Better Call Saul Recap: Here's the Fring

Need to catch up? Check out our previous Better Call Saul recap here.

Yes, Breaking Bad‘s Hall of Fame villain Gus Fring made his long-awaited Better Call Saul debut this week… and he wasn’t the only familiar face to pay a visit.

Mike follows the mystery car that nabbed his gas cap last week to an abandoned lot, where a guy in a green truck pulls up and, after a brief chat, takes the gas cap with him. Mike then tails Green Truck Guy as he embarks on a long odyssey around town, driving to distant locations and retrieving packages. The next morning, Green Truck Guy slings a knapsack over his shoulder and enters a building with red-framed windows. He comes back out, and the gas cap must’ve stayed inside, according to Mike’s tracking system. As Mike pulls away, we see that the building is… a Los Pollos Hermanos! Anybody else hungry for a couple wings and a biscuit?

Needing another set of eyes, Mike rings up Jimmy and gets him to stake out the restaurant, waiting to see what Green Truck Guy does with that knapsack. Jimmy orders a meal and camps out in a booth to scan the room. Green Truck Guy arrives, knapsack on his shoulder, and Jimmy shifts his seat to keep a better eye on him. (He also makes his coffee downright undrinkable by pouring too much sugar in it while watching the guy.) Green Truck Guy stores the knapsack under his seat while he eats, and as Jimmy watches him, a man is in the back silently sweeping up — out of focus, but completely commanding our attention.

Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 2 Gus FringGreen Truck Guy polishes off his chicken, grabs his knapsack and leaves. Jimmy’s befuddled: Did he miss something? He reaches into the trash to see if the guy stashed anything in there, and he hears a voice: “Can I help you?” Yep, it’s Gus in manager mode, offering Jimmy a polite smile. Jimmy says he lost his watch in the trash, and Gus happily puts on a pair of rubber gloves and digs in to help him. He hands Jimmy back the watch, and Jimmy hightails it out of there, telling Mike he came up empty. But when he drives away, we see Gus sweeping up in the parking lot… and he’s not smiling anymore.

When Mike returns to the Los Pollos location later, he notices a black SUV screeching up to the lot, backing in behind the building, and then screeching out again soon after. The driver rolls down his window… and it’s Victor! (You know, the henchman whose throat Gus slit with a box cutter in Breaking Bad‘s Season 4 premiere. Nice to see him when he’s not gushing blood.) Mike’s tracker says the gas cap is on the move, so he drives off in pursuit. He ends up on an empty desert road, no car in sight, and he finds the gas cap placed in the middle of the road, with a ringing cell phone perched on top of it. Oh Gus, you resourceful bastard. A teed-off Mike answers the phone gruffly: “Yeah?” (Could the Chicken Man be on the other end of that line?)

Elsewhere in “Witness”:

Better Call Saul Season 3 Episode 2 Chuck HowardTHE TAPE DOESN’T LIE | Ernesto can’t keep his knowledge of Jimmy’s confession to himself — just as Chuck suspected — and he spills everything to Kim. She marches back into the firm and instructs Jimmy, “Gimme a dollar.” That makes her his lawyer, so they have confidentiality when she tells him she knows about his confession. Jimmy insists, “I couldn’t leave him in Crazy Town like that,” and thinks it’s his word against Chuck’s. When Kim tells him about the recording, Jimmy is stunned: “He taped me.” For once, the highly verbose Jimmy McGill is speechless.

Kim tries to reassure him he’ll be fine, rattling off legal strategies to get the tape excluded, but Jimmy’s heartbroken about his brother’s betrayal. He storms off to Chuck’s, kicking down the door and screaming at him for pulling “that heartstrings con job on me.” He finds the tape recorder and rips the tape to shreds in Chuck’s face, threatening to “burn this whole goddamn house to the ground.” And that’s when he realizes they’re not alone.

Chuck had been lying in wait, enlisting a private eye to do round-the-clock surveillance of his home, expecting Jimmy to break in. Howard’s there, too; he doubted Chuck’s strategy, but Chuck insisted, “I know my brother.” And he does, doesn’t he? Now the private eye and Howard are witnesses to Jimmy destroying evidence and threatening his brother. Jimmy, you might need to slip Kim more than a dollar for the next phase of your criminal defense.

Sidebars:

* New receptionist Francesca was a nice addition to the Jimmy/Kim firm, especially when Jimmy pushed her to be more “folksy” on the phone: “Say, is that a dog I’m hearing?”

* Smarter viewers than me picked up last week that Chuck actually wanted Ernesto to hear Jimmy’s confession, so Jimmy would find out and try to steal the tape. He fooled me! I’m gonna chalk this one up to Michael McKean’s convincing performance, and not my own dumbness.

* It was nice to see Jimmy and Mike share the same scene for once, wasn’t it? I got a kick out of Jimmy gawking at Mike’s “James Bond stuff” (his tracking system): “This car doesn’t have an ejector seat, does it?”

* A nice callback to last week, with Jimmy carefully rolling the tape off of his freshly painted office mural with both thumbs, then tearing the rest off in anger after stewing about what Chuck did. (And tearing it did leave a ragged, uneven edge. Chuck was right!)

* If you counted up the total words spoken in the first two episodes this season, it’d have to set a new record for the least words ever spoken in two hours of TV drama, right?

Got thoughts on tonight’s Better Call Saul, and Gus Fring’s return? Drop ’em in a comment below.