Four Letter Nerd

Author - Jeff Merrick

Better Call Saul Season 3, Episode 4: Sabrosito

Rivals. That was the focus of “Sabrosito,” the 4th episode of Better Call Saul’s 3rd season Monday night. And it was an extremely satisfying episode for all the “Breaking Bad” diehards as Mike and Jimmy’s journey took a backseat to Gus and Hector’s rivalry, a feud rooted in both business and personal issues.

Gus and Hector aren’t just bitter rivals; they are complete polar opposites. Gus maintains a clean cut image of a great boss to work for who is active in his community and does not consider remedial activities (such as sweeping the restaurant or busing tables) beneath him. Hector, on the other hand, sits back, allowing those beneath him to do the dirty work. And when Hector walks into Los Pollos Hermanos to meet with Gus, he might as well have been carrying a sign saying “I sell drugs for a living.”

(Major “Breaking Bad” spoilers coming, so don’t continue reading if you haven’t watched it yet)


We all knew there was bad blood between these two men. Hector did kill Gus’s business partner and was willing to blow himself up just so he could take Gus out after the meth dealer took out the rest of the cartel. But it was a true delight to see Gilligan and crew begin filling in the blanks between “Hector shot your partner” and “Hector’s going to blow you up.”

So let’s start this recap with all the wonderful details of the rivalry between New Mexico’s finest drug kingpins.

“Everyone Must Keep Bringing it Like This.”

The opening scene is a look back in the past at the residence of Don Eladio, the man running the cartel Gus and Hector work for.

Hector informs the Don of the ice cream company he’s just started to serve as a cover for Hector’s drug business. He also brings money wrapped up in rubber bands and a “Sabrosito” statue.

BCS S3 E4 The Don and Hector

Hector presents Don Eladio with a gift.

But one-upping Hector at every turn is Don Bolsa, who (representing Gus) brings Don Eladio significantly larger stacks of cash and a Los Pollos Hermanos t-shirt. After seeing the money Gus is bringing in, Don Eladio raises the bar, saying he wants “money like this” from now on.

The only person that last line was meant for was Hector. And to further remind Hector of his second-tier status to the Don’s favored son (for now), Eladio puts on the Los Pollos Hermanos shirt and uses Hector’s gift to mock the man.

A Drug Dealer Walks Into a Chicken Restaurant…

Back in the “Better Call Saul” timeline, Hector is in a desperate situation. We just saw the pressure Don Eladio has him under to produce. And now that the DEA is investigating his business, Hector needs another means of transporting his product.

So Hector wants to use Gus’s trucks for moving product. And just how does Hector mean to persuade Gus to go along with this? By going after Gus’s pristine image. Hector doesn’t care if people know what he does for a living. He’ll walk into the middle of a restaurant and light up a cigar despite the pleadings of the assistant manager to stop. He surrounds the place with enforcers, causing many customers to leave. He walks behind the counter (where only employees are supposed to be!!!!), pours himself a drink, and waits in the manager’s office. Hector did everything but vocally proclaim “Hey folks, I’m a drug kingpin” in this because he didn’t care that people knew.

But Gus does. So Hector is using the threat of interruptions to Gus’s legitimate business to get him in line.

BCS S3 E4 Gus and Lyle

Gus sends his employees away while he meets with Hector as Nacho looks on.

“A Bullet to the Head Would be Far Too Humane.”

Gus takes Hector’s offer/threat in stride. He dismisses his employees, cleans his restaurant, and eases his employees fears about what happened the previous day.

Then, Gus heads up to the parking lot where Mike works. Earlier, Mike refused to accept money for the job he did to help Gus (another vain attempt to get out of the criminal world).

Gus inquires about the money and gives Mike a standing offer to work for him full-time. And why did Gus not allow Mike to go through with shooting Hector at the end of last season? Because the man deserves far worse (such as ending up in a wheelchair and only being able to communicate with a bell?).


Now, I was surprised by the turn taken in Chuck and Jimmy’s rivalry. I never thought Jimmy would take the deal last week that put’s his law license in danger. But here were Kim and Jimmy preparing a confession (one in which Jimmy admits to a felony) and already prepping for a hearing before the New Mexico Bar Association.

But Kim and Jimmy have something up their sleeves to help gain the upper hand in their battle with Chuck. First, Kim calls every repairman in Albuquerque until she finds the one Chuck hired to fix his door. She cancels the appointment and sends Mike, pretending to be the repairman, in that spot.

BCS S3 E4 Mike

Jimmy sends Mike to play the part of the repairman to get pictures of Chuck’s house.

Mike brings a power drill and hilariously keeps Chuck away every time he pushes down on the handle. With Chuck upstairs, Mike takes pictures of the house with a disposable camera. He also retrieves a note from the desk.

Then, at the PPD hearing, Jimmy submits his confession and apologizes to Chuck. After Jimmy storms out, Kim confronts Howard and Chuck about the tape. She correctly guessed that another recording (the original recording, as it turns out) of the tape exists, and Chuck expects it to be played in the hearing.

BCS S3 E4 PPD Hearing

Jimmy apologizing at his PPD hearing.

But something Chuck said gave Kim exactly what she needed, as her last word of the night was “Bingo!”

Of Note

-Ximenez (the truck driver Mike robbed last season) made an appearance tonight. Hector introduced him to Don Eladio shortly after Hector hired him.

-Apparently, Mike’s pursuit of revenge against Hector has taken him away from spending time with his granddaughter. That’s ironic considering it was his love and concern for her that got him back into criminal activity to begin with.

-We finally have a Nacho citing. But we’ll have to wait until at least next week for him to utter his first line.

BCS S3 E4 Gus and Nacho

Nacho appeared in Season 3 for the first time tonight.

-So Gus dismisses his employees for the day with pay, pays them 24 hours for their troubles, and offers to pay for counseling if needed? Is Los Pollos Hermanos hiring right now?

-In a show filled with clever “storytellers,” Gus is as good or better than any of them.

-What exactly is Gus planning to ensure Hector doesn’t come back?

-The prosecutor for Jimmy’s case, Kyra Hay, sure was sympathetic to Chuck’s condition. Was she just playing the part of his attorney, or does Chuck have Miss “tough but fair” fooled?

-And is her work with the show done already? Or will she continue to work the case at the bar hearing?

-Did I mention Chuck running from the sound of a power drill was just hysterical?

Breaking Bad Returns (Once again, Breaking Bad Spoilers Follow)

-Don Eladio was the drug boss Gus took out at the end of season 4. Eladio previously had Hector kill Gus’s business partner right in front of him. I’m not sure how the two men ended up back in business together since we know Eladio at one time wanted Gus to stick with chicken.

-Juan Bolsa also appeared in tonight’s episode. He was a go-between for Gus and the cartel in “Breaking Bad” just like he was tonight. But much like Gus’s relationship with Eladio, Gus and Bolsa will not end on good terms. He also helped Hector hold down Gus so he would be forced to watch his business partner die.

BCS S3 E4 The Don's Place

From left to right: Don Eladio, Don Bolsa, Unnamed man in the middle, Ximenez, and Hector.

So how exactly do the photos, the note from the desk, and what Chuck said about the tape tie into Jimmy’s bar hearing? Based on the previews for next week, I don’t think we’ll have to wait long to find out. See you then.



Better Call Saul Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: Sunk Costs

“Sunk Costs,” the 3rd episode of “Better Call Saul’s” 3rd season drew clear battle lines for the two key confrontations that should keep our main characters busy for awhile. Neither one of the central battles should come as a surprise to anyone who’s watched “Breaking Bad,” saw any promotional materials for this season, or just happens to be a living, breathing human being with a pulse who’s been paying attention since Season 1.

The first battle pits the inevitable alliance between Gus and Mike against Hector Salamanca. We did not know before last night if the two men would be immediate allies or if “Tracker Wars 2003” would start the two men off as enemies. But “Sunk Costs” shows how quickly the two men became allies as Gus hires Mike to play saboteur to Hector’s operation.

The second battle, of course, is between Jimmy and Chuck. But by no means was Monday night’s episode the first shots fired in the battle of the brother’s McGill. Chuck did his own bit sabotage on Jimmy that, for a long time, was a covert operation keeping Jimmy from being hired as a lawyer. And Jimmy answered with his bit of sabotage, forging documents that left Chuck embarrassed at a legal hearing.

But I believe we are now set for the ultimate, end all battle between the two brothers. I just don’t see how what little is left of the already dying relationship Chuck and Jimmy share will survive the drama about to unfold.

“You Care to Elaborate?”

Mike’s story picks up where it left off last week as we hear the rest of the conversation on that phone laying in the middle of the road. Of course, it’s Gus on the other end and he wants to talk. Shortly after Mike hangs up, the first meeting between these two epic characters unfolds.

Mike discovers that he and Gus share a common enemy in Hector (Ding Ding) Salamanca. And though Gus does not want Hector dying (because of Gus’s relationship with the Mexican drug cartel), he doesn’t mind (and strongly encourages) if Mike continue to plague Hector’s crew (who are rival competitors of Gus) with legal and financial problems.

BCS S3 E3 The Note

“You Care to Elaborate?” Mike asks Gus the purpose of the note that was left on Mike’s car at the end of last season.

The first scene of the show (in classic Vince Gilligan style) establishes the use of a pair of shoes tied together and hanging over electrical wires as a marker for illegal activity (you’d think the DEA would get wise to this at some point). Mike picks up some cocaine from a doctor (more on him later) and fills a show with it. Then, after finally getting the shoes to hang over a wire (with all the cool things we’ve seen Mike do, it was funny to see him struggle with this), Mike finds a hiding place with his sniper rifle. .

Two men in one of Hector’s ice cream trucks stop underneath the shoes and drop the guns off in a hiding place before crossing the border. But as they get ready to leave, Mike shoots one of the shoes, dropping cocaine on the back of end of the truck. The two men are arrested at the border after the cocaine is found. I expect (and the previews for next week confirm) new legal troubles coming Hector’s way. And I don’t think his response to them will be peaceful.

“I Believe You Can Change”

Did anybody else want to smack Chuck in the face while he gave Jimmy that little “you can change” lecture? I believe he was trying to change, big brother, while your pompous ass kept preventing him from getting a job as a lawyer. And Jimmy makes clear he’s not interested in Chuck’s rehabilitation efforts (more on this later).

And how about Jimmy’s time in prison? You know, the thing AMC focused almost all their promos on (other than the stuff about Gus returning), lasted all of ten minutes. Jimmy got a makeable bond and was out immediately following his preliminary hearing.

BCS S3 E3 Jimmy in court

Jimmy appears in court to hear the charges against him.

Jimmy is facing charges of breaking and entering (a felony), misdemeanor assault, and misdemeanor damage to property. All three charges together could equal two to three years in prison. So naturally, Jimmy wants to plea and try to get the felony reduced. He thinks he’ll have a great shot at it if Bill Oakley, a deputy district attorney that Jimmy negotiated with throughout season 1, gets the case. But not only will Oakley not be handling the case, no one in the D.A’s office in Albuquerque will be due to their previous relationships with Jimmy. Instead, someone from the outside is being brought in to handle Jimmy’s legal issue.

“Tough But Fair”

Kyra Hay is the name of the attorney being brought in to prosecute Jimmy. And I don’t think Jimmy’s charm will have much impact on her. She makes clear in her first meeting with Chuck that she will “hold the line” on the felony charge. But Chuck has another solution. He doesn’t want his brother in prison. He just wants Jimmy’s law license.

BCS S3 E3 Out of town lawyer

Meet Kyra Hay, the attorney that will be prosecuting Jimmy’s case.

And that is the dilemma Jimmy voices to Kim in the episode’s final scene. He could take the “pre prosecution diversion” and avoid jail time. But that means Jimmy must confess to a felony, which will be submitted to the New Mexico Bar Association for review.

I think we all know Jimmy wasn’t taking that deal. And not only will Jimmy be fighting the charges, but Kim will be joining him after she insists he should let her help him.

BCS S3 E3 Kim and Jimmy

Kim and Jimmy discussing his pending court case.

Of Note

-I loved Jimmy’s self awareness in that final scene when he asks Kim why she would help a guy like him.

