Better Call Saul - Season Four Discussion & Digestion

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by EVOLVIST, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Remote Control Triangle

    Remote Control Triangle Forum Resident

    Las Vegas
    Better Call Saul is one of the most indulgent, boring, long-winded, plot-free series I've ever seen. Breaking Bad it ain't. But I'm still gonna watch season 4 when it's on Netflix. It better get good. Or else I'm gonna write them a strongly worded letter! :p
    EddieMann likes this.
  2. minerwerks

    minerwerks Forum Resident

    Having enjoyed the way this season wrapped up, I wanted to drop by and see the reactions. The discussions below definitely caught my attention and got me thinking.

    I'll take the argument that there is something more going on...

    I too think this hinges on Chuck's death, specifically on the different expectations Kim and Jimmy have of each other.

    Kim showed a lot of emotion over Chuck's death, presenting herself as protective and righteous as well. Everything Kim had experienced in life so far led her to perceive Jimmy as a person who hadn't yet found his way to the same kind of grieving she experienced.

    As mpayan noted, Kim accepted a lot of Jimmy's behavior as acting out on his way to resolving his grief. So one aspect of Kim's arc through the season is struggling to stand by Jimmy until he can truly mourn the loss of Chuck, as balzac points out. When Kim tells Jimmy his failure with the reinstatement committee was because he never mentioned Chuck, this voices a truth she wishes Jimmy could accept. I think Kim honestly believed Jimmy did get into law because of Chuck, and I suspect she saw the acknowledgment he still wanted to be a lawyer as the first step toward mourning Chuck. In that context, standing by Jimmy's plans to pay lip service at Chuck's grave and sponsor a reading room in Chuck's name were acts of support in service of an breakthrough she sees coming. The moment Jimmy deviated from the plan to read Chuck's letter, that was the honest moment Kim had been expecting since the first minute of the entire season. And that is why she was so visibly shaken by Jimmy's reaction afterward, because that is when she realized she had been very, very wrong.

    In retrospect, I think this was woven well throughout the season. Kim's righteousness in the wake of Chuck's death spurred her to put more attention into pro bono defense work, which reinforced her instincts to stand by Jimmy when he couldn't help himself. I also think Kim felt she could compartmentalize her dark side away from her righteous self, and she projected this on to Jimmy, giving her more reason to be surprised and disturbed by his behavior

    Not sure if anyone agrees with me, but I think Jimmy's first appearance in front of a committee was supposed to be perceived by the audience as hokey and insincere. This set us up to believe that Jimmy's speech in front of the second committee was as completely genuine as Kim believed it to be.

    Exactly. This may have been the last barrier Jimmy had to break on his way to becoming Saul Goodman.

    Interestingly, I think Mike's relationship with Gus parallels Jimmy's relationship with Kim in the sense of the unspoken expectations creating conflict.

    I don't think Mike was lured in or manipulated by Gus. Mike was not coaxed or forced into being the head of the project, he took it on willingly, knowing the lengths Gus Fring would go to in protection of his interests. I think Mike did fool himself into thinking he wouldn't be called upon to carry out punishment directly, though. As difficult as it was for Mike to pull the trigger in the end, I don't think he ever considered not doing it. Ultimately he knew there was no choice, and he was in that position of his own volition. He has no one to blame but himself.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  3. jmobrien68

    jmobrien68 Forum Resident

    Toms River, NJ
    Channeled his inner David St. Hubbins... :D
  4. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident

    New York City
    I'll check into this again to make sure. The Arizona opinion from 2012 is not a New Mexico opinion from the time Jimmy seeks (or sought) to do business under another name. Also, the opinion says the lawyer's name should not be different than what the bar records show, and technically the bar records would show that Jimmy McGill is practicing under the name "Saul Goodman". In the show, the person who spoke to Jimmy thought the use of another name was perfectly acceptable without any advance approval. She even had a ready-made form for it, which indicates it's done all of the time (in Better Call Saul land).

    Ultimately, it's a TV show where often all bets are off (including superhero feats by criminals who can break into a money transfer office like it was a gumball machine). Not a big deal, but I'd be interested in seeing how plausible it might be (or have been).
  5. balzac

    balzac Forum Resident

    I believe Hot Ptah mentioned that he knew of a number of lawyers who do practice law under a different name than their legal name (maiden names vs. married names, etc.), so it seems there is general precedent for a name change for a lawyer. Whether BCS is doing it 100% by the book (for NM in 2004), I obviously can't say.

