From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, we got a glimpse of both ends of the spectrum this week in the eighth episode of Better Call Saul, “Rico”.
For the full review and recap hit the jump.
We open in the past, where Jimmy is a mailroom clerk at Hamlin, Hamlin and McGill. Taking a letter to a younger Kim, Jimmy says he can’t open it and she does the deed for him. The contents make her ecstatic and she lays a big fat kiss on Jimmy, making my shipper heart go pitter-patter and stunning Jimmy.
Jimmy then moves on to Chuck where he reveals the fabulous news to his brother. He’s passed the bar exam after years of clandestinely taking night and weekend courses via distance learning. Chuck’s reaction is… measured? Skeptical? Not quite as excited as I nor Jimmy would expect, but eventually I get the feeling that Chuck is genuinely proud of his little brother even if he’s maybe a little put out by not being the only ‘smart one’ of the family. I get the feeling there’s a very competitive nature to Chuck that almost basks in Jimmy’s failures despite the obvius love they share. It’s a hurtful representation of family relationships but I feel nevertheless, it's a very real one.
Moving on back to the mailroom and his fellow basement dwellers have arranged a little celebratory get together, complete with cake, decorations, the works. Always the party-pooper though, Howard Hamlin pays a visit, taking a slice of Jimmy’s cake before delivering some distressing news. We don’t get to hear it; instead the camera zooms out, leaving us to wallow in the never-ending whir of a copier machine. The result is clear though: Hamlin has just broken Jimmy’s heart.
“Let’s reassess in six months. Thanks for understanding, Jimmy,” says a smarmy Hamlin on the way out.
God, I can’t wait until that guy gets what’s coming to him.
Roll the credits and it’s back to the future. Hamlin basks in his Kettleman settlement and Kim settles back into the front office at HHM. Meanwhile, Jimmy continues with the elder law, drafting wills at the Sandpiper Crossing assisted living center. While he seems a little downtrodden watching Hamlin on the news, he’s making a steady $140 per will and it would seem that business is booming, as far as elder law can boom.
Unfortunately, his latest client can’t pay; she’s only got $40 to her name. She reveals she’s on an allowance, and not from her family, but from the senior center. Jimmy’s spidey senses must be tingling because after showing his softer side and telling her to pay when she can, at a discount no less, he returns to ask her a few more questions.
It appears she gets a $500 allowance from the home with the rest of her pension and Social Security going straight to Sandpiper to cover expenses. It seems a little excessive.
“It’s all very above board,” says the naive and sweet Mrs. Landry. Jimmy’s not buying it and neither am I, and thus we embark on the case of the week.
At Chuck’s house, after Chuck reveals he’s done all Jimmy’s elder law work like Jimmy had predicted he would, and Chuck tells Jimmy he’s onto him, the two inspect a monthly invoice from Sandpiper. The document reveals a clear pattern of overcharging for items like toilet paper and boxes of tissues.
“You don’t wanna go off half-cocked,” warns Chuck, but it’s clear that Jimmy is onto something and Chuck is on board. “Full cocked,” says Jimmy, and back to the senior center he goes.
When he returns to Sandpiper, Jimmy is refused entry. In the background an employee is hastily shredding documents. Cleary they are destroying evidence and Jimmy need to make them stop before his case goes up in smoke. He pleas for use of the bathroom before being thrown out, claiming IBS, and hurriedly scribbles up a demand letter on toilet paper, serving it to them before the security guards toss him out on his behind.
Next it’s time for a Mike interlude, and his daughter in law calls asking for a favor. She needs him to watch Kaylee. “Anything you need, I’ll be there,” says Mike, his face portraying an eagerness to make amends and see his granddaughter.
Later that night Jimmy goes dumpster diving, literally. He’s looking for the documents that were shredded and is braving all kinds of revolting things in the process, not limited to old food and soiled granny diapers. It’s a real treat. This extended foray into hilarious is interrupted by a call from the assisted living facility’s lawyer who advises Jimmy drops his case, accusing him of a shakedown. Jimmy’s having none of it though.
