Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul | Season 4 Finale Recap: “Winner”

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Better Call Saul | Season 4 Finale Recap: “Winner”

Rob Cesternino and Antonio Mazzaro recap the Better Call Saul Season 4 Finale: “Winner.”

  • TrentC

    I like this series and rarely find fault with it. Yes it’s slow to develop at times and can be frustrating if you don’t recognize the importance of an item or character. I especially like that the show has fooled me a number of times. I expect the story to go one way and it ends up going in a completely different direction, much like life.

    I didn’t care for the Werner progression. From the start he sees the scope of the project, the money involved, and what the employers are willing to do in order to preserve secrecy. On some level he also understands his employers are not law abiding citizens.

    Werner has already been brought onto the carpet (been warned by his boss) when he vaguely referenced the project to a stranger in a bar. Then he misses his wife and concocts The Great Escape plan the spend a few days with her. He couldn’t wait a few more weeks until the project was complete?

    It’s such an important part of the plot because of what Mike has to do, and how it will change Mike’s character. The Mike/Werner scene was filmed beautifully and will obviously be a pivotal moment in the show for a number of reasons going forward.

    And I still didn’t buy it. After all of the daily subterfuge and care that had been taken associated with the project, would Werner really risk losing his pay or worse to be with his wife for a weekend?

    That said, good finale. I love how Jimmy never quite gets to the point of true grief or sympathy. He clearly won’t get there when it comes to Chuck, yet we’ve seen him exercise care and consideration for other people. Is this the reason we don’t see Kim in Breaking Bad? Because she starts to recognize Jimmy has a missing gear?

    • Bry_Lander

      I agree – Gus and Mike went through a great deal of effort to hire a discreet professional to lead this project, and in return, paid Werner and his crew a tremendous amount of money for their willingness to remain secluded for a long duration. Werner was at an age where he should understand his limitations, he wasn’t some love struck teenager, and if he couldn’t bear to be apart from his wife, he should have just worked conventional construction jobs in Germany rather than taking this project on.

      • TrentC

        Yes and my complaint is couched within a place of flattery. Usually this show offers stellar writing containing excellent motivations and actions from the characters. They make unexpected left turns which often ring true in hindsight. Kim putting Jimmy up against the wall after their scam is a small example.

        I could see Werner taking this chance if he had a short term terminal medical diagnosis or knew for certain he would be killed upon completion of the project.

        Speculating deeply about the BCS process, I suspect the entire lab construction story line was created to showcase that one moment. Mike’s moral regression/servitude to Gus, accepting that he has to kill Werner.

        It by no means ruined the story for me. But I agree with your reasoning above as to why it seemed flaky.

        • Bry_Lander

          This may have been the most uncomfortable killing since Gale Boetticher – Werner was like Gale in that they both used their conventional profession skills to further criminal enterprises, but were otherwise not criminally minded or violent. And yet two very intelligent men lapsed into situations where they were murdered because they were involved with crime.

          Werner naively just left, thinking he could talk his way out of consequences. Gale didn’t understand that he could be targeted and had no security at this apartment, just blindly opening the door when Jesse knocked. They were both in over their heads, and were reluctantly killed by Mike and Jesse, neither of them deriving any pleasure out of killing, but doing it because they were fully aware of the dangers that allowing them to live presented and didn’t have any other reasonable choices..

          • TrentC

            An example is the scene in this episode where Gale feels the malevolent glare of Gus and understands without a word being spoken, that this man is not to be trifled with. I would assume Werner had similar moments with Gus.

            Gale understands he’s going to be doing industrial volume meth cooks for a man with power and resources. Werner has committed to a long term project that must not be seen or spoken about, and his benefactor has gone to great financial lengths to ensure this happens.

            Agreeing again, part of me doesn’t accept that two intelligent men working for Gus Fring wouldn’t understand the potential danger levels in each of their jobs. Gale tends to the lighthearted, but certainly not to the stupid.

          • Bry_Lander

            Maybe a larger point the writers were trying to make by showing Gale in the unfinished lab (for no apparent reason) right after Werner was killed is: there is a price to be paid for associating with criminals like Gus and Walt, even if you are an otherwise good person who isn’t directly harming anyone. It is about proximate harm – Werner and Gale aren’t down in the gutter dealing with drug addicts, dealers, and thugs, but they facilitating that underworld culture by building the lab and cooking the meth, while otherwise living benign, normal, respectable existences. They both could have made a decent living by remaining legitimate engineers in their respective fields, but opted for the extra money (and excitement) of breaking bad – once in that world, one mistake or unlucky move and it can all come to end quickly and violently.

          • TrentC

            Good point and the podcasters gave the timing of that scene the same sort of connectivity between the two men.

            I just listened to the podcast and found that Antonio and Rob covered a couple of things I’d already commented on. (Rob and I both called Werner’s death scene beautifully shot, fan synchronicity?)

            My worst habit, commenting before listening. 2019 will be different!

  • Chris

    Great work all series guys. Ill take the slight under and call it an even 10 and 10 and out. For next season I can see them going full tilt into pre breaking bad mode with perhaps even introducing Jesse into the story. Hope so, im kinda done with the Jimmy and Kim stuff, I know Im probably in the minority but never saw much chemistry with them. Much more enjoy the escapades of a Kimless Jimmy.

    It was a funny touch to see Howard back on his feet thanks to the “FU Jimmy!” exchange.

    My random take is that Mike plans to send the crew home but Kai, who knows full well that Werner has gone to Belise, begs to stay and finish the job in order to save his life.

    I wonder if “”Winner” and “Werner” are purposefully similar as the two main story lines.

    Thanks for doing a terriffic job all year. Really entertaining, one of my fav podscasts!

  • Bry_Lander

    I totally agree that Kim’s alarm at Jimmy’s rant after the hearing makes no sense. Jimmy’s appeal was based on leveraging Chuck’s letter to establish Chuck’s regard for Jimmy – yet here is what Kim said to Howard about Chuck’s letter in his office when Kim went on her tirade shortly after Chuck died:

    “Oh, what’s this too, Howard? What’s in this? One last “screw you, little brother” from beyond the grave? ”

    Kim clearly knows how Chuck regarded Jimmy throughout his life, so to act indignant about Jimmy’s fake emotional plea is pretty disingenuous…

    • aardvarkratnik

      They’ve had Kim looking alarmed before and nothing ever seems to come of it.

  • DT73

    To answer your opening question: “What do people want from this show anyway”? People want a show that does not wait over a year between what we are now pathetically calling a “season.” If you broadcast a show in this manner people will lose interest and feel manipulated by the network/producers I did the math. If the original Star Trek series were broadcast in this manner it would have taken 30 years,. Between the excessive commercial time (what is each episode about one half hour of actually programming) the inexcusable time between the BS “season”, and AMC’s proclivity of jerking around their audiences, I AM OUT.

    • Just Joe

      I see what you’re saying I had multiple people ask me “is Better Call Saul still on?” last year. I mean 10 episode seasons are fine, but ONLY if they actually come out at the same time each year.

      • TrentC

        I think a lot of recent top TV series handle their seasons this way. They stretch out a 10 episode season for months and start the new season later each subsequent year.

        I come from the generation where 22-26 episode seasons were the norm and there were no four month mid-season breaks.

        A lot of people blame the Writer’s Strike in 2007 for creating this format to handle seasons.

        Lost created tons of episodes but it was also one the first TV series to make fans wait what felt like years in between breaks.

        • DT73

          If you come from the generation of 22-36 episode season norm, you are probably in my demographic. I can see your point about the 2007 writer’s strike. What has created the current BS way of broadcasting “seasons” is a combination of trends over time. And they all negatively impact the way you see programming today. It all began with Ronald Reagan. Are you old enough to remember what this as****k of a President did when he deregulated the broadcast industry? I know Rob, as a broadcast major must be aware of this history. I could go on and on about the disgusting behavior of these networks and how they treat their employees, viewers and fans. Its pathetic. For me, it all gets down to WATCHING LESS AND LESS TV as it currently exists on any platform. I do not like watching a program that is one third commercials. I do not like having to spend extra money to “record” these shows to avoid said commercials. I do not like 8 episode “seasons” once every two years. Didn’t we used to call these mini-series? I do not like the way producers of shows use social media to “play around” and manipulate audiences. I do not like downloading “apps” to see more content. In my opinion, there is a specific part of the human body wherein TV and its producers can insert their current product, if you get my drift.

          • TrentC

            I’m a little older than Rob, younger than Jeff Probst…and look waaaay younger than my contemporaries.(clean livin…cough cough)

            I understand everything you’re talking about, but my offense level isn’t as high as yours over commercial time and season length. Your mini series comment was spot on.

