better call saul details: dipping sticks

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Another week of Better Call Saul, another week of mysterious reactions, normally unsliced pizzas, veteranarians performing major surgery, and Jimmy McGill continuing to slip even further. "Something Beautiful" picked up from where last week's "Breathe" left off - with Nacho in a tough spot with Gus Fring, and Jimmy looking to pull off a minor figurine heist. Somehow or another, the figurine heist wound up being the more tense and thrilling aspect of the episode, because that's how weird and great this show is.

And, as always, there were a bunch of tiny lil details meant only for the people paying attention...


1. Saul's Hummel Heist Partner is a Future Pest Killer

better call saul details: ira vamanos pest

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Sure, Jimmy WANTS Mike Ehrmentraut for his Hummel figurine heist (who wouldn't?), but Mike doesn't see the appeal of the job - stealing from a civilian who's done nothing wrong doesn't seem worth the risk (legally or morally), and so Jimmy has to work with...basically the first person he can find who IS willing to take the job. And that person should look a little familiar - because it's Ira, the boss over at Vamanos Pest.

better call saul details: ira vamanos pest

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Turns out Ira has come a long way - all the way from a Hummel figurine heist freelancer to the head of a fumigation company that also does a fair bit of drug manufacture cover-up and straight-up robbery. Maybe the money he got from the Hummel heist was the downpayment he needed to start up Vamanos Pest?

2. The return of Venezia's Pizza (and dipping sticks!)

better call saul details: dipping sticks

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There's one moment in Breaking Bad that - in my opinion - perfectly summarizes what the show's all about. Walt has been kicked out of the house by a justifiably furious Skyler for hiding his secret life as a meth cook from her (and, ya know, endangering the family to an absurd degree), and tries to make amends in the most oblivious, hilarious way possible...by stopping by unexpectedly with some pizza (and dipping sticks). Skyler turns Walt away - and in a fit of infantile rage, he tosses the pizza onto the roof of the garage.

This is who Walter White is - blindly confident in his own abilities to make everything right (despite everything he's done), totally unconcerned with the feelings of others, and about as emotionally fragile as they come. He's equal parts terrifyingly dangerous and hilariously pathetic.

But what really sticks out is how PERFECTLY that pizza sticks onto the roof...because the only way to get that shot to work so majestically was to make sure the pizza wasn't sliced. Despite, ya know, it being from a takeout pizza place, where pizzas are ALWAYS sliced. This was lampshaded later on in Breaking Bad, when Badger comments "they don't cut the pizza, and they pass the savings on to you."

Creator Vince Gilligan even went on to confirm this production quirk (and the explanation) in a Reddit AMA:

Yes! We had a long discussion before we shot the pizza on the roof scene about whether or not the pizza should be sliced--because, as all you physicists know, a thrown, sliced pizza would come apart due to centrifugal force or angular momentum (or something like that). And yet, you're right: no self-respecting pizza parlor sells an unsliced pizza. So we figured we needed to explain it (in the "They pass the savings on to you" scene), or else face our audience's righteous wrath!

And finally, the famously unsliced pizza made it's first canonical in-universe appearance, when the owner of Neff Copiers returns to his office to crash for the night after a bad fight with his wife (over getting her a "top of the line vacuum cleaner" as a gift). After getting off the phone, he decides he needs to treat himself, and orders. While he never SAYS Venezia's by name, this IS what he says:

better call saul details: venezia's pizza

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"Yes....sliced, please. Could you also throw in some dipping sticks?"

He actually has to specifically request the pizza be sliced. It's juuuust subtle enough that you would only catch it if you knew to look for it. Well played, Better Call Saul.



3. GALE'S BACK!

Okay, I will be the first to admit that the return of Gale Boetticher hardly qualifies as a "minor detail you may have missed" - it's a significant big scene and a welcome return for David Constabile, one of the best TV actors around coming back to one of his best roles, that of the quirky, brilliant, polite-to-a-fault, singing chemist who owes his life's success to Gus Fring. But there was a brief moment that DID feel like a (slightly) subtle callback to his days on Breaking Bad. And no, I'm not referring to his singing Tom Lehrer's 'The Elements,' but that was amazing so I'm gonna include that here anyways:

No, the slightly subtle moment was when he was revealing the meth samples Fring provided him to test for purity. At this stage in the game, the superlab isn't yet built, and Gus' machinations towards both supplying and distributing his own product are still a ways off - so he brushes aside the idea that Gale could help him in the meth making department quite yet. But Gale still has concerns - the purity levels of the samples Gus provided ranged from around 30% to a high of a bit under 70% (a far cry from Walter's near 99% pure meth). 

better call saul details: gale's back

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Obviously wanting to do right by his benefactor (but knowing Fring would not allow him to compromise himself), Gale tells Gus:

"Tell your cook that he - or she - may want to check their cookware. It's introducing contaminants, which could be easily avoided."

Contanimants were a constant problem for Walter, who was obsessed with the strength and purity of his own product - right from the very start:

better call saul details: contaminants

better call saul details: contaminants

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And then, later on, the idea of "contaminants" specifically became one of his biggest sticking points - primarily in the episode "Fly," which....well, you know. The one with the fly.

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Oh well, really hope things work out for this "Gale" character. He seems like a real nice fella who won't have anything horrible happen to him!

...and now, for another bit of Gale singing: