Archive for April 27, 2020
Here are the various Breaking Bad characters who popped up in Better Call Saul season 5, some more obvious than others. With only one final season now remaining, Better Call Saul is rapidly catching up to its famous predecessor, which starred Bryan Cranston's Walter White and Aaron Paul's Jesse Pinkman as an unlikely meth-cooking duo. Better Call Saul focuses on Walt and Jesse's colorful lawyer, Saul Goodman, mostly tracking his backstory, but also diving a little into the character's post-Walt existence.
Where the prequel series was once quite far-removed from the world of Breaking Bad, the parallels are now coming thick and fast, and the amount of characters from the original series appearing in Better Call Saul is increasing rapidly. By the end of season 5, Saul (real name Jimmy McGill) has become firmly embroiled in the feud between Gus Fring and the Salamanca family, and Kim Wexler, now Jimmy's wife, is willingly joining him down that path. Meanwhile Mike, has gone all-in with Gus, but the chicken shop owner now finds himself exposed after a botched assassination attempt on Lalo.
From main cast members to surprise cameos, Better Call Saul season 5 had more recognizable legacy characters from Breaking Bad than one might've guessed at the start of the season.
The lead protagonist of Better Call Saul, there's far more of Saul on show than Jimmy in season 5, but aspects of both are still very much present in Bob Odenkirk's character. Jimmy has seemingly resigned himself to a criminal legal career and managed to break his shootout virginity while trekking across the desert with Lalo's bail money. While he had nothing to do with the plot itself, Jimmy has also lied to the Salamancas to protect Gus Fring, and now wrongly assumes he's home free after Lalo was supposedly killed in Mexico. Jimmy's arc is arguably now on-par with Walter White's.
Better Call Saul's secondary lead finds himself in a similar boat to Jimmy, now officially working as Fring's right-hand man and leaving behind any semblance of legitimacy. Mike has been instrumental in Lalo's non-murder and acted as a handler to Nacho, advocating for the release his young friend when the job is done. Mike remains committed to his family, but keeps them far away from his professional life, and in a moment of rare vulnerability, reveals to a urine-guzzling Jimmy that Kaylee and Stacey are his sole motivation. Mike will have hell to pay in Better Call Saul season 6 when Lalo's survival is discovered.
So used to being in control during Breaking Bad, Gus' fortunes weren't so bright in season 5 of Better Call Saul. The would-be head of the New Mexico meth industry is conspiring to become Don Eladio's sole operative by destroying the Salamancas, but this comes at great sacrifice, with Gus even blowing-up one of his own restaurants to maintain an advantage. Better Call Saul season 5 reveals Gus has built a village in his former partner's honor. Gus still has a way to ago to attain his dominant status from Breaking Bad, and it remains to be seen how he handles Lalo and Nacho in season 6.
A number of Gus' assistants and heavies will be familiar to Breaking Bad viewers. Tyrus (played by Ray Campbell) will be the most familiar of these, but fans might also remember Dr. Goodman (JB Blanc) and Nick (Eric Steinig).
The big pre-announced additions to Better Call Saul season 5 were Dean Norris as Hank and Steven Quezada as Gomez - the DEA duo that tenaciously pursued Heisenberg in Breaking Bad. While Hank and Gomey's appearances were beyond simple cameos, their time was more brief than most fans would've liked. With that said, Better Call Saul season 5 did give fans a verbal sparring match between Hank and Saul, as well as a gloriously tense stake-out that saw Hank unknowingly playing to Gus Fring's tune. Significantly, both agents have now started down a road that will end with their deaths, and could feature further next season.
One of Walter White's first victims in Breaking Bad has a surprisingly important role in Better Call Saul's latest season. Fans learned the origins of Domingo's surname, which came from Lalo Salamanca during a card game, but it's Krazy-8's arrest (indirectly caused by Jimmy's legal flash-sale) that first brings the lawyer under the cartel's influence. As "Saul Goodman" is hired to represent Krazy-8, Jimmy finds himself forced to play Lalo's game, and start bending the law even more than usual. At the same time, the seeds of Krazy-8 being a DEA informant are sown.
