Summary: In a flashback Jimmy leaves his friend Marco in Cicero to go to Albuquerque. In the present, Jimmy takes a leave from his job and goes back to Cicero to do some cons with Marco once more. He eventually decides to head back after a final con with Marco, but Marco has a heart attack and dies. Kim calls him and tells him he has an opportunity to work at Davis and Main and Jimmy initially accepts. But once he's in the parking lot he remembers Marco and has second thoughts, choosing t pursue his own path instead.
The Good: This was a very quiet, but still very strong finale that delivered spectacularly.
The most impressive thing about this episode for me was how it made everything we have seen so far really come full circle and it gave some satisfying follow-up to the season. I like how it gave more purpose and insight into things we didn't know yet. The Kettleman storyline paying off with Jimmy's final conversation with Mike about the bag of money is a good example of one of the many satisfying storytelling beats that occurred. While this finale wasn't action packed, it was a perfect closing episode when you look at the story being told this season. I'll be more specific about this later in the review.
I feel like a lot of people will be upset with the sudden ending, but I'm happy wit it. As I said before, it gave a satisfying story moment to close out on rather than a big exciting scene. I respect the decision and I think it was smart and more satisfying in the end. Jimmy finally starting to transition into Saul is a major moment for the show and it does seem like a good moment to end off the season as it seems we will get some very different storytelling with Jimmy now choosing to sacrifice his morals. I thought the final scene was very strong and effectively used symbolism to show us Jimmy's mindset. I also liked the continuation of Jimmy's habit of rehearsing the liens he's going to say. While we didn't understand it before, it's clear to me now that he does this to turn his natural con-man speech into something more genuine. The final conversation with Mike was great too and I hope they can interact more next season.
The standout scene was definitely the bingo scene. It gave us a lot of insight into Jimmy and helped us understand his current state of mind in brilliant fashion. The length of the scene and the use of repetitive b's was spectacular and it made a scene that felt like nothing turn into something must-see. It felt organic to see Jimmy letting everything out to these old people playing bingo and it was brilliant to get his backstory and to find out what the Chicago Sunroof was. It was set up well back in "Nacho" and the payoff was brilliant. It was a hilarious reveal to find out what it was, but also a great character moment to reveal Jimmy's morals and the way he did things back when he was Slippin' Jimmy. There was also a nice callback to Breaking Bad with the mention of Belize.
The Marco story was also very strong. The flashbacks throughout the season paid off here as this wouldn't have had an impact if we hadn't known about Marco beforehand. There was a good story being told between them and Marco was extremely likeable and played very well, making his death surprisingly sad. I did like that it occurred during the one con we were introduced to earlier. It made it easier for us to realize that something was wrong because we knew how the con was supposed to go. There was also some good foreshadowing of his heart attack too with the coughing. I like that Marco was used to represent Jimmy's past as well. It gives Jimmy a proper motivation to hold onto the life he left behind in his new life. So it should be fair to say that we will see a lot of Slippin' Jimmy in Saul Goodman going forward.
The cons were very fun to watch. I'm a real sucker for things like that and I really enjoyed the one scene where the tuxedo guy was conned into buying a coin for $110. The plan was well acted and it came off that Marco and Jimmy were real pros. The montage was also very well constructed and an absolute pleasure to watch. I also liked that they include a Breaking Bad reference when Jimmy conned the girl into thinking he is Kevin Costner.
The one Chuck scene was solid too. We got more characterization when seeing Chuck demand perfection from Ernesto in the kindest way ever. Had this scene happened before last episode we would like Chuck, for it but now that we have seen his true colours it has made him extremely irritating. The writers did a good job of making a character who is decent but easy to hate because of his actions.
The Bad: I didn't like Marco talking about Chuck. It felt unrealistic for him to say that about Chuck and it just felt like an attempt to make the writers seem smart which is annoying because they have already done more than enough to prove they are smart. Like how does Marco know that Chuck doesn't like him? It's been several years people change too. It just felt like a no to Chuck's true motives for no reason.
The Unknown: What will be the repercussion of Jimmy refusing the deal with Davis and Main? How does he plan to succeed now? How soon until he officially adopts the name of Saul Goodman? Also why does he adopt the name? That's a question I feel I should have asked earlier.
I don't have any more questions to ask. That really shows how well this episode rounded out the season.
Best Moment: The bingo scene was one of the greatest moments in this season.
Character of the Episode: This was the all Jimmy show so I have to give it to him. Honourable mention to Marco though, who was also great.
Conclusion: This was a very strong episode to clos out the season. It brought everything together and provided a very enjoyable character piece as well.
The season overall was a resounding success. The writing, acting and cinematography in particular were all highlights of the season and made it very enjoyable despite the slow pacing and lack of explosive moments. This show is a perfect example of how it is good writing and storytelling that makes a show work, not action and excitement. It's hard to say there were any flaws here. The early episodes weren't scored horribly high and I had some complaints, but they were rectified later on and the slow pace was worth it because it established the story being told and made the later episodes work really well. I've also been avoiding comparing this show to Breaking Bad too much and I must say it was easy to do that. This show established itself as different right away and I'm glad to say this succeeded at paying homage to the original series while also being it's own thing that isn't overshadowed. This show found a way to be special and I think it could very well be just a good as Breaking Bad if the later seasons deliver.
