Mon. May 27th, 2024

Slippin’ Jimmy

It is enough for Chuck McGill to say that James McGill, his brother, is Slippin’ Jimmy. All the character traits that made Slippin’ Jimmy are already in his name. However, Saul Goodman refers to a different person than James. Firstly, he is a rather cunning and intelligent lawyer. Meanwhile, James is an underdog who lives in the shadow of his more successful brother and partner.

On top of that, Gene Takavic is a devastated and emotionally withdrawn shopping center manager. Viktor St. Claire is a fictional rich man who drinks expensive tequila and always thinks about getting more prosperous. Despite being the same human, they all looked like different characters. However, they seem like different people because not only have their aliases changed, but so have their main characters.

Ultimately, the biggest question in AMC’s incredible and touching series finale, Better Call Saul, is not whether the main character Saul Goodman will go to jail. In the end, detention and arrest seem inevitable, considering the events before the prison in which Saul, who has always been hiding from the law, by the name of Gene Takavic, did a deadly job as the manager of the Cinnabon restaurant in the Omaha mall came to light.

Immutable Spin-off

A mother who has discovered him from the accomplices of a new fraud he created cannot resist the temptation to return to the criminal game. The grandiose follow-up to one of the most lauded series in contemporary TV history, Better Call Saul, premiered in February 2015. It is about the origin story of Saul, one of the most iconic Breaking Bad characters. After the events of the Breaking Bad conclusion, Saul is first seen in the opening sequence of the spin-off.

He lives under the radar as Gene, doing manual labor, depicted in drab black-and-white footage. It looks cinematically elegant and drains all enthusiasm or life. Immediately, it sets up the two tricky steps that will define the series, switching between Gene’s drab life in the present day and his evolution into Saul. The images answer a question plaguing Breaking Bad fans ever since they witnessed Walter White, a high school teacher turned drug lord.

After a brief introduction to Gene, the first episode of Better Call Saul jumps back by six years. It switches to color and introduces viewers to aspiring attorney James. Known as Slippin’ Jimmy because of his habit of falling in front of businesses to cheat injury settlements, he struggles to make ends meet and care for his brother Chuck, who was once a brilliant lawyer but had to resign from his immutable law.

Supporting the Narrative

The story Jimmy tells forms his identity about who he is. That does not mean he can start telling everyone he is the best lawyer in the world; it will only form his identity as a liar. However, Jimmy did not feel like the same person Jimmy had been when Jimmy was two years old. He will continue to discuss those years in his life narrative. It is wrong to include something Jimmy does not remember as part of his identity.

The narration does not emerge from anywhere, and he is not the only participant in the story, regardless he is the center. However, it is not the only story that we have to consider as Chuck’s fault lies in the fact that, according to him, only one story forms the complete identity of James, namely Slippin’ Jimmy. In the past, Jimmy had an accident, slipped, and fell into making money fast.

However, he claims that Slippin’ Jimmy returned to Cicero, dead and buried. In Wiedersehen, Jimmy tells Kim Wexler—expertly played by Emmy-nominated Rhea Seehorn—that she saw him and a desperate Slippin’ Jimmy. Again, he rejected his old identity. Past Jimmy is Jimmy if he has a narrative that supports such a relationship.

Jimmy’s Current Identity

He is the protagonist and narrator and decides what he perceives as his life. That way, he can consider Slippin’ Jimmy as part of himself. However, he feels it is something other than his current identity. In the narrative process, Jimmy might claim that he never lied. We know that is not the case. However, Jimmy also might try to fake it until we make it a tactic. He probably started telling people that he was not afraid of anything.

Regardless of his actual fear, it will still be a part of his personality and narrative. Jimmy’s narrative may even describe events that never happened. Sometimes, hidden traumas or made-up stories can be a big part of an individual’s identity. Jimmy could also state that he is a gentleman, and such a description would be the story. However, others exist to neither believe nor believe.

A pure narrative will only work by adding certain constraints of reality. Jimmy’s life story must not be perfect or accurate, but his memories must be based on reality or his principles. Jimmy could have given up on specific aspects of himself or tried to act like a different person. He also does not need to recite his thousands of pages of life stories under certain circumstances.

Showcasing the Consequences

Nevertheless, he did not need to tell her everything about James. The following six seasons of Better Call Saul were devoted to investigating many of these solutions, producing some of the finest dramas on television. We see Saul confronting his brother at a hearing in front of the bar association, exposing his brother’s unbalanced belief that he is too sensitive to electromagnetic fields.

Ultimately, Chuck, played graciously by Michael McKean, kills himself. Plus, we see Saul married to Kim, a much better lawyer who is drawn to the rule-breaking scam her husband dreamed of until, seeing the terrible collateral damage they can bring, she decides to leave him, and the law is behind her. It is a testament to the show’s quality that the new characters become as interesting as the cast from Breaking Bad rejoining the party, including lawman turned cartel Mike Ehrmantraut and drug lord and fast-food entrepreneur Gus Fring.

Even Bob Odenkirk’s real-life heart attack, which occurred while filming one of the final episodes and almost ended his life, does not stop the story from progressing. Better Call Saul showcases the growing dissonance between the man Saul thinks he is trying to be and the toxic consequences he creates for others.

