Previously on Better Call Saul, ‘Uno/Mijo’
The episode opens with a beleaguered Charles McGill waiting patiently to see a client who turns out to be none other than his amazingly quaffed brother, James. Apparently, little bro is in a lot of trouble with a few counts of assault and B&E, and he could possibly be labeled as a sex offender? Faith and Begorrah! What were you doing in the desert, Jimmy? Charles is immune to James taciturn ways and would leave him there to rot in Albuquerque county jail, yet Jimmy asks for one more chance to straighten things out. Life obviously is better for James now but as the third episode of Better Call Saul would attest, it isn’t without its pitfalls.
After his tense formal introduction with Nacho, Jimmy is restless. Not even cucumber water and vodka can calm his soul. Desperate to learn about the status of the Kettlemans, he calls his old flame/co-worker/exasperated phone sexer Kim (Rhea Seehorn) to gather any info about their case and whereabouts. Unlike most people who ask mysterious questions on the phone in the middle of the night, Jimmy somehow let slip his concerns about their safety. As soon as the call was abruptly ended, the creaky cogs in McGill’s brain were churning up a plan that was most assuredly going to result in some mighty poor decisions.
To say Jimmy McGill isn’t a bumbling, stumbling hot mess of a litigator is like trying to convince oneself that the world is flat and man rode dinosaurs only 5,000 years ago. Try as he might, Jimmy can’t help but to get himself in hot water; he’s a habitual screw-up, a chronic washout. A day when nothing goes wrong for James is apparently a day when nothing feels right. In “Nacho” it’s emphasized the number of second chances dashed with happenstance McGill is given by the unlikeliest people. Although many plainly associate him as a well-dressed grifter who’s capable of playing The System to marginal results, Jimmy has an endearing quality to him that cannot be taught. It also doesn’t hurt that those who recognize it can easily manipulate his skill set to their advantage.
Like the first two episodes, Odenkirk again provides an admirable performance which is further strengthened by his stout supporting cast, particularly by Michael Mando and Jonathan Banks. Both Nacho and Mr. Ehrmantraut (I can’t call him Mike without thinking of him staring at me) appear very briefly yet provide the proper motivation for Jimmy’s maligned yet effective manner of getting things done. For an episode named after his reluctant client, Nacho appears only in the confines of an interview room. The four minutes and handful of lines were enough for Ignacio to place enormous strain on Jimmy during the 2nd act. As dangerous as we already know his associates to be, Nacho will most definitely be THE worrisome pain on McGill’s side for as long as Saul is on air.
Odenkirk provided the perfect punches of humor between each dramatic scene, either to diffuse the situation at hand or in most cases, aggravate the persons around him to the point of inflicting or threatening harm. In those brief moments it’s fun to watch Saul sheepishly react to these dark people who do or have lived on the fringes of civility. He can’t deftly deflect the tension among drug lords and murderers just yet. The process of McGill breaking bad will ultimately be more entertaining to watch because he still has a conscience; no matter his past failings James would never risk the safety of his brother for a big score like Walter White. What ego he has is mutable; the goal is to stay alive and enjoy his laurels off the radar.
Given the way “Nacho” ended, a second heaping of bad news just fell on Jimmy’s lap and there’s nothing he can do but shovel it down this throat. CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH!
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Michael McKean, Jonathan Banks, Michael Mando, Rhea Seehorn | Dir: Terry McDonough
Better Call Saul airs on Mondays at 10pm on AMC.