Summary: Jimmy keeps fighting for the Sandpiper case, but the work proves too much for him and Chuck so they go HHM. Howard declines Jimmy a job though and only wants the case so Jimmy refuses to hand it over in anger. Kim goes to Jimmy to try to convince him to give Howard the case. Jimmy discovers that it was Chuck who doesn't want to work with him. Jimmy confronts Chuck who lets out his anger and tells Jimmy he was never proud of Jimmy for becoming a lawyer and felt cheated. Jimmy leaves, disappointed. Mike gets his new job as a bodyguard of an amateur criminal who makes a drug deal with Nacho.
The Good: This was very enjoyable for the most part, but became excellent in the final 10 minutes. This show never quite got me completely hooked into the story because I didn't feel much emotional connection. But this episode finally changed that. The ending of this episode was absolutely devastating and I can say for sure that I'm invested in the story being told. More on that in the next review when I reflect ont he season as a whole. For now, let me get into the actual episode.
I'll save the ending for later and I'll start with the Mike storyline. And it was very entertaining in this episode. Mike hasn't done a whole lot in this season, and in this episode he is in a storyline completely on his own, away from Jimmy. And it works brilliantly. His little squabble with Trevor from GTA (Hell yeah Steven Ogg!) was hilarious and featured the brilliant Mike we all know and love. He takes no crap, does his usual calm and collected ass-kicking and even references Breaking Bad with his love for pimento sandwiches (from the episode "Cornered" in season 4). This was the coolest and funniest moment from the episode in my opinion, but I wouldn't say it was the best moment.
Keeping on Mike though, we had a nice reintroduction to Nacho here. It's interesting to see Mike and Nacho cross paths, so I'm left to assume that they will get into a storyline together. I enjoyed seeing Nacho again, Michael Mando plays him well and he delivered with his intimidation again. I have a little more to talk about Nacho in "The Unknown". It was funny seeing Pryce attempting to be a criminal and being horribly unthreatening and hilarious.
Now onto the Jimmy storyline. I liked that we got some continuity on the Sandpiper case despite it very clearly not being the focus here as there were a couple other key emotional moments that I'm glad were focused on instead. I enjoyed seeing Jimmy in the courtroom against Schweikart and his excitement at working with Chuck was brilliantly conveyed and also made the shock ending all the more tragic.
The first emotional moment that was focused on that I enjoyed was Chuck returning to HHM. This would be an easy moment to gloss over but I'm very happy that the writers decided to show this. It was a moment to make the characters happy before what comes next and there was a lot of good symbolism and storytelling shown there. We get to see Jimmy caring for Chuck to contrast with Chuck's extreme selfishness that he demonstrates at the end. We also see that Kim is at Jimmy's side which is very important. It was nice to get more of an idea of what is going on with Kim who has been mostly in the background thus far. She had a logical and well-written story in this episode with confronting her boss and showing her loyalty to Jimmy.
The continuation of the Jimmy vs Howard conflict was very good. We got a huge scene here that was very powerful. Bob Odenkirk did a spectacular job with this episode and this was one of his standout scenes. He portrays Jimmy's disappointment and rage outstandingly and the scene had true venom to it and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen the entire time. The rare usage of swear words really pays off here too. If somebody drops an f-bomb it will make an impact, and Jimmy calling Howard a "pig f***er" felt like a huge moment and was a great way for Jimmy o let out his frustrations. His later scene where he vented to Kim was good too, though that was played for more of a comedic effect.
I thought that would be the best moment of the episode when I watched it for sure. But it would be topped just 10 minutes later with a spectacular ending scene between Jimmy and Chuck. Take everything I praised the last scene for and amplify it by 100 for this one; it was just that damn good. The acting was superb, the emotions could be felt in every line each character said and I couldn't take my eyes away for even a second. The scene was incredibly heart-wrenching and executed a brilliant plot twist which will surely be a major stop on Jimmy's road to becoming Saul. It helps that I never saw the twist coming until Jimmy started accusing Chuck himself. The episode did a good job of making me forget Chuck's mystery phone call by adding so many other good scenes. I was still reeling from the Jimmy/Howard scene and wasn't able to piece things together quick enough and so that final scene really hit at home. This whole season has developed all of these characters very slowly, but that all paid off here brilliantly as everyone had a role to play that satisfied the 8 episode build-up to this episode.
The Bad: Not much to put here. I thought the big Mexican guy running away from Mike was a little bit much for that scene, though it was funny. Kim hasn't received much of a role in the story so far. She needs some more fleshing out.
The Unknown: How will Chuck's betrayal effect Jimmy? What will he do now? Will we see Saul emerging by next episode?
What will happen with the Sandpiper case? Will Jimmy cave and give it to HHM? Or will he stubbornly keep I to spite Chuck?
We are told that Nacho's real name is Ignacio. This raises a lot of questions because the name "Ignacio" is mentioned in breaking Bad by Saul when Jesse and Walt kidnap him. So clearly Nacho will play a major role in something that happens in the future involving Jimmy. I wonder what that will be?
Best Moment: That ending twist was an incredible moment.
Character of the Episode: It's a tough decision. I think Jimmy edges out Chuck for this one. Bob Odenkirk was more impressive by a slight bit for me.
Conclusion: A fantastic episode that delivered a lot of emotional pay-off which was wonderfully built up to throughout the season. This makes everything else better by default and has completely hooked me into the show. Bring on the season finale and season 2!
Summary: A flashback shows Jimmy passing the bar, but Howard doesn't hire him at HHM. Jimmy visits a client at Sandpiper Crossing Retirement Home and notices that they are overcharging their residents and begins to investigate. Nobody takes him seriously at first, but Chuck ultimately comes on board and helps Jimmy turn it into a RICO case. Chuck's illness mysteriously vanishes when he gets caught up on working on the case. Mike goes to see the vet to find some work again.
