AMC’s Better Call Saul
Season 4, Episode 7: “Something Stupid”
Directed by Deborah Chow
Written by Alison Tatlock
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Piñata” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Coushatta” – click here
We get a split view of Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) in their daily lives, as the latter’s moving on up in the world, and the former seems to be determined to go as low as necessary in order to get what he wants out of life. This is our first glimpse of the Saul Goodman business cards, too. Kim is busy getting things done in the world of law while Jimmy keeps hawking his cellphones and hatching new plans to get himself ahead. Point being, he’s always doing the bare minimum, not concerned wit getting anywhere from the right hard work but just any hard work— even if it’s illegal.
The divide between Jimmy and Kim opens further all the time. This is perhaps the widest we’ve seen it yet. They’re already living basically separative lives. Excellent visual of seeing the couple start out at the bathroom mirror together, only to see them literally grow gradually apart until they’re wholly divided across the screen. Perfectly this ends in the opening sequence with Kim lying back to back with Jimmy, as she fades into the dark next to him.
Jimmy’s got an office space he thinks is perfect for his newest venture. He does his best to sell it, despite a few setbacks including a nasty bathroom. He’s determined to make the place upscale and classy. He isn’t trying to sell Kim on this, rather he’s showing Huell (Lavell Crawford) around the place for when they get into business together.
At the hospital, Dr. Maureen Bruckner (Poorna Jagannathan) is working with Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) to try and get him back to decent health. The old man’s having a hard time. However, he’s more aware than anyone realises, manipulating the nurse into bending over for his pleasure and proving his mind remains crafty.
That evening Jimmy’s going with Kim to a big function at her new office. He tries his best to play the witty, likeable significant other, not wanting to make his lady look bad in front of everybody. He’s charming and chatty and he pulls out all the stops. By himself, Jimmy slips into Kim’s office and compares it to the smaller place he was looking at earlier, like they’re in competition. More than any of that, he continually sees how much better of a person she is than him. And this starts him drinking, which gets him talking, then suddenly everybody’s listening to him ramble. He’s applying his conman game to Kim’s boss Rick Schweikart (Dennis Boutsikaris), kind of mocking him as part of the bourgeois class with mentions of a “private chartered jet.” Not a good look.
We get a nice sliver of “No Aloha” by the Breeders before segueing into a version of the classic folk tune “Big Rock Candy Mountain” by Burl Ives. This takes us over to where Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) is looking after things during the construction phase, as the engineer and his team make their way over to the laundromat where they’re building the soon-to-be meth lab. Construction’s not without setbacks. After a column falls over, tensions amongst the crew are beyond high, and Mike knows this is trouble.
At home, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) cooks for Dr. Bruckner, like he always does with close associates. She fills him in on Hector’s progress. He only wants to know if it’s the same Hector he’s always known. She can only tell him of the “incremental improvements” of her patient. She brings video of their latest session, during which Mr. Fring notices the old man knock over his cup and recognises it as manipulation, not a spasm. I wonder if he’s going to take further measures to keep Hector in his state. Hmm. You never know with Gus. Seeing him with a knife, in hindsight of Breaking Bad, is forever unnerving.
Already using his new pseudonym, Saul’s on the street hawking his phones to those in need of secrecy from Big Brother. It’s a successful venture, at least to an extent. He’s confronted by a cop who got his card from a drug dealer. The man questions him about the moral aspect of his work. Saul knows his “customer base” and he’s not going to be threatened into moving to a nicer neighbourhood. Shit gets ugly when Huell interrupts the conversation by cracking the officer over the head. Huell’s put in the back of a cop car, leaving Saul to try getting his friend out of trouble, which doesn’t work. This puts Huell in the way of the law, maybe facing two years in prison considering his prior convictions. Back to lawyering, Jimmy wants to convince him to fight, rather than going on the run. He wants to use his powers as a “magic man,” given he’s not actually a lawyer anymore for another month.
On the construction site, Mike’s starting to get pissed with the insubordination. He’s learning German, as well as the roots of his last name Ehrmantraut: “world–class strength.” He only cares about the project’s progress, so long as everybody plays their role appropriately.
“So as long as you make a buck the whole world can go in the crapper?”
Jimmy goes to none other than Kim for help. This is also when he has to tell her about selling “drop phones” on the corner. He’s also looking to railroad the arresting officer. All this is a bit of a shock to her, though she loves Jimmy, and she’s willing to do so much for him. She refuses to muddy a cop’s name, but says she’ll look into it. How long more will her good nature towards Jimmy last? Not much longer I bet, particularly if her connection to him starts eroding her morals more than they have already.
Nevertheless, she’s off trying to get Huell’s case settled. She talks with another ADA to attempt greasing the wheels of justice. When she hears Jimmy referred to as a “scumbag disbarred lawyer” it feels like the beginning of her eventual tipping point. Afterwards, she lets Jimmy know there’s no way of getting Huell off 100%. Yet he’s always going in the wrong direction, which is going to keep pushing Kim away— one of these days, for good. She might destroy herself trying to keep Jimmy out of trouble.
Fantastic episode, as usual. Honestly, this series, for Father Gore, may be better than Breaking Bad. Maybe that’s blasphemy. But whatever. “Coushatta” is next time.