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Forums » Other TV Shows » Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 6: Off Brand

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  • Fluids
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    294 Posts

    Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 6: Off Brand Link to this post

    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Summary:

    * Nacho squeezes Gus for an additional kilo and gets a way with it because Gus allows it.

    * Nacho deals with an associate who is short on cash for his share of the business in front of Don Hector (to prove he is in control and reliable.)

    * Kim gives closing arguments at Jimmy's hearing.

    * Rebecca desperately tries to speak with Chuck at his house as he cowers literally behind the door.

    * Kim and Jimmy pop open a bottle of champagne and celebrate his 12 months suspension from practicing the law.

    * Rebecca interrupts the celebration and shows up complaining to Jimmy about her situation and tries to convince him to go and speak with Chuck and help him but Jimmy refuses. Jimmy knew she would hate him for this, however there appears to be a combination of past doings that makes helping Chuck impossible: the fear of suffering further damage to himself and his own career; a hatred for the betrayals Chuck has thrown at him and perhaps a measure of tough love; sprinkled with some ego at knowing he got back at Chuck in a way that really hurts. Perhaps Jimmy thinks the only way for Chuck to be cured is if Chuck does things himself (See: The Good)?

    * Rebecca finds Jimmy's behavior to be cold and that at least Chuck had the excuse that he was mentally ill and hopes they enjoy their champagne.

    * Mike attends a PTA meeting with his daughter to give moral support, however she has ulterior motives. She volunteers him to make a new playground for the school to butter up to fellow PTA members. He lets her know he's not that skilled at doing things, however he will do it. (See: The Bad)

    * Hamlin persuades Chuck to open the door and they share a bottle of scotch over the news that Jimmy got a 12 month suspension. He begs Chuck to move forward with other matters than his brother. Chuck agrees and they toast to new beginnings.

    * Chuck finally realizes he has to try and cure himself and tries to hold the battery that was in the recorder that brought on Jimmy's hearing. He braves the Albuquerque downtown wearing a Mylar suit that Jimmy put together for him to see just how mentally sick he really is.

    * Jimmy has Francesca reach out to all his clients to let them know about the hiatus so he can preserve his client base.

    * Jimmy is informed he is obligated by contract to have 9 more TV airings to the tune of $9K. Kim wants to downsize to cut costs.

    * Jimmy tries to convince local businesses to shoot ads to cover the costs to no avail by going door to door.

    * Chuck reaches out to his former Dr to help solve his issues.

    * Don Hector asks Nacho to have his father's upholstery shop front their drug business operations in New Mexico to replace the old front. Nacho poses a quick objection and it is asserted that he has little choice but to comply.

    * Jimmy's act of desperation at trying to find a way to pay for the TV spots causes the invention of running a TV ad to promote selling TV spots as Saul Goodman, the man who can help you advertise on TV and be a local star.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Overall thoughts:

    I liked pieces of this episode, however certain parts I felt had no movement. I gave it a 60 on Robin's scale.

    I think we need a term for using characters from two different shows together in the same show. Let's call it 'Show Stacking' (of characterization).

    If one of the advantages of *Show Stacking* BB with BCS is quick BB character insertion into the BCS story-line with emotional impactful results, the flip side (as other contributors here at the TV Critic have pointed out) is the consequences of knowing that the characters I am watching go on to appear in Breaking Bad. Therefore, any life threatening scene involving them loses immediate impact for me. If it involves them risking their lives to further a plot line then that gives the story away unfortunately. (See: The Bad: Comments on Nacho).

