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Better Call Saul - Season Six Discussion

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by misterjones, Jan 7, 2021.

  1. Bcorig

    Bcorig Forum Resident

    Nacho respected his Dad. Jimmy and Jesse did not. Walter became Jesse’s father-figure and I think Walt was happy to have a physically capable son (he was consistently patronizing and condescending).
     
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  2. Bcorig

    Bcorig Forum Resident

    Yes. It takes a lot to get deep into the emotions that are required to portray what someone put in the situation that character was put into is feeling. She did an amazing job. They all did. Superb writing helps but the actor has to have the vision. She had it in BB
     
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  3. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    Could not agree more. Just looking at Ozymandias alone, Cranston and Gunn both put on acting clinics in their last two scenes together, the one at the house where it hit the fan and ended with him leaving with Holly, and then later on the phone when Walt, knowing that the cops were listening, got Skylar off the hook as much as he could. Her reactions, voice tones, facial expressions, etc. in that phone call...that was great stuff.
     
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  4. GMfan87'

    GMfan87' Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT.
    I think she did a very good job too but awards are given for popularity reasons sometimes , so not always true indicator that it was a great performance.
    Misterjones- never liked Lange either , Bullock while not a good actress just hit on the right role for her. Think many Oscars have been gained that way, as many winners are not in much of note again.
     
  5. GMfan87'

    GMfan87' Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT.
    Good point, never thought of. Besides they bonded over this illicit thing they were doing , he got to feel superior to Jesse and show a different face then he could at home.
    Speaking of Jesse in season 5 the young guys who buy the drugs from Salamanca gang and end up having Saul represent them, so close to the way Jesse and his dopey friends looked and acted.
     
  6. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    Agreed, but I think of good actors who do not write as similar to good musicians who do not write music: you need good material to shine. You can be the greatest actor in the world, but if you do not have a good script or good director, you probably aren't going to excel 99 times out of 100.
     
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  7. wondergrape

    wondergrape Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    Who are your favorite actresses, @misterjones ?
     
  8. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    On that note, Sky as written was constantly breaking character. The writers just couldn't commit to how she would act as Walt became more embroiled in the meth world. So they tried to have it every way, and while I agree that Gunn did wonders with this character, the way she was made to whiplash around in her reaction to Walt was just woefully bad. I don't understand females, often, but I do understand good writing and BB often didn't achieve that level of quality. Not a huge complaint--it's incredibly hard to write realistic female lead roles, even in comedy. But it's possible. When you try everything, it just doesn't work, though. Contrast that with the disciplined writing in Sopranos that made Carm's range of emotions in reaction to Tony so compelling. Carm had what I would call a full range of emotions that allowed her to stay in character. Sky, not so much.

    Let's not forget Margolis, Jane's father. And Gus made reference to having a family and being a father, providing for his family, but this element of his character was never shown whatsoever. He was like a 2D character or ghost. A lot of shoddy writing going on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
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  9. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Andover, MA
    BCS, BB or in general?
     
  10. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    I know what you mean. To me, I always thought it was odd how the Down episode went down - with Skylar being passive-aggressive towards Walt following his fugue state and mocking him by repeatedly leaving the hours and not telling him where she was going and then the episode climaxing with her storming out of the house after his "tell you what?" retort to her demand that he tell her NOW what is going on - and then the next episode is like none of that happened. Things still weren't great between the two, but far better than I would have thought following how the Down episode went. And then by the end of the season, despite some real jerky behavior on Walt's part, like the tequila incident with Hank and Jr, she seems happy with him again, until he inadvertently slips when under the gas and gives it away that he has a 2nd cell phone.
     
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  11. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    Agreed. It was whiplash in a major way. But none of that seemed as clear a sign of breaking character than when she started smoking while pregnant. The writers did this to muddy the morality of all the characters in Walt's circle. But they didn't consider that, as defined from the start, Sky would never lose her $h!t like that. Then they had Jesse regularly losing his $h!t but suddenly appearing confident, strategic and refined enough to con his parents out of the remodeled home or convince a PhD cartel chemist of his bona fides. The tequila incident was a trip. Of course they get to have it both ways when Walt apologizes, another whiplash, but if they had more disciplined writing, someone in Walt's mindstate would never have apologized and would keep going further down that path of openly wanting to show he would hurt those around him. Writers were trying to have it all ways with too many characters and it weakened things.
     
  12. wondergrape

    wondergrape Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    In general.
     
  13. Bcorig

    Bcorig Forum Resident

    “Never give up on family”. In the bar, he reinforced Walt’s rationalization that what he was doing was morally justified.
    As far as Gus is concerned, used “a man protects his family” a couple of ways: to reinforce Walt’s moral justifications and as a veiled threat, eventually unveiled, that harm would come to them. I don’t think it was poor writing. Gus was Satan, he could be anything he wanted to be. Forced to look into the just murdered Maximino’s eyes brought him there. It hit me at the climax of Boxcutter, when he took Victor out,
     
  14. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    I don't disagree, but I think the writers themselves were confused as to the identity of the real Satan in the show. Gus was the "sort of Satan character", except that Walt was behaving evil for much of it and his maniacal laughter in Crawl Space may have symbolized his metamorphosis...but the greater Satan was the cartel that Gus managed to defeat. And how? Because he was able to create a better meth lab and a better meth distribution network...BUILT ON HIS LEGIT BUSINESS OF A FAST FOOD CHAIN. I highlight this because it was the writing gambit that makes Gus totally unrealistic for me. What legit CEO who legally operates a multimillion dollar fast food chain would want to turn it into a criminal meth enterprise like Gus did? It's just not believable that, after doing the hard work of establishing a franchise like Chicken Brothers, you'd turn to a life of crime. What was the motivation? Money? Not believable. To get back at the cartel? I don't believe that either because Gus had a relationship with DEA and would be able to work with DEA and other agencies to take down the cartel with less hassle and risk than trying to build his own meth empire.
     
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  15. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    I don't have a problem with some of the things you pointed out.

    Jesse conning his parents out of the house didn't take much strategy. Once he saw they were fixing it up to sell it, he went to Saul with the cash to buy it, and Saul then did the hard work to get the price down. Going off on the cartel chemist was totally in character since for as much of a wreck Jesse was at times, he knew his stuff about cooking the meth, so it was easy for him to lay the smackdown on someone who was questioning him about it.

    Skyler losing her stuff was in character made sense, too, as they made a point of portraying as the "nagging wife" from the start, like how she got on Walt's case in the pilot about using the wrong credit card for a tiny purchase, or how quickly she got on his case at the doctor's office about who Pinkman was before Walt fired back with the "get off my a$$" speech. She never had a problem getting vocal if she thought Walt was stepping out of line at all.

    Walt apologizing for the tequila scene made sense to me. In that moment, I think he was aggravated that Junior was looking at Hank more approval than Walt ("What are you looking at him for?!"), so continuing to force shots on his son was his way of saying, "I am his father, I will call the shots." And he was already in a foul mood after getting the good diagnosis about the remission at the end of the prior episode, so it wasn't going to take much to set him off. Remember that he then went on a fixing up the house spree after apologizing for that, almost like he was trying to re-establish himself as the good family man, that is until his pride got the best of him again at the end of the episode when he saw that guy buying all of the cooking supplies at the hardware store.
     
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  16. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Andover, MA
    I don't think I have "favorite actresses" any more than I have "favorite actors". Though such matters can be very subjective - hence, the differing views here - I'd like to think I at least can recognize a performance that moves me emotionally and/or strikes me as realistic, as opposed to a performance that seems like I'm watching an actress merely trying to be sad and/or angry and/or confused etc. (like Anna Gunn in the final season of Breaking Bad).

    Sticking, as we should, to Better Call Saul, I'd use the following as an example of powerful and highly convincing acting. Seehorn is so good here that I think she pulls Patrick Fabian up a notch or two in the process.



    EDIT - I don't watch much modern TV or movies, but I have been watching The Crown and would give Claire Foy top tier status. (She also was excellent in Wolf Hall.) But, as I noted, I wouldn't label her as a "favorite", though two-for-two ain't bad.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
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  17. misterjones

    misterjones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Andover, MA
    I think there are four reasons someone can win an award:
    (1) he or she deserves it;
    (2) the award is something of a lifetime achievement award;
    (3) the movie or series is very well done and there's a desire to heap as many kudos on the movie/series as possible; and
    (4) the person portrayed is a sympathetic character (i.e., the voters like, feel sorry for, or otherwise want to draw attention to the real-life, or even fictional, character).
    I suspect Breaking Bad's coattails were long enough to drag a few more awards across the finish line - (3) above. If anyone thinks Gunn falls into (1), that's fine. I don't.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  18. hophedd

    hophedd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse
    If I'm not mistaken, Gus owned only 7 restaurants, so it isn't like he was like Ray Kroc. And that would be just about the right size for his double life. There must be thousands of restaurant or other types of businesses (single-standing or small, local/regional chain). I've known of quite a few in my town, and there are likely some near you. Remember, Walt and Skylar bought the car wash, because they needed to appear legit, and stay ahead of the IRS as much as the DEA. Money laundering is a necessity for all these guys. And Gus actually seems quite believable, because his rigid sociopathy, which can easily be displayed as some sort of honorable, conservative occupational discipline, makes him almost ideal for playing that 'hiding in plain sight' role.

    It even felt goofy when he presented the real CEOs with his new seasoned curly fries (damn well made me hungry...), but maybe they were investors in him due more to the potential of his growing business, or maybe they weren't all that big, either. And I didn't mind scenes at the restaurant where he patiently taught employees, or did some small cleaning task. I had a restaurant boss (with multiple locations) who would do that, but maybe a couple of hours a week , if at all. The rest of the time, he reportedly hung out on his boat or somewhere. Okay, enough pitiful over-interpretation on my part. Helluva show, though.
     
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  19. GMfan87'

    GMfan87' Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT.
    I'm not sure how the Emmys operate besides it seems like they keep rewarding the same shows that are on for years but the Oscars have played politics pretty much since their inception. It seems who campaigns the most for the award quite often have better chance of winning.
    As for the subject of consistency of the characters I don't think they varied much to my recollection. Skylar could be nagging as a poster said or just more in charge of the household and she was pregnant so her moods could of been up and down.
    Didn't she resign herself to what he was doing and decide to help and try to keep family together for sake of kids?
    I think the final scenes between them were somewhat overdone and I didn't like that they didn't even want to hear Walt out. I know all he had done and they blamed him about Hank but still..
    Jesse was on drugs and normally didn't make good choices so for him to go against his parents and remember he was like the black sheep didn't seem out of left field to me.
    I honestly don't remember Gus saying anything about being a family man , but I haven't seen it since the show ended.
    I think he came from a very poor area probably and saw the money to be made from the cartel and the power and maybe he needed them to grow the restaurant in America. Once Hector killed Max he was hellbent on revenge and power. Characters like him imho do not need much back story.
     
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  20. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    But as presented at the beginning, Jesse didn't have the confidence to pull any of this off. He couldn't successfully negotiate with low-level guys like Krazy-8, let alone Tuco. So convincing an entire lab full of chemists working for the cartel was too much of a jump for me.

    Likewise, Jesse didn't have the fortitude to stand up to his parents. He wanted to please them, but knew they were ashamed of him. As presented in the show, his psychology was such that he even had to take the punishment for his brother's stash. It's almost like he wanted to be a failure.

    Getting the house from his parents for about half the asking price wasn't just Saul's doing. Jesse had to be able to stand up to his parents, lose his fear about devaluing the property with his illegal activities, and choosing Saul over his own family.

    In character, Jesse wouldn't have even conceived of doing this. He changed in an unrealistic way. Most people don't change, and when they do, it can take years. Not overnight. It seemed like Jesse and other characters were changing dramatically every other episode.

    Yeah, except how do you go from nagging wife to smoking while pregnant? That's like damaging an innocent being. Actually, as I'm typing this one possible answer occurs to me: Gilligan could have intended it as Sky's response to the stress of pregnancy to explain Walt Junior's birth defects!

    I thought it was twice that. Definitely a huge operation.

