-Season ranking for BCS: ....er, well, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. I would rank the sixth season of BCS on par with perhaps the third season of BrBa, and better than BrBa's seasons 1 and 5a, but certainly it doesn't top BrBa season 2, 4 or 5b.
-I guess the big hot deal with me for most of the show concerned the parts that were the most like BrBa, and so much of the discussion about the show is about that aspect of it, and whether or not the show was better or not because of it. I'm going to say that it was a better show because of it, but with some reservations. There's the matter of suspense: every single time the show got suspenseful, my pulse started to race, the music kicks in and we're back in 2013 breathlessly awaiting what will happen. The people behind the show were sufficiently talented at these sorts of sequences that they would never really fail, even when you knew who would live and who would die ...and yet it's usually the payoffs that weren't as good as BrBa's, and of course BrBa's ultimate payoffs were better than BCS's. My picks for the two best scenes on the show were 1)when Nacho was hiding out in his hotel room in his final episode looking for the guy who was after him (hiding in that dump out in the parking lot) and 2)when someone spotted Jimmy-as-Gene at Cinnabons and ID'd him and Jimmy raced home to call the vacuum cleaner guy. Pulse racing, folks.
-...and yeah, my pick for the best episode is indeed "Rock And Hard Place," the big Nacho-on-the-run episode. It's a very BrBa-fashioned episode (the most BrBa-like episode, of course, was "Bagman"...which was very good but with a little devil on my shoulder whispering to me that it was way too close to "Four Days Out" to be a masterful episode in its own right) And the reservations come right back: I didn't really give that much of a crap about Nacho as a character, most of his scenes weren't that engrossing and the guy had a big obvious bullseye on his forehead from the beginning. But the suspense in the episode was great. Was that a homage to Wages Of Fear when he immersed himself in that pool of black goo to hide from the Cousins?
-...regarding what I say about payoffs: Is it for the better that we didn't get "Ozymandias II"? I guess it probably is, maybe this just isn't that kind of show and we're dumb for wanting that kind of thing instead of the classier thing we did get. Would it have been too obvious to have some big action blowout or some big hellfire megadrama scene? If this were BrBa would they have gone ahead and toasted Kim Wexler or Nacho's father or Carol Burnett or somebody else we were all breathlessly hoping to not see killed, or would that have just been like some alternate BrBa where they kill the baby? I'm leaning towards yes. (I'm such a pussball that if you asked me to go back in time and somehow erase Andrea's death from BrBa, I'd probably childishly do so without a second thought.)
Is it for the better that Kim made her choice to leave and pack off screen, or did that make it feel like her big confrontation with Saul in S6E9 felt rushed? Maybe. (Rhea Seehorn seemed to be acting circles around Odenkirk in that scene BTW; he came across as oddly whimper-y, which is unusually low quality for Odenkirk who was otherwise terrific on the show.)
Is it better that we got a GoodFellas scene of Saul/Gene angrily kicking out the glass in the phone booth in the third to last episode, and in the second to last episode we found that Kim was relatively reserved on the other end of the line? I guess so. (I'm aware that there are lots of references to shots of Walt in BrBa, showing Saul, who as "Gene" looked sort of like Walt, and made different choices than Walt would have.)
I'm going to be wondering about a lot of choices this show made in its last two seasons, always wondering if they really made the best possible choice, or if something better could have been done. This doesn't mean the last two seasons are weak or anything, it's just something I think about.
-I rewatched the fifth season in order to get the sixth done in time. I definitely agree that Lalo is a great character and an addition to the universe and we'll probably see great things from Tony Dalton from here on out. I'd never seen or heard of him before.
-Furthermore, what do you think about the plotting in the two halves of the sixth season? Is it a cute idea that the leadup to Howard Hamlin's big death was caused by something as stupid as Kim and Saul playing pranks on Howard, and Kim forgetting to mention to Saul that Mike told her Lalo was still alive? Good plotting or contrivance? How about the second half, where the big breakup episode was followed by a Michelle MacLaren directed bottle episode where Saul/Gene helps a total dork rob a mall, and how petty Saul/Gene's criminal plotting really is? Making the line "There never was a Nippy" even funnier.
