Better Call Saul’s most recent episode, Rebecca, opened with an ironic flashback: So ironic, it was almost cute, with Chuck in the dark, then lighting electric lights. At the end of the episode, Chuck is in the office before 9 am, because he cannot abide electric lights. And since both that last scene and the opening flashback involve Chuck interacting with women who find Jimmy appealing, I think it’s on purpose.
Chuck had a magnificent and special wife, a concert violinist. We don’t know if she died or left him, if she left because of the crazy electricity thing, or if the crazy electricity thing was precipitated by her leaving. There are some things that are obvious in the flashback: One, that Chuck’s discomfort with Jimmy is hugely out of proportion with Jimmy’s actual behavior, two, that Chuck is intensely jealous of Jimmy’s easy charm and gift of gab, and three, that something happened. The episode is titled Rebecca, the name of Chuck’s wife. At first I wondered if the entire episode would be a flashback, and when we got to the main timeline of the series, I more or less assumed we wrap back around, with another Rebecca scene. In the end, I wondered why the episode got this name, given her relatively small role.
You don’t save me, I save me.
Except it’s not that small, is it? It’s someone who was fond of Jimmy, and Chuck can’t abide that. In the final scene, we learn Chuck is perfectly capable of getting Kim out of the doghouse, but only if she will sit and listen while he poisons Jimmy for her. She cannot help but be poisoned, he’s reasonably, calmly, telling her some of her worst and secret fears about Jimmy. I’ve been in her shoes–even if you try like hell to dismiss what’s been said to you, you remember.
Kim references the Kettleman case, when she was also in the doghouse, and that also related to Jimmy. (The Kettlemans, remember, were the “Ned Flanders” couple who embezzled so much money from the state.) She is smart, career-minded, and worked her ass off to bring in a client. She wants to work within the system, but the system is rigged. Jimmy knows that. They’re actually a great couple, because she reigns him in, knowing you have to play by the rules, and he pushes past her, knowing that you can’t play by the rules. Both are true, and that tension is what this series is about.
God damn pixie Ninja.
In our main timeline, Jimmy is plagued by a young attorney who will make Jimmy behave no matter what. I have to say, with Omar serving coffee and Jimmy’s every need, I hardly think that Jimmy is the one who needs to be corrected about which paragraphs should be centered. Also, she denied that woman her Beanie Baby. That’s just cruel.
This episode, we’re dealing with extortion and bribes as a theme, whether it’s Beanie Babies, or being forced to listen to poisonous background on someone you love, or “Tio” Salamanaca (Mark Margolis) showing up from Breaking Bad, looking much, much healthier, with an offer of five thousand dollars to Mike. I don’t think Mike can take the money, since the whole purpose of provoking Tuco to beat him up was to get him put away for several years. But we are definitely not done with Tio, who isn’t just offering a bribe; the threat is implied, but very real.
Bullets over blog:
- Professor Spouse and I are on a West Wing kick, so we ended up watching two TV shows on two consecutive nights in which Yo-Yo Ma’s presence at an event (Chuck’s wedding, a Congressional Christmas party) was significant. That’s so weird.
- Carol Burnett pulling her ear, in case you’re wondering.
- In case you haven’t seen it, on Breaking Bad, Tio Salamanaca was in greatly diminished health, used a wheelchair, and able to communicate only by ringing a bell.