BETTER CALL SAUL Review: “Amarillo”

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Airtime: Mondays at 10PM on AMC
Episode: Season 2, Episode 3 (S02E03)

TB-TV-Grade-B+

Tweetable Takeaway: Jimmy throws caution to the wind and jeopardizes his new on #BetterCallSaul


Things don’t go well for Jimmy on for too long before he begins to self-destruct. Even when he tries to do the right thing, he does it in a way that gets him in trouble. Has he already ostracized himself from his new bosses, or will his creative leap lead to plaudits?

I talked last time about how Chuck seems to be at the meetings only to psychologically ice out Jimmy. This continues in this episode as well. Jimmy has just come off a big score in senior sign ups, but through methods which reside somewhere in a morally grey area. If Sandpiper is going to throw away Davis and Main’s mailers to their residents, by God Jimmy is going to find a way to get to those seniors and turn on the Jimmy charm. You grease the right palms, and you find yourself on a bus full of receptive seniors.

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The problem is Chuck desperately wants Jimmy to be found out for his questionable methods, and airs his concerns in front of the combined group. Jimmy knows Chuck knows what he’s done, and the numbers of returned mailers to signups point to something being off. The appearance of something being off could give the other side enough ammunition to have Davis and Main’s and HHM’s methods questioned, and in a worse case scenario the case thrown out and Jimmy disbarred. In fact I’m beginning to worry that the reason Jimmy becomes Saul, is that he does something so disastrous that it tanks the entire case, his , and his personal life.

Kim has already questioned why Jimmy would do something to jeopardize the best he’s ever had and which also could lead to ever greater opportunities. So, with Chuck raising concerns about Jimmy’s methods, the tension between Kim and Jimmy grows. She’s really the only thing keeping him in the game, if she leaves, he’ll unravel back into Slipping Jimmy. He has to come up with another way to get great results in client outreach, without soliciting them in a way that could get him disbarred.

Kim knows Jimmy can do this the right way, and Jimmy knows this as well, but does he really want to do things the right way? I don’t know. I imagine the right way isn’t nearly as fun for Jimmy as doing things his way. Part of it is he doesn’t feel challenged. He’s like a kid in school getting bad grades because he’s not engaged, even though he’s incredibly smart and can do the work at the highest levels. If it doesn’t challenge and entertain him, he doesn’t want to do it.

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This is why even when he does something the right way, he’ll do it in a way that’s still risky. When he comes up with the idea for airing a commercial during Murder She Wrote when most of the Sandpiper residents watch television, Cliff is interested and open to the idea. He just wants to talk it through first and let the partners decide the best approach. Jimmy doesn’t have the patience for this after seeing the previous commercial Davis and Main aired. He finds the two film school students he used last season and makes a spectacular little commercial. Instead of showing it to his bosses, Jimmy does the self destructive thing and airs the commercial in the target market without letting Cliff and the other partners weigh in first.

In one way it’s a spectacular success in a market they’d been completely shut out of. After no responses to their mailers, the commercial in one day helps Davis and Main sign up over one hundred people onto the lawsuit. The problem is that by doing this behind Cliff’s back, he’s already gotten himself into a shit ton of trouble with the very people that control his destiny. If he angers them too much, he may find himself without a . If Jimmy can use his sweet talking magic on them, he may be able to soothe things over. If he can’t, it will reflect poorly on both himself and on Kim who vouched for him.

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Mike on the other hand finds himself desperately in need of cash so he can keep his daughter in law and his grand daughter safe. In order to find another , he goes back to the veterinarian who got him the bodyguard with the nerdy pill seller. The only way for Mike to get the kind of money he needs, he’ll need to step things up to the next level. This leads to him possibly working with Nacho to get rid of someone for good.

More thoughts:

  • There’s an amazing scene where Jimmy has gathered the two film school students he hired to film him rescuing the guy on the billboard last season to help him shoot his commercial for Davis and Main. In a tip of the hat to Sunset Boulevard, a lady comes down the stairs on her chair lift and says, “I’m ready for my close up Mr. McGill.”
  • Even though Jimmy’s commercial is a success, Cliff might not appreciate Jimmy’s methods. If he doesn’t find it appropriate, what does it mean for Jimmy’s future at Davis and Main?
  • How will Kim react if she finds out Jimmy is continuing to jeopardize his for the thrill of his own conman way of doing things?

TB-TV-Grade-B+

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 For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates. Twitter: @OfSoundnVision

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