Full spoilers for Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead below
Better Call Saul S01E06 – “Five-O”
Better Call Saul take a bow. This week we were taken on a journey through Mike’s back story preceeding his arrival in New Mexico and sure enough a Jonathan Banks feature episode did anything but disappoint.
Maybe I’m alone in this one but I never expected Mike to have such a tragic past and that doubled the impact of yesterday’s episode for me. Wow, he has been through it all. We could deduce from his distance with Stacey that the demise of his son Matt was intertwined with his leaving Philadelphia but the fashion in which it was revealed was truly brilliant.
So Mike took revenge on the crooked cops that ambushed his son Matt and then went on the run in a sense to New Mexico, probably figuring at worst that he would at least get some time with his granddaughter before being caught. Again I have to come back to Banks who hit it out of the park this week. We all know Mike to be gruff and droll so when we see him this week being more calculated than ever towards his victims and then showing a massive range of emotion from loss to shame as he reveals all to Stacey was no small feat and massive plaudits goes the way of Jonathan Banks for pulling it off.
Breaking Bad produced some of its best TV with self contained episodes, not necessarily asides from the main arc but the likes of “Fly”, “Salud” and “One Minute” where the roster was trimmed are three unequivocal highlights of the series. “Five-O” is the first of these type of milestones to show in BCS and it’s not likely the last. Remember when we thought this show was a bad idea? Turns out sometimes lightning strikes twice. What is also great is that the crew are taking a full shared universe approach to the two shows. The fill in we now have on Mike enhances his character infinitely in Breaking Bad – his gruff demeanour, his reasons for turning so far away from crime prevention and of course his father figure approach to Jessie. It also made me ten times more enraged that a worm like Walter White kills him. Ah it’s just brilliant TV.
Better Call Saul is available Tuesdays at 7am on Netflix
The Walking Dead S05E13 – “Forget”
Ah The Walking Dead, what a nasty little game you’re playing. Without wanting to sound too pretentious here the comic readers are now at a point where they are getting an entirely different viewing experience to the TV only audience. More so than ever before TWD is adhering to the plot and beats of the source material and as a result nearly every single scene serves up two sides – one that provides great TV and one that provides ominous foreshadowing for readers. But as per usual I won’t divulge any of these future events but I will say we’re in for one hell of a finale.
So, Rick and his merry band have begun to settle in Alexandria. Even Daryl looks to be threatening to find some modicum of peace in his surroundings. First though, we need to talk about Carol. As I have probably said before, Carol is well gone at this stage of the comics and as a character she never hit the lofty heights of interest that her small screen counterpart has. Melissa McBride is absolutely killing it the last two seasons as she pulls of a character who has gone through a massive change in personality and ability from when we first met her. This week raised the bar again as she threatened poor little Sam with kidnapping and Walker disembowlment in exchange for his silence as she raided the armoury. What’s most interesting about this scene is that it was entirely unnecessary. She was a mother once, she could easily have handled it in a more run of the mill approach as a mother would to her child. Instead though Carol has gone full darkside. It’s a bold move by the writers and was executed brilliantly in the performance.
So the gang are all allowing themselves to get a little comfy in Alexandria but they and the viewers were reminded once again this week that Deanna is more than a little deluded. Nobody in the watchtower, still no move to arm some residents, nobody monitoring the perimeter – Alexandria is a miraculous place to still be standing really. What this episode did so well however was to show that Rick and the group are also at risk because each one of them with the exception of Carol and Sasha are allowing themselves to get too comfortable which, in this universe, vets you killed. Just ask Tyreese.
Of course it all came crashing back to us at the end with Rick’s Berlin Wall moment with the walker – he’s not going to forget what’s outside those walls, and that is how you survive. Even if this was the only thing I could think of during that scene: