AMC’s Better Call Saul
5×03: “The Guy For This”
Directed by Michael Morris
Written by Ann Cherkis
* For a recap & review of 5×02, “50% Off” – click here
* For a recap & review of 5×04, “Namaste” – click here
Jimmy’s dropped ice cream cone attracts many ants from the cracks in the sidewalk, not unlike his sleazy lawyer deal brought criminals out of the woodwork, swarming for not quite ethical representation. The lawyer’s on a little ride with Nacho and his friend, wondering exactly where it is they’re headed. After a while they pull into a garage somewhere. They’ve brought Jimmy to see Lalo, and he’s already nervous with all the silence, rambling about his prior dealings with Nacho. He discovers the Tuco connection. Lalo’s heard of “the guy with the mouth” already, hoping to put him to use in regards to Krazy-8’s latest legal troubles. The plan’s not that thrilling to Jimmy, who tries pawning off one of his burners on them.
But Mr. Salamanca is a determined man, unwilling to accept a ‘no.’
Looks like Mike is spending his time lately drinking. Interesting to see him feel guilt, because by the time Breaking Bad rolls around he’s relatively heartless aside from his granddaughter. His character is one of the most interesting to see here in the prequel, watching him become who he is later. Helps add even more nuance to an already intriguing character. After Mike leaves the bar for the night he gets confronted by a few young guys hoping to rob him, so he breaks one of their arms before continuing on home. Feeling guilt and being drunk doesn’t stop an old ass kicker like this guy.
“I met some interesting people
and had a few ups and downs.”
At his place, Nacho gets a visit from dad. They sit together and talk. Papa Varga got an offer to buy his shop, and a generous one at that. He always wanted to keep the shop so that his son could take over eventually. Obviously that’s not something in the cards, given Nacho’s choice of career. It disappoints and saddens his father. He also wonders if it was Nacho who setup the deal for his shop, believing it’s his son’s way of trying to keep him safe and running away from trouble.
For Jimmy this next step with Krazy-8 is uncharted water. He’s done sketchy stuff before, but never this sketchy. He’s now working for the cartel on the payroll. He has a statement for Krazy-8 to memorise, so it’s nothing too heavy. It’s the implications of what he’s doing that are heavy, and, as we know, this is what will bog Saul Goodman down for the rest of his days. Because we’ve seen where all paths lead.
A couple old faces return, or, well, y’know— DEA Special Agents Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and Steve Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada). They’re the guys tasked with speaking to Krazy-8, who tells him about “half a million in drug money” stashed someplace. The agents want more info, which could “lead to good things” for the drug dealer. Krazy-8 explains the supposed system of “dead drops” used by their crew, then, once more, Saul turns up trying to convince his client not to talk any further. The agents smell bullshit, so they want to walk. Saul does his best to pull out a deal anyway.
“S’all good, man.
Really? C’mon, that’s your name?”
Things are messy for Kim. She has to tend to Mesa Verde problems rather than focusing on her pro bono clients. She heads for the desert and talks to an old man with a land dispute. She explains what’s happened with the land, which he doesn’t actually own, and attempts to smooth things over with extra thousands of dollars. The old guy has no time for “soulless money grubbers” and refuses to give up claim to his land. He calls Kim down to the dirt and some of what he says seems to genuinely affect her underneath. She still tells him to put on his “big boy pants” and accept reality, putting him in his place.
Jimmy tells Lalo about the situation with Krazy-8 and how it gives the cartel a line inside the DEA with the drug dealer now acting as a “confidential informant” to the DEA. And though the lawyer imagined this might be a one-shot deal, he’s quickly understanding what Nacho makes clear: “When you‘re in, you‘re in.” Never good to be under the thumb of a Salamanca, no matter which one. In the meantime, Nacho’s also off meeting Gus to tell him about the DEA agents and all the rest. They’ve got to play things carefully so Lalo remains none the wiser.
Guilt is a common denominator in Better Call Saul.
Later that evening, Kim goes back to the old guy’s house and sneaks through his gate, hoping to talk to him again. She’s got options for him in real estate. She doesn’t want to see him booted from his home without anywhere proper to live. Kim offers to pay for his moving costs and help him in any way she can, going to show how different she is from Jimmy, and just how far apart they are morally. She even opens up to the old guy about her rough childhood, never knowing what it was like to have her own home. But he doesn’t buy her emotional story as truth, and that cuts Kim deep.
Another solid chapter.
Such a brilliant show with so many compelling dichotomies and moral struggles at the heart of the story. Better Call Saul is even better than Breaking Bad, for this critic.
“Namaste” is next time.