-The Mesa Verde case has Kim spending many (if not all) nights at the office. Good thing there’s a health club with showers just across the street where she can get ready for work every morning.

-So Chuck’s had two people buy everything for him and meet every little selfish demand he has. He prevented one (Jimmy) of those from getting a better job and he fired the other (Ernesto). When Jimmy said “You’ll die alone” to Chuck, I think those words may prove prophetic.

-And Chuck sure didn’t seem to have any issues with “electricity” when he was lecturing Jimmy at the start of the episode.

-Three episodes in and we have yet to see Nacho?

Breaking Bad Reprisals

-Dr. Barry Goodman, the man Mike picked up the cocaine from, is a doctor who works for Gus. He operated on both Gus and Mike in Season 4 following the attack on the drug cartel in Juarez, Mexico.

BCS S3 E3 Mike and the Doctor

Mike makes a pickup from Dr. Barry Goodman, a doctor on Gus’s payroll.

Let’s hope we get some “Jimmy in court” footage next week as the show moves towards, what I think, will be Jimmy and Chuck’s final confrontation.


Who Will Die in Better Call Saul?

Death was an expected consequence for many characters in the dangerous world “Breaking Bad” took place in. But “Better Call Saul,” the prequel to that dangerous world, has yet to reach those same dangerous stakes (at least not by the 2nd episode of the third season for the main characters).

But when things do start to get dangerous, will there be amongst the characters who do not appear in “Breaking Bad” some who die before Jimmy becomes Saul Goodman?

What follows is a ranking of the main characters of “Better Call Saul” who I think have the best chance of dying before the end of the series, including the odds for how likely they are to pass before the end of “Saul’s” run.

Obviously, these are completely subjective, so I would love to hear your own thoughts and percentages in the comments.

Also, there’s a lot of speculation regarding future events in this article. So if you don’t want speculative spoilers, stop reading now.

1. Nacho (80% chance he dies)

Who Will Die Nacho

I’ve had Nacho at the top of my list since he first appeared in the 2nd episode of the first season. Three guys were there with Tuco as he prepared to execute the skater twins out in the desert: No Doze, Gonzo, and Nacho.

No Doze and Gonzo both appeared in “Breaking Bad.” But Nacho, who is immediately shown to be like a right hand man working for Tuco, does not.

Then, we find out later in the season about Nacho’s side projects, and he wants Tuco killed in season 2. So, considering Tuco will survive to face off with Walt and Jessie in “Breaking Bad,” that leaves little chance Nacho makes it out of “Better Call Saul” alive.

Now, there always a chance Nacho could disappear before his discrepancies come to light. But I don’t see Hector or Tuco allowing that to happen.

2. Chuck (60% chance he dies)

who will die Chuck

Jimmy’s brother is oversensitive and stressed out all the time. So some sort of health related death (and not because of his “sensitivity to electricity”) is a strong possibility. There’s also the arrogant attitude Chuck carries that could lead him to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Of course, Chuck could also end up in some kind of home for the mentally unstable. That would be as good an explanation for his lack of appearances in “Breaking Bad” as death would be. But between the health risks that come with the stress Chuck puts himself under and the “holier-than-thou” attitude Chuck boldly proclaims, there’s a decent chance Jimmy’s brother doesn’t make it out “Better Call Saul” alive.

3. Gene (45% chance he dies)

Who Will Die Gene

I’m cheating a bit with this one, as “Gene” technically doesn’t fall in the “Better Call Saul” timeline. But we have just seen Jimmy/Saul’s undercover identity faint at work. That means he’s likely to appear in a hospital, requiring a review of personal records and possibly bringing some people around who’ve been looking for Saul Goodman.

I think death for Gene is far less likely than prison time. And I also love the possibilities of characters from Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad appearing by Gene’s side in the hospital, revealing they are still alive. But I think there’s at least a possibility “Gene,” miserable with his current existence, could take his own life. And Saul Goodman stepped on a lot of toes. So someone could find “Gene” in the present and take him out of his misery.

But so much of the Gene story is unknown to us at this point, so all of this is very speculative. But I am assuming there will be some resolution to “Gene’s” story before “Better Call Saul’s” final episode. So we’ll see if that resolution is the end of “Jimmy/Saul/Gene.

4. Kim (40% chance she dies)

Who Will die Kim

I think we would all hate to see this tragic scene. And I believe the chances are better than not that Kim doesn’t meet her end in “Better Call Saul.”

Kim’s relationship with Jimmy is such that it seems more likely that Kim simply breaks up with the future Saul Goodman and leaves town. She has yet to interact with anyone of the shady people Jimmy works with and largely stays out of that part of Jimmy’s life (well, other than the occasional hustle and benefiting from the forging of documents that is).

But all it takes is one encounter with the drug world Jimmy’s immersing himself in for Kim to get caught in the crossfire.

So while I think there’s a chance Kim dies in “Better Call Saul,” I find it more likely for her to simply disappear from Jimmy’s life.

5. Howard (10% chance he dies)

Who Will Win Howard

I find the chances of Howard Hamlin dying in “Better Call Saul” very slim for two reasons:

1. Howard (at least up to this point) keeps himself clean from danger (I mean, just think of how awkward he looked trying to climb Chuck’s fence in “Witness.”)

2. Howard’s role in Jimmy’s life has really diminished since season 1. So Jimmy’s change to Saul is unlikely to affect Howard’s future.

Now, there’s always a chance any or all of these characters (especially Chuck, Kim, and Howard) are still in Jimmy’s life when we move to the “Breaking Bad” timeline. “Bad” is told largely from Walt and Jessie’s point of view, so maybe we just don’t see Saul eating dinner at home with Kim, discussing a long day of money laundering. And maybe Chuck is just left alone to suffer in his electricity free house while Jimmy carries on as Saul Goodman.

But do we honestly think that’s going to be the case? We all know Jimmy’s transformation will come with collateral damage. We will see if anyone loses his or her life because of it.

Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 2: Witness Recap

Anger. That is what separates Jimmy McGill from Saul Goodman. Both love to scheme. Both love to perform. And neither can just accept the mundane chores of being a lawyer without the creative aspects (such as interior decorating choices or creating commercials).

