Summary: A flashback shows Rebecca meeting Chuck again. Chuck tries to conceal his illness and as a result ends up getting Rebecca to leave in disgust after he swats her cell phone out of her hand. Jimmy meets with Caldera before the trial with Chuck. Howard and Chuck plan for the upcoming trial. On the day of the trial, Kim and Jimmy fight their case and Chuck is eventually called up to the witness stand. After using Huell to slip a battery into Chuck's pocket, Chuck's illness is proven to be mental, which causes Chuck to have a breakdown and throw accusations unprofessionally towards Jimmy, effectively allowing Jimmy to win the trial.
The Good: This was a rare focused episode of Better Call Saul. This was all Jimmy/Chuck, no Mike, no Hector, no Nacho and no Gus to be seen here. And that was perfect for this. Better Call Saul's most engaging plot line has easily been Jimmy and Chuck's feud, so it works very well to give a full episode to look at their conflict. The focus, engagement and more which will be discussed below made this episode into the best of the series for sure.
I'll start this review by talking about the preparation for the courtroom battle, which was very enjoyable. Chuck and Howard's conversation was very good and also highlighted Howard's standings in all of this: he really doesn't care as much about getting Jimmy disbarred as he does making his firm look good. That's very curious to know, because surely Chuck may have brought on some bad publicity to HHM after his breakdown. Howard didn't look too happy at the end of the episode, and I'm very interested to see how his relationship with Chuck will be affected. Kim warning Paige and Kevin was great too. It hints at a little bit of guilt on Kim's part as well which makes sense because she knows Chuck wasn't wrong about Jimmy but his reputation is being completely tarnished by everything, and he hasn't exactly done anything wrong. Kim did not look satisfied after Chuck's breakdown at the end of the episode which also brings up the idea that she may not be happy with what happened. I like how Kim and Howard's characters got set up extremely well n this episode for what I would assume is a future storyline. Lastly, I really enjoyed Chuck trying to come up with good lines for the judge, and it's telling that he mainly focused on the part of saying he loves Jimmy. After all, lies usually take the most practice to say in a truthful way. It was a very nice and interesting little detail, which I'll elaborate more on later (see: The Unknown).
The best part of the courtroom set up in my opinion was absolutely Jimmy's part though. His scene with Caldera was lovely and very funny, with lots to love. But most importantly, this led into the best cameo of the whole series in my opinion. The moment Caldera mentioned tight spaces, it clicked right into my head who was coming, and it ended up being a great joke and an excellent way to hype up Huell. The scene where Huell bumped into Chuck was a downright pleasure and Huell is the perfect loveable character to bring back for a brief role like this in Better Call Saul.
And now finally, onto the fantastic courtroom battle. Now I'm going to divide this into two parts: part 1 is Howard on the witness stand and part 2 is Chuck, so that I can organize my thoughts accordingly. Of course, I'll start with part 1. I thought this was fantastic and was a very exciting way to bring us into the court battle. None of the major cards were played at this point, no tape, no EHS talk. This was all build up with a lot of exciting information being drawn, which is essential for something as detail-oriented as a courtroom battle. We need to learn as much as possible and to have logical questions and exchanges to make the courtroom scenes work. This was done fantastically in the first half of this episode as Kim battled with Robert Alley when questioning Howard. There were nice moments throughout with both sides offering a lot of big moments which were treated excellently; there were no dramatic moments or shots, simply a subtle change in facial expression managed to convey these major moments, which I found impressive. The highlight for me was Kim scoring a win over Howard by making his "nepotism" excuse completely fall flat. It was an early victory for the heroes and it was nice to see Howard look a little satisfied with Kim doing well for herself in court. It's the little touches which really make this show special. I also really like that the idea of mental illness was dropped early in the court trial, which was great set up for the climax later on.
While I really enjoyed the first part of this trial, there's no denying that it was mostly set up and there wasn't a whole lot of tension. That completely changed however, once Chuck arrived for the second part. and wow what a great part of the trial it was. The first thing I have to praise here is Michael McKean's performance as Chuck. He really brings the character to life as a pompous and arrogant man, who has tons of intelligence but is completely overly confident. He constantly puts down Jimmy in subtle ways, disguised by the polite tone in his voice. It's hard to play this role as it could just as easily feel too phony, or too detestable, but Michael McKean completely nails it and strikes a perfect balance for Chuck. The fact that he didn't receive an Emmy nomination for his performance here is something which will forever mystify me. The arrogance, confidence and intelligence in Chuck was portrayed perfectly without even a single weak second.
Now that I've sung tons of praise for Michael McKean, let's discuss the actual story here. This was very well done. I love that all the details were touched on that were brought up before, including Kim's involvement, Jimmy possibly denying the voice is his, Kim trying to prevent the tape from being used as evidence and more. They all amounted to some really good moments which continued to satisfy my detail-oriented side. The best part about Chuck on the witness stand was absolutely when Jimmy questioned him though. There was loads of animosity between them and I think that both actors fantastically played their subtle hate towards each other at this point in the story, throwing jabs at each other whenever they could. I also loved how Jimmy was notably less calm and composed than Kim when asking questions, seeing that this is a very personal thing for him to do and it's still bothering him. And then of course, there was that spectacular last scene which took the final 5 to 10 minutes involving Chuck but I'll get to that in detail later (see: Best Moment).
