May 23, 2024

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Better Call Saul “Amarillo”

Season Two, Episode Three

There are things afoot for both Mike and Jimmy in this episode.  So, the real question is, how good do these two guys want to be right now?

As I see it, both are on the path to becoming career criminals in different ways.  Now, this is a prequel, so that’s hardly a big revelation, but it does say a lot about how these guys got there.  For Mike, it’s about taking care of his daughter-in-law and granddaughter.  For Jimmy…well, I don’t know.

The Mike thing is easy enough.  Stacey thinks there was a gunshot near her house, and she’s paranoid since the whole thing with her late husband came to light.  Mike just accepts he has to help her move out of the neighborhood despite the fact he stayed up all night on watch and saw and heard nothing.  If this were any other character, I might question if he missed something, but because this is Mike, I basically accept that he knows what he’s doing and it’s Stacey that has the problem.  I also accept that Mike would rather help her find a place where she feels safer, at least for now, because his family is about all that really matters to Mike in pretty much any incarnation.

That he may be working for Nacho in the future is proof of that.

But then there’s Jimmy.  Jimmy doesn’t generally like rules and restraints.  He likes results.  Bribing his way onto a bus so he can personally sell the passengers on the class action suit in Amarillo, Texas is just his style.  It’s also (probably) illegal, so he’ll lie about it later.  Jimmy is a man with some great showmanship, so it makes sense that he can pull that off, and he’s still something of a con man.  With Chuck more or less looking over his shoulder and Kim’s general concern because her own career could be on the line if Jimmy fouls up too badly, he’ll have to do things differently.

So, when Jimmy’s boss Clifford Main seems to approve a specialized TV commercial to air in a market where the local nursing home seems to be screening the mail for fliers, it comes down to Jimmy to make a very Jimmy-ish (and perfectly legal) TV commercial.  He gets a former client to star, hires a pair of film students to make it, and it works.  They get another 100 clients.

Small problem:  Jimmy never ran it by Cliff.  Even though it only aired once, he really should have asked the boss.

I guess assuming the guy who has been nothing but nice to him and plays bass guitar in his office would be cool with what he did without checking first was an assumption too far.

Then again, Jimmy then lies to Kim about why Cliff called in the first place.

The central theme to Better Call Saul, at least going by what Chuck said in season one, is that people like Jimmy don’t change.  Jimmy is theoretically doing good for his elderly clients.  They really are being screwed over by the nursing home.  However, doing things completely on the up-and-up seems to be beyond Jimmy’s general abilities.  Now, it could be that Jimmy’s cons have for the most part only targeted people who deserved it, but that doesn’t change the fact that Jimmy is bending if not outright breaking the law.  Chuck is right about that sort of thing.

Of course, Chuck is pretty awful in his own way, so maybe the McGill boys balance each other out.