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SeanF
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8 minutes ago, briantw said:

Jimmy is the protagonist, so I don’t think it’s crazy that viewers are rooting for him.  You can acknowledge he’s a criminal and a con man while still pulling for him in a fictional, unrealistic show.

In real life, I’d want Jimmy jailed and disbarred, but BCS isn’t real life. 

Sure, I love Mike even though he's a stone cold killer and I wished many times in BB that he would just fucking kill Walt.  But I still don't get rooting for Howard, an innocent person's life to be destroyed.

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2 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

But I still don't get rooting for Howard, an innocent person's life to be destroyed.

Well, I think the obvious intention wasn't so much to destroy him as to humiliate him and, in the process, force a Sandpiper settlement.  They obviously didn't know that Lalo was going to show up at minutes after Howard did and shoot him for basically no reason.  Hell, Jimmy didn't even know that Lalo was still alive, did he?

I didn't really mind them fucking with Howard, even if I didn't really get why Kim wanted to do it in the first place, but part of why his sudden death was effective and shocking was because he was a fairly likeable guy for the most part.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, briantw said:

Well, I think the obvious intention wasn't so much to destroy him as to humiliate him and, in the process, force a Sandpiper settlement.  They obviously didn't know that Lalo was going to show up at minutes after Howard did and shoot him for basically no reason.  Hell, Jimmy didn't even know that Lalo was still alive, did he?

I didn't really mind them fucking with Howard, even if I didn't really get why Kim wanted to do it in the first place, but part of why his sudden death was effective and shocking was because he was a fairly likeable guy for the most part.

I think painting a lawyer as someone with a substance abuse problem who abuses sex workers is a lot more than 'humiliation'.  The idea of hurting him but leaving him 'standing' or whatever their catch phrase was is more of their self delusion and self justification.  I guess I am just personally a little shocked at how little sympathy he got, even to the point of the writer having an expectation that the audience is 'somewhat' rooting for their plan to succeed. 

ETA..did they forget that when they only professionally humiliated Chuck he killed himself?  

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4 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

It seems odd that the writer said the audience was rooting for Kim and Jimmy's plan against Howard to succeed at least 'somewhat'?  I don't get that. 

I wasn't rooting for it to succeeding.  I was hoping they would call it off or at least, fail.  My god, no wonder our society is falling apart if that is really in line with how the majority of viewers feel.

It’s similar to the heist that Walt, Jesse, and Todd carry out on the train.  You want to see how it goes down.

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48 minutes ago, SeanF said:

It’s similar to the heist that Walt, Jesse, and Todd carry out on the train.  You want to see how it goes down.

I guess I don't see it that way.  The heist was against a train carrying a corporation's chemicals, if they succeed, they stole some stuff from a multi-national.  This was an intricate plan to destroy an individual person's reputation and potentially career, a person who Jimmy, Kim and the audience knows intimately, knows he is a decent person, quite frankly a better person than either of the two protagonists, and knows [I thought] that he doesn't deserve to be treated this way.

It's more parallel to Walt and Sky's tape blackmailing Hank, which also, indirectly, led to his death, as he wouldn't have been freelancing with Jesse  except for that tape.

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5 hours ago, briantw said:

Even early on he never really seemed like a bad guy outside of his treatment of Kim.  

Yeah I think it might have been as early as season 2 that I started to like Howard.  Not sure if that was his portrayal or just me, but other than the treatment of Kim and just generally being a smarmy lawyer (which is part of the job description), he's a pretty good guy -- and it was always unfortunate that Jimmy's hostility toward him was misdirected.

2 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

I think painting a lawyer as someone with a substance abuse problem who abuses sex workers is a lot more than 'humiliation'.  The idea of hurting him but leaving him 'standing' or whatever their catch phrase was is more of their self delusion and self justification.  I guess I am just personally a little shocked at how little sympathy he got, even to the point of the writer having an expectation that the audience is 'somewhat' rooting for their plan to succeed. 

Well, I certainly wasn't rooting for their plan to succeed -- if I was rooting for anything it was for Kim to make the right decision, get the dream job being offered, and leave Jimmy and the Gilligan-verse that way (although obviously I knew that wasn't going to happen).

And I certainly have sympathy for Howard.  More than that, Kim's impetus for hatching the scheme wasn't because of Howard treating her poorly and putting her in doc review - it was him trying to "save" her from Jimmy.  I'm not a woman but I can certainly understand that royally pissing her off as incredibly patronizing and paternalistic.  But still, obviously Howard had no ill-intent in doing so.