The last big thing about this episode is Rebecca's involvement. We learn that Rebecca is Jimmy's trump card and was why he went through everything in the last episode to ensure this could go as planned. I expected her to do more, but I was pleased that the show went with a bit of a surprise approach by having her only here to boost Chuck's confidence in thinking that he can best Jimmy's best trick. It took away from any generic melodrama and replaced it with he excellent final scene that we ended up getting. But back to Rebecca, I did enjoy her involvement and it seems that she won't be done in the story as she will likely want to help Chuck now. The flashback also did a great job of introducing a possibility for how she could come into play later on and it also gave us a better idea of her relationship with Chuck since she was only briefly seen in season 2 when she was introduced.
The Bad: The only problem that lowers the score a bit was this episode's predictability. At some point it became fairly clear that Chuck wasn't going to win the trial and that took away from some of the tension. Granted it was still very good, but it does hurt to have an idea of where the story is about to go.
The Unknown: What's next for Jimmy and Chuck? Will Chuck keep trying to pursue Jimmy or will he give up? Will Jimmy ever try to be friendly with Chuck again? Also does Chuck actually love Jimmy? We have seen Jimmy be kind towards Chuck but Chuck hasn't really reciprocated in any way. Does he actually completely despise Jimmy for everything he's done?
How will everyone else be affected by this? Will Chuck be able to move on and accept his condition is fake, or will he descend to a worsened state? How about Kim? How will she deal with her guilt? Could her guilt end up losing her Mesa Verde at some point? And how will Howard react to this? Will his relationship with Chuck be put under strain?
Best Moment: The final ten minutes, and especially Chuck's breakdown were outstanding. The build up to Chuck's big breakdown was tense to watch and I love how Chuck's ego was constantly inflated in a secret way by Jimmy to make his realization at the end all the more painful. The constant mentions of mental illness were too much for Chuck to handle, and it was Robert not denying Chuck's mental illness which caused Chuck to finally snap. It was a very tense moment and it was simply fantastic to see Chuck dig himself into a hole as he continued to spit out accusations at Jimmy, making I look like he is mentally unstable and just after his brother. The ironic part here is that everything Chuck said was correct, just his heart isn't at the right place, and it does count for something to have your heart in the right place, like Jimmy. The final breakdown was tremendous and I love that the episode ended right there with a shot of Chuck looking tiny and pathetic after he realized what he just did, under the pressure of electricity from an exit sign.
Character of the Episode: Chuck. That final breakdown was spectacular.
Conclusion: This was an incredible episode of Better Call Saul. Though its predictability lowers the score I want to give, I can't deny that this was a spectacular courtroom battle which exceeded my expectations in just about every way. This is what I love to see in television shows: a cathartic spectacle which hits all the emotional beats it needs to and then some. I can watch this episode over and over, it was really magnificent.
Summary: Carol enters labour and Ross and Susan fight each other. They end up trapped in a closet with Phoebe. Rachel flirts with a doctor but stops after he reveals he sometimes gets sick of woman's private parts after seeing them every day. Monica freaks out about not having a baby yet. Joey helps a single mother give birth.
The Good: This as another very fun episode of Friends, that comes very close to being outstanding. There were good jokes all the way through and all the storylines were very funny to watch. Ross, Phoebe and Susan in the closet was the definite highlight here though. Ross and Susan arguing was very funny and there were a lot of great lines and comedic ironies present. Phoebe was great in her role too as she helped them realize how petty they were being. It was a well-executed storyline with some good laughs throughout. Monica's story was also a highlight despite it being in the background. It felt consistent to Monica's character and her want for babies led to a lot of well timed jokes involving the people around her and especially Chandler. Chandler had some of his best jokes in this episode and he was very consistent in this episode, making funny jokes at every possible opportunity. Rachel's story was fine too and had some good moments of comedy throughout.
The Bad: I wasn't a fan of Joey's story. He was completely alone and while it was still funny sometimes, he is nowhere near as funny as he usually is without one of the other friends to bounce off of. This story ended up getting more time than it probably needed and the jokes really weren't worth it.
Best Moment: I really enjoyed Ross and Susan arguing, so I'll go with their argument in the closet with went to "lesbian lover's day", which I think was the episode's best laugh.
Character of the Episode: Chandler.
Conclusion: A very funny episode as expected that was nearly another special episode, but it is dragged down by a weak B-plot.
Summary: A flashback shows Hector being one-upped by Gus in the eyes of Don Eladio in the drug trade. In the present, the DEA ransacks The Winking Greek to shut down Hector's business. Hector goes to Gus and demands that Gus transports his product too, but Hector has played right into Gus' hands. Jimmy enlists Mike to help get some pictures of Chuck's house anonymously. Jimmy and Kim hatch a plan to fight Chuck and Howard which involves the recorded tape in some way.
