Post by Tommen_Saperstein on Oct 15, 2018 17:51:45 GMT
had mixed feelings about this season tbh. Chuck's absence is painfully felt especially in the first 5-6 episodes, though I'm glad they brought him back for the finale to bring his arc full circle (that karaoke scene...god I miss Chuck ).
Kim & Jimmy Kim and Jimmy's relationship this season has been roughly more of the same, leading up to their climactic fight at the end of episode 9 that fell surprisingly flat. I, like Cake_of_Roth, predicted that Jimmy's reinstatement was going to somehow coincide with Kim's disbarment and that would have marked the ending of their relationship, and I honestly like that idea more. Instead it appears that his insincerity at the appeal hearing was her "last straw," but we've seen that before so it seems kind of redundant, or at least anti-climactic. On a whole, both of their character arcs separately and as a relationship weren't that interesting this season (although Jimmy's got a hell of a finale - I loved how the whole scholarship subplot paralleled the impossibility of his own situation and his realization of that fact).
The Germans I think this season had a problem with timing and I never had a full grasp during the season of how much time had passed between episodes and in individual plotlines. I think the plot with the German construction crew epitomizes this because the season brings them in too late (Werner doesn't even show up until the end of episode 5) and their plotline feels rushed as a result. Werner's mental deterioration and the team's frustration with the project happens too fast. This is a gargantuan project and it takes MUCH longer than intended but I could never get a grasp of that because the construction subplot only lasts four episodes despite playing so significantly in the finale. Why didn't Vince and Gilligan bring them in earlier? Maybe episodes 3 or 4? Develop it a little more, allow that massive stretch of time to feel more palpable. Because as it stands, the climax to that arc wasn't as impactful as it should have been. It should have felt like a huge moment punctuating a long chapter but instead it felt like a footnote.
Highlights - Nacho and the Cousins vs. the Espinosas - Howard's depression / Jimmy's tough-love speech / "Fuck you, Jimmy" - Huell's legal battles - Chuck and Jimmy doing Abba karaoke (best moment in the whole season BY FAR) - Kristy's scholarship as metaphor for Jimmy's struggles
Heisenberg's lab was built by a guy named Werner. Heh.
So I finished catching up on this season a few days ago and forgot to post about it ... and I'm gonna echo a lot of Tommen's thoughts here. While I still really liked it, it's definitely the weakest season of the series yet, and by a considerable margin. The mid-section especially lags majorly, but thankfully the season has two strong bookends. Ultimately, though, the show reeeeeally is lacking without McKean, far more so than I thought it would. (And nothing better reflects this than the fact that that finale flashback with Chuck was the best moment of the entire season.) The way that Chuck's shadow looms over the entire season is perhaps its highlight, as nearly all of its powerful moments come from the fallout of Chuck's demise, and the effect (or apparent lack thereof) it's left on Jimmy.
Without Chuck, the show demands more from Kim than ever. The season's main focus, more than anything, is the dynamic between Jimmy and Kim, and the growing strain between them, yet the way it deals with these two central characters is really hit-or-miss. Rhea Seehorn again rises to the challenge of her ever-increasing role and knocks it out of the park with her finest season yet, that much is clear. (Odenkirk is also outstanding as always; the acting all around is still really, really solid.) Unfortunately, the storytelling is just not there, and the individual arcs that Kim and especially Jimmy follow this season are generally, for lack of a better word, kind of boring. Sure, Jimmy establishing the cell-phone clientele proved to be consequential, but man oh man was it a loooong walk to get there. Ditto for Kim deciding to do pro bono work at the courthouse; and while we're at it, don't get me started on the whole Huell incident ... thankfully the clever, fun plan for getting him out of it made that whole storyline worth it. Really, most of the good material comes from the further exploration of the contrast between the two characters, and the way this season plants the more subtle seeds for their growing distance and divide. Though a lot of their conflict did get a bit repetitive, and ultimately felt that it needed much more satisfying resolution, but I guess the writers are devoted to keeping Kim around as a major character for however long they can (and who can blame them?).
I also think this season suffers because it's become too much of a Breaking Bad prequel. The worst example is definitely that this season offers up a whole backstory for Hector's bell; it's just taking away the enigmatic weirdness that was so characteristic to its parent show in a really frustrating way. The same could be said, to some extent, for the focus on the construction of the meth lab, and the fact that this dominates the "B" half of the series for much of the season. This, too, suffers from being incredibly uninteresting until it pays off at the end of the season ... but I'm still mulling over whether or not that emotional punch with Werner in the finale was really essential enough to have made the whole thing worth it. The one really interesting pre-Breaking Bad element that this season offers up, though, is the stuff with Gale (though he's only in two scenes!); the context for how he ends up as Gus' cook, to me, is really, really fascinating, and certainly explains a lot, in a good way.
As for the rest of the B-side, I can't really say much other than that most of it wasn't all that interesting, either. All the stuff involving Nacho and the cartel felt very Narcos-y, and I mean that in a bad way. Really the one upside here was the introduction of Lalo. The character himself has been really one-note so far, but it's nice to see that the writers aren't afraid to introduce a significant character in this part of the story that doesn't have his origins in Breaking Bad. Lalo has certainly been fun to watch so far, and I can only hope for more substantial exploration of the character in season five.
Anyway...all in all I wasn't crazy about this season, but that's not to say I disliked it. I certainly did not. It has tons of great moments, most of which happen to be at either end of the season, and that ending in particular is absolutely killer; one of the series' best peaks thus far. Odenkirk and Seehorn both deserve Emmys for this, without a doubt. (And maybe they can finally show McKean some love with Guest Actor recognition??)