from Breaking Bad that the woman who drives by him must be his daughter, and that in the future timeline he'll eventually turn to crime to support his grandchildren, but without that knowledge this must all seem as a little strange to a newbie viewer. Though I guess it sets up somewhat of a mystery for the next episode.

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At this point in the show... halfway through the first season (there will be 10 episodes and 5 have aired)... I think it's better than Breaking Bad was at it's same point.

 

Let me back up.

 

I think Breaking Bad is one of the - if not THE - greatest tv show ever made. But it took it's time to go from good to great. It was compelling at first, but each season got better than the last, until the final season was just amazing television from start to end. I've never seen a show end stronger.

 

But in Breaking Bad's first season, I wasn't fully on board right away. 5 episodes into season 1 I liked it but didn't love it. I found the pair of episodes around the guy in Jesse's basement a low point for the series. Until Water blows up Tuco's place and walks out with the Heisenberg hat, it wasn't really clear where the show was going.

 

But with Better Call Saul, it hit the ground running and has been consistently good since it started. Every week is compelling, there's a constant interesting story.

 

Now look - I'm not saying Better Call Saul will end up being better than or even as good as Breaking Bad. It's frankly just not possible. The show has the same talent behind the camera but not in front. Bryan Cranston was a huge reason Breaking Bad became so great. And many other great actors too. Odenkirk and the character of Saul just isn't on the same level. Don't get me wrong, Odenkirk is GREAT, I have no complaints about any aspect of his performance whatsoever. It's just apples and oranges to Walter White and Breaking Bad.

 

I guess I'm saying is what this show does is show how much of a talent Vince Gilligan is. With 6 seasons of Breaking Bad under his belt, he knows how to develop a show. Everytime I think I know where a story is going in BCS, I am completely wrong and something completely different happens. This is what made the final season of BB so good. Vince Gilligan is just on fire right now.

 

I already can't wait to see what he develops next!

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Jason, you are gonna like Episode 6!

Essentially, it's an entire episode devoted to Mike.

Breaking Bad had hints about something happening in Philly that make Mike quit the force and come to ABQ. This episode shows what that was.

One might suspect that such a revelation would rob the character is some mystery. But the way this episode depicts it actually helps adding even more depth and texture to Mike. Helped enormously by Jonathan Banks acting.

He dominates every scene even when he's doing nothing. Lending such gravitas to the role that I'm really glad that they included him in this series.

Once again the episode looks great. from the cold, bluish daylight scenes (contrasting the more sunny look of BB) to the deep nighttime blacks.

We see Mike arriving in ABQ, hiding a gunshot wound from the woman we assume is his daughter.

It actually turns out to be his daughter-in law. Widow of Mike's now dead son. They have an uncomfortable conversation that actually does feel like two people who know each other well and are talking to each other. Better Call Saul doesn't have a lot of expansionary dialogue in scenes like that for the benefit of the viewer. Instead it gives the necessary info later, for Jimmy's benefit. For the first time Odenkirk returns to his status as a supporting actor. Setting up the relationship between him and Mike.

The scene where Mike ambushes and kills the people who killed his son is well done, showing his usual cleverness. This is followed by a rare confession to his daughter in law which is heartbreaking in it's sadness.

Outstanding.

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At this point in the show... halfway through the first season (there will be 10 episodes and 5 have aired)... I think it's better than Breaking Bad was at it's same point.

I disagree. Breaking Bad still had a lot more focus in its first season, and the slow ponderous nature of it plays to its benefit, especially the outrageous comical bit. I love the first season.

Having said that, this last episode of Better Call Saul was really great. Jonathan Banks' finest hour, really shows his acting chops.

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I hope this will give Jonathan his much deserving Emmy -or even better, a Golden Globe although I don't expect more than a nom. Still, great episode.

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I think episode 6 was the best one yet. And it hardly features Saul/James. Go figure.

Would rather watch Mike Will Fix It show

Karol

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