The Good: This was a very good episode, almost great but not quite.
This episode had more excitement and energy than any other in this season so far. Seeing Jimmy working to solve the Sandpiper case was tense and exciting and it was genuinely enjoyable to see what he would do next to try and get to the bottom of things. Every step along the way was logical and it was satisfying to see the stakes slowly increase through the episode. This is how to perfectly convey a law drama, and I was gripped from start to finish.
The flashback was extremely good too and spoke a lot about this episode. Jimmy is capable of a lot of things, but he is stopped at every corner. The flashback set this up by showing us exactly why Jimmy despises Howard so much. He worked so hard and passed the bar and yet Howard denied him a job. And the worst thing is that Howard wasn't the only one who didn't believe in Jimmy but Chuck too. Chuck thinks it's a joke at first, and doesn't seem to process pride and the consideration of hiring Jimmy as a lawyer until Jimmy brings it up himself. It's surprising to see that even though Chuck seems to care about Jimmy, even he doesn't believe that Jimmy is capable of much.
We get to see this storytelling pay off in the episode too. Jimmy is constantly being stopped and denied by people, be it the receptionist at Sandpiper telling him to leave, Schweikert the confident lawyer dismissing his claim, and once again Chuck constantly assuming that Jimmy used some extralegal means to accomplish what he did. But it works out in the end and Jimmy is finally able to prove himself as he has now been gifted a class-action case to work with. A reward for all of his hard work and struggles. And boy did we get to see him earn it, with keen observations, smooth talking to the elders, writing a demand letter from nothing and going dumpster diving for the sake of some evidence. It was funny to watch, but more than that it let us see the tough work Jimmy is doing to get this case.
It was nice to see Jimmy and Chuck teaming up too. It was an emotional moment for Jimmy and it's easy to root for them. We get a good idea of the close bond between them too. I wonder if they are the last of their family? That would also make things between them much better by default. They have a nice contrast in character too as Chuck is very serious, logical and moral to contrast with Jimmy's eccentricities as a lawyer.
The Mike scenes were decent too. Nothing special, but they were a solid continuation of his story. It should be interesting to see what kind of work he is going into and who he will be working for. Gus perhaps?
The Bad: This was going very well, but the ending was too cheesy for me. There was a certain, I'll say, Looney Tunes aspect to Chuck not noticing he was outside until Jimmy called him. It is an interesting development to see his condition just vanish (see: The Unknown), but the reveal felt very unrealistic and clichéd.
The Unknown: The ending is very interesting. What will it mean for the show now? Will Chuck have to return to HHM and will he take the Sandpiper case with him? That could be another step in bringing Jimmy closer to Saul if the fruit of his labour is completely taken by Howard and his own brother.
What is Jimmy and Kim's relationship? Kim kissed him in the flashback so they may be more than friends to some degree.
Best Moment: I really liked the flashback. It conveyed a lot in such little time and provided a beautifully constructed emotional moment at the end without the use of dialogue. Just a printing machine going off over and over. It was very well done.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy again.
Conclusion: This episode upped the tension and excitement by quite a bit and was very enjoyable. Another strong episode for this show.
Summary: Mike resolves things with the Philadelphia cops. The Kettlemans fire Kim because they don't want to return the money and go to Jimmy. Jimmy decides that he will bring the Kettlemans back to Kim after he sees that Howard has punished her. With Mike's help, Jimmy is able to get all of the money and puts his share into the bag as well and sends it on behalf of the Kettlemans who end up with no choice but to go back to Kim. Kim is grateful but Jimmy has sacrificed a lot to do this.
The Good: This was more solid stuff with some nice moments thrown in as well.
I enjoyed seeing the Kettleman story return once more so we can get some closure on it. The ending of the story was very satisfying as the Kettlemans couldn't be convinced of anything because of their stubbornness and Jimmy had to force their hand to get them to do the smart thing and go back to Kim. This storyline works really well because the Kettleman dynamic has been established in previous episodes, so we can understand that Betsy will always be stubborn and stupid compared to Craig's willingness to listen to anyone. Since we understand this, it allows the Kettlemans stupid decisions make sense so it doesn't feel like they are just making decisions to serve the plot.
I predicted that Mike would be in a more major role now and so far that seems to be the case. He got to close out his storyline from Five-O with a very well done conversation with the other officer about the state of things in Philadelphia. It was a nice scene that helped make the world feel a little bigger and real with a number of different characters with different morals. His montage later in the episode was an absolute highlight however. It went really long and was entirely wordless, yet it was masterfully crafted and it was fascinating to watch what was happening. We didn't know Mike's plan so it was exciting to watch it unfold in front of us and it made it a very satisfying moment when Mike finally found the cash without complication. I also loved how Craig and Betsy are dense enough to just take a random wad of cash without thinking of where it could be from.
Jimmy's storyline was nice here too. We get new aspects of his character in every episode to deepen our understanding of him. In this episode we get to see that he still believes in doing the "right thing" as he put it and that his friendship with Kim is close enough to the point where he is willing to sacrifice everything to get her back in her position. It was a touching dilemma for Jimmy and his final scene where he could show us how he really feels about losing everything was superb. He still has a long way to go to reach Saul Goodman, and I have a sense that it will be the increasing sense that nothing works out for him that will take him to his Saul Goodman persona.