The Good: This was an excellent episode of Better Call Saul.
This episode had a unique Breaking Bad feel to it, making it very different from what we have seen before. And honestly, I loved it all. From the Breaking Bad humour with Mike and the drill, to Don Eladio making an appearance, I really loved the different tone to this episode as it added some great things for fans of Breaking Bad to enjoy. I have said in the past that Better Call Saul needs to be careful not to go full-on Breaking Bad, but I feel like once in a while it's fine if Better Call Saul draws some inspiration from its parent series.
There were lots of cameos to enjoy in the early parts of the episode too. Seeing Don Eladio and Bolsa again was lovely for Breaking Bad fans, even if the 2 weren't featured that much. It was still a pleasant surprise. I also loved the opening moments of the episode. Any fan of Breaking Bad will instantly know where we are in terms of story from the shot of the swimming pool alone. Also, seeing Eladio in the pool, eyes wide open, is reminiscent of his death which was a wonderful little touch. Lastly, I also enjoyed seeing Ximenez return briefly (he was the driver who was killed back in Klick).
Now to the actual episode. I'll tackle the Gus storyline first. The flashback was really well done in my eyes. Don Eladio was excellent as always with his excess amounts of charisma for a drug kingpin. It was a joy to watch him taunt Hector and Ximenez throughout the scene while keeping things light. More than that though, the scene also helped develop Hector's character so we can understand why he hates Gus before Gus even did anything to him. We see Hector's jealousy and we can understand his hate now, which is essential for his entire conflict to work. I do like the comparisons in efficiency between Hector and Gus too, as they really let us know how much better Gus was as a businessman.
The Pollos Hermanos sequence in this episode was fantastic. It felt similar in tension to a Breaking Bad scene, and I really loved it. The tension was amped up brilliantly and Hector was excellently portrayed as an intimidating man despite his age, and having Arturo and Nacho back him up helped a lot. I did enjoy the little touch of Nacho getting Arturo to let the family leave. In addition to that, the workers were portrayed well in their desperation too as Hector poses a very obvious threat. The following meeting with Gus and Hector was nice too. They mostly talked business, but Better Call Saul did an excellent job of quietly showing us their hatred for each other through simple things like Hector scraping gunk off of his shoe's onto Gus' desk. I enjoyed their conversation too as Mark Margolis brings in a lot of fire to Hector in every word he says. I am very interested to see where this story goes, and I really want to see more, so in that regard this episode really succeeded.
Mike and Gus had a good scene too. I like that Mike refused to take the money, not wanting to work for Gus since it will likely involve him doing more brutal things. It makes sense for his character and I'm interested to see what kind of story leads to him finally choosing to work with Gus full-time. I also liked seeing Gus let out some of his hate towards hector to Mike.
Now on the other half of the episode, Jimmy managed to keep his story just as interesting. I really enjoyed seeing Kim and Jimmy working on strategy, as details like that are always highly entertaining to watch. The meeting with Ms. Hay supervising was fantastic too. I really enjoyed Chuck and Howard arguing with Kim on the wording of the "damaged property", which was a great tease of the battle for details we are about to witness soon in court. I also loved Jimmy apologizing to Chuck while also throwing in the fact that "no one should treat their brother that way", as a hidden shot to Chuck treating him poorly. A small thing I really enjoyed was the intro to the scene too. With some brief greetings consisting of somebody's name, we got a complete examination of where each of the characters stand with each other. It was very impressive and did a tremendous job of showing the current emotions of all the characters prior to this courtroom battle. And finally, I enjoyed the final shot of Jimmy and Kim leaving the building together. Its artful shots like that which make Better Call Saul so special.
Mike finally meeting Chuck was another welcome surprise in this episode. I really love the entire plan put together behind that scene too. I enjoyed Kim trying to call all the different repair locations, as it shows how hard she will work to do what she needs to. I was happy to see Jimmy and Mike working together again and their conversations were hilarious as always. The actual scene with Mike and Chuck was excellent as Mike exploited Chuck's allergy to electricity in hilarious fashion to drive him away from where the door us being repaired.
The Bad: I was a little off-put by Kim working with Jimmy on the calls. Wouldn't she be morally against that? It was an odd detail to add in there. If the show wants Kim to be working desperately and sacrificing her morals to save Jimmy, there absolutely should be more focus on that.
The Unknown: What are Mike's pictures for? How does Jimmy plan to use them in court? It seems he wants them as evidence, but how will he get them in as evidence?
Is that what Kim was looking for from Chuck and Howard after the meeting? Did she want to determine how easy it would be to declare something as evidence? Or was it something else? Could Jimmy and Chuck be planning to use the tape in their favour somehow?
How does Hector joining businesses with Gus benefit him? I'm curious to see what Gus' overall game plan is.