It's curious that while Don Eladio remains the man everyone is trying to impress in Better Call Saul, he appears to have very little idea of the power struggle going on around him. Previously, Eladio seemed to be more favorable of Gus Fring than the Salamanca family, but Lalo's arrival has moved that pendulum in the opposite direction. Better Call Saul's season 5 finale also foreshadowed Eladio's death scene in Breaking Bad, with the Don giving the same "Salud!" as he drinks down Gus Fring's poison.
Eladio's close assistant, Juan Bolsa, is revealed as the man responsible for organizing the desert attack on Jimmy, signalling his own desire to rid their business of the Salamanca name. Not only did Lalo discover Bolsa was the mastermind of the scheme, but Eladio's faithful assistant also failed to realize Gus was already making his move, meaning the attack on Jimmy managed to frustrate both sides of the equation. Will Lalo seek revenge on Bolsa in Better Call Saul season 6? Almost certainly, but Breaking Bad suggests he won't come out on top.
Debuting in Better Call Saul's second season, Mike Margolis returned as the furious bell-dinger, Hector Salamanca, but portrayed the character before his crippling illness took hold. The spin-off went on to show how Hector become wheelchair-bound and unable to speak, and even revealed that Lalo was the one who gifted his uncle the famous bell. Hector only had a passing role in Better Call Saul season 5, listening to Lalo's reports and being forced to wear a party hat by an over-enthusiastic nurse.
Robert Forster appeared in Breaking Bad, El Camino and Better Call Saul, but tragically passed away towards the end of 2019, making his return as Ed Galbraith particularly poignant. Ed appears on the other end of a phone call in Better Call Saul's future timeline, with Jimmy (now known as Gene) spooked after being recognized and inquiring about making another new identity for himself elsewhere. After being quoted double the price, "Gene" eventually decides against the idea, but Ed may yet have an influence on future events.
Forever a worthy source of entertainment, Lavell Crawford once again returned as Huell in Better Call Saul, first helping Jimmy's street-scheming hustle and later acting as a witness during the McGill-Wexler nuptials. Huell might not have been the center of an elaborate scheme this season, but his commentary during Jimmy's wedding was a particular highlight, and the character remains a trusted associate of Saul heading into season 6.
Lydia has appeared in Better Call Saul previously, and had a further cameo in season 5. On this occasion, she sat-in on a meeting between Gus Fring and his secretive sponsor, Peter Schuler of Madrigal Electromotive. Clearly no fan of the Salamanca family, Lydia suggests an old-fashioned prison shanking to deal with the Lalo problem, which foreshadows her future role in a prison slaughter requested by Walter White in Breaking Bad.
Ever silent and ever threatening, Daniel and Luis Moncada returned as Leonel and Marco Salamanca, respectively, in Better Call Saul season 5. Known as "The Cousins," this twin duo were responsible for collecting the bail money for Lalo and delivering it to Jimmy in the wilderness. The Cousins might've wished they'd stuck around a little longer to protect their middle-man from Bolsa's goons.
Making his Better Call Saul debut, Norbert Weisser reprises his Breaking Bad role as Peter Schuler, a high-ranking executive of the Madrigal company, who has been plotting the rise of Gus Fring from the shadows, despite his own poor health. Schuler expresses doubts about the operation, citing difficulties in building the superlab and the ongoing Salamanca problem as obstacles, but Gus assures him their goals can be achieved. Weisser could be in for a bigger role in Better Call Saul's final season.
While Mike is helping to set up Lalo's arrest and subsequent release, he becomes involved with Detective Roberts, who is investigating the murder of Fred Whalen, the wire transfer guy from Better Call Saul season 4. Through Mike's manipulations, Roberts connects the killing to Lalo Salamanca, although it's later ensured that the charges don't stick. Roberts was a recurring character in Breaking Bad, and one of the Detectives tracking Heisenberg alongside Hank.