But anger will be the tipping point that turns Jimmy into Saul. In seasons 1 and 2, despite all his scheming and questionable ethics, Jimmy mostly maintains his cool. The only angry Jimmy we know of before season 3 was the one who pooped in the car of his ex-wife’s lover.

Otherwise, Jimmy has kept his cool. He maintained his composure when negotiating with Tuco for the lives of the doofus skaters back in season 1. He even kept his cool (mostly) when he found out Chuck was the one holding him back all along.

But something has snapped in season 3. It nearly came out last week when the Air Force captain confronted Jimmy in his office. And there was no holding Jimmy back when he found out Chuck had recorded him.

Now, I’m not saying the anger hasn’t always been there. Chuck knows the deep seated anger Jimmy holds first hand. Chuck had to bail his brother out the last time Jimmy’s anger got him in trouble with the law. And Chuck used that anger against his brother in his own “Slippin Jimmy” type scheme.

So lets take a look back at a big night that saw Jimmy commit numerous crimes in front of a PI, the return of Gus, Mike’s never-ending goose chase following trackers in gas caps, and the hiring of a new receptionist at Wexler-McGill.

Francesca Liddy

The “Better Call Saul” universe brought back another “Breaking Bad” character last night when Kim and Jimmy hired Francesca Liddy as their new receptionist.

Francesca will become Jimmy’s receptionist in “Breaking Bad,” and it’s easy to see why considering the chemistry the two have right off the bat.

The interview process that gave Francesca the job also showed the clear contrast between Kim and Jimmy’s clashing styles. Kim asks standard, professionally worded interview questions, while Jimmy uses his best Arizona DMV (I mean MVD) stand-up material.

BCS S3 E2 Francesca

This photo released by AMC perfectly explains the tone of Francesca’s interview.

And Jimmy further pisses off his business partner when he offers Francesca the job without Kim’s approval. I’m not sure if it was just his gut or a hasty decision to get someone taking calls before his next commercial aired, but Jimmy is able to convince Kim to give Francesca an immediate tryout.

Francesca passes with flying colors, naturally carrying on conversations with the “oldsters” interested in hiring Jimmy. I look forward to many more fun conversations between Francesca and Jimmy’s prospective clients, including the calls she receives from people like Mike.

The Sequel to the Great Gas Cap Tracker Caper

Now, I’m usually a fan of Mike’s schemes and the way the show lays them out step-by-step. And last week’s “Gas Cap Tracker Caper” was a shining example of the best of Vince Gilligan’s story telling.

But one thing last week’s episode didn’t call for was a sequel. And watching Mike spend another episode playing stake out while staring at the red dot moving on that little screen had me screaming “Get on it with it already!!!” at my TV screen.

BCS S3 E2 Mike 2

What Mike spent most of his night doing: following that damn tracker.

But on a positive note, Mike’s tracker watch did help introduce Gus Fring to the “Better Call Saul” universe.

Los Pollos Hermanos

We pick up “Tracker Watch 2003” (or whatever year we’re in at this point) and find Mike still following that elusive red dot on the screen. He follows it to a meeting place where the tracker changes hands to a guy driving a green bronco, carrying a green knapsack. Mike tracks the tracker until daybreak, leading him to everybody’s favorite chicken restaurant.

Mike makes the call to Jimmy and hires him to watch the guy in the green bronco with the green knapsack. As Jimmy observes (and notices nothing of importance), we see an iconic first meeting between the future Saul Goodman and Gus Fring.

It’s pretty clear Gus notices Jimmy observing knapsack guy, but “Slippin Jimmy” covers his tracks by literally slipping his watch off when Gus asks why Jimmy’s digging through a trash can.

BCS S3 E2 Gus and Jimmy

Gus and Jimmy/Saul talk for the first time.

Gus also notice Mike and Jimmy talking across the street, which I’m sure is the reason the tracker changes hands one more time. This time, a guy in an SVU (more on him later) drives out to the middle of nowhere and lays the gas cap with the tracker in the middle of the road with a cell phone on top of it. That’s where Mike finds it, picks up the ringing cell phone and hopefully ends this cat and mouse game that went one episode too long.

Chuck’s Plan

Another scheme in “Witness” that reached its conclusion was Chuck’s entrapment of Jimmy. And I really thought this one would play out longer. But all it took was one “accidental” playing of the tape for Ernesto and 8 days of waiting with a private investigator for Chuck to incriminate Jimmy.

Ernesto arrives at Kim and Jimmy’s office and tells her of the tape with Jimmy’s confession. And Kim comes to the same conclusions Howard and Chuck had about the tape: it will never get Mesa Verde back as a client and is unlikely to be allowed in court. But Jimmy is clearing fuming, which is exactly what Chuck is counting on.


Chuck, Howard, and the Private Investigator when Jimmy arrives at Chuck’s house.

“Howard, Were You a Witness to What Happened Here?”

If Jimmy wasn’t the target, he might have been proud of the detail involved in Chuck’s scheme. Chuck wants nothing to alert Jimmy to the trap. So he has Howard park his car behind the house so Jimmy won’t know Howard’s there when he comes to visit.

Then, HHM hires a PI to stay at the house so he can witness Jimmy commit a crime by breaking into the house and taking the tape.

It’s been 8 days and Howard, considering the cost of paying a PI, wonders if they should give up the plan. But right on cue, Jimmy shows up and smashes through Chuck’s door (notice Chuck did not let him in). He break’s into Chuck’s desk and destroys the tape. And for good measure, Jimmy threatens to burn Chuck’s house down before Howard and the private investigator step out and reveal themselves.

BCS S3 E2 Jimmy the tape

Jimmy tearing up the tape Chuck recorded of him.


So now, Jimmy has broken into Chuck’s house, destroyed his property, and threatened him with arson.

Of Note

-Jimmy gave a first hint at what happened to Chuck’s wife, Rebecca, when he tells Chuck “It’s no wonder she left you.”

-I love the scene where Jimmy is pulling the painter’s tape off the wall at the Wexler-McGill office just like Chuck taught him to last week before ripping it off in a rage.

-Great job by Patrick Fabian showing us just how uncomfortable Howard Hamlin would be sneaking around.