OTOH, Jimmy at least was initially concerned that the scheme would go overboard and didn't want to "destroy" Howard, and they do indeed justify it by rationalizing that "Howard will be alright."  And the writers and even Howard seem to agree as Howard acknowledges that he'll be alright himself in that final scene.  Which, yeah, Howard will obviously be perfectly fine if he never works another day in his life.

Anyway, it's a pretty low-stakes scheme that without the Lalo interlope would at worst destroy the career of a wealthy middle-aged lawyer that wants to prolong the lawsuit in order to make more money for himself and his firm.  Combined with the inherent Robin Hood aspect and the fact the show is centered around Jimmy and Kim, I really don't think viewers "rooting" for the scheme portends the degradation of society in any way.

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12 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

I guess I don't see it that way.  The heist was against a train carrying a corporation's chemicals, if they succeed, they stole some stuff from a multi-national.  This was an intricate plan to destroy an individual person's reputation and potentially career, a person who Jimmy, Kim and the audience knows intimately, knows he is a decent person, quite frankly a better person than either of the two protagonists, and knows [I thought] that he doesn't deserve to be treated this way.

It's more parallel to Walt and Sky's tape blackmailing Hank, which also, indirectly, led to his death, as he wouldn't have been freelancing with Jesse  except for that tape.

Well the heist - if successful - would help destroy hundreds of lives, and an innocent boy was killed.  But, it was still grippingly entertaining.  

Even, the neo-Nazis killing the men in prison.  It was horrifyingly evil, but still gripping to watch.

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14 hours ago, SeanF said:

Well the heist - if successful - would help destroy hundreds of lives, and an innocent boy was killed.  But, it was still grippingly entertaining.  

Even, the neo-Nazis killing the men in prison.  It was horrifyingly evil, but still gripping to watch.

In fairness the boy dying was an unforseen incident. They were in the middle of no where, what are the odds of him showing up? So yes, that was a heist you could root for. Even your comment about helping destroy lives, people who are addicts are going to find a way to get their fix, if not the blue then some other drug.

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I'm late to the discussion party, since I was re-watching the whole series and only caught up on these new episodes now. On the plus side, that means I got to binge them, which is really the best way to watch Better Call Saul: it can be a real slow burn of a series, but that slow burn works a lot better when you can get to the explosive stuff in a day, rather than three weeks. A few thoughts:

1. This last episode was brilliant - one of the best in the whole series. I always love watching Jimmy and Kim running scams and cons: the last minute scene with the film crew, some of my favourite side-characters, was hilarious. Of course, the whole time you're horrified because you want them to fail: I felt so terribly for Howard throughout this season, but especially in the D-Day scene. It's strange to read above that the writers thought viewers would still hate Howard, even as they've shown repeatedly since season 1 that he's probably the best person in the whole series. And then the final scene was incredible: Howard fully lays into Jimmy and Kim and fully reveals to the audience exactly who they are. And then Lalo shows up... These showrunners and writers are incredible at building up tension in unpredictable ways that make perfect sense in hindsight (Lalo seeing the cockroach). What a horrific and tragic ending for Howard, and what a great way to re-direct the show for the second half of the season.

As a side note, one poster above said they found it unbelievable that Jimmy was so scared of Lalo. This is not unbelievable to me at all. Jimmy was incredibly traumatized by his ordeal in the desert, and then even more so by Lalo's interrogation of him in his apartment. Remember that after the desert adventure, it's Kim who drives everything: Saul retreats back into Jimmy, at least until Kim brings Saul out again. He knows he has messed with and lied to a horrifying, dangerous, unpredictable, violent man. In their court scene in season 5, Jimmy had to remind Lalo of the person he'd murdered. The only upside was that he believed Lalo was dead. Anyone would be horrified to have Lalo show up at your door again.

2. The pacing. I expect Saul to be a slow-burn show, but I agree that episodes 4-6 went a little overboard. I'm always entertained by Jimmy and Kim scenes and the legal side of the show, and this whole arc has made Kim's character even more interesting (and detestable). It was fun to see the return of characters like the Kettlemans and a lot of Season 1 style humour. But yes, D-Day could have probably worked better if it was an episode earlier. And the cartel stuff... well, that leads to my next point.

3. Nacho. Nacho's death in itself was really well handled. I'm glad the character got to finally reveal how he feels about the Salamancas - and to go out on his own terms. Michael Mando has always done great work with the character, who doesn't always get the attention from the writers he deserves. All that said, I think it was a big mistake to kill Nacho so early in the season.

