Friday, October 12, 2018

Better Call Saul Season 4, Episode 10, “Winner”

The season four finale of Better Call Saul, “Winner,” is aptly named, as it offers up a great finale to another ultimately strong season of television. This season has had lagging moments, but when firing on all cylinders like it is here, even previously lackluster or mixed bag plots like the construction of the super lab come to life in new and exciting ways.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Better Call Saul Season 4, Episode 9, “Wiedersehen”

One of the questions Better Call Saul has raised, and that “Wiedersehen” addresses explicitly, is the actual effectiveness of Jimmy’s powers of persuasion. Just how charming is Jimmy supposed to be? On the one hand, his folksy shtick goes over really well with the elder care clientele he courted in seasons two and three, and many of the cons he’s run over the course of the series have been successful. Moreover, we’ve also seen him be an effective salesman, most recently in his burner phone business. Yet on Breaking Bad, Saul’s attempts to charm people always came off as smarmy and half-assed, and were often much less successful. Take, for instance, his transparent attempt to flatter Skyler upon first meeting her, and then his patronizingly explaining money laundering to her. Here and elsewhere (there are many examples), Saul fails to read his audience, which begs the question: How can we reconcile Jimmy’s charm on Better Call Saul with Saul’s smarm on Breaking Bad?