Mike's daughter-in-law and granddaughter had a background presence in Breaking Bad, but Better Call Saul has explored Mike's relationship with them in more depth. Despite usually presenting himself as the archetypal friendly grandfather, the pressure of Mike's job finally showed in season 5, as he scared his own precious Kaylee with an uncharacteristic outburst. Both Stacey and Kaylee are played by different actresses than they were in Breaking Bad.
Better Call Saul season 6 is expected in 2021.
There's a chance Darth Vader will be making an appearance during Star Wars: The Clone Wars' highly anticipated series finale. At the very least, there are a few clues suggesting a potential pop up of Star Wars' most recognizable characters during the finale. It's something fans have been wondering for quite some time, but new evidence now suggests that what they've been speculating all along may be happening very soon.
Since the 2008 premiere of The Clone Wars it has immediately become one of the most entertaining entries into the Star Wars universe. And although there has been some controversy surrounding the series (as is often the case in big franchises, it remains wildly popular with Star Wars fans. True, the theatrical release of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie preceding the series was panned by critics. However, the movie still went on to become a box office success. The Cartoon Network debut of the series a few months later subsequently became the network's highest rated series at the time. Afterwards, a new season premiered every year until 2014's season 6 on Netflix. The show didn't make its return for another six years until it began streaming its final season on Disney's new streaming platform, Disney+, making its debut on February 21, 2020.
Now, thanks to new Darth Vader merchandise being sold by BoxLunch, some are thinking the final season is going out with a bang. It's been rumored that the iconic Darth Vader may be making an appearance during an epic battle. The new merchandise certainly suggests that, as it's a tank top referencing both Darth Vader and Star Wars: The Clone Wars in its description. However, at this point a Vader appearance in the finale is far from confirmed.
Of course, fans of The Clone Wars will recognize this isn't the first time Anakin Skywalker has made an appearance during the series. He was a huge part of Season 3's Mortis arc where he played a crucial role to the story line, and fans were even treated to a quick glimpse into his future as Vader. However, if this is true, this would mark the first time he would be making an appearance as a fully actualized version of Vader, and it's a moment many fans have been waiting for since being treated to his appearance in season three.
Since this is Star Wars: The Clone Wars' final season, it would be the perfect time to give the fans a glimpse into Darth Vader's beginnings. And as one series comes to an end and fans anticipate the upcoming new Disney+ Star Wars series, seeing Anakin make a cameo as Darth Vader would be a fitting end to one of the most beloved series within the Star Wars universe.
The Last of Us Part II has been given a new release date, which seems to be an effort by publisher Sony and developer Naughty Dog to smartly attempt to distract from all of the spoilers regarding the game that have leaked online. The Last of Us Part II was delayed for the second time at the start of April, due to real-life issues caused by COVID-19.
Sony initially didn't give a revised release date for The Last of Us Part II, which led some fans to speculate that it could be pushed to the end of the year or possibly 2021, coinciding with the launch of the PlayStation 5. Developer Naughty Dog assured fans that the company was working with Sony to ensure that The Last of Us Part II would be released as soon as possible, but no one provided a potential new release window until today. There were also concerns regarding fellow Sony exclusive Ghost of Tsushima, which was set to be released a few weeks after The Last Of Us Part II on PlayStation 4.
Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment were forced to show their hand today due to spoilers for The Last of Us Part II leaking online, revealing most of the game's story. Not long after the spoilers made their rounds, followed by takedown notices from Sony's legal team (which even saw Reddit taking down leaks), the publisher announced on the official PlayStation Blog that The Last of Us Part II has a new release date, as does Ghost of Tsushima. The Last of Us Part II will be released for PlayStation 4 on June 19, while Ghost of Tsushima will be released on July 17.
The snap announcement for The Last of Us Part II's revised release date is too coincidental to not also be a basic PR play to shift attention and the online discussion away from spoilers and reactions to them, giving the developers and fans something more positive to talk about and share.
This is especially important since the leaks were met with a mixed reception by some fans. Sony seems to be trying to sway attention away from the spoilers by revealing that The Last of Us Part II is coming out soon, as people will be less inclined to seek them out so close to release. Also, if fans suspected that The Last of Us Part II wasn't coming out until Christmas 2020 or 2021, then they might be more inclined to read the spoilers as the hype dies out. The (hopefully final) release date announcement for The Last of Us 2 brings back the buzz the right way at the right time.
The 2020 video game release schedule was thrown into chaos by COVID-19 and the PlayStation 4's last major exclusive titles have been affected by real-world issues. The Last of Us Part II is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year - and this console generation - and it was meant to be one of the last great games of the PlayStation 4 era. It's a shame that the game's contents were leaked online before fans could experience them in the proper context, and even a rushed release date announcement can't stem the discussion that has started up about the content of a game that isn't even out yet. Avoid the spoilers.
The Last of Us Part II will releases exclusively for PlayStation 4 on June 19, 2020.
Survivor: Winners At War has potentially reached it's peak so far with an episode almost entirely focused on a series of heists led by Tony Vlachos. After keeping his energy under control for several weeks, he finally let it loose at final nine, and it resulted in one of the best episodes of the season. As an episode-long story, it was the most well told of the post-merge. However, it does also create some worries for future episodes due to the past examples of seasons reaching a similar point only to then fail tremendously on the follow-up.
Having an episode so clearly focused on one specific character is totally fine, especially in this case where it was well earned by Tony due to his idol find, the way he rebounded from the extortion advantage being used on him, and his engineering of the move to take out Sophie. There was no way around Tony being a huge part of the episode. Obviously Tony is one of the most entertaining players Survivor has ever had and him dominating an episode is appointment television. The worry is if that if his dominion over the airtime continues for the rest of the season - he had a record-breaking 18 confessionals in episode 11 - other narratives may fall by the wayside.
The clear example would be Rick Devens in season 38. Around this time, he became far and away the main character. It irked many casual viewers of the show and created a rift between those who were sick of Devens and those who couldn't get enough. He too is a character who fills every corner of the television screen with his personality, but it got to the point where barely anybody else's story was being told. Russell Hantz in Samoa is another example. Even in Australian Survivor's most recent season, it reached that point with David Genat. The show often forgets that it's at its best with an ensemble cast. Someone like Tony is great to watch, but it isn't only his story. As great as his original season was, this was even occasionally an issue there, but hopefully it doesn't become one in Winners At War.
The fact that this is still an all winners season does lessen the worry a bit. It'd be difficult to imagine a cast of this caliber being ignored in favor of Tony the same way the endgame cast of season 38 was ignored in favor of Rick. Sarah especially could stay a large part of the story, since her history in the game is so inextricably linked to Tony's. Jeremy scraping by has been fun. Kim is popping up slightly as someone who will work against Tony. Michele and Ben have been excellent to watch; these characters ideally won't all fade away in the coming weeks.
Modern Survivor storytelling, especially in the post-merge, has not been promising. The few episodes before this week have felt a lot like merely one player saying in confessional that the tribe is in chaos. Then there's a montage of random conversations, and then someone gets voted out at tribal. It's lacked a detailed view of the dynamics of the game and legitimate story. This final nine episode, on the other hand, contained all the necessary ingredients for a blindside the audience could follow while maintaining the requisite level of viewer suspense. It also brought along the possibility of the season becoming too focused on one specific person, but hopefully Survivor can do what it has failed to do in recent years and keep itself in check. Tony will always be excellent television, but there's still seven other people in the game. The show shouldn't forget to tell their stories too, or just finally give the viewers the two-hour long episodes they've been asking for this season.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8pm EST on CBS.