Best Moment: There are many great scenes to pick from. I'll go with Mike and Chuck finally interacting.
Character of the Episode: Hector.
Conclusion: This was a very strong episode. Better Call Saul has drawn on Breaking Bad sparingly, making a heavily Breaking Bad-influenced episode all the more successful. this was a real joy to watch and hyped up all of the season's storylines in a shockingly enjoyable fashion. This episode was a very well-disguised set-up episode and I applaud the writers for making me never realize the nature of this episode.
Summary: Monica dates a college senior named Ethan who loses his virginity to her. However he then reveals he is a senior in high school to Monica's shock. Phoebe temps as Chandler's secretary and reveals to Chandler that nobody at work likes him. Chandler is upset and tries to be more friendly but finds that nothing is working. Rachel has erotic dreams about Joey and Chandler, which makes Ross very jealous. Carol calls Ross when she enters labour.
The Good: Friends makes a good comeback with another great episode of comedy. There were plenty of laughs throughout this episode which made it funny on a consistent basis. The Monica storyline as good and had a great twist to add to the comedy. I enjoyed Monica's reactions to the revelation too as they felt organic and still provided tons of laughs. Phoebe and Chandler's storyline was very good too and had a very real story revolving around Chandler's role as boss. It was a nice comedic look at how workers always hate their bosses and it made for plenty of laughs as Chandler tried to prove he was a good guy, and especially when all the friends started poking fun at Chandler's mannerisms. The Rachel storyline was complete filler, but it made for a perfect C-story here because there practically wasn't a single moment without humour. Ross brought the storyline to new heights with his hilarious jealousy which made for some fantastic lines and moments, the highlight being Ross getting upset with Chandler and Ross getting overly excited when Rachel finally has a dream about him. The final moments were fantastic too as Ross was very funny as he tried to get everyone else out the door. The final moments where Ross froze were also hilarious and unexpected which made for the perfect end to the episode.
The Bad: Friends has approached relationships a lot, but I fell that too many have ended in just a single episode. The story tries to make us care, but it really doesn't work if the relationship only has a single episode to grow. This hurt the Monica story this time around. This hasn't been much of a problem before, but now it is getting too formulaic and the attempts to add some kind of emotional tone really don't work at all.
Best Moment: Everyone making fun of Chandler was fantastic and I'll give the nod to that, though every Ross scene in this episode came close to being in tis section.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: Friends continues to provide extremely high quality humour, though some worrying story trends are beginning to surface as the first season nears its conclusion.
Summary: Monica's credit card is stolen and she becomes jealous of the person using it, who is living her life better than she is. Monica meets the fake Monica and they quickly become friends but the fake Monica is eventually arrested. Marcel has reached sexual maturity and Ross has to send him to a zoo and say goodbye to him forever. Joey tries to come up with a stage name.
The Good: This was a very good character episode for Monica and it felt much more serious than any other episodes of Friends with the two major storylines heavily revolving around story instead of humour. Monica's storyline was fun and had some funny moments, but it was mostly great because of how much it highlighted Monica's character and her insecurities. Monica has been the least interesting of the 6 friends, but this episode lets us understand her more and get used to her humour. It was a good showcase for Courtney Cox who finally got her chance in the show. Ross' storyline was fine too and Marcel created some funny moments in the episode. Joey's storyline didn't have much to it and it did nothing for the show in the long run, but it definitely helped provide the odd laugh in this episode, which ended up being invaluable due to this episode's serious nature.
The Bad: The lack of humour does drag this down. Though I really enjoy character-based episodes in drama, it doesn't work as well in comedy. Comedy TV shows need humour more than anything else, so if humour has to be sacrificed for story, the episode won't be nearly as good as the show's best. This was an excellent story, but without lots of humour, it runs the risk of falling flat. I've been against Marcel's inclusion in the show honestly. The monkey jokes were very rarely funny and it ended up creating a rare breach in reality for the show. The emotional goodbye to Marcel also didn't mean much to me as I was just happy that we wouldn't be getting weak Marcel storylines anymore.
Best Moment: Ross talking to the man who ran the animal fighting "wildlife experience" was hysterical. Absolutely the best joke in this episode, which felt lacking in jokes.
Character of the Episode: Monica.
Conclusion: This episode had a great story, but it notably lacked memorable humour, which really took away from the episode.
Summary: Jimmy is taken into custody by the police. Kim arrives to help represent him but Jimmy wants to represent himself. After getting a PPD from Chuck intended to get Jimmy out of his situation without jail time but at the expense of his law career, Jimmy finally agrees to let Kim help him. Mike and Gus meet and come to an agreement: Mike can sabotage Hector's business but not kill him. Mike complies and enacts a plan, allowing for Hector's Regalo Helado trucks to be suspected for transporting contraband at the border.
The Good: This was another solid and easy to enjoy episode.