    But I'd think there would have to be one if not several options for lawyers who want to legally change their name. As a laid person, I would guess there might be multiple options. A lawyer who legally changes their name would then change that legal name on all state bar-related documentation/licensing. I would have to guess a lawyer has as much right to legally change their name as anyone else, right?

    Of course, we see Jimmy refer to it as a "DBA", implying he's not legally changing his name but is instead changing his "business" name through the state bar. That of course seems much more questionable.

    Googling this issue is kind of a mess. The general things I've picked up is that some if not most state bars are okay with lawyers doing non-legal business under other names (say, writing a mystery novel), and are okay with lawyers practicing under a married name instead of their maiden name, as there is no nefarious motive behind it and it's easily traceable back to the "original" name.

    But just wholesale changing one's name, not legally, but to operate as a lawyer, I'm not seeing a lot of hard info on that. Maybe he could create a law *firm* called "Saul Goodman Firm" or something like that, but I think a law firm name with a *name* in it can only do so if a person by that name is a partner. And, even if we assumed he could essentially be a law firm called "Saul Goodman" whatever, and then "employ" himself still as Jimmy McGill, that wouldn't explain that by the time of BB, he's clearly referring to *himself* as Saul Goodman.

    I wouldn't rule out that he's going to change his "DBA" up front, and then also move to legally change his name. I think someone mentioned that he has a college diploma or something on the wall in BB that has the name "Saul Goodman", which more than likely just means he made a fake document for his wall (which would technically likely be illegal, though would not be the most heinous thing he would be doing).
  6. balzac

    balzac Forum Resident

    Also, way back in Season One (first episode as I recall) didn't Chuck suggest to Jimmy that he (Jimmy) change his name to avoid running afoul of HHM? It's obviously all back to the writers of the show, but they establish very early on that Chuck within the show finds it totally plausible for someone to change the name under which they practice law.
  7. balzac

    balzac Forum Resident

    I assume at least part of the reason Jimmy still drives the Esteem is the same reason he is shown having trouble sleeping in the cushy "corporate housing" provided by Davis & Main and drives all the way back to the crackerbox behind the nail salon and sleeps like a baby on the old pull-out couch.
  8. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    new york city
  9. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    new york city
    There are some states that allow a lawyer to name his firm something other than his own name (a DBA).

    I'm pretty sure Nevada is one; not sure about NM.

    So while this might be a technicality that the writers are getting away with, I don't think it's nearly as egregious as denying Jimmy reinstatement due to "insincerity." As I pointed out in an earlier post, when the license gets suspended, the term of the suspension is presumed to be the entire punishment. The hearing to reinstate is to make sure that the person who was suspended isn't still acting illegally/unethically. There is a pretty strong presumption that the person applying for reinstatement is going to succeed. What's weirder is that there wasn't any necessary reason to have the sub-plot about Jimmy losing his hearing. Everything that happened at the appeal could have been written for the initial hearing.

    I get that this was done to fuel Jimmy's fire for going "Saul" on the world (and the awkward speech given to the high school senior), but this could easily have been done in a slightly different way, which wasn't so totally inaccurate as far as how this would work in the real world.

    EVOLVIST Kid A Thread Starter

    Was Jimmy losing his hearing? I thought it was his hair. Oh well.
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  11. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    rontoon likes this.

    EVOLVIST Kid A Thread Starter

    Sorry, I can't hear you, either. :p
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  13. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    Finally we know how Saul came along. Talk about last second......
  14. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Forum Resident

  15. mmars982

    mmars982 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Of course his parking lot experience came in handy in the last episode! :)
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  16. wavethatflag

    wavethatflag I see thread people

    Pacifica, CA
    From the article: "Sure, Breaking Bad was good. But the prospect of the next episode never made me feel sick with equal parts excitement and apprehension. Better Call Saul has just done this 10 times in a row. If you ask me, it is the superior series. Fight me."