The biggest problem I've always had with the show, especially from season 3 onwards, is that the cartel stuff is often very weak. My re-watch confirmed this impression. It's fun at first to see Mike slowly get involved, but too many of the cartel storylines suffer from prequelitis: they only involve characters we've seen in Breaking Bad, and they're obsessed with answering questions I don't care about. I don't care why Hector had a stroke, or how Gus used Johns Hopkins' resources to keep him alive. I don't care about the beginning of the superlab's construction. I don't need a Gale or Hank cameo. And Gus has been the biggest disappointment of the show for me: I feel like I've learned nothing interesting about his character or motivations that I didn't already get in Breaking Bad.

It doesn't help that the cartel stuff, until season 5, barely intersected with the Saul side of the show, which is so much more emotionally rich, has interesting characters (including a non-Breaking Bad majority cast), and is much more unpredictable. But Nacho was always a bright spot in the cartel storylines: there was tension there since we didn't know his ultimate fate, and there was an emotional core to his storyline more complex than "Gus still wants revenge." Then the cartel stuff finally paid off in season 5 with the introduction of Lalo, a fantastic villain, and the intersection of Jimmy in and the cartel world. But in season 6 so far, with Nacho dead, Lalo off on a side quest, and the two sides of the show divided again, it all really dragged and I had no investment in any of it.

That's going to change now, thankfully! I really was worried this was all building up to an episode 7 climax of Gus vs. Lalo in the superlab. With Lalo back in Jimmy and Kim's lives, part 2 is going to be a lot more interesting. But, all this to say... without Nacho, that side of the show is still missing something important.

4. Last thing: I somehow felt just as sad at Jimmy/Saul being rejected by his court associates as I did at Nacho's death. With the re-watch, seeing how far he's fallen from Season 1 is really quite painful. He really was a well-intentioned character trying to do the right thing back then. Now... he's unforgivable.

All in all, it's been a very good half-season so far, if not as good as Season 5. But the mid-season finale was fantastic and has opened up a really promising path for Part 2 of the season.

 

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33 minutes ago, Caligula_K3 said:

As a side note, one poster above said they found it unbelievable that Jimmy was so scared of Lalo. This is not unbelievable to me at all. Jimmy was incredibly traumatized by his ordeal in the desert, and then even more so by Lalo's interrogation of him in his apartment. Remember that after the desert adventure, it's Kim who drives everything: Saul retreats back into Jimmy, at least until Kim brings Saul out again. He knows he has messed with and lied to a horrifying, dangerous, unpredictable, violent man. In their court scene in season 5, Jimmy had to remind Lalo of the person he'd murdered. The only upside was that he believed Lalo was dead. Anyone would be horrified to have Lalo show up at your door again.

Good points. To be clear it's not that I find it unbelievable. I get why he's scared of the cold blooded murderer he thought was dead. I don't get why he'd be that scared that Lalo was going to be angry with him, because I didn't see anything really connecting Jimmy to the attempt on Lalo's life or the meth hole. In my mind Lalo should have been pleased with Jimmy for getting him out on bail for murder!

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59 minutes ago, RumHam said:

Good points. To be clear it's not that I find it unbelievable. I get why he's scared of the cold blooded murderer he thought was dead. I don't get why he'd be that scared that Lalo was going to be angry with him, because I didn't see anything really connecting Jimmy to the attempt on Lalo's life or the meth hole. In my mind Lalo should have been pleased with Jimmy for getting him out on bail for murder!

In my view, Jimmy knows he's in way over his head. He knows he's gotten himself involved with competing cartel groups, including enemies of Lalo, and that Lalo would view it as a betrayal that Jimmy didn't tell him the truth about what happened in the desert. So, Jimmy is terrified because he doesn't know just the full extent of what he's done. This is why in the Season 5 finale, he won't leave Mike alone until he has the situation explained to him. Mike won't do that, but he does tell Jimmy that Lalo will be dead soon, which is good enough.

But that partial knowledge just makes things scarier for Jimmy if Lalo isn't dead; if Lalo finds out that Jimmy was helped by "Michael the Gringo," it looks like Jimmy is in league with Lalo's cartel enemies. From Lalo's perspective, that money got Lalo out on bail, but only so that his enemies could ambush and murder him in his own home. And ultimately, Lalo didn't murder Jimmy and Kim in season 5 because he was convinced he could trust them, but because Kim distracted him with the thought that he has bigger fish to fry. As far as Jimmy is concerned, once Lalo deals with those enemies, what's to stop him from coming back and dealing with him?

 

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3 hours ago, Caligula_K3 said:

In my view, Jimmy knows he's in way over his head. He knows he's gotten himself involved with competing cartel groups, including enemies of Lalo, and that Lalo would view it as a betrayal that Jimmy didn't tell him the truth about what happened in the desert. So, Jimmy is terrified because he doesn't know just the full extent of what he's done. This is why in the Season 5 finale, he won't leave Mike alone until he has the situation explained to him. Mike won't do that, but he does tell Jimmy that Lalo will be dead soon, which is good enough.

