Hector, Gus, and Mike take center stage on this episode of BETTER CALL SAUL, as tensions between the two North American arms of Don Eladio’s cartel begin to spin out of control. Kim and Jimmy prepare for Jimmy’s PPD and disbarment hearings. Can they get Chuck to misstep in order to save Jimmy’s legal career?
This week another character from the past enters the world of Better Call Saul. We’ve seen Don Eladio before, and we know what happens and happened between Gus and Don Eladio. He’s the head of the cartel that both Gus and Hector work for. In the past, before Gus became who he is, Don Eladio killed Gus’s lover right in front of him, and it’s something Gus gets revenge for in Breaking Bad, but for now, he’s a loyal distribution arm of the cartel’s narcotics. Gus is also the rival of Hector, and has far outshone Hector when it comes to business north of the border. It’s a fact that makes Hector both angry and jealous.
Gus revels in making Hector look stupid. Clearly he takes a crap all over Hectors display of fealty to Don Eladio after the purchase of his ice cream business. The small bobble head of Don Eladio and the cash gift are nothing compared to the giant stack of money Gus gifts Don Eladio. It’s an embarrassing difference actually, and to top it all off Don Eladio puts on a Los Pollos Hermanos shirt after making fun of Hector’s contribution. Hector is Gus’s elder within the organization, but he’s being far outstripped by his younger rival, and he knows it.
The action taken last week by Mike to get Hector’s trucks stopped at the border for drugs has crippled Hector’s operation. He now has no way to get narcotics across the border since his trucks will be flagged upon entering the country from here on out. It’s why he takes the drastic step of trying to flex his muscles at a Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant in an attempt to intimidate Gus. The employees of the restaurant have no idea what Gus is really up to, so the appearance of Hector and his thugs puts a real damper on things, and Gus closes the restaurant in order to deal with Hector. The next day he makes up a heroic story about intimidation and bribery to make it appear it was nothing more than trouble from his Mexican past that they’ll never have to deal with again.
There’s a moment where we see how lowly Hector feels about Gus. He sits in Gus’s office waiting for him, smoking a cigar, feet up on Gus’s desk. When Gus arrives, Hector demands Gus start moving product for him inside Los Pollos Hermanos trucks now that his own supply chain has been broken. While making these demands it appears Hector cleans dog shit off of his shoe and flicks it onto Gus’s desk. Clearly his demands have not been run through the cartel for approval first, and when Gus asks, Hector makes it known he’s the cartel in New Mexico. Has Gus’s action involving Mike backfired on him?
Gus plays things close to his chest like a poker player, so it isn’t until after Hector and his men have left that Gus’s joy at the outcome shines through with a triumphant smile. This is exactly what he wants, and I don’t think he’ll be moving any product for Hector. His rival is damaged, he has business all to himself, and he revels in watching Hector crushed as an opponent. Later he tells Mike the reason he wouldn’t let Mike kill Hector is because, “A bullet to the head would have been far too humane.” It’s the slow death of Hector that really appeals to Gus’s sense of revenge.
There’s a quick moment where Mike gets to enjoy some relaxation with his family. It seems he’s moved his daughter in law and his granddaughter to a new house in a nicer, safer neighborhood. At least Mike is doing his illicit activities in an attempt to give them a better life. His purpose is pure, but it does not forgive his actions, which do have consequences. Gus is so impressed by Mike that he offers him a job, and we see the beginning of a partnership we witness in full blossom during Breaking Bad.
Mike not only helps Gus out, while accepting no money and calling things square, but he also does a job for Jimmy. Kim calls around to every repair service in order to find the one that’s supposed to fix Chuck’s door Jimmy kicked in. When she gets the right one, she cancels so Jimmy can send Mike over to do the fix. Not only does Mike fix the door, he enjoys fixing something for a change, but he takes pictures and retrieves an address for Jimmy from Chuck’s planner. Is Jimmy going to use the pictures to make it appear Chuck is mentally unfit to practice law anymore? Will they file their own disbarment action against Chuck?
Clearly Kim and Jimmy have something planned, because after the PPD finalization meeting, Kim confronts Howard and Chuck about her plans for the disbarment hearing, and her belief in another copy of the taped admission of guilt. Chuck confirms there’s another tape, which seems to play right into whatever Kim and Jimmy have planned. Will they be able to turn things around, save Jimmy’s legal career, and at the same time get revenge on Chuck for all of his dirty dealings? I’m not sure, since we know Jimmy has to change his name to Saul Goodman to practice law in Breaking Bad, and neither Kim or Chuck appear in that show. Could Jimmy’s life be on the cusp of completely unraveling?
Season 3, Episode 4 (S03E04)
Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 10PM on AMC
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.
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Jeff Iblings | Contributor