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gallimaufry

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  1. S04.E09: Wiedersehen

    I think the whole "full measure" philosophy was just for Walt. I've never felt it reflects Mike's character at all. That said, I don't think he has much choice now. Werner is too unreliable to be trusted to be discrete. On the other hand, the fact that he wants to reunite with his wife makes it difficult as she presumably can be tracked. With Lalo sniffing around Gus's empire, I can see fun times ahead. I enjoyed the bell scene. Yes, it's a shameless bit of continuity but it still worked as a scene, especially for Lalo's maniacal laugh when he starts ringing the bell. I hate Hector but I do love Mark Margolis and I feel sad that we'll never see him in his true, terrible form again. No Howard again. I like that the show doesn't force appearances unnecessarily but it's striking that he's appeared in barely a handful of scenes this season. Granted, those scenes have almost all been stand-outs. I hope and expect to see more of him just as Nacho has had seasons where he's been quiet. Gus is fun although at the moment his plot feels very much in a holding pattern. I loved Nacho's expression to him when he brought Lalo to Los Pollos. So Kim and Jimmy... hmm. I love the structure of the scene and the acting and Jimmy not getting his law licence back was indeed a shock. I loved that it came down to Chuck as though Chuck, from beyond the grave, was still keeping Jimmy down. And I loved that in his ranting Jimmy referenced all the putdowns he'd internalised - "the kind of lawyer guilty people hire" and "Slipping Jimmy". I didn't personally feel "you're always down" as being as big a slap-down as some people seem to think. It's blunt but fairly inarguable. The first Kim scene though was hard to watch. For one, it seems like it's going to be incredibly difficult to justify to anyone how it happened and the fiction seems difficult to maintain. There will be blowback and I don't see how Kim's sleight of hand even remotely covers herself or the firm for that. Even if Kevin loves Kim for it, Paige and Rich are going to be cautious and that could be a much bigger issue down the line when the firm starts getting bad press. I feel like this was as big an act of self-sabotage as hanging up on Paige but I still can't see why. The diner scene was intriguing but there's still so much about Kim's psychology that seems very hard to unpick. Sad it's the finale already next week but it looks like being a good one. I really hope we see more Chuck in the finale. The one flashback was good but his absence has been so profound this season.
  2. S04.E08: Coushatta

    An interesting episode. Mike and the Germans... we'll see where this goes. I will say that, for all the precautions they've taken, letting them loose in Albuquerque seems like an unusually stupid choice. I didn't think they even knew before in which city the laundry was located. The stuff with the court was a joy to watch but... I found Kim's behaviour change, especially at the end... a reach. Yes, it's a twist and it's not unprecedented -- they've foreshadowed a darker side to Kim. Still, it feels a big leap from where she was only relatively recently in the timeline. When she found out about the squat cobbler and address change scams, she expressed displeasure but swallowed it and turned a blind eye. Here, she is actively participating and now pursuing it. What's changed? She's certainly been through a lot. She worked herself into the ground to gain and maintain the esteem of first HHM and now Mesa Verde. In the end, she couldn't maintain the pace of Mesa Verde and she started getting her fix from the pro bono cases. However, it doesn't seem to have moved her much further forward -- in her meetings with Mesa Verde, she still has to be the person to put a limit on ambition and colour within the lines and in her PD work, she's not really given much credit or respect. I think Jimmy's superpower, to Kim, is that he doesn't care about any of that. He torpedoed Davis & Main. He took on Rich at the drinks party. When Kim tries to find a sensible solution, he says he'll handle it his way. No worries, no holding back. When Kim comments at the end, "I saw your Esteem in the parking lot", I think it plays into the metaphor about Jimmy's Esteem. He doesn't have the esteem of his brother, society or his clients but he does have a unique kind of self-esteem -- a conviction that he can step outside the law as needed. That's my reading and my interpretation but I feel there's a lot to unpick next episode if the show's going to stick the landing on this twist.
  3. S04.E04: Talk

