Better Call Saul is back for another week of the misadventures of James McGill. Last week, it was a “Jimmy lite” episode, focusing on Mike’s backstory, but this week we’re back with Jimmy firmly in focus. Of course, we do wind up starting off with a little unfinished business from last week, the return of the notebook.
On their way to talk to the detectives, Jimmy claims that he and Mike “found” the notebook in the parking lot. Sure, guys. The real meat of this scene is the discussion that Mike has with the older cop. It’s made as clear as it can be (with some cryptic words) that Hoffman and Fenske deserved what they got. It’s also made clear to Mike that if his daughter-in-law doesn’t rat on him, the case is going to end right there.
Mike decides that he’s no longer going to require Jimmy’s services, as he’s fairly certain that his daughter-in-law will not tell on him, and his business with Philadelphia is finally behind him. Mike tells him to send him a bill, and of course, knowing the relationship these guys have in Breaking Bad, we know it won’t be a typical invoice for billable hours.
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Jimmy heads over for his daily delivery of ice and bacon to Chuck, and even though they were out of bacon that day, how awesome is Jimmy as a brother to bring him bacon on a daily basis. Jimmy wants to get Chuck back into the swing of just doing something and has his own plan, but seems pleasantly surprised that Chuck is taking his own initiative, spending a solid 120 seconds outside of his house (only 200 meters away from a 60 kilovolt transformer). Jimmy leaves a big stack of paperwork to “store” at Chuck’s house, purposely dropping the wrong form name in order to get Chuck’s legal juices flowing.
Kim and Jimmy go checking out a new office for the James M McGill law firm, and it's a pretty swank place. I have trouble believing that Jimmy can afford this after such a short time in elder law, though to his credit, he has been hitting the bingo circuit pretty hard. He offers a partnership to Kim (in hindsight, he may only be able to afford this place if she works with him and steals a few HHM clients), who turns it down in favor of continuing at HHM, where she's put in a lot of time. Jimmy is clearly disappointed, but stays supportive. Could Kim be one of the ex-wives he mentions in Breaking Bad?
Over at HHM, Kim is explaining the deal that she worked out for Craig Kettleman. Of course, his wife Betsy is having none of it, insisting on not using the word "deal" ("a deal is what they got O.J."), insisting that there is no money, and finally insisting on being found not guilty after a trial. Betsy is almost full on nuts at this point, completely detaching herself from reality with the thoughts of what she wants to do with the $1.6 million. It seems to me at this point, she would send Craig to jail for the full 30 years if it meant that she could keep the money.
The Kettlemans go crawling back to Jimmy, which would have made him thrilled a week or two prior to this, but now he's got his elder law gig rolling and doesn't really want to take the case. In fact, they interrupt Jimmy while being a bingo caller - proving nobody can pander quite like Jimmy. At Jimmy's conference room - aka the cafe - the bribe from the Kettlemans once again becomes a 'retainer' and Jimmy is roped into representing them for the time being.
There were two funny moments in the cafe - first, Craig can't get any coffee and doesn't say anything about it. He's definitely the weaker one in the relationship (probably pressured into robbing the money!), and they show it with their clothes. In this scene, Betsy is wearing a very bright red/pink, and Craig has a muted pink shirt. In the previous meeting, the same thing happened, but with Blue. The other moment is at the end of the meeting when Jimmy insists on talking like they all know the money exists, which nearly pops a blood vessel in Betsy's head.
This show continues to have a lot of fun with shadows. Jimmy and Kim are standing in the shadows while Kim waxes on about just how fucked the Kettlemans are. Earlier in the episode, faces had their now familiar half shadows, with the right half generally being "good" and the left being whatever was opposing that.
Jimmy, stressing out in his office over just what to do, comes up with a plan, but by the looks on his face, he's not thrilled with it. This cues an awesome and rather long montage. We see the whole plan play out, executed by Mike (Jimmy sent him his bill). Spanning what feels like forever, they are able to tell a whole story with no dialogue, while keeping everyone intrigued and revealing just one piece of the plan at a time. This montage is some of the finest work we've seen thus far in Better Call Saul. The ratings have remained relatively steady, which is a good sign that we can go beyond the second season, already under contract.
The shadow play continues after the money is stolen. Jimmy's left side is brightly illuminated, (the bad side), but now the right side of his face has just a little light cast on it (usually it's a clear 50/50). Jimmy is doing "the right thing" - insert finger quotes here. Mike is going to return the money, and Jimmy is going to be able to force the Kettlemans to return to HHM and accept the plea deal. This gets Kim back in the good graces of her boss, but Jimmy really isn't sure how to feel after all of this. He goes to the new office again, probably to say goodbye to it and lets his frustrations out on a door. He's definitely not going to be able to afford that place now.