It was nice to see Chuck trying to fix his condition. It's a nice bit of continuity for a short scene.
The Bad: The pacing is VERY slow still. I enjoy all of the content but the pacing can make it tough to watch sometimes. I appreciate that the scenes are given time to breathe and that does make the writing and storytelling stand out, but at times the show can be almost boring when we are sitting at a conversation for an extended amount of time. I am not too bothered by it personally, but I know there will be some who just won't enjoy the show at all because of this.
The emotional Kettleman scene at the end was nice, but if it was intended for us to feel something, I really didn't/ The Kettlemans are presented as villains almost so why should I care?
The Unknown: Will Kim get her position back now?
What will happen to Craig? How will he fare in prison? Will we see the Kettlemans again after this?
Best Moment: The final minute with Jimmy reflecting on the office and future he had to give up was a very powerful moment. We got to see Jimmy looking optimistic about his future when he first showed Kim the office and to see it all go away just for the sake of doing the right thing is sad. It shows us that Jimmy is a good person at heart and will undoubtedly make his ultimate transformation into Saul Goodman a little bit tragic. Jimmy is a good man now, but we know he won't be in the future. And it's moments like this that will ultimately push him over the edge.
Character of the Episode: I'll give it to the Kettlemans this time. In what may be their final major appearance they did a good job and played off of each other very well.
Conclusion: This was another solid episode. A lot of episodes this season have felt similar. They have been solid and had a couple really good moments, but have been slow paced and the plot hasn't progressed much. So far I'm enjoying it but we need some payoff by the end of the season. These past 7 episodes have established the characters and the story. Now we need to see some change and conflict in the show.
Summary: Mike's son Matt was killed by 2 cops in the past and so Mike killed them. The cops go to him after Mike's daughter-in-law Stacey asks them to come over because she suspects Matt was involved with some fishy business. Mike gets Jimmy to help him deal with the cops and the cops get no evidence but Mike steals and then returns their notepad. He learns Stacey calls them and then goes to her to tell her the truth about what happened to Matt.
The Good: Now this was awesome. A fantastic backstory episode for one of the most interesting and unexplored characters from Breaking Bad. If you want to bring Mike into focus for this show, this is absolutely the right way to do it.
Where to begin with this one? I'll start with the fantastic use of colour and scenery to create a completely different tone for this episode. All other episodes have been bright and colourful, but this episode was dark and dull all the way through, giving it a completely different atmosphere and letting us know that this will be a more serious episode. It's remarkably effective and makes this episode feel really special.
The biggest worry about an episode like this would be if Mike can carry an entire episode on his shoulders. The answer is that he absolutely can. This episode really showed what Jonathan Banks is capable of and gave us some much-needed backstory to get us to really care about Mike. Now Mike can easily transition to being a major character in the show since we are totally invested in him.
There were 2 scenes here that gave us everything we needed to know about Mike. First was the excellent trap he set on Hoffman and Fensky. It was cleverly executed and Mike did a brilliant job of playing so horribly wasted. It was a fun plan to watch and it was very satisfying to see Mike get revenge on the 2 awful people who murdered his son. It's always fun to see clever plans like these coming into fruition.
The second scene that let us know what Mike is about was the superb final scene. We always got to see that Mike had a great deal of affection for Kaylee and we get a great origin for that here. We see that he was really close to his son and loved him, and when he died it left a hole in Mike. A hole which would promptly be filled by his love for Kaylee. The final scene let us see just how much Mike respected his son and how tragic it must be to crush his morals all for nothing as he would die anyways. Jonathan Banks was amazing in that scene too and there were loads of heartfelt lines throughout the entire monologue. Easily the most powerful scene of the show so far.
The Jimmy and Mike team up was brilliant like last time in "Nacho". Their interactions remain hilarious and Jimmy's short role in this episode added some good lightheartedness to make this episode less bleak. His use of a bright white suit amidst the dark colour of the episode is another nice touch that lets us believe that he's a small ray of humour in an otherwise very dark episode. I enjoyed Mike's plan to swipe the notepad too and it was brilliant to watch it executed. There was also a little bit of tension in wondering if Jimmy would actually spill the coffee.
The overall structure of this episode was very well done too. There was a lot of mystery introduced and we were slowly given answers as the episode went on. That makes for a very satisfying watch.
The Bad: Nothing really.
The Unknown: This episode raised a lot of questions and yet in answered almost all of them. I'm only left with 2.
What will Stacey do with her knowledge of Mike? Obviously she won't turn him in but what will it do to their relationship?
What will happen with the stolen notepad? Surely the detectives will notice it is missing and they should instantly suspect Mike.
This episode was excellent but it didn't completely sell me into the show. This is because it was very different from anything else in the show. I'm bought into the Mike storyline, but no so much the Jimmy storyline, which is the main one in the show. I'm enjoying the show for sure but I still need a little more from the Jimmy storyline to consider it a very good show.
Best Moment: The ending monologue by Mike was spectacular.
Character of the Episode: Mike of course. There was no better way to turn him into a primary character in the show.
Conclusion: A fantastic episode that really brings Mike into the fold in an engaging way. Now we just need a Jimmy-centric episode that can deliver with this kind of emotion.
Summary: Chuck is taken by police officers and is exposed heavily to electricity and is put in the hospital. Jimmy meets new clients and finds little luck. He realizes a niche is available in elder law and so specializes in it. He is called by Howard regarding Chuck and more is revealed about his condition, most importantly that it is likely all in his head. Jimmy is given a decision to commit Chuck but refuses to. Mike is confronted by police officers from his past.
