Better Call Saul - Season Four Discussion & Digestion

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

  1. chili555

    chili555 Forum Resident

    But he isn’t very savvy, either. He should have understood the consequences of talking to the guys in the bar and then going AWOL. That can’t have ended well no matter how much he reasoned with “Michael.”
     
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  2. EVOLVIST

    EVOLVIST Kid A Thread Starter

    Yeah, but it's one thing to be a criminal and it's another thing to take a job from a criminal. Guilt by association. I get it. Yeah, Werner is guilty. But in the grand schemes of things, Werner's job might as well have been running numbers for a bookie. Who's going to wack the kid running papers? Nobody. The heat comes down on the gambling house.

    I guess that's just my long ass way of saying, yeah, I think Werner was a little more innocent than an accessory.
     
  3. EVOLVIST

    EVOLVIST Kid A Thread Starter

    Season 4. The season starts with the absence of Chuck and ends with the presence of Chuck at the Karoke flashback. Nice.

    As Jimmy just got finished saying, "People like symmetrical things."
     
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  4. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Location:
    Out of My Element
    Wrong thread :)
     
  5. notesofachord

    notesofachord Get Ya Hands Outta Your Pockets

    Gene is going fix it himself.

    RIP Robert Forster.
     
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  6. EVOLVIST

    EVOLVIST Kid A Thread Starter

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  7. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    It's that kind of unnecessary nonlinear stuff like Chuck at the karaoke bar that makes Gilligan seem so amateur to me. The entire scene just seemed like an excuse to get Michael McKean singing in front of a microphone as he his best known for Spinal Tap. Plus all of these stylized sequences taking place earlier or later than the events of the show are meant to hide the appearance of the actors looking older or younger than they should. Now that I have a big 4K screen it's beyond obvious that the actors do not look any older or younger and the filters applied to the video are just a cheap bandaid to try to obscure that. Most of all, it leaves me wondering WHY? What is gained by these sequences?

    To Gilligan's thinking, this flashback was a proper oeuvre and sendoff for McKean. But all it highlighted to me is that it didn't fit with Chuck's personality or how his character was set up to interact with Jimmy. Actually the final scene linearly was far more compelling, after Kim had coached Jimmy to address his brother's death when appealing for bar reinstatement. So Jimmy gives his usual manipulative entertaining performance and there is not a dry eye in the court room. Outside in the hallway he is bragging to Kim about this, waving around the letter from Chuck that had been so meaningful to Kim, moving her to tears both times she heard Jimmy read it. The look on her face said it all. Haven't seen any of Season 5, but looking forward to it.
     
  8. Mr. H

    Mr. H Forum Resident

    My take is that we didn’t get to see a lot of truly good times with the brothers. This is probably a memory that sticks with Jimmy, and that’s why we’re seeing it. I don’t think Jimmy is actually as dismissive of the letter as he makes it out to be. What he said in court he meant, but as soon as he could he buried those feelings again and is trying to run away from it. He always struggled for his brothers approval in spite of the fact that he could never get it. I don’t think it was 100% an act in the court when he talked about his brother. I think the way he acted toward Kim is the bigger act. Just my take.
     
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  9. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Duke City
    The criticisms in this post seem amateur to me. Apart from its attempt to dictate to the reader something it has no way of itself of knowing (Gilligan's thinking) it completely misses the way the scene shows not just Chuck's personality and dynamic with Jimmy but Jimmy's personality as well. There couldn't be a more vivid illustration of Jimmy wanting to be a team with his brother, and the inevitable rejection when Chuck grabs the mic out of Jimmy's hands for the solo spotlight with Jimmy in the background looking on in admiration.

    Classic McGill brothers, as they say.
     
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  10. EVOLVIST

    EVOLVIST Kid A Thread Starter

    This is close to what I was going to say. It was intimated heavily that there was, indeed, good times with Chuck and Jimmy. Of course Chuck used to read to Jimmy when they were kids. Moreover, I never got the impression that Chuck was a total stick-in-the-mud. We saw tender moments from Chuck, as we did from Jimmy, as well as both of them at their nastiest. The karaoke scene, and the scene as Jimmy's place, was just an extreme example of a "good time" - kind of mirroring the scene where Chuck was reading to Jimmy in their backyard tent - despite Chuck pulling the mic from Jimmy's hand to take the lead vocal. We notice that Jimmy was all smiles, even though Chuck took over. Probably because Jimmy saw the need for Chuck to cut loose.