-Has Mike left or been fired from his job as a parking attendant? If not, then they must have very flexible sick pay and vacation days.

-“He didn’t sound like he wanted to talk about Cracker Barrell.” The first of what I hope are many great lines from Francesca.

-Are we going to find out what’s in the green knapsack? Or does it even matter now that Gus and Mike appear set to meet?

Breaking Bad Reference

-Of course, the first BCS appearances of Gus, Los Pollos Hermanos, and Francesca were obvious. But the man driving the SUV leaving Los Pollos Hermanos was none other than Victor, Gus’s henchman who meets a very unpleasant end at the hands of Gus in the Season 4 premiere of Breaking Bad.

Victor BCS

Victor made his first appearance in “Better Call Saul” in “Witness.”

Jimmy now has a legal fight that figures to keep his hands full the rest of the season. And let’s hope Mike and Gus actually meet next week instead of creepily following each other’s trackers around town.

Also, be on the lookout Friday for a piece analyzing which Better Call Saul characters could die before the show comes to its conclusion. See you then.


Better Call Saul Season 3, Episode 1: Mabel

Pressure. Not in your face or intense by any means. But that was the word that kept coming into my mind as I was watching “Better Call Saul’s” Season 3 premiere Monday Night.

For Kim, it’s the pressure of serving Mesa Verde and dealing with the means with which she got them as a client. For Mike, it’s the pressure of knowing someone who’s likely very dangerous is tracking him. For Jimmy, it’s the pressure of all the people he lied to last season coming back seeking retribution.

The pressure is especially intense around Jimmy (I know, the most intense situations surrounding the main character of the show, shocking!!!), even though he’s not completely aware of all of it yet. We’re the ones who feel the pressure Chuck’s applying as he begins revealing Jimmy’s confession to the world. But the air force captain he hoodwinked last season sure made himself known to Jimmy this week.

And while it’s a slow burn (the premiere barely advanced the story ahead but maybe a few days), season 3 appears poised to press the characters to a point where they make those critical decisions that put them where we see them (or don’t see them) in the “Breaking Bad” universe.

Speaking of where things are heading, let’s start this recap with the opening scene from last night’s premiere involving “Gene,” the manager at the Cinnabon in Omaha.

“Get a Lawyer!!!

Season 3 started the same way season 1 and 2 did: in the present day with Saul/Jimmy in witness protection as “Gene.”

Gene is taking a lunch break on a bench in the mall when a young man in a trench coat holding stolen DVDs attempts to hide in a photo booth. “Gene” pretends not to notice until police walk over and ask him if he’s seen a young man in a trench coat.

BCS S3 Gene 2

“Gene” eating lunch as he watches a shoplifter hiding from authorities.

The Jimmy on Gene’s shoulder (or maybe it was just Saul/Jimmy trying to maintain his cover) tells him to show the cops where the suspect is, which he hesitantly does, quietly pointing to the photo booth. But as the cops take the culprit away, the Saul in “Gene” stands up, screaming “Get a lawyer!!!”

Gene returns to work and is clearly affected by what just happened over lunch. Just before he’s about to slap some more icing on some Cinnabons with frosting, he faints.

“The Wheel is Going to Turn. It Always Does.”

I’m disappointed in myself for not predicting this last season. Of course, lying to an Air Force captain to gain special access on an Air Force base would get Jimmy in trouble. I’m surprised it’s not being looked into as a threat to national security (at least, not yet).

The argument with the captain in Jimmy’s office was a harsh wake-up call for a guy who always seems to talk his way out of trouble or get someone to cover for him. In fact, we see Kim covering for him at the start of the episode, taking on clients there to see Jimmy, adding responsibilities to her plate that are pulling her away from her work with Mesa Verde.

BCS S3 Kim and Jimmy

Jimmy thanks Kim for covering for him after he went to take care of Chuck.

And I believe the captain’s words to Jimmy are the tone setter for him the rest of the season. And we can expect “the wheel to turn” on Jimmy many more times this season.

“Don’t Think I’ll Forget What Happened Here Today.”

And the biggest wheel likely to turn on Jimmy is the one being turned by his brother, Chuck.

Chuck makes a promise to Jimmy early in the episode, assuring Jimmy that he “will pay” for sabotaging Chuck’s case with Mesa Verde.

The first stop on Chuck’s revenge tour is playing the tape for Howard. And Howard wastes no time dismissing all of us who assumed Jimmy’s pending legal trouble would come from forging documents. Not only is the tape unlikely to be admitted to court, but there’s no chance it can bring Mesa Verde back as a client to HHM. Chuck knows all of this, meaning his only reason for making the recording was to ruin Jimmy personally.


BCS S3 Howard and Chuck

Chuck plays the tape for Howard and reveals his plan for Jimmy.

And how do you ruin your brother who everybody else loves and adores? You turn his friends against him. Howard is kinda sorta one of those people. But Ernesto, a really friendly guy and hard worker, is an example of someone who’d be perfect to turn against Chuck’s brother.

Chuck gets the recording of Jimmy admitting to forgery to play “accidentally” while Ernesto is changing the batteries in the tape recorder. Chuck gets Ernesto to promise to tell no one what he’s heard. We’ll see if Ernesto can keep that promise, and who, if anybody, will be exposed to that recording next.

“Sorry, I Just Got to Check One Thing. Two Minutes. Tops”

Jimmy will likely have legal trouble all season and Mike will be further immersing himself in the Albuquerque drug scene.

But there troubles may pale in comparison to the pressure Kim Wexler will be under this season.

First, there’s the Mesa Verde account. Knowing that forged documents are the reason she has the account is enough to keep her nervous about holding it. But having to do all that paper work on her own without the resources of a large firm will create even more headaches. That pressure she’s under to do right by Mesa Verde showed itself while Kim obsessed over proper end of sentence punctuation late at night at the office. We’ve saw her put together at least three different versions of Mesa Verde’s paper work in the premiere alone.

BCS S3 Kim Mesa Verde

Kim meets with her friend Paige and shows her the work Kim’s done on the Mesa Verde case so far.


Then, there’s sharing an office with Jimmy. We’ve already mentioned the extra work covering Jimmy added to Kim’s plate. I wonder when (and I do think it’s a when, not an if) constantly having to work with clients there to see Jimmy will be too much to handle.