The Good: Once more the storytelling and writing was beyond impressive. Though this show is slow (see: The Bad), it's impossible not to enjoy it a lot because everything is put together so well and it's evident that maximum effort was put into every single scene by all involved, be it the writers, showrunners, directors, cameramen, editors and actors. Everything is put together brilliantly and it is really what holds this episode together to help it overcome its flaws.
I enjoyed the follow-up with Chuck. Once again the writers impressed me by making the newspaper stealing scene in "Hero", which would have been just a comedy scene in a lesser show, an important part of the plot as it allows for the show to organically get to tell us about Chuck's condition and his relationship with Jimmy. The sequence from the previous episode with Chuck going outside really paid off here as it allowed us to understand why Chuck wouldn't want to open the door and it made us feel tense during the opening scene since we knew what would happen if he police didn't cooperate with Chuck. It's really good writing that made what would usually be a throwaway scene one of the best parts of the episode.
I really liked the examination of Chuck and Jimmy's relationship here. By showing Jimmy deal with Chuck in the hospital, we get to see how much he cares for Chuck and his decision not to commit Chuck is made purely because he does care for Chuck and doesn't want him to suffer. We also see that Chuck isn't unfriendly with Jimmy like he was in the flashback scene from "Nacho", letting us know that Jimmy's sins have been forgiven and that Chuck has accepted him and genuinely does want him to succeed.
In the Jimmy storyline, we got some very interesting scenes. The scenes were very long (see: The Bad), but they were funny and really drove home the fact that getting good clients as a lawyer isn't a breeze. It also gave us a good reason for Jimmy to start thinking about elder law and the montage near the end with the Jello where Jimmy visited the retirement home was very well done as expected. I was also very happy to see Jimmy modelling his suit after an older TV star who I didn't recognize. The devil s always in the details and thankfully the attention to detail in this show is beyond impressive.
The humour scenes were great too. The first client really teased Jimmy getting his big break but we knew it wouldn't happen; it was just a matter of waiting to find out what is going wrong. And the reveal of the money being fake was well done and the quick cut away to Jimmy leaving was good for laughs. Even funnier though was he whole sex toilet gag. The whole invention is so ridiculous and funny, and Jimmy's reactions and comments about it made the scene all the more hysterical. It's undoubtedly the best comedy scene from this show for me. I also like that the show had patience to dedicate like 1-2 minutes to showing an old person going to meet Jimmy. It was humour created in a really unique way.
The Bad: Despite all that is good, this episode may test the commitment of many viewers of this show. Last episode was notably slower than the first three episodes and this one is much slower than that. Not much happens and when something does happen, it takes place in a very long scene which may have some viewers losing interest. While I do think the slow pace is good as it ensures that there will be no rushed developments, it makes the show suffer from being too boring and difficult to sit through.
The long scenes in the episode really didn't help either. While I praised the comedy, it takes a long time before it reaches the punch line (with the exception of the brilliant sex toilet gag). While it is funny, it doesn't feel like it is worth the wait. This wouldn't be as much of a problem if it was just one or two comedy scenes, but in this episode it feels like almost every scene seems to linger for longer than it should. Lengthy scenes are good to slow down the pacing, but include too many and it really makes the episode drag and feel slower than it should be.
The Unknown: Does Chuck know the illness is in his head? How will he react if he finds out?
What is going to cause Jimmy to leave elder law behind? Because Saul Goodman most definitely did not specialize in elder law.
The ending sequence with Mike is mostly a large question mark. Who was the girl he was watching? What does she have to do with him? Is she involved with the cops that showed up? Why are the cops looking for Mike? It seems they came from Philadelphia since Mike said they were a "long way from home". What do they want from Mike? I remember in Breaking Bad that Hank said Mike's police job ended "dramatically", so what went down? It seems we will be getting the backstory of that next episode. At least I hope so.
Best Moment: Probably the opening sequence for how well it was set up and executed. This show remains masterful at the small things.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy again probably, though it was a little tougher to choose with Chuck getting involved more.
Conclusion: This was more solid stuff, but the poor pacing really hurt things. The pacing needs to be sorted out for the rest for the season, or it risks the stellar writing being wasted because the show is too slow. So long as the pace quickens again, this show will surely continue to be good fun.
Summary: Jimmy takes money from the Kettlemans to pay for his silence as they will argue that they never stole any money. Jimmy closes the deal with Nacho and seems to be spared for now, but Nacho tells him he will pay for what he did. Jimmy rips of HHM on a billboard and gets a cease and desist. He uses it for a publicity stunt where he is viewed in the public as a hero. This gives him good business. Jimmy tries to hide the news from Chuck, but Chuck steals a newspaper to learn of Jimmy's antics.
The Good: This was another solid and enjoyable episode.
I liked the follow-up to the previous episode. It was nice to see the interactions between Jimmy and the Kettlemans. It's hilarious to see Craig just going along with anything with Betsy being the one who is actively pursuing her own agenda. Jimmy attempting to get business before caving and taking the money was good as well and again hinted at Jimmy's morality compared to Saul. There was also a nice callback to Saul not taking a bribe back in Breaking Bad.
The conclusion to the Nacho story was good too. Jimmy continued to provide laughs when talking to Mike and the cops and I really enjoyed his scene with Nacho. I presume things will calm down in the story for now until Nacho comes back with a vengeance. There is definitely some good set up done there and it is intimidating to see Nacho say there will be consequences. I wonder if we will se paranoid Jimmy soon, scared that Nacho will try to get him.
