Before last night’s episode, the second season of Better Call Saul had gone to great lengths to slow down the inevitable Jimmy-to-Saul transition. The team behind the show gave him a new job, all fancy and respectable-like. They emphasized his alleged desire to do things right (or, like, right-ish), both to prove Chuck wrong and to prove Kim right. They even sat him on the bench for a few episodes to let Mike and Kim pad their stats a bit, which worked out surprisingly well thanks to some A+ performances from Jonathan Banks and Rhea Seehorn. There were some glimpses, sure (the Squat Cobbler defense, the renegade commercial, the introduction of Viktor St. Clair), but for the most part, Saul was still just a twinkle in Jimmy’s eye.
It’s showtime. Almost.
Jimmy’s time at Davis & Main was always going to be limited. We knew this because we’ve seen the future, but we also knew because, in Jimmy’s own words, he’s a square peg. What we didn’t know, however, was that the employment arrangement would end with an extended ’70s-style funk montage inspired by a free-flowing inflatable balloon man that would feature him trying to get fired — saving the bonus he would lose by quitting — by dressing flamboyantly and refusing to flush his poo and picking up the bagpipes, among other things.
(I’ve pointed out a few times how great this show is at montages. This might have been their best yet. As a lifelong lover of montages, I feel qualified to make this analysis.)
The result of all of this is that Jimmy now has his solo practice back, and a rack full of bright dress shirts, and a license from Kim to go ahead and practice law “colorfully.” It’s the biggest move we’ve seen him take toward becoming Saul since he was speeding off humming “Smoke on the Water” at the end of season one. And he’s conspiring with his film nerds on a new commercial. Yes, this will do. This will do nicely.
Speaking of Kim, two episodes of the universe yo-yoing her around resulted in her own dramatic move. No, she’s not taking the offer at the other firm, even though that sounds safe and very financially secure. And no, she’s not going to partner with Jimmy because, to his credit, he answered her “What kind of lawyer are you gonna be?” question honestly. (Eventually.) But she will take Jimmy’s lead and hang out her shingle, and she will share an office and expenses with him, if not a practice. Because Jimmy ain’t the only one making moves out here. Kim wants more, too.
The nice thing about the little flashback cold open in this episode was that it served two purposes. The first was to pay off the story Chuck told Kim about a young Jimmy dipping into funds at their debilitatingly honest father’s store, and thus confirming (probably) that Chuck wasn’t just making it all up to try to drive Kim away. Mission accomplished.
The second purpose it served was to kind of give viewers a Slippin’ Jimmy origin story tucked inside the Saul Goodman origin story. We already had a good idea of what kind of kid Jimmy was when we saw him reading a Playboy while pretending to sweep, but the brief exchange with the grifter drove it home. “There are wolves and sheep in this world. Wolves and sheep. Figure out which one you’re gonna be.” Jimmy’s a wolf, and always has been, even if it means stealing an extra $8 from his dad.
And a quick note about this grifter: That was your plan, guy? Ask for $5? Using the type of story you can only use once? Even though you’ve got a fish on the line and a pocket full of cash? My word. I hate to say this to someone who just preyed upon the honesty and good nature of a dear sweet man with a jerk of a son, but you gotta think bigger, bud. All you have to show for your efforts there is two cartons of Kools and a couple bucks. I feel like this is C- grifting at best.
Odds and ends:
– Slow week for Mike, in general, which was probably a nice break for Jonathan Banks after spending two weeks in a makeup chair getting his face pretend-mangled. We did get a few Mike tidbits, though: 1) He bought a house for his granddaughter to get them out of the apartment complex with the series of roofs nearby that occasionally contain well-dressed Mexican hitmen; 2) He’s staking out the Salamancas, apparently, which is another nice reminder that this relationship will eventually end with Hector playing suicide bomber to kill Mike’s boss, Gus; and 3) Heeey, Jimmy and Mike are working together again.
– It wasn’t his best or most creative defense (because that’s a high bar), but Jimmy suggesting that Tuco ended up with the gun after a passing bird dropped it from the sky and into his hand… I mean, it is plausible.
– So, let’s work this out quickly: Last week, Kim was wearing Royals gear, and this week she told Schweikart in her interview that she’s from a small town near the Kansas-Nebraska border. Jimmy ends up at a Cinnabon in Omaha after Breaking Bad. Omaha is in Nebraska, a little north of the Kansas border, so it doesn’t work out perfectly, but are we… are we thinking there’s a thing here? Like maybe Kim is back there after things go south in the southwest and they bump into each other. Or something. I don’t know. Please consider this me flinging something against the wall haphazardly for the purpose of doubling back and saying “Told ya so” if I end up right. It’s worked before.
– Sweet, sweet revenge.