The Gas Cap

Let’s end this recap with Mike, who we’ve never seen spooked like he was when that note appeared on his car.

He races to a self-service auto repair yard and proceeds to tear his old car apart looking for the tracking device he knows has been installed somewhere.

BCS S3 E1 Mike

Mike looking to find where the tracking device someone’s been using to follow him is on his car.

But just as Mike has given up, he’s inspired by the gas caps in the lounge of the repair yard. He finds the tracker inside his gas cap and takes it home, leaving the rest of the car behind.

Now I had to go back and re-watch all the steps that took place from here. Mike took the tracker home and wrote down the serial number on the device. Then, Mike meets up with Dr. Caldera, the veterinarian who serves as Mike’s connection for work, and purchases a tracking device identical to the one Mike found in his car along with the console that allows him to follow it.

Mike knows the battery to the device found on his car has to be replaced. So he installs the battery to his handheld radio and plays the device until the battery is dead.

Once it dies, Mike sits by his window and waits until someone comes by in the middle of the night and takes the cap so a new battery can be put in the tracker.

But the tracker in Mike’s gas cap is no longer the one originally put there. With a fresh battery, it’s the tracker Mike bought that he can now use to follow whoever just took it to the people who are tracking him.


-I think Jimmy and Chuck may have experienced their last tender moment together as they recalled reading the book “The Adventures of Mabel” during their childhoods.

-It was a nice touch to have Jimmy reopen the yellow paint can when Kim informs him she just wants to look at “One more thing” about the Mesa Verde paper work.

-Did anybody notice the Royals backpack “Gene” takes into work? It may just be Gene playing a character from the Midwest. But could it be Jimmy remembering his time with Kim, who is herself a Royals fan?

-Speaking of Gene, I do hope Gene fainting is not the last we see of modern day Saul this season. Surely, we’ve hit a point in the series where the modern day story can start to move a little faster.

I know the premiere moved a little slow (which has been a common  complaint among many about “Saul”). But with the way it set the table for season 3, I really think we will look back at “Mabel” as a real turning point in the series.

See you next week.

Better Call Saul Season 3 Preview

The third season of Better Call Saul premieres Monday on AMC. And once again, I’ll have recaps breaking down every episode this season.

But before the journey of Jimmy McGill becoming Saul Goodman resumes Monday, let’s take a look back at where we left all our key players at the end of season 2 and preview what we can expect this season.

Previously on….

The last image of Season 2 was Chuck stopping a tape player that had just recorded his brother Jimmy confessing to forging documents (the same forged documents that cost Chuck and HHM the Mesa Verde account).

BCS S2 Klick

The tape recorder with Jimmy’s confession at the end of season 2.

Kim Wexler, Jimmy’s sort of business partner/love interest, benefited the most from Jimmy’s crime when Mesa Verde came back to her. The money from Mesa Verde (the bank Kim brought to HHM in the first place) is very important to both Kim and Jimmy, as Kim recently left HHM to enter into her own practice, sharing office space with Jimmy.

BCS S3 Kim and Jimmy

Jimmy and Kim in their shared office in a Season 3 preview image.

Meanwhile, Mike spent season 2 in a battle with Hector “Tio” (or as I like to call him “Ding Ding,”) Salamanca. After “Tio” threatened Mike’s family, Gus’s future enforcer purchased a sniper rifle and readied himself to take the drug kingpin out.

But Nacho would not allow Mike a clean shot, keeping Tio alive and out of a wheel chair until at least season 3. When Mike returned to his car, he was greeted by a note simply saying “DON’T” on the windshield.

BCS S3 Don't

The note left on Mike’s windshield at the end of Season 2 encouraging Mike to hold off killing Hector.

How Much Trouble is Jimmy in?

Most of AMC’s preview clips and photos hint that Jimmy has major legal issues in store for season 3. The only question is how much. And we know whatever those issues are, they won’t be enough to keep him in prison for long or get him disbarred.

And what will Chuck’s reaction be to the unfolding legal drama? Jimmy’s brother showed last season just how sore a loser he can be. Will his brother getting away with forgery or coming away with a slap on the wrist push Chuck over the edge?

BCS S3 Jimmy in Prison

How much time will Jimmy be spending in prison this season?

Gus is Back!!!!

The chicken selling/meth dealing entrepreneur who had a falling out with Walt in Breaking Bad is back for Season 3!!!!

And like most people, I’m assuming Gus is the man responsible for the “DON’T” note on Mike’s car (though I also think Nacho is a strong candidate). So let’s hope season 3 brings us the birth of the Gus-Mike partnership.

Here’s a training video for Gus’s company, Los Pollos Hermanos, recently released by AMC.

How Close are We Getting to Saul?

The first two seasons of “Saul” really slow played the conversion of Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman. Though Jimmy pulled a questionable ethics violation here and there, he was mostly working for what could be considered the greater good. But will the legal maneuvering required of Jimmy in season 3 spring us forward to the money laundering, openly law breaking Saul Goodman? Or will Gilligan and his team continue the slow heel turn preferred in the previous two seasons?

Other Questions

-Will Nacho’s side deals be revealed to his current employers? And if so, what will the fallout be?

-Will this be the season “Tio” ends up in the wheelchair?

BCS S3 Tio Today BCS S3 Tio Wheelchair

(Hector Season 2 next to Hector from Breaking Bad)

-What other answers will we get from flashbacks this season?

-Will we find out what happened to Rebecca (Chuck’s wife)?

-When did Chuck become sensitive to electricity?

-Will we ever meet the elder Hamlin?

-And what’s in store for Gene (the new identity Saul took after Breaking Bad)? Will his story become its own separate drama to be followed?

BCS S3 Gene 2

“Gene” in Season 3.

“Better Call Saul” comes on every Monday at 10 eastern/9 central. Then, be on the lookout every Tuesday for my recap of each episode this season.


Best Television Shows of the 90’s

A recent 90’s trivia night took me back to the decade that shaped me (and explained all the major issues I still have today) and recall the best television shows from that time in my own personal rankings.