I really enjoyed Jimmy's scheming too. Watching plans unfold always makes for fascinating television and it was great to slowly piece together Jimmy's plan throughout the episode and the conclusion with Jimmy finally getting some customers was satisfying. I'm glad to see some payoff for the voicemail scenes which have been shown a couple times in the past few episodes. But for the plan itself, it was wonderful to follow. It sucks in your curiosity the first time through, and it is fantastic to see all of the details coming together on rewatch. I enjoyed that Jimmy put himself in situations to trash Hamlin with this stunt as it continues to show that they have a poor relationship. Now we just need to know why Jimmy is so hateful towards Hamlin.
I liked the flashback too. If we keep getting flashes of Jimmy's past from time to time, I will be happy because it's very intriguing to see Jimmy's past. This flashback was essential as it shows us how Jimmy is a con-man which gives some backstory on how Jimmy is able to come up with this publicity stunt and follow through with it.
The humour was stronger than ever here. I really loved the film crew as they were hilarious and seeing Jimmy attempt to deal with them was pleasantly comedic. I also loved the hilarity of Jimmy fighting against Howard throughout the episode. Lastly, I really enjoyed the ending scene with Chuck. It was an impressive piece of cinematography and directing when we are shown how his disorder makes him feel when exposed to electricity. And then with a couple expertly timed shots of an old lady watching, it became one of the funniest moments of the episode. An expertly done sequence.
The Bad: This show is very well put together but it's missing something. The story is hardly memorable and there isn't much emotion at all currently. While I still enjoy episodes like this, the story is lacking that forward momentum and emotional engagement to make it truly great.
The Unknown: How will Chuck react to Jimmy's antics? We don't know a whole lot about Jimmy and Chuck's relationship currently but we do understand that Chuck doesn't approve of Jimmy's... ways. So will he turn on Jimmy now? Considering that it was the ending scene, I'm sure it will lead to something. I'm interested to see what that is.
Kim doesn't seem to be proud of her friendship with Jimmy. Why? Is Howard that against Jimmy? Or is it something else?
Best Moment: I'll say the ending sequence with Chuck. It was impressively executed.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy again of course.
Conclusion: This was another strong episode, though it is mostly set-up for the future and doesn't have many memorable moments. Still very good stuff though.
Summary: Jimmy feels guilty and calls the Kettlemans to warn them of Nacho and also calls Kim to let her know they are in danger. The next day the Kettleman house is sacked and Nacho is taken by the cops. Jimmy is taken to him and Nacho says he didn't do it and that Jimmy will be dead unless he gets out by the end of the day. Jimmy realizes the Kettlemans likely kidnapped themselves but nobody believes him except Mike. Mike gives Jimmy some advice and Jimmy goes hunting for the Kettlemans, finding them in a forest behind their house with the stolen money.
The Good: I praised the previous episode for having excellent writing and this was more of the same. The writing and structure of the episode feels so organic in a way most shows can't accomplish. Everything flows beautifully from scene to scene and the seemingly filler moments end up paying off down the line in a way that feels completely natural. An example here is Jimmy getting Mike to help him. There have been several Mike/Jimmy scenes in previous episodes which were paid for laughs and there was another one here. But shockingly, it was more than just some humour as it ended up being a crucial part in the story to get Jimmy and Mike acquainted and to help Jimmy ultimately find the Kettlemans. And best of all, the ways the characters behaved made logical sense and there were never any contrived plot points used to bring these characters to helping each other.
The conflict in this episode was also really well done. I love the way the show has introduced and concluded storylines that end up playing a part later in the story. We saw it before with the skater boys and now we get it again with the Nacho storyline. Last episode we got to see the terrors and brutality of Nacho and Tuco, which makes Jimmy's situation all the more terrifying since we understand what will happen if Nacho is ultimately condemned. Without having shown us what these villains do, there wouldn't be nearly the same amount of tension in the episode.
Speaking of tension, I was impressed with the ways tension was used. Particularly the use of phone sequences was great, though there were a couple of flaws with them (see: The Bad). It's impressive that I was on the edge of my seat watching a guy make phone calls and the writers deserve credit for making it possible. Another thing I liked about the phone scene is how it tied into Breaking Bad with Jimmy's character. One notable characteristic of Saul is his impatience and desperation. There is a scene in Breaking Bad where we see Jesse check his voicemail only for it to be flooded by messages from Saul. It was a good comedic scene in Breaking Bad, and yet it pays off here to be a believable characteristic for Jimmy as we see him calling Nacho over and over, adding more and more details.
I was overjoyed to see more Mike/Jimmy scenes in this episode. Jonathan Banks does Mike's serious aspect so well and with Jimmy being so overly eccentric, it allows for some hilarious interactions, even when they are talking about important plot details like the Kettleman kidnapping.
I also really enjoyed the flashback. it adds some more depth into Jimmy's relationship with Chuck which is slowly gaining my interest. It seems that Jimmy became a lawyer to turn his life around and to make himself and Chuck proud which I feel will be an important detail to remember.
The ending also provided a nice cliff-hanger and some good moments. We got another example of the brilliant writing with the "here's Johnny!" moment, which wouldn't have worked as a joke if we didn't see Jimmy use the same phrase in the flashback earlier in the episode. I also enjoyed the way each of the Kettlemans were portrayed. Betsy is clearly the leader of the relationship while Craig just kind of does what she tells him. Lastly, I liked the reveal of the money to end the episode. It should be interesting to see where things go from here.
