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September 2, 2014

Breaking Bad: Better Call Saul

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 27th 2009 9:42AM
Breaking bad in the car
(S02E08)
I'm starting to wonder if Walter and Jesse have turned into the Abbott and Costello of Albuquerque or the New Mexican Laurel and Hardy or maybe some other bumbling duo that have been attempting to do something so far beyond their ken that the fact that they made it this far is a bloody miracle. This show illustrated yet again how the unexpected situations continue to pile up around Team Heisenberg and by the skin of their teeth; they come out the other side.

Breaking Bad's creator Vince Gilligan should be winning more awards. He's just nabbed a Peabody, but there are Emmys in his future. Breaking Bad is that good. This level of writing, the complicated storytelling is amazing.


Walter's ambition to make money has blinded him to the danger of what he's doing, and getting Jesse to do. Then there's the moral ambiguity of dealing drugs. Walt doesn't even stop to consider the right and wrong of his blue meth, but Jesse had to stop and question his personal drug use when the new girl showed him that she's been clean and sober 18 months. Their moral issues then contrast to Hank's questioning what he's doing as a DEA agent when the fear of his job has started to eat away at his soul and threatens to make him inert. Still reeling from last week's episode, Hank was able to go into his old office and put on a show by acting the part of a tough guy. He wasn't feeling it.

The most significant development last night was the introduction of Bob Odenkirk's character. As sleazy, ambulance-chasing Saul Goodman, Odenkirk could become the Larry to Walt and Jesse's Moe and Larry Curly, thus completing the allusion to the Three Stooges. But Bob might be just the businessman Team Heisenberg needs to get their operation streamlined.

Presumably, the Badgers of the team would then be insulated from their own stupidity. Jesse's network of drug dealers is dumber than dumb, and Badger's sting in the opening -- on the Better Call Saul bus bench -- was proof positive. Not only did Badger see that the cops were watching him, identifying the two undercover vans, but he suspected D.J. Qualls was a narc. Still, he made the deal and wound up busted.

But it was the second sting that was really genius. As Walt and Jesse watched from a discreet distance and saw Badger's brain in action again, Walt gunned the Aztec and improvised a plan. While Jesse tipped off Badger -- "the other bench" -- Walt drove over to Hank's surveillance car, all surprised to run into his brother-in-law. His concern for Hank's well-being tied in to the early scene in the bedroom, and gave Jesse cover. Thanks to Team Heisenberg's intervention, a fake Heisenberg was arrested and will be locked up -- for $30,000 -- and Walt and Jesse can continue cooking and selling. Only Hank looked on with doubt about how neatly the loose ends of the case were tied together.

Finally, Saul showed up at Walt's school. If Walt had any illusion that he wasn't risking exposure, this shattered it. Goodman basically blackmailed himself into the business, but as I said above, Walter and Jesse could use a professional criminal attorney -- emphasis on the criminal part -- to grow the business. And more of Odenkirk is definitely a good thing, just like the rest of the show.

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Arclight

Saul Goodman = 's all good man

April 27 2009 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

"Conscience has a price."

This show is absolutely f-ing brilliant.

April 27 2009 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

This show just keeps getting BETTER and BETTER and BETTER. Absolutely brilliantly written, acted, directed and produced... Breaking Bad is simply the best show on television... by an easy mile.

April 27 2009 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mammola

This episode was amazing, and probably the best so far. I use the word probably because, well, I have loved previous episodes this much, but those episodes didn't have Bob Odenkirk.

This Saul character is such a brilliant piece of work. I will reveal my bias right away and say that I am a fan of Odenkirk, but I believe that the Saul character is a smart piece of writing on the creators' part. We don't know if Saul is 100% manipulative, how deep his abilities and connections lie, and it's clear he's not going to reveal it himself. Is everything he's saying equivocation, or is he laying out the truth for Walt to examine?

Can't wait to see more Saul Goodman in these shows. Although one thing does disappoint me-- Saul Goodman IS going to die. I don't know how many episodes it will take, but Goodman is going to be killed. I can tell.

April 27 2009 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tpp

I wasn't that fond of the episode itself, but the plot twists were great.

I can't wait to see where Saul, the criminal lawyer, takes the series.

April 27 2009 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Crow

"Odenkirk could become the Larry to Walt and Jesse's Moe and Larry, thus completing the allusion to the Three Stooges." I think you mean Curly (or Shemp) since you have Larry in there twice.

Odenkirk was awesome. Loved the interplay between them when they kidnapped Saul and he turned the tables on them. I think this is my favorite episode so far.

April 27 2009 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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