Thursday, September 27, 2018

Better Call Saul Season 4, Episode 8, “Coushatta”

“Let’s do it again.” With this line, Kim completely upended my expectations about where her story is headed, and where some of the tragedy of Better Call Saul rests. Throughout this season, I was certain that Kim and Jimmy were headed toward a break up, that Jimmy’s slow transformation into Saul, and his willingness to bend the rules and play dirty would be too much for Kim, and that the eventual emergence of Saul Goodman would become all the more tragic because it would come at the cost of Kim’s love. I could not have been more wrong.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Better Call Saul Season 4, Episode 7, “Something Stupid”

Season four of Better Call Saul has found its stride. “Something Stupid” marks the third strong episode in a row, this time by showing substantial developments in the deterioration of Jimmy and Kim’s relationship. It’s aided in no small part by an outstanding split screen montage sequence at the start of the episode (perhaps the best of many on this series), which not only shows us various ways in which Jimmy and Kim’s evolving careers push them apart, but also advances the story clock, moving past the uneventful passages of Jimmy’s suspension and landing us a month before he can resume his law practice (various date indicators suggest that the montage covers roughly seven to eight months, ending in January of 2004).

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Better Call Saul Season 4, Episode 6, “Piñata”

For the second week in a row, Better Call Saul delivers another strong episode by paralleling Jimmy’s past with his future, this time showing how Kim is central both to Jimmy’s decision to become a lawyer, as well as his decision to commit further to his criminal tendencies in the process of becoming Saul.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Better Call Saul Season 4, Episode 5, “Quite a Ride”

In my write-up of the previous episode, I expressed impatience with the repetitious nature of Jimmy’s plot this season, and the slow pace of his transformation into Saul. “Quite a Ride” corrects for this slow pace and then some, thrusting Jimmy ever closer toward becoming Saul, and offering my favorite episode of the season thus far. It helps, of course, that we actually – shockingly – see Saul for the first time on Better Call Saul (outside of Gene watching his old TV commercials). The episode opens with a flash forward to a scene set near the end of Breaking Bad, with Francesca shredding documents and Saul scrambling to pack his things and arrange a meeting with Robert Forster’s fixer character.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Sharp Objects, Back Half of Season 1

I wrote a piece on the back half of Sharp Objects for Cultured Vultures, focusing on character psychology. Check it out here:

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Better Call Saul Season 4 Episode 4, “Talk”

Even more than in previous seasons, season four of Better Call Saul has really seemed like three or four separate shows that just happen to air within the same hour. Jimmy, Nacho/Gus, Mike, and to some extent Kim have all been off in their own worlds, dealing with largely unrelated conflicts and problems. Your mileage may vary on which of these storylines you find more compelling in a given week. Arguably, plots related to Kim and Nacho could be considered more interesting, as the fates of these two aren’t nearly as predetermined as Jimmy, Mike, and Gus’s. Regardless, while the writers and actors are capable of making each of these stories compelling in their own right, Better Call Saul is most enthralling when these different characters and plots intersect with one another, as they finally do once again near the end of this episode.