REVIEW: ‘Better Call Saul’ Episode 10: Marco

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill - Better Call Saul _ Season 1, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill – Better Call Saul _ Season 1, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

For the nine episodes leading up to the season finale, we have see Jimmy McGill fight an uphill battle in trying to be respectable in the eyes of his brother and society. A battle to shed the image of “Slippin” Jimmy from Chicago that caused him so many problems — especially with his brother Chuck. He slipped here and there (the billboard thing with Hamlin, coming out a hero on false pretenses), but tried to stay on that honorable path.

That battle was severely damaged when he found out Chuck was the one keeping him back, that Chuck just saw him as the conman he was back in Chicago. At his wits end, Jimmy decides to hand over the Sandpiper case to HH&M and go back to his roots — back to Chicago and back to the conman life, if only for a week.

And he lives up to that reputation with his old partner in crime, Marco. The two slip back into their old ways as if no time has eclipsed (from the flashback at the beginning when Jimmy is heading to New Mexico with Chuck up to when Jimmy tells Marco about being back for a funeral three years prior, it’s been quite the length of time since Jimmy has come back. At least more than three years).

Marco appreciates Jimmy’s talents, and acts as a defacto brother to him. Marco allows Jimmy to be who he is, he doesn’t judge him. That’s why Jimmy is drawn to him, because he’s putting on a show for Chuck. Chuck judges Jimmy, and doesn’t seem to respect him. He told Jimmy that  pretty much to his face. Marco is the one person Jimmy can turn to and not put on a show.

But it is not to last. Jimmy fits perfectly well in this environment, but it is no longer his life. He is a lawyer now, he has clients. When he hears the 15 messages from the elderly folk he has been representing, he knows he has to return. He cannot be a petty conman for the rest of his life. That responsible side to him, that grown up side, is begging him back. But not before Marco begs him for one last con. “I don’t need the money,” he tells Jimmy. “This is all I have.”

And poor Marco dies just how we were introduced to him in the first flashback. On the ground in an alley, part of a con with Jimmy. Marco, who lives off the thrill of the con, dies happily in that dark alley with Jimmy after suffering a heart attack.

It is at Marco’s funeral that Kim tells Jimmy, over the phone, that there is a partnership open for him at a law firm that is teaming up with HH&M for the Sandpiper case. This is the legitimacy that Jimmy has been searching for. This is his opportunity to shine. He has made it, opportunity has knocked finally for Jimmy.

And Jimmy pulls into the parking lot, with Mike at his usual booth collecting stickers. Jimmy practices his pitch walking toward the building. This is Jimmy’s moment…

…and he breaks bad (sorry). As he is walking to his appointment, he eyes the ring he was given by Marco’s mother. That representation of his past and who he is. He turns around. He pulls up to Mike, wondering aloud why he let that $1.6 million that the Kettlemans stole go. It could have been his! Jimmy declares to Mike that he will never let something like that happen again. This is who Jimmy is — he will rip people off that deserve it, con them, make his situation better and forget who gets burned in the process. He is now well on the path to Saul Goodman. To paraphrase Richard Nixon: You won’t have Jimmy McGill to kick around anymore.

THOUGHTS:

* Jimmy’s breakdown at the bingo parlor was cringe worthy and excellent. I thought at first it was a dream sequence. Five Bs in a row!?

* We finally find out what that Chicago Sunroof is. Those poor kids.

* Jimmy was once married.

* “What have you been up to, besides passed out at a bar at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a Wednesday?” Marco has hit some hard times.

* The excellent film noir montage of Jimmy and Marco pulling off cons in Chicago was really cool.

* Chuck’s passive-aggressive belittling of Ernesto was cringe worthy.

* “You’ve been doing this every day — for over a year?” Howard’s sympathy toward Jimmy when he finds out what Jimmy’s been through dealing with Chuck.

* “Hey, you’re not Kevin Costner!” Jimmy and Marco have quite the pick-up lines.

* When Chuck sees Jimmy’s car and almost goes outside, but Jimmy takes off before he can. You can see the sadness in Chuck’s eyes at that moment.

* His elderly clients have taken a shine to him, asking for him during the Sandpiper investigation. “What can I say, the elderly love me.”

* Mike, we see, is still taking illicit jobs. While in the booth.

* It appears Jimmy is now heading toward his Saul Goodman persona. It will be interesting how that plays with Chuck. I can’t wait for season two to start! Until then, I will have “Fear The Walking Dead” this summer and season two of “Fargo” in the fall.