Summary: Howard pays off Chuck with his own money and forces him to leave HHM. Jimmy takes care of Kim who is finally starting to loosen up a bit. Jimmy has regrets about what he's done and goes to see Chuck to try and fix their relationship. Chuck isn't having any of it though and sends Jimmy away heartbroken. Jimmy plays the villain and turns the elderly community against him so Irene can have her social life back. Chuck relapses into his illness and destroys his house to remove all power sources. He knocks over a lantern after losing hope, setting his house on fire. Nacho tries to take things into his own hands to kill Hector. He is stopped though when Hector has a secret meeting with Gus. The pills kick in this time and Hector collapses and is taken away in an ambulance.
The Good: Every storyline in this finale was excellent. The follow-up on last episode with Kim's crash was great. I like that it impacted Jimmy as much as it did, letting him realize his sins and stray away from the path of Saul. It was a real look at what almost losing someone you love can do to somebody, and Bob Odenkirk was spectacular at showing a more shaken and scared side to Jimmy throughout the episode. I liked the changes to Kim as well. The crash allowed her to open her eyes and realize that work isn't everything. This whole season has just been Kim overworking herself and being dedicated to work, so it's a surprising development to have her finally take a break and relax, possibly enjoying it a little too much. This could be a huge change in Kim's character and I'm excited to see how it will come into play next season.
I enjoyed the continuation of their stories as well. I really enjoyed seeing Jimmy go back to doing the "right thing" again after what happened, by ultimately destroying his own career in elder law in order to get the heat off of Irene. It was honourable and highlights exactly why it's easy to sympathize with Jimmy. He did a terrible thing in the last episode, but he never intends for any lasting consequences with these things. Clearly he was hoping that Irene could get back to her life after everything, but when that didn't happen he did anything to undo the damage he caused. It's somewhat tragic, but Jimmy was very clearly digging a hole for himself by doing so many bad deeds and I'm glad that he had to face some major consequences for his actions once more. The Erin cameo was also great and I enjoyed her brief conversations with Jimmy. I also love how the dialogue between them during Jimmy's little con felt completely staged because it obviously was. I do like that the season ended with Jimmy practically losing his entire career which opens up a lot of possibilities for what he does in the next season with Kim now that they are moving out.
Chuck's storyline was even more powerful in this episode. Like the Jimmy storyline, I thought there was some superb follow-up in this episode with his conflict with Howard. I thought the storyline may take longer, but I think the fast resolution makes more sense because Howard should absolutely be done with Chuck after all he's done. It's easy to sympathize with both sides here, and it's completely understandable that Howard would do everything to get Chuck out of the way to protect the firm. There was some genuine emotion in Howard's speech when he lets out his disappointment in Chuck, which was also contrasted with the emotion from seeing Chuck's despair when he realizes that losing his job may be a reality. I thought the ensuing scene with Chuck leaving HHM was tremendous and Michael McKean was wonderful as always in showing Chuck's distaste in leaving HHM while being forced to put on a fake smile. Howard says Chuck won, but in reality he really didn't. Another nice touch I enjoyed was seeing Howard stop clapping and leave while Chuck is still not out the door, demonstrating the broken nature of their relationship.
While on the topic of broken relationships, this episode makes it clear that Chuck's flaw which lead to his suicide is his inability to work with others. He is egotistical and selfish, which was highlighted with his dead relationship with Jimmy, and then used again here as his own ego completely destroys a very long friendship with Howard. As easy as it is to sympathize with Chuck for all this, the show has done an excellent job of demonstrating that everything that has happened to Chuck has happened for good reason. I think that one of the strongest points of both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul is that everything that happens to the characters are a result of their previous actions and decisions. It makes for very satisfying and deep storytelling, which is always the reason why my scores for these shows will be really high on average, because of the extremely satisfying nature of the story.