There was no Netflix, TV on DVD, or amazing cable dramas for us to obsess over and build entire conventions and reddit pages around. In the 90’s, the major networks still largely cornered the market for top television and we had to watch the night it was on or set the VCR if he wanted to keep up with our favorite shows.

Now, I don’t have any set criteria for this list. It’s entirely my subjective opinions, so I’m sure many will want to argue and debate the choices I made. But I did not exclusively make this list of shows I watched at the time. I tried to think which shows were popular then and have had the most cultural impact since in determining how all the shows were slotted.

So, without further ado, here’s my list of the top TV shows from the 90’s.


10. Boy Meets World

Boy Meets World

The legendary status of Cory Matthews and crew seems to grow by the year as 90’s kids everywhere reminisce. And Cory’s misadventures with Shawn, his pursuit of star-crossed lover Topanga, and the many lessons the ganglearned from the iconic Mr. Feeny, should have a required place on all best of 90’s TV recollections.

And what about Cory’s cool brother Eric? What, you don’t remember him? Me either. I prefer the goofy version he morphed into that breathed new life into the show in later seasons.

9. Saved By the Bell

Saved by the Bell

Another nod to our adolescent/preteen nostalgia, “Saved by the Bell” is the only Saturday morning show to make the list. And it’s crazy to look back and recall how much we adored this show when you consider the time period it was on.

Saved by the Bell was basically after school special running smack dab in the middle of the angst filled early nineties. How crazy is it that so many whose formative years were 1989-1993 would tune into “Saved by the Bell” in the morning, then pop in the “Chronic” CD and listen to “Smells Like Teen Spirit afterwards.

Zach and the gang deserve their spot on this list just for finding their foothold in that environment.

8. NYPD Blue


I never watched the influential detective drama. But it clearly had its audience. And if you like the random placement of bare bottoms on cable/network TV, be sure to thank NYPD Blue for knocking down that barrier.

7. Beverly Hills 90210

Beverly Hills 90210

90210 was another show I did not watch. But every decade needs its angst filled teen drama. And 90210 fit the bill with its tension-filled relationships and handling of 90’s social issues.

90210 was also one of Fox’s (then a new network) first big hits. And while summer seasons are common place for many hit shows across various network and cable channels now, it was a rare summer run in 1991 that propelled 90210 hit status.

6. Home Improvement

Home Improvement

Comedian Tim Allen became a star with “Home Improvement,” the top family comedy of the 90’s.

Playing Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, Allen was the best of the many goofball dads of the decade, always finding himself injured or breaking a major household appliance while trying to make a repair or give it “more power.”

5. Roseanne

Roseanne Cast (TV) 1988 1st Season Credit: ABC/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Before Roseanne, sitcom families were mostly affluent, living charmed lives in pristine homes. Roseanne, however, represented how far more American families lived than had been previously represented on network television.

Also, Roseanne became a pipeline for many of the stars/recurring stars that would appear on “The Big Bang Theory,” a top comedy from the modern era of television.

4. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Fresh Prince

Mega star Will Smith was born Monday nights on NBC in the hit comedy “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

But Smith’s presence wasn’t all the made this hit comedy last. There was “the Carlton” (cue “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones), Jazz getting thrown out of the house by Uncle Phil, and that unforgettable theme song that’s been in your head since you started reading this entry.

3. ER


The fast paced medical drama that introduced the world to George Clooney was the best drama of the 90’s, winning 23 Primetime Emmy Awards. But it wasn’t just the high stakes patient story lines and drama surrounding the everyday lives of the staff at County General Hospital in Chicago that kept us interested. ER was one of those shows that wasn’t afraid to kill off departing characters at a time before Game of Thrones made it cool.

2. Friends


My wife will hate this choice, but I have to go with shows that were popular and had impact. And no show in the nineties (well other than the two shows still remaining on the countdown) had both of those like “Friends.”

For popularity, just look at the ratings, where “Friends” was top 10 show for its entire 10 season run. As far as impact, “Friends” was an early example of a show that broke the conventional family sitcom model. Shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “How I Met Your Mother” can thank “Friends” for the “friends are your family” model of sitcom that is commonplace in today’s TV landscape.

1b. The Simpsons

The Simpsons

Anybody out there have a primetime animated show they just love? “Family Guy?” “Bob’s Burgers?”  “South Park?” Well, it was “The Simpsons” who cleared the path for the primetime animated show that appeals to an older audience.

And congratulations to “The Simpsons” for being the only show on this list still on the air. 4LN’s own Bill Clark is still a huge fan of Springfield’s most famous family. In fact, the show may very well still be on the air as a way just to keep Bill off the streets on Sunday nights.

1a. Seinfeld


Cultural impact can be measured in many ways. And one of the best ways to measure it in a TV show is through quotes. “No soup for you,” “I was in the pool,” “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” “Yada, yada, yada,” “Double dipping,” “There real, and their spectacular,” and “Regifter” are all popular phrases and quotes that Seinfeld either originated or revived in American language.

I also consider Seinfeld to be one of the first shows (though “All in the Family” could be considered strongly for this as well) that revolved itself around really unlikable people. We currently live in the age of the antihero. But “Seinfeld” takes that a step further, asking us to follow people who aren’t heroes at all. They’re just inconsiderate jerks who obsessed over the small things in life. But yet, we laughed anyway (and felt a little guilty at times knowing we’d complained about many of those same things).

How is your list different from mine for the 90’s best shows? Who did I leave off that should be? Who did I include that has no business there? Let me know in the comments.

Game of Thrones Teaser Trailer is Out!

On Thursday, HBO (finally) released a teaser for the 7th season of the hit drama, Game of Thrones. Now, unfortunately, there are no clips or scenes from the upcoming season. But it’s at least enough to remind us that, yes, in an off-season filled with little casting news or official previews, our favorite drama will be returning soon.

Here’s the clip:


No new information here. We have Cersei on the Iron Throne, Daenarys sitting on a high seat on Dragonstone (I think. Readers, let me know if it’s actually someplace else), and Jon ruling in the North.

But the White Walker eye preceded by Cersei’s breath is all I need from this clip to get me excited for season 7.

The new season premieres July 16th. And let’s hope this isn’t the only footage we get before premiere night.

