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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 02 May 2017 at 8:39am | IP Logged | 1  

Based on the photos and the intel on the tape, I think we're moving to another con by Jimmy that's going to end with Chuck being committed, and thereby losing his own law license.  And I think Jimmy is calling in Chuck's ex to help him pull it off.
+++++++

That makes perfect sense, given the bmention of the address book, and the fact that we were reminded of Rebecca when Jimmy was ranting at Chuck, two episodes ago. If she left Chuck under acrimonious circumstances--especially if they related to Chuck's mental health--, then Jimmy would surely try to use that against Chuck.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 03 May 2017 at 4:17am | IP Logged | 2  

*Interesting exchange in the diner where Jimmy asks Mike for his opinion on Chuck.  Mike doesn't play ball and Jimmy looks disappointed, almost as if he was seeking validation for his revenge scheme.  Mike has a "This is a job and that's a far as it goes, I'm not your Dad" look on his face that's priceless.





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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 03 May 2017 at 9:42am | IP Logged | 3  

In their own way, the Jimmy/Mike duo is just as fun--and just as much an Odd Couple--as Walt and Jesse.
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 05 May 2017 at 8:26am | IP Logged | 4  

Speaking of Jimmy/Mike, what exactly is the status of their working relationship at the moment? I forget the details from Season 2. Do they pay each other for their services? I was a bit surprised to find Jimmy willing to get involved in Mike's task for him at Los Pollos. Anyway, I liked how Mike had an appreciation for doing a more innocent task, and noticed how he was reading Handyman magazine in the parking lot both after the scene in the diner.

BTW in the podcast they said that the pool scene with Don Eladio takes place around 1999, which wasn't clear to me. I had just assumed that it took place during the BCS timeline.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 May 2017 at 11:24pm | IP Logged | 5  

"Chicanery".

Man, this was great. After two seasons of careful buildup, we finally get some really good payoff. This almost felt like a season finale, but we're only at the halfway point!

I'm already an easy mark for this show, but this episode sweetened the deal for me with the guest-appearance by John Getz (who played Stathis Borans in THE FLY). Very nice.

And...Huell! I knew he was coming when the veterinarian made that comment about someone who couldn't fit into tight spaces, and, having seen BREAKING BAD, it was obvious that he was planting something on Chuck in the hallway. But, it was still immensely satisfying to see everything play out, with Chuck making a spectacle of himself on the stand. 

Despite the fact that we pretty much know that Jimmy has to come out on top of this situation (since Saul Goodman was still practicing law--well, his version of it--during BREAKING BAD), the tension of the courtroom drama and the chess game between the McGill brothers is still really gripping stuff. Just as much as the goings-on with Mike, Gus, and the cartel (which took a backseat, this week).

Halfway through the season, and so much has already happened!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 May 2017 at 11:36pm | IP Logged | 6  

Speaking of Jimmy/Mike, what exactly is the status of their working relationship at the moment? I forget the details from Season 2. Do they pay each other for their services? I was a bit surprised to find Jimmy willing to get involved in Mike's task for him at Los Pollos. Anyway, I liked how Mike had an appreciation for doing a more innocent task, and noticed how he was reading Handyman magazine in the parking lot both after the scene in the diner.
+++++++++

Mike initially reached out to Jimmy during the first season just so he could use him as a distraction for the police who were investigating him. From there, it's sort of become a case of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours". Doesn't seem like money's being exchanged for these out-of-court "favors" between them. Of course, by the time of BREAKING BAD, Mike will be employed as a private investigator for Saul, while also secretly(?) working for Gus at the same time.
++++++++++

BTW in the podcast they said that the pool scene with Don Eladio takes place around 1999, which wasn't clear to me. I had just assumed that it took place during the BCS timeline.
+++++++

There are always contextual clues for the flashbacks. They're all given a simulated "bleach bypass" process in the color-timing, which makes the shadows deeper, and the colors are desaturated. And, of course, the flashbacks are written in such a way that, if you're paying attention, you can figure out roughly when they're supposed to take place, even if it takes a few viewings to do so. Heck, I found myself doing the math throughout this latest episode's 12(!)-minute opening teaser to figure out the when and what of it.