Anyways back to Chuck now, I like how the deep storytelling I mentioned before applies to his relapse. On top of losing his own job, he completely breaks Jimmy in a powerful scene when Jimmy comes with hopes to rebuild their relationship (see: Best Moment). Chuck's sadness at losing his job and purpose in life, combined with the guilt of what he said to Jimmy as a result of his own selfishness are a deadly combination and completely destroy Chuck mentally. The montage of Chuck relapsing was absolutely spectacular as we get to see him slowly lose it and give in to his sensitivity to electricity. Seeing him destroy his house completely was surprisingly effective at making me sympathize with Chuck and it conveyed its message of Chuck getting overwhelmed by his mental illness really well. Mentally ill and depressed people would focus on anything to escape their troubles and in this case Chuck made it his mission to find the power source in his house, but eventually he broke and couldn't take it anymore. That final scene was brilliantly shot as we didn't know exactly what was happening until the end when it hits us that Chuck has fallen over the edge. The final image of Chuck's house starting to burst into flames was extremely chilling and dark, ending the season on a shocking and powerful note.
The Nacho storyline reached a wonderful climax in this episode too. I really liked how Nacho's desperation was shown when he became afraid that the pills wouldn't work in time. The scene at Nacho's father's shop was great and very tense as Nacho had to practically beg his father to tae the money from an angry Hector. The scene really raised the stakes and highlighted how Nacho's father wouldn't last long because Hector has lost trust in him and will more than likely kill him for his own benefit. It was the perfect scene which would push Nacho into trying to kill Hector himself in a very tense scene where Nacho would attempt to kill Hector with a gun. I bought that Nacho would reach the point where he would try to kill Hector so rashly and it made for a very tense sequence since we know if Nacho kills Hector, there would be some major consequences for him.
I do like how Hector was portrayed in this episode. While he is a complete and total ass, we can still somewhat sympathize with him as he completely rages at Bolsa after he is having his drug business taken from him by Gus. That scene was very good and Mark Margolis was phenomenal as always. I really like that he incorporated one of Hector's signature mouth twitches from Breaking Bad when he was angry. The stroke (I accidentally called his stroke a heart attack in past reviews. It was obviously a stroke which affected him and I think the pills caused a clot in his brain which led into a stroke, and it wasn't a heart attack which crippled Hector.) was a big moment and was very satisfying to watch. I like that Gus lost composure to save Hector. Hector was always his weakness, so I like that it was kept as his weakness in this scene as Gus is horrified at the thought that Hector dies without receiving his comeuppance.
The Bad: I do wish that we got to see more of the effects on Jimmy after his conversation with Chuck. What Chuck said was absolutely terrible and I wish we got to see more of the real Jimmy dealing with that, instead of Jimmy acting all pleasant the very next scene while talking to the elderly.
The Unknown: Is Chuck dead? We didn't see the body, but I assume he is dead.
How will everyone react to Chuck's death? I expect Kim, Jimmy and Howard would all be blaming themselves. How would they deal with it? What will Howard's role in the story be now that Chuck and Kim aren't involved with HHM anymore?
Gus seems to suspect Nacho. Will he try to do something to Nacho in return? Or will he perhaps ally with Nacho?
What is in store for Kim and Jimmy? What are they going to do no without the office? How will Kim's new change in behaviour affect her career and relationship with Jimmy?
Best Moment: Jimmy and Chuck's final scene was extremely powerful. Chuck's selfish and egotistical nature once again took over as he completely ruins Jimmy's morale and tells him the most hurtful thing a brother could possibly say to his sibling: "you never really mattered much to me". It was a brutal line and I really like that the camera lingered on Jimmy processing the words and slowly leaving the house in silence. It was really powerful television and just about sums up the relationship between these 2 brothers.
Character of the Episode: Chuck.
Conclusion: An excellent season finale. All the stories climaxed in the perfect way, allowing for a lot of story arcs to be resolved with a lot of interesting set-up for next season.
This season as a whole was excellent. It's the best season of the show for sure as it had loads of powerful climactic moments, including the best episode of the show thus far in "Chicanery". The first half of the season was very well paced as every episode progressed the story in a meaningful way while also offering some truly excellent scenes to keep us on our toes. The back half of the season wasn't quite as good, but it featured Better Call Saul's signature storytelling and pace which allowed for some really worthwhile stories to be told, which all culminated in superb fashion in this episode.
