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

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Tweetable Takeaway: Jimmy and Chuck team up for something big on #BetterCallSaul.

Airtime: Monday at 10 PM on

By:  , Contributor

One thing that’s incredibly clear about , is that it’s a show that can’t really be pigeon holed. When you think it’s going to go left, it’s going right. I feel like some of the complaints I’ve heard have been about the show not really knowing what it’s supposed to be, but I think it’s carefully planned out to keep you off your guard.

We’ve known from the very beginning that Jimmy doesn’t much care for Howard Hamlin. At first it just seems Jimmy doesn’t like Hamlin because he comes off as an arrogant prick, but we find out there’s more to it than that. They have history, and history has a way of repeating itself.

Back when Jimmy and Kim were working in the mailroom at HHM, they both had dreams of bigger things. Inspired by Kim passing the bar, Jimmy secretly takes correspondence courses to become a lawyer and also passes the bar. Since he’s always trying to impress Chuck and prove he’s no longer the shyster Chuck had to bail out of the clink, Jimmy thought his big brother would be proud of him. Not really it seems. It’s all Chuck can do to muster some excitement for Jimmy’s triumph, and the response Chuck gives him when Jimmy asks if he would consider hiring him as a lawyer … is cringe worthy.

Screen Grab

But Chuck’s well-meaning insincerity is no match for Hamlin’s. In a brilliant scene that could have been filled with the clichéd dialogue we’ve heard so many times before, Hamlin barges in on the mailroom celebration of Jimmy’s accomplishment to talk to him. The wonderful way it plays out makes the scene far more powerful than it otherwise would have been. Once Hamlin shuts the door, we can’t hear their conversation, just the sound of the copy machine doing its thing. Hamlin’s just taken a big shit on Jimmy’s dreams, and insincerely adds the only part of the conversation we hear, “Let’s reassess in six months. Thanks for understanding Jimmy.” I have a feeling this isn’t the last time Hamlin shits on Jimmy’s dreams.

Jimmy takes his job as an elder care lawyer seriously, and it seems he really loves what he does. He’s good at it, and his clients really appreciate him. So when something doesn’t sound right when one of the elderly tenants of Sandpiper Crossing explains how she gets access to her own money, Jimmy uncovers systematic billing fraud and discovers Sandpiper takes advantage of its residents. This case turns out to be huge, and in discovering it and showing his findings to Chuck, he’s both impressing his brother and helping him cope with his mental illness at the same time.

The thing about Chuck is that while he has his affliction he needs Jimmy. Jimmy is his caretaker and link to the outside world. As we’ve seen in the opening, before the illness Chuck didn’t have much time for Jimmy. It was almost like he was an annoyance. But the case Jimmy builds against Sandpiper energizes Chuck in a way he hasn’t been in a long time, and it isn’t until a very awkward meeting with Sandpiper’s attorneys in Chuck’s house that he really becomes the great lawyer we’ve heard everyone describe him as being. He’s so excited by Jimmy’s case that he decides to be Jimmy’s co-counsel and help with the case.

Courtesy AMC

This all seems great, but not so fast though. Warning lights and sirens were going off in my head while I watched the show. How can Chuck work a case with Jimmy, while he’s still a partner at HHM and most likely has a no compete clause? Here’s were I see everything going off the rails, and the rug pulled out from under Jimmy. When HHM finds out Chuck is working this case, and it is going to be a huge class action case with interstate commerce connections making it RICO eligible, they’re going to claim it as an HHM case since Chuck is working it. Hamlin will step in and insist HHM’s own lawyers take over, and Jimmy will be booted off the case he started and be given a pittance of a finder’s fee for his time and legwork. That’s how Hamlin will shit all over Jimmy’s dreams once again.

More thoughts:

  • The scene where Chuck is so enthralled by Jimmy’s case that he walks outside without thinking about his electro magnetic sensitivities was nice. He walks outside without a care in the world, and it isn’t until Jimmy stops and asks what Chuck’s doing, that he realizes he isn’t bothered by it anymore. He even drops the box of legal files he’s holding when it hits him. My only worry is that without the illness Chuck no longer needs Jimmy, and will instead cast him aside once again. Jimmy isn’t the same caliber of lawyer as Chuck, but at the meeting with Sandpiper’s legal team he proves he can handle himself just as well as anyone. I’d rather see these two brothers team up and do some good than see it all end in ruins like it’s destined to be.
  • Kim has really been under utilized in the show. We haven’t seen a lot of dimensions to her so far. She’s the friend with some flirting on the side, but what’s her story? I feel like we don’t really know Kim like we know the other characters.
  • Will getting forced out of the class action suit kill Jimmy’s desire to veer away from his Slipping Jimmy days? Is it going to be the hard break that ruins the goodness in him and pushes him into becoming Saul Goodman?

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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 Jeff’s Better Call Saul reviews here.
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