    The moments that work better are situations where the BB characters are involved with BCS characters (building character developments between the actions I know will happen), which leads me to thinking with all of those BCS characters: What happens to them? Do they die or are they still around? The most impactful thing of course is if something of consequence happens to them. That puts people like Kim, Mike's daughter and his grand daughter in immediate jeopardy; as well as Chuck. However we can guess that Chuck ends up insane asylum or retires and moves off to some peaceful, relaxing place with Rebecca. These results though would be a bit tropic and not as impactful. A more dramatic result would be for Chuck to totally implode; screw up his partnership with the Hamlins trying to get back at Jimmy and either be committed or commit suicide.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Good:

    * I loved the scene between Rebecca, Jimmy and Kim with the champagne. There's an nice mix of conflicts that I can see with Jimmy's response to Rebecca. I felt he came off to her as cold, yet ironically I know he isn't. I felt like I was in his mind as he was responding to her knowing there are a lot reasons why he shouldn't go to talk to Chuck; self preservation; tough love for his brother and maybe a touch of immature ego.

    * Chuck's deteriorated state is highlighted well with his struggles at trying to correct the issues brought out in Jimmy's hearing. I felt like I was in his head when he was squeezing the battery.

    * Hey!! Finally! Here's Saul! Kim seems to think he's full of energy (and perhaps full of BS). He definitely channels the part of Jimmy that is a shyster.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Bad:

    * Did Don Hector order Nacho to take the additional kilo? That lack of clarity made that scene fall flat on its face for me because on the one hand if it's Nacho's idea; then he's doing it proactively protecting his Don and possibly facing a penalty for making a decision without his authorization or complements for his actions. The consequences have to be minor since I know Nacho is in Breaking Bad so I know nothing will happen to him with his actions and where it is going to go.

    * It's also unclear if they were splitting product (Don Hector and Gus) 50/50 and this was Gus reaching over the line or if Don Hector was taking a sixth kilo to make it 50/50 (I am pretty sure there were 6 kilos left on the table after Nacho took the additional one.)

    * What is the purpose of Mike going to the PTA meeting with his daughter? Is it to shatter an image she may have been carrying from her brother about her father's ability to do anything? I just felt like those scenes didn't go anywhere, so they must be setup for something Mike will get into in the future.

    * The scene between Don Hector and Nacho wasn't tense enough because Nacho is in Breaking Bad. Obviously Nacho's father's business has to front Don Hector.

    * I would have thought there would be some repercussions to Chuck due to the hearing; questioning of his own ability to be a good lawyer I thought should have come up from the board; then again it wasn't Chuck that was on trial. It would have been great though if Chuck received a notice though for his own competency hearing. Perhaps that is coming? I am sure his partner is judging his competency to move forward with other business to keep their partnership going.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Unknown:

    * What tragedy lies ahead for Nacho's father (if any?)

    * What exactly is Off brand? Saul Goodman?

    * What's the point of Mike setting up the playground? Could it potentially be a hiding place or dumping ground for something or someone?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Show Threads:
    http://www.thetvcritic.org/forums/other-tv-shows/show/384
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • Aaronic
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    Community Member
    32 Posts

    Re: Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 6: Off Brand Link to this post

    Hey Fluids, great points as always, and you had some pretty good criticisms. For me they didn't apply as much a I'm much more intrigued to just find out how each of these characters get from where they are now into Breaking Bad an I think it has been captivating to watch as these characters make decisions that we know will ultimately lead into their standing in Breaking Bad. I give this episode a 69 out of 100, I thought it was pretty strong.

    First of all it's great to see Nacho doing something again. He's been almost completely gone for the first half of this season so it's a welcome change to give him a lot of focus this week. I think most of Nacho's scenes were perfectly executed, barring a few small things I will get into later. Michael Mando's brilliant acting really made these scenes impactful as it allows us to easily see what Nacho is feeling through very subtle facial tics, glances and stares. The entire cold open sequence was beautifully constructed to set up Nacho's distaste of being in the business, making him more sympathetic to us as he clearly didn't want to beat up Krazy-8 who he appeared to be friendly with. Another great scene was the scene with Gus and Victor as we see Nacho get a gun pointed in his face for trying to push forwards and take another kilo. It illustrates Nacho's displeasure of having a gun stuck into his face which helps to build up his frustration with Hector and his job which he finally starts to move forwards with in his final scene with Hector.