            Last year I had to cut back expenses dramatically so I canceled cable, got rid of my PVR/DVR, and bought an over the air antenna which currently is taped to my window. I get about five local channels. I also stream TV shows and movies from the internet on my PC. I pay for a monthly net connection for other reasons, so the streaming shows equate to being ‘free.’ So using one method I get commercials with the local TV, the other streaming method has no commercials ever, all TV hours are 43 minutes only.

            All that to say, the world has changed and moved on. If 43 minute shows are that offensive, you have to either stop watching or adapt somehow. There have always been commercials chewing into our hours of TV, only the amount has changed.

            Same with the new format of eight or 10 episode seasons that go on forever. The only reaction a person can have is not to support them.

            You sound like a person with an old style TV set up that doesn’t rely on a cable box to transmit. Otherwise you’d have a device to record and eliminate commercials.

            With my over the air Walton’s antenna set up, I started seeing commercials again for the first time in eight years. I don’t mind because I’m looking for the quality of the program over the delivery system. It is strange to sit through them, but the price is right.

            And don’t even talk to me about using an app on a phone to watch TV or movies. Back in the early 2000’s videos on the internet were displayed in small little windows. I AIN’T GOING BACK! lol!

          • DT73

            Thanks for reading and responding to my comments about TV in general actually. For the purposes of RHAP and Reality TV I AM WAY OVER THE DEMOGRAPHIC for this stuff. I am about to be 64 years old. So that means I used to watch basically 3 channels. And there were some great shows on those channels from 1965 to 1975, when I was junior high and high school age, basically. Mission Impossible, Star Trek, The Wild Wild West, Man From Uncle, Green Acres, Get Smart. etc. was my fare. I brought up Reagan because TV USED TO BE REGULATED AS TO HOW MUCH COMMERCIAL TIME THEY COULD AIR. For a one hour show.: about four and a half minutes only was allowed. I can’t even discuss commercial time now without blood pressure medication. In fact. from my perspective, the entirety of ALL OF OUR MEDIA, including internet, streaming, etc. has turned into an advertising shit storm. I have a HDTV and pay my cable company 160 dollars just for the TV stuff. I do have a DVR feature. I hate it. Rarely use it. So, to your point. I do find 43 minutes for a one hour show offensive and I have stopped watching almost all of these shows. Most TV I watch now I watch because my wife watches so I watch it with her. If it were not for her I would probably cancel everything and read more (I am up to 10 books already this year.) I live in San Diego where it is quite hilly so these antennas you speak of have not worked. But I will keep checking. You know, I have been a media person my entire life, into just about everything. I know TV has recently had another Golden Age with its proramming during the last two decades or so with streaming and the internet. But for me right now, I may have seen enough.

          • TrentC

            So you’re already paying for the necessary tech to help reduce your blood pressure, but out of principal you don’t want to use it? I assumed from your original post you didn’t feel the need to pay additional money for a DVR to eliminate commercials.

            I’m over a decade younger than you and have this weird memory thing. I remember shows like the original Star Trek and Get Smart. My parents used to think I was possessed because I would talk about shows that aired when I was one, two, three years old etc. Same thing with music. I remember songs from the summer of love and the early 70’s and used to whistle them as a lad.

            I’m not in America so I can’t speak to what Ronnie did to the advertising regulations.

            I realize you don’t come here to get advice from some random yahoo off the net, but if I may suggest something?

            You’re already laying out the 160 per month for TV entertainment and it sounds like you rarely use it. Your wife likes to watch her shows so you gotta have the setup, correct? These over the air antennas can be dodgy and trust me, you get way less content. And no choice in that content. Without insult, you’ve reached the age where you shouldn’t have to dick around with antennas to watch TV. Some are indoor, ones that work better are typically outdoor.

            So why not embrace the tech you already have? The very definition of why DVR’s are great is because they cut out commercials and you can program them weeks ahead. Read the manual, play around with it and never see a commercial again. When I had mine I tried a persistent or weekly recording for a show I liked. Low and behold a couple of months later I had eight commercial free episodes ready for me to binge-watch at any time. There’s a learning curve sure, you’re a media guy…make it a project. The beauty is that you can record multiple shows and it organizes everything for you.

            I know it doesn’t change what’s behind the need to go to these lengths, but…you know the world won’t change back. You may be missing some great TV because of idiotic economic industry changes. Have you seen Westworld? Prime example of the new format we hate, but what a beautifully written, acted and shot television show. Take it easy.

