July 23, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Better Call Saul “Magic Man”

Season Five, Episode One

I had a rough decision to make for this entry:  whether to put it up now or wait.  See, Succession, a past Thursday show, came back, and I did something I normally wouldn’t do:  watch it in real time rather than wait for the time slot to open up when I finish off Better Call Saul.  I mean, these are both great shows for very different reasons.  I opted to stick with it here because Netflix dropped the final season of Saul within the past few days, and I’ve written drafts for the Succession episodes so that, when I finally do finish off Better Call Saul, I can just plop the Succession posts in.  Besides, there’s a really good chance that Succession would be totally spoiled for me if I didn’t watch it now, and for once, I’d like to be surprised when I get to a show like that.

Anyway, back to Better Call Saul because Saul Goodman has finally taken center stage.

OK, that’s not exactly right.  It’s more like the slow origin story to how somewhat shifty conman and lawyer Jimmy McGill became the much more shifty Saul Goodman is finally more or less out in the open as Jimmy decides to practice under the Saul Goodman name.  Kim seems a little wary of it, but it does make sense.  Jimmy has a huge potential customer base from his burner phone business, and he can use that to get some more as a lawyer.  He can use basic cons with his film crew and a befuddled DA to get even more potential clients.  He has the obnoxious suits, and he’s ready to go.  Sure, Kim seems to be getting increasingly wary of Jimmy’s ways, but he figures her job is to rein him in, and she’s done that in the past.  Jimmy respects Kim.

Enough so that, when one of her pro bono criminal clients is turning down the best offer he can get in a plea deal because he believes she can win in open court (even Kim has her limits), Jimmy’s proposed scam to trick the guy into taking the deal is something she’s not willing to do.  He acquiesces.  But Kim’s client watched the two argue a bit, and she ends up using the scam anyway without Jimmy to achieve the very result Jimmy wanted.  He thought it was scamming for a good cause.  She didn’t at first, maybe because she doesn’t want to lie to a client, but she used it anyway.  Is Kim sinking to Jimmy’s level?

What is Jimmy’s level anyway?  It seems more like he’s just trying to earn a living through moderately shifty means.  I suppose I’ll see when his new clientele starts to develop.

Besides, if this show has done a good job of making Saul Goodman into a three dimensional character, it seems to be doing the same for Mike, showing regret over Werner’s death in his usual stoic manner, punching out one worker who suggested Werner was soft while silently agreeing with another who said Werner was worth ten Mikes.  It isn’t hard to see why Mike seems to want to walk away from Gus.

As for what Gus gets out of all this…well, it’s Gus.  He can be pretty scary all by himself without saying a goddam thing.

But then there’s the cold open where Gene, the Jimmy of the black-and-white, post Breaking Bad era, has been made by, well, a fan, and it looks like something might happen there.  It was enough to get a cameo from the late Robert Forster, so I am wondering will the series gradually become more flashforwards or stay with the flashbacks.

Eh, I’ll have to keep watching to find out.