I really enjoyed Mike's storyline in this episode. His meeting with Gus was long awaited and I was a little surprised to see it happen so quickly in this episode. I expected a longer wait, but I'm honestly pleased that we were given this meeting sooner rather than later. after all we waited three seasons to see Gus and it made sense for him to reveal himself here, and so he did. Their conversation was excellent fun and helped organically fill us in with Gus' current position in the business when compared to Hector. He is on good terms with he cartel at this point it seems, but he is competing with Hector's drug business as well. Mike's half of the conversation as good too as we got to see him try and fail to get over Hector, as h simply couldn't give up on the idea of getting revenge. This decision feels logical too and consistent to Mike's character as we have seen him go for vengeance back in "Five-O" when he killed Hoffman and Fensky.
Mike's actual plan was tremendous. I loved the cold open which built up a lot of mystery regarding the shoes, and it was great to see what happened with hem, though it seems that there is more story to be told at that location (see: The Unknown). I enjoyed seeing Mike go through with his plan. We have no idea what he is planning and are genuinely confused when we see him put the cocaine inside the shoes and when he shoots the sniper rounds into the air. But then, masterfully, the show gives us enough information so that we can figure out what Mike is doing at the exact time the show wants us to figure it out. This is a perfect example of how to show off an intelligent character going through a well-thought out plan. We are immersed by the mystery an extremely impressed once we finally figure out what the plan was and how many layers there were too it. The whole sequence was a real joy to watch and was nearly as enjoyable as the excellent Los Pollos Hermanos scene from last episode.
Now onto the Jimmy half of the story which was a little less impressive, but still very good. This episode was mostly Jimmy/Kim centric as it focused more on their current relationship and it culminated with a very good final scene where both of them ally with each other. In most shows it would feel unrealistic that Jimmy doesn't want Kim's help, but here it makes sense as it isn't just down to the clichéd reason of pride, but it's down to Jimmy feeling guilty for getting Kim involved with this in the first place and not wanting to have her waste more time with his family drama. That extra layer makes this story work so much more than it should. The final scene is a very good closing point too as we get to see Jimmy and Kim finally agree to take this on together while also getting significant plot progression with the reveal that Chuck isn't going to put Jimmy in prison, but he is instead going to take away his law career.
There were several other short scenes in this episode which I really enjoyed. Jimmy and Chuck's brief conversation at the start of the episode was incredible as always (see: Best Moment). I also liked seeing Jimmy talking with Bill who makes a great return. It was a nice look at Bill's crappy life which Jimmy had barely escaped from. The scenes were easy to enjoy and had some great humour, though they weren't without fault (see: The Bad). It was great to see Doctor Barry Goodman from Breaking Bad once more. His scenes were nice and it was good to see him establishing a connection with Mike. Ernie and Kim was another good scene as we got the unfortunate reveal that Chuck fired Ernie after using him. It was sad to hear as Ernie had become pretty likeable in the past few episodes but it also helps us continue to dislike Chuck desite him doing what he believes is right.
The Bad: This episode had some major pitfalls though unfortunately. Without them, it could have been just as good as the last episode, but these really detract from the several quality scenes we got.
There were a lot of scenes which felt entirely skippable which is quite rare for Better Call Saul, a show which has always used its time wisely to develop characters and add new layers to the story. This time we get some rather pointless scenes which stand out pretty badly. The Kim montage was a very impressive feat of cinematography, but what was the point? All I learned was that Kim goes to the gym, which is completely unnecessary. Also, did we really need s many scenes with Bill? Sure it was good to see him again, but he got far too much screen time which isn't really used to help the story along in any way. Jimmy's growth since season 1 should not be the focus right now as he prepares to enter a legal battle with Chuck and the lack of ay urgency in the Bill scenes really hurt them for me.
In addition to feeling pointless, the show kept its slow pace. Now I have praised the show's deliberate slow pace before, but when there are so many seemingly pointless scenes in an episode, the pace stands out much more and it can really test your patience if there isn't much interesting going on. This affected this episode and really hurt the final scenes as my interest was quickly dwindling under the fatigue of so much time-wasting. The scene with Chuck and Ms. Hay and the last scene with Jimmy and Kim were both hurt by this.
Rather, the entire Kim/Jimmy story was hurt by this. It was obvious that they would end up working together but it should have been fascinating to see them work to get to that point. But everything felt so slow and pointless, that a story with such a predictable result like this one doesn't work nearly as well. This was good content, but unfortunately there was a lot of padding which took away from the main storyline and really hurt the show's momentum coming off of 2 excellent opening episodes.
The Unknown: What else will go down with the trucks? It seems that Los Pollos Hermanos trucks will take over Hector's route, but it definitely seems like there is more story there. In the cold open we see bullet holes on the stop sign. We haven't been shown the cause of said bullet holes so I anticipate seeing what happens to cause them.
How will Jimmy and Kim try to fight against Chuck to get Jimmy out of his situation? Or will Jimmy lose? This entire thing may be why Jimmy goes as Saul Goodman if he has to change his name because Jimmy McGill is no longer able to practice law.
