Jimmy slid further into Saul Goodman territory this week on Better Call Saul, and reached a serious fork in the road in his relationship with Kim.
First, we get a flashback to Jimmy’s days in the HHM mailroom, pushing around a cart and collecting ballots for the office Oscar pool. Kim’s manning a cart, too, and while Jimmy is chitchatting with co-workers, she’s studying up on the firm’s cases. (“You’re making the rest of us look bad,” he teases her.) The office erupts in applause for Chuck (alive! And with more hair!), who just won a big case by digging up some obscure case law. Kim congratulates him, and impresses him by demonstrating deep knowledge of his case. But Chuck finds a way to belittle Jimmy before trotting off for a celebratory whiskey in Howard’s office. So a newly motivated Jimmy slips into the law library, determined to prove his brother wrong.
Back in Saul‘s current timeline, Kim is up late preparing her Mesa Verde arguments… and eyeing her stack of criminal defense clients. She also discovers that Jimmy’s been doodling names and logos for their new law firm together, like a lovestruck schoolgirl. After Jimmy confesses that he decided against going to therapy (“it’s just not for me”), Kim drops in for an impromptu meeting with Rich at Schweikart and Cokely, the firm she flirted with back in Season 2. She inquires about their banking division, and when he replies that he wouldn’t exactly say they have one, she asks: “Would you like one?” Then over drinks with Jimmy, she tells him Rich offered her a job. She’d be a partner, and could hand off her Mesa Verde work to associates so she’d have time to take on all those criminal cases. But does that mean the end of Wexler McGill?
Jimmy puts on a brave face (“I can’t ask you to wait around for me”), but Kim’s decision spurs him to make a few of his own. He collects the five grand Chuck left him from a dejected Howard — advising him to “get your s–t together” while he’s at it — and spends it on a bunch of those burner phones, setting up shop in the back of that nail salon again. (The owner doesn’t like it: “Get-rich-quick schemes never work.” But Jimmy replies: “Just watch me.”) He also takes a call from an unidentified associate, agreeing to meet at “Piñata’s.” Hmmm…
Clad in a spiffy red tracksuit, Jimmy finds the three punks who ripped him off last week and offers them a hundred bucks a night if they’ll just let him sell his phones in peace. But they’d rather just take all of his money, and one pulls out a knife, demanding what he’s got on him. They chase him until he’s cornered in an alley, but Jimmy tells them: “You should’ve taken the deal.” Just then, a pair of hooded thugs pop up behind the punks, hanging them upside down by their feet in a piñata warehouse. As the thugs menacingly smash up piñatas with baseball bats, the punks promise to leave Jimmy alone… and one of the thugs swings his bat mere inches from the lead punk’s face. Jimmy coldly informs them: “You get one warning… and that was it.”
CORPORATE HOUSING | Mike’s work overseeing construction of the Superlab continues, as he sets up German architect Werner Ziegler and his crew with prehab housing inside a massive warehouse. He also gets them a gym, a bar with beer taps, an entertainment center and a basketball hoop to ensure they’re not “climbing the walls,” as he warns Gus. Ziegler and his crew are impressed when they arrive… but one crew member named Kai looks to be a problem, pouring himself a beer while ignoring Mike’s orders. (When he asks Mike, “When do the girls get here?” Mike gives him a perfectly withering look up and down.) Mike later asks a security guard to keep an eye on Kai… and we wouldn’t bet money on him surviving the season, would you?
* Giancarlo Esposito has been used sparingly this season, but he got to sink his teeth into a nice, juicy monologue this week as Gus spoke to a comatose Hector in his hospital room. He remembered growing up poor and hungry, and patiently nursing a fruit tree to good health, only to have the fruit scavenged by a wild animal. Young Gus set a trap for the animal and caught it, breaking its leg: “The merciful thing would’ve been to kill it. I kept it. It lived for quite some time.” And so he’ll keep a broken Hector alive, too, waiting for the right time to deliver justice as he sees fit.
* Jimmy also got a call from the nephew of Mrs. Strauss, Jimmy’s Hummel-collecting client from his elder-law days. She passed away, and the nephew wanted help with the will, but Jimmy told he’s no longer practicing and referred him to HHM. But it did inspire Jimmy to dig out a VHS tape of the ad he shot with the old lady. Will he try to get his hands on her valuable Hummels, too?
* Yes, Saul’s old pal Huell was one of the hooded thugs putting a scare into those punks. (We previously saw the Breaking Bad fan favorite in Season 3’s “Chicanery.”) But as cool as it was to see him, maybe he and his fellow enforcer shouldn’t have removed their masks while the punks could still identify them?
* A nice callback when Jimmy greeted Kim as “Giselle” at the hotel bar, a reference to their scamming days as “Viktor” and “Giselle.” Kim said she’d rather just be Kim and Jimmy, though. Is that another sign she’s pulling away from Jimmy?
* The names mentioned in the HHM Oscars pool — Howards End, Al Pacino — put that opening flashback in the vicinity of March 1993. (The Oscars were handed out on March 29 that year.)
* That’s two weeks now with no sign of Nacho, and I’m officially worried. He didn’t die of his wounds off-screen, did he?
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