-The finale was acceptable, I s'posa, if very low key (and ploddingly overlong, just a bit.) Again, going against expectations here. The trial scene was okay but not great. Six whole years of people's speculations about what would happen to Kim Wexler, and all of them so far from what acutally happened. People who didn't think she was going to die horribly kept hammering on and on about how she said she was from Nebraska and "Gene" ended up in Omaha, so surely they'd meet someday in Nebraska, and then that didn't happen, thank God. And of course they had to tease that with the Zafiro bottle opener in that opening scene where Saul's mansion was being cleaned out.a I hope lots of people weren't HOPING for her to die, especially since that would put us all right back in Skyler White territory...
-...speaking of which, I was touched on a human level to read comments sections in response to S6E7 and find that people actually managed to refrain themselves from pouring loads of hate and "b*stard deserved it* type sentiments on Howard Hamlin, who only seemed like sort of a snobby jerk. Certainly BrBa fans overwhelmingly seemed to hate Chuck. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen Internet episode commentators scream overexaggerated bloody murder about characters who were only sort of unlikeable. Cough Noah Tannenbaum cough haaack cough.
-Walt and Jesse's cameo appearances, hyped to the gills for six years now, were predictably the weakest things about the final season, the staff seemingly having failed to learn their lessons from the similarly unnecessary El Camino. All that build-up and we get what basically amounts to a glorified deleted scene from the episode when they originally kidnapped Saul, illuminating precisely dick and being unentertaining on top of that. I'm not at all surprised. Aaron Paul is 42 now and Jesse is supposed to be, what was it, 24? Did his voice drop an octave between El Camino and now? Walt's second cameo in the series finale was marginally better, but still nothing to write home about. The only plus is that *Marie*'s cameo in the finale, which I really wasn't expecting at all, was probably stronger than any Marie scene on BrBa. Still, it's mildly embarrassing to think that the best BrBa cameo turned out to be Tuco, all the way back in the second episode of the show.
-Similarly, it's good that there will not be a third show set in the "BrBa Universe," as Gus, the Cousins, Don Eladio and Hector Salamanca are pretty played out. I can't easily think of a particularly wonderful Gus scene from BCS. One suspense scene that didn't work was Gus suddenly having a gun when he needed one to kill Lalo with. Obviously Gus was going to survive that fight, but "oh, there's where I put that gun" is like the final boss fight in Resident Evil Zero or something (where a Colt Magnum needed to kill the final boss had just been conveniently left by someone laying there in a corner.)
-Kudos to the production people for nailing what a 90 year old Nebraska senior citizen's house--I've been IN many such homes--would look like. And what her son was like. Yes there are middle aged guys like "Jeff" in this part of the country who are still so dorky they wear Bill Cosby sweaters left over from 1987 (the dude's Jesus & Mary Chain hair was pretty funny, too.) The details of Kim's dowdy Florida home life were pretty amusing as well, having a house party where women ask why we don't hear about crack in the news anymore. Several funny details stuck out: not just Kim's dull brunette hair and bad clothes but also that one of her coworkers at that office space was dressed like a feminist from 1973, or funniest of all, that her husband is a complete afterthought.
-Carol Burnett is getting up there, but she certainly seemed more lucid than poor old Ed Begley Jr. who comes across now like he's 100.
-When they did Howard Hamlin's funeral and there were all those big pictures of Howard's toothy grin, I laughed when I found out that most of them were just pictures from Patrick Fabian's Instagram. Maybe they should have included an old picture of him from Saved By The Bell: The College Years, that would've been even funnier.
-One strange callback wasn't even to BrBa but to the Sopranos. When Kim gave her confession to Asian lawyer lady, the show blew through the details of her confession by showing big closeups of various individual words and sentences on paper, which is like in the second or third last episode of The Sopranos when Lorraine Bracco had to read big closeups of text explaining how Tony is a sociopath. I know for a fact that lots of Sopranos fans thought that bit was pure cringe.
-Three and a half stars for the whole show. For now. BrBa of course remains a five star show. I guess I could watch it all again, but I rewatched seasons 1 and 2 when 3 came out, and rewatched 5 when 6 came out, so only season 4 remains unwatched for a second time. Maybe that's for the better. I thought that German engineer guy character was pathetic, possibly the worst BrBa universe character ever.