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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 October 2018 at 11:53pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-features/better-call-saul -peter-gould-season-4-interview-732729/
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 12:15am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

...and isn’t it lovely symmetry for Jimmy to have his “I won.” moment at the end of BCS’ fourth season, just as Walt had his at the end of BREAKING BAD’s fourth season? In both cases, the lead character’s love interest is horrified to hear it, too.

Also, as with BB’s fourth season finale, the final scene could work quite well as a series finale moment, despite all of the loose threads still dangling. Thankfully, we’re gonna have at least one more season to wrap it all up nicely.


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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 12:28am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/better-call-saul-finale-sea son-4-bob-odenkirk-1202970629/
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 7:10am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Lots of credit to the creative staff for their meticulousness. At the end of the previous episode with Werner's escape, I suspected that Mike would end up doing what he did in the finale, but a part of me felt like it didn't ring true just over an escape. I felt like Mike could have convinced Gus to just let this all blow over if he had just recovered him. And it looks like the writers agreed - so they added Lalo to the mix. And as we know, once you add a Salamanca to a situation - calculating logic goes out the window for Gus. It didn't matter that Werner didn't give anything useful - once he learned that Werner communicated with a Salamanca, he saw nothing but red.

This also ends up gaining more respect for Mike from Gus - because even though he did make a mistake, he completely owned it.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 8:46am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Exactly. It ends up becoming less about plugging a potential leak in Gus’ operation, and more about Mike having to earn Gus’ trust back, after Mike gambles on Werner and loses.


Oh, and it was a small thrill to see Gale’s infamous Lab Notes book, again! The same book which contained both Gale’s plans for the Superlab, and the crucial example of his handwriting which led Hank to realize that Walt was Heisenberg.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 10:02am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The EW interview with Odenkirk brings out another important similarity between Jimmy and Walt.  Both of them go down the wrong path because the persona they adopt (be it Saul or Heisenberg) makes them feel, as Odenkirk says, 'powerful and effective' for the first time in their lives.  And that intoxicates them compared to the way they were beaten down and marginalized before.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 10:35am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

This comes back to something I’ve been saying: BCS shares a lot of thematic DNA with BB. It’s just that BCS’ bag of tricks is more subtle, and is more about the long game than episode-to-episode thrills and chills.

BB was more dependent upon immediate reactions to Walt’s choices, action/violence, and dramatic cliffhangers. BCS is more “mundane” in its storytelling, since it doesn’t focus exclusively on the criminal underworld, but the dramatics are just as complex, if not moreso. 

Walt’s situation was pretty clear from the start: a beaten-down, emasculated guy with a wounded ego gets a taste of power, and becomes an addict. In Jimmy’s case, it takes him a heck of a lot longer to willingly take a drink from the intoxicating brew of power and success, because he has a good heart. He tries and tries and tries to be a good person and do the right thing, even when it would be easier to revert to his conman schtick.

Walt became a meth cook when the first opportunity and the first convenient excuse presented themselves. He went out of his way to do it. It was a calculated choice he made because of his deep-seated desire for power and respect. 

Jimmy, on the other hand, only becomes Saul Goodman because he’s backed into a corner and has exhausted all of the “straight” alternatives to first building a legitimate law practice, and later getting his law license back. He tried and tried and tried to do things the “right” way, and got nothing for it. Like Kristie The Shoplifter, he’ll forever be “Jimmy the Conman”, or more accurately, Slippin’ Jimmy. Combine that with Chuck’s low opinion of him being burned into his soul, and you get a recipe for a guy who just stops caring about what other people think, or working hard to get what he wants.

That last scene is simultaneously fun and chilling. Odenkirk really brings out the Saul Goodman swagger and mannerisms, right down to calling the clerk “sweetheart” and finger-gunning Kim when he proudly says his new professional name. 
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 11:02am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

"'powerful and effective' for the first time in their lives"

Jimmy's resolve that becoming Saul is the only way to win. 