    Yeah, Mike's end was really disappointing. So much so that I'd love to think that there was a ruse we're not aware of going on between Saul and Mike and he got away. I don't think his death is ambiguous, sadly, but I still hope there's more to that sequence than meets the eye. Another thing that really worked about the teaser is that the present day scene is from the middle of the episode. It's like this is all that's playing through Mike's mind during what he's saying. I'd almost love to see this edited so that the flashbacks are side by side with his "talk". Another nice touch. He talks about Henry having "a tell" and Gus having "an ask". It's an interesting turn of phrase and I like that it backs up the idea that Mike really doesn't need words to read people.
  4. S04.E04: Talk

    An excellent episode. With all the characters following their own separate trajectories, it feels more like an ensemble show than the the two-track structure of past seasons but this has the advantage that we have a really good knowledge of each of the characters. Really pleased to see the flashback teaser -- and a Mike one! I don't want the show to go all "Lost" in requiring flashbacks but I do think these are very interesting and I hope we get more of them, especially with different characters. This is one of the strongest Mike episodes in a long time. I loved seeing him torpedo the grief group and his reaction to Stacey's admissions were heartbreakingly brilliant. Mike hates dishonesty but he feels he's the most broken and dishonest one of all for killing his boy so he goes to Gus with not a care in the world and gets stuck in. It makes sense and calling out Gus's tactics was brilliant. Don't play a player. Nacho had some great material this week too. The Salamanca gunfight was epic and Gus's strategy was good. But my favourite scene was with his father. I just love that actor. He radiates love and sadness in equal measure. And that relationship is so perfect and really defines Nacho's character. Kim also seemed to move on more than she has in a while despite only being in a few scenes. I loved her absolute disdain for the cynical judge and her effectively giving him the finger by sitting right back down. Although he mocked a heroic movie-style case, he's also right: we know she does want to be Atticus Finch. As ever, I'm intrigued to see where she goes. I also like that they address last week's ending not with a conversation but with an action - Kim suggests talking and not to her. No Howard for the second episode in a row. I like that the show doesn't force appearances where they aren't necessary and I can see that Howard is very peripheral as things stand. Still, I've really grown to like Howard and I hope, like Nacho in S3, he gets a really good spotlight in the back half. And finally, Jimmy. I loved that they had him bouncing the ball at the end of one scene, stacked a load of other scenes in between, and when he came back he was still bouncing the ball. The mobile phone job was always going to be a train wreck but I was surprised how quickly. It was a nice bit of prequel work to show the origin of Saul's need for an endless supply of phones -- I wonder if he's going to try and acquire some before his employers realise what a mistake they've made. I liked his relationship with Ira too. I was interested that, in the timeline, he still has 10 months before he can return to the law. I thought they might try to move that along a little faster as, if they keep the current pace and the pace of most of BB, we wouldn't reach the end of his time until S7 which is longer than the show will likely run. Obviously they'll need to hit fast-forward at some point, hopefully a little more slickly than "Gliding Over All" which I felt condensed a little too much too quickly. I do miss Jimmy the lawyer and except for his bit of phone salesmanship last week, we haven't seen it this year. There's also a lot building up in the Jimmy/Kim relationship. As a result, the Jimmy stuff feels like waiting for the other shoe to drop. We're so used to Jimmy talking and he's just not and it gives the plot a pressure cooker feel. I'm nervously excited to see where this goes...
  5. Speculation Without Spoilers

    Okay, here's a wild piece of speculation. Kim is cagey about where she grew up. We don't know anything about her family. We know nothing about her past before she started in the mail room at HHM. She seems comfortable in the grifter groove even though she's very paranoid about staying on the straight and narrow. She also had a strong negative reaction to the bank models and seems to spend a lot of time looking at them but also looking at the locations. What if she's actually looking for a particular location? As in, worried that she might one day her work might take her too near to a particular location to which she daren't return? Why would this worry her? Why be so vague? My completely off-the-wall speculation is that Kim was the first person the "Disappearer" disappeared and it's through him that Saul knows of his existence. Extreme long-shot but I kind of like the symmetry that Kim is another "Gene".
  6. S04.E03 Something Beautiful

