April 1, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Better Call Saul “Marco”

Season One Finale

And I think, in this episode, Saul Goodman is basically born.

OK, to be clear, “Saul Goodman” was always in the cards and on his way.  Jimmy isn’t at that level of sleaze just yet, but the fallout from the realization that Chuck, and not Howard, was the reason his career went nowhere is hitting Jimmy extra hard, enough for him to take a break and go back to Cicero, Illinois, his old hometown where he and his pal Marco used to run all kinds of schemes and cons.  He had briefly said goodbye to Marco before leaving with Chuck for New Mexico.  Now, he’s back, and while Marco has a respectable job and all, he misses the cons.  It doesn’t take much to talk Jimmy into pulling a bunch of cons for old time’s sake.

My thoughts as I was watching this was to wonder how much Jimmy feels a moral responsibility to use his legal skills for the better.  It sure does look like he’s trying to be a better person at times.  He did take on the nursing home case because he saw that the residents were being screwed over.  He returned the money the Kettlemans stole.  Yes, he does a lot of this in a flamboyant manner, but he’s trying.

The whole issue is whether or not he’ll keep trying or if he’ll secretly believe as Chuck does that he’ll never be a better person and maybe fall back into being Slippin’ Jimmy after spending some time with Marco.

Ultimately, that is what happens though why is somewhat unclear.  He and Marco appear to not only be good at pulling scams, but they both enjoy it.  They even make an attempt to do one last fake Rolex scam only for Marco to have a sudden heart attack and die.  Jimmy even keeps the man’s pinky ring, something Saul probably wore all the time on Breaking Bad but I never really noticed or paid much attention to before.

What I do know is Jimmy seems to waver back and forth on this one.  He does apologize to Howard and leave behind instructions for Chuck’s care.  He does seem to feel guilty when his elderly clients call looking for him.  He even goes back to Albuquerque when Kim calls to let him know that HHM is calling in even more help from another firm, a firm interested in offering Jimmy a partner track position if he joins them in Santa Fe.  This should be Jimmy’s goal after the whole season, right?

And it looks like he’s going to turn it down.  The closest he comes to getting advice for it is to ask Mike why the old man didn’t keep any of the Kettlemans’ stolen money.  Mike’s answer was he did the job he was given, no more and no less.  That’s such a Mike answer.

Jimmy’s decision is to basically never be the guy to give back a million dollars again.  He even tells Mike as much.

So, is this because of Chuck?  Marco?  Some combination?  Or is it because this is exactly who Jimmy McGill has been the whole time?  I don’t know, and those sorts of questions are what makes a character like Jimmy McGill fascinating.  It’s to the credit of this particularly universe’s creators that they manage to put together such fascinating and deep characters that a guy like Jimmy McGill, a throwaway supporting character in lesser hands, could prove to be so deep.

Why did I wait so long to get back to this?

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