    You don't just create a 14-chain restaurant on the side as a the cover for having meth aspirations. It takes incredible hard work for years to make even one successful restaurant profitable, let alone a chain. And if you've done that hard work and made those kinds of sacrifices, you don't throw it away for no reason.

    Yeah, there was lots of corny writing and suspension of disbelief around Gus, but the successful multiple restaurant owner turning meth godfather was the one that I could never buy.

    Like I keep telling you, it would change week to week. She would be doing everything to keep them together one week, then the next she wanted her and Walt to be out of their lives.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  21. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    Location:
    America
    I will take these one at at time..

    -Regarding his confidence, once he and Walt worked together and he got good at cooking meth that was considered very valuable, relative to the market, he gained confidence in his abilities, thus it became easier to stand up for himself to the cartel cook, and remember that he was there with Gus and Mike, the latter of whom he had established a rapport, so in his mind he had backup, thus he had more balls than usual to run his mouth. Contrast that to him trying to negotiate with Krazy-8 on his own or Tuco with only Skinny Pete (who scared no one) there with him.

    -I think Jesse took the heat for his little brother not because he wanted to be a failure, but because he was looking out for his little brother and didn't want him to get in trouble. I always took that as a nice moment that showed early on that Jesse had a good heart in there somewhere, despite being a degenerate who cooked meth.

    -Standing up to parents became easy for him once they kicked him out of the house. I think almost any loyalty he had towards them went out the window that day, and then when his dad was pretty dismissive of him in the scene where he found out they were fixing up the house to sell it, he was like to hell with it. Remember that he was in recovery following Jane's death, and I think he was trying to let go of the past and, sadly, his family was part of that past he had to let go. And I think a part of him wanted to show them, "look at how well I am doing on my own without you" (even if that doing well was from illegal drug activity, but I am sure his parents were stunned that he had the money to buy the house, even at the reduced price that Saul swindled out of them).
     
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  22. Because often people have wildly conflicting emotions in stressful situations, especially if stressors perpetuate more stressors, with no end in sight. One is often confused, using multiple sets of logic, but finding it difficult to stick to one.

    We see this behavior in the stages of grief, when we lose somebody close to us. We find this in our approach to elections and pandemics. In military veterans. We see this during divorce, drug rehabilitation, and in criminal confessions.

    It is in these moments that we "break character" the most, when breaking character is the least of our worries.
     
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  23. jwoverho

    jwoverho Licensed Drug Dealer

    Location:
    Mobile, AL USA
    Rhea and Michael Mando (Nacho) have been the two revelations for me on the series. Outstanding performances by both. Kim's outcome is probably the biggest question of the show- we know what happens to Jimmy.
     
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  24. GregM

    GregM The expanding man

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    Jesse was completely lost and begging Walt to tell him what to say to the cartel chemists the night before he schooled them all. This is what I mean by whiplash. It just stops feeling legit and starts feeling very manipulative at a certain point. Would it have killed the writers for Jesse to tell Walt he felt he had the confidence to school the cartel chemists? Then at least you start to see a certain level of growth and maturity that's consistent from episode to episode and the character is moving from point A to B to C in a quasi realistic way. But it's too manipulative to have him losing his mind in self doubt the night before and then the next day have everything work out with barely a hitch. They're just trying to squeeze another notch out of the tension in the lab, but there would be enough tension anyway.

    You make great points about the purchase of the property coming after Jesse showed more maturity after dealing with Jane's death and going through counseling. He told Walt he embraced himself as the bad guy, which was certainly more mature and "keeping it real" than Walt. Yet shortly after buying the house, he's trashing the place and turning his living room into a mosh pit. Whiplash.

    I get that, and many of us go through crises that make us question our identity and force changes. I just find the way these characters are written to be unrealistic and manipulative episode-to-episode to try to squeeze reactions out of the audience instead of coming from a place where they're being true to the nature of the characters and their arcs. As a viewer it seems like cheating. They set up the identity and rules of the character and break them for no real reason. But yeah, it's still a great show.
     
  25. Yeah, but here's the rub: you have to be manipulative and seek immediate reactions from the audience. If not, the audience won't come back. That's how entertainment works.

    If you don't manipulate the characters into actions and reactions than you have no plot.
     

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