December 11, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Better Call Saul “Pinata”

Season Four, Episode Six

Huh.  Interesting flashback for the cold open.  Jimmy and Kim are both still working in the mail room at HHM.  Chuck is there.  He won a big case.  Kim congratulates him, shows some promise, but Chuck doesn’t quite know her name as he compliments her.  Jimmy gets some basic details wrong, and Chuck just dismisses him.  But Jimmy, he sneaks into the library later as he continues his covert studies.

Why do people continue to underestimate Jimmy McGill?

Isn’t that, essentially, what this series is somewhat about?  Yes, it is about how Jimmy McGill became Saul Goodman.  Jimmy isn’t Saul.  Not really.  Saul is an act.  Jimmy is a smart guy in many ways.  He just does things in a fast-and-loose way where the rules aren’t always followed but he gets some results.  He small-time, wanting to be big, but he doesn’t seem to want to hurt people who, on some level, don’t deserve it.  He can feel guilty when he does things wrong, but he won’t get the help he might need in the wake of Chuck’s death.

Anyone familiar with Breaking Bad knows Saul Goodman is basically none of those things.  That character’s life away from Walter White is a complete unknown.  Just learning he had a close relationship with a woman like Kim, someone who seems like a soulmate while also being a much more talented lawyer and someone inclined to follow the sorts of rules that Jimmy often disregarded while still coming across as a good match for Jimmy is not something anyone who watched Breaking Bad might have ever assumed.  Jimmy McGill is a man with love in his life.  Saul Goodman is an oddball and a clown who cuts deals for shady characters.

But there’s a lot of Saul in Jimmy.

Case in point:  Jimmy uses his $5,000 inheritance check to buy burner phones to sell on the street.  He knows those teenagers will try to rob him again and offers them cash to leave him alone, a guaranteed $100 a night.  The teens naturally think they can just take all of Jimmy’s money again.

Maybe they should have noticed Jimmy was wearing a track suit since he takes off running and leads the three into a trap where some masked men smash pinatas with a baseball bat until they realize not to mess with Jimmy because he has those sort of guys on standby.  Yeah, the kids were probably not in any real danger, but they sure as hell don’t know that.

Besides, Jimmy has other issues involving Kim’s plans and maybe even mixed feelings as HHM might be going under.

That said, Mike continues to prove his worth, and Gus gives a rather chilling speech to a comatose Hector on what sort of man Gus is when he wants revenge.  This is good TV.  I just don’t have much to say about that as Mike and Gus, unlike Jimmy, have a firm idea of who they are and what they want.