Summary: Jimmy visits Irene Landry and discovers that if Sandpiper settles he will make over $1 million. He tries to talk Irene into settling but when it doesn't work, he completely destroys her social life to get what he wants and Irene decides to settle. Mike visits Lydia to get on Gus' payroll. Gus and Hector meet and the cartel approves their joint operation to Hector's dismay. Hector hasn't died yet so Nacho is forced to tell his father that Hector will be going to visit soon. The insurance company threatens to raise the premiums of everyone in HHM and Chuck responds by seeing them in court. Howard has had enough and wants Chuck to leave HHM and retire. Chuck isn't pleased and threatens to sue HHM, while also threatening Howard. Kim gets in a car accident.
The Good: Like last episode, this episode was mostly set-up but the execution was superb. The episode moved at a good pace, had a purpose, and there was an overall tension throughout the episode which never went away. This was every bit as impressive as the set-up in the previous episode, and all the storylines were extremely exciting as they reached a boiling point. I can't wait for the payoff in the finale.
But before I get into the finale, I'll have to talk about this episode. I'll start with the Mike storyline for this one. I think Mike's story has been the weakest in the back half of this season (see: The Bad), but nevertheless, I enjoyed his storyline because it managed to finalize the deal with Gus and because it allowed us to see Lydia and Madrigal once more.
The Gus and Hector storyline remains interesting too. There hasn't been much time given to that storyline since "Sabrosito", but in a single excellent scene their rivalry got to continue in a big way. We got to find out why Gus was happy about the joint operation, because he suspected the cartel would be fond of it, and it ended up being a perfect way for Gus to smite Hector. I really enjoyed getting that pay-off by seeing Hector's anger. It also helps remind us that Nacho's swapped pills will be taking effect soon, but we have no idea when. I like that every scene Hector is in has an air of tension because we don't know when the Ibuprofen pills will actually hit him hard. I suspect we will be seeing the big moment in the finale, but I'm sure that Better Call Saul will find a way to make things less predictable and more tense. Also as a side note, I really enjoyed the cinematography in that scene. The lighting, camera angles and sound were great at conveying the mood of the scene to make it feel especially brilliant.
I enjoyed Nacho's scene with his father. That story hasn't been developed much, but it is simple and it's easy to follow the emotions of both characters. It was a powerful scene which delivered some good set-up for when Hector inevitably comes to Nacho's father's business, likely in the next episode.
Kim's short storyline was very well done too. We have seen her under a ton of stress in the last few episodes, and to see her drowning herself in work to try to avoid facing it is very good television. It's so subtle that I feel like there may be varying interpretations as to why Kim is working herself so hard. I took it as her dodging her guilt and stress by working extra hard, but I can understand if somebody else sees the storyline in a different light. Her story had a lot of tension too because there was just something off about the tone in her scenes. It felt like something would go wrong, and that car crash at the end felt like a culmination of all that tension. The jarring nature of that scene was also a great call-back to the scene where Kim took a brief nap back in "Expenses".
The Chuck storyline was a highlight in this episode. His conflict with Howard came quicker than I expected, but it felt very organic since the consequences of Chuck's malpractice insurance going up were much greater than I thought they would be. It was a pleasant surprise to see such huge consequences from Jimmy's actions back in "Expenses" and I think it did a great job of developing the tensions between Howard and Chuck. The meeting between Chuck, Howard and the insurance people was excellent and it conveyed Howard's growing frustration in a great way. After all the bad decisions Chuck has made in the recent past which have hurt HHM, it is hard to blame Howard for wanting to get Chuck out of HHM. I was happy to hear Howard still trying to act friendly and pleasant even when suggesting Chuck retire, which fits the character of Howard that we have come to know after 3 seasons. The following scenes were great too as Chuck reacts in a very negative way, suing HHM. The "god dammit Chuck" from Howard was a funny line, but it felt real and transitioned nicely into the verbal spat between Howard and Chuck. Once more we get to see Chuck's despicable side coming out, but it's refreshing to see that it isn't Jimmy on the receiving end this time. It makes it easier to sympathize with Howard, who only wants to keep his father's firm alive afterwards.
