No regret, No remorse, in Better Call Saul Season 4 finale

Better Call Saul Season 4 finale Explained

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The long-awaited finale of Better Call Saul’s fourth season was not a shocking, amazing, or even particularly exciting episode, but it was one full of insights.
Insights on the nature of winners and losers but more than that on the nature of mistake, remorse and atonement. Not as shown to us by society and religion, this being the preserve of losers as we shall see, but insight into how mistake, remorse and atonement work for,or rather are manipulated by, the winners.

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The first one to arrive at the insights desk is Christy Esposito, one of a convoy of high school students, from whom the only impression we glean is from their appearance – suave ties, fashionable shirts, neat hairstyles – and NOT from what they have to say – In fact we don’t hear any one of them speak a complete sentence, and we soon learn why.

Christy, like all the other students, wants to win a HHM scholarship, but she comes clad in a somewhat scruffy dress, sporting an unflattering hairstyle, and worse than those a mistake of her own making- shoplifting; but hey, she regretted it, she even wrote an essay on how that mistake sparked her interest in the law and how a career in law could give her the chance to atone for that mistake.

The outcome? the Shiny Happy Students win the scholarship as had been effectively decided before they spoke a single word – Christy aside, they were all successful and perfect, so why spoil it by choosing someone with genuine substance?
Our geek inevitably loses, there is no scholarship in her future, for her the gates are shut, but why?

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Here comes Jimmy to the rescue to explain how the real world works: in the real world they dangle the carrot in front of your face, telling you that there is a chance, that there is hope, but the truth is that in the real world, behind the beautiful masks and the shiny offices on the 35th floor , they will never forget the mistakes you’ve made, they will never let you enter their glamorous and phony world, because if they did what would that say about them? That they are not perfect, that mistakes are permitted, that you can repent and atone, but in their eyes they are perfect, they do not make mistakes and there is no atonement for mistakes and there never will be, not for Christi and not for Jimmy.
or rather…

The second person to reach the Insights desert is the tragic hero of the season, Werner.

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Werner made a mistake and he knows it.. He ran from his job to meet his wife for a few days, but it was, after all, for a just cause, true love, for true love is the greatest thing in the world (Except a nice MLT—a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes are ripe).

When Mike catches up to him at last, Werner is sorry, of course, for the damage he caused. Surely Mike can understand and forgive, let him see his wife at least, it’s true love for God’s sake!

But Werner does not understand that this is not the magical world of Inigo Montoya, this is the ruthless world of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Here in this world, in the real world, once you make a mistake, “Nothing you can say or do will make anyone trust you again” as Mike says to him, in  slightly different words than Jimmy, but with the same underlying message – there is a mistake -> there is  remorse -> but there is NO chance of atonement.

The denial of atonement in the law-abiding polished world of HHM means politely shutting the door in your face, but in the criminal world the shutting of the door is proverbial and is as final as it gets, a single bullet in the head delivered by Mike in a dark, dark desert.

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And  last but not least to arrive at our Bureau of Insights is the hero of the day, our very own Jimmy.

Jimmy has every reason in the world to repent and atone– he hurt his brother, his own flesh and blood, he was suspended from the bar following his actions and the hearing committee chose to prolong the 1-year suspension. And why? Because he was not sincere, because he did not express remorse for his brother, because he did not ask them for atonement.

So here we all are, finally ready to hear Jimmy asking for forgiveness, kneeling before the panel, demonstrating the sincerity they so needed to see in him and pleading for atonement.

All is foreseen, and freedom of choice is granted” is written in the Mishnah, the Jewish oral Torah.

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But before we all crowd together for the walk of atonement , we get a foreshadowing scene where Kim arranging the notes for Jimmy’s appeal: “Take a look,” she says to him, “The problem might’ve been starting with remorse”, maybe it’s better to start with “the law, plans, then remorse“.

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It is possible that Kim struck the heart of the matter – remorse – but is it the order in which that remorse is presented that really matters, or maybe it’s something else …

I can say whatever I want” Jimmy tells her, “to the board I’m still “that guy””.
But then something occurs to Jimmy. “What if Chuck does the talking for me?” So, he’s saying, perhaps his  brother’s letter about him, those kind words from the victim of his mistake will give him the atonement he so seeks?

So that’s the answer? That’s how you atone for your mistakes?