Better Call Saul Sets Premiere Date as Previews Hint Return of Breaking Bad Character

The start date for season 3 of “Better Call Saul” has been set and several teaser videos (including a whole scene from the new season) have been released over the past couple of weeks giving subtle (and not so subtle) hints about what we can expect when the show returns in the spring.

I’ll save the best two for last, but let’s discuss all four of the clips that have come out recently for season 3:

Teaser 1: Booked

The last scene of season 2 was Jimmy’s brother Chuck recording him secretly as the younger McGill admitted to evidence tampering. So could this scene be after said tape is presented to authorities? Or was this scene just shot for teaser purposes to tell us that Jimmy will be spending season 3 in a prolonged legal fight?

Teaser 2: The Mugshot

This one serves the same purpose as teaser 1, but I did like the touch there at the end separating “criminal” and “lawyer” with a period.

(If you want to avoid the any type of spoiler for season 3, stop reading here)





Teaser 3:



Gus Fring is back!!! Unless some executive at AMC said “Hey guys, let’s create a commercial promoting the new season of “Better Call Saul” with Gus in it just to piss people off when they realize he’s not actually in the new season.” So in other words, Gus is back for season 3!!!!

Teaser 4: Jimmy and Kim

Here, we have our first full scene, not just some 15 second teaser clip. And based on what we heard, Kim has taken on a number of Jimmy’s clients. I can’t see this being based on anything other than an ongoing investigation into the evidence tampering at the end of last season. Also, it sounds like Chuck had another incident with his “condition” and Jimmy had to save the day for him again (“For ten minutes today, Chuck didn’t hate me. I forgot what that felt like.”)

But the best part about that last clip: the end when APRIL 10TH was listed as the premiere date for season 3!!! So now we know what day we have to look forward to for the return of Jimmy McGill, Mike, Kim, Chuck, and Gus as we continue to follow the journey from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman.


So these clips affirmed one thing we should already know (that Jimmy figures to be fighting the law throughout the third season) and confirmed what we’ve all hoped for (the return of Gus!!!).

Keep an eye out for more content here at 4LN as “Better Call Saul’s” third season approaches.


The Four Shows (Plus One) that Made us Talk in 2016

2016 was a rough year. And I don’t think there’s any need to recall all we’ve endured the last 12 months.

But rough years like the one we’ve just experienced show the purpose entertainment can serve as a necessary distraction, getting us to talk about something else so we can take a short break from reality.

And I believe the four shows presented here did the best job of any getting us together to talk, theorize, and debate just how great these shows were and just what exactly was going on during the hour we just watched.

Keep in mind, these are not what I necessarily consider the four best shows of 2016 (though I do expect Emmy nominations for three of these). These are the shows that, in my opinion, generated the most buzz across social media and in our circles of friends.

So here are the four shows (plus one, which I will explain at the bottom) we talked about the most in 2016.

Stranger Things


At the start of the year, I previewed a number highly anticipated shows appearing on Netflix in 2016. “Stranger Things” and its 8 episode first season did not appear on that list.

But no show that Netflix put out this year got people talking like the 80’s science fiction series about a town dealing with the bizarre disappearance of a 10 year old boy.

Most refreshing to me about “Stranger Things” was its willingness to jump right into many of the show’s central mysteries while also finding a niche with audiences needing a break from the modern drama that celebrates complexity.

Or maybe it was just the brilliant use of 80’s nostalgia that got us talking about “Stranger Things” all summer. Regardless of the reason, “Stranger Things” is, in my opinion, Netflix’s biggest surprise hit to date.

This Is Us


The major broadcast networks finally found a foothold in the modern field of hit dramas dominated by cable and streaming services with “This Is Us,” NBC’s retrospective hit profiling the “then and now” of a unique American family.

But hiding behind what looks like another sappy network family drama is an amazingly written story with its own of set of Westworld worthy twists (just without all the 24-7 internet chatter predicting them all before they happen).

It’s also refreshing to see a family drama present problems from multiple perspectives that aren’t easily solved or dismissed. That is why I think “This Is Us” stands out despite being a family drama in an age where the majority of dramas we take in come on after the kids are in bed.



No show on this list had more hype to live up to than Westworld, HBO’s newest hit drama that debuted in October. The show about an adult theme park where the robots (or “hosts”) that humans interact with in the park are starting to develop thoughts and feelings of their own kept us guessing and theorizing until the end.

And with its superb cast and technical brilliance, “Westworld” surpassed all expectations, becoming the network’s most watched debut season ever.

With “Game of Thrones” nearing the end of its run, HBO needed a new signature drama to take its place. And Westworld appears to have provided just that.

Game of Thrones (Season 6)


After a subpar season 5, GoT returned with a vengeance in season 6. No, the narrative was not perfect. But what has captivated fans and grown the audience of Game of Thrones over the years has been the “punch in the gut” moments that bring fans together so we can process what the hell we just witnessed.

And season 6 brought two of the most jaw dropping moments in the history of the show with “Hold the Door” at midseason (take a moment and shed a few tears if you need to right here) and “King’s Landing Goes Green” in the finale.

Season 6 also set a record for character deaths as the show rapidly moved itself towards the end game. That “end game” part is bittersweet for sure, but it was good to see a show that often slept walk through its fifth season return to its proper form in season 6.

Plus One: Making a Murderer


Remember how in late 2015/early 2016 we were all experts in criminal law and proper investigative practices? Whatever you thought of it, “Making a Murderer” made us all talk about the American justice system and just how fair (or unfair) it is to some of the citizens subjected to it.

Technically, the ten episode venture into the murder trials of Steve Avery and Brendan Dassey came out in 2015. But it was all we wanted to talk about the first month of the year as we debated the evidence that put the two men on trial.

Honorable Mention and Final Thoughts

Considering I thought it was the best drama of 2016, I have to at least mention the second season of “Better Call Saul.” I hope I can include the tale of Walter White’s lawyer in Breaking Bad next season as its audience grows.

Also, I strongly recommend Speechless, a humorous look at a family with a child dealing with cerebral palsy. I know that description sounds horrible, but the show really is hilarious and somehow avoids being offensive.

What other shows had you and your friends talking this year? Let me know in the comments section.