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Steve De Young
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Posted: 17 January 2020 at 10:27am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Season 5 premieres at the end of February.  Today, AMC announced a renewal for a sixth and final season to air next year.  That last season will be 13 episodes bringing the total to 63.  All of the teaser material they've released so far looks both promising and a little sad, as there's a lot less Jimmy and a lot more Saul.
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Trevor Krysak
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Posted: 17 January 2020 at 2:16pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

63 episodes means it has one more than Breaking Bad. I'm really hoping they can find a way to keep this universe going. The quality of Breaking Bad and BCS have been very high. It'd be great to see that carry on on another series.
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Joe Zhang
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Posted: 18 January 2020 at 5:49am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

They can keep going back in time for more series ideas. Like Mike Ehrmantraut's life as a beat cop. Or a younger Gus Fring. But that's kind of hitting the proverbial barrel bottom. 

Edited by Joe Zhang on 18 January 2020 at 5:54am
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 19 January 2020 at 3:14am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

63 episodes means it has one more than Breaking Bad.

Or an equal number if you factor in EL CAMINO. 

;-)
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 30 January 2020 at 5:14pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

63 episodes means it has one more than Breaking Bad. I'm really hoping they can find a way to keep this universe going. The quality of Breaking Bad and BCS have been very high. It'd be great to see that carry on on another series. 
+++++++++

Not so sure about that. I think we’ve seen over and over that less is more, with these things. In this era of the Franchise Apocalypse, commercial interests have superseded artistic ones, and these properties now get milked to death. Better to make one’s points and then exit gracefully. 

Sure, I think there’s plenty of potential for other shows set in the BB/BCS universe, but less is more. We’ve had a solid decade- plus of to—tier entertainment for a Gilligan and his crew, and I think they’ll deserve a well-earned rest after BCS ends. I’ll be happy and proud to have the 62 episodes of BREAKING BAD, EL CAMINO, and the 63 episodes of BETTER CALL SAUL on my shelf, in a few years. A great, epic story which was well-told. The End!

...assuming that BCS doesn’t jump the shark or suddenly go woke, of course. I can’t believe that would ever happen, given the talent and focus of the people running the show, but nothing seems bulletproof, now. BCS (along with THE ORVILLE) is my oasis in the desert of modern TV. I need it to not suddenly go off the rails, as so many other properties have.


Anyway, I’ll soon be cracking open my Blu-Ray set of the fourth season, so as to refresh myself before the season premiere. I purchased it many months ago, and I’ve been waiting patiently. But not as patiently as the year-and-a-half between seasons!

While Vince Gilligan is no longer directly involved, I have great faith in Peter Gould. I’m very curious to see how they pull this season off. The show has gotten better and better and better as it’s gone along, and the key challenge now will be transitioning Jimmy McGill into the newly-minted Saul Goodman while still making him a compelling and sympathetic (?) character.
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 02 February 2020 at 12:16am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

 Greg Kirkman wrote:
...assuming that BCS doesn’t jump the shark or suddenly go woke, of course.

Had to get that jab in there, didn't ya?  As someone astutely said in another thread... "Greg Kirkman.  Fun at parties."  
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 24 February 2020 at 8:30am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

"Magic Man"

A paranoid's worst fear is that they're right.

I think we've seen more of Gene's world in this snippet than every other appearance combined.   Gene's life is Jimmy's private hell -- constantly looking over his shoulder, pretending to be this meek quiet nobody.   His paranoia about being outed and followed borders on a Chuck-level intensity.   Even when he's well in the clear he's extra cautious.   He then gets 'made' in the most unexpected mundane way.   They make a big point later in the episode about Saul attracting attention to himself by giving away free cell phones with his number right at the top of the speed dial (smart, as probably 99% of his clients are likely not tech savvy enough to reprogram it) which contrasts heavily with Gene using pay phones to shy away from the spotlight.   Gene ordering pancakes and not eating them is a direct reference to the flashback in the finale of the previous season, where Chuck offered Jimmy the choice of bacon and eggs or pancakes and Jimmy asks for the latter.

I only found out a few days ago that they did indeed capture a last performance or three during the filming of EL CAMINO from the late Robert Forster as everyone's favorite vacuum store owner.  Hopefully we get to see how Saul comes to know of the special Hoover Max Extra Pressure Pro service.