    I don't buy the letter being forged. It contains Chuck's jealousy over Jimmy's presence in their mother's life and his pride in keeping Jimmy in the mailroom. That's all quite personal to Chuck and quite believable. Jimmy's reaction is indifferent because the pomposity of the letter isn't anything new. I also think we'd have seen Kim swap it if they were going to do that - they seem to prefer the drama of watching people doing wrong things than revealing foul intent in retrospect. Kim's reaction to the Mesa Verde expansion will be interesting. That scene was beautifully shot (as they all are). Her going to the court would be fun. If she's going for a nobler calling, perhaps she'll go into criminal law? That would keep her on the same track as Jimmy for a while longer. One negative note. As much as I like BB, this is the first episode where I felt that the prequel status was a real impediment. Yes, it was fun to see Gael but I'm not sure it added anything to our sum knowledge of his character, Gus's character or the universe. Indeed, Nacho is now the only major character in the cartel arc who doesn't have a thoroughly sketched out ending on BB. Moreover, while Jimmy is still in the process of changing towards his BB character (and there is potential for after), only Mike among them still has much change to get to their BB status (and Mike's not too far off). What have we really learned about Gus's character since he returned that we didn't know from BB? This universe's greatest strength is showing characters change quite drastically but the closer we get into the BB prequel orbit the less room I can see for that and that's a pity. Hopefully it'll pick up - there's still a lot to say about Gus in particular with respect to his family, past etc. and I hope they explore this aspect soon.
  7. S04.E01 Smoke

    I adore the artistry of this show. Smoke. A metaphor for suspicion. No smoke without fire. Without heat. Nacho has the whiff of smoke about him - he wears red, covered in black. Mike is on the trail of smoke. Howard thinks he is the smoke - black jumper and charcoal suit smothering the Hamlindigo blue at the start and end. Gene, Stacey, the taxi driver, the broken car guy, even the audience, all smell smoke. So when Chuck died of "smoke" inhalation... he literally died of inhaling suspicion. Allergic to electricity? Electricity is just what people use to heat things faster. Water quells heat like confession quells suspicion - "coming clean". Kayleigh with her hose that Mike thinks, perhaps subconsciously, about cutting dry. The river Nacho throws the pills into (also the blue highlights on his shirt which are more prominent when he seems to have escaped Bolsa's suspicions). Omaha, full of ice - surely no smoke there? Jimmy's pet fish, fed and happy surrounded by water. So when Jimmy leaves the tap running... He's literally pouring away his guilt. Until Kim turns off the tap. So what if smoke and water mix? The water just becomes impure. The coffee Jimmy drinks in happy obliviousness in the morning. The coffee he gives to Kim before she knows Hamlin is trying to call. The coffee bar guys at Madrigal, oblivious to the impurities around them. Kim pours tequila - muddy yellow even though it's from a blue bottle; it promises confession but that's not what it delivers. At the end though, when Jimmy makes the coffee... He applies heat. Controls the water. Dumps the waste. Suspicions? Guilt? Collateral damage? 'S all good, man. At least until Gene. Overflowing soap-filled water and an empty coffee cup drip, drip, dripping dry...
  8. Speculation Without Spoilers

