Reviews
Reviews

bcs9titles

In "Pimento", the penultimate episode of the first season of Better Call Saul, Chuck got a life, Mike got a job, and Jimmy got the shaft.

Hit the jump for our recap and review. 

 

We open where we left off last episode and the world hasn't ended for Chuck as he and Jimmy sit on a park bench, the grass between their toes, enjoying the moment. It's sweet, it's endearing, and you should savor it because it's probably the last for a while, perhaps ever, in the story of Jimmy and Chuck.

bcs9-grass

Next up, Mike's delivering the dog he acquired last week to his granddaughter, Kaylee. It takes a little convincing for his Stacey, his daughter in law, to agree but it appears he is mending fences when a phone call interrupts the moment. His one-word responses leave little doubt as to what the call is about.

"Just a lead on a job opportunity," he says offhandedly, confirming our suspicions before heading on his way.

At the courthouse, Schweikart is filling up Jimmy's days with endless paperwork and legal mumbo jumbo; on the menu today is a restraining order against Jimmy. This time Jimmy wins, but at what cost?

Back at Chuck's house, the legal actions keep on piling up. Chuck's worried; they are drowning in paperwork.

"A case this size, it is not a two man job," Chuck tells Jimmy, while Jimmy plugs his ears and protests as Chuck suggests Hamlin, Hamlin and McGill. My heart sinks for the first of many times this episode. We might have seen this coming but it doesn't lessen the pain of Chuck choosing HHM over his little brother. Chuck makes a decent case though, and Jimmy grudgingly agrees.

"Hail Satan. I submit to the dark side."

Chuck looks relieved, too relieved, and I already want to hurt him.

Later, Jimmy is sleeping. Chuck wraps himself in a space blanket, sneaking outside to use Jimmy's cell. "It's me," he says. We don't know whom he's talking to, but it can't possibly bode well.

The next day we catch up with Mike. He's waiting in a parking garage along with two other hired professionals, his first job for the vet. Goons. They are definitely goons and I can't wait to find out what Mike has in store for them.

bcs9mike

I don't have to wait too long. While the silent giant of the two watches, the talkative arrogant one wants to know what Mike is packing.

"A pimento sandwich," says Mike. "The caviar of the south."

I snort-laugh.

When the very green soon-to-be pill pusher arrives, the mustached arrogant guy insinuates Mike isn't up to the job because of his lack of a gun, and he suggests the would-be criminal ditches Mike and lets himself and the giant share the fee. The nerdy dealer seems agreeable to this idea but Mike quickly puts everyone in their places, incapacitating the arrogant guy as the giant scurries away in fear.

Mike has proven himself and he's gotten himself the job. It's truly a glorious scene, played with a brilliant amount of restraint by Jonathan Banks, and the two drive off to complete their mission.

At Hamlin, Hamlin and McGill, the electronics are shut off in anticipation of Chuck's return. A large welcoming committee is there to greet him and while Chuck plays down the moment, behind him Jimmy beams with pride.

Stop it, I yell at the screen. Stop it, Jimmy. He's about to throw you under the bus!

Left in the lobby on his lonesome, Jimmy's face falls, while at the same time a lead brick falls into the pit of my stomach. It's the beginning of the end for the brothers working as a dynamic duo. You can almost taste it, and it hurts.

In the conference room, Jimmy is basically left out in the cold. He won't be working the case but Hamlin offers him a twenty percent share in the final settlement and a counsel fee of twenty-thousand dollars. To someone like Hamlin or Chuck, Jimmy should jump on this offer, but Jimmy is a man of wide-eyed optimism and hope at this point in his story. He's done the work, he's proven his worth, and in his mind he deserves a chance.

"We want the case," Hamlin says. "We don't want– the case is all we want."

Ouch.

Jimmy is understandably outraged. Chuck is suspiciously quiet, offering Jimmy a few sympathetic smiles but not speaking up in his defense. Hamlin is showing cracks in his sliminess though, offering Chuck a look that suggests a game is afoot.

"I will burn the whole thing to the ground before I give it to you," Jimmy yells before taking his leave.

Later, Kim finally grows a pair. In Hamlin's office she stands up for her friend, finally admitting that he actually is a friend. She wants answers, accusing Hamlin of not treating Jimmy fairly and standing up for his work.

Hamlin is not amused.

"The next time you want to come in here and tell me what I'm doing wrong, you are welcome to keep it to yourself, because I don't care," he growls. As she walks out, he looks riddled with guilt and he stops her, asking her to close the door.

By this point, I'm jumping up and down in my chair. Stop this ride, I wanna get off!

At an abandoned factory, Mike walks his useless client through the process of a drug deal. Who should arrive next? Why, Nacho, of course. After some back and forth over a missing twenty bucks, Mike negotiates the deal and everybody parts on good terms. Mike's client is duly impressed and queries how he knew he shouldn't bring a gun.