    Speaking of which, Hector was phenomenal as ever. There were subtle nods that Hector has had a stroke before which I picked up on in this episode. I saw some classic facial expressions from Hector that were reminiscent of Breaking Bad, which makes me believe that it is a stroke that will cripple him. More about that later though. I was satisfied seeing his rage, and the pills that he has to take to control it. Furthermore, his suggestion to use Nacho's fathers business was as cold as ever and it was what finally drove Nacho to the point of realization that he needs to do something about Hector.

    The big moment for me in this episode was Nacho hiding the pill from Hector under his foot. That makes it clear to me that Nacho has picked his father over the business and that he plans to do something to that pill that may end up putting Hector in the wheelchair. After some thought, I'm pretty sure that Nacho will enlist the aid of Jimmy and Mike to get this done and I think he will be successful. This could also explain the "Ignacio" reference in Breaking Bad which may be a result of Nacho putting Hector in the wheelchair.

    There were a few problems in this story though. As you mentioned Fluids, there wasn't enough clarity with what Gus' deal with Hector is so there wasn't as much drama when Nacho took the extra kilo as there should have been. Sure the scene worked well as character progression for Nacho, but it wasn't anywhere near as tense as it could have been because key details were missing. Another flaw for me didn't affect me very much but it would b a problem for a more casual viewer. The cold open worked because it was a continuation of the dealings that were going on in "Gloves Off" which was 12 episodes ago. Putting that much distance between minor storylines makes it tough to realize how the story works for the casual fans. Of course I'm not a casual fan so it had no effect on me, but I think there should have been less of a gap for this storyline.

    Finally, I'm going to move on to Jimmy's storyline. Nacho's story dominated this episode and seemed more important but that's not to say the Jimmy storyline wasn't excellent. I was more than happy to see Jimmy's film crew returning and as usual their operation provided several hilarious moments that had me laughing. In particular that final commercial as fantastic and finally introduced us to Saul Goodman in a simple moment that surprised me and yet felt so perfect and fitting. Of course Saul Goodman would be a creation for commercials. The storytelling is very strong here as well. Jimmy is clearly a more free soul doing these commercials compared to doing elder law, as evidenced by his lack of energy when making those phone calls early in the episode. He is more free making these eccentric commercials and it's only a matter of time before he embraces that. Kim seems to know this as well judging by here response to the commercial in a very fitting "huh" to close out the episode.

    Other Notes:
    -Howard is a very good friend to Chuck as we see in this episode. It makes me wonder where their relationship may end up if Chuck keeps pursuing Jimmy. I'm very intrigued by Chuck going after Dr. Cruz. I wonder what his next move is? Is it recovery or is he still after Jimmy?

    -Also how incredible was that sequence with Chuck walking through the city with his hilarious space blanket skirt. Excellent filmography made that the most visually impressive scene in this episode by far.

    -Mike's storyline seemed very tame in this episode. There have been many hints throughout the past 2 seasons that Stacey manipulates Mike and he lets her, but I'm not sure what that is leading to.

    -Jimmy and Kim's celebration early in the episode was a great moment. Rebecca confronting Jimmy was outstanding though and it was satisfying to see Jimmy finally leaving Chuck on his own, and yet it also seemed so cold for him to say that to Rebecca. Rebecca telling Jimmy that "Chuck was right about you" also holds some great irony to it as we know that Jimmy may not have been this way if Chuck had accepted him. In the end it's Chuck who is responsible for whatever Jimmy is going to become.

    -And to continue the Breaking Bad returns, we get Lydia! A great little cameo for her and it was also nice to see the industrial laundry location again. And not sure if it counts as a return since h's appeared already but it was nice to see Krazy-8 again. I wonder was the kid Krazy-8 was talking about Jesse?

    Overall I thought this was more solid progression from Better Call Saul with a few amazing moments. The story seems to be setting up for a big climax at the end of the season and I can't wait to get there.

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