This episode starts off like a lot of the series – blue filtered flashback! I love the way that this show is laying out its backstory, doing a lot of showing, rather than telling. (They can show that Howard Hamlin is a dick – nobody needs to say that in the show at all). This filter gets so much use, they’ve even used it a few times in the “previously on” clips at the beginning of the show. This is fun in a technical sense, but we’re not here to talk about filters, are we?
We learn about the day that Jimmy finally became an attorney. He passed the bar exam (kept secret from his brother no less) and is very excited to finally go to work WITH his big brother, not just for him passing out everyone’s mail. While celebrating later that day, Howard Hamlin (one of Chuck’s partners) just can’t wait to tell Jimmy that he won’t be working as an attorney for them, and that they’ll “revisit” the thought in six months. Maybe he’s just not impressed by a correspondence degree from the University of American Samoa, but I think it’s really about Hamlin’s power within the law firm and him not wanting the balance to slide back towards the McGill side of things.
Throughout the series, I have to remind myself that we’re watching the life of Jimmy McGill, not Saul Goodman. This means that every time I assume that he’s out to cheat somebody or be a generally shady lawyer, this is not likely to be the case. The lady he visits at the Sandpiper Crossing home is a prime example. She seems like someone who is very vulnerable, but instead of acting on it, he actually looks out for her interests (albeit because his own are not tended to – she does not have the money to pay him for the will).
This leads to Jimmy finally getting a big break on all the hard work he’s been doing. He discovers that there is fraud within the Sandpiper system, and gathers more information from a few residents before heading back to Chuck’s house to see what he thinks of the paperwork he’s managed to rustle up during the visit.
Tune in to the TV Soup Podcast - (Better Call Saul - "RICO" Review)
At the house, we learn just a couple of things about Chuck and Jimmy. First – Chuck thinks that Jimmy left all the paperwork at the house because he didn’t have time to take care of it, but last week I theorized that Jimmy left it there in order to get Chuck going again. I think the latter is still the case, as evidenced by Jimmy later in the episode, stating that working on a case is great for Chuck. Second, Chuck asks if these inconsistencies were present in the paperwork that he was doing. Yes, they were, Jimmy informs him, but hey, Jimmy got lucky just to stumble into this case. This is another example of people underestimating Jimmy’s abilities. He clearly came across this through his own hard work, but nobody will acknowledge this. I expect this to become a bigger issue later on.
Jimmy returns to Sandpiper, only to discover that they no longer allow solicitors (not gigolos) on their property. They also installed a few security guards, just in case he didn’t get the message. Frantically, he pens one of the best legal documents I’ve seen on TV. A demand letter is presented to the receptionist as he leaves the bathroom, written on the back of a legal pad and an indeterminate amount of toilet paper. Jimmy gets an A for creativity and improvisation, but a D on penmanship.
Mike’s scenes in this show have been few and far between thus far, save for an episode that was entirely about him. They still don’t merge very well with the show, and I suspect that people new to the Vince Gilligan universe are getting annoyed with this. Perhaps the writers are leaning too much on our familiarity with Mike from a different show – though they are also doing that with Jimmy/Saul, so it goes both ways.
Mike is thrilled to be back, in any way, in his granddaughter’s life, and is ready to take off work in order to babysit her. After Stacey (his daughter-in-law) gets home, she asks him what she should do with the money that she found (the money that Matty had taken which ultimately got him killed). Mike tells her to spend it so that some good might come from it. She then mentions that while it will help, it won’t be enough – cue Mike back at the vet’s office, asking if there’s some “work” to be done.
I’ve gone on and on about how much I like the montages in this show, but I suppose it’s always best to be careful what you wish for. This episode featured one of the grossest montages I’ve seen – Jimmy dumpster diving looking for the documents that Sandpiper was shredding earlier that day. While in the muck (seriously, this made me squirm a bit), he receives a call from Sandpiper’s lawyers, and even in his ridiculous position, he at least knows that they’re going to take this semi-seriously.
This scene is followed up with a good, short montage (ok, maybe the dumpster scene isn’t technically a montage, but it’s still nasty). Jimmy is trying to put together the shredded documents and Chuck walks in, assuming the worst. Jimmy’s defense is that it was in a public place – “You can’t say it’s private if a hobo can use it as a wigwam. That’s the standard, right?” After Chuck’s begrudging agreement that he didn’t steal it, he sets to helping Jimmy put together one hell of a word search. This is the perfect job for a guy who is a borderline nutcase.
So, it turns out that Chuck is awesome at putting together shredded documents and has a smoking gun ready for Jimmy when he wakes up. More importantly, Chuck wants to work on the case with Jimmy, as long as Jimmy is ok with it (Chuck knows its Jimmy’s case). Jimmy has all of the sudden realized one of his dreams and is working on a big time case with his brother. Not only does he finally get to do this (he’s been working a long time to do so), but this can be good for Chuck too, keeping busy with work is a good way for him to try to “get better”.
Chuck gives Jimmy his printing code (probably not been used in a year or more) in order to get background from Westlaw (an online legal research service). This has to become relevant later on, as this now means that HHM is being billed for work done on Jimmy’s case. Kim brings up an objection to this, but Jimmy insists that this is going to be fine, and besides, Kim definitely owes him one.
Jimmy and Chuck fax a copy of the reconstructed documents to Sandpiper's lawyers, thus netting some serious consideration and a meeting. Rich Schweikart and the rest of the lawyers for Sandpiper roll up to Chuck's house for the big meeting, because, after all, Chuck isn't "currently" going anywhere. There's the expected nerves before the meeting, but Jimmy is the lead here, Chuck is there for muscle.
Jimmy laughs off the weak offer from Sandpiper and turns in a great performance for him (the character) personally. He's able to shine, as a lawyer, right there in front of his big brother. That may even snap Chuck out of his funk, because as soon as they're asked how much money they want, he's back. Chuck speaks up (clearly not planned) and tells them $20 million or you'll see them in court.
The case is really rolling now, both Jimmy and Chuck a really getting sucked into the case. Jimmy gets back from chasing old people in the mall and leaves some documents in the car. A perfect opportunity for Chuck to mindlessly go out to the car to retrieve them. We're left wondering what happened as a result, but I think that the ambient distraction fading away to the sounds of the outside is a fantastic sign for Chuck's mental state.