The Bad: While I enjoyed the phone scenes, it was a bit repetitive to have two of them. It took away from the genuine excitement of both of them since they weren't one off scenes. The second phone scene also had some story problems. While the tension was good, it did leave me confused as to why the cops went after Jimmy anyways. If they were just bringing him to Nacho why arrest him? And if they didn't know who he was, why would they just drop the arrest once they learned his identity? They must have had some reason to arrest him, and we don't know what it was so it feels like the scene was just played out that way for drama.
There was one other poor moment I noticed. The detectives asked Kim why she wants Jimmy to take a look around the house but we don't get an answer. It feels kind of sloppy and pointless for them to ask why if we don't get to hear why.
The Unknown: There never seems to be much unknown for this show. This show is usually just a case of watching and enjoying the way the story is put together.
Why was Jimmy in jail when Chuck went to save him? What did he do? What was Jimmy's life like beforehand?
What will Jimmy do now that he has seen the money?
Best Moment: Nothing really stood out but everything was solid. I will go with the second Jimmy and Mike interaction, as it beautifully brought Mike into the main story.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy again. I get the sense it will be Jimmy more than its not throughout the show.
Conclusion: Another solid episode of storytelling as I become more and more invested into the show.
Summary: Tuco calls Gonzo, No Doze and Nacho about the skateboard kids. He holds Jimmy at gunpoint and Jimmy attempts to talk himself out of it but the skateboarders turn him over. Jimmy is taken to the desert and threatened by Tuco, but Nacho saves him. Jimmy saves the lives of the skateboarders and they get away with only a broken leg each. Jimmy returns to life at the courthouse, having given up on scheming. He's met by Nacho again who plans to rob the Kettlemans, but Jimmy refuses to help him.
The Good: This was much better than the pilot episode. The pilot introduced everything, but things were still kind of shaky. This episode continued to establish what "Uno" started and also gave the show some excitement and identity to really make it stand out. Almost everything about this worked and I could not have asked for a better follow-up episode.
The biggest thing in this episode was definitely Tuco. Introducing Tuco early on was a very smart move in a lot of ways. In the last episode I was excited to see what happened, but it felt like Tuco's inclusion was to keep the show feeling more like Breaking Bad. And I was very wrong. If anything this confrontation as meant t mirror the episode "Grilled" but to show how this show would differ from Breaking Bad. We get to see not action, but lots of tense dialogue that helped reveal a lot about the characters we get to see. The way the scene concluded highlights that Better Call Saul will be more about morals and character over the epic look at the drug world from Breaking Bad.
Something great about this approach is how it also showed how different Jimmy McGill is from Saul Goodman. Saul would have let those kids die to save himself, but Jimmy still has a soul. He wants to save lives and feel uncomfortable seeing the kids legs broken by the vile Tuco. He is a completely different man trying to find his place in the world. And it should be a very intriguing journey to see Jimmy become the sleazy Saul Goodman we all "love".
Back to Tuco though for a bit, he was excellent as always. We are all familiar with Tuco so it was a joy to see his unpredictability and insanity once more. The opening sequence was a fantastic and subtle use of dramatic irony as the audience can easily pinpoint the exact moment that Tuco snapped, whereas the skaters are jus so horribly oblivious to it al. It creates a nice sense of foreboding and even plays into a nice joke when Tuco says "biznatch" after taking care of the 2.
Tuco was also great in his scenes with Jimmy. There was a genuine tension and even though we know Jimmy will survive, we are still unsure what Tuco may do next. And that adds another exciting layer to this episode and to the wonderful conversations between Jimmy and Tuco. Additionally, the conversations are a good way to get us to understand just how powerful Jimmy can be when he talks. It's absolutely his biggest weapon and I'm curious to see how his charming personality will factor into the rest of the series.
I think that the episode really did nail Jimmy's character in this episode. Afterwards, I was invested in his story in a way I wasn't after "Uno" and I'm genuinely excited to see where the story goes now. This episode improved a lot on the previous one. The Jimmy and Chuck scene got more time to breathe this episode and I was more interested in Chuck afterwards. Nacho is another interesting character and he has quickly made an impact by showing his calm thought process compared to Tuco's insanity.
This episode also gave me more of a Breaking Bad vibe in terms of the writing. Like in Breaking Bad, the writing is damn impressive and there are so many little details that just wow me and make me appreciate the story being told so much more. For example, I love that scenes get time to breathe so we can really get invested. In other shows we wouldn't see scenes of Jimmy feeling bad about what happened to the boys, and we wouldn't get an extended conversation between Chuck and Jimmy to showcase the mannerisms and contrasting behaviour of both characters. Another small thing I liked was the lingering shot between Jimmy and Kim, the girl lawyer. It lets us know she will be important and that there is a relationship there to look out for with just a single wordless shot.
It would take too long to go into detail about every little thing I liked about this episode, but I'll quickly list off the small things that I thought were amazing in this episode. The montages were things of beauty, letting us get invested into the characters and the world by going on for a while and condensing loads of information into tons of quick 3 second scenes. The cinematography seems to have actually improved after Breaking Bad, making Better Call Saul possibly the most beautifully shot television show I have seen. The acting is splendid too as there are always tons of details to look for in the performances as all of the actors beautifully display what is going through the characters heads in just a single shot. The decision to include these shots of characters telling a story with just their faces is also brilliant as it leaves the show with excess amounts of restraint, detail and subtlety. The Breaking Bad nods with Tuco cooking and Tuco threatening No Doze were great.
