What to watch this weekend: Better Call Saul Season 4

Posted: 10 August 2018 3:11 pm News

Slip into the unknown this weekend with Stan and Netflix.

In the interest of entertainment diversity and respecting busy weekend schedules, we've divvied this up into two articles. Those of you after a quick movie should stay right here. Those of you after a multi-hour binge watch ought to go here for our TV show recommendations.

What's the gist?

It's going to be incredibly difficult to give you a handle on the latest goings-on in Better Call Saul without ruining the previous three seasons, not to mention its in-universe cousin Breaking Bad. I'd therefore like to extend a spoiler warning to you along with a polite “what the hell?” – you should have voraciously consumed both series by now. TV doesn't get much better.

Better Call Saul Season 4 continues this fine tradition. We're allowed another black-and-white catch up with future, very-much-on the lam Jimmy McGill as he recovers from a medical episode at his salt mines place of employment (Cinnabon). Jimmy... sorry, “Gene Takavic”, isn't in too much trouble according to the attending nurse. However, this statement is pretty far from reality as our favourite fugitive is now back on the grid again. Worse, his fake ID is being scrutinised and an expat Albuquerque taxi driver may have just recognised him. This rough start to a season could be the beginning of the end for “future Jimmy”.

Things aren't going so well for “past Jimmy” either. Though he's in domesticated bliss with fellow lawyer Kim Wexler, the rivalry of the brothers McGill has ended in tragic circumstances. Chuck was a big part of Jimmy's moral compass. With him out of the picture, it's fair to say we're going to see Jimmy's unscrupulous alter-ego finally emerge. Could this be the summer of Saul Goodman?

If that wasn't reason enough to tune in, we have two other story threads that show great promise. Nachos, the somewhat reluctant drug dealer, has sidelined his sociopathic boss but that secret powerplay has been noted by mega-dealer Gustavo Fring. Mike Ehrmantraut's journey from moonlighting ex-cop to cold-blooded cartel fixer continues, too, and will include a cameo appearance from yet another Breaking Bad alumni.

What's it like?

A little slow to be perfectly honest with you. When a major character exits a series you're always going to get a bit of a brake pump and a time for reflection (not to mention your own feelings of loss – Chuck will be missed as a fascinating frenemy to have for Jimmy).

That said, it's good to see the post-Breaking Bad timeline get spiced up a great deal. Watching a moustachioed Jimmy work in a monochromatic mall was starting to grate on me. I'm also excited about getting a better insight into how the perfectionist Gustavo Fring works. And anything involving Mike is fine by me. I could watch that guy catch a bus and read the paper for 30 minutes and be thoroughly entertained.

What if I want more, post-watch?

The Most Unknown

What's the gist?

In this documentary series, nine scientists travel to extraordinary parts of the world to uncover the answers to some of humanity's most pressing questions. You know, simple stuff, like how can we as tiny infinitesimal specks fathom the cosmos – a puzzle with a zillion pieces? And that old chestnut query: what is the meaning of life? The Most Unknown provides no definitive answers to the above – no experiments come back with the number “42”. But there's some serious food for thought served up over the course of 1 hr 32 mins.

One quick example: expect your horizons to broaden a little bit as you listen to a scientist who studies microbial hot spring life as a means to predict how and where life could spring up in the infinite beyond our solar system.

Basically, it's an endearing nerdfest where eggheads from very different fields get together and somehow speak a common language. Amusingly, the huge questions being pondered in this show often take a sideline to the simple joy of watching these professionals (literally) geek out over each other's experiments and toys. They're all at the forefront of their respective disciplines and they're all looking to push a field forward with a huge discovery. Their borax can be a little befuddling at times but their enthusiasm and genius are infectious.

What's it like?

You know what? The quest for knowledge and understanding is pretty entertaining here. I consider myself to be a reasonably edjumacated person but found myself enthralled by the (admittedly layman) explanations of dark matter and dark energy. You should also know that this isn't a wall-to-wall labfest – a lot of the disciplines are out-doorsy and the cinematography is BBC levels of slick. It's also worth mentioning that the various scientists being followed are charismatic... well, as charismatic as boffins get, anyway.

This documentary is of the high quality I'd expect from a Motherboard production (which is a subset of the Vice network). Once you're done watching this go check out a few of their other docos. I can personally recommend A Smarter Gun – a look at how the movement to create firearms that will only work in the hands of approved users is being blocked at every turn.

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