Gianfranco is a student at St. John's University, who has a passion for learning and helping others.
10. A Chimp With a Machine Gun (S1 E9)
This scene is one of the first that displays the animosity between Jimmy and Chuck. In this captivating scene we find out Chuck's true motivations, undermining Jimmy in his pursuit to become a successful lawyer. Chuck, in a nasty response to Jimmy utters the scathing phrase "you're not a real lawyer!" Chuck's entitled tone stabs Jimmy in the chest as he tearfully admits that he thought his brother was proud of him. "Slippin' Jimmy with a law degree is like a chimp with a machine gun!" McKean's delivery here is spot on and the audience can visibly feel his anger but we feel Jimmy's sadness more. The brother he looked up to, in this moment, became his main antagonist.
9. The Pill Swap (S3 E8)
In this episode Nacho (Michael Mando) is attempting to switch Hector Salamanca's pills with placebos in an attempt to kill him without anyone suspecting him. We see Nacho practicing his seemingly impossible technique earlier in the episode but realistically he only gets one chance.
This scene was tense from the start, we see Nacho sweating and his hands shaking in nervousness. The score drowns out the Spanish music in the background as the tension rises. Everything from Mando's superb acting to the camera shots showing how Nacho is concealing the pill bottle keep the audience's breath held. It turns to slow motion and Nacho must gently toss the pill bottle inside Hector's jacket pocket which seems impossible. When he finally is able to do it there is a sense of relief and we see Nacho loosen up. It is a scene filled with great camera work, use of music and tension, and great acting.
8. The Winner Takes It All (S4 E10)
The finale to the 4th season offers a plethora of great scenes and the cold open to the episode is one of them. We see a rare warm moment between Chuck and Jimmy in a flashback to Jimmy's induction to the New Mexico bar. As Chuck is about to leave the celebration Jimmy persuades him to stay for his karaoke song, The Winner Takes it All by ABBA. Perhaps the most fitting song for their relationship as Chuck always wanted to be the winner and always wanted to overshadow Jimmy. However, in this scene they share the stage and both sing along, until Chuck fully takes over. It seems as if Jimmy is okay with this though, he wants his brother to be happy. They later drunkenly return home and sleep in the same bed, singing the song, sharing a moment of friendship.
It's a generally happy scene but a haunting one given our knowledge of the plot and the eventual downfall of both brothers and their ugly split.
7. Gene (S1 E1, S2 E1, S3 E1, S4 E1)
At the beginning of every season, we get a glimpse of Jimmy, or Saul's new life post-Breaking Bad, under the name "Gene." These scenes are often short and in black and white but they are shot beautifully and leave the audience wanting more. The scenes display Saul's new life working at a Cinnabon, a life in which he is miserably living. There is often not much dialogue in these scenes which showcase Odenkirk's tremendous acting skills.
Attached is the second half of latest scene, which feels like it could be its own short film. We see the anxiety "Gene" feels when his cab driver is acting suspiciously. The camera pans to an Albuquerque air freshener, and then to the driver's skeptical eyes in the rear view mirror. Its a terrifying scene and you can see, through Odenkirk, that Gene is scared and trying to escape the car as calmly as possible.
6. Chuck's Death (S3 E10)
Chuck's death scene is short but its powerful as well. After seeing Chuck rip his house apart, effectively having a breakdown because of his "loss" to his brother in court, you know something bad is about to happen. All you hear in the scene is a the nature outside of the house and a hissing, electronic noise. The steady sound is interrupted by an occasional kick of the table from Chuck. Only a lantern remains on top, brightly lit and glowing in Chuck's disheveled face. After a final kick the camera cuts to the outside of the house. Flames become visible and its clear that Chuck has died.
5. Mike Kills Werner (S4 E10)
The best part about this scene was the cinematography, the long shot of the New Mexico stars and Mike extending his arm to shoot Werner was captivating. It mirrors Mike's death in Breaking Bad as well. You can see that Mike does not want to kill Werner, but as we know Mike always follows orders and leaves no half measures. It is a tough scene to watch because of Werner's constant pleas for his life and his last words to his wife being ones of anger in order to save her life.
4. Chicanery (S3 E5)
Jimmy tricks Chuck on the stand by pointing out a battery planted in his pocket, which Chuck never realized or reacted to. This infuriates Chuck and gives the audience a superb piece of acting by Michael McKean. In a single take we see Chuck's descent into madness. The camera slowly moves closer and closer to his face as Chuck divulges his true feelings for his brother and his true animosity toward him.
3. I Broke My Boy (S1 E6)
In a rare show of emotion Mike in this scene explains the death of his son to his daughter in law. Mike begins to break down as he talks about his stubborn son, who was also a cop. Bank's acting skills are truly showcased here especially when he shakily utters the line "I broke my boy." A truly moving and stunning moment in the series that gives immense depth to Mike's character. It is truly sad because we see Mike here as a father reeling from the death of his son, not as the ruthless, cold blooded killer we know him as.
2. Hospital (S2 E10)
This claustrophobic scene makes even the audience anxious and uncomfortable through yet another masterful performance by Michael McKean. Chuck has just hit his head and fainted in the printing shop. He has to be taken to the hospital, which is filled with electronics and machines, Chuck's worst nightmare. As he awakens Chuck pleads to the doctors in a true moment of fear and vulnerability. The audience could feel his pain and its a harrowing moment for both Chuck and the audience. the camerawork adds to the tensions as well as the fast pacing cross talk between the doctors. You could feel Chuck being violated and acting child-like. It is quite sad to see the statesman-like character that is Chuck reduced to someone so helpless. His delivery of "you're killing me" is so genuine on a human level.
1. It's All Good, Man! (S4 E10)
The top spot goes to the most recent scene in the series. Jimmy is trying to get his law license back and pours his heart out to the judges, stating his respect for Chuck and how he would never be as good as him. The improv performance by Jimmy draws tears from Kim as well as one of the judges. However, when the doors open Jimmy and Kim are elated until Jimmy starts talking about how "good" he was and how his "performance" was bound to win the judges over. Kim's face immediately changes which was brilliant. You could see the exact moment her heart sunk when she realized Jimmy wasn't being authentic.
The best part however, was when Jimmy asks the secretary for a form that would allow him to practice law under another name. Kim, visibly shocked wants to know what is happening. Jimmy, with that sly, dirty grin turns around and says "It's all (Saul) Good-man."
In this scene Jimmy finally and full becomes Saul Goodman which leaves the last shot of Kim standing in awe that much more powerful as if she sees the monster she helped create.
Kim's accident, Gus' restaurant speech, and the "Somethin' Stupid" montage.
© 2018 Gianfranco Regina