Lastly, this show is absolutely killing it in the humour department too. Each of the jokes are built up brilliantly and always catch you with a sense of sudden surprise making them all the more hilarious. The montage with Jimmy working at the courthouse in particular was brilliant with showing these jokes and it also did a superb job of balancing the humour with the struggles of Jimmy's life.
The Bad: Tuco does seem a bit cartoonish though. While I still love his character, he feels a little more 2 dimensional than before and just seems to be ridiculously over the top to please the fans.
I suppose the only thing wrong with this episode is that it doesn't engage your emotions. It's near flawless when it comes to writing, cinematography, acting and other small details but if it doesn't engage my emotions aside from feelings of tension it can't be something next-level special.
The Unknown: What is the relationship between Jimmy and Kim?
Will Jimmy eventually join with Nacho? How long will he keep his morality before turning into Saul Goodman?
Best Moment: The montage was superbly shot and hilarious, but Jimmy talking down Tuco from a death sentence to broken legs was too spectacular to pass up. It was genuinely tense and did a great job of showing how talented Jimmy is at using his mouth to convince other people to do things.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy.
Conclusion: A great episode of television that vastly improved upon the last one. I'm definitely on board with this show now and I would be more than happy to just see this story play out the same way it played out here even if there aren't many plot developments happening.
Summary: After relinquishing his ID as Saul Goodman, Gene is working a shell of his former life as a Cinnabon manager. In the past, Jimmy is a struggling lawyer living in Albuquerque. He is running out of money and is doing public defendant cases. His brother Chuck, an accomplished lawyer, has a weird condition preventing him from working and Jimmy wants him to cash out but he doesn't want to. Jimmy recruits some skateboarders to help him win over a client via some scheming, but the plan goes awry and Jimmy ends up captured by Tuco at gunpoint.
The Good: This was a very solid if unspectacular series premier. Following Breaking Bad's success, expectations are very high for this show, and this was totally fine.
The thing that impressed me the most was the pacing of this episode. It was, surprisingly, deliberately slow and patient which is a very interesting way to start a show. It's unconventional and in most cases it wouldn't work at all, but in this case it fits seamlessly. I have an established faith in Gilligan and Gould after Breaking Bad, so seeing this slow pace end up becoming truly fascinating as I am confident that the series will be enjoyable. It's also executed brilliantly and is accompanied by strong writing and beautiful cinematography to make the show all the more mesmerizing.
Another strong point was Jimmy in general. It was interesting to see a different version of Saul that seems to have some small morals compared to the eccentric and flamboyant Saul. Jimmy certainly seems interesting, but he definitely has the Saul Goodman qualities inside of him as we get to see in that final plan Jimmy hatches to get the business from Betsy Kettleman. But aside from those qualities, it was good to get more depth from Jimmy, including an interesting relationship with his brother Chuck and a conflict with Howard Hamlin of HHM.
The Breaking Bad connections were great for true fans. I was beyond excited to see Mike and Tuco in small roles, and that cliffhanger was the perfect way to get me invested in the show. I'm definitely curious to find out what happens now with Tuco's involvement in the story. There were also several nice Saul tie-ins, including the reveal of Jimmy's car and the intro sequence showing Gene working in a Cinnabon, just like Saul said he would be back in "Granite State" from Breaking Bad.
The humour was also a standout in this episode. There were plenty of comedic moments that I enjoyed throughout the episode with highlights being Jimmy and Mike, Jimmy busting the skateboarders on their con and that hilarious opening scene in the courtroom.
The ending scheme was pretty enjoyable overall and had that Breaking Bad feeling to it, but it did have some flaws (see: The Bad). Overall I liked it though and I was glad to see the skateboarders who were introduced earlier come back to play a major part in the episode. It's some nice continuity.
The Bad: The Chuck scene was good content and it was interesting to see his relationship with Jimmy, but the scene felt a little too on-the-nose for me. It didn't feel organic for some reason, I think it's just that the dialogue seemed to conveniently cover the exact information we needed. The scene didn't get the same time to breathe that the other scenes did.
The ending scheme was flawed because it revolved a lot on coincidence to work. There just happened to be a car that looked exactly like Betsy's with the license plate starting with 4 at the exact time Betsy was supposed to show up? Really? That's just ridiculously coincidental. And it makes even less sense that the skateboarders were able to keep up with the car as well. Also how improbable is it that Jimmy would find the car? he received poor directions and had an entire neighbourhood to scour and yet he somehow found it. And that house just happened to be Tuco's too? This whole plot was driven by coincidence which is unusually poor from these writers.
The Unknown: Why was Tuco in the house? What is he going to do with Jimmy and the skateboarders? How is he going to be different now than from Breaking Bad?
Why was Mike in the parking booth? Is he not working for Gus yet? How will he factor into the story because that surely wasn't just a one-off cameo.
What is wrong with Chuck? How did this electricity disease affect him? Is it even real?
Will the show be overshadowed by Breaking Bad in the end? This premiere felt like a continuation of Breaking Bad more than its own show. This needs to have its own identity or it risks the possibility of failure.
Best Moment: I really enjoyed the opening courtroom scene. It was top-notch comedy and let us know to expect a very patient show from the get-go.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy.
Conclusion: This was a solid premiere, albeit a very flawed one. I still look forward to the show but it definitely seems like it's not going to be on the level of Breaking Bad even if it does borrow some elements from the universe of Breaking Bad.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.