Extraordinary Deception

The season finale weaves all the threads together in an extraordinary climax, when a lawyer Saul and Kim conned is unexpectedly killed by Gus’ biggest rival. This murder would not have occurred if attorney Howard Hamlin had not been wrapped up in the deception of the couple. The producers took significant creative swings in turning the episodes into action-packed greats. Four episodes before the finale, after the lawyer’s shocking death, they thrust the story back into Gene’s world.

It switches to black-and-white images in a way that almost feels like a different series. The concluding episode, Saul Gone, maintains a black-and-white aesthetic and features an imprisoned Saul haggling with prosecutors for a light punishment. Earlier, he realized Kim had admitted to their role in the lawyer’s death. Later, Saul lied to bring Kim into the courtroom to complete his plea deal.

He confessed to all he had done to activate Walt’s drug empire and his participation in Howard’s death. These are the times when Saul reverts to Jimmy, a man who assumes accountability for winning back the affection of his estranged wife. In the final scene, Saul shares a cigarette with Kim during a prison visit. After all, he was sentenced to 86 years.

Breaking Bad

In Breaking Bad, we only see the Saul side of James. In such circumstances, it is his identity, a story we believed in but now has a different narrative for us to choose from. James has presented his alter ego Saul to the world as a last line of defense for the little ones, the righteous from wrong, and the friend of the friendless. Since he is the story’s protagonist, the description forms identity in the end; if the narrative is an essential prerequisite of individual identity, then any break in continuity would end existence.

No need to kill himself; Jimmy just needs to stop telling stories, and he is done. However, it again raises the issue of psychological continuity as an identity marker. We could just as well argue that Chuck has early dementia. From a narrative standpoint, the former Chuck needs to be included, as he is no longer inclined to tell the true story of the old Chuck. Jimmy could succumb to specific narratives, but they would come back.

He will always have a narrative for us to tell, no event to circumvent it. In Quite a Ride, Jimmy says he would make an outstanding lawyer, and people would know that.

Continuity

However, we have seen that Jimmy’s point of view often needs to be revised. Is James acting like the best lawyer ever, or is it Slippin’ Jimmy who often takes over? In a flashback sequence at the start of each season, James, now under the alias Gene, works behind a desk in a convenience store. Cooling off after work, we see Gene watching an old VHS tape of a Saul Goodman TV commercial from his previous life.

In Switch, he carved Saul’s initials on the wall, and apparently, James identified with his Saul persona. Jimmy, whom the police are looking for, can no longer tell his story of Saul. It was not enough for Jimmy to learn Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water guitar chords. However, it is necessary, and we cannot use the cannon according to the game’s rules. Jimmy does not need to remember his childhood to see him as part of his identity.

He also survives without narrative continuity; in the same way, Saul does not need narrative continuity in returning to Jimmy’s identity. If Jimmy compares himself from a present point of view to himself in the past, he will establish a new narrative continuity, the same way Gene can remember his former self.

The Persistence Argument

On the other hand, persistence is one of many relevant questions in such an argument. The narrative emerges as an adequate answer, and we could argue that Jimmy exhibits at least the conditions we need to be Jimmy. However, being Slippin’ Jimmy or Saul presupposes a variety of character traits we need. In contrast to the Better Call Saul saga, in the end, the final reveals fundamental similarities to Breaking Bad.

Both series are about men facing something terrible at the core of their being. They acknowledge the terrible damage they have caused. Finally, they accept the consequences of their behavior. There is always a debate about what differentiates them from villains in stories about antiheroes. Often, the difference is conscience and values. The antihero has it, but the villain does not. In The Wire, David Simon is slowly enjoying everything that allows fans to see Omar Little as the kind of charismatic villain we love in pop culture.

It forces the audience to admit that they have endorsed a psychopath. However, Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad tell different stories. In the show, antiheroes are forced to face toxic truths about themselves. Ultimately, they are responsible for the pain they created as a final confession to those who love them.

Bold Finale

They also realized the truth about them long before they did. Perhaps, what happened was that all the things in society that kept Jimmy under control were slowly disappearing. They develop into the violent and controlling narcissists they always have been. That is why Saul’s statement about regret, which he displays in two critical scenes from the end, is significant. In flashback, he asks two of the franchise’s other antiheroes—Walt and Mike—in another inspiring cameo what they would change in their lives if they had a time machine.

Walt pointedly and precisely pointed out that Saul was asking about remorse. On the other hand, Mike wants to cancel when he takes his first bribe as a cop. Walt wants to reconsider his decision to leave the successful company he created, which caused his ego to be injured and precipitated all the subsequent dysfunction. Saul’s response has always focused on increasing his income, carrying out more elaborate frauds, and developing new strategies for winning.

Saul, as well as we can see something important is missing. The series begins with Jimmy desperate to prove that everyone who saw him as a loser was wrong. It ends with a bold finale that shows Saul that the men are more right about themselves than he would like to admit.

Change of Heart

Therefore, it explains how different identities we can distinguish even if we appear to be dealing with the same body. Jimmy’s ability to tell a new story about who he is the form is the only thing that matters. We understand starting a new chapter literally as a way of reaffirming or leaving old identities. However, Jimmy can turn into Saul or back into Slippin’ Jimmy, not in some weird werewolf way.

It was a significant enough change of heart and minded for himself and others to think of him as different.

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