Lastly, we have Jimmy's storyline which was tremendous. In the last review I commented how Jimmy seems to be starting the transformation into Saul, but just one episode later he seems to have whole-heartedly committed and I honestly think it's a good thing. This process could have been dragged on, but it wouldn't make sense. Jimmy has already conned before, so there isn't much change for him to ponder. In his mind, he's getting results through conning again, so he's going to keep doing it to reap his reward. And when the reward is $1 million which will solve all of his and Kim's problems, why wouldn't he go back to his "morally flexible" side to get it? This show has done a great job of making us understand Jimmy's character to the point where we are able to understand why he does something as depraved as ruin an old woman's life for his own gain. But still the show is able to convey how despicable this is to the point where we no longer support Jimmy. Once again his motivation is to help Kim, but this time he goes too far. Chuck wasn't an innocent, but here Jimmy just prays on an innocent old woman who never did anything to harm him. And worse yet he does it without even an ounce of remorse for her. It was tough to watch and I genuinely felt bad for Irene by the episode's end, which was helped by a stellar performance from the actress who conveyed Irene's heartbreak in a painful way. The bingo scene where nobody clapped at all told a story in itself.
I liked the little things in the Jimmy story too. The set-up of Jimmy's con and its execution was very satisfying and a lot of it was very fun to watch. Jimmy is so charming when talking to the elderly which is very fun, and on top of that it was great to see little things like the trunk full of shoeboxes.
The Bad: Mike's storyline has been disappointing after it started off so well this season. He hasn't done much of note since "Sunk Costs" and his deal with Gus was very disappointing. It occurred too quickly and without enough build-up, making it lack the emotional impact it should have had. This hurts the Lydia scene in this episode because I really don't buy into why Gus is willing to go so far for Mike when they really haven't known each other for long or done much.
The Unknown: How hurt is Kim by the accident? Will there be repercussions with Mesa Verde or Gatwood? How will Jimmy react to Kim's injuries?
How will Chuck vs Howard go? Will they eventually make up or will this actually be taken to court?
Best Moment: The bingo scene with Irene was excellent fun to watch and the following scene where Irene showed her confusion and pain at losing her friends was just as powerful. Jimmy really did his worst deed in this episode, and there isn't anything else even close to as bad as this.
Character of the Episode: Irene.
Conclusion: While not as explosive as the penultimate episodes of previous seasons, this was a very tense hour that set things up for a big finale. I really enjoyed this and it leaves me very excited to see a lot of these storylines come to a head in the next episode.
Summary: A flashback shows Jimmy and Marco return to Jimmy's father's store after it is closed down. In the present, Jimmy's clients try to back out of the deal to Jimmy's dismay. Jimmy reverts to Slippin' Jimmy to make a profit out of them. Later Jimmy pulls a con job on the Community Service Hours guy to make money off a drug dealer who wanted to leave. Kim signs on with a new client, Billy Gatwood. She runs into Howard who is very upset at Kim doing so much damage to HHM from the trial. Chuck is recovering from his illness but he is met by Howard who has to discuss insurance. Nacho prepares for the pill swap and executes it without being detected.
The Good: Jimmy's storyline was excellent. This episode feels like Jimmy taking his first steps to becoming Saul, and you can even say that he figuratively took on his first Saul Goodman client in this episode with the drug dealer. This was a long time coming, and it feels so satisfying to watch Jimmy ultimately taking his first steps towards Saul territory. And yet it also feels somewhat sad to see Jimmy relapsing to Slippin' Jimmy like this, which is a testament to how well this show has been written. It's mastered the ability to create a mixture of emotions for every storyline. Both of the cons were extremely enjoyable to watch and they effectively demonstrated how being Slippin' Jimmy is much more effective for Jimmy than whatever legitimate business he is working right now.
Adding on to the Jimmy storyline, I really enjoyed the brief scene between Jimmy and Kim. It's being established that both are growing more and more distant despite working together and I'm sure that this will lead to a breakup at some point in the future. It is hard to predict when though. The actual conversation was interesting and it's nice to see Kim still trying to cut Jimmy a break, despite Jimmy now being able to easily pay off his half.
