The bar exam’s a mother, I mean for me it was. I failed it the first two times, but I guess it’s like losing your virginity, third time’s the charm.
In the Better Call Saul episode RICO, we learn the thing that Jimmy McGill wants most in the world: To work with his brother, and have his brother be proud of him.
There is so much wit in RICO, so many great lines I jotted down, but this was an episode with soul, in which Jimmy revealed himself in a tender and touching way. He flat-out asked Chuck if he was proud: How sweet is that? And this is the second time in just a few episodes that he asked someone he respects to work with him: First Kim, in those magnificent offices, and now Chuck. And while he has just enough self-regard to ask Kim to be a partner (with a better office), he can only ask Chuck if he can work for him. That flashback was so revealing. So that, by the time they do work together, Jimmy has to sort of prop Chuck up as a figurehead and do all the talking, and yet, when Chuck finally does speak, Jimmy shuts right up.
By the way, Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean really could pass for brothers. Lovely casting.
Go Land Crabs!
This is also the first episode where we really understand who and what Chuck is. Previously, we knew he was a very smart lawyer, a partner in a major firm, and that he had a formidable mind. But now we see him in action, both before and after his illness. He’s focused, sharp, a rockstar to Sandpiper lawyer Rick Schweikart (Dennis Boutsikaris). Was Chuck really as proud of Jimmy as he seemed to be? All of Jimmy’s animus is directed at Howard, but would Howard have gone to the mailroom and broken Jimmy’s heart without Chuck’s say-so?
Just a few more signatures and thy will be done.
The thing about Jimmy is, he has a correspondence-course law degree and looks like a schlub, but he really is smart. He listens and assesses everywhere he goes. Probably what made him a good con man. He really does like his old people, and is sweet to them, but he’s also analyzing everything he hears, which is how he catches that Mrs. Landry is being ripped off by the Sandpiper. Once he brings this to Chuck’s attention, Chuck kind of has no choice but to offer real respect to Jimmy, who uncovered something very real, and who found an error that Chuck made. The relationship is so clear right there, where Jimmy had to call himself a stopped clock that’s right twice a day, rather than acknowledge that Chuck could possibly screw up, or that Jimmy himself could do better.
By the way, do you read Sepinwall? He’s a terrific TV reviewer, the guy who created the mold, really, and he always opens his columns with a quote like “A review of tonight’s [name of show] coming up just as soon as I [quote from the show].” Anyway, one of my little games in life is to guess what his opening quote will be, and last night I finally got it right!
A review of tonight’s “Better Call Saul” coming up just as soon as I use double ply…
Jimmy isn’t good at the slow down and be careful part of lawyering, is he? Writing a demand letter in the bathroom is pretty hilarious, but also justifiable, in its own way.
Meanwhile, in Mike land, his daughter-in-law tentatively lets him back into the life of the family, and we see the simple reality of how Mike became the criminal enforcer we know from Breaking Bad. He “broke his boy;” he is complicit, he feels, in his son’s death and the financial straits of his family. He will violate his own moral code to help them, because that’s the price he pays. Mike’s in purgatory, but little Kaylee makes it all worthwhile. He’s doing lucrative work to buy his family’s indulgence.
I’m going to say the dumpster scene was a little over-the-top in terms of comedy, but “Blow my magic flute” kind of made it worthwhile.
The sandpiper has landed.
Chuck’s terror, and his eventual ability to speak, followed by his distracted walk outside, gave huge insight into the character as well. When he realizes what he’s done and drops the box, is it to declare himself cured or the beginning of an attack? If you watched the previews for next week, you probably know the answer, but that’s spoiler territory and we won’t go into that here.