Saul: Halfway Through The Season

We’re now halfway through season 4 of Better Call Saul, so time to revisit my earlier predictions for the season and see if I’m anywhere close. Here’s the link to the original post: https://robertkirkendall.com/2018/08/06/countdown-to-saul/

SPOILERS AHEAD!

The first subject I tackled was the fallout of Chuck’s death. After much speculation I concluded that Chuck’s death would ruled accidental, his ex wife Rebecca would be named executor of his will, and Chuck’s final words to Jimmy would haunt him and push him into his transformation into Saul. The first prediction turned out to be correct, but with one wrinkle. The second prediction was technically false because Howard Hamlin was the named executor, but Rebecca was the main beneficiary of Chuck’s estate with Jimmy receiving only $5,000, so the spirit of the prediction was correct. The third prediction remains to be seen, but it’s been altered by the introduction of the sealed letter that Chuck wrote to Jimmy which was only to be opened by Jimmy at the time of Chuck’s demise. Chuck’s letter to Jimmy was stilted in its language, but also heartfelt and his best attempt at being supportive of his little brother, and perhaps in some way compensates for what Chuck said earlier.

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The aforementioned wrinkle about Chuck’s death being ruled accidental is Howard’s belief that Chuck actually killed himself intentionally, which ties into my speculation of Howard’s stunning confession. Turns out it did have to do with Chuck, but the body of the confession I didn’t predict at all, though it does make sense. I didn’t predict how much Chuck’s death was going to affect Howard, and that he was correct is his belief that Chuck killed himself intentionally adds to his stress. He looks frazzled by episode 5, and his admission to Jimmy that he’s been seeing a therapist twice a week convinces Jimmy that therapy isn’t right for him. Howard appears rudderless without Chuck’s presence, and it’s difficult to predict where his story line is going. In the promo for episode 6 Jimmy goes to see Howard at his office, perhaps for  a job opportunity, maybe Howard wants to replace Chuck with Jimmy, but we know there’s no mention of HHM in Breaking Bad so it seems that won’t go anywhere.

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My prediction about Gustavo Fring noticing the bottle of pills that Nacho Varga gave to the paramedics after Hector Salamanca’s stroke was accurate, though an easy prediction. But what Gus did with that information surprised me at every turn. I did not predict that Nacho’s vehicle would have a tracking device, that Victor would follow him and watch him dispose of the fake pills, that Gus would have his own doctor look at Hector, get tissue samples, and figure out what Nacho did. And I definitely did not see Gus killing Arturo in an ugly way right in front of Nacho to drive home that Nacho now belongs to Gus lest the Salamancas find out what Nacho did to Hector.

The rest of my Nacho predictions about his fate at the end of the season, whether he’s killed, disappears, or if he’s able to save his father, have yet to be seen. And now that he’s been shot, all a part of Gus’ plan to make it look like he and Arturo were ambushed by a rival gang, Nacho’s fate seems more doomed since he can’t go to a real hospital to take care of his injuries. Lalo, who I also mentioned in my prediction, hasn’t appeared yet, but I’ve read elsewhere that he’ll appear later this season. There have been released pictures of Lalo with Hector, so I assume he’s from the cartel.

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Though most of my predictions were somewhere in the ballpark, my predictions about Mike Ehrmantraut were mostly off course. I somehow got the idea that Mike was going to investigate Gus’s past, mainly based on a promo scene in which Mike says, “The guy’s story changes every time he tells it.” I thought he was talking about Gus, but was actually talking about another person in the grief support group that he attends with his daughter in law Stacey. Though after the way Mike called out Henry, the lying member, in front of the whole group probably means no more support group meeting for Mike. He’ll manage.

Mike’s decision to take his new job at Madrigal Automotive seriously instead staying home and collecting paychecks until his money is laundered is indicative that Mike likes to be productive and isn’t content with slothfulness. This eventually gets Gus’ attention, and he utilizes Mike to help vet potential engineers for his super lab, one of the main locations for BB. It now appears that Gus and Mike are now on the same page, but conflicts can still arise, probably over tactics and issues that’ll arise during the construction of the super lab.

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The next part of my predictions was the future of Jimmy and Kim, and how they were going to come apart. So far they’re still together, but there have been some fissures. Kim’s concern over Jimmy bottling up his feelings over Chuck’s death, Jimmy only taking a job when Kim suggests therapy as well as slipping back into old, dishonest habits, and an unease in the air are starting to separate them. They’re also starting to head down different paths. Kim getting into public defense work despite the plum job at Mesa Verde shows that she wants to do work that matters. It also shows she’s in touch with her moral center whereas Jimmy is moving into another direction.

I think Kim’s job at Mesa Verde will come to an end and then she can concentrate on public defense work. Not sure if she’ll resign or if they’ll terminate her employment, but probably the former because Kim won’t let things get to a point where she’s fired. But her new foray into the world of criminal law may put her into contact with the wrong kind of people. The brusque way she dealt with her defendant David seems to indicate that she doesn’t see the potential danger that lies ahead.

And then there’s Gene Takavic, Jimmy’s third persona. I discussed his scene from episode 1 of this season in my last BCS post, from him thinking his cover might be blown because of a receptionist error to the taxi ride with the suspicious driver who has an Albuquerque Isotopes air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror. I hope there’s another Gene scene this season, one a year isn’t enough. And since BCS will end up in the Gene timeline I predict we will see more of him, just not sure when.

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Getting back to Gus, something occurred to me a couple of days after watching episode 5. Earlier I speculated that Gus, being a Chilean, may have had ties to the Pinochet regime and the CIA. But after the scene in which he decides to hire the engineer Werner Ziegler and speaks to him in German, it got me to thinking how after World War II a lot of Nazis escaped to South America, and Gus is from South America…maybe there’s a connection there? That would make Gus even more insidious.

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Also wanted to say I was overjoyed to finally see Saul, the first BCS scene to take place during the BB timeline. The flash forward which showed him desperately getting his most important possessions together before disappearing and ending his Saul Goodman life while Francesca shreds documents was the perfect book end to the final scene of the episode which shows Jimmy resolving to be a lawyer again. They even shot the scene on film instead of digital to make it match BB.

That’s all for now, but I’ll add updates to this post as the season progresses. I’ll predict that the pressure will turn up on everyone over the next five episodes and force them to make some tough decisions. We’ve go some rough road ahead of us.

 

©2018 Robert Kirkendall

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