Best Moment: The Jimmy and Chuck scene was tremendous. Chuck tried to talk to Jimmy, trying to cool the flame, but it is so easy to hate him despite what he's saying. Though Chuck's argument makes sense, it's easy to relate to Jimmy's anger and it allows us to get just as annoyed with Chuck as Jimmy is. But then the scene takes a dark and brutal turn as Jimmy tells Chuck that he will die alone some day. It was a really chilling sequence and it is powerful to see the relationship between these two brothers so badly fractured. Excellent television.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy.
Conclusion: This was more excellent content, but it also featured some major flaws in execution, which is rare for this show. Hopefully it's only a single hiccup, and I firmly believe that it is since this show has been putting out extremely polished content since its started.
Summary: Jimmy and Kim hire Francesca as a receptionist. Mike tracks down his tracker and it takes him to Los Pollos Hermanos. He gets Jimmy to go inside to scout but Jimmy gets noticed by Gus. Mike is then led to a road int he middle of nowhere where he picks up a phone left on the ground which rings for him. Ernie tells Kim about Chuck's tape and she tells Jimmy and prepares for the legal battle. Jimmy is visibly depressed and snaps heading to Chuck's house. This is part of Chuck's plan though as he has hired a PI to serve as a witness to Jimmy breaking into his house. Jimmy does so and destroys the tape in full view of Howard, Chuck and the PI.
The Good: This was a very entertaining and plot-heavy episode, which delivered total pay-off to everything which was set up in the last episode. This more than met my expectations.
I'll tackle the Mike story first for this review. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Mike follow the man all over Albuquerque doing whatever he was doing (see: The Unknown). At first glance it is a dull sequence, and sometimes it can be slow to watch, but I feel that this show is able to do so well with the smallest things because the execution is good. There are a lot of extremely impressive shots which feel totally cinematic, with the highlight of course being that illuminated bridge with the city lights behind it. While this part of the episode was slow, it was absolutely gorgeous and was a pleasure to watch despite the fact that not much actually happened.
And of course this also helped build up the ultimate Los Pollos Hermanos sign reveal. We all knew it was coming, but it was still awesome to see and the way it was revealed was absolutely masterful and totally delivered on expectations. Staying on Pollos Hermanos, I was happy to see Mike call Jimmy once more to do a quick job. Their interaction were fantastic as always and I was very intrigued to see exactly what Gus' men were doing. But of course I need to talk about that outstanding sequence inside the restaurant. If it wasn't for one other scene, this would absolutely be my favourite moment in the episode. It was so tremendously shot, and was genuinely tense, creative and funny throughout. We usually see professionals doing stealth missions like this in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, so there was something really refreshing about seeing somebody so woefully bad at it. Jimmy never felt forced or fake when h watched the man and there were a number of hilarious moments as he tried to "discretely" keep an eye on him. More fantastically, the reveal of Gus was tremendous. I love that he was introduced in the background as a bright yellow shirt. There was complete restraint here and that was great because it drew on the fact that the viewers know who Gus is and they know how to identify him. This reveal created a genuine sense of unease for the rest of the scene as we know Gus did something to cancel the meeting and we don't know what he is about to do to Jimmy. Their conversation later on was excellent too and I love that Jimmy was smart enough to put his watch into the garbage when he was confronted by Gus for scavenging the trash. There were so many fantastic little details in this scene and I could discuss them for hours. It was just brilliantly put together and very well thought out. Probably my single favourite sequence of this show.
There were a few nice Breaking Bad cameos in this episode too aside from Gus. It was great to see Victor again for a brief role. I would love to see Tyrus later on too. And of course Kim introduced us to Francesca earlier in the episode. I love how Jimmy took an instant liking to her as he just wanted to get a receptionist as fast as possible. It was an easy way to keep Jimmy and Kim at odds despite their partnership and relationship. Francesca was excellent and I love that she was played with more energy and happiness than in Breaking Bad. It will be very interesting to see how Jimmy turns her into the cold and unhappy person she is in Breaking Bad.
The Jimmy and Chuck storyline still managed to remain a standout in this episode despite all the other excitement. Ernie's role was very well done and he comes across as a very likeable guy through what he's doing. I like that he tried to keep things secret but continued to screw up when he talked with Kim. I like how Kim took full control and prepared to fight for Jimmy, which really does well to show how much she cares for him. Better yet though was Jimmy's reaction to all this. Bob Odenkirk has played the character with such energy that it's really noticeable when he displayed Jimmy's change in heart. It's sad to see Jimmy so broken and his disheartened state makes it much easier to believe that he would lose all rational thought and go straight for Chuck's house. Speaking of Chuck, I enjoyed his preparations too. It added some intrigue since we didn't know what his plan was, and it added to the tension when we learned what the plan was near the end. Also, Howard jumping fences was absolutely fantastic. More of that please.
