Full spoilers for Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead follow.
Better Call Saul S01E09 – “Pimento“
I hate it when the internet is right. As mentioned last week, there is a hypothesis bouncing around that BCS can’t possibly have too much in the line of happy moments for Jimmy seeing as he has to be forced into becoming Saul Goodman come the end of the series, so the leather bound books and rich mahogany desk are not likely to be coming his way anytime soon. That his downfall would come at the hands of his brother Chuck though, woah. By last week it seemed apparent but up to then Chuck looked far more like he would be the one holding back Jimmy inadvertently. And after all this we now have to accept that Hamlin isn’t actually all that bad – he only refused Jimmy’s application for a job with HHM, twice, only under Chuck’s instruction and all the while he has still actually stood by Chuck. Not a good guy by any stretch but he’s far less of the villain that his earlier appearances in the season have suggested.
Jimmy is taking a deal from HHM to hand over the nursing home case and he has cut his ties with Chuck, with the final episode not even yet aired this first season of BCS has already given us more than enough back story to add a massive amount of depth to the weasel we all know as Saul Goodman. Yes, he was and forever will be Slippin’ Jimmy but for at least a while there he was trying to right the wrongs and make his big brother proud but through a combination of arrogance but also genuine principles Chuck is not choosing family above all else. It is a little hard to know how we should feel towards Chuck. His first rejection of Jimmy back when he first passed the BAR was actually mostly justified, walking straight into an extremely prestigious job at a top law firm after just receiving a shaky law degree would be a shortcut of the highest order. The second time around however, maybe Chuck is being a little, well, dickish. Worried perhaps that his little screw up of a brother could possibly pass him out one day, especially when Jimmy isn’t wildly allergic to the modern world as Chuck thinks he is. Oh and all of this was happening alongside us getting even more time with Mike. It is nicely organic how they are managing to bring Mike into each episode on mostly unrelated business but keep it all part of the universe as he follows a different path to Jimmy but ultimately, fuelled in this episode, they will both arrive at the same destination.
Severe props, as if it even still needs to be said, have to go to all of the crew behind the show once again this week, visually stunning once more and the level of work on BCS with regards attention to detail cannot be touched by anything else on TV.
Better Call Saul is available Tuesdays at 7am on Netflix
The Walking Dead S05E16 – “Conquer”
The Walking Dead don’t do season closers…but…nope, that’s it. Not entirely true this year I suppose as “Conquer” definitely ranks in the Top 5 episodes of all time, but what makes a great episode and what makes a great finale are two different things. Let me just say first and foremost that as a comic reader I couldn’t get over how tense this episode had me even though I reckon I know most character’s fates quite well. From Rick and his pistol purée walker to Glenn and the walker dog pile (we may as well accept we’ll never know how he escaped that one), I was genuinely worried for the lives of these characters. Kudos to all involved, it was a damn well put together episode. Morgan finally came back into the frame too and the Wolves were revealed, in part at least. That’s where most of this episodes problems lie though.
We have been teased about these mysterious Wolves since the mid-season premiere and come the end of the season we still know pretty much nothing about them and they still haven’t become a direct threat to our group of survivors. Whilst most shows end on a somewhat irritating cliffhanger and find you worried for the well being of at least one character, TWD seems to wrap up too much. Come the end of this finale there was no character in any jeopardy, no incident outstanding and in general things looked like they have the potential to take a good turn for the group (Deanna not included for now!). So for that reason we should be loving this type of a closer, except TWD lends itself to suiting the cliffhanger mould and furthermore, even though the main sequence of events would appear to be relatively solid, we still have questions. What happened to make Morgan the way he is now, all zen like a post-Apocalyptic Buddha? Well, who are these Wolves? To hell with it, how did Glenn escape that one and is he bitten? I have no issue with a show carrying over incidents from the end of a season into the opening episodes of the next one but TWD has done it a little too much this time around, ending the season on a comma instead of a full stop.
As some have professed, TWD is similar to Seinfeld – a TV show about nothing. We aren’t watching survivors on a quest to get to here or to do this or that, we are watching survivors survive. That said, the seasons need to have arcs, aside from the series long arc of nothing. So far no season of TWD has had a true arc, themes have bounced about and resolutions have either not come or have fallen flat. Again, great episode but just not a good finale. Here’s hoping the summer spin off series fills a gap.
The Walking Dead airs Mondays at 9pm on FOX and will return in October