Title: Better Call Saul “Inflatable”
Airdate: March 28th, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama, Comedy
Can we all agree that Jimmy’s montage this week may be one of the best moments in Better Call Saul? This week’s episode saw Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) take center stage once more as he finally decided it was time to find his place in the world. While Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) story was simplistic enough, the wealth of content is given to us was more than enough to make “Inflatable” a memorable episode. Sadly, though, Mike and Jimmy’s stories are still fairly separate from each other. Their brief exchange, while entertaining, really only illustrated how different in a tone both of the character’s narrative arcs are.
Let’s get Mike out of the way, since his role, this week was relatively small and less confrontational than normal. His meeting with Jimmy and the police about the confrontation with Tuco (Raymond Cruz) was short but sweet. It’s always interesting to see the lengths Jimmy will go to protect a friend of his, especially when Jimmy knows first hand how insane Tuco can be. It’s risky but does a good job showcasing the loyalty that he has for those close to him, even if Mike has been fairly absent in Jimmy’s story. Speaking of, at this point Better Call Saul feels like there are two wildly different tones going on between these characters. Jimmy’s is fun and character driven while Mike’s is very gritty and seems to be closer to that of Breaking Bad. This isn’t a horrible idea, but at some point, the two arcs need to intersect with one another.
Seriously, though, how amazing was the “trying to get fired” montage? While it was clearly hilarious, it did a fantastic job of illustrating who exactly Jimmy is and what he wants to be. The dynamic colors and editing had a very 1970’s vibe to them, as it helped showcase how important independence is to this character. Sure, the colorful suits were a great way for him to get noticed for all the wrong reasons though he did look quite stylish. In fact, this entire episode of Better Call Saul was very much of independence and the importance it has to the various characters. Jimmy is a non-conformist and will do what he needs to get the job done. The flashback at the very beginning not only helped showcase jimmy’s natural talent for sizing people up but his acceptance to be the wolf over a sheep. Yet, there is something humbling about how his firing actually went down as even in victory Jimmy is fairly gracious. He clearly had to means to hurt anyone at the firm, yet his backhanded methods made for some interesting duality in the character. Especially since, in the end, Jimmy is basically screwing them out of thousands of dollars just because he was acting overly obnoxious.
Though this independence he strived for, was clearly felt on Kim’s (Rhea Seehorn) end. She was having a bit of a career crisis last week and I’m happy to see that it continued forward and wasn’t resolved abruptly. As much as Kim wouldn’t like to admit it, she is just like Jimmy in a lot of ways despite his more “colorful” nature of doing business. Wexler and McGill are the epitome of this strive for solidarity, yet Kim was not being definitive on the concept until the very end was a fantastic choice. Why should she throw all of her good fortunes on a crazy idea with Jimmy, when Schweikart (Dennis Boutsikaris) is clearly willing to make her partner at her firm? Watching her journey from job to job has been quite an interesting one, especially when she tore up the business card Jimmy made for her.
Honestly, when Kim tore up that card I was fully expecting her to just toss it off the edge of the parking garage. She doesn’t need Jimmy when it comes down to her career, yet she is truly willing to risk it all for the sake of freedom. In many ways, Kim’s ultimatum at the end of the episode is a betrayal fo what Jimmy truly wants. By making them separate firms under the same roof, it’s very clear just how Kim feels about the way he goes about his work. Sure their relationship has been fairly rocky but never has it been clearer as to how Kim feels about the “colorful” methods he applies. Better Call Saul has always done a fantastic job at subverting our expectations for characters. Forcing Jimmy to essentially accept that she will never truly appreciate or understand his methods was an important character moment for both. This, of course, was helped by the fantastic acting both Odenkirk and Seehorn delivered this week.
Better Call Saul delivered another fantastic episode this week that helped push both Jimmy and Kim forward. The great use of color and editing gave parts of “Inflatable” a feeling all its own, that only was noticeable in the slower sections involving Mike. At this point, it’s fairly obvious how different Jimmy and Mike’s stories really are and it makes one wonder what will it actually take for them to intersect in a meaningful manner. With only a few episodes left in the season, it’s so far been one of the major complaints I have had that is yet to be resolved or show any sign of it. Hopefully, we will see more Mike/Jimmy dynamic in the future.
- Characters: Both Jimmy and Kim had some great moments this week that really helped them develop both their relationship with each other and themselves. Mike took more of a backseat though his moments felt more like filler.
- Cinematography: Highlight of the week is by far the “trying to get fired” montage. The great mix of sound and editing really stood out among anything int he seasons so far.
- Story: Fantastic beat by beat storytelling this week, with an important focus on these character-defining choices.
- Acting: Odenkirk and Seehorn once more give defining performances that raise the bar for any other television program.
- Jimmy/Kim Character Choices
- "Getting Fired" Montage
- Opening Flashback
- Kim's Ultimatum
- Mike/Jimmy Detachment
- Mike's Story Was Filler
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.