Better Call Saul Serves Up an Epic Game-Changer That Asks: Is Jimmy Breaking Bad… Or Just Broken?07/19/2022
We saw serious fallout from all the recent carnage on Better Call Saul this week — and it left Jimmy McGill in a very different place.
Monday’s episode kicks off with a montage of Jimmy and Kim going about their usual days — he helps a bodybuilder client try on a neck brace; she gets hugs from a client’s grateful family — while Mike and his crew clean up the crime scene at Jimmy’s condo, wiping up Howard’s blood and extracting an incriminating bullet. When Jimmy and Kim get home, the place is sparkling clean, like nothing ever happened… but they still know something did happen. They stay in a hotel, with Jimmy trying to tell Kim that one day, they’ll get back into their routine and “suddenly realize we hadn’t thought about it at all.” But she doesn’t look convinced.
Gus, meanwhile, is dealing with the repercussions of Lalo’s death: He’s summoned to a meeting with cartel boss Don Eladio, who’s joined by Juan Bolsa, Hector Salamanca and the Cousins. Bolsa reads a letter from Hector claiming that Lalo survived an attack from Gus and blaming him for Lalo’s recent disappearance: “He is our enemy… I demand blood for blood.” Gus is unflappable, though: “I don’t believe this merits a response.” Hector is fuming, but the Cousins still think Lalo was killed by Nacho and the Peruvians, and Don Eladio decides to call it a night, despite Hector’s ding-ding-ding protests. The boss tells Gus he can manage the north territory under Juan Bolsa while the Salamancas handle the South. He warns Gus, though, to deal with the “hate” he sees in Gus’ eyes — and to never forget “who’s boss.” After he turns in, Gus stares down at Don Eladio’s swimming pool, and we remember what happened there to his partner Max… and where that hate comes from.
Gus returns home, opening the window blinds and letting the sun shine in after so much time living in hiding. He consults with Mike, who reports that the cops think Howard killed himself: “For all practical purposes, it’s over.” Gus wants to know when work can resume on the Superlab, and Mike says they’ll need a new crew and engineer. But Gus is insistent: “Start today.” Then he goes to a restaurant and has a glass of wine at the bar — Gus Fring, relaxing! — while having a lively conversation with a waiter named David, who recognizes Gus and knows he’s a wine lover. He regales Gus with tales of his travels through Europe, and Gus reveals he noted a rare vintage David once mentioned and bought a bottle, saving it for a special occasion. But when David leaves to fetch more wine, Gus’ face suddenly turns grim, and he quickly departs, telling the bartender to tell David he’s been called away. (Was it David’s mention of a wine’s “almost bloody flavor”?)
Mike has his own fallout to deal with: He opens up a secret compartment in his home to stash his gun and comes across the fake Canadian ID made for Nacho’s dad Manuel. He calls Manuel and meets him outside his upholstery store, telling him that Nacho “won’t be found… It was over fast. No pain.” Nacho fell in with some bad people, he explains, but “he had a good heart.” He reassures Manuel that he won’t have to worry about the Salamancas: “Their day is coming. There’ll be justice.” But Manuel scoffs: That’s not justice, he says. That’s revenge. “It never ends,” he says mournfully, adding that gangsters like Mike are “all the same” before walking off.
Jimmy and Kim dutifully attend a memorial for Howard at the HHM office, where they spot Howard’s widow Cheryl talking to Clifford Main and go over to pay their respects. But Cheryl has pointed questions for them: She knows they were the last to see Howard alive, and Howard told her they were pulling elaborate pranks on him. Jimmy gently walks her through their final encounter with Howard — he pounded on their door, ranted about the Sandpiper case and then left — but Cheryl still can’t believe he was on drugs. So Kim interjects, telling a (made-up) story about catching Howard sniffing something late one night in his office. Cheryl turns to Cliff for confirmation, and he can only say it’s not the time or place, which sends her running off in tears. After the memorial, Jimmy is ready to turn the page and “let the healing begin,” but Kim just gives him a long, deep kiss before driving off without him.
Kim heads back to court the next day, but she files a motion to withdraw from her case. She tells the judge it’s for “personal reasons,” and when he asks her to argue her latest motion, she says she can’t — “because I’m no longer an attorney.” She gave notice to the bar two hours ago, she adds. Jimmy meets her at home and freaks out, begging her not to throw her whole life away. He scrambles to come up with a way to undo it… but then he sees she’s packed up all her stuff, too. “You asked if you’re bad for me. That’s not it. We’re bad for each other,” she tells him. “Apart, we’re OK, but together, we’re poison.” He begs her not to do this and offers to do whatever it takes to make this work, telling her he loves her. “I love you, too,” she replies. “But so what?” Then she admits she didn’t tell him Lalo was alive because he’d run and hide and pull the plug on the Howard scam, “and then we’d break up. And I didn’t want that. Because I was having too much fun.” She walks off in tears and continues packing, leaving Jimmy shattered.
Next thing we know, Jimmy is waking up to the sounds of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” — but he’s in a rotating bed in a extravagantly decorated bedroom with a sleazy woman next to him. Oh wow, we’ve just time-jumped right into the Saul Goodman era, haven’t we? Jimmy — er, Saul — gets ready for the day in his huge mansion, confidently barking orders into his phone earpiece and working on his increasingly severe comb-over in a gilded mirror while picking out a bright green dress shirt. In the car (with registration that indicates about a year has passed), he hears one of his own ads on the radio and gripes about the sound quality before getting to his law office, where Francesca is wrangling a lobby full of clients. He sits down at his desk, which we recognize from the Breaking Bad days, surrounded by Greek columns and U.S. Constitution wallpaper, and says, “Let justice be done… though the heavens fall.” (Remember: His brother Chuck said that same thing back in Season 3.) Ladies and gentlemen… Saul Goodman has officially arrived.
Whoa… Saul fans, hit the comments to share your thoughts on tonight’s game-changing episode.
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