It's not every day that you get to see the exact moment that a man dies inside:


And this episode gave us that X 2!!!
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 1:30pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Just watched the finale, brilliant!
I felt so sorry for Werner, then i saw his Crocs...
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Michael Arndt
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 2:57pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Great season all the way around. Congrats and thanks to the cast and crew for the wonderful entertainment.

* The last shot of Odenkirk got my heart racing. Then the final shot of the season with Kim was heart breaking. Will be interesting to see what Season 5 holds.
* Always nice to see Chuck again. Hope he appears in Season 5 as well. Great opener to this episode.
* Lalo pursuing Mike was some fun. Looks like another thorn for Gus and Mike.
* Did miss Nacho this episode. Really enjoying the players who were not in BB: Nacho, Kim, Lalo, and Howard.

Once again kudos to a wonderful season.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 3:21pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

It's not every day that you get to see the exact moment that a man dies inside:
+++++++++++

Yep. You can also see the exact moment when Kim's heart drops through the floor. She's been quietly hoping all season that Jimmy would come to terms with his grief and guilt over Chuck's death. His speech in the courtroom fooled everyone, including her, and to see him gloating over it afterward is the moment where she realizes that something inside this guy is permanently broken.

That last shot of her just standing there is surely one of the most crushing images in the entire BB/BCS canon.



I must say that, even though I saw Werner's death coming, and saw through Jimmy's speech (although some viewers report being taken in by it as much as Kim was), it all felt earned. It's not as if I could predict what was gonna happen, and so that means that the show is becoming stale and predicable. Rather, it means that the storytelling crystal clear, and provides a chilling sense of inevitability.

Indeed, one of BCS' greatest weapons is how it uses our knowledge of BB against us, both to build tension, and for ironic juxtaposition.


I continue to be fascinated by people who love BCS, but have never watched a frame of BB, and don't want to know any BB spoilers. It must be quite an experience, not knowing at all where the characters are going. We all knew that Jimmy's final break from his good intentions was gonna happen, but I'm not sure whether it's more crushing or less crushing to know about Saul Goodman and BB ahead of time.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 7:12pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I hadn't planned on hitting this thread until after I finished the finale, but HOLY SHIT! What an opening!!
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Thomas Woods
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 8:33pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

He's gone full narcissist. All that matters is what he
wants and it doesn't matter who he manipulates, fools,
or hurts. I've known a few people like that and you
don't want to be around them.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 09 October 2018 at 8:34pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

And there it is...


Poor Kim. As mentioned, she thought that Jimmy had finally come around and was actually being sincere, but in the end, she's just another victim of one of his cons. Rhea Seehorn needs an Emmy just for that last scene. 

And Mike. You just totally knew he was going to do it and at the same time felt so totally awful for him. Banks needs an Emmy, too. 

I still maintain this is the best show on TV right now. 

Gonna be a loooooooooong wait for season five. 
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 10 October 2018 at 12:19am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

My notes:

*The opening scene takes place before the S1 premiere yet interestingly Chuck is in a loud environment with electric lights and a wireless microphone shoved in his face.   It's only a matter of weeks or maybe a month and change tops before he slides into his electroagorophobia which puts an interesting spin on Jimmy's sense of loyalty to Chuck that we saw in the first season.  The writers seem to be pointing to the one-two punch of the divorce and Jimmy making the bar as the triggers for Chucks mental health issues.   

*I've stated before that OCD issues like Chuck's don't materialise out of thin air -- the signs were always there but Chuck managed to hide it well by being the best, detail-oriented, stickler-for-the-truth lawyer with a photographic memory ever.  When your 'personality quirks' deliver results (*a lot* of won cases) then it's easy for his HHM colleages to only see the results and ignore the means.   What the first four seasons of BCS have shown us is that Jimmy has OCD as well -- but everyone sees his means and disapproves of the results, no matter how positive they are.   His 'winning' attitude pretty much hits home how fixated on the results he is at the exclusion to everything else.   He doesn't become Saul to solve any of his problems (which is the big question the showrunners posed to us, and it's actually a red herring!), he becomes Saul as a reactionary EFF YOU to the rest of the legal world who have pigeon-holed him as Charles McGill's Little Brother.   His speech to Kristie the shoplifter was almost like an internal monologue.   After weeks of debasing himself, pretending to cry over Chuck's grave and throwing big cash at parties and anonymous donations he basically snapped inside.   He's definitely a broken man.