Kim's storyline continues to intrigue me. She is still feeling the guilt for what she did, but now we learn that it's much more than just guilt for Chuck. She has practically betrayed HHM and that is definitely hurting her a lot on the inside. Her scenes with Howard were very good as Howard was excellent at showing his anger after all the reputation of HHM was practically destroyed. There was a very tense conflict there and I'm very excited to see how it plays out later. In the end this storyline was set-up, but I enjoyed it more because it never felt like set-up. We got to see a lot of conflict happening now, which distracted from the nature of the set-up, and making the storyline more engaging as a result. Furthermore, it was nice to get to see the full nature of the damages to HHM after Chuck's breakdown in court. It's interesting to see Howard having to work extra hard because of it, and it does make me believe we will be getting a split between Howard and Chuck at some time in the near future, perhaps early next season.
Chuck's storyline was very good too. It's nice to see that he accepted his mental illness right away. While Chuck may be a prick, I'm glad that the writers have given him some redeemable qualities. Chuck seems very decent in this episode, even likeable as he accepts his condition and simply works to improve it without showing off his ego as much as he usually does. I like seeing this kinder side of Chuck and it does help us sympathize with him a little bit now that he seems to have actually left Jimmy behind. Of course things may change with the insurance storyline, but more on that later (see: The Unknown).
Nacho's storyline was an absolute joy to watch in this episode. It was completely dedicated to Nacho just pulling off the pill swap stunt and it was compelling to watch. I loved seeing him prepare everything and the little things like seeing every step Nacho took when crushing the pills down and the addition of a small scene showing Nacho breaking the AC vents on the roof. The actual pill swap was fantastic too. It is undoubtedly the most tense scene in the whole show thus far and had me at the edge of my seat. I had a sense that Nacho would pull it off, but there was always a chance he wouldn't because he isn't in Breaking Bad. And additionally, we know Hector doesn't die and Nacho's pills were intended to kill Hector so there was always the chance of a little wiggle room which kept me tense. It was a great sequence to watch unfold.
Mike's story was good too. It was nice to get some closure on the man who was shot by Hector and I think it fits Mike's character. It also helps show why Anita's speech may have made Mike go to Nacho since he didn't want the man's wife to suffer without closure like Anita did. The final deal with Gus was nice too and was a good note to end the episode, but I feel it wasn't as big of a deal as it should have been (see: The Bad).
There were a few other small things I enjoyed. The flashback was great as it showed us more about Jimmy's past, adding even more depth to the storyline with his father. It was also great to see Marco again. And finally, I love that Francesca was trying to secretly read a magazine which she quickly put away when Kim leaves her office.
The Bad: There was a very awkward cut away from Chuck in the grocery store. It looked like he was about to pass out, making it feel awkward to leave us thinking that before showing Chuck later on completely unaffected. It felt like some stupid drama that added nothing to the story.
The Mike and Gus deal felt like it came out of nowhere. We understood why Mike went to met Nacho (to find the man who was shot), but we don't know why he suddenly went to Gus. I don't buy that Mike would trust Gus completely and I feel like they shouldn't trust each other so much yet. This deal feels like it should have been made a little later on. I suppose more time was wanted for Mike's choice to work as Gus' "head of security" but it still feels cheap to see this deal created so suddenly.
The Unknown: How will the insurance affect Chuck? Could it put Chuck back on Jimmy's scent? This could add a lot of irony as Jimmy's actions may inadvertently have caused Chuck to become a thorn in his side once again.
The flashback was very interesting. I'm not sure what it's purpose was since it didn't accomplish a whole lot except for fleshing out the relationship between Jimmy and his father. I'm curious to see if it has anything else to it that may be expanded on in future episodes. Could the box of coins come into play later on?
Best Moment: The pill swap scene was a master-class of tense filmography. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy for reaching into his inner Saul.
Conclusion: This was an excellent set-up episode which still managed to have more than enough of an identity to itself to overcome the crutches of set-up episodes. Like "Rebecca" from last season, this was a surprisingly great set-up episode which exceeded my expectations.
