BETTER CALL SAUL makes good on its hidden promise in last years episode titles and brings back a beloved character from Breaking Bad, but what does it mean for Mike? Jimmy falls into a trap laid by Chuck, but what’s Chuck’s endgame, and how will it affect his and Jimmy’s relationship going forward?
Last year the writer’s of Better Call Saul hid a message in the titles of the season’s shows that said “Fring’s Back” leading to excitement about the return of Gus Fring to the Breaking Bad prequel. We knew it was coming, but the way it was revealed was meant to up the tension in the show. He didn’t make an appearance in the first episode, and it wasn’t until half way through tonight’s episode that he pops into view. Gus looks younger than he did in Breaking Bad, but he’s still the cold and calculating man we remember. He may not be as big of a deal as he was in Breaking Bad yet, but he’s definitely getting there.
Mike’s world eventually collides with Gus’s when the switched tracking device Mike pawned off on whoever was following him leads from the guys who did the switch, to a guy who makes drops every morning at Los Pollos Hermanos. Afraid to show his own face inside the restaurant for fear whomever is following him will recognize him, Mike enlists the help of Jimmy to be his eyes and ears inside the restaurant. All Jimmy needs to do is stake out the place, wait for the man in the Green Bronco with a knapsack to come in, and watch what he does. I don’t think Mike really had anyone else to turn to, because the ineptitude of Jimmy’s surveillance skills paired with his lack of ability to appear casual makes for a hilariously awkward stakeout. Jimmy might as well be wearing some of those brightly colored shirts he sports as Saul Goodman he blends in so seamlessly.
When the man comes into the restaurant, anyone watching the dining room would be able to tell Jimmy is watching the knapsack guy, but the guy doesn’t appear to do anything out of the ordinary. The man eats, throws his garbage away, and leaves. Jimmy decides to check the garbage, and by check the garbage, I mean he practically crawls into it searching for whatever the man discarded. This is when Gus makes his presence known. Before this he’s been out of focus in the background, but he confronts Jimmy to see if he needs any help. Jimmy, always quick thinking, slips off his watch and pretends it fell off his wrist into the garbage bin, and he’s merely trying to retrieve it. I’m pretty sure Gus knows better, but it’s interesting to see the lives of Jimmy, Mike, and Gus intersect for the first time. It clearly won’t be the last.
When Jimmy returns to tell Mike about what he saw, he has nothing important to tell. Jimmy’s ready to spend the day with Mike doing James Bond stuff, but Mike thanks him for his time, and kicks a dejected Jimmy out of the car. Mike’s a patient man, but not patient enough to spend the day with Jimmy. Instead Mike continues his stakeout of Los Pollos Hermanos, until another car appears later in the day that clearly picks up the tracking device. Mike follows it again, and this time it leads him out into the middle of the desert, but there’s no car; Just the gas cap with a ringing cell phone on top of it in the middle of the road. Mike answers the phone in disgust, but we don’t hear who’s on the other line. It’s got to be Gus. He’s the only person as smart as Mike that we’ve met. Is this how these two begin working together?
There’s another character that appears into the Better Call Saul world from Breaking Bad, and it happens while Kim and Jimmy are interviewing for a receptionist. We knew Francesca in Breaking Bad as Saul Goodman’s disgruntled and annoyed receptionist, but here she’s just left a job at the DMV to try to find a new job that makes a difference. Oh, how far she’ll fall when Jimmy falls. Here she’s a peppy lady ready to help Jimmy make lives better, but this is the same woman that demanded $20,000 from Walt after he broke the front door to Saul’s law firm when he was desperate. It’s a great call back, or call forward I guess? Her hiring also shows the differences between Kim and Jimmy’s natures. Kim is detail oriented, asks some great questions in the interview, and wants to see other people before making a decision. Jimmy is impulsive. He sits in a rocking chair during their joint interview, throws out a few minor questions, and asks her if she can start today. Kim and Jimmy are clearly not on the same page professionally or personally. There’s no clue as to where their relationship is, but their approaches to business could not be any different. I’m curious how they split apart, and how Jimmy takes Francesca with him.
Chuck’s taped confession may not really be about the confession at all since it may not be admissible in court. What is he after then? Ernie heard some of the tape, and couldn’t help himself. He tells Kim all about it, who in turn makes Jimmy give her some money to make her his lawyer, and she tells him what Chuck has on him. She really does care about Jimmy no matter what he’s done, and she wants to help him. In fact she researches all of the ways they can fight this thing if Chuck tries to use it in court. Chuck is worried Jimmy will find out about the tape, and break into his house to get it, so he’s hired a PI to be there all of the time, only it’s on Howard’s dime. Howard is actually at Chuck’s debating the merits of needing a PI when an enraged Jimmy shows up, kicks down Chuck’s door, breaks into his desk, destroys the tape, and threatens to burn the house down. Chuck calls out to them as Jimmy fumes, and they appear from another room confirming for Chuck they are witnesses to what happened. Jimmy fell for a long con by Chuck. He orchestrated the whole thing, and Jimmy played right into his hands. Will Chuck have his own brother arrested and charged? I wouldn’t put it past him. Clearly their relationship is 100% over now. What happens to Jimmy? Does he go to jail, get disbarred, or both?
Season 3, Episode 2 (S03E02)
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