REBECCA – 7.5/10.
While Better Call Saul is very much an origin story, this week we got to go even further back into the rich history that has shaped the lives of these characters. We learnt all about Jimmy and Chuck’s father, an honest man who never committed a sin, and we even got to take a look at Chuck’s life before his breakdown. It turns out that Chuck was once married to a talented and beautiful violinist named Rebecca, could it be that the arrival of his brother played a part in the breakdown of both his mind and his marriage? This episode also featured a cameo from yet another Breaking Bad alumnus in the form of Hector ‘Tio’ Salamanca (Mark Margolis), who presents Mike with an offer that he probably should refuse.
Both Jimmy and Kim continue to suffer the fallout from Jimmy’s controversial advert in this episode. While Kim remains trapped in doc review purgatory, Jimmy is assigned a chaperon by Davis & Main to ensure that he plays by the rules, rules so strict that they include everything from what kind of rubbish goes in the trash can to where indentations should be used in documents. It doesn’t help that Jimmy’s babysitter is a young, condescending “goddamn ninja pixie” named Erin. Jimmy’s new shadow disapproves of pretty much everything he does and is particularly scornful when he tries to bribe a court clerk with a beanie baby. While Erin’s reaction may be somewhat overboard it is telling that Jimmy genuinely believes that there’s no problem with the way he does things.
Jimmy continues to try to find ways to help Kim out of her position, including presenting her with a document which she could use to form a legal case against HHM. Kim quite rightly points out that suing her employers isn’t going to do much for her career. Despite Jimmy blaming Chuck for her predicament, Kim holds Jimmy responsible but she doesn’t need him to ‘rescue’ her as she intends to save herself. This is exactly what she proceeds to do, calling every single contact on her phone until she finally manages to land a big fish. She sets up a meeting between Howard and the CEO of a major banking firm, winning a huge retainer account for HHM. However, this still isn’t enough to get her back into the good graces of her bosses and she is sent back to the basement.
After Howard pays Chuck a visit to tell him the good news, Chuck decides to make an early morning trip to the office. He works by torchlight as the sun rises until he bumps into Kim who has also been burning the midnight oil. Over a cup of coffee he tells her about his father, who worked his whole life to own his own corner store. Apparently Jimmy spent years syphoning off money from the till, so much so that his father ended up in huge debt and had to close the store, passing away not long after. Chuck tells Kim that despite his brother’s best intentions, he just can’t help himself and it’s always someone else who is left to pick up the pieces. While this seems very much in line with something Jimmy would do, how much can we trust Chuck’s opinion of him?
For all his judgement of Jimmy it seems Chuck also harbours some jealousy for him, as demonstrated in the opening flashback. Having just arrived in Albuquerque and started his job in the HHM mail room, Jimmy visits Chuck and Rebecca for dinner. Before he arrives Chuck warns his wife that Jimmy is an acquired taste and creates a signal that the couple can use should they need to get rid of him. At dinner Jimmy is his usual charmingly exuberant self and Rebecca seems to take an instant liking to him. However Chuck is embarrassed when Jimmy starts telling jokes about lawyers, he uses the signal but Rebecca is far to engrossed in the Jimmy show to notice. Later on Chuck tries to tell a lawyer joke to Rebecca in the bedroom but it falls flat.
The undoubted highlight of the episode was the brief appearance of Hector in the days before a stroke consigned him to life in a wheelchair. Having taken a beating from Tuco, Mike was able to use his earnings to move his daughter-in-law and granddaughter into a nice apartment complex. However with that money gone he now needs a more sustainable way to support them. As Mike ponders his options over breakfast he is joined by a stranger, none other than Hector Salamanca. He apologises to Mike for his nephew’s behaviour and says that he deserves to spend some time in jail for his disrespect, but eight years is too long. Hector strongly suggests that Mike claims that Tuco’s gun was his in exchange for $5,000. He then politely excuses himself, leaving Mike to consider the offer.
It is a testament to the brilliant writing of BCS that it can constantly keep us guessing about the destinies of characters whose fates we already know. We know that Mike will eventually hook up with Gustavo Fring, we also know how much Gus hates Hector, could it be that the two connect through a shared disdain for the former cartel member? Was Chuck’s story about Jimmy’s father true? We know that Chuck is as capable of manipulation as Jimmy; in fact we’ve seen him manipulate Jimmy on several occasions. Could Chuck be trying to turn Kim against Jimmy because he feels in some way that Jimmy helped to turn Rebecca against him? It seems that the journey to Saul Goodman is filled with an abundance of twists and turns that we have yet to discover.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Jimmy again offered to quit Davis and Main, however Kim quite rightly pointed out that this isn’t so much of a heroic sacrifice as it is an attempt to ditch his responsibilities.
- Absolutely loved Jimmy’s response to Mike’s refusal to tell him what happened to his face: “Oh I get it, the first rule of Fight Club.”
- While the inclusions of Tuco and Hector have added to the show I still feel that the inclusion of Jesse or Walter, even in cameo form, would feel far too forced.
- Did Erin remind anyone else of Ann (her?) from Arrested Development?