          • DT73

            Thanks again for this, and I appreciate the supportive comments. RE: The DVR situation. I actually bought a DVD recorder when they first came out so I could avoid commercials. And I miss an old VCR I had that would actually automatically FF ON ITS OWN through commercials. I think it was called “commercial skip”. I guess the powers that be eliminated this technology from being further used. I could no longer find this. And unless I am missing something on my CATV company provided device you have to physically FF on your remote and somehow figure out when to stop to resume your program. I feel like I should mention my history with Rhap.l really wish I remember the first podcast I heard by Rob. Only because I have watched and witnessed some kind of miracle with Mr. Cesternino. What I mean by this is he has “carved out his own niche” This is what career counselor’s always would tell me. Find and pursue your passion. I used to respond “I don’t think IBM is hiring people who want to sit around drinking beer and watching TV. And here we have Rob, minus the alcohol. I remember one of the first video podcast Rob did. It was basically him and Nicole sitting on their couch with these cheap microphones. Anyway, so now podcasts are one of my favorite media forms. As far as “embracing the TV setup I already have:” Yes, I agree with you, I can’t go back to the way TV used to be done and the world has changed. I’m just saying the way I am going to adapt will include less and less TV for the reasons I have stated in previous posts. I feel a lot of the technology we have today to enjoy entertainment is starting to direct our behavior instead of the other way around, so again, less TV stuff.

          • TrentC

            Yes I remember when a VCR could actually detect and skip commercials. Pure sorcery!

            I was the farthest thing from a nerd as a person could be before I got my first PC in 2003. I then embraced tech like no other, learned how to build PC’s and use software properly, often helping other home users with various problems. Recently I’ve been trying to move away from some aspects of the internet because I don’t like where it’s going, or maybe better said, how it’s being used.

            I love podcasts too and if we want to get into some deep thoughts, they actually remove one more aspect of absorption when we consume media. Used to be images and sound together, now let’s just listen.

            Rhap introduced me to podcasts and I like the one-two punch of watching a show and then fighting with people over my opinions. Just kidding. Not many fights on Rhap and I think that’s a testament to how Rob has developed his niche.

            One day I hope to hear your opinions on shows, rather than your disappointment with the medium.

          • DT73

            The first actual podcast I listened to was by this guy named Rob who lives in Nebraska. That was my gateway podcast. I will list some of my podcast history, maybe you are familiar, maybe not. For reality TV subject: I can’t think of the name of one I used to listen to but the people on it: Someone calling herself Cherry Garcia, Mike from Minnesota, and the Portuguese Princess, who was actually on BB. I have not listened to this one in awhile as it is very corny and morose at the same time. Its a weird one. Of course, RHAP is the gold standard. I have tried the BUZZFEED thing, but it is a little much for me. I have listened to Adam Carolla, but stopped after awhile due to his political stance. Lots of comedian podcasts as well, such as Gilbert Godfreed. I also listen to podcasts about horror films. Also, wow, I listen to a ton of political podcasts, mostly progressive stuff. I really listen to a lot of podcasts. It is my favorite media form right now. I feel like a have to take advantage of it before it also turns into an advertising clusterf***. At which point, I will drop these. Right now, they put all their ads at the start of the podcast, which makes it easy to skip. But that will change…….

          • TrentC

            My first gateway podcasts were Rhap during the Survivor Second Chance season in 2015. I listened to Rob’s (Cesternino) The Evolution of Strategy podcasts that cover every Survivor season from one to 30. Rob and Josh Wigler went through each season vote by vote, then read Tribal Council transcripts from each season. (I like Survivor).

            I also listened to podcasts from the Survivor Historians, four different guys who covered the same show.

            Two years ago I got into true crime and serial killer/alien/conspiracy podcasts and won’t list names here because they’re competitors to Rob and they make enough already off their patronage. One of the true crime podcasts is a tough listen because they use actual 911 audio and court room audio. My podcast world is pretty small. Never tried Carolla or any of the political ones because my thoughts on politics are upsetting to some. You can only affect the political climate once…that’s when you vote…so why spend hours of your life arguing and wringing your hands over things you can’t change? I see so many comments about the right and the left of it all (I’m not American) in everything from Youtube music comments to comment sections on Survivor. It’s a bit much and bleeds into subjects it shouldn’t. I digress though.

            We should really chat about TV before someone gives us the boot. Did you watch all of Breaking Bad? If so, what did you think? Any other TV programs you liked in the past few years?

          • DT73

            I did watch Breaking Bad. I thought it was one of the best shows that has ever been on TV. I will say, you can see where V. Gilligan has been influenced by the Coen Brothers.

          • TrentC

            Agreed. And I resisted watching it for three seasons thinking it would be boring.

