BETTER CALL SAUL: S02E08

FIFI -7.5/10

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In last week’s episode we saw the seeds of Saul Goodman being planted in the impressionable mind of a young Jimmy McGill. He watched as a grifter played his trusting father for a mark, making away with some cash and teaching Jimmy that there are sheep in this world and there are wolves. Jimmy has spent far too long denying his true self, to please Chuck or Kim or anyone, but now he is finally free to be himself. While Jimmy isn’t afraid to unleash his inner wolf, Kim is still determined to play by the rules even if her nobility comes at a personal cost. Having fully committed to the idea of going it alone, Kim ignores Jimmy’s advice to steal Messa Verde from HHM. Instead she chooses to act with dignity and honour, which naturally blows up in her face.

After handing in her resignation to Howard, Kim meets with the head of the bank and lays out her case for why they should stay with her. While no contracts are signed, Kim feels confident enough to sign on the lease for a shared office with Jimmy. However things soon fall apart after Howard pays a visit to Chuck. While Messa Verde is a large client, losing them wouldn’t cause any real harm to HHM; truthfully it is the revelation of Jimmy’s involvement in Kim’s resignation that spurs Chuck into action.  So determined is Chuck to keep the bank on as a client that he does his best to appear ‘normal’ during their meeting by allowing the lights and mobile phones to remain on. Chuck lays it on thick, winning over the director but exhausting himself in the process.

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While Kim takes the high road Jimmy practically rents space in the murky swampland of immorality. He gets a former client to masquerade as a war veteran so he and his student filmmakers can get a few stolen shots next to a WW2 bomber; however his illegal shoot is interrupted by a call from Chuck’s assistant who claims his brother is having a bad turn. Chuck’s fragile mental state is the least of Jimmy’s concerns, particularly when he returns to his new office to find Kim dejected after discovering that Messa Verde has chosen to stay with HHM. Kim toys with the idea of walking away from their collaboration but Jimmy is able to talk her round. It doesn’t take long for Jimmy to work out that Chuck was behind this and he heads to his brother’s house to confront him.

Upon his arrival Jimmy discovers Chuck in a broken state, he also discovers a box full of Messa Verde case files which he commandeers. While Chuck suffers from the placebo effects of his condition, Jimmy spends the night in a copy shop, editing the documents ever so slightly so as to sabotage HHM and teach his brother a lesson. This is most definitely something that Kim would not approve of and it seems likely that this could come back to bite Jimmy, especially if Kim ends up with one of these documents further down the line. Jimmy returns to Chuck’s house in the morning and adds the forged documents to the file. Chuck wakes up and thanks Jimmy for his loyalty despite their differences. But little does he realise that Jimmy is gone, now there is only Saul.

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Jimmy isn’t the only one with revenge on his mind as we saw Mike monitoring Hector’s operation after the humiliation of having to take the rap for Tuco’s gun charge. While it certainly looked like Mike was preparing to go to war, stalking Hector and building a homemade stinger spike strip, we know that Mike is far too practical to take on the Cartel over a grudge. Instead I believe that he plans to take out one of Hector’s deliveries, showcasing the need for better security so Hector will offer him a job. Mike has proven that he will do anything to provide for his family, even if that means getting into bed with Salamanca. We saw more of Hector’s operation in this episode and he seems to be smuggling in something big over the Mexican border, could this be how Gustavo Fring enters the fray?

With just two episodes left in the season the pace of the show has definitely picked up. Jimmy has become Saul in everything but name, the bright suits that he used to gain his dismissal from Davis & Main may have gone back into his closet but there is no turning back at this point. Jimmy is doing things his way, for better or worse. Jimmy has always had a skewed sense of morality but now he has truly unleashed his inner wolf. It could be argued that Chuck deserved some kind of punishment for undercutting Kim, but truthfully it was just business whereas Jimmy’s actions were far more devious. What’s more we as viewers are vicariously implicated as we find ourselves cheering Jimmy on; we want him to be devious, we want Saul, but that can only happen if Jimmy dies.

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Jimmy won’t be the only casualty of Saul’s birth; Kim, Chuck and even Mike will in some way be burnt in the fire of the rising phoenix. Of all the characters in the show Kim is the most decent, as a result of this she finds herself beaten down and crushed. She has tried to distance herself from Jimmy’s malpractices but it just doesn’t work that way; she is guilty by association and things are bound to spiral even further out of control as Jimmy’s behaviour becomes more reprehensible. Worst of all is the thought that Kim could in some way end up taking a fall for Jimmy and that this explains her absence from Breaking Bad, if that is true then Jimmy is truly lost. So it’s bad decisions all round as we head in to the penultimate episode of the season.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Jimmy gave Fudge the fake name of Major Talbot, which is of course a reference to The Incredible Hulk and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. character.
  • The opening sequence following Hector’s truck through the border and customs into the American outback was absolutely fantastic and a reminder of just how beautifully cinematic BSC can be.
  • Am I the only one who hopes that we get to see Kuby and Huell before the end of this season? Everything is always better with Bill Burr.
  • It is very possible that Jimmy’s meddling could lead to Chuck’s final downfall, if that is the case then could the guilt prove too much for Jimmy to bear?
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