The colour motifs were in full bloom in this episode.  Kim is back to her blues.   Saul Goodman makes his first appearance as a lawyer with a yellow shirt that borders on radioactivity.   They've always painted Jimmy in these subtle yellows so it's nice to see Saul being a whole different shade and intensity of the same colour.

Lalo is a kind of 'no limits' character.   He speaks his mind, is glib with everyone, goes where he pleases and everyone else gets out of his way.   He's ten times scarier than Hector because with the old unpleasant Don you knew where you stood (and as Lalo says he simply wants to kill everyone who stands in his way or who he doesn't like).   Lalo also wants to kill you, but he also wants to know everything about you first and he socially engineers you with a slick smile and a handshake.   He's all of the worst aspects of Saul's persona and methods distilled into one smooth package.   Gus and Nacho threw Lalo an obvious softball in an attempt to cover up the situation with Werner.   Lalo's too smart for that and even lets Gus know by casually mentioning the 'south wall'.

"If you were going to be killed you'd be already dead".   Sums up in one line how Gus' operation is different from that of the Cartel. 

A great start to the season.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 24 February 2020 at 9:48am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Great kick-off to the season, with lots of subtle callbacks, as well as setups for future payoffs. I timed my rewatch of season 4 so that I saw “Winner” the night before last night’s season premiere, which worked out great. Because this episode dives right into expanding upon the many plot threads that previous episode set up.

We’ve been waiting a year-and-a-half to see if that cabbie recognized Saul, and the payoff to that was well worth it. It could easily have gone either way, since the flashbacks have been pretty subjective, and are driven by Gene’s paranoia. But, yeah, his literal worst fear comes true when Jeff walks right up to him in the mall and asks him to “say it”. 

The posthumous cameo from Robert Forster as Ed is bittersweet. I was concerned that they might be setting up something they wouldn’t be able to payoff (at least not without recasting or changing their plans), but we get the surprising twist of Gene deciding to solve him own problem. Which is...ominous. The first two season-opening flashbacks were simple vignettes depicting Gene’s sad, paranoid life, but the last three have been telling a mini-story which is leading us toward what will perhaps be the endgame of the entire 13-year saga of BREAKING BAD and BETTER CALL SAUL. And, of course, we have the irony of 2003-era, proto-Saul going to great lengths to build his client base as loudly and as publicly as possibly...which ends up biting back hard when he finds himself in Omaha, years later. 

I am utterly fascinated to see this proto-Saul Goodman in action. Bob Odenkirk has completely blown me away with his acting chops on this show. As I’ve mentioned before, I never imagined that the clownish lawyer from BREAKING BAD could be imbued with so much depth and emotion. When BCS started, most people just wanted to get right to Saul and his wacky antics, after all. That has completely flip-flopped, now, with most fans missing the happier days of Jimmy McGill trying to build an honest career for himself. This show really is a tragedy, and you can feel the final pieces starting to click into place. 

Last season, you could really see the subtle mannerisms of Saul Goodman creeping into Odenkirk’s performance, particularly at the end of “Winner”, of course. Now, however, I’m amusingly off-balance in watching proto-Saul, because he comes across more as Jimmy in garish clothes and putting on a show. The enthusiasm and energy of Saul Goodman is there, but it hasn’t yet become the self-serving, cynical, amoral energy of Saul Goodman. It’s really crossing wires in my brain, because I can see elements of both of those iterations of the character struggling for dominance. And I love it. 

Meanwhile, it’s amusing to see the lengths Gus will go to in order to cover up Werner’s murder and the construction of the Superlab from Lalo and Juan Bolsa. Of course, Lalo sees right through it, and knows that Gus is not the calculating, unemotional cartel partner that he pretends to be. I was a little unsure about the addition of Lalo to this show. Another Salamanca? And one who just so happens to be the guy Saul was terrified of in his very first appearance in BREAKING BAD? However, Tony Dalton has really won me over, because he plays the character as crazy like a fox. Lalo projects a sort of manic, mad energy and charm, but is actually quite cunning and ruthless. A legitimately worthy opponent for Gus, because he’s such a wild card, and smarter than he lets on.

I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how Mike’s story plays out, this season. He’s obviously struggling with his guilt over Werner’s murder, and the tension with Gus that’s resulted from it. Self-loathing and guilt are Mike’s driving forces, and his story is also a tragedy. We’re not far away from him finally becoming the dead-eyed “fixer” we met in BREAKING BAD.