Summary: Jimmy struggles to manage his new commercial business while also finishing his community hours. Jimmy works hard to get clients, but is unable to make a profit as his clients are few in number and only ever want a single commercial. He is forced to shoot a commercial spot for free when he runs out of options. Jimmy goes to his malpractice insurance place to try to cancel it but learns that he can't and his premiums will be going up. In spite, Jimmy ensures Chuck's rates go up too. Kim begins feeling guilty for what she and Jimmy did to Chuck. Nacho makes a deal with Daniel to get empty pills identical to Hector's. Mike meets with Nacho and gives him advice for what he is about to do.
The Good: The scenes of Jimmy doing community hours were very good. This episode did a great job of portraying the struggle Jimmy was forced to go through throughout the episode which led to his breaking point at the end of the episode. The community service hours were excellent as we saw him working hard to collect trash while also trying to make important phone calls to get his business going. And of course the fact that he only got 30 minutes of credit only added salt to the wound. And on top of that it gave us a great joke with the "I can make it zero" line which would be reused in hilarious fashion later in the episode.
Jimmy also conveyed his struggle wonderfully while actually shooting the commercials. The scene where he is talked down to making a commercial spot for free shows him at a real low, which would then be beaten when Jimmy is forced to give his own pocket money just to pay his film crew. It was effective television to make us sympathize with Jimmy and understand why he did the needlessly cruel thing at the end of the episode. Back to the commercial shoots for a second, I also thought they were excellent in terms of comedic value. There were some great comedy sequences like the film crew rushing to get into the car, and the Duke City recliner commercial being shot twice with Jimmy being forced to pretend it was the best thing he ever saw. While this episode gave us Jimmy at a real low with some serious storytelling, it was also able to keep things lighthearted so the depressing storytelling wouldn't be a turn-off at all.
Jimmy's story also tied nicely into Kim's. Whereas Jimmy is suffering because of what Chuck did to him, Kim appears to be suffering because of what Jimmy did to Chuck. It's a very nice irony and I like the way it was explored here. Kim is understandably guilt-ridden, since she can sympathize with Chuck more than Jimmy at the moment. To Kim, Chuck is just a sick man and all they did was just completely ruin the one thing he cares about the most: how people respect him in public. Her meeting with Paige was also very good as we got to see Kim in a rare moment of annoyance where she lightly took out some frustration out on Paige before quickly apologizing.
Kim and Jimmy's stories got to meet in spectacular fashion at the bar, which was one of the best moments in the episode. Jimmy's anger at the world clashed with Kim's feelings of guilt from working with Jimmy at damaging people. The idea of making them discuss conning people hypothetically was perfect for this, as it easily allowed for both of their storylines to reach a brief, tense moment.
In the other half of the episode, Daniel made a very funny return as Nacho went to him to get some empty pills. It was great to see him return for a cameo and there were a number of hilarious things in his story, including him going through all the security just to find Nacho waiting for him and the baseball game he played when he went to talk with Mike. I enjoyed his conversation with Mike, who continued to completely disregard anything Daniel tried to say and for good reason.
The final scene with Mike and Nacho was great too. I'm glad that we got to hear exactly what Nacho's plan is for Hector as it answers some questions and prepares us for what I'm expecting will be a very tense storyline of Nacho trying to keep all of his moves below the radar as he attempts to end Hector. I'm very excited to see this in the final three episodes of the season to see how this storyline climaxes.
There were a few small scenes I really liked as well. Kim's mini-nap was excellent and I think the filming of the scene did a fantastic job of capturing the jarring feeling of waking up after a nap. Also, I like how the first scene mirrored the episode "Amarillo", which effectively showed how much Jimmy's life has been damaged by Chuck since that episode. And of course the Kevin Costner reference was very funny and satisfying.
The Bad: I'm a little hesitant to put this in The Bad, but I didn't enjoy Mike's storyline very much. I understand that they were going for a story of him trying to leave the business, but being unable to, but I just didn't find it particularly thoughtful or exciting. Mike's family life just isn't exciting, and while I liked Anita, she really didn't provide much to the story. Also, I was never clear as to why Mike actually decided to go help Daniel. Anita's story would probably have affected him in some way, but I can't figure out why. Maybe this would be better suited for The Unknown, but I feel like we need to understand more of what is going on in Mike's head than we do. This may not be a problem in the future, but I think it takes away from my enjoyment right now, and that's worth putting in The Bad.
