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  • Fluids
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    Better Call Saul: S3E7: Expenses Link to this post

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

    * We open with Jimmy doing community service garbage cleanup taking a call as Saul. The caller hangs up on his pitch.

    * During his cleanup, Jimmy tries to get the malpractice insurance carrier to return his premium money for all the unused coverage he has since he has been suspended to practice a year. He pushes to speak with a manager. The community service foreman gives him 30 minutes for making calls on the job. He says 'it's better than nothing.'

    * Jimmy races off to shoot a commercial with his crew in a furniture store as Saul. He tries to convince the owner to sign up for multiple commercials, however he just can't swing the deal.

    * Jimmy continues to shell out $4,000 per month for his half a legal office he isn't using; against Kim's better judgement of downgrading. Sitting with Kim it's pretty clear to her that he is running through his savings and soon he will have no money. Jimmy pushes her comments off by electing to pay for the Chinese delivery. When the delivery man criticizes the tip he does a call back to the saying 'it's better than nothing'.

    * We cut to Daniel (Pryce) being shocked at Nacho's skills at breaking into his home. Nacho wants nitro pill jackets from Pryce and is willing to pay $20K for them.

    * Mike takes money from his cache to pay for the playground for the kids and his daughter's church group volunteers to assist him in building the playground. He is introduced formally to the very lovely Anita and he bonds with her showing her how to put grooves in cement with a broom.

    * Later at his 'night job' Pryce tries to hire Mike for his transaction with Nacho and leaks out his concerns about being whacked. Mike tells him to walk away or figure out an excuse to get out of it and wants no part of the transaction.

    * Kim meets with Paige and Paige relays that she went through the transcript of Jimmy's hearing and finds Chuck to be a pompous, out of control jerk. Kim starts going through FDIC requirements in Utah for Mesa Verde and loses it and apologizes to Paige. Paige is okay with that and Kim takes a moment to relay how she rationalized her actions against Chuck as 'taking down a sick person.'

    * Saul and his crew have to take the bus because his car has finally stopped working and try to run a spot for ABQ Music (Cameo by the Sklar Brothers). He agrees to do the spot for free and if their business increases they agreed to pay for the commercials at the agreement upon rate.

    * The free spot causes Jimmy to run out of money paying his crew. He didn't even have enough money to take a bus back home. The makeup artist he's been using on shoots tries to give back her money because she sees this, however he refuses.

    * Mike goes to his daughter's support group meeting and Anita talks about her husband. This seems to strike a chord with him. He's either smitten with her or feels he could help her with her unresolved feelings by finding her husband. He calls back Pryce and takes the job.

    * Jimmy takes Kim out on a dinner date. He tries to run a scam on an &$%hole he sees. She reels him back in and he plays it off like he was only kidding. Since they were only *kidding* both of them point out some other grifting targets they could run scams on. Kim appears to feel some guilt about what they did to Chuck and Jimmy doesn't and feels justified that two wrongs make a right.

    * Mike converses with Nacho at Pryce's meeting with him. He lets' Nacho know he is trying to pull something on Don Hector and to put the real pills back so he doesn't get caught or everyone gets whacked potentially.

    * Jimmy goes to the malpractice insurance manager and tries to get back his premium money since Jimmy is suspended. They refuse to give Jimmy back his money and tell him his premium insurance rates will increase when he practices again. Jimmy out of frustration starts crying and then reveals to the company his woes about community service; his car and his brother's mental sickness and Chuck's breakdown at the bar hearing and she takes notes. He leaves the office with a smile and then credits.

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

    Another solid episode, however the inconsistencies with Chuck and his current state dragged down my score and I gave it a 60 on Robin's scale.

    As far as I am concerned, Chuck is struggling to deal with demons and just lost it in the hearing. The hearing was Jimmy's hearing; not Chuck's. Kim and Paige acted like it was Chuck that was on trial and her and Jimmy had brought him down. If that were the case, why is Jimmy still trying to bring Chuck down by leaking his mental state and the transcripts on his hearing to the malpractice insurance company?

