Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Better Go to Work

Work ethic was the star of last night's new Better Call Saul. Jimmy and Mike both demonstrated a commitment to getting the job done, whatever job that might be, over dealing with their own issues. It was a good episode.

Spoilers after the screenshot

Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) takes a job at the slowest cell phone shop in the world just to have an excuse not to see the psychiatrist Kim (Rhea Seehorn) wants him to. I liked the way the decision is built up to. When Jimmy first turns down the cell phone job, it feels like the wrong decision because he's being lazy or stuck on his self-image as a lawyer. Then when he takes the job, it seems like the wrong decision because he's avoiding attending to himself. It kind of reminds me of The Phantom Menace sometimes (in a good way). I remember watching the kid and thinking, is it this or that decision that puts him on the path to being Darth Vader? Whatever he does invites you to find the angle where it looks like the wrong decision.

What kind of world do we live in where intelligent guys with active minds like Jimmy's are placed in a position where they're obliged to bounce a ball against the window all day just to pass time? This taps into some of the same tension as Breaking Bad--part of the reason that show worked so well is that you agreed with Walter White that he deserved something more in life than the kinds of jobs he was doing in the first episode.

I liked the stuff with Mike (Jonathan Banks) last night. Like Jimmy, he hasn't got much use for therapy and his compulsive detective work is prompted by a commitment to self-denial. We can see he's upset that Stacy (Kerry Condon) would speak about her anxiety over the fading memories of her deceased husband, Mike's son. That prompts him to take revenge on this institution that encourages this kind of emotional self-indulgence. The scene also reminded me of Jesse's group therapy sessions on Breaking Bad and, like Mike, Jesse finds a flaw in the very premise of the group therapy session. You may or may not agree with Mike or Jesse's motives but they show there are real flaws in the presumption that sharing feelings should always take priority.

There was also a pretty good shoot-out involving Nacho (Michael Mando) last night but I still can't muster any interest in his character.

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