The Unknown: What does Mike want from Nacho? Could this have something to do with why he decided to accept Daniel's request?
What consequences will arise from Jimmy's actions in the insurance office?
Best Moment: I haven't mentioned the insurance scene much in this review. And that's because I was saving it for this section, because it was an excellent scene. This last scene was a real showcase for Bob Odenkirk, who had to convey a whole myriad of emotions throughout the scene as he tries to get things to work out for him. Jimmy's breakdown was superb and I believe it honestly started as something real in some form, but Jimmy took complete control of his breakdown and kept it going in order to smite Chuck for all the pain and suffering he put onto Jimmy. I love this scene because it once more explores that gray area in the relationship between Jimmy and Chuck. What Jimmy did here was completely wrong and cruel, yet can you blame him for doing it? It's a fascinating scene to think about, just like many previous scenes involving the relationship between these 2 brothers.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy.
Conclusion: This was a rock solid episode. There weren't any big moments, but this was a very necessary episode of story progression that builds things up for the end of the season. Better Call Saul continues to avoid having weak episodes even when it is transitioning between storylines.
Summary: Jimmy is spared from disbarment but is suspended for a year from practicing law. Kim wants to lower their expenses by finding a new location but Jimmy doesn't want to do that. He tries to find a way to make money and decides to create commercials for other clients since he still has several airings left for his "Gimme Jimmy" commercial which won't be used. Jimmy creates a commercial for himself, using the name Saul Goodman. Chuck talks to Howard and he decides to move on and leave Jimmy behind. However he then goes into the city and calls Dr. Cruz. Nacho is now doing the work Tuco usually did for Hector involving Krazy 8 and Gus. Hector wants to use Nacho's father's business as a front.
The Good: This was a very solid episode overall to follow up the show's masterpiece which was "Chicanery". There were a ton of different stories in this episode which I will examine.
I'll break my usual format and actually tackle the Nacho storyline first. First of all, it was good to see Nacho getting some focus after all this time. He has never felt like a real main character like everyone else due to limited appearances, but this episode allowed us to see more into his head and how he is as a person which is excellent. And on top of that, this episode gives him a problem to solve which will surely help us understand him better as a character. To get into more detail, I really enjoyed that opening scene. It gave us a good look as to how Nacho differs from somebody intense like Tuco. Just based off of Krazy 8's mannerisms, we can tell that Nacho is often much friendlier and isn't as effective as an intense drug dealer. Hector's supervision also demonstrates this and it was pleasing to see Michael Mando display Nacho's conflict through some great subtle facial changes. Having Nacho as a main character is pointless if we don't like him, but by showing us that Nacho is a decent human being it helps us understand him more. And on top of this, it allows us to understand why he ay consider betraying Hector since he wants to take his father's business. I'll discuss more on this in The Unknown, but the ending of the storyline in this episode was very good set up and leaves me wanting to see much more.
Now onto the main storylines of the episode. I like that there was plenty of time given to follow up on the court proceedings in showing that there was more that happened after Chuck left the witness stand, which helps the court realize that Jimmy would be good for the community. I also liked the editing done in the scenes that spliced Kim's speech in the courtroom with Chuck suffering at home after what happened. The immediate follow up with Rebecca was nice too. I enjoyed seeing Jimmy and Kim celebrating briefly over their victory, but more than that I was extremely happy with Jimmy coldly dismissing Rebecca and not wanting to help Chuck. While it seems cruel, what Chuck did to him was much worse since he manipulated Jimmy's emotions. It felt very real to see Jimmy still holding it against Chuck and refusing to go help him, having learned from the last time he went to help Chuck. This was a perfect conclusion for the Jimmy/Chuck plot in this episode as both characters seemingly moved on to different things.