    I suppose that was more to show that Kim is not a vindictive person like Jimmy is or to show how differently she is put together than Jimmy. She rationalized her efforts at the hearing as clearing her client of wrongdoing and bringing down a sick man. Whereas with Jimmy it's about getting one up on his brother for sticking it to him and putting him in the financial and practicing position he is in now.

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

    * I loved how Paige could see what they were trying to do with Chuck. That being said however, what happened to Chuck to prompt this moment of triumphant nostalgia? (SEE: The Bad)

    * I loved the potential love interest moments between Mike and Anita with a little Twin Peaks like twist with her missing husband.

    * I thought Jimmy and Kim's dinner grifting dinner conversation was great; weaving in talk about Chuck. Jimmy's playing angles and it's clear to me he has cleared his conscience about any guilt towards Chuck. He's doing what he needs to do to survive. It justifies and propels his existence and his modus operandi. I can understand Kim's guilt purely from going after a sick man. I don't feel like they have brought Chuck down in terms of his status as a lawyer for her to feel any sort of remorse if that was what was supposed to be communicated. (SEE: The Bad)

    * I love how Pryce is a nerd with sports but is an idiot with his street smarts and common sense. It shows off the intelligence of all the under world characters; including Mike.

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

    * I am having trouble finding the source of Kim's guilt with Chuck. It's not making sense to me. They have never addressed what happened to Chuck during Jimmy's hearing. He lost it and then there was just Kim's final arguments. We heard Jimmy's sentence from the board through the champagne celebration, however we have never seen what the board had to say specifically to Chuck regarding his comments. We have never seen Chuck receive any hearing notice. As far as I am concerned there were no consequences that I can see to Chuck. So Kim feeling guilty saying they brought down a sick man left me kind of puzzled. He hasn't been brought down; not through my eyes. I have seen him struggle with his afflictions in the down Albuquerque traffic and at home and making promises to Howard; that's it. So for me, there's a disconnect of some story elements in Kim's conversation with Paige and also Paige's comments about Chuck.

    * Surely there is more than one malpractice insurance company available for law firms to use. What was the point in leaking in the information about the transcripts to this one? Is it because HHM has their policy there as well? Can't they just go somewhere else and get a better rate? or is it more about once one insurance company raises their rates or denies insurance to a lawyer due to mental incompetence wouldn't all of them do the same? I am not sure. So I see HHM paying higher rates for their malpractice insurance that's about it. I don't see how that would bring down Chuck.

    * I think they should have done a better take of Kim's breakdown with Paige. She should have snapped a little bit more for me, however that's my taste. If it was too much it would have been overacting. I think Rhea Seehorn underacted in that scene.

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

    * Will Mike try and find out what happened to Anita's husband for her? Or will he end up falling for her himself?

    * Will Saul finally get some business from the free spots with ABQ? (Hopefully we get to see the Sklar Brothers again and in a commercial.)

    * Does anyone think that Anita's husband just abandoned her for another life? Or perhaps Don Hector approached him to be a front for his operations and he refused so he was whacked and Mike is trying to get to the bottom of that?

    * What exactly is or are the consequences that Chuck will face with the outburst at the hearing? It's not clear now, although Kim and Paige are acting like there were some.

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

  • Aaronic
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    Re: Better Call Saul: S3E7: Expenses Link to this post

    Great points as always Fluids. I thought this was another solid episode and it seems like the story is gearing up for something big at the end of the season. I give this episode a 67 out of 100.

    I'll start by discussing that excellent ending scene. Bob Odenkirk was nothing short of phenomenal in portraying what I at first thought was an emotional breakdown of Jimmy. But once I realized that Jimmy's true motives were just to raise Chuck's premiums as well I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. The acting was excellent and the storytelling made perfect sense. Jimmy is rotting at rock bottom and he just wants Chuck to suffer alongside him, no matter what. It seems that Saul Goodman is just around the corner as Jimmy seems to finally be changing for the worse at a rapid pace.