    That the season ended with one of those good times was fitting. After all, it's not like Jimmy has come out from under the shadow of Chuck. I'm not sure he ever will.
     
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  11. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    Your premise is false that Gilligan's thinking is unknowable. After a dozen seasons of Breaking Bad + BCS, as well as the El Camino movie that managed to tac another couple hours onto Breaking Bad, it's not difficult to get perspective on Gilligan's thinking and production values. Not to mention taste in music. We already had 3 seasons worth of the dynamic between Chuck and Jimmy, which I am the first to admit was brilliant in its conception if not always execution.

    What, then, was the reason for this scene? Why was it out of character relative to what we know about Chuck? What character development or insight did it provide, and why was the decision to provide it tacked onto the end of an entire season without Chuck? The obvious answer: it was gratuitous and just an excuse to put McKean in front of a mic. You might like it for that reason but a better writer would have edited it out in favor of a scene presented in a linear way that actually moved the needle.

    But Chuck *was* a total stick in the mud. He had OCD and likely hard core mental illnesses that the doctors should have been more serious about diagnosing and treating. Chuck wrote Jimmy off as a child after he caught him stealing from the cash register, which is not abnormal behavior for children. A normal brother would have confronted Jimmy on this, challenged the root cause if it (e.g., seeing his father as a sucker and embracing a life lesson about lambs vs wolves), and then bonded with Jimmy about how to stay on the ethical side of the equation. We don't see Chuck reading to Jimmy after writing him off. We see him lying to Jimmy about their mother's final moments. We see Chuck plotting against Jimmy, robbing Jimmy of a good job and office, and doing everything he can to keep Jimmy in the mail room his whole life.

    In fact Jimmy did come out from under the shadow of Chuck when he beat him at his own game in the courtroom to avoid total disbarment, but even before that Jimmy understood what Chuck never could: human nature and the street, i.e., the real world which is important to consider in the application of the law. Jimmy has other struggles, but when he says he doesn't miss Chuck it's very understandable and needs to be taken at face value. Why Gilligan then has to tack on a scene to contradict that is certainly open to interpretation, but it seems obvious it was just to get McKean in front of a mic.
     
  12. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Duke City
    I have to point out here that it is actually your premises that are false: it absolutely is not out of character for Chuck and it wasn't "tacked onto the end of an entire season without Chuck" because the character also appears in a flashback earlier in the season talking law with "mailroom Kim" and "mailroom Jimmy", a conversation which prompts what is probably Jimmy's first visit to the law library.

    Also, your question was already answered above. Search for "Classic McGill brothers".
     
  13. EVOLVIST

    EVOLVIST Kid A Thread Starter

    [​IMG]
     
  14. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    Not out of character for stodgy old Chuck to be singing at a karaoke bar? Of course it was. The writers even had him resist joining the song because it was so out of character. Required absolute suspension of belief in everything we learned about Chuck that he would even show up in such a place for any reason, let alone to celebrate with Jimmy. Chuck listened to Miles and Bill Evans in his home and played classical music on the piano, not Abba.
     
  15. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Duke City
    If he was shown resisting something that was, in your perception, out of character, doesn't that prove the writing was successful and ultimately not out of character?

    That's just pretending your premise wasn't false to begin with. I'm sure you could be more wrong here, but I confess I'm not sure how.
     
  16. riverclown

    riverclown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bradenton, FL
    I remember when I first saw that scene of Chuck and Jimmy in the karaoke bar, I thought Jimmy must be having a dream about the way he wished Chuck really was. Surely he'll wake up soon, I thought.
     
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  17. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    It's not my premise. The show methodically set up Chuck to be a stodgy, OCD, mentally ill attorney who would not have set foot in a karaoke bar under any circumstances. Let alone to celebrate with his brother who he had a pathological need to poop on.
     
  18. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Duke City
    It was a work event. But that's not the only premise of yours that was wrong - you mentioned it being the only appearance of Chuck in the season, which it was not.
     
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  19. EVOLVIST

    EVOLVIST Kid A Thread Starter

    Man, I don't know. I respect the hell out of you, but you know...perspective colors the lenses of our perception. I just don't see Chuck as a 100% ass. I listen Miles Davis and Bill Evans, too, but that doesn't mean I'm not walking into a Karaoke bar. Indeed, I don't care for them, but I've gone to them for parties, celebrations, etc.

