This week’s episode of “Better Call Saul” was another slow burn, but it was also one of the few episodes that really started to hit home, for me at least, that this is in the dangerous “Breaking Bad” world. Sure, other episodes had their winks and nods and cameos. But the tones of the two shows are pretty different — “Saul” is certainly a lot lighter than the show that came before it. But here, with the cold open with the delivery guy having his truck checked by border agents to Jimmy and Kim dreaming of their future at the Dog House restaurant (Jesse Pinkman’s favorite meeting place), this episode for some reason really struck a “Breaking Bad” chord with me. At least in the first 10 minutes of it.
With this episode, we have Kim Wexler finally leaving HH&M. She sets up a meeting with Howard, and to his surprise, she is striking out on her own — not going to Schweikart like he had assumed. And here we do getting some sort of resemblance of humanity from Howard when he shares he once dreamed of striking out on his own, but didn’t because of his father’s influence. But as soon as she leaves his office, Kim hears Howard trying to reach her big client, Mesa Verde Bank — just like Jimmy told her as they were munching down chili dogs. In a panic, she rushes to get on the phone with her friend to try and save her big account.
And she certainly almost does get the account. She sells herself as the best choice, not the safe choice during a meeting with Mesa Verde. And she thinks she lands the account, which gives her the confidence that she can do this on her own, with Jimmy’s help. And they are already looking at office space (Jimmy finds a dentist office that was shared by two dentists).
Knowing he needs to save the account, Howard asks Chuck for advice. Chuck, also shocked that Kim is venturing out on his own and then angry finding out Jimmy is in the equation, decides he will save the account himself. Howard obviously has reservations — how does one explain space blankets and no electricity with regard to Chuck to regular people. But Chuck gives it a go.
And he succeeds in stealing the account back. Using the fact HH&M have more resources than Kim — and playing down her experience — Chuck wins over Mesa Verde. And it is so annoying when he does it, because it feels less about the account and more out of spite. Chuck, as we are learning, is a real bastard. Jimmy may be a crook, but he doesn’t lie to himself about it, whereas Chuck always defends his actions through a litany of BS.
But maybe it is this BS that really is hurting Chuck. Immediately after winning back the account from Kim, he falls ill again. Perhaps this so-called illness is less about electricity screwing up his body and more about him using that as an excuse to hide the fact his actions over the years are taking its toll on him in the form of panic attacks (he did just go out of his way to basically destroy Kim’s big chance). And of course, Jimmy gets the call that his brother is not well.
And it is here that we see Jimmy really becoming Saul Goodman. When checking on Chuck, he sees the Mesa Verde files in the living room. Chuck is under two space blankets and is out like a light. Jimmy takes certain files to a copy store, and alters Chuck’s files with subtle changes — a certain address in the business’ paperwork now leads to a fake one. It is an alteration that most wouldn’t notice, but it is big when dealing with legal work. It will make Chuck and the HH&M staff look less than competent, which is what Chuck sold Mesa Verde on, when that comes to light. If Chuck will steal an account out of spite, then Jimmy will destroy Chuck’s credibility out of spite.
Mike is in this episode sporadically. We see him staking out Hector’s business, trailing the comings and goings at the operation. This is building up like Mike is about to go to war with Hector, especially when we see he has made a hose with nails jutting out of it.
- I loved the scene at the airbase. Especially when “Fudge” corrects Jimmy on what country that particular bomber plane bombed. Also, it Jimmy represented “Fudge” in the past on a public masturbation charge and “Fudge” owes him a favor, so that’s why he is posing as a WW II veteran.
- Howard offering to gift Kim the rest of her college debt was a nice moment.
- What’s up with those popsicle sticks in the desert? And who was that delivery guy? That whole scene at the beginning reminded me of Gus’ operation from “Breaking Bad.”
- Chuck sitting in that conference room draped in the Space Blanket was hilarious.
- With two more episodes, it will be interesting what direction this show will take.