    Great to see the Howard love. In a recent interview, Howard joked about being the moral centre of the show but as it stands he's not too far off. I love seeing him under pressure though. At some point, I can't wait to see him take on Saul in court (I know he was cross-examined as a witness in "Chicanery" but that's not nearly the same). I love this. I'm not optimistic that it's going to happen and in some respects I hope her BCS arc is definitive enough not to warrant one but it's an awesome idea. Kim is an amazing character and it would be possible to skip to the present day (which, by the time they finish BCS and get a new show off the ground, would be nearly 20 years on from the BCS timeline) and have incredible scope to tell a story with her. I've always loved the idea of a series called "ABQ" about the characters in this little pocket world they've created in BCS and BB. The only thing is, these shows are about change so she'd need an arc. I'd love to see a proper redemption arc in one of these shows. I don't know where Kim's going in BCS but my fear is that it's nowhere good so there has to be a good chance that she'll need to dig herself out of whatever hole she's in after getting sucked into the nexus of Saul. Perhaps a spin-off could find her out of prison and, since she can't practice law, working as a PI or something. In this post-BB world, it's possible we could see Skyler and Marie as well as BCS characters like Howard and Nacho. And, of course, Huell.
  9. S07.E12: Paean To The People

    Didn't do anything for me at all. Keane is such a horrible character with such an off-the-wall plot and, while I'm glad she's gone, giving her a noble send-off feels unearned and largely out of character. The whole arc, despite occasional glimmers of some real promise, has been a huge misstep. The Carrie arc was well-acted but I can't see the long-term consequences are any worse than she's already faced. I mean, she had a full-fledged psychotic break just a couple of episodes ago. The Russian stuff seems wrapped up in as neat a bow as you can get with these sorts of things. After the tension of the siege and the great stuff with Dante and the Russians, it feels like the season really fell to pieces in the third art. A pity.
  10. S07.E10: Clarity

    So Dante is definitely dead. What a waste of a promising character. Frannie... well, who cares really. Even though Carrie's brother-in-law is a bit of a prick, Carrie's so monstrously unsuited to motherhood as this season ably shows. The president demonstrates no leadership at all, just paranoid mania. She deserves impeachment. One of the least compelling fictional presidents ever. Saul... I don't really know what the point of Saul was in this episode. Really disappointing episode. "Homeland" is always a weird show and has been from the start - it can be really good or it can spin its wheels endlessly. I don't think it's ever been truly great but it's touched greatness a few times including earlier this season. But now it seems like an incoherent mess. A shame.
  11. S07.E09: Useful Idiot

    I liked the tweet trap door and the useful idiot motif, plus that was a great creepy ending but it's difficult to see what the producers' endgame is here. The Russian operation is now blown to pieces so it's hard to see where the plot goes from here. If Dante is dead, it seems like a waste of a good character; if he isn't, it seems like a weird/overly-convenient plot move. Keane and Wellington are hugely unsympathetic; so is the Senator. Whatever happens to them... who cares, frankly. Carrie is hugely unsympathetic because of her maltreatment of her daughter who probably isn't dead but you never know. There are some good elements this season but the only stakes left right now seem to be Carrie's sanity and I'm not sure I'm all that interested in three episodes of mental ward Carrie. Shame because some elements of this season had promise.
  12. S07.E07: Andante