*Jimmy's crazy scheme to rescue a judge from a fire really emphasizes his disconnect from reality seeing as *that's how Chuck died*.  Jimmy doesn't elaborate how this 'theoretical' fire would start but it's rather chilling to think that it wouldn't be an accident.

*I actually thought for a second we might get a twist where Mike has a change of heart and lets Werner go, only to later regret it and track him down.   I get that it was a loyalty test for Mike... I just wish it wen't down a little less straightforwardly.

*Lalo's an interesting character from a narrative standpoint.   He basically walks into this whole elaborate tensely balanced situation between Fring and the Salamancas and sees the forest where none of the other characters (on both sides) can get past the trees.  It's almost like he's a self-aware character who has no internal censor -- almost!.   None of the other characters would ever think of getting in Gus' face like Lalo did and even Nacho is uncomfortable with him and his antics.  
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 October 2018 at 12:51pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Well, this explains Gus’ relatively small role in the past few episodes. I didn’t even catch the use of doubles, which goes to show how slick a job they did,



I’ve also noted that some people have been critical of the fact that there hasn’t been more exploration of Gus in this show. It’s fine with me, frankly. Gilligan and Gould feel that the mystery is a part of what makes the character work, and they don’t want to get a case of prequel-itis and ruin that. 

Also, BCS is basically two distinctive stories running in parallel (and slowly merging together): Jimmy’s and Mike’s. It’s not about who Gus is and where he comes from. It’s about how Gus helps shape Mike’s destiny, and his dynamics with the Salamanca and the cartel. Gus’ role in BCS is more about plot than characterization, just as it was in BB.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 10 October 2018 at 2:08pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

So, Breaking Bad had 62 episodes.  Saul is at 40 right now.  I think two more seasons seems about right to conclude the story.  Maybe with a couple of episodes of epilogue set in the present to match BB.

Also, side question for Greg, did you ever watch Metastasis?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 October 2018 at 3:35pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I’ve checked out bits and pieces of METASTASIS, mainly for the kitsch value. I dunno offhand if the entire series is freely available online. It would be a trip to actually go through and compare it to BREAKING BAD, episode-by-episode. But even I’m not that hardcore!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 October 2018 at 3:37pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

For those who don’t know what we’re talking about:

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Steve De Young
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Posted: 10 October 2018 at 10:22pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

The only place I know of where its available in toto is Hulu.  I binged the whole thing when it was first released there.  It was interesting, though my Spanish is nowhere near good enough for me to get it not mediated through subtitles, which means I don't know that the performances had their full impact on me.  There is definitely a telenovela quality to it, everything is a little more dramatized, and the characters are a lot more broad.  Saul Bueno, for example, leans much farther on the parody of ambulance chasers than on the sinister conman angle.  Gustavo is a lot more arch and moustache twirling than Gus.  Etc. etc.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 October 2018 at 10:58pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I have a great fondness for foreign movies and TV shows. I always enjoy the effect of being thrown into a different culture and getting a sense of how people in other countries and time periods live. I’d actually be more interested in METASTASIS if it did its own thing, and wasn’t just a 1:1 port of BREAKING BAD, with certain America-specific details changed for Colombian audiences.

Maybe Saul Bueno will get his own spinoff?



Meanwhile, AMC’s YouTube channel has finally uploaded the rest of the Madrigal security training videos. Lots of fun BB/BCS cameos/references/Easter Eggs. And buckets of sarcasm and crankiness from Mike.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 October 2018 at 11:02pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Cuentele a Saul!

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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 4:45am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

What a fantastic finale. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 8:54am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I think we can all agree that this is the best season of the show (so far), right? A very satisfying payoff to three seasons of very slow and careful setup.
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Michael Arndt
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Absolutely agree. It was the best season of the show so far. Incredible build up to that last scene. This will be a tough season to follow.
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