By utilizing a juridical seance of praise and forgiveness from the victim of your mistake, as we were swindled into believing until virtually the final moment of the Series?

The penultimate scene gives us  another insight, maybe the most important of all, it’s the scene in which Jimmy disillusioned by this idea, because Jimmy is smart, smarter than us, who are still held captive by the shining religious fantasy that there is atonement in this world.

Christy was a wake up call for Jimmy, and he wants us to wake up too and acknowledge certain facts about our world – in the real world when you make a mistake and regret it there can be never be atonement, even with a thousand letters of praise from dead brothers.

No, the logical method that Jimmy devises to solve the problem of atonement is simple but brilliant. Make a mistake, have NO remorse and instead blame the victim of your mistake – how judgmental he is, how you could never live up to his standards, how he got under your skin, how he could be a “son of a bitch” (a little giggle from the committee) – dance the victor’s dance on his grave and add a touch of self-pity to the mixture – look at me, I’ll never be as moral as he was, buhu, buhu, buhu – and oh then, receive the desired atonement. So there is a mistake – > there is NO remorse -> there is atonement.

After all, there is a word that we did not hear Jimmy utter once in his speech to the committee, a word that once said by someone it will deny him of his atonement, would have turned him from a winner to a loser.

The word is regret, the word is remorse –  forget  it, strike it from your lexicon and only good can come of it, for yours and Jimmy’s sake.

Jimmy got his lawyer’s license back, because as he told Christy, winners do not play by the rules, winners cut corners, the winner takes it all as the song goes, and now he adds the winner, in his soul, never regrets..

In the final scene of the episode and the entire season, Jimmy finally takes all the masks off, he no longer needs them, he managed to dodge the bullets, he beat the Matrix we are captured in, and now his name can finally be changed from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman irrevocably and absolutely, the transformation is complete.

It’s all good, man” Saul tells us

And jubilant, as jubilant as we have seen Jimmy, sorry Saul, in the whole series.

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So, is the religious insight of mistake, remorse and atonement wrong, and Jimmy’s jubilant and unremorseful way  the correct one?

We may have thought that, if we didn’t know how this all ends, depicted in the black and white scenes starring Jimmy as Gene, in those scenes that take place after Breaking Bad, that show us the fate of Saul Goodman, thus providing us with the answer to the familiar question of the so called loser religion, a question that is asked in Psalms, 14: 3,
How long, Lord, will the wicked,
how long will the wicked be jubilant?“…

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[Proofread by Miles Stewart, thanks!]

Twin Peaks: Audrey, Billy, and living inside a dream

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[Most of this was written before the finale, but surprisingly not only that the finale didn't refute the below theory it strengthen it, so I added a whole new section that reflects that, and in retrospect the theory seems also to explain why Billy and Audrey were not in the finale, all the clues are here]

A second and a half before the Twin Peaks finale I have a theory about Audrey, Billy she's looking for, and the dream theme repeated over and over again in Twin Peaks.

I will take you step by step down the rabbit hole, just bear with me:

Audrey is looking for Billy, her lover, the one she seems to sleep with while she was in a relationship with the dwarf/not dwarf Charlie. It is Billy who will save her from the miserable life she seems to be living.

In part 16 Audrey finally arrives at the Roadhouse, right after we are introduced to Eddie Vedder – not by his stage name, but by his real name – Edward Louis Severson the third, and that's significant.
After the show we discover that Audrey is not really in the reality of Twin Peaks, but in some dream she dreams, and in fact in the Twin Peaks reality she's actually in a bright white room, in front of a mirror no less, probably at Ghostwood madhouse that was also mentioned in her conversations with Charlie.

Another hint that Audrey is not in the Twin Peaks reality hinted to me by the user EpicEsquire that he read in this article, and I quote:
"Another clue is the Emcee’s words. He calls it “Audrey’s Dance”.  That is the name of that track on the Twin Peaks soundtrack alright, but in *our* world.  Not in the world of Twin Peaks.  She didn’t punch “Audrey’s Dance” on the RR Diner jukebox 25 years ago.  So what is *that* supposed to mean?" 

But who is Billy? There was some mentioning of Billy, that his truck was stolen, but they might just share the same name.

But what if Billy is Billy zane?