    Personally, I don't think we have enough evidence to support a case for Chuck's musical tastes. He might have been playing Bill Evans in his crib, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have Foghat in his collection, either.

    And yes, Chuck had a serious hard on for his brother, yet how about the letter he wrote to Jimmy? I have an older step brother whom I've known for 40 years. I've taken him to rehab. I've seen him steal thousands of dollars of merchandise from me. I took his wife to the hospital to have her baby, while he was nowhere to be found, yet through it all I remember the good times. I don't like hanging around him, but I recall the fun. He and I have reminisced on occasion, where all of the bad stuff sloughed off for a little while; I didn't think about his crack habit or how he ripped me off.

    So, yeah, we're all coming from a place where experience tints our outlook, but no, I don't think that the showrunners wrote that scene in just so they could have a Spinal Tap moment. If they had sung "Big Bottom" then maybe. Otherwise, it's difficult to agree with that part of your argument.
     
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  20. formu_la

    formu_la A.I.

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I thought the point of karaoke scene was to show Chuck's need to proof he is better in everything. It started with drunk Jimmy pulling Chuck to the microphone for fun, and ended with Chuck grabbing mic to himself, and showing that he is better even in singing.
     
  21. Mr. H

    Mr. H Forum Resident

    I don’t know, I’ve read that opinion in your post and others, but I felt like it was one of the few times we saw him actually let his guard down and enjoy himself. Jimmy coaxed Chuck out of his hole for a little bit that night, using passing the bar as his excuse. I didn’t read too much into him taking the spotlight until I read it here. Maybe they did intend that but it didn’t strike me.
     
  22. Tim S

    Tim S Senior Member

    Location:
    East Tennessee
    I don't think it's an either/or situation. Chuck likes music, it's a work function, Chuck may be a stick in the mud, but he had to let his hair down once in a while. He obviously knew the song - and seemed to know it well. Once he got going he settled comfortably into that typical Chuck attitude of how much better he was at everything than anyone else. Turned out that, among that group, he was quite a bit better at singing. Pity we didn't get to see Kim belt out some "Bohemian Rhapsody."

    Kudos to Ernesto - you have to be a really good actor to pull off singing that badly.
     
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  23. Mr. H

    Mr. H Forum Resident

    I always admire the talent of awful singing. He did a great job here. Here’s another great bad singing performance from a different show:
     
  24. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    Yes, agreed. However, that point about Chuck needing to feel superior had been hammered in many ways more central to the story. Most important was Chuck's legal superiority.

    Thanks, yeah, I get it. I do see Chuck as an ass but perhaps not 100% an ass, as mental illness is a legit clinical condition and if he received proper treatment maybe he could have become a nicer guy, particularly to Jimmy. Of course, then he may not have been such a great attorney. The same thing that was making him an ass also made his brain into a fastidious legal mind.

    It's possible, but even before putting holes in all the walls, Chuck didn't have any Foghat or Abba posters in his house. At every opportunity, the show portrayed him as more of a classical/jazz snob--he married a classical pianist fer crissake, and even she couldn't handle the marriage. He was uptight and judgmental as they come and was never the type to let his hair down. He couldn't have lived with himself if he did.

    Excellent question. That letter was hugely out of character. I admit I don't have an explanation for that. I'd like to say Kim swapped out the real letter but I have no evidence of that except that she sure got emotional over it more than anything else in the show.

    That sounds tough. Family dynamics are a tough nut to crack and that's why the Jimmy/Chuck relationship is so compelling and seems so realistic. Plus, it's safer to discuss than real family problems.

    Can we agree that Gilligan is hugely obsessed with music and will create extended sequences or scenes to showcase a tune? I mean going back to Breaking Bad this was readily apparent. So if you can agree with that, you can start to see my take on this flashback being built more for the tune than for moving the needle with character dev. I don't think that's such a controversial thing to point out.

    I wouldn't say it was a "work event" so much as a bunch of mailroom staff getting together after work to celebrate one of their own trying to jump the fence. Senior partners are like execs. They almost never show up at such things. And that's not even getting into all the reasons a person like Chuck wouldn't, that I touched on earlier.
     
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  25. formu_la

    formu_la A.I.

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I think the letter was patronizing, mentioned the mail room, but not the bigger achievement. And it came together with generous 5k sum...
    Just another snub.
     
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