Breaking Bad: Better Call Saul

"Conscience gets expensive, doesn't it?"

Walt and Jesse acquire a lawyer in a very Breaking Bad sort of way. That is, unintentionally, and with a lot of comic relief.

Saul Goodman felt like a walking, talking stereotype at first: the cheap suit and awful ties, bad haircut and ambulance-chasing manner, the kitsch strip mall office decorated with facsimiles of the Statue of Liberty (inflated) and the Constitution. But he out-thought Walt and Jesse, and wound up with fifty thousand of their dollars. Saul assumed that being kidnapped, driven out into the desert, and being forced to stand in his own possible grave was a negotiating tactic. He was right, of course, but I think Saul's level of criminal sophistication is out of Walt's league.

Badger, of course, is a complete idiot. He correctly identified both cop vans, he knew the undercover cop was acting like an undercover cop, and he sold to him, anyway. It's a good thing that Walt and Jesse aren't ruthless -- yet. (I could tell that Walt wasn't entirely turned off by the idea of killing Badger.)

The take down with the wrong bench and the wrong bald guy was hilarious. It was obvious from his face that Hank guessed that Jimmy In and Out wasn't Heisenberg.

The El Paso DEA sent Hank home, and he didn't tell Marie about what happened in the desert. He was completely freaked, and not successful at hiding it. Walt told Hank that he had always been afraid, but when he learned he was dying, he wasn't afraid any more. Walt told Hank to get back on the horse and get... Heisenberg. The expression on Walt's face when he realized what he just said was very funny. Walt really does like Hank, doesn't he?

That Walt/Hank scene featured a painting over the bed behind them. It was a vase of flowers with a surreal blue sky background. Next to the bed was a vase of actual flowers that looked exactly the same as the one in the painting. What were they saying here about reality and perception?

Jesse the drug dealer is sleeping with his landlord Jane, who is an addict in recovery. No wonder her father has a nose like a bloodhound. It's a bit disturbing that she knows Jesse uses drugs, she must suspect he's a dealer, and she is seeing him, anyway. Uh oh.

And Skyler is dressing up way too nicely for work on Saturday. It's easy to conclude that she's dressing to attract her boss, Mister Grabby Hands. Is she really contemplating cheating, or is she acting out a bit because she's feeling upset and trapped? I imagine Walt will not be pleased when he realizes what is going on. Of course, Walt has a secret life, too. Tit for tat.

Bits:

-- Jane and Jesse were about to make love on a new, plastic covered mattress. A little more symbolism there.

-- Walt has apparently lost all tact he might have ever had as a teacher. "40. NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!"

And pieces:

-- The episode began and pretty much ended on the bench with the Saul Goodman "Better Call Saul" ad on it.

-- Walt is still coughing. It gave him away to Saul.

-- The pom pom ski hats from the factory robbery were back. :) Walt also donned a disguise to approach Saul.

-- Badger's real name is Brandon Mayhew. Apparently, Saul's is McGill; he just pretends to be Jewish because it's expected. Unless that was a story, too.

-- Saul's company is called Ice Station Zebra Associates, after a movie that appears to be a guilty pleasure of sorts. One of its stars was Patrick McGoohan, who was filming The Prisoner at the time. The wikipedia page mentions its use in Breaking Bad.

-- DJ Qualls played the undercover cop. He absolutely looks like he could be an addict.

-- There were several mentions of the Constitution, which Saul featured prominently in his ads as well as his office. Badger, what cops can say and not say is *not* in the Constitution.

-- Note that in his ridiculous commercial, Saul's two prospective customers were obviously guilty.

Quotes:

Hank: "The things I deal with? You and me don't have much of a, what you might call 'an experiential overlap'."
Walt: "What if I told you we do?"

Saul: "Son, I promise you this. I will give you the best criminal defense that money can buy."

Saul: "Look at you. Should I call the FBI and tell them I found D.B. Cooper?"
I didn't know who that was. Check it out. Saul is pretty observant, looking at Walt and immediately comparing him to a legendary criminal who got away with it. Although it did take him too long to realize Walt was Badger's boss, not his uncle.

Jesse: "And Badger's gonna spill?"
Walt: "Like the Exxon Valdez."

Three out of four really ugly ties,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

8 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

Yea, Saul! Such a great character. He's the comic gift that keeps on giving, and he's also a very shrewd and extremely clever lawyer. Plus, he's exactly the lawyer that Walter White and Jesse Pinkman would inadvertently acquire in this misbegotten business of theirs. Wonderful!

Gus Brunetti said...

Saul is definitely one of the best characters in a show full of great characters. A fave.

drnanamom said...

I also love Saul. In the unrelenting *&()%-up that is Walt's life he is a welcome dose of smart, straight-forward criminal. I'm not sure what that says about the show or me that I admire that :). Plus, as everyone else has said - he's funny.

Gus Brunetti said...

It was a good call to cast a comedian for the part. Like Hugh Laurie as House.

Patryk said...

It's hard to think now that Saul wasn't in the show from the start. He's a a great character and this is a wonderfull episode.

Also DB Cooper was a plot point in Prison Break so I bet many people recognized him at least from there.

Suzanne said...

The look on Hank's face during the arrest scene was priceless. He defintely knew something wasn't right. I also enjoyed the comic effect of Walt's phoney run in with Hank during the arrest.

Banastal said...

I am just now catching up on this show and just watched this episode. The quote that got stuck in my head that I LOVED and I am surprised I did not see mentioned here (maybe I missed it): "You don't need a criminal laywer, you need a criminal laywer". I thought it was soo funny because looks like in cases like that so true. I think this quote should be included in the "quotes" section.

Josie Kafka said...

It's like the writers have a time machine and a mind-reading device: just when I was thinking this show might be too dark for me, they do a comic episode.

This was hilarious, and not just because of the awesome DJ Qualls. I loved the bench mix-up. And Saul seems like a great character. I love the edge in his voice when he said "Better Call Saul" to Walt in the classroom.