AMC’s Better Call Saul
Directed & Written
by Gordon Smith
* For a recap & review of 5×03, “The Guy For This” – click here
* For a recap & review of 5×05, “Dedicado a Max” – click here
Jimmy’s looking through a local shop to find something light enough to pick up and heavy enough to swing to do some damage. He goes through TVs, kettles, tire irons, mallets, and everything in between, including a Buddha statue. But nothing seems to catch his eye quite right until he notices the bowling balls.
Wonder what he’s going to do with them.
Jimmy and Kim wake up after their drunk night, having tossed beer bottles all over the parking lot, which they’re leaving for someone else to clean because “that‘s what you pay rent for.” You know Kim’s not going to, she’s too honest to let a thing like that happen, whereas Jimmy’s fine driving off to leave it for somebody beneath him to fix. Meanwhile, at work, Jimmy is dealing with the guys who went on their spree after the lawyer’s 50% off deal, just another figurative mess of bottles he’s created, except to his own benefit. His new clients aren’t happy with the price in spite of their discount, mulling over a “public pretender.” Jimmy pulls out his Saul routine, roping them back into his lawyerly embrace. Problem is, the money he’ll be paid is going to come out of one of their grandmothers, and he’s essentially back to fleecing old people once more.
Finally, Jimmy/Saul goes to a lunch meeting with Howard. They catch up, and Howard asks all about this new Saul persona. Jimmy calls Mr. Goodman “the last line of defence for the little guy.” His hubris is INCREDIBLE, going so far as to relate himself to David v. Goliath, effectively calling himself stronger than David. Pretty impressive, though unsurprising, bout of narcissism. Howard thinks Jimmy changed his name because of what happened between them, as well as the whole Chuck ordeal. He apologises for not hiring Jimmy previously, and offers to bring him on at the firm.
Will the new Saul accept? Quite an offer.
At a Mesa Verde meeting, Kim brings up a potential move for their call centre lot. She’s feeling guilt for her recent meeting with Mr. Acker. She tries to make a case for this other lot, suggesting it’ll be more efficient and the project will benefit in the long run. Her clients aren’t thrilled about a 3-week delay. Kim pushes hard for this as a good investment on behalf of Mesa Verde. She urges “reputational risk” in regards to Mr. Acker, however, it doesn’t fly. Clearly none of this sits right with her, at all.
That afternoon, she goes to watch Jimmy defending a client. He cross-examines a witness, picking apart the man’s story as thoroughly as possible. He uses parlour tricks with a client lookalike to force a mis-identification by the witness. Jimmy’s not using the law to win, he’s using the same old “fireworks” in which he’s always trafficked.
Things in Mike’s life are continuing to be rough. His daughter-in-law Stacey wants him to take a break from babysitting Kaylee. He tries to apologise, but she tells him he needs time to cool off and deal with whatever’s going on. This, as expected, doesn’t please him, and he’s off in a huff. How destructive is Mike going to get?
At Los Pollos Hermanos, Gus micromanages his store manager Lyle for silly little things then retreats back to his darkened office, sitting there in the shadows waiting for his cellphone to ring. His nervousness is showing in the workplace anxiety he can barely keep contained. Bless Lyle’s working class heart, offering to keep doing the job until it’s all done, clean as a whistle. All he gets in the end? “It is acceptable,” says Gus.
Simultaneously, Hank and Steve are on a stakeout watching the dead drop locations they were tipped off about by Krazy-8. They’re the final drop left, and everything seems to be going according to the cartel’s plan. The last bagman appears to realise he’s been watched and makes an escape in his vehicle. Hank and Steve stop the guy on an adjacent road to the drop, the former drawing his gun. Their bagman hops out and runs for it into the desert, forcing Hank and Steve to pursue. They make it to a tunnel leading inside the sewer, but their target’s already gone, hitching a ride with Victor. Although the DEA’s got the money and a few arrests it doesn’t leave Hank with a sense of victory. He still puts on a confident face for his agents and the local police department.
In Tucumcari, Mr. Acker receives Saul Goodman knocking at his door. You can tell where this is going. Kim’s going to use Jimmy to clean her conscience, even if she doesn’t quite agree morally with everything he does. You’ve got to admit, she is one hell of a smart woman. And one thing’s certain, no matter what Kim Wexler gets what she wants when she sets out to attain it. Sure, this doesn’t necessarily mean Jimmy is going to do something illegal to help Acker, but it DOES mean Kim is only further aligning herself with him and it’s going take something big, and likely bad, to make her truly see the kind of man he’ll become. Apropos of nothing, Jimmy uses a photo of “a man fucking a horse” to illustrate he’ll do “whatever it takes” to fight for him. Bold strategy.
On the ethically dubious front, Jimmy is putting those bowling balls to use. He’s at a huge house, tossing the balls over the gate. One of them lands hard in the driveway. The next couple hit the car: Howard’s car with the NAMAST3 license plate. It’s kind of fun to watch Jimmy at times, but here he comes off as the genuine Saul: childish, petty, and downright nasty. Howard is a douchebag. That doesn’t make it right, and further illustrates the moral spiral Jimmy continues to travel downward.
Speaking of a tragic spirals, Mike walks past the same place he did recently where he knocked the one guy out. The young men decide to attack him. Mike puts up a pretty good fight up to the moment one of the guys pulls a blade, sticking the old guy with it. When he comes to he’s in bed patched up nicely. By the look of it, he’s in Mexico.
Such a great episode! Like always, Kim’s one of the most interesting parts, if not THE most interesting part, of the show. Jimmy transforming into Saul further and further is great, too. Especially because that reflects on everyone he touches.
“Dedicado a Max” is next.