    Regarding Chuck, I definitely see where you are coming from Fluids. I wish that we had seen more of Chuck after the hearing to find out exactly what is happening with him. Instead Chuck has been a complete afterthought and Jimmy and Nacho seem to be taking centre stage instead. I would assume that there haven't been any major consequences for Chuck, just an impact on his pride and his viewing as a top-class lawyer. He will never truly be able to recover his public image after that again. But you raise a good point as the writers imply that Chuck is suffering horribly when he really isn't, which is a rare bit of poor writing from this crew.

    As for the episode itself I thought the content was very solid and enjoyable. Jimmy's story was filled with some excellent humour as we get to watch his life come crashing down around him. It's easy to sympathize with him as he is doing whatever he can to stay afloat but the people around him just seem to be pushing him down in every possible way. I particularly loved when Jimmy gave the deliver boy the $1 tip, using the "hey it could be zero" line that the community service guy said to him. That was a nice touch. Jimmy's constant struggle was shown well through a couple showings of him selling the commercials, which made the moment where he gave a commercial out for free really powerful and telling of how desperate he is. Now I am left to wonder where this desperation will lead him to next.

    On the other end of the story, Nacho is making big moves against Hector. We see that he plans to poison Hector and kill him, but what is interesting is that we already know it won't work. Hector is still alive so there will surely be some kind of complication, but now the question is what will that be? Gus, Mike, something else entirely? This story is setting up nicely and I'm very intrigued to figure out the chain of events that lead to Hector's wheelchair.

    Mike had some good moments as we see him try to live a normal life, but unfortunately he is sucked back n by the episode's end. I'm curious to find out what spurred him t do that though. It seems that something about Anita's conversation with him motivated him but it's not quite clear what. Mike had something else to ask of Nacho as well which I'm interested by. Hopefully that can clear things up for me.

    Other Notes:
    -No Breaking Bad returns this week but instead we get a Better Call Saul return in the form of Daniel Wormalt. It was wonderful to have him back as he was a really excellent minor character in season 2 and he produced and continues to produce many laughs out of me. The scene when he opens all of those security locks and walks into his house to find Nacho sitting there was absolutely hilarious and the perfect way to reintroduce this character.

    -Mike seeing Daniel and walking up to him was excellent. I loved that Daniel was playing a little baseball game device and his smile and "oh hey" upon seeing Mike was perfect. It was nice to see Mike reinforcing that Daniel should stay out of being a criminal.

    -I will take this episode to express how great the 3 film crew people are. They have no names but they always provide great comedy whenever they are around. And in this episode the makeup girl provided a nice moment to show that Jimmy really has hit rock bottom. At least he didn't take the money, showing that there is still a ways to go until he reaches Saul Goodman.

    -I liked seeing that Kim wasn't comfortable with how they made Chuck seem so bad in front of the whole court. Her character has different morals from Jimmy so a different reaction is to be expected. It was nice to see her struggle with this in her meeting with Paige. Your criticisms of this story didn't bother me a whole lot, since to me I though Paige's comments were an exaggeration to show how impressed she was with Kim and Kim's guilt was used to show how she is different from Jimmy.

    -The best scene this week for me was Jimmy's suggested con about that one guy. He wouldn't break his gaze and put on a deadly serious voice as he talked about the terrible things he would do to that guy. Kim gets clued into Jimmy's problems with this and Jimmy knows that he has clued her in and there is an uncomfortable silence for a few seconds. Then Kim breaks it by simply ignoring that entire moment and moving on. Simple storytelling showing a change in Jimmy and teasing the effects it could have in his relationship with Kim.

    Overall I thought this was more solid progression and there were some nice moments to make this enjoyable.

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