Title: Better Call Saul “Fifi”
Airdate: April 4th, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Comedy
Listen, I know we are all still riled up due to The Walking Dead‘s season finale, but what better way to cope than an evening with Jimmy McGill? Though this week of Better Call Saul was a bit of a slow one some great developments on Kim’s (Rhea Seehorn) side help keep this episode afloat. Though, once more, the clear disconnect between the two main story arcs is starting to really show and make the series feel fractured.
Let’s cover the low points this week first. I seem to rag on Mike’s storyline a lot, despite the character being the most fascinating to watch develop over the course of this show. Yes, actor Jonathan Banks still kills it as Mike, but his storyline is starting to feel too different from the rest of the show. Every week his story tugs more and more in a different direction than what the rest of Better Call Saul is going. While it’s important we keep the connections to Breaking Bad, the cartel/criminal based sub-plots are just not as strong or interesting. This stems from the clear lack of interaction the rest of the cast has with Mike, as his story is clearly very different than what Jimmy (Ben Odenkirk), Kim, and Chuck (Michael McKean) are dealing with. As much as I want to get invested in Mike’s issues with the cartel, I just find it difficult as they drag on for ages.
That all being said, his interactions with Kaylee (Abigail Zoe Lewis) this week were both heartfelt and in a way exceptionally sinister. Mike’s relationship with his granddaughter has always been the rock of the character’s moral center, but having him help her make what pretty much looks like a trap out of Saw was an interesting duality. He’s always been a man about balance, between both his work and family so seeing these two wildly different things come together was interesting. It was a great moment for the character, as we really got a grasp on how to split his life really is. Though seriously, did you get a look at that weapon he was making? That alone has my curiosity peaked for next week’s episode!
Jimmy and Kim had another great showing, as both of them moved forward with their plans to open up their own firm. Kim’s own character development over these past few episodes has been fascinating to watch as the character has finally been liberated in away. With her life finally freed from the shackles at other firms, her mood and subsequent transition to working as a private practitioner have quite notably altered. Though this is for the better, as Kim was always a character who felt restrained at her job at H&M, playing the moral foil to Jimmy. She always was one to take the high ground, and while the character needed to do that in order to balance Jimmy out, that’s all she was around to do before. Now that Kim is finally seeing the harsher side of working solo, I’m interested to see how her relationship with Jimmy will progress. Especially since she has already suffered a fairly massive loss in losing Mesa Verde to Chuck and Howard (Patrick Fabien.)
Speaking of Chuck, his meeting today (though a bit underhanded) was one of the standout moments for the character. Though it seemed rather innocuous, up until this point we really hadn’t seen Chuck interact much with clientele. I was always curious how different his style was from Jimmy’s though thinking back on it the duo really is not that different. Sure, Chuck has been doing it longer than his brother, but the method of emotional manipulation seems to be a skill in the McGill family. This meeting not only helped progress the story but help show just how alike the McGill brothers are. McKean gave a great performance this week, as the change in scenery really helped broaden the character’s emotional range from the usual uncomfortable to slightly more uncomfortable.
Once again Better Call Saul delivered some great moments courtesy of Bob Odenkirk, as him trying to swindle his way onto an air force base for a commercial was hilarious. As much as we should hate him, Jimmy really is an endearing character. Yes, he is a manipulative person but Jimmy really just wants to do the right thing. He just goes about it in a way most of us wouldn’t ever consider. His moments with Kim during both her triumphant victory at getting Mesa Verde and the following loss to Chuck showed just how much he cared for her. Jimmy isn’t using her like he may use others and in the end, there is clearly something important between them. Though him changing the address for Mesa Verde may actually be the straw that breaks Kim’s back. This isn’t him soliciting or making a commercial without permission, but straight out deception. Even if the scene with him at the copy store gave last week’s “trying to get fired” montage a run for its money.
With great performances once again from Odenkirk and Seehorn, Better Call Saul delivered quite a good episode. Despite the clear separation between Mike and Jimmy (in both tone and story) overall this was an enjoyable episode. With a small cliffhanger ending (I’m starting to sense a pattern here AMC,) I can only wonder who was on the phone and what that crazy weapon Mike was making is used for. Not to mention the ramifications for what Jimmy’s deception could be if any. At least, Better Call Saul helped cope with the trauma that The Walking Dead has left me with.
- Characters: Jimmy, Kim, and Chuck had some great moments this week. Despite Mike’s lackluster story, his moment with Kaylee was quite interesting to see.
- Cinematography: Though the series has always delivered some fantastic editing, camerawork, and lighting; this week’s scene at the copy store was by far the standout. The opening scene at the border also was fantastic, in both style and execution.
- Story: Kim’s emotional roller coaster really helped frame this episode, offering a great mix of humor and drama from all parties, except one. Sadly, Mike still feels like an extreme disconnect from the rest of the show and it’s starting to get noticeable.
- Acting: Another round of great performances from the cast.
- Jimmy's Commercial Shoot
- Kim's Emotional Journey
- Copy Store Scene
- Chuck's Meeting
- Fractured Stories/Tone
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.