And now finally I get to the titular "witness" scene which closed the episode. Needless to say, it was tremendous. Bob Odenkirk acted his heart out as he let all of his rage out at Chuck, showing his complete displeasure of being taken advantage of because of his are for his brother. It's completely justified for Jimmy to be angry and it helps build our sympathy for his cause when we see Chuck coldly use his brother's good heart against him, making us firmly want to side with the person who is a kinder soul. Chuck crossed a line here and seeing Jimmy's reaction to all of this confirms that. The stunned and angry look on Jimmy's face when Howard and the PI say they are witnesses is painful to see and feels very cathartic. This final scene more than delivered with the intended emotions.
The Bad: The Mike tracking scene was very slow which still did hurt my enjoyment a bit despite the gorgeous cinematography. Also the predictability of the Los Pollos Hermanos reveal did lessen the impact greatly. A surprise would have been fantastic, but it was pretty much expected by this point.
The Unknown: How is Jimmy going to defend himself against Chuck? Will this be the end of Jimmy's law career? Will this conflict be what leads to Jimmy changing his name to Saul?
What was the phone call at the end about? Gus is definitely onto Mike, but what will he want from him? And who is the one talking to Mike? Is it Gus? Victor? Or someone else entirely?
What was Gus' man doing while Mike was following him? I presume he was picking up money through dead drops. This would makes sense as Gus' business would presumably be less polished since he wouldn't quite have as much experience as he does in Breaking Bad. I hope this means that we will get to see Gus' business and control expand over time. That would be very exciting to follow right alongside his conflict with Hector.
Best Moment: The ending scene was fantastic and powerful. A great moment that raises the stakes for the next episode.
Character of the Episode: Gus for finally making his debut on this show.
Conclusion: This episode was awesome. Last episode was mostly set-up despite being extremely enjoyable, and this episode delivered on what was set-up. With two standout scenes and consistent quality throughout, this is absolutely one of Better Call Saul's finer instalments.
Summary: Rachel and Barry develop a relationship again despite Barry being engaged to Mindy. Rachel soon learns that Barry cheated on her with Mindy when they were going to get married and she tells Mindy that she is with Barry again. They go together to get angry at Barry, but Mindy chooses to marry him anyways. Chandler goes crazy while waiting for a girl to call him back on the phone.
The Good: This was another funny and enjoyable episode. I really enjoyed Rachel's plot line. It had some nice messages about real life and how people are, while also developing Rachel's character and giving us a ton to laugh about. The scenes with Rachel and Mindy were great and I especially loved the dentist office scenes and the cameo of a returning Robbie. The Chandler story was hilarious too. It wasn't much of a stoey but Matthew Perry breathes real life into Chandler and makes anything the character is involved in a real pleasure to watch. There were loads of well-timed laughs, be it from Chandler's desperation, the friends teasing him and the actual phone conversations when they happened. I also love the touch that Joey tried to call Chandler to torment him near the end when Chandler realized the phone was off. Speaking of Joey, I think he was very funny in this episode despite his limited role. Ross and Phoebe also shone as always in their background roles, keeping very consistent with their characters in all of their jokes.
The Bad: The final moment in Chandler's plot felt a little too silly for my liking with Chandler not wanting to be with Danielle for her seeming to needy. Sure it is an ironic and fitting conclusion, but I feel the execution made it a little too cheesy.
Best Moment: Chandler arguing against Rachel being with Barry on Ross' behalf was very funny. The "I have my reasons" line was excellent.
Character of the Episode: Chandler.
Conclusion: Another strong episode for Friends that was very enjoyable.
Summary: Rachel is tasked to watch over Marcel and she lets him escape to Ross' dismay. She calls animal control and an old friend arrives to get Marcel because he is illegal. Ross is mad at Rachel, but Rachel earns his forgiveness when she ensures Marcel's safety for Ross. Ross prepares to tell Rachel his feelings but Barry suddenly arrives and tells Rachel he still loves her.
The Good: This was a great episode of comedy. After a few weaker episodes, Friends returns to form with an engaging plot with many great laughs. The story that Marcel got lost was great and it allowed for the characters to organically split off and provide some excellent laughs. Ross was great as always, and even when he was upset with Rachel, both characters played off of each other very well to still make up some laughs in serious scenes. Chandler and Joey got to shine with several hilarious scenes together and some great lines. And of course Phoebe was fantastic in this episode. Her jokes were timed very well and she created the best laughs from the background using her character without ever feeling too ridiculous. I think she really got to shine in this episode. The running gag of Ross getting interrupted any time he tries to talk with Rachel continues to be great.
The Bad: Rachel standing up to Animal Control girl (I forgot her name) felt a little forced and I don't think it was acted too well unfortunately.
Best Moment: Ross enters with plans to tell Rachel he likes her but Rachel says she can't do it, referring to keeping Marcel secret. Ross responds "quick and painful". I think that is one of the better "coincidental conversations coming together" jokes I have ever seen. It was organic, sudden and hilarious. David Schwimmer breathes some excellent life into Ross, making him the real standout character in all of his scenes.
Character of the Episode: Phoebe.
Conclusion: A very strong episode to put Friends back in form before the end of the season.
