Title: Better Call Saul, Season 5 Episode 5 – “Dedicado a Max”
Release Date: March 16, 2020
Genre: Crime Drama
As Better Call Saul wades its way into the halfway point of its fifth season, we start seeing the seeds of discontent really start to sow.
The last episode’s cliffhanger left us asking one question – where the hell is Mike? Well, as predicted, this episode answers that question. Talking of predictability, however, it turns out Gus has brought him to a small community in rural New Mexico – which he personally finances – and is using his act of goodwill to coerce the broken hitman into working for him again. To be fair, the predictability couldn’t be helped – after all, there aren’t a lot of characters who actually want to be involved with Mike at this point in the show.
At the end of the episode, Mike and Gus discuss his re-entry into the dark world of the drug trade industry. As villainous and snake-like as Gus can be, he makes some excellent points that really shine a light on Mike’s character. Gus needs Mike because he can trust him and, as he puts it, he needs “a soldier” in his upcoming battle with the Salamancas. But more importantly, Mike needs Gus. It should come as no surprise that Gus has had Mike followed and he points out that if he wasn’t doing Gus’s bidding, he’d just be getting wasted at the bar, rejected by his daughter and granddaughter and getting beaten up by hoodlums. Which describes Mike’s story in the last couple of episodes of Better Call Saul pretty accurately.
Basically, Mike needs Gus because, whether he likes it or not, he’s a hitman through and through. Nobody else in his life needs him and he has nothing to do. The job is basically calling for Mike, despite his attempts to ignore it. Although clearly still pissed at Gus for making him kill Werner, the cliffhanger makes us think that Mike is going to join forces with Gus once again. Because, of course he is. It is halfway through the season after all and we’re still patiently waiting for a huge blowout between Fring and Lalo’s dueling sides in Better Call Saul.
So, yeah, that’s the exciting part of this episode. Now, onto the other stuff. You’ll remember that last episode, Kim convinced Jimmy to take on the role of Mr. Acker’s lawyer in an attempt to stop Vesa Merde from booting him out of his property and establishing a call center in its place. And if one thing can be said for this turn in the plot, it’s that it provides a steady stream of the usual Better Call Saul comedy. Jimmy pulls off a number of surreal schemes to keep Merde’s workers off the land (including luring an archaeologist dig to set up shop on the property and manufacturing a burnt Jesus image into the fence, drawing in a crowd of fanatical religious folk). It’s really over-the-top and challenges our suspension of disbelief but its light-heartedness does provide some relief from the sinister overtones of this season.
Of course, Kevin is none too happy of Saul’s interference but doesn’t quite suspect that Kim is on the ruse, too. Jimmy’s antics are costing Vesa Merde both time and money, but he insists that Kim challenge Jimmy in court over the debacle, despite her protests to the contrary. By the end of the episode, Kim seems to have made peace with the fact she is being pitted against Jimmy – they are in on the con together, after all. But a certain other colleagues of Kim’s isn’t as easily fooled as Kevin, leading her to feel her ethics are being unfairly violated. This will undoubtedly continue to fuel Kim’s arc this season, leading her to further doubt her own ethical standpoint.
Jimmy doubts that the Ackers case will be able to hold out much longer. But after unsuccessfully asking Mike to help him via phone call, Jimmy hires another PI to investigate Kevin, in a bid to find some misdemeanor or trouble from his past he can use to blackmail him with in order to get him to back off Ackers’ land. It’s a nice little treat for Breaking Bad fans to see this kind of thing going on in Breaking Bad since it’s what Saul is notorious for doing during the course of that series. And while disappointment abounds because Kevin’s past is clean, fans get a look at the crook that we will see in the legendary series.
Verdict: Well, things are getting very exciting in Better Call Saul – Mike is back in Gus’s employ and there’s a sense that a huge war is about to erupt between Fring and Lalo, it would appear. But, as funny as Jimmy/Saul is, as usual, his plotline with Kim falls by the wayside and proves to be uninteresting in comparison. Hopefully, the second half of the season bumps up the thrills a notch for Jimmy.
- Exciting! Gus teases an all-out-war with Lalo! Can't wait to see that.
- Watching Jimmy try to keep Vesa Merde's hired workers off Ackers' land is amusing
- The Jimmy/Kim plotline is a bit boring
- What on earth is Lalo up to - and why isn't he receiving any character development/having anything to do?