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‘Better Call Saul’ Truth And Lies: A Rolling Snowball Of Chaos And Narcotics

Better Call Saul is a show with range. Some characters like Jimmy/Saul lie constantly, others like Mike tell the truth to a fault. With that in mind, our coverage this season will be structured as a collection of truth and false statements about each episode. Welcome to Better Call Saul Truth And Lies.

TRUTH: Small decisions can have big consequences

Let’s track this one all the way back. I think that will give us some nice perspective. Yes, let’s do that.

– Against his better judgment (which, as usual, was actually Kim’s better judgment), Jimmy/Saul — this is going to be weird for a while — offered 50 percent off of legal services for all nonviolent crimes after he ran out of free phones

– Two doofuses saw this deal and decided to use it as an excuse to go on a small-time, meth-addled crime spree that included stealing garden gnomes and buying so much meth that it clogged the drainpipe system the show introduced last week

– The drainpipe unclogged itself in front of the police (whoops), which resulted in poor sweet Krazy-8 — whose nickname, we learned, stemmed from his folding three 8s in a poker hand against Lalo’s naked bluff — getting arrested

– To prevent the rest of the drugs getting seized and the family taking a huge loss (and also to acquire Lalo’s trust for duplicitous reasons), Nacho leaped through windows and across roofs to get them back

– Lalo cooked Nacho a meal and they had some Modelos, like trustworthy coworkers

– Nacho now has an in to surveil Lalo for Gus

– Lalo let him in on a plan to deal with Krazy-8

– The plan apparently involves Nacho picking up Saul on the street and forcing him into a car

– Saul has to leave his ice cream behind

The lesson here is twofold: Number one, always listen to Kim Wexler, lest you end up getting shoved into a shady car a few days after a questionable decision; number two, maybe just never do anything. Like, at all. Just stay inside and watch television. You never know how things are going to end up. Can’t be too careful.

LIE: Mike is doing great

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Have we ever seen Mike sleep prior to this episode? We might have, I’m not sure. But it doesn’t feel like it. It was jarring. Mike is not supposed to be asleep when the sun is up. Mike seems more like an “up at 5 on his third cup of black coffee” kind of guy. But there he was, on retainer, asleep, getting called in to babysit.

Things started so well. He and his granddaughter were hammering things and mastering the 7s times tables through football-related tutoring, which led to this moment, which I, as a Philadelphia-area resident, am required to screencap while adding “Go Birds.”

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Prior to this scene, despite knowing that Mike is from Philly, it had not dawned on me that he and his family could be Eagles fans. It somehow explains everything and nothing at all.

Things spiraled from there, though. Kaylee started asking Mike about her dad, his son, with unknowingly knife-twisting questions about whether he was a good cop and if Mike taught him everything (“I BROKE MY BOY”), which Mike could handle for only so long before he blew up at her about a small woodworking error and shouted “YOU’RE DONE” like a frazzled police chief taking a loose cannon detective off a case, and that was that. Poor kid walked straight into a buzzsaw.

TRUTH: Gus Fring is very good at the theatrical villain stuff

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In the first section, we touched on Nacho attempting to gain Lalo’s trust to spy on him for Gus. The reason he’s doing this is because Gus roused him from his sleep, dragged him out at gunpoint, and sat with him in a car while a hitman hovered behind his dad and cracked a few jokes. It was menacing and very scary and proof once again that Gus is really quite excellent at this villain business.

We’ve seen him in action before, occasionally giving long speeches about his youth that build to an intimidating lesson or just sitting in a dark room while giving out orders in a distressingly calm tone. This one might have been his crowning achievement, though. Everything was layered and timed-out perfectly for maximum effect. The thing where he slid into the car and watched everything happen with Nacho was so cruel, so cold. Especially the whole “looking back at him through the rearview mirror” thing. The man is ruthless. It terrifies me but… I mean, you kind of have to respect it, right? A little?

Anyway, it is my belief that he spends hours practicing these speeches and plotting out theatrical flourishes like this and, one day, I’d like to see him standing in front of a mirror in his boxer shorts just struggling through a first draft, bouncing through word choice options like Saul in the elevator, which we will be discussing shortly.

LIE: Kim and Jimmy will buy a house together

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Nope. Not gonna happen. Sure, they had fun looking at that fancy house and playing around with its fancy shower, to the great annoyance of the realtor who let them in without an appointment. But there was a disconnect there the whole time. Jimmy was dreaming, putting plasma screen TVs on the wall and spitting into separate sinks, because Jimmy is a dreamer. He’s riding a high right now, too, between his reinstatement and successful(-ish) client acquisition program. The problem is that this high has left him totally blind to Kim’s reaction to it all. Her face, specifically, all the time.

Jimmy is usually so good at reading people, too. It’s kind of his whole deal. He’s just so wrapped up in everything that he can’t see what’s happening right in front of his face, not the body language or the sighs or even the fully loaded “maybe someday” brush off as they were leaving. We’ve known for a while that this is probably headed for a bummer of an ending, but consider this: Kim might end up leaving him as this all spirals and that could actually be… good? Sad in the moment, to the max, but basically all I care about right now — knowing the doomed fates of every other poor sucker on this show — is the physical and emotional well-being of Kim Wexler, and that would be a nice step in that direction.

TRUTH: Nacho is a parkour badass now

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Nacho was out here like a damn New Mexico Spider-man, scaling buildings and leaping from roof-to-roof and flying out windows. Did you know Nacho could do that? I did not. Maybe this says more about me than anything else, but it has completely changed my perception of him. I’m fascinated by limber athletic Nacho. I want him to abandon the drug trade and become a gentleman criminal who does stuff like steal priceless works of art from museums and scale the side of mansions in the South of France to pilfer jewels from vacationing heiresses. Always in a tuxedo.

This definitely says more about me than anything else. I feel okay about it. The Nacho Varga Affair. Get Rene Russo a diet soda and a turtleneck and let’s get to it.

LIE: Saul Goodman is above trapping a poor woman on an elevator for 20 minutes to do some paperwork

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Three things are true about this situation, none of which are in bold directly above this sentence:

– In an episode loaded with tense drug things and a relationship that appears to be crumbling right in front of our faces, it was kind of nice to see Jimmy pull a classic Saul ruse with Suzanne in the elevator. I do feel for Suzanne, though. She saw right through his earlier attempt to reschedule (during the very cool scene where he was playing the entire courthouse like a violin), and all she got for her wise assessment of character and situation was 20 minutes stuck in an elevator with a fast-talking rascal who set the whole thing in motion with a payoff to a crooked elevator man.

– It is my position that — if I had a bottle of water, a little snack, and a fully charged phone with a book loaded on it — I could easily do up to 90 minutes stuck in an elevator. Alone, though. I can’t have other people in there ruining my peace and quiet. I would just read and nap and take full advantage of the fact that no one expects you to do anything if you’re stuck in an elevator. The quiet. The tranquility. The small feeling of personal freedom. It sounds kind of wonderful as I’m typing it out just now. I’m sure this is a normal thing to think. Let’s not look into it any further!

– I got a solid chuckle out of Howard showing up for the first time this season and trying to make small talk with Jimmy before getting blown right off and left standing there like a confused little boy. The show is as good at goofs as it is at ripping your heart out.

We should never take this last thing for granted.

TRUTH: I am very sad about the ice cream

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Come on, Nacho. Let the man finish his ice cream.

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