In the case of last week's teaser, it was clearly supposed to take place a few years before BCS' "present-day", with Gus' successful new business overshadowing Hector's. It didn't hurt that the ice cream truck driver who was with Hector at Don Eladio's place is the same guy who Mike robbed and bound, last season, and who was questioned/tortured and executed by the Hector and the Salamanca cousins while Mike was preparing to assassinate Hector. 
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 09 May 2017 at 3:33pm | IP Logged | 7  

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I'm gonna just come right out and say it. I like this show more than BREAKING BAD. I can't even tell you why. I just absolutely love it. And I love BREAKING BAD, too, but I'm finding BCS much more engrossing. And the BB references just make it that much better. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 09 May 2017 at 5:54pm | IP Logged | 8  

There's really nothing I can say about the last episode other than I
loved every bit of it.
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Michael Arndt
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Posted: 09 May 2017 at 7:41pm | IP Logged | 9  

Great episode all the way around from everyone.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2017 at 8:51pm | IP Logged | 10  

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I'm gonna just come right out and say it. I like this show more than BREAKING BAD. I can't even tell you why. I just absolutely love it. And I love BREAKING BAD, too, but I'm finding BCS much more engrossing. And the BB references just make it that much better. 
++++++++

Y'know, there's something to be said for this. BCS has taken all of the lessons and experience from BREAKING BAD and created a more subtle, more deliberately plotted, and perhaps even more mature narrative. Less flash and dazzle with the drug world, more real-world-ish character dynamics. And, of course, BCS is nowhere near as dark, violent, and disturbing as BB. It's much friendlier to the audience...so far...and therefore easier to watch casually. It's not life-and-death situations from week to week, which makes for a more pleasant viewing experience, I suppose.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 09 May 2017 at 9:45pm | IP Logged | 11  

This past episode was electrifying (no pun intended... er, maybe just a little).

*While I don't think Jimmy will get disbarred I do think he may get a one or two year suspension.

*Chuck describes his divorce from Rebecca as amicable -- it'll be interesting to hear Rebecca's opinion on that.  It's possible her work/travel schedule made a long distance marriage unfeasable but I think there's something more to it than that. 

*The best fictional characters are almost always obsessives, if not compulsives.  It makes them memborable characters and it's usually the engine that drives interesting drama.   An O-C personality isn't born overnight  and it's not unusual for such individuals to switch to new obsessions once other ones are 'cured'.  Chuck was most likely a perfectionist when he was married, and they've dropped more than a few hints that this personality quirk was a destructive force in the dissolution of said marriage.  The EM sensitivity is just another manefestation of this obsessive personality trait.  Chuck's newest obsession?  He's now a self-styled proptector of "the sacred law" from the grubby mailroom hands of Jimmy -- sometimes to the point that it temprorarily overrides his EM sensitivity.   

*I'm sure Chuck doesn't realize that electricity and magnetism are intricately related, so the cassette tape should also be causing him problems just as much as any electrical device.   Of course, it's only a problem unless Chuck *perceives* it as a problem.   He'll quote you papers proving his affliction is real but don't you dare attempt to define reality for him.  Only he is allowed to do that.

*It was very interesting to see Howard squirm a bit during the disbarrment proceedings.   It's not a stretch to see that HHM was enabling Chuck's illness out of fear of losing him as a partner or worse, him cashing out and bankrupting the firm.  Howard looked about two feet tall when Chuck went on his rant about Jimmy.   There's a very good reason why you don't see or hear anything about HHM by the time of Breaking Bad and I think we are seeing the beginning of the end for that law firm.

*Kim's assessment of Rebecca seemed odd.  What kind of person was Kim expecting?

*I don't think Chuck realizes that his scheme essentially got Ernesto fired (definitely from Chuck-duty but also likely from the HHM mailroom -- see my earlier comment about HHM not wanting to rock the boat with Chuck).  I hope we see some closure for 'Nesto. 


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 09 May 2017 at 9:50pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2017 at 11:17pm | IP Logged | 12  

It was very interesting to see Howard squirm a bit during the disbarrment proceedings.   
+++++++++

Patrick Fabian is just stellar in the role, isn't he? Hamlin was sort of set up as a red-herring "bad guy" in the first season, but has been gradually revealed as a very decent and interesting guy. Of the entire main cast, he's arguably the one and only straight-arrow, both morally and legally. 
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 09 May 2017 at 11:24pm | IP Logged | 13  

"It was very interesting to see Howard squirm a bit during the disbarrment proceedings."

THIS had me cracking up today.
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Nelson Zeppilli
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Posted: 10 May 2017 at 6:57am | IP Logged | 14  

I too tend to think Better Call Saul is even better than Breaking Bad which, while already very good from the start, really fleshed out over the course of the first seasons.

Considering "Chicanery", I am once again amazed how the writers drive us to pick side for Jimmy when we know the scumbag he will become. It could be reasonably argued that Chuck, leaving aside his revenge fullness, is the one who's right about all this. On the other hand, some would argue that Chuck created Saul.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 May 2017 at 8:33am | IP Logged | 15  

As I've often noted, BREAKING BAD deliberately played a masterful tug-of-war game with the audience's sympathies in a way never really done before on television. You may not have agreed with Walter White's initial decision to become a criminal, but it was done in such a way that you could at least understand why he did it.

...or so you thought. As the series went on, Walt's true motives (and constant justifications for his increasingly monstrous actions) became clearer and clearer. Yet, there was a faction of fans who stuck with Walt and rooted for him right to the very end, and who also deeply hated Skyler White and her attempts to "ruin everything for Walt". Something about the show really hit a nerve regarding certain viewers' deep, dark power fantasies and mysogenistic tendencies. 

When it comes down to it, objectively speaking, Skyler White was very much a victim, and very much in the right (at least early on, before she became reluctantly complicit in Walt's crimes). Her husband was a liar, a criminal, and a murderer, and her life and her family were destroyed because of it. But, Walt was our viewpoint character, and a disturbing amount of people gave him a pass for his reckless and horrifying choices. 

In the case of BCS, I'd almost argue that the story of Jimmy McGill is objectively more of a tragedy than that of Walter White, because Jimmy legitimately has a good heart, yet ends up becoming a sleazy criminal. Walter White was pretty much a potential monster who found the right conditions to let that inner monster out. Jimmy made honest attempts to live a straight and honorable life and make his big brother proud (despite his inability to resist breaking the rules), but is now being forced down the path of becoming Saul Goodman by Chuck's hate and jealousy.

As I've also noted, it's been easy to forget just what a sleazebag Saul Goodman is--suggesting murder as a solution for problems, and boasting about his massages "to completion". This is a far cry from big-hearted Jimmy McGill and his loving, monogamous relationship with Kim Wexler. I find myself increasingly worried about just what will cause Jimmy to abandon his core principles and embrace a life of crime, because even his pain and sense of betrayal over this Chuck thing hasn't quite done it.

There was also a nice callback to BB, in this episode, when Jimmy asked Chuck if he'd have lied to his family about his condition if it had been lung cancer. Which, of course, is exactly what Walt did. The fact that Jimmy asked that question demonstrates the difference between Jimmy (at this point, at least), and Walt. Thanks to his pride and ego, Walt kept his cancer secret from his family for quite some time. Jimmy, on the other hand, is all about being honest with his loved ones, and trying to help them when they're in need, even if it might mean breaking the law. Walt broke the law ostensibly to provide for his family after he was gone, but it was really always about him and his lust for power and control.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 10 May 2017 at 8:35am
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 10 May 2017 at 8:47am | IP Logged | 16  

I agree, right now, Jimmy's ethics are flexible, but he's primarily motivated by concern and loyalty for his family and friends.  What we're seeing now is the stripping away first of the last bit of his family, Chuck, and I have a feeling eventually also Kim, which will leave just the flexibility and willing to do whatever it takes to get by, but aimed purely at self-preservation.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 10 May 2017 at 1:15pm | IP Logged | 17  

Thinking more about Chuck, I think that Jimmy just chose the one thing that Chuck couldn't abide.  A big part of his identity seems to be that he's the one who does everything right.  He's the loyal, responsible son.  He's the successful attorney.  He married an attractive, successful woman.  I think this is a big part of his resentment of Jimmy.  Despite him doing everything right and Jimmy doing everything wrong, their parents, their circle of friends, and even Chuck's wife seem charmed by Jimmy and to like him more than they like Chuck.  Chuck is fine with Jimmy as long as its him stepping in to get Jimmy out of trouble or getting him a job in the mailroom, where Chuck is the patron and Jimmy is the recipient of his help and charity.