Kim is clearly keeping her mouth shut and trying to be supportive of Jimmy, but at great cost to herself. The big emotional arc last season was Kim’s deep concern over Jimmy not properly expressing his grief over Chuck’s death. The Saul Goodman persona is clearly his way to continue avoiding it, and to distance himself from the family name which Jimmy associates with so many bad memories. And now he’s used his relationship with Kim to push her into compromising her principles by scamming her own client into taking a plea deal. 

Remember, Jimmy and Kim have always reaffirmed their relationship by pulling scams together. It’s clearly as much of a turn-on for her as it is for him. But she compartmentalizes her wild side, whereas Jimmy is allowing himself to be consumed by his. Last season, Kim began doing public defender work in order to make an positive difference in the lives of ordinary people who needed help. Something separate and much more fulfilling than her corporate work for Mesa Verde. Scamming one of those pro bono clients—even for his own good—is clearly crossing a big ethical line for her. 


Hey, guess what? Another episode airs tonight! Yay!

Also, this year’s bonus content on AMC’s YouTube page (as with Gus’ employee training and Mike’s security training videos from the last two seasons) is a 10-part series of ethics videos starring Kim:



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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 24 February 2020 at 9:51am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Also, the BETTER CALL SAUL INSIDER Podcast should be starting back up, soon. Looking forward to it. 

And I’ll also be following the great Alan Sepinwall’s (author of the excellent BREAKING BAD 101 book) thoughts on this season:

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 24 February 2020 at 12:13pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Interview with Peter Gould about the premiere:

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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 24 February 2020 at 5:47pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

 Greg Kirkman wrote:
I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how Mike’s story plays out, this season. He’s obviously struggling with his guilt over Werner’s murder, and the tension with Gus that’s resulted from it. Self-loathing and guilt are Mike’s driving forces, and his story is also a tragedy. We’re not far away from him finally becoming the dead-eyed “fixer” we met in BREAKING BAD.

I'm surprised he didn't outright kill Kai when he tried to run Werner down poshumously.  Mike is clearly restraining himself here.  Casper's line "He was worth more than ten of you" hits him right square in the gut too.   He certainly didn't seem to care about the consequences of saying "No" to Gus' offer.  I'm sure Gus isn't accustomed to people saying that to him, either.


 QUOTE:
Hey, guess what? Another episode airs tonight! Yay!

Whaaaaaaat?

Oh sheeet you're right!   I guess that's a little gift for making us wait an extra six months this time.


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 24 February 2020 at 5:49pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 24 February 2020 at 6:16pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I'm surprised he didn't outright kill Kai when he tried to run Werner down poshumously.  Mike is clearly restraining himself here.  Casper's line "He was worth more than ten of you" hits him right square in the gut too.   He certainly didn't seem to care about the consequences of saying "No" to Gus' offer.  I'm sure Gus isn't accustomed to people saying that to him, either.
++++++++

Mike lives by his particular code of honor. He wouldn’t be so foolish or bloodthirsty as to murder Kai for some personal comments. Remember, Mike’s primary goal (driven by his guilt over his son’s death) is to provide for his daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Killing Kai would not be something which would keep him in Gus’ good graces. After all, Gus already had to go to the time and trouble of creating a cover story for Werner’s murder. Another death—from the same German work crew, no less—would be especially suspicious. Sure, they could say Kai was killed in the same construction accident as Werner, but it would still be more work for Gus. Mike’s not that hotheaded.

I’m rather fascinated by the gradual reveal that both Saul Goodman and Mike The Fixer are both monsters essentially created by guilt. Whereas Heisenberg is a monster created by ego, and Gus The Chicken Man by a desire for revenge. 

It seems pretty darn clear that Mike was broken and gave up on his own life when his son died, with only the welfare of his remaining family keeping him going. Having Werner’s—his only real friend’s—murder on his hands would certainly be enough to destroy the remaining shards of his soul.

I have the sneaking feeling that he might go all-in as Gus’ hitman in part to mask his grief, and also because he’s stopped caring. Much in the way that Jimmy loses his moral compass when he decides to not grieve over Chuck. These unhealthy coping mechanisms lead both men to their respective destinies.
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