Better Call Saul: Cobbler

 Posted by on February 24, 2016 at 12:41 pm  Better Call Saul
Feb 242016
Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler sneak a cigarette

Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/Sony Pictures Television/ AMC

Must be metric.

Better Call Saul S2E2, Cobbler, was a fun episode, with lots of wit, lots of clever situations and fun dialogue, but it ended on a dark note, and the entire thing, from a bird’s eye view, is truly the noose tightening on Jimmy McGill. Someday soon he’ll be Saul Goodman, and while we’re allowed to enjoy this show largely as a comedy, we are not allowed to forget for long. The season opener, Switch, was suffused in melancholy that Cobbler evades, but the quiet negotiation that ended this episode, with Kim and Jimmy agreeing that he cannot discuss his legal transgressions with her, is shades of things to come.

I’ll remind you of something I said a year ago: By the time we meet Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad, he’s not in a relationship with Kim (on-screen, anyway). She lives in the same town, so it’s not that he moved away to become Saul—we know that whatever changes him, changes him in a way that breaks his connections to family and friends, and this looks like the first step.

By the way, did you notice in this scene that Kim is wearing Jimmy’s “University of American Samoa” sweatshirt? They’re cozily eating post-coital pie. Earlier, when Jimmy was talking about maybe buying a house, they slipped into things “we” would buy easily, accidentally, but then didn’t dial it back. These two have something very real, and when Chuck shows up at a meeting, making Jimmy painfully nervous, it’s Kim who shores him up and keeps him calm enough to be as brilliant as he is.

Last season, we found out that Jimmy’s beloved older brother, Chuck, he of the crazy terror of electronic signals, was the one who’d been undermining Jimmy at HHM all along. Jimmy became a lawyer to impress his brother, and turned out to have a talent for it. Chuck can’t stand that, so when we see Chuck now, we see him as the villain of the piece. Thus his quiet moments are full of menace, and even laying in his bed, staring at the ceiling, looks to me like plotting against his brother. I mean, you can’t mistake his discomfort and disgusts when Howard stops by to tell him that Jimmy has been hired by THAT OTHER LAW FIRM THAT I’M SURE HAS A NAME.

The finest in temporary corporate housing.

One of the things Better Call Saul enjoys showing us is how “Slippin’ Jimmy’s” skills as a con man are the some of the same skills he brings to the law: Attention to detail, a rapid mind, rapport with anyone and everyone, and patience for letting the scenario build. Jimmy isn’t just a fast-talker, he’s not just the “Squat Cobbler” guy; he’s also the guy who analyzed the Sandpiper contracts and found that an optional clause might not be so optional. He’s meticulous, attentive, and smart. Other Law Firm is already getting their money’s worth.

Our clients will always be our best resource. Plus, they have ribbon candy.

But a shadow is going to hang over all of it, a foreshadow, really, and I suspect Chuck’s is the hand that will ultimately bring down the hammer (to mix metaphors shamelessly). His new cup doesn’t fit in the cupholder, his new corporate car has a moon roof that inevitably reminds him of his incarceration in Cicero. He doesn’t fit.

Until this falls through, though, he’s got a nice place to live, a beautiful office, and a Mercedes. Bye-bye, nail salon! Jimmy can buy his own cucumber water!

You think I’d be caught dead driving that thing? Looks like a school bus for 6 year old pimps.

Our “B” story is Mike Ehrmantraut and Dan the Dumb Drug Dealer. It relies on coincidence a bit—DDDD just happens to show up at the police station where Mike works. I looked into this—there are five different police stations in Albuquerque, as well as five different courthouse locations, and none of them overlap. We know from the very first episode that Mike works at a courthouse, and this is how he meets Jimmy. So, fine, the show is allowed to fictionalize Albuquerque a bit, to have a combined court/police location. Nonetheless, DDDD only had a one out of five shot of running into Mike (less, since Mike doesn’t actually work 24/7).

Part of the purpose of the B story was to bring Mike into a more direct confrontation with Nacho, and tie back to Tuco Salamanaca. The main purpose, though, is to push Jimmy closer to becoming Saul Goodman. And this also connects to the meaning of Kim and Jimmy on the bed and eating pie. Most of us would not have understood the nuance between being a criminal and a con man on the one hand, and fabricating evidence, risking disbarment, on the other.

Some bullet points to amuse you:

  • When Nacho’s driver take’s DDDD’s Hummer, he can’t help doing spins in the car.
  • Jimmy confronts Chuck, who says he’s there, “To bear witness.” Mike calls at just that moment, with the DDDD job. It was Jimmy’s anger in that moment that sealed the deal.
  • Professor Spouse said “He needs to prove his brother right.” Chuck sees Jimmy as a criminal and not a lawyer, so there’s some very Freudian stuff going on in here.
  • “The Muse, she speaks through me.”

  One Response to “Better Call Saul: Cobbler”

  1. when Jimmy was talking about maybe buying a house, they slipped into things “we” would buy easily, accidentally, but then didn’t dial it back. These two have something very real,

    That was my very favorite thing in the episode. When Kim lets out that “we”, Jimmy doesn’t bridle at it, instead subtly and quite consciously going with it, making it clear to Kim that he thinks of them as a “we” too. His approach to the relationship makes me like him enormously.

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