Title: Better Call Saul “Bali Ha’i”
Airdate: March 21st, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Comedy
Do you remember how last week I noted how good Better Call Saul is at introducing staple characters from Breaking Bad? Well, we got a two for one deal this week as both of the cartel twins decided to join the fray and stand around menacingly like weird scarecrows. Though this week was once again light on the Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) front, thankfully the great narrative continuations involving Mike (Jonathan Banks) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) made up the difference. Jimmy’s absence is starting to get fairly noticeable as he just seems to be around for the sake of being around, not to move the main story forward.
However, the teasing end we got involving Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) last week was further expanded upon to show Mike’s further descent into the criminal world. We all know Mikes a bad ass, but seeing him in such a vulnerable state after the threats to his niece really shook the character’s image. This is something Mike has desperately needed, due to him essentially being untouchable throughout the majority of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Mike has always been the epidemy of someone you don’t want to mess with, which clearly illustrated with how he dispatched those home invaders! Seriously, though, did anyone else get a bit sad to see the Billy Mays commercial it cut too? Regardless, bringing the twins in as combatants for mike to deal with was a brilliant choice as it only reinforces the known history he has with the Cartel and eventually Gus.
That being said, Hector ‘s choice to just accept Mike’s terms of fifty thousand dollars was a bit crazy and unbelievable. I mean, the man has his back against the wall and is hardly about to put Kaylee’s (Abigail Zoe Lewis) at risk to get some compensation for his work. Yes, it was brave, but it seemed very out of character for Hector to just pay him. He is clearly not above killing a young girl to prove a point, so why all of a sudden he is feeling so generous felt out of place. Not only that, but it undermined the sense of vulnerability I mentioned, as all of a sudden in less than 24 hours later Mike is back on control. His character, more than any others, needs a sense of being grounded. Yet, with the exception of really one episode back in Season 1, Mike has pretty much kept the same image up the entire time. His character rarely changes in both motive and personality; and while I understand this is very much the persona the character has, he just needs more substance.
On the opposite side of the coin, Kim was an emotional mess this week as she faced quite the existential crisis. Given how much of a rollercoaster ride her career has been, partially in thanks to Jimmy, I was surprised just how torn Kim was with working at H&M. Her sit down with the opposite council was fantastic as it really showcased just how poorly she has been treated since Jimmy’s involvement. This was of course only enhanced by the fantastic acting of both Seehorn and Dennis Boutsikaris. We haven’t seen much of Rick Schweikert so that long monolog he was given really did a great job illustrating how alike his situation was to Kim’s in the not to distant past. As much as she may not want to admit it, Kim is being punished for her connection to Jimmy. It’s obvious how much disdain Howard (Patrick Fabien) has for her, which was beautifully interested by the tracking show between the duo walking through the office. Every question, concern, or attempt at small talk passed right by Howard as he kept that oh so serious face on. It was great and was a fantastic way to illustrate how different Kim and Howard really are as both professionals and just generally people.
Also, can we talk about how awesome it was to see Jimmy and Kim attempt to swindle another guy at a bar? I honestly didn’t know where it was going until she made the call to Jimmy, but that scene truly highlighted why these characters are so perfect together. Sure, Jimmy has kind of ruined her career at H&M, but it is clear their relationship has transcended work. Though they might not admit it, the duo works perfectly together both in and out of work. This is also in thanks to the amazing chemistry both Odenkirk and Seehorn share, but the great writing as well. I believe their relationship, as Better Call Saul has time and time again shown the little things each does for each other. Seriously, though, how amazing was Jimmy’s singing over the phone? If that doesn’t show commitment to a loved one, I am not sure what does.
Speaking of Jimmy, despite being sidelined, he had some nice scenes in the opening and closing. His inability to sleep in a fancy bed over the little pullout he had in his old “office” did a great job showing Jimmy’s disconnect to the high-end lifestyle. He isn’t that type of guy and is clearly happy just being himself over another stiff lawyer like Howard. His victory over the dreaded cupholder was a fun way to end the episode, as Jimmy seems to finally be done trying to compensate for all the headaches he has had to endure. Honestly, though, how many of you are surprised he has put up with Erin (Jessie Ennis) this long? The only issue I see is Jimmy and Mike’s stories are so separate that they feel like they are from completely different shows. Mike’s is very much the Breaking Bad crime and danger we all love while Jimmy’s is far more emotionally driven. It’s been some time since they intersected, so it’d be nice if we saw both of them joined together once more.
“Bali Ha’i” was a good episode, that really flushed out Kim’s career issues further. Though Jimmy got sidelined, again, Mike took the reigns this time around with mixed results. Though this wasn’t one of the best episodes in the season, the great performance by Seehorn carried the show home. Hopefully, next week’s episode of Better Call Saul Jimmy will take center stage again and maybe, just maybe, Mike will intertwine with him.
- Characters: Kim and Mike headed this week’s episode with the former developing nicely while the latter seemed to be a mixed bag in terms of quality.
- Story: Though Kim’s storyline built upon strongly on her relationship with both Jimmy and H&M, Mike’s sadly was up and down throughout. Hopefully, though, Jimmy will step out of the shadows next week and not be pushed into being a side character.
- Cinematography: Though the coloring was not as astonishing as it was last week, the use of angles and shot choices were perfect. The highlight of this week was definitely that tracking shot between Kim and Howard.
- Acting: Once more the entire cast delivers fantastic performances, that proves Better Call Saul may have some of the best actors on the small screen.
- Kim's Career Crisis
- Seehorn/Odenkirk Chemistry
- The Cousin's Have Arrived!
- Mike's Vulnerability...
- ...Which Was Quickly Taken Away.
- Jimmy Sidelined Again
- Hector Accepting Mike's Terms
A recent graduate of Arcadia University, Collin MacGregor is a freelance video editor and writer. He covers video games, television, and film for The Nerd Stash. Collin currently is the head film/television reviewer for the site.