{TB Talks TV} Better Call Saul Review: “Mijo”

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Tweetable Takeaway:Will Slippin’ Jimmy do what is right, or what is easy on #BetterCallSaul?

Airtime: Mondays at 10pm on .

By: Jeff Iblings, Contributor

Tonight’s episode of pits the angel and the devil on Saul’s shoulders against each other. Which one has the stronger pull? This episode flew by for me. When the credits rolled I was confused, it felt like our time wasn’t up yet. I wanted more. It was wonderfully written and crafted, and really tugged Saul’s character in two opposing directions.

In the past Saul was a dishonest shyster who went by the name of Slippin’ Jimmy since he’d find icy sidewalks, take a huge spill, and collect money by threatening a lawsuit. It may be Saul’s base nature to be dishonest and to work angles in the grey areas of morality in order to get what he wants and needs, but he also has a brother he looks up to and doesn’t want to disappoint. The tug of war of these two dynamics is what makes this show so damn good. It’s the push and pull of either wanting to do what is right, or what is easy.

Saul is walking a razors edge in his life. Everything is unraveling as he tries to walk the path of honesty while he attempts to get his law practice up and running. But as his situation becomes more and more dire, he lets Slippin’ Jimmy take charge. This is what led to the disastrous decision to black mail the county treasurer’s wife. Murphy must have been Irish, because his law lands hard on poor Jimmy McGill.

Tuco is one crazy fucker, so it was a shock to find Saul in his clutches at the end of the last episode. Tuco was always one step away from flying off the handle, and the two mouthy twins don’t do themselves any favors by referring to his grandmother as a “biznatch”. Saul’s gift for gab can either get him into a lot of trouble, or it can get him off the hook. Thankfully the writers let it go both ways while Saul tries to talk himself out of the mess with Tuco.

Whenever it seems things are going well, you can assume the rug is about to be pulled out from under Saul. When he’s seemingly convinced Tuco to let him and the twins go, they ruin the whole thing. This is why we find ourselves back in a familiar place … the New Mexico desert. Tuco plans on executing Saul and the twins out where no one will ever find them.

It’s only under this intense pressure that Saul is able to be the persuasive lawyer he so desperately wants to be in real life. Tuco’s lieutenant Nacho intervenes on his behalf, and it’s only after Saul is released and realizes Tuco is going to kill the twins that he really shines. His persuasive and intelligent argument climaxes with a plea agreement he and Tuco reach. In exchange for the twin’s release, Tuco will only break one leg on each of the twins.

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The sound of the breaks are disgusting, and in the aftermath Saul is haunted by it in a restaurant as crispy breadsticks crack in half, over and over and over. His near death experience seems like just the thing to put his Slippin’ Jimmy days behind him and place him back on the straight and narrow.

The direction of this episode was exquisite. The juxtaposition of the bright and intense desert landscape with the dark confining atmosphere of Chuck’s house is a nice touch. The editing is also a revelation. There’s this gorgeous montage after his brush with Tuco that is genius. Saul’s doing well for himself, the episode in the desert really brought him in touch with his lawyer abilities. We see him go about doing public defendant work in a way that differs from what we’ve seen before. It’s redundant work but he’s hit his rhythm, and the montage illustrates this perfectly.

This being the same world as Breaking Bad, all good things cannot last. At the exact moment Saul has become comfortable with his existence, and has made great strides, fate comes along and pulls that rug right out from under him again. Nacho visits his office and wants Saul to help him find the $1.5 million the Kettelman’s stole from the county treasury in exchange for a 10% finders fee. Saul insists he’s a lawyer and not a criminal, but I have a feeling Slippin’ Jimmy is coming back one way or another.

More thoughts:

  • I’m curious as to when Mike goes from being Saul’s parking lot nemesis to being an active part in his life. It’s nice seeing both men before they have truly broken bad.
  • I’m guessing something bad happens to Chuck before Jimmy transforms in to Saul. Chuck is his voice of reason, the only thing that keeps him from completely transforming back to Slippin’ Jimmy. My initial thought is suicide at some point because of his mental illness, but we’ll see.
  • Nacho seems like a reasonable guy, but there’s also a dangerous anger in him as well. I have a feeling he’s going to be Saul’s gateway drug to the criminal world.
  • The twins remind me a lot of Jesse Pinkman. The way they talk, the way they act, it almost seems like they could be cousins of his.
  • This episode was so damn good, and can’t wait to see the next one.

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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

Keep up with all of Jeff’s Better Call Saul reviews here.
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