Five True Statements is exactly what it sounds like, a discussion about the most recent episode of ‘Better Call Saul’ centered around five undisputable statements of fact. Mostly undisputable, at least. I would never lie to you on purpose. Especially not about ‘Better Call Saul.’
1. Jimmy is going to a dark place and I’m not entirely sure I like it
We discussed this before the season started but it’s worth mentioning again, given the deadness in his eyes and the shot of him watching water circle down the drain, which is just about the most straightforward metaphor you’ll ever see in your entire television-viewing life: Jimmy is breaking bad now. It will probably take time for the process to wrap-up completely. Kim is still around and she’s gonna try, bless her one-armed tequila-pouring soul. But the two-step of crushing depression after Chuck’s death and the buck-passing to Howard at the end — “Well, Howard, I guess that’s your cross to bear” — was basically a supervillain origin story that we know the ending of.
(The thing with Howard reading Jimmy the obituary over the phone was pretty great in a few different ways. Jimmy’s face when Howard got to Chuck’s “devotion to the highest ideals of the law” was telling because that was the wedge in the middle of their relationship, with each of the brothers taking the fight way too far, from Chuck trapping Jimmy to Jimmy setting in motion the malpractice insurance issue that led to Howard’s stand and Chuck’s relapse. But the best part was learning that Chuck graduated high school at age 14 and was the valedictorian. Imagine tiny Chuck giving his speech at graduation, naming names and ratting out participants in the senior prank to a chorus of boos. I want a flashback. I want a second spin-off about teen Chuck. You can’t tease me like this, Gilligan.)
And on the subject of that supervillain ending, things are not great for Gene. They are… not great. This season’s sequence opened after the fainting spell from season three and brought him to the hospital, which highlighted the perils of his fake identity in the brightest colors yet. Even just going to the emergency room puts him in danger. One mix-up at checkout and he’s sweating bullets and thinking about whether to stay and play it cool or bounce and sprint toward heaven knows where. Ain’t no mustache disguise gonna save you then, my pastry-rolling dude.
That wasn’t even the most nerve-fraying part of our Gene update. Not even close. Because after the hospital he got in a cab with a creepy silent guy with an Albuquerque Isotopes dangly dangling from his rearview. In the span of about 10 minutes, he had two kinds of scares — one relating to paperwork and the authorities, one involving silent potential assassins with terrifying eyes — and ended up waddling furiously down the sidewalk with fear and IV fluids coursing through his veins.
I’m starting to get the feeling this all ends poorly for Gene.
2. You can get anywhere with confidence and a clipboard
There are a few things in this world that are undeniably true and one of those things is that you can get into any room anywhere with nothing but confidence and a clipboard. Clipboards make people nervous. “What’s he writing on there? Why’s he frowning? Why isn’t he telling me what’s wrong? Oh God. Oh no. I’m in so much trouble.” Try it sometime. Walk up to the door of a crowded nightclub in a short sleeve dress shirt and tie, pull out a clipboard, and start asking the bouncer questions like “How many people have you let in so far tonight?” Then, whatever he answers, just raise your eyebrows a little and start writing something. Boom, in with no cover charge.
The point here is that Mike Ehrmantraut rules. That whole warehouse ruse — complete with a funky 70s montage — was delightful from beginning to end. Guy was running around wearing a badge with a face on it that was clearly not his and he was signing birthday cards (“Reach for the stars!”) and terrifying employees all over the facility. To be fair, a big part of his success was just his face. If I was working in a factory and saw this…
… I would probably just quit before I was forced to find out why a man who looks like that was looking at me like that. Not worth it. I’ll just go get my master’s or something.
Also, not super important in the grand scheme of things, I need to know the Madrigal employee pay schedule. Mike’s pay stub revealed that he’s making over $10,000 per pay period. We talking weekly or bi-weekly here? Or is it a 1st and 15th thing? Pretty solid raise over his parking lot attendant gig in either case, but still. Tell me.