Tweetable Takeaway: The harder Jimmy tries to do the right thing on #BetterCallSaul, the deeper in trouble he finds himself.Tweet
Airtime: Mondays at 10pm on AMC.
By: Jeff Iblings, Contributor
One of the greatest things about tonight’s episode of BETTER CALL SAUL, is watching Jimmy so desperately try to go against his nature and do the right thing. Jimmy may have started out a shyster, and we know in Breaking Bad that he ends a shyster, but he hasn’t always been in full shyster mode. He has a conscious, and that conscious is hanging on by the skin of its teeth only because of his brother Chuck.
We are shown in a flashback to Jimmy’s younger years how this guilt complex with his brother begins after Chuck gets Jimmy out of a hell of a bind. The writers don’t show us much more than that, but I have a feeling once his brother helps free him, Jimmy feels forever in his debt. Perhaps he takes and passes the bar to be just like his big brother Chuck. He wants to make his brother, and himself proud. Sadly it’s just not in his true nature. Right now, Jimmy is barely holding on to himself without backsliding to Slippin’ Jimmy the petty criminal.
The consequences of his backslide are immediate and intense. Just look what happened to him and the skateboarding twins. He concocted a blackmail scam that backfired so epically it almost got all of them killed. It also brought him to the attention of the kind of people who run in Tuco’s circles. These are dangerous people, and Jimmy almost learned a forever lesson out in the desert.
The only thing that saved him out there was his mouth. Jimmy’s mouth is his number one asset and also his number one downfall. It gets him into as much trouble as it gets him out of, even when he’s trying to do the right thing.
Even though he uses it to get out of one jam, he ends up more involved than he’d like to be when Nacho admits he’s thinking of ripping of the Kettleman’s. Episode two ends with Nacho offering to cut him in for a percentage if Jimmy helps him find where they’re hiding the money. When Jimmy refuses, he tells Nacho “I’m a lawyer, not a criminal.” Only we have the foresight to know this isn’t entirely true.
Bless his heart; Jimmy really tries to do the right thing. In fact, he desperately tries to do the right thing. When he warns the Kettleman’s through an anonymous phone call that they’re in danger, he only sinks himself into deeper shit with Nacho. Does Nacho kill the Kettleman’s and steal their ill-gotten money? It appears that way, and it freaks the shit out of Jimmy. It makes him more desperate than we’ve ever seen him, which may also have a lot to do with the fact he fears the Kettleman’s blood is on his hands. When this isn’t the case, a new desperation takes hold of Jimmy.
He must clear Nacho to save his own life. He invariably becomes Nacho’s lawyer, but Nacho’s paranoid Jimmy has set him up. If he doesn’t clear Nacho for the crime, Tuco’s crew will kill Jimmy. It’s a catch-22. He’s either a crooked lawyer with a crooked client, or he’s an honest lawyer who winds up dead. The problem is Jimmy tries to be the honest lawyer with the crooked client that walks away scot-free. In the world Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad occupy, this isn’t probable.
Jimmy is a lot smarter than he looks, and it only takes him a few minutes at the crime scene to see what the cops couldn’t … it’s all a hoax. One of the greatest scenes of the night is between Jimmy and Mike. These two have been going at it back and forth since the very first episode. They hate each other, and tonight it comes to, not quite blows, but it gets physical. It’s the scene when Mike hears Jimmy’s theory about the Kettleman’s that really changes their dynamic. Mike is impressed, and thinks Jimmy is right. Jimmy is impressed that this man who just knocked him on his ass, is now the only person who believes him. Is this the start of a beautiful friendship or what?
- Jimmy and Kim’s relationship has a lot more to it than we know. There’s a flirtatious familiarity between the two. Were they lovers? Are they still? Their friendship offers a unique dynamic, and since she works for his brothers old law firm, there’s also a barrier between the two of them. I guess we’ll find out more as the series goes on.
- Now that Jimmy has found the Kettleman’s and the money they stole, will he be tempted to make some kind of deal to represent them, or will they try and bribe him to keep quiet? Is this the next moral quandary Jimmy finds himself in?
- His discovery of the Kettleman’s will get Nacho released, but I doubt he finds himself outside the influence of Nacho and his crew.
- The divide between the tamed, habitated areas people live and the wild, dangerous wilderness where anything can happen is very slim. Jimmy literally goes out someone’s back gate and finds himself in a rugged and wild frontier. It’s navigating this slim margin between safety and danger for Jimmy as a character that makes the show so incredibly fun to watch.
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.