But that partial knowledge just makes things scarier for Jimmy if Lalo isn't dead; if Lalo finds out that Jimmy was helped by "Michael the Gringo," it looks like Jimmy is in league with Lalo's cartel enemies. From Lalo's perspective, that money got Lalo out on bail, but only so that his enemies could ambush and murder him in his own home. And ultimately, Lalo didn't murder Jimmy and Kim in season 5 because he was convinced he could trust them, but because Kim distracted him with the thought that he has bigger fish to fry. As far as Jimmy is concerned, once Lalo deals with those enemies, what's to stop him from coming back and dealing with him?

 

Totally agree.  Jimmy may know he's not betrayed Lalo.  But, Lalo doesn't know that.

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On 5/27/2022 at 5:59 AM, SeanF said:

Well the heist - if successful - would help destroy hundreds of lives, and an innocent boy was killed.  But, it was still grippingly entertaining. 

Yeah, and that was Jesse's idea, although Todd is the one who killed the boy riding his bike on the trails, as boys do. It was Kim's idea to scheme against Howard, and Jimmy went along with it, although Lalo is the one who killed Howard.

Jesse did some terrible things. He murdered, he aided and abetted a murderer (Walt), he made and sold a horribly destructive drug, and he put the people he chose to associate with with in mortal danger (Jane, Andrea, her son).

It's a story, so things are dramatically heightened to make a point, one that applies to us all, on usually a less dramatic scale. We have hope for characters like Jesse and Jimmy, because we'd like to think there's hope for us all.

We've all been down Bad Choice Road at one time or another (even those who think they are above reproach, like Chuck; as the showrunner said, "Chuck doesn't have the milk of human kindness" and he could be quite cruel at times.)

Can we turn around? Giligan/Gould seemed to think Jesse could. Maybe Jimmy can, too. Here's Peter Gould:

Well, the focus is the same one that we started with, which is the story of Jimmy McGill — who was Slippin’ Jimmy, who was Saul Goodman, who becomes Gene Takovic — and what is to become of him. What does he deserve, and who is he really in his heart? Those are all questions that are still open on the show. The second half of the season is really surprising, and I think it’s some of the most powerful work we’ve ever done. I’m very excited for people to see it.

https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/better-call-saul-peter-gould-lalo-kim-future-final-episodes-walter-white-1235278060/

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59 minutes ago, The Sunland Lord said:

Anyone has an idea why does Saul hate Howard so much? 

He started harassing Howard when Howard offered him a job at HHM. I thought at the time he had some guilt over Chucks death that he was misdirecting towards Howard to let himself off the hook. Going to work at their firm would have been too much for him, he's shunned the idea of doing it Chuck's way.

Kim seemed to really be driving this last plot against Howard, after he tried to warn her about Jimmy.

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This isn't really spoilery but one of the writers is answering questions here. I thought the bit about how Jimmy ended up in Nebraska was interesting, and his explanation was a bit odd:

He isn't going to be placed to close to New Mexico, and with Walt in New Hampshire, it kind of narrows the range of places to go. So just according to math, not strange that he gets placed in a state near where Kim once lived.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/3/2022 at 11:57 AM, RumHam said:

He started harassing Howard when Howard offered him a job at HHM. I thought at the time he had some guilt over Chucks death that he was misdirecting towards Howard to let himself off the hook. Going to work at their firm would have been too much for him, he's shunned the idea of doing it Chuck's way.

Kim seemed to really be driving this last plot against Howard, after he tried to warn her about Jimmy.

Yeah, I agree with this analysis. In season 4, after Chuck's death, Jimmy is miserable and guilty... until Howard reveals his own guilt and says he feels responsible for Chuck's death, since he pushed Chuck out of the firm. At that moment, Jimmy offloads all his guilt and sadness about Chuck onto Howard. At the same time, Jimmy shapes himself into a lawyer persona that's the anti-Chuck.

Which works for Jimmy so long as Howard plays the part of a guilty and destroyed man. But once Howard actually takes steps to process Chuck's death and heal, which Jimmy won't do, then it becomes an affront to Jimmy and his attempts to absolve himself of guilt or feelings for Chuck. How dare this guy who killed my brother be ok and offer me a job like he's better than me? So Jimmy bowling balls Howard's car and sends prostitutes to his work lunch.

A lot of it is laid out in this amazing scene from season 5. 

 

After Jimmy's near death experience in the desert, he finally starts to become more introspective again. But at this stage Kim decides she wants to go after Howard for her own reasons. 

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