AMC’s Better Call Saul
6×05: “Black and Blue”
Directed by Melissa Bernstein
Written by Alison Tatlock
* For a recap & review of 6×04, click here.
* For a recap & review of 6×06, click here.
The episode begins with a measuring tool being encased and engraved. In German, the inscription reads “In Liebe … Deine Jungs” which translates roughly to something like “Love … your boys.” Surely it involves the German crew who built Gus’s top secret underground meth lab. But how? After that, we skip to a paranoid Kim, waking up in the middle of the night next to Saul and getting up to check the windows, wondering if anybody’s watching them right now. She can’t sleep so she does some work. Saul wakes up and notices a door pushed against the door. He doesn’t move it, because he feels paranoid, too. He’s thankful that Lalo’s dead, but we know the difference as the audience and there’s an unsettling tension watching him and Kim try to convince themselves everything’s okay, especially after Kim takes the chair away from the door.
Elsewhere, Gus is busy with the day-to-day operations of Los Pollos Hermanos, though he’s very sure Lalo is alive and he isn’t the type to sit back while waiting for something to be resolved. No, Gus is much more proactive than that, which is why we saw him wearing his bulletproof vest and stashing a pistol on his ankle last episode. He’s ready for whatever comes next, however it happens to come. Gus is one of contemporary television’s best characters, and Better Call Saul has only helped to elaborate on his character after seeing so much development in Breaking Bad. It’s continually amazing how Gus manages his restaurant and also his cartel business at once with a level head. Even better is how tiny moments get under Gus’s skin, like when a bunch of pans fall to the ground; he’s such a micromanager that the slightest problem feels catastrophic, threatening to tear down all that well-adjusted demeanour on the outside.
Clifford continues to keep a watchful eye on Howard. He’s seen all the fabricated evidence of Howard’s cocaine habit and he’s obviously concerned. He’s slightly unsettled by the talk of “trust” in Howard’s speech to the senior citizens whose case they’re handling. Afterwards, Clifford confronts Howard about the car/sex worker scene in the street outside the restaurant. It doesn’t help Howard that Clifford has personal experience with his son’s drug addiction, framing all this even worse. Howard pushes for answers, discovering Clifford was at lunch with Kim when the car incident supposedly occurred. Uh oh. Howard already knows this was Saul’s doing, and this will cause big trouble.
Saul’s got himself a secretary once again in Francesca. She’s not thrilled with the setup Saul has in the new location, particularly the nasty toilet still sitting in the middle of the room. Saul wants to make up with Francesca for how things went previously and he wheels a deal to keep her with him, including a “signing bonus” right out of his wallet. She agrees if she gets to help decorate. And so, business goes on! Across town at that little restaurant, Kim keeps on meeting clients and colleagues alike. She’s meeting with Viola, apologising for how things went with Schweikart. Viola’s dealing with Sandpiper now. She believes Kim is off trying to “help the little guy.” Oh, man. Lots of heavy moral stuff happening here, as Viola tells Kim she makes her “feel better about the law.” Can’t be easy for Kim to hear. All the same, she’s only talking with Viola to get more info, anyway.
Saul is led to a gym after Francesca tells him to make a “house call.” Looks like Howard has an idea of how to solve things between him and Saul. He wants to settle things in the boxing ring. It doesn’t immediately appeal to Saul, but in a few moments he decides that maybe it’s worth getting in the ring to punch it out with Howard. Then they put on the gear and square off across the ring from one another. Saul is mostly having fun with it until Howard hits him with a couple punches. The two men fight a while, swinging for the fences, before Howard and Saul each begin landing some knocks. Although it’s Saul who winds up on his back in the end. When Howard leaves he meets with a man who’ll be doing surveillance on Saul.
Goddamn, this might turn out nasty. Especially considering Mike already has people keeping their eye on Saul/Kim.
Mike makes a covert entry into the surveillance house across from Gus’s place, checking on the operation. Nothing’s changed. Nobody notable seen outside other than a kid dropping off menus. And Gus isn’t sleeping, as if constantly alert, awake, waiting for the shoe to drop with Lalo. On top of that he’s spending his time cleaning like an obsessive compulsive, scraping a toothbrush along the cracks of the bathtub. Mike advises Gus to go rest, but the boss is far too consumed with thoughts of Lalo making a move. And, once again, Gus would much rather be proactive than sit back waiting.
Gus and Mike go down to the underground lab, where the boss wants to check the tunnel to Mexico. Mike says nobody can get through; the path is totally blocked. That doesn’t wholly satisfy Mr. Fring, who wants to have a closer look around for himself. He goes over everything, from the electrical cords to the machinery, looking for any evidence whatsoever there might’ve been somebody down there recently.
Lalo is very, very far away from New Mexico. He’s in a German bar someplace. He starts talking about New Mexico, getting the attention of a woman nearby at the bar. They chat about mineral baths and other tourist-y things. Lalo introduces himself as Ben, and the lady introduces herself as Margarethe. Later, we discover Margarethe was married to the German engineer who supposedly died in a cave-in during the underground lab construction. Lalo’s digging for info, getting closer to the truth about Gus double-dealing against the cartel.
Lalo walks Margarethe home after their drinks and their chat. In the morning, he returns to slip inside Margarethe’s place, hoping he’ll discover something further to help him on his quest for revenge against the Chicken Man. When he takes a look around he finds lots of business-related things belonging to Margarethe’s deceased husband, as well as cards sent after hubby’s death. But soon she comes home unexpectedly, and that means Lalo might have to use his silenced pistol. He simultaneously discovers the encased ruler we saw in the opening of the episode, the one made in memory of Margarethe’s husband. And after he finds that, he slips out without killing the lady of the house.