"I put in a lot of leg work before coming here," Mike explains, giving a brief rundown on Nacho's operations outside of his usual crew. "The lesson is, if you're gonna be a criminal, do your homework."

"I'm not a bad guy," says his client in reply.

Mike doesn't disagree. "I didn't say you were a bad guy. I said you were a criminal."

His client struggles with this fairly simple lesson but Mike seems to have happily accepted his own choice to become a criminal in exchange for being able to forge a relationship with his granddaughter, and for now at least, Mike seems to be toeing the line between good and bad.

As for Jimmy, he was a bad guy, now he's a good guy, and he's not yet back to being the 'criminal lawyer' we all know and love as Saul Goodman.

And that seems to be this show's premise in a nutshell: A slow-building character study in how good can turn bad, and bad can turn good, and the shockingly mundane things that get them there.

Some have accused Better Call Saul of meandering, but I like to think of each episode as Jimmy trying on a new suit, desperately trying to please to his unforgiving brother as he ever so slowly is pulled back into the criminal underworld with each successive failure. It might not be high action but it is truly riveting television and it's fascinating to watch Jimmy traverse his path toward a preordained outcome.

But I digress, back to the recap!

Later that night, Kim comes to the salon and tells Jimmy he should take HHM's offer. But Jimmy isn't listening. Instead he's on an epic rant about Hamlin and wants nothing to do with Kim's advice. Whatever Hamlin told her seems to have shaken her to the core though and she holds back tears as Jimmy rails against the injustice of it all.

bcs9jimmy

"I want you to be happy," she says, and I believe her as she struggles with trying to tell Jimmy whatever she has learned from Hamlin behind that closed door.

Jimmy goes off on Kim, accusing her of being "bought off cheap" and I need somebody to give me a hug. My 'ship is sinking faster than the Titanic. Kim leaves, revealing nothing.

Jimmy retreats to his office, frustrated when he remembers his phone is dead. He eyes the phone. We eye the phone. The camera lingers on the phone.

Crap!

We all know why the phone is dead and we cut to the next morning at Chuck's place.

Chuck wakes up to find Jimmy waiting in the living room. Jimmy is dejected and says he's going to take HHM's deal. He speaks wistfully about how great the two of them would have been as a team, taking down the bad guys and raking in the money. Chuck promises he will "try" to talk Hamlin into changing his mind but he can make "no promises".

Jimmy presses the point, arguing that all Chuck would have to do is threaten to quit and Hamlin would hire Jimmy in a heartbeat. By this point it's obvious that Chuck is behind Jimmy not working at HHM. Jimmy knows, we know, but Chuck is still playing dumb.

I want to smack Chuck so hard.

"You called Hamlin,"Jimmy says. Turns out, he has called the phone company and there is a record of a deleted call to Hamlin, at 2am while he was sleeping on Chuck's couch.

"Boy, that phone, huh? That phone must have felt like a blowtorch in your ear. All that electricity," says Jimmy, verging on tears and livid with anger.

Chuck sits silent, taking it all in: mild annoyance, guilt, sadness, a multitude of emotions crossing his face.

"It was always you, right? Right back to when I passed the bar and tried to join the firm, you didn't want me. Speak up. Tell me why."

There's not a peep from Chuck as Jimmy continues his heartbroken rant.

Until this: "You're not a real lawyer."

Ouch.

"People don't change. You're Slippin' Jimmy. Slippin' Jimmy I can handle just fine, but Slippin' Jimmy with a law degree is like a chimp with a machine gun."

What it all boils down to is jealousy. While Chuck may have a point that Jimmy's track record as Slippin' Jimmy is cause for concern, good old sibling rivalry and ego seems to be the root cause of Chuck's deceptions and subterfuge.

Jimmy coolly tells Chuck that he has brought him some supplies to last him a couple days but after that, Chuck is on his own. Jimmy is done.

And when he says he is done, I have to wonder if Jimmy. Is. Done. Time for Saul?

As Jimmy speeds off, Chuck calls for him to come back from the threshold of the front door and the episode fades to black.

While nothing that happened this episode was particularly surprising, boy was it upsetting. I've found myself rooting for the brothers to get along even though it was all but a foregone conclusion that it could never work out if Saul was to become a reality. Jimmy has shown himself to be nothing but caring and considerate of his older brother and his issues, and for Chuck to throw that all back in his face, to barely even recognize what Jimmy has done for him.... GAH! I really, really wanna smack Chuck! It's a true credit to Michael McKean's work. And if Bob Odenkirk doesn't get an Emmy nod for his performance, I'll be mighty surprised.

So Jimmy left, brokenhearted. Chuck's left without anyone to care for him. And Nacho is back on the scene. I can't wait/am dreading what the finale has in store for us next.

The season finale of Better Call Saul airs tonight 10pm/9c on AMC.

 

 

About

Created in 2007, we’re the only fan news website authorized by 20th Century Fox to advertise The X-Files franchise since 2008. Know more here.