Better Call Saul 1.10 "Marco" 4/6/15

1.01 Uno and 1.02 Mijo
1.03 Nacho
1.04 Hero
1.05 Alpine Shepherd Boy
1.06 Five-o
1.07 Bingo
1.08 Rico
1.09 Pimento

Alas we’ve already hit the end of this season, it’s gone by so fast. IMDB lists 13 episodes in the 2nd season - the typical Breaking Bad order, but I don’t know if that’s official. Hopefully it is.

They really smacked us in the face with the cough of death. I mean, the first time he coughed I knew he was going to die, but he was doing it the whole time. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actor look that realistically dead.

“I did not know that his two children were in the car.” Right up there with, “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

So we learned what a Chicago sun roof is and about the mystery of his ex-wife all in one scene.

And we saw the turning point. He could have had a lucrative career but he would have been bored.

So, you are saying that we saw the moment where he, to borrow a phrase, “Broke Bad”? Mike, Jimmy, Walt… They all made the same choice as the Pill Guy.

I’ve loved the season, but not this episode. Found it slow, dull, and not terribly satisfying as to his apparent transformation.

Although I do like this callback:

And I missed this, which is pretty slick. Jimmy looking east, tying into the whole coin thing

Didn’t sit right with me.

Last week we saw Jimmy blindsided by the truth about his brother. That should have been motivation enough for him to make his move out of the orbit of Chuck and all he represents. Instead, he quite unconvincingly mends fences, accepts Hamlin’s offer, goes back to his gig calling out bingo games, where he has a long, drawn-out meltdown for no particular reason (and in front of a large room of people none of whom can seem to do anything but gape at him in stony silence).

Then he bugs out to his old stomping ground, rounds up his old confidence pal and they hit the trail to pull the sort of penny-ante grifts that we thought he said he wanted to leave behind back in episode 4. After a lot of this stuff, none of it interesting, the pal dies an ironic television death, Jimmy heads back west because he really cares about his clients (who apparently still like and trust him after his Chicago sunroof monologue), where somehow his dream slot (with possible future shot at a partnership) in a bigger, better law firm than HHM is his for the taking. And he decides the hell with it, because… ?

Yeah, I’m a little underwhelmed this time out.

Well, that was unexpected. He didn’t become Saul because his back was up against the wall or he ran out of options or even to fight a spiteful war with HHM or his brother. He decided that the legitimate lawyer job - the partner track job at a prestigious firm - isn’t actually what he ever wanted, it’s what he thought would earn Chuck’s respect. He wanted to be Slippin Jimmy, and now he wants to be a monkey with a machine gun.

Still, the way it went down didn’t get a good emotional reaction from me. I didn’t really buy why he wanted to be slippin Jimmy. His friend’s death seems oddly melodramatic and out of place, although I guess it explains why he stayed in Albuquerque to become Saul rather than heading back to Chicago, since his ties there were cut.

Still, I didn’t like it. I would’ve liked the Saul transition moment to have more of a viscerally satisfying, intuitive changeover. This didn’t quite hit the right note.

The ending felt tacked on. He has gotten a golden opportunity and he just walks away because…ummm because?

I think it would have worked better to just end the season as he entered the Court Complex.

I kind of agree with you, but not to the same extent. I’ve loved the season, but only mildly liked this episode. Which makes it a disappointment as a season finale, especially because the transformation does as you say seem rushed and not totally sold.

I’m with the rest of you, this episode didn’t have the same resonance as the rest, and while good, it felt out of place. Though I did enjoy it by itself, it just didn’t feel like where I felt they were going to lead us by the season closer.

For me though, the reason he bailed on the “sure-thing” job was because of everything we saw him go through this season, with his brother’s betrayal making him realize he was concentrating on the legitimate path, the good path, because he was trying to earn his brother’s respect.

Now that he doesn’t, he’s free to go full on Slippin’ Jimmy. When he stopped walking toward the opportunity, it occured to him he had 1.6 million dollars that he could’ve just kept. He’s made his choice, so now I imagine we’ll see the incarnation of attorney at law Saul Goodman.

Because there’s more “Kettlemans” out there.

Yeah, the plot wheels were a little too obvious in this episode (IMO). As an aside, it seemed to have been written to provide a convenient end point if the series hadn’t been picked up for renewal, although I thought AMC had already committed to a second season before production on the first had been finished.

With the above said, what I took away was that Jimmy finally came to the realization that, just as others, particularly Chuck and Kim, were saying, he really could be his own man. From that standpoint, the offer from the other law firm was enough of a triumph in itself; he had proved himself and whether or not he actually took the offer was irrelevant.

I’m not saying his apparent decision to become a criminal lawyer was a good one, but it made a reasonable degree of sense in the context of the events of the previous episodes.

Pretty much my reaction too.

Nice to get the lowdown on the “Chicago sunroof” and some data on one ex-wife. And his “I was Kevin Costner last night” was amusing.

But a bit of a letdown after Episode 9’s thrills.

Unlike most of you, I liked it a lot.

We shouldn’t expect that every big decision point is some dramatic “Breaking Bad” moment. In fact, this episode seems to epitomize Saul since Jimmy not only realized that he had been trying to live up to Chuck’s expectations, but also since he ad-libbed in a situation when the audience thought there was no choice. Instead of taking this great offer, an offer the whole audience thought would be accepted because of the circumstances, something that he previously would have done for his brother, he decided to make himself happy.

I actually thought they were setting it up for HHM or Kim to screw him over to demonstrate a rift and his need to become Saul, but this actually was better. There is no need for an over-the-top dramatic action to force him into a corner. This feels more realistic to me. He decided he wanted to get away from those making his life difficult (his brother and to some degree HHM) and be his own man.

Yeah, it was set up that obviously something was going to happen to him.

It seems like a lot of shows now have the big fireworks in the penultimate episode of the season, and a quieter season finale. This fit that mold.

He is free from his brother’s expectations now. It’s an interesting choice by the show, he’s not forced into being Slippin Jimmy, he chose it over a good job. He was playing with Marco’s ring as he was walking up to the courthouse, I wonder if it was him thinking he’d never fit in, or if it was him thinking how much fun scamming people is and how lucrative it can be. He did seem happy as he was driving away.

Yeah, I like that it wasn’t a need to become Saul, it was a choice. It did feel realistic that it was from thinking about it and turning around.

I wonder what will happen with Jimmy and Chuck next season. Jimmy still cares enough to check up with the guy checking on Chuck. And Chuck seemed to want to talk to Jimmy but couldn’t quite leave the house. I wonder if next season Chuck will progress enough that he’ll be able to go outside and go have a talk with Jimmy.

And importantly I think, Kim had set up the job that he has spurned and Kim was the reason that he handed in the Kettleman’s money. He did it to cement her deal and rescue her from “the east wing.”

I can’t speak for anyone else who was disappointed, but for me it was definitely not an issue of the episode being too quiet. I have no problem with quiet episodes (heck, earlier this season I was saying I would be happy to have more and longer scenes of Jimmy and Kim sitting in the nail salon late at night just shooting the shit). Nor do I have any beef with the pattern of putting the fireworks in the penultimate episode of a season. It was just the specific nature of the story elements that made up this quietness that I found somewhat disappointing.

Jimmy still has an interest in the case against Sandpiper, but with that case being big enough that it requires HHM to partner with a bigger law firm, it is going to takes years to resolve. So long, in fact, that when Jimmy is due his share of the settlement, he’s running a Cinnabon. Perhaps next season we’ll start to see more of what happens post BB. Maybe the lure of the big payoff from that case and how to get it will form that storyline.