We pick up right where the last episode left off, with a neighborhood newspaper heist, pulled off by criminal mastermind Chuck McGill. We’re confronted with two cops, who are about as dumb as all the cops in Vince Gilligan’s world. I don’t know why cops in his shows can’t be smart, reasonable people, but clearly, these guys heard “No Tasers please”, their immediate reaction was to kick down the door and fire a taser at the first person they saw.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Gilligan’s world that he creates, but for some reason, police officers, and to a lesser extent, random people inside his world (i.e. Non-named characters) are just dumb. If kicking down Chuck’s door isn’t an example of no probable cause and use of excessive force, then I think we need to talk to some new lawyers.
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Stuff like this going on in a world that normally exhibits super realism can take me out of the show. Even goofy potential clients like the guy who wants to secede or Mr. Talking Toilet make more sense than the cops who kicked down Chuck’s door.
Jimmy finds himself a niche in “elder law”, which, while boring and tedious, is probably better than defending idiots who have intimate relations with a corpses dismembered head (seriously, what a way to start the series). So, Jimmy gets done with 2 wills and a future trust, which is a decent start after his first two stops turned out to be proper kooks.
This show plays around with shadows a lot, more than most shows in recent memory. There are lots of scenes in dark places where the lighting is only on very specific things. In the scene with the lady with all of the figurines (including Alpine Shepherd Boy) as well as the following scene in the salon, only the left side of Jimmy’s face is illuminated. This side is the side with the hair part in it and the higher forehead. This is Jimmy’s exposed, real side. The other half of his face is partially covered by his hair, and we tend to only see that side stressed when he’s doing something questionable. I’m certain that this will come up later on.
So, Chuck is finally in a hospital and as a viewer, I’m hoping for some answers about his allergy to electricity. Jimmy is frantic to remove/turn off all electronic devices in the room, but one thing we realize by the end of the scene is that, in that room, that’s all but impossible. There’s batteries in most medical devices that use power (for backup), there’s power in every room on every side of him, and of course, there’s power being used by the very bed he’s lying on.
While there are a few insights gleaned in to Chuck’s illness, more questions are raised. Shouldn’t he still be in lots of pain being out in the world? Won’t living in the suburbs cause most of these problems to continue? Why didn’t he notice when the bed was turned on?
We’ve finally got a doctor saying that this “illness” is fake and is being caused by something else in Chuck’s life. Of course, if you just tased someone who was allergic to electricity, I assume that would be plenty to put them in the hospital. It’s like mainlining peanut butter to someone with a peanut allergy. Perhaps the fact that this doesn’t kill Chuck is the biggest indication that this isn’t an actual physical illness (as Howard Hamlin is afraid of at the hospital).
Back at Chuck’s house, (how did they get home, bikes?), Jimmy sees the newspaper on the floor and immediately connects the dots. He thinks that whenever he does something wrong, it makes Chuck sick. Again, we see only part of Jimmy’s face illuminated. This time, it’s the right side of the face, even from a far angle, that is lit up.
Throughout this scene, we get parts of Chuck’s face (left side) illuminated when he’s making his argument, and Jimmy, when he is being somewhat truthful, has most of his face illuminated, but when he has something questionable to bring up, it’s back to just the right side of his face being lit up. By the end, Chuck is satisfied (didn’t even ask for an explanation) and sheds his space blanket and goes and makes coffee.
We’ve gotten this far, so where’s our montage? Well, Jimmy, knowing how to pander like the best of them, gets some fashion tips from Matlock and heads into the retirement home with some complimentary jello. We wind up with a montage of old people eating jello (snack time!). We don’t get a badass song this time around, but there is a surprise at the end of the cup. Need a Will? Call McGill! Jimmy, dressed like Matlock, is going around the rec room shaking hands like some kind of local politician. No shadows on his face this time – he appears to be trying to drum up some legit business helping the elderly.
Finally we get another encounter with Mike and this time, Jimmy has the right amount of stickers (finally!). Jimmy passes him a business card, you know, in case Mike knows any old people. We go through a night and a morning of Mike’s life, boring and quiet as it is. Mike eats at a diner which we saw previously in Breaking Bad (but this show’s future…this could get confusing). He’s then parked outside of a suburban house and waits for a young lady to drive by – my guess is that this is his daughter, but that’s mostly based on what I know from Breaking Bad.
Ultimately, we get one hell of a cliffhanger when Mike gets a visit from, presumably, a few guys he used to work with back in Philadelphia. This end of episode cliffhanger is perhaps the only thing that Gilligan does better than the shadow playing, and of course, the ability of this show to make every scene they shoot look like some kind of incredibly deliberate painting.
Halfway down the stretch, this show is really starting to heat up. We’re seeing the development of Jimmy from a struggling lawyer into a guy who is getting his act together. Chuck’s conflict with electricity (or Jimmy) has finished its first act, and Mike has finally found some conflict to his story that doesn’t involve parking validation stickers. I expect the final half of this season to go at a faster pace, and to also feature another little treat for Breaking Bad fans that they won’t expect.