Better Call Saul 1.07: Bingo

 Posted by on March 17, 2015 at 12:05 am  Better Call Saul
Mar 172015
Photo Credit:Ursula Coyote/AMC

Photo Credit:Ursula Coyote/AMC

He’s just got to learn, some rocks you don’t turn over.

Better Call Saul episode 1.07, Bingo, opens with a slow pan over some nasty looking Wanted posters, down to Saul/Jimmy. The camera rests on his face for a moment, long enough to remind us that Jimmy, too, is a criminal at heart, although in this episode, again, he will struggle mightily to avoid being one. Jimmy’s version of quote doing the right thing unquote includes breaking and entering, or better yet, hiring Mike Ehrmantraut to do so.

Later in the episode, Jimmy meets the Kettlemans in a diner. He excuses himself to go to the men’s room, from where he calls Kim. The heavy, bearded man whom Jimmy bumps into in the men’s room was on the Wanted poster directly above his head in the opening scene. Good stuff.

I love that Jimmy refers to the Kettlemans as Maude and Ned Flanders. They are exactly that, and have been since episode 1. They are also best in small doses. Better Call Saul has found a great balance; the broad comedy of Ned and Maude, the poignant tragi-comedy of Chuck, the non-stop wit of Jimmy himself, and Mike as a dark and silent anchor that holds the whole thing steady.

Jimmy’s wit by itself could surely swallow its own tail, but with Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, you know you are not watching a trifle.

So Mike makes his dark non-confession to his fellow veteran cop, saying he owes his daughter-in-law, and then Jimmy refers to “Those two Philly cheesesteaks”—it’s the combination that works so well.

Chuck is teaching himself to be outside, so that he can be “useful again.” It gives us one potential trajectory for the outcome of this relationship—one way that Jimmy might become Saul.

It occurred to me the other day that Jimmy McGill and his brother Chuck are in Albuquerque, and so is Kim Wexler. Whatever happens that makes Jimmy into Saul Goodman, it happens in plain sight of his family and friends—he doesn’t leave town. We never met Chuck or Kim or HHM on Breaking Bad, so it feels like this ends with all these relationships burned to the ground.

In the meantime, he’s enticing Chuck with case files, although I don’t know to what end.

The suite is a beautiful fantasy—one Jimmy never achieves, as it doesn’t suit “Saul Goodman’s” purposes. Saul’s future offices, I think, are as much a function of his client’s expectations as the Matlock suits.

The rest of the episode is taken up by maneuvering the Flanders in and out of position. I’m glad they’re gone, frankly, even though they’re hilarious. I imagine their departure spells the return of Nacho.

In the robbery, note the long silence. This is pure Rififi; Mike carries out the entire operation in silence, we watch in silence, it’s elegant and thoughtful. Also note the contrast to the Flanders constant dishonest bluster.

Here’s a $15,000 Cocobolo desk. I had to count those zeros twice to believe it.


  4 Responses to “Better Call Saul 1.07: Bingo”

  1. “Whatever happens that makes Jimmy into Saul Goodman, it happens in plain sight of his family and friends”

    And of course, the late lamented show “In Plain Sight” also took place in Albuquerque…

  2. For insight into Chuck’s condition see this article about a refuge from electromagnetic waves:

  3. In the meantime, he’s enticing Chuck with case files, although I don’t know to what end

    I felt it was Jimmy’s attempt to bring Chuck back into the world without forcing him. If he can get him interested in being a lawyer again, maybe he can be O.K. one day. Jimmy looking back in the window as he saw Chuck looking at the files was actually rather touching.

    I felt the same about all of Jimmy’s actions this week. When the Kettlemans rehired him, he immediately called Kim and did everything, even beyond the normal professional ethics, to get them to go back to her. He could have taken their case (keeping the bribe money) and certainly lost in court, sending Mr. Kettleman to a long prison term, but he gave the money back and forced them to protect themselves and go back to the plea. Even in dealing with Mike, he didn’t want to leave him alone to speak with the cop. Jimmy is, in fact, a Good Guy! He’s trying to help people and do what’s right. That’s why it’s so painful (to him and to us) when it all goes unrewarded.

  4. Oh, man a Rififi reference! Of course that safe cracking sequence took almost half an hour, and was unbearable on the nerves. One of the all time greats.
    Wonder if Jimmy holds out hope that he’ll be good enough for Wexler someday. She is definitely Mrs. Tilden Katz material.
    Or does Jimmy not care about that?
    Again, I love, love his relationship with Chuck.
    He is so tender with him, that it is actually startling.

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