    Oh, Carrie. It's painful to see Carrie's decision-making with regard to Frannie be so poor and, to be honest, I find it hard to credit. Carrie does a lot of things wrong but deliberately putting her infant daughter in the home of a possible Russian spy who the National Security Advisor is gunning for really pushes credibility. Although when they introduced Frannie, I thought she was a terrible idea, she's actually been good for the show on balance. A tether for Carrie to stop her going completely off the deep end and I don't find her overused or annoying. This was the first time she's been in the spotlight much at all and I didn't find her a problem so much as the credibility of Carrie's situation. That said, I can't see how this ends with her alive. With the show entering its final season, the character is too much of a lead weight on them. Dante is a great character and I enjoy his ambiguity. They've done a good job of bottling the mystery with Brody that made Series 1 tick and I hope, like Brody, they don't rush to pin him down. (Incidentally, someone mentioned Dana upthread. Probably a really unpopular opinion, but I'd quite like to see what became of Dana and Jessica. They were such a huge part of the first season and Dana is Frannie's sister-in-law. Did they even know about Frannie? That said, I can't see any logical reason for them to turn up so perhaps it's as well they're kept off-screen. I don't get why Max put himself at risk of jail time for Carrie in the first place so I don't have much sympathy for him here. In fact, in 7 years, I've never understood his character really. Wellington though... that plot isn't working for me at all. I can't get over the strike he ordered over her explicit instructions and I just don't see how he's that essential. Where was he last season? The Keane plot is floundering again. It feels like they're giving her things to do to justify her role such as manipulate the funeral arrangements or bicker with the Veep. And I have to say, the Vice-President didn't interest me as a character one bit which is a real shame because offing Keane and installing a new character might have been their best course-correct at this point. It's not that the actress is bad but trying to write in the Trumpian elements feels increasingly difficult to sustain with her underlying characterisation. Saul is good value as ever but feels like he's going through the motions at the moment. The man has gone from prison to the top of government but is still acting like a spy kingpin and through it all I really don't have much of a sense of who he is. I hoped we might get more follow-up on the siege but I guess that's died a death. If this was Moscow's big play, it's hardly succeeded. I hope we get some closure on O'Keefe at least.
  13. S07.E06: Species Jump

    Yes! Love 24 but they used this exact episode at least four times and it wasn't exactly their best to begin with. Johannesson and Harbinson collaborated on the last 24 outing of this plot with Renee but, to be fair, weren't on staff any of the previous times. Hopefully they'll dig a bit deeper. Enjoying the way the season's going. The Russian stuff feels chillingly topical and well-acted although I was disappointed to see Saul's contact offed so quickly -- I liked the old/new Russia tension they were just starting to explore. And the exposition on the way fake news is generated and distributed was excellent. Carrie's trap for Dante was excellent. I was spoiled for the possibility that Dante was a traitor which is a shame because that twist was served perfectly. I'm not convinced he is though although I can't see how it would be anything other than anti-climactic if he weren't. Keane's death-smile at Wellington was priceless but I can't figure out the dynamic between these two for the life of me. His betraying her a few episodes seems to be completely forgotten? It looks like they have but I can only hope there's a really excellent pay-off for that plot twist because right now it just makes the whole White House dynamic look deeply stupid (and not a dramatic, dysfunctional way). Still, the show is on good form again. Can't wait for next week.
  14. S07.E05: Active Measures

    Interesting episode. I'm not sure I bought the business with Keane and the funeral but I guess it was a nice grace note. Slightly worrying that Keane only seems to have one advisor around. O'Keefe seems to be on his way out although I'm interested to see if there's more in his storyline. And Russia is touted as a link but nothing is conclusively proved. After its wobble by betting on the wrong candidate last year, the show manages to seem eerily prescient once more. Surprisingly, the most interesting plot is Carrie's. Good to see Lee Ashworth off Broadchurch in the mix. It was a nice bit of spy stuff. So who's Simone working for? Russians presumably. Keane possibly as she tries to keep an eye even on Wellington (who, to be fair, showed himself to be treasonously unreliable not two episodes ago although this seems to have been forgotten already) but this seems a bit arch even for this show.
  15. S07.E04: Like Bad at Things

    Excellent episode. Second season in a row the show has had a really ropey start but rallied in the fourth episode. The Wellington plot is still ridiculous - both he and the general should be awaiting trial for treason. And Carrie's upper and downer story still feels like a slow ticker. But the siege plot was excellent. I thought the dog shooting was believable and reasonable under the circumstances. The fake news photograph was an inspired way to twist the knife. The only ridiculous thing is that O'Keefe's signal wasn't jammed and no attempt appears to have been made to do so. But it all felt grimly inevitable. This episode is in general a hit but even when it's missing, I love that Homeland still feels ambitious and cutting-edge. I wish 24: Legacy had bottled a bit of this instead of being so generic.