Last Nights Better Call Saul was Jimmys First Real Fall into Saul

first_imgIf you were watching Better Call Saul to see the moment Jimmy McGill became Saul Goodman, last night was it. Until these last couple episodes, Jimmy at least tried to be a good guy. He conned people, but you could generally make the case that they deserved it. Or at least they were rich enough that it wouldn’t hurt much. He took shortcuts, but made sure his elderly clients weren’t taken advantage of. He falsified documents, but it was to help Kim. After last week’s episode featured the return of Slippin’ Jimmy, this week saw him morph fully into Saul.Bob Odenkirk said on the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast  last week that the difference between Jimmy and Saul is in the collateral damage they cause. Jimmy keeps himself blissfully unaware of the harm his schemes cause. Saul knows exactly who is going to get hurt and he doesn’t care. Saul is all about serving himself, and it doesn’t matter to him if people have to get run over along the way. That’s what makes last night’s episode our first true glimpse of Saul.Now that Jimmy has no more air time to sell, he needs to keep money coming in somehow. He can’t practice law, but he’ll still get paid 20 percent of the Sandpiper settlement. The only problem is class action lawsuits take a long time, and Jimmy needs money now. For the first little bit of the episode, it almost looks like we have the old Jimmy back. The sweet, smiling advocate for the elderly. Of course, it doesn’t take long to see that he has an ulterior motive. Jimmy brings cookies to Irene, the class representative to get a look at her legal paperwork. After doing some hilarious-looking mental math, Jimmy realizes that his cut would be $1.16 Million. He wants that money. Unfortunately for him, Irene is content to leave the decision-making to the nice girl at the Davis and Main.He tries asking Howard to settle the case, but Howard sees right through him. He doesn’t really care about the clients. He wants his money now. It’s a great little scene with possibly the best line of the episode. “It’s like talking to Gollum,” Howard says. Jimmy isn’t even being subtle about his motivations at this point. He’s out for himself and nobody else. When dealing with the lawyers doesn’t get Jimmy anywhere, he decides to go after Irene. This is where Saul really comes out to play.Irene Landry (Jean Effron) and Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk)(Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures )This was a great episode, but it was so difficult to watch Jimmy ruin this lady’s life. When all she really has is her friends, he makes them turn on her. After secretly giving her some nice walking shoes (of which he had a trunk full of different sizes), he implies to all the other plaintiffs that Irene is holding up the settlement. She must not need the money if she can afford those new shoes. He watches them all turn on her to the point where she breaks down and starts crying at Bingo. That’s when he subtly suggests that she settle the lawsuit. That’s who Saul is. He’ll completely destroy an old woman, taking away the one thing she has left, in order to get his payday. From the beginning of the scheme, Jimmy knew exactly who he was hurting. He didn’t care. Saul has arrived.In the rest of the episode, both Chuck and Kim are pushing themselves past their breaking points. It’s starting to have consequences. After Kim comes up with a solution for her new oil-drilling client, she pulls an all-nighter getting all the documents she needs together. That, as we all know, is a terrible idea. As she drives to the meeting, rehearsing what she’s going to say, her car runs off the road and crashes into a ditch. It’s a brilliantly-shot sequence, feeling exactly like a car accident. One minute, she’s calmly rehearsing to herself, and in a flash, the airbags deploy and there’s blood on her face. It’s jarring to see the normally-composed Kim dazed in the middle of the desert, with her papers flying everywhere. I’m going to bet this puts an even bigger strain on her relationship with Jimmy. If he hadn’t cheated to get her Mesa Verde, she wouldn’t have felt pressured to prove herself by taking on more than she could handle.Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) (Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures)Meanwhile, Chuck is desperately trying to prove to Howard, and himself, that he’s OK. When the malpractice insurance company dramatically raises their rates due to Chuck’s recent troubles in court, he threatens to sue them. Howard isn’t ready to go on that journey with him. He offers Chuck the chance to retire, and then more forcefully requests it. Refusing to believe that his mental illness may prevent him from doing his job, he threatens to take legal action against his own firm. Chuck is a man who’s put all his faith in the law, and he expects to be treated as an authority on it. Faced with the fact that his partner doesn’t trust him anymore, he’s becoming increasingly desperate. He’ll crash too, though maybe not as literally as Kim. When he does, the law will have failed him. And then, he’ll have nothing left.Finally, over on the less legal side of the show, we got a brief couple scenes surrounding the cartel. First, Mike enters into a formal partnership with Gus Fring and Madrigal. Meeting with Lydia Rodarte-Quayle, he works out a deal where Gus “hires” him as a Security Consultant, pays him his own money and takes care of all the taxes. The real significant part comes when Mike asks why Lydia would risk her nice office for a drug dealer. Lydia warns Mike that he’s so much more than that. Oh, don’t we know it.Victor (Jeremiah Bitsui) and Gustavo “Gus” Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) (Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures)Then, there’s the story of Nacho, his dad and Hector Salamanca. We all knew Nacho’s scheme wasn’t going to kill Hector, but it seems to have just not worked. After hearing that all drug traffic across the boarder would go through Gus’s trucks, Hector gets angry and almost has a heart attack. He takes his pills, which should just be ibuprofen, but appears to recover anyway. What’s going on there? Is it a placebo effect? And does Gus realize that Nacho tried to kill Hector? Either way, Nacho thinks his plan has failed. Nacho tries to warn his dad about Hector, and his dad throws him out of the house. He refuses to compromise his business by letting the cartel use it. I’m going to guess Nacho’s dad isn’t going to last much longer. That might be what turns Nacho against Hector for good. Maybe he and Gus will work together to put Hector in that wheelchair/oxygen tube combo?Whether we find out the answer sooner or later, something big is going to happen next week. There’s only one more episode left in the season, and this penultimate episode was packed with plot. We saw Jimmy’s cruelty come out, Mike and Gus enter into a formal partnership, and both Chuck and Kim self-destruct. If that was all in last night’s episode, I can’t wait to see what they saved for the finale. After last night, Jimmy is closer than ever to becoming the Saul we met back in Breaking Bad. Maybe next week is where he fully embraces his new identity.last_img

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