The punch line comes when Jimmy finally hops out of the dumpster, revealing a pristine recycling bin around the corner. The documents all within easy and clean reach. Whoops!
Jimmy takes the shredded documents to Chuck’s house and gets to work reassembling the pieces. The proceeding montage is set to “Counting Pesos” performed by Billy D, and it’s awesome. Jimmy pulls an all-nighter but doesn’t get very far. Chuck finds him in the morning and offers up some coffee, but before he can get back Jimmy has passed out and so he takes up the cause, revealing not only a penchant for puzzles but his skill in the law as he finds the “smoking gun.”
Jimmy calls Kim at HHM and asks her to print the case files chuck asks for, but she doesn’t seem too happy about it. After a little sweet-talking and a reminder that she owes him after the Kettleman incident, she agrees to print the papers but doesn’t appear pleased that Chuck is working. It could go against his contract with HHM and she worries he’s not stable enough to work. Jimmy brushes aside her fears, and we should all probably be worried about that little moment of foreshadowing.
Back to Mike and he’s playing Play-Doh with his granddaughter. I love seeing this softer side of Mike, as it makes his future actions all so relatable and understandable.
“Can I spend this?” Stacey asks when she returns, about the money Mike’s late son had stashed. He assures her that it’s perfectly okay and she reveals that it’s only a drop in the bucket. You can see the wheels turning in Mike’s head as we fade out of the scene.
Meanwhile, Sandpiper attorney Rich Schweikart (Dennis Boutsikaris) and his associates are at Chuck’s house for a meet with Jimmy and Chuck. They seem a little too confident. The retirement home’s attorneys make an initial offer of a $100,000 but Jimmy isn’t biting.
“You’re gonna need to do better than that,” says Jimmy, while Chuck sits silent and looking anxious.
Remember what Chuck said? They have the smoking gun. Sandpiper has been purchasing needles from Nebraska, crossing state lines, and the brothers have enough evidence for a RICO case, greatly increasing the penalty amounts. Schweikart and Co. is obviously taken aback and panic spreads across their faces while they lean away to regroup.
“What number did you have in mind?” Schweikart finally asks.
“Twenty million dollars. Or we’ll see you in court,” says the previously silent Chuck, the shark of a lawyer finally coming out to play. Both Jimmy’s and my mouth hang open in surprise.
To the shady vet’s office and Mike has picked up a pooch at the pound. But that’s not the only reason he’s visiting. Mike needs some work. He’s taken Stacey’s words to heart, and it seems he’s well onto the path of the Mike we all know and love to hate on Breaking Bad.
Back at Chuck’s house, Jimmy is exhausted and takes a nap on the couch. Chuck, needing some documents and deep into the case, can’t wait for Jimmy to wake up and absentmindedly wanders out to get what he needs, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he’s back out in the real world and exposed to all he’s supposedly allergic to. Jimmy wakes up and with Chuck missing, he goes on the hunt. He finds him outside and calls out to him. Chuck snaps out of his daze and looks around, dropping the box of case files as the episode fades to black.
Is that abject panic or excited amazement we see on his face?
“More!” I scream at the screen. “Give me more!!!”
Alas, that’s all we get this week and I’m left wondering whether this will throw Chuck deeper into his psychosis or snap him out of it completely. Either way, I am wary, because so far everything has been working out for Jimmy and things don’t just work out for Jimmy. With only two episodes left, I am both eagerly awaiting and dreading the inevitable crash and burn that looms for my favorite not-yet-sleazy lawyer.
Will Chuck betray him? Or maybe Kim? What about Hamlin? And surely Tuco or Nacho are going to make a return before the season ends? So many questions, so little answers.
Give. Me. More.
Don't forget to tune in next Monday at 10/9c on AMC.