    Yeah, I disagree with this. For me BCS is BB Jr. I think Bob Odenkirk is really good, but to me Cranston is a much better actor.
  17. Etienne Hanratty

    Etienne Hanratty Forum Resident

    Fair point, but Jonathan Banks might be better than either of them, and you get more of him in BCS.
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  18. wavethatflag

    wavethatflag I see thread people

    Pacifica, CA
    To me he’s clearly better than Odenkirk. Based on these series, I don’t think he’s better than Cranston. But they’re all more than good enough for their respective roles.

    Changing the subject a little, I like how the finale showed how close Chuck and Jimmy were, esp. when Chuck decides to sack out at Jimmy’s and asks him what he wants for breakfast the next day, and then they sing the ABBA song again. That struck me a very authentic brotherhood stuff. And then we’re taken back to the present day where everything Jimmy has become so much more horrible.
    rontoon likes this.
  19. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    I agree.

    Would we really care as much for these characters and this story if they came first, and the "Breaking Bad" universe they inhabit had not already been well established?
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  20. hbbfam

    hbbfam Forum Resident

    [QUOTE="I don't think Mike was lured in or manipulated by Gus. Mike was not coaxed or forced into being the head of the project, he took it on willingly, knowing the lengths Gus Fring would go to in protection of his interests. I think Mike did fool himself into thinking he wouldn't be called upon to carry out punishment directly, though. As difficult as it was for Mike to pull the trigger in the end, I don't think he ever considered not doing it. Ultimately he knew there was no choice, and he was in that position of his own volition. He has no one to blame but himself.[/QUOTE]

    Gus told Mike that some men were coming. Our German was a dead man and Mike new it. He volunteered to do the deed to make sure it was done humanely and quickly. When he volunteered, Gus asked him if he was sure. This is consistent with Mike's previous behaviors.
    notesfrom and Tim S like this.
  21. wavethatflag

    wavethatflag I see thread people

    Pacifica, CA
    No, we would not. Personally I think it’s sort of silly to proclaim BCS better when it’s so dependent on BB plot-wise. A few seasons into Frasier, we weren’t getting guest appearances from Cheers regulars. But here we are in the 4th season of Saul, and we’re getting “The Making of Gus’ Meth Lab.” Don’t get me wrong, I like that plot line, but because so much of BCS by necessity is entirely dependent on what happened in BB, and with Walt/Cranston not in the picture, I can’t agree with “BCS is better.”
    rburly likes this.
  22. Lonson

    Lonson Just An Old Disestablishmentarianismist

    Rather than saying BCS is better than BB, I say that I enjoy BCS a lot more. Certainly it depends on BB for its foundation, but I prefer the material, direction and overall presentation. I can't wait for next season!
    BEAThoven, Tom Campbell and notesfrom like this.
  23. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    new york city
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  24. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    new york city
    BCS didn't become BB Jr. until this season (ironically, the one that the Guardian writer prefers the most).

    Before that, BCS really was better than BB, IMO. It was truly its own show and, yes, you really did care about the characters. At the time, only two significant characters came from the BB universe, and IMO they were both much more interesting in BCS.

    As an example of what I'm talking about, did anybody else - by the middle of this BCS season - feel like scenes with Howard Hamelin were jarring, as if the character had wandered onto the set of the wrong show? And it didn't help that he had very little substantive to do or say (what the heck was with that episode where he was mysteriously all sickly, tired and anxious? I feel like there is material on the cutting room floor that explored this somewhat). The tone and style of the show changed so much from last year to this year.
    snowman872 likes this.
  25. riverclown

    riverclown Forum Resident

    Bradenton, FL
    Interesting, because on the Podcasts the show controllers are not unanimous in how they analyze what would be expected of Mike in this situation. In fact, the gist one gets of them is they don't know what to expect of other characters as well, such as Kim, for example, until you see what the writer does. Even they are surprised by decisions of characters. Fact is there's all sorts of reasons Mike could have acted the way he did or also how he could have acted differently or what his future reactions to this incident are.

    I lean toward the idea that Mike has accepted Gus as sort of an alpha male super competent leader who is ruthless but knows what he's doing, and Mike can make a lot of money with him, for his family, as long as he cooperates and does as expected. Earlier one could have thought that Mike was too independent and would not like being ordered around, but now one can see him accepting Gus as a leader.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018

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