            Breaking Bad exponentially created so much tension, episode by episode, season by season, it really gave a clinic on how excellent TV dramas could be.

            It created forum discussions on whether Walt was a good or bad guy, was Skyler a hypocrite, was Jesse the most moralistic of the entire cast…people talk about The Sopranos, The Wire etc (which I enjoyed) but nothing comes close to Breaking Bad for pure electricity drawn from a relatively tame Dad from a boring nuclear family scenario.

            That last scene with Walt and Skyler was brilliant. “I did it because I was good at it and I liked it..”

          • DT73

            My favorite scene is from (I do not know the season) wherein he does not want to do chemo so they all sit down with him and pass the “talking pillow” as they take turns talking. Bryan Cranston at his finest here.

          • TrentC

            I lost my father last year to stage four lung cancer and we ended up in a group scenario much like that. Instead, we passed around a microphone that had little ribbons on it representing people that had been in the group and died. There were too many little ribbons on that mic. Both Dad and I agreed that sort of group setting wasn’t for us.

            Coincidentally at the time, I thought of the scene you described above, as well as the scenes where Walt goes into the bathroom and punches the metal towel dispenser, then sees the same dispenser months later. I wanted to punch a few things too. Such a well written and insightful show.

          • DT73

            The scene is in the fifth episode of the first season “Grey Matter.” I cannot seem to find the full scene anywhere. I will have to find the full episode. My wife has never seen it. A lot of shows my wife ended up watching with me after I first discovered the show and then told her about it; I would recommend she watch it as she might like it as well. So she has not seen a lot of the first episodes of Breaking Bad. This was also the case with Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire, both shows we enjoyed as well.

    • Hotdog_Hamlisch

      Agreed, although I don’t know if I’m totally out yet…

    • aardvarkratnik

      I’m staying but I get what you’re saying. I had a hard time remembering what happened last “season” when this one started and now it’s over already.

  • TrentC

    Question and prediction. How does a disbarred lawyer sit in on the HHM scholarship panel? Is Jimmy some sort of Chuck proxy? Besides being disbarred, it’s Jimmy! Would Howard want him there? I initially thought it was a flashback.

    And a dark prediction. I think the girl who Jimmy gave the advice to, takes the negative aspect to heart and attempts to hurt herself and/or succeeds. And Jimmy hears about it.

    Big thanks to Ant und Rob for the season of podcasts. Prost!

  • Just Joe

    Did anyone else get confused during the scholarship scene? I mean last time we saw Howard and Jimmy they didn’t part on the best terms, then they were just fine in that scene. I honestly thought it was a flashback at first.

  • Hotdog_Hamlisch

    The reason I was disappointed in the finale (and most of the season, for that matter) involved the excruciating pace. It feels like they’re intentionally dragging this out & it’s kind of getting old. I’m really enjoying Lalo & the Werner arc was okay (loved that actor too), but it seemed like there was just so much time reinforcing the fact that Jimmy’s an irredeemable weasel. Yes, we know that! Let’s get on with it. But overall, fantastic job from Rhea Seehorn.

    • aardvarkratnik

      Slow pace coupled with those non stop commercial breaks is a real killer.

  • Tscott815

    The BCS finale, Winner, was very enjoyable, but I never really liked the Germans storyline. The only purpose it served was to give Mike something to do. I think they should have brought Mike more into the Nacho & Salamancas story. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Jimmy turn full-on Saul – they nailed it. Either of these last two episodes could be submitted for Bob Odenkirk’s Emmy consideration. I feel next season we need a time jump, more flash-forward scenes or lots more Gene timeline scenes. Since we know Jimmy McGill basically no longer exists, they need to push the story forward at a much faster pace. Also, I can’t wait to see Lalo again. Did either of you get a “Cohen Brothers” vibe from the Western Union office scenes? I could totally see that happening in a Cohen brothers movie.

  • aardvarkratnik

    I need more episodes. All those months and it’s over already. By the time it comes back I won’t remember what happened.

  • Bry_Lander

    After reading a lot of fan responses on various message boards about “Jimmy finally becoming Saul” – I tend to disagree with this. While he is apparently going to change his business name to Saul Goodman, he is still just engaging in petty crimes and swindles. Stealing figurines, changing addresses on pleadings, selling burner phones to shady people, tricking a DA into reducing a client’s charges, conning the bar admissions review board, etc., are all pretty trivial. I don’t think he officially becomes Saul until he starts behaving like Saul and routinely engaging in serious ethical and felonious behavior.