The 2016 Emmy nominations were announced at 1:30am local time yesterday, and I decided that I’d sleep through it. I’m perfectly happy with that decision. I don’t really have much to say about the Emmy nominations that haven’t already been said, but as usual there are some things that are great, and some not so great. You can find the full list of nominations here (okay, it’s not the full list, it excludes the Creative Arts categories, which I’ll peruse later).
Mike: It’s Ehrmantraut. You still morally flexible? If so, I might have a job for you.
Jimmy: Where and when?
Being morally flexible isn’t as easy as Jimmy thought it would be – at least not with Kim. I wrote last week that I didn’t quite understand why Jimmy decided to take the job, and of course it was Kim. I have no idea what their relationship is, but Jimmy wants to find out. He’s also finding out Kim’s limits to his moral flexibility. As they eat pie together at the end of the episode, Jimmy tells Kim about the story he spun the police for the world’s stupidest drug dealer. Kim knows who Jimmy is and she likes him anyway, but upon learning that he falsified evidence, she tenses up. Kim takes her role as a lawyer seriously, and she warns Jimmy that if the wrong people hear about this, he’ll be disbarred. It got even worse when she found out that this wasn’t even a Davis and Maine client, but some pro bono work. Disbarment is a high risk for a client that doesn’t even pay.
Kim: So this is what a midlife crisis looks like?
Is Jimmy McGill having a midlife crisis? Maybe. He’s had a rough time recently with Chuck’s betrayal, and he’s wondering why he spent so much of his time and energy trying to impress his brother. Kim and Jimmy are both right – Jimmy needs a plan, but he also needs to figure out why he does whatever he chooses to do. Any sort of crisis that Jimmy is possibly having right now is deserved, but he realises he has to get back to real life. “Switch” is an understated episode of television. I enjoyed it, but I’m having some difficulty figuring out what to write, so this is going to be a short one.
The Golden Globes is the first big awards ceremony to kick off the awards season when it comes to film. The problem here is that approximately 1% of the films that have been nominated have been released in Australia. Last year I used a randomiser to predict the film winners, but this year I’m going to leave my film predictions for the Oscars. There are still distribution issues with television in Australia, but it’s slowly getting better, and I think I’ve seen most of the nominated shows that I actually want to watch. It’s been a good year in television, and I like the complete unpredictability of the Hollywood Foreign Press, so every prediction I make will be worth a grain of salt.
Saul Goodman was Jimmy McGill’s conman name, other than of course, Slippin’ Jimmy. “S’all good, man!” is a phrase uttered by people who are happy and carefree, and Jimmy McGill is neither of those things following the realisation that it wasn’t Howard Hamlin, but his own brother, who roadblocked his career as a lawyer. And really, it makes sense. Howard didn’t know Slippin’ Jimmy, he just heard about it from Chuck, and when he finally met Jimmy, he saw a man who was trying to turn his life around. Now Jimmy McGill is a man who did turn his life around, got a law degree, worked as a public defender and in his work doing wills for the elderly, stumbled upon a huge class action case. Jimmy worked damn hard to get where he is, and he deserves that job at the Santa Fe law firm, but he’s a broken man.
I really didn’t want my suspicion that Chuck was the one who decided not to hire Jimmy to be correct. However, when Chuck made a late night phone call, and Kim told Jimmy to take the deal that Hamlin offered him, I knew I was right. To the show and Jimmy’s credit, Jimmy works it out on his own. Jimmy’s a smart guy, but in Chuck’s opinion he’s not worthy of being a lawyer, which makes me think that Chuck is the worst kind of asshole. He lets his law partner take the blame for all the suffering he’s caused in his own brother’s career, then lets that same brother take care of him when he suffers a mental illness that makes him think he’s allergic to electricity.
The kicker is that Jimmy does all this legwork on a case (admittedly with Chuck’s help), then Chuck convinces him to take it to Hamlin Hamlin and McGill before stealing it out from his own brother’s nose, admittedly for a fee. And he continues to let Hamlin be the bad guy so that he can pretend the relationship with his brother is fine. What I really liked about this episode is that it showed that Kim really does care about Jimmy, and Hamlin at least has some sort of conscience, even if it does involve being the bad guy that Jimmy can hate. Hamlin tells Kim why he didn’t offer Jimmy a job, and Kim tells Jimmy to take the money, because she knows he’ll be hurt when he figures out that Chuck is the one who has been stonewalling his career. Rhea Seehorn is great, and her performance is beautifully understated, which means that when she gets mad it matters.
I have no idea what role Chuck will have in Better Call Saul going forward; this could be the thing that pushes Jimmy over the edge. He was denied a career at HHM, then he followed his brother’s advice and worked as a public defender. He started being an ambulance chaser and got involved with the Kettleman disaster, and when the Kettlemans maintained their innocence despite a big bag of money they were carrying around, he turned them in. It’s hurt Jimmy so much to do the right thing, and now that his own brother has taken away his first big case, he’ll probably change his name to Saul Goodman pretty soon. Or not, I don’t really know. But I have no idea whether he’ll ever want to have anything to do with Chuck ever again. I certainly wouldn’t.
Over in Mike land, he bought his granddaughter a puppy, and did a security job for a first time drug dealer who seems to work in pharmaceuticals. In the most awesome scene of the episode, Mike disarms one of the other guys hired for the job and takes away his four guns. It’s amazing that we knew Mike didn’t need a gun, but these people don’t know Mike the way the Breaking Bad audience does. Even if there are some people out there who are watching Better Call Saul without having seen Breaking Bad, they know how great Mike is in “Five-O”. Mike is the muscle on a deal with Michael Mando, aka Nacho, who works for Tuco. The deal took place without Tuco’s knowledge, so Mike knew he didn’t need a gun, because Nacho didn’t want it to get messy. What happens to Nacho? Will Tuco find out about this? Anyway, given that Jimmy has lost any hope of working with Chuck and Mike is starting to do ‘odd jobs’ for cash, I’m sure their paths will cross again soon. Certainly before Mike has to clean up Jesse’s house in “ABQ”.
- Are there only two law firms in Albuquerque? HHM and the one that represents Sandpiper? Because surely Jimmy could have gotten a job at another law firm instead of working with Chuck, even though it was his dream to practice law alongside his brother.
- I’m holding onto my wild theory that Jimmy is actually Chuck’s illegitimate son. I don’t think it’s likely, but it’s possible if Chuck fathered a child when he was about 15. If this is true, then Chuck is a worse father than a brother.
- The first season of Better Call Saul is only ten episodes long, so next week is the season finale! AMC renewed this show for a second season before it even aired, and I’m fairly sure season 2 has a full 13 episode order.
- I’m so bad at talking about performances in my reviews (I’m trying to integrate it more), but Bob Odenkirk was fantastic in this episode. His joy, his anger and his disappointment were all perfectly conveyed.
- I am all for episodes of television named after different types of cheese.
This is going to be a fairly short review (although now I think about it, I still haven’t edited my review of last week’s episode that I wrote on the train), because I just got Netflix and I want to watch some more Kimmy Schmidt. There’s also the fact that I didn’t take notes. “RICO” was a good episode of Better Call Saul, but it was very much designed to put the chess pieces in play for the last two episodes of the season (hey AMC, why are there only 10 episodes?). The great thing about Vince Gilligan and Co is that even their chess piece episodes are written well, so they’re always delightful to watch.