This week’s episode has the realization that the series is better when there’s more Mike Ermantraut.
That crotchety Mr. Magoo is such a lovable and wise curmudgeon he makes the show instantly better, so what we need to hurry up and do is reach the point where Jimmy and Mike are interacting more regularly, because otherwise this is growing into a hard watch.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s still great fun to watch Jimmy McGill’s progression to Saul Goodman, but right now we’re completely bogged down in this “will he be a good guy or won’t he” story, and the problem is that we already know the answer.
He’ll choose to become the guy who skirts the law instead of following it to the letter. He’ll engage in scandalous and salacious behavior both on behalf of and because of his clients.
He won’t maintain a relationship with Kim Wexler. And probably not with his brother Chuck either.
And that’s all well and good. It is as it should be. We all fell in love with Saul Goodman during our Breaking Bad benders. (Or while watching week to week like…normal people.)
We’re already there. The character isn’t. So what we’re stuck with right now is the slowest emergence of a butterfly from a chrysalis the world has ever seen.
Yes. Yes, I did just call Saul Goodman a butterfly. It’s a transformation metaphor. Just go with it.
Jimmy McGill doesn’t fit in this world of expensive suits and high-priced attorneys and billable hours and “partners.” Truthfully, he knows that. He’s wise enough to know that the only reason he’s there is because he wants to impress Kim.
He’s also wise enough to know that Chuck is right. He’ll never step away from his life of shady dealings and sideshow acts because he’s addicted to the rush of the con.
Okay, maybe he doesn’t realize he’s addicted to the rush, and if he does realize it, that’s not something he’s going to admit too readily at the moment. Perhaps when he loses everything, a fall which must be coming.
As much as I dislike Chuck because of the way he treated Jimmy at the end of Better Call Saul Season 1, he’s not wrong. About any of it.
I desperately wanted him to acknowledge that HHM were putting the screws to Kim because of Jimmy, and I wanted Jimmy to push Chuck to the point of shouting at his younger brother to quit practicing law.
Kim wouldn’t want Jimmy to quit practicing for her, but he would gladly do so, a choice which she should accept.
Except then they’d likely find themselves even more opposed, or possibly with him seeking representation and turning to her for help because he got himself into a situation.
And then there is Mike, hes like watching a cunning John McClain in his twilight years. This man is the baddest of the badasses, and his poor face! Even knowing it isn’t real didn’t help me not flinch when we saw his pulverized nose and eye socket!
I love that he wouldn’t kill Tuco. That he held that gun in his hands and probably remembered every life he ever took from behind a barrel like that one and just decided he couldn’t do it. Not for any amount of money.
He might be a man who breaks the law or helps other break the law, but he does it with principle, thus making he and Jimmy excellent foils for one another.
They’re both skirting the legality of everything they do, but they know why they’re doing the things they’re doing. Jimmy for the rush and Mike to take care of his family, the former a thirst which cannot be quenched and the latter a debt which cannot be repaid.
There’s some beautiful symmetry there, you know?
What did you think of “Gloves Off”? Were you surprised Chuck held his ground and didn’t tell Jimmy to quit? Was Howard right to punish Kim for Jimmy’s mistake?
Thank you for reading