Well it was probably an episode or two late coming, but Jimmy McGill is finally free of the prison that was his wonderful job, and as he goes back to the warm embrace of a Korean nail salon closet, he takes with him the future wardrobe of Saul Goodman.
This week’s Better Call Saul finally saw Jimmy McGill make (or rather, he forced Cliff to make it for him) the change that was inevitable: he left Davis and Main so to be “himself.” We also got a glimpse into why Jimmy is the way he is, with a flashback to his dear old father’s store many years ago, where a young Jimmy saw through a smiling con-man’s veneer, an act his kind-but-naive father couldn’t even fathom.
Rather than alert his obvious mark of a father a second time, or even just refuse to hand over the cartons, young James seemed to show a begrudging respect for the scam artist …before taking the eight dollars for the cigarettes from the register and putting it in his own pocket.
That’s how a baby wolf is born.
Now, we know Chuck believes a teenaged Jimmy stole tens of thousands of dollars from their father, necessitating the sale of the store, which was shortly followed by their father passing away. I thought at the time it could turn out Jimmy never really did steal the money—that maybe his father may have had some secret problem like a gambling addiction that Jimmy covered up in an effort to protect his father’s image—but this didn’t seem to support that theory. It’s not impossible that won’t turn out to be the case (a little kid taking eight bucks is very far from a young adult skimming thousands and thousands of dollars), and we all know a fool and his money are soon parted, so their father could still have squandered it by accident. But no matter what the truth ends up being we got to see how, where, and why Jimmy McGill came to view the world as he did.
The last few episodes of this season were on the slower side, so it was fun to see the pace (and fun) picked up a little here, with Jimmy’s “Saul” style self-sabotage to get himself fired providing plenty of humor. It helped that it worked, like most of Jimmy McGill’s schemes.
We also got to see Kim (seemingly) take the next step in her quest for “more,” as she is poised to reject either big law firm so she can make it on her own professionally; adjacent to—but not with—Jimmy. It all felt true to her story and character. While she is not giving up on Jimmy, she has reached a similar place as him, where she can only be herself if she wants to find success and happiness. She can’t be “colorful” like Jimmy, she has to do things her way, but she can still be near him.
Speaking of (kinda) working together, we finally got Mike and Jimmy in the same scene for the first time in what feels like an eternity. Even though Jimmy was doing Mike a favor, Mike seemed disgusted at the idea of being lumped in with Jimmy. Being beholden to the Salamanca family is obviously not sitting right with Mike, and that shot at the end of him spying on the crime family bodes well for a very interesting, and potentially explosive, last few episodes. Mike has a big new house to help pay for so his daughter-in-law and granddaughter can find peace, and he also seems unhappy with how he was forced into being metaphorically on his knees. (That’s why he was so unhappy with Jimmy telling him that story. He feels he is better than that, and all of this.) These two can make for a very dangerous combo.
With Jimmy free from both his job and the burden of dragging down Kim’s career, Jimmy can now do as he pleases. It feels good now, and it’s fun to watch, but it’s just another step on the path to Saul Goodman. This show, for all the fun and inflatable dancing men, is still a tragedy.
Now just a couple of thoughts while I try to come up with a better way to conserve water…
- My only real complaint is that Jimmy didn’t have a better send-off to the world’s worst adult babysitter. That can must have been empty anyway because not a drip spilled out of it.
- Honestly, that felt like “too much house.”
- It’s impossible to see a giant inflatable dancing man and not picture Dee from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
- How often can you find a bagpipe in a pawn shop? Is that a reasonable find? And what does a secondhand bagpipe go for? I’m going to need a lot more on the bagpipe.
So what did you think of this week’s episode? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.