So when Jimmy becomes a lawyer, Chuck can't handle the idea that Jimmy is now supposed to somehow be his 'peer'.  He can't handle the fact that despite him doing everything right, his marriage fell apart, and so he contrives a condition, of which he is an innocent victim, to explain all of the problems in his life.  And even though it was just juxtaposing two numbers, Chuck is completely unable to accept even the possibility that he would make a mistake in his legal practice that would hurt his firm and lose him a client.

From the next episode preview, it looks like Howard is going to be trying to get Chuck to drop his complaint against Jimmy in order to save face for HHM out of this whole thing, but I don't think Chuck is able to let it go, I think he's going to end up burning the whole thing down because to do otherwise would require him to compromise his whole sense of self.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 May 2017 at 2:18pm | IP Logged | 18  

So when Jimmy becomes a lawyer, Chuck can't handle the idea that Jimmy is now supposed to somehow be his 'peer'.  He can't handle the fact that despite him doing everything right, his marriage fell apart, and so he contrives a condition, of which he is an innocent victim, to explain all of the problems in his life.  And even though it was just juxtaposing two numbers, Chuck is completely unable to accept even the possibility that he would make a mistake in his legal practice that would hurt his firm and lose him a client.
+++++++++

A lovely touch in this episode's teaser was Chuck's lie to Rebecca regarding the power company, which involved the transposition of the numbers of his address with someone else's. Perhaps this served as Jimmy's inspiration for the Mesa Verde document fraud? 
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 11 May 2017 at 5:00pm | IP Logged | 19  

Wow we are totally on the same wavelength.  Greg, I was just going to comment about how the BB/BCS creators turned your sympathy for Walter's situation on it's ear through the course of the series.   I don't think I've ever seen a lead character in a series do such a flip but still garner sympathy and understanding from the audience.   Just when you think he's too far gone he turns around and leaves Holly at the fire station, for example.

Same deal with both Jimmy and Chuck.   

We know what Jimmy eventually turns into.  On the other hand they are upping the ante on Chuck, making him into a manipulative self-important jerk.  While I expect to see more of this (and probably most of the audience will increasingly hate Chuck as the series goes on) I also have a feeling the finale in the present will have some closure with Gene being 'rescued' by Chuck, in a way similar to how Chuck bailed out "Slippin Jimmy" all those years ago.
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 12 May 2017 at 1:52am | IP Logged | 20  

Best drama on television right now. Amazing episode.

Watching it I kept thinking about the classic Simpsons episode "Homer's Enemy": Chuck's resentment of Jimmy is completely justified, and everything he says on his "crazy" rant is true, but hey, we like Jimmy better so what can you do.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 12 May 2017 at 7:55am | IP Logged | 21  

Chuck as Frank Grimes? Oh, that's a perfect comparison!
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 12 May 2017 at 8:09am | IP Logged | 22  

Ol' Grimey.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 12 May 2017 at 11:31am | IP Logged | 23  

I think both series deal with obsession to the point of
destruction,Chuck is going down that route,Walt started
out with good intentions to provide for his family after
his death,but it soon became clear that his obsession
took over no matter who got hurt,i think it was
exemplified in the ep where he hunts the fly trapped in
the lab.
I am now going to re-watch BB because i`m enjoying BCS
so much!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 May 2017 at 9:40pm | IP Logged | 24  

"Off Brand".



..."It's just a name."