Billy-Zane

Wait a second, There is no Billy Zane in the reality of Twin Peaks, that's the name of the actor, the one who plays Audrey's lover from the original season, John Justice Wheeler

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So let's move to the movie for now, Twin peaks: fire walk with me, and remember Phillip Jeffries (another one that shares a first name with other character, Philip Gerrard).

What does Phillip Jeffries say, whom is our beloved David Bowie?
"We live inside a dream"

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And in part 14, in Gordon's dream – purposely Gordon, the one who is david lynch the director of the series in the non Twin Peaks reality – says no other than Monica Bellucci, the only character until then that appeared as part of the non Twin Peaks reality, actually elaborate on what David Bowie says:

"We are like the dreamer who dreams, and then lives inside the dream. "Troubled, she then asked:" But who is the dreamer?"

Friends, David Lynch tells us something here, over and over again, and we all ignore him, there are three "realities" in Twin Peaks (a number which lynch really adores).

The first is the "normal" reality of the series (which is quite funny to call it "normal"), the Twin Peaks reality.

The second is the unusual reality of the series, the reality of the red room, the black lodge, the white lodge, and so on.

And the third reality my friends, and here is the center of my theory, is our reality, us the viewers, this world, the world of Monica Bellucci, and David Lynch (not Gordon!).

Notice what happens in Gordon's dream, he is looking straight to the camera – the fourth wall breaks, the wall that breaks in movies and series only when the character exit his own media and talk to us the viewers:

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Gordon meets Monica in a street in Paris, so when he turns around and looks at us he also looks at a very specific place….

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Directly at the exhibition space where David Lynch in our reality has a show IRL – David Lynch "Plume of Desire"!
(thanks Mike for reminding me that :))

Let's continue, Billy is mentioned twice more.

Once in Part 14, in the Roadhouse, in a conversation between two women (that one of them as Maura noted his David Lynch own wife). Those two for some reason did not appear before or after this scene (and I bet they will not even appear in the finale and I have a reason), blabbering about how Billy jumped over the fence and was bleeding from the nose and mouth, and Yada yada yada.

Second time Billy is mentioned for a moment, is when the son of David Lynch ladies and Gentlemen, now his son in our reality, himself, running and asking where is Billy?
And then what happens? All people on the bar at the diner are replaced! Reality has changed back!

What am I actually saying here?

I'm saying that Audrey sees our reality, that Gordon in his dream sees our reality, that Monica Bellucci's question can be divided into three parts and explained as follows:
1. "We are like the dreamer who dreams" – The We in this sentence are us, the spectators who stare at the screen and dream of Twin Peaks with David Lynch.

2. "and then lives inside the dream" - Which of us, the devoted fans, does not feel living inside a dream called Twin Peaks? That we spend the rest of the days glazed with dreamy eyes, and do not know what to do with ourselves until the next part arrives.

3. "but who is the dreamer?" And that of course are us, the series is taking place in our collaborative dream, Twin Peaks itself constitutes one of the main themes this season – the series is a "Tulpa", the imaginary creation of us all.

Even Mark Frost's "The Final Dossier", which is the last Twin Peaks book, in its last chapter, supports this:

(Tammy Preston:) "How much of what I know, what I’ve been culturally attuned to believe, feels like the set of a play on a strange stage I’ve wandered onto without knowing why I’m here. I don’t know the lines, I don’t know what part I’m playing, I don’t even know what the play’s about or what it’s called.
I’m just here onstage, stuck in a dream,
lights shining in my eyes. Is anyone out there watching?"…

Again I'm not saying that Twin Peaks is a dream, I'm saying it exists just as our reality exists, and we manifest it in our dream. There's a big difference.
One last thing, remember what pulled Dougie's attention and after 16 long and frustrating hours manifest him to existence as Dale Cooper?

After Dougie hits the remote 3 times, it was none other than a movie from our reality – Sunset Boulevard, with a character which drove David Lynch the creator to name his Twin Peaks counterpart Gordon Cole.

And I wish that was what David Lynch tried to convey, because I must add that this is how I see most of the series and films in my life, and that is how I read most of my books – with a great belief that somewhere in some universe (just like "The Tempest" in Dan Simmons Ilium / Olympus books) we create, we "Tulpa" into existence what we read or watch.

And in this case Twin Peaks, we bring it into existence in our desire for it to take shape, and here in Twin Peaks the piece we created looks back at us in a mirror, us the dreamers, Shockingly (like us) saying three times, What? What? What?

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