Summary: In the future, Gene gives up a criminal to the police but tells him to call a lawyer. Gene later collapses. In the present, Chuck shows the tape to Howard and prepares a plan to bring justice to Jimmy. Jimmy is confronted by Bauer about his commercial but he is able to weasel his way out of trouble. Mike finds a tracking device on his car after a ton of searching. Mike buys another version of the tracking device and enacts a clever plan to allow him to follow whoever is trying to track him.
The Good: This was a really strong season premiere even though it had a slow pace. There was so much to love and a lot of story was set up in very tense fashion.
First of all though, we were treated to another excellent scene with Gene. These scenes are always extremely well put together and this was no exception. It has been fascinating to slowly learn more about Gene and to see the differences between him and Jimmy. Here we get to see how he is trying to stay out of the public and definitely away from cops, yet his inner personality wants to be a lawyer again and it creeps out from time to time.
With the main story, I thought there were a lot of excellent scenes that continued to develop relationships and progress the story. I really enjoyed the scene with Jimmy and Chuck near the beginning. There was a great metaphor for their relationship added in with their differing ways to peel off the tape. Chuck uses finesse whereas Jimmy is pretty rough around the edges. It's a really clever comparison and reminds us of these 2's conflicting morals. I also loved to see the 2 brothers reminiscing a bit. They have been at their throats for so long that we do need a reminder from time to time that they are brothers. Fascinatingly though we got to see Chuck completely cut off the brotherly moment with a chilling line, telling Jimmy "you will pay". The scene conveyed the state of the brothers' relationship so well and even got out some emotion with that chilling final line.
Jimmy was involved with a lot of other good scenes too. His scenes with Kim were great as usual and continued to highlight their differences as well. Kim is always so fretful with details and being good in contrast to Jimmy taking shortcuts and still believing that the result is all that matters, without any thought about the means. This, I believe, was also shown in an amazing scene with Captain Bauer who makes his return from "Fifi" (see: Best Moment).
And that was surprisingly it for the Jimmy storyline. Not a whole lot happened in it, but it had a genuine air of tension throughout with the threat of Chuck looming in the background and with Jimmy facing so many conflicts with other characters. There was limited story progression, but the show continues to explore its dynamics with incredible depth and detail which will always make for a compelling viewing.
In the other half of the episode we got a lengthy story revolving Mike which surprisingly featured very little dialogue. I thought this was a brilliant decision though and it made for an impressively cinematic and gripping story as Better Call Saul got to use its fantastic visual storytelling to ensure that we always know and understand what was happening in he storyline. Scenes like the car montage were incredible as they got their point across very well while also remaining entertaining through a use of creative cinematography and our love for the character of Mike.
Speaking of Mike, I love that we got to see his plan to reverse the situation on the man tracking him in complete detail. This could have been accomplished in 5 minutes easily, but where would the satisfaction be? It wouldn't be memorable and it would just be a plot transition. By taking a risk and aiming big here, Mike's story became memorable and downright fascinating to watch as we can see a real professional working to get himself out of a very tedious situation. By dedicating so much time to this, it made the final scene when Mike gets his tracker out to follow the man feel so much more satisfying and impressive. We can really appreciate Mike's intelligence an dedication now that we have seen him use those traits to his fullest ability. I was preparing to make some complaints about how there were some holes in the story, but the story had so much dedication that there are no possible holes. The tracker storyline had a danger of being too contrived, but it made sense and we got scenes to show each and every step that Mike took so we got to understand every detail of the plan. I was also extremely impressed that the show actually addressed how Mike made time for everything while still working his job. Any other show would have forgotten about that, but not this show. This show is too careful to leave a plot hole like that.
The Bad: The pace was very slow which may turn off some viewers. I didn't find it to be a problem though since the pace of this show has always been deliberately slow and it has allowed for huge improvements to writing, cinematography, storytelling and character development. I'll gladly take a slow pace to experience this kind of quality.
The Unknown: Chuck's entire story goes into the unknown. We don't know what his plan is and I'm very interested to see what it is. It seems like he conned Ernie into hearing the tape, again showing he is just as deadly with conning as Jimmy. It seems that he is going to try to use Ernie to tell Jimmy about the tape. I wonder what that will accomplish for him.
What was with Gene's collapse? Was it just from anxiety after his encounter with the cops, or could it be something else?
Best Moment: Jimmy is confronted by Captain Bauer who is pissed about the commercial. This scene was fantastic as it had a genuine air of tension as we can't be sure that Jimmy's commercial is safe. It was great to see Jimmy make a comeback and threaten Bauer's job when he is threatened with being put in court. It was very enjoyable and tense. And then leave it to the writers to turn the scene into something more powerful by using it to also highlight Jimmy's frustration with Chuck. That was done in such an organic and subtle way that I must applaud the writers for it.
Character of the Episode: Mike.
Conclusion: Despite the slow pace, this was a wildly entertaining season premiere which completely satisfied me.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.