Well, we all knew it was coming. Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould had hinted that Jimmy's first real use of the name "Saul Goodman" would come under unusual circumstances, and that they asked themselves "What problem does becoming Saul Goodman solve for Jimmy McGill?". And they weren't kidding! That friggin' commercial was hilarious. It contained all the style and pacing of a classic Saul Goodman commercial (complete with Jimmy...er...Saul's repeated use of the word "better"). Brilliant.


In other news, this show continues to be amazing. We're now back to moving the chess pieces around, after last week's big climax. And, hey--Krazy-8! Victor and Tyrus! Gus scoping out the laundromat--with Lydia! As usual, none of these cameos and references feel forced. Lydia had already been established during BREAKING BAD as working with Gus behind-the-scenes to get the laundromat superlab up and running, after all. This all feels more like pieces of an ominous and unavoidable destiny snapping into place, rather than cutesy fanservice. Aside from Jimmy, Chuck, Mike, and Nacho, pretty much every major character in this episode will be dead by the end of BREAKING BAD, after all. And the jury's still out on the latter three characters.

Perhaps most intriguingly, Nacho is clearly feeling the pressure of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, and is starting to look for a way out of it. Nacho's an interesting character (and Michael Mando is really wonderful in the role), and it's about time that he came more to the foreground of the show. I get the feeling that he may end up having something to do with Hector ending up in that wheelchair, rather than Gus, as everyone has assumed. Looks like he's gonna find out what Hector's taking pills for, and exploit that weakness, especially now that Hector wants to drag Nacho's civilian father into the business.

And, could Chuck actually be seeking out professional help for his condition? Will he really let go of his grudge against Jimmy, and try to move forward? We'll see.

Yeah, I'm calling it--best drama on TV, and a worthy successor to BREAKING BAD. Love it.
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Nelson Zeppilli
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Posted: 16 May 2017 at 6:38pm | IP Logged | 25  

I really love this show. The best on TV, I would agree, Mr. Kirkman. That episode was a rather quiet one, placing the pieces for the last episodes' game, but managed to be very, very enjoyable.

A few observations:

Early on, we watch Hector getting a coffee, and I liked how showing him being careless with his guys and sloppily throwing his dirty plastic spoon on the table emphasized how opposite he is to Gus and his extreme care and neatiness.

It's nice to see Kim and Jimmy getting along fine but how long will it last? In her court speech, the last words of Kim (if I recall correctly) are: «Betrayed by his only living blood-relative, Jimmy snapped. Wouldn't you? I might. » Is it foreshadowing?

Chuck's not done. At the end of the last episode, we saw him broken but, contrary to what we might have imagined, Harry's not letting him down and Chuck decides to overcome his mental illness (good luck, by the way). It could mean Chuck will be back with a revenge plan. In his eyes, Jimmy once again lied, cheated with the law, hurt people and got away with it. With his huge ego, I tend to think Chuck didn't get Harry's memo and feels reinforced in his hate for his brother.

Harry says it's a turning point for Chuck but it is also for Jimmy. As Rebecca says to him: "You got what you wanted. Now it's time to do what's right." To which Jimmy answers: "Yeah... no." and, instead of laying low for a year, he (for what would appear noble reasons, as Chuck observed) decides to keep the office, meaning having to find money and, on an impulse, plays again around the law to sell his publicity spaces without having the right to sell them. He lies to his clients too on the phone, selling his one year sanction as an « agreement with the bar ». But again he seems so genuine when talking to the war veteran, how can we not like him? And it's great that Odenkirk got a chance to go into full comedy mode again. He's so great at it.

It was nice to see Nacho coming back heavily into the light. And damn you, Gilligan: you make us like a bad guy again!!! Him getting his feet (and his hand) on Hector's pill looked very Walter Whity.

Lydia's appearance was a good surprise but, at the same time, felt a bit gratuitous, in the sense that, for someone who wouldn't have watched Breaking Bad, the shot of her wouldn't mean much at this point.


One last thing: the writers threw in a "Bunny Lake Is Missing" reference and I just re-watched the movie two weeks ago (it's great, by the way).Having the film still very fresh in my mind, I have no idea what could be the hidden meaning (if there is one) to this reference.
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