Chuck's scenes after that were very good. I enjoyed seeing Howard show his friendly and loyal side for once, refusing to leave Chuck just like Jimmy did back in "Klick". While we have been trained by the show to dislike Chuck ever since "Pimento", but this does show us that Howard isn't as bad as Chuck and is simply just a friend trying to help Chuck out through this whole case with Jimmy. It seems like Chuck is actually trying to develop an affinity to electricity now which is nice to see. I'm interested to see if he can actually recover now. Lastly, the walk through the city was a magnificent sequence. This show has been brilliant at bringing Chuck's illness to life and this scene was another example of that.
Jimmy's storyline for the rest of the episode was great too. I like that he is trying to keep everything he and Kim worked so hard to attain from the end of season 2 until now, refusing to lose the office and Francesca. It fits what we have seen from Jimmy in the past that he doesn't want to give up things he has worked hard to earn which may affect Kim, just like he did with the Davis and Main job. I enjoyed his immediate follow up to this too. The several calls to the older clients were hilarious and it was nice to see Jimmy's patience getting tested after having to speak with so many different elderly people about the same thing. I also do like how it reminded him about the commercials which would then become a major plot line for the episode. I feel like everything was done organically, with every action from Jimmy leading to the next problem he has to take care of.
The actual commercial shooting was fantastic too. I loved seeing Jimmy offer to shoot commercials for clients, but ultimately estrange them in his desperation. It was good comedy and led to Jimmy facing a very credible conflict which he then managed to somewhat subvert when he made his own commercial. The actual shooting of his own commercial was awesome and there was loads of humour as he prepared to do it. It was great to see the film students once more as they consistently produce some of the show's best comedy. The commercial itself was amazing too. It was hilariously choppy and I love how Jimmy dressed up with various articles of clothing which belonged to the film students. It was a really well put together commercial that injected Jimmy's character into it perfectly. And on top of that it brought in Saul Goodman into the story in a very good way, making for a very satisfying moment at the end when he reveals his name.
There were a couple other small things I enjoyed. Jimmy's goldfish was some nice continuity as we see that Jimmy bought a tank and is properly feeding her. And of course, I loved seeing the Lydia cameo and it was nice to see the location of the superlab from Breaking Bad being introduced.
The Bad: Mike's story feels a little aimless at the moment. I understand that the show wants Mike to settle down after enacting his vengeance, which will likely lead to him eventually going to Gus. The problem is that we know this is going to happen, so there is little drama to be had. Jimmy's story has a similar problem, but it always overcomes it because there is much more depth to Jimmy as a character and it's compelling to watch other characters like Chuck and Kim in that storyline. Stacey and Kaylee aren't interesting enough to carry Mike's story here and it just feels really bland at the moment. We love Mike for being a smart badass who can pull off some crazy stunts. Without playing to Mike's strengths, his storyline gets boring quickly.
Gus and Hector's operation confuses me and that's a problem. The scene between Nacho, Arturo, Victor and Tyrus (!) was hurt by this. We don't know what Gus and Hector's deal is about transport so I didn't know what the significance of Nacho grabbing another package was. It also didn't help that I didn't know for sure that Hector had ordered Nacho to do that, which took away from the drama as well.
The Unknown: Why did Chuck call Dr. Cruz? Is it to help him get past his illness? Or does he still have Jimmy in mind and is planning something?
Will Nacho give in to Hector and let him use his dad's business? Or will he step up and face against Hector? It's safe to assume that Nacho does get in legal trouble at some point which will bring him back to Jimmy, but we don't know why yet. This adds some drama to his storyline since we don't know what his fate is and when it happens. Could this conflict lead to that?
Hector also had a very key moment where he had a stress attack of some kind and took pills to calm him down. Could this problem he has potentially lead to his stroke which puts him in the wheelchair? And also, will Nacho cause this to happen? He has hidden a pill under his show so could he potentially be thinking of using it to end Hector?
Best Moment: I'll go with Jimmy and Rebecca's scene from early in the episode. It was the most powerful moment in the episode.
Character of the Episode: Nacho.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode that set up a lot of storylines for the second half of this season. There were a few flaws, but the good stuff was good enough to make the episode enjoyable.
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: 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: 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: 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.