Title: Better Call Saul: “Witness”
Air Date: April 17th, 2017
Genre: Drama, Crime-Thriller
The second episode of the current season of Better Call Saul proves that, as much as Mike Ehrmantraut and company have been killing scenes and storylines since Season 2, the relationship between Jimmy and Chuck is one of the best stories on television. While “Witness” was notably missing a black and white post-Breaking Bad scene – which somewhat makes sense after James collapsed the last episode – the current (aka pre-BB) scenes certainly made up for it.
Vagueness continues to surround what exactly Chuck’s plans are for the tape, as an added layer of confusion starts the episode, as he paces around the house at night while a man sits in his kitchen simply waiting. Speaking of waiting, Mike’s investigation into the gas cap incident continued.
Even though a fair amount of the investigation made up the season opener, I still found myself entranced with his scenes, despite – actually in spite of – the lack of action taking place. Stakeouts require patience and quiet, and Ehrmantraut’s investigation scene was shot exactly that way, aside from some non-diegetic music.
To say that patience paid off is an understatement, as the possible culprit was revealed to be someone (and somewhere) that’s been on my mind since Better Call Saul’s inception. After tailing his unknown handler to a man responsible for picking up and delivery dead drops, Mike is lead to a confusing final destination…a fast food restaurant. This was not just any restaurant though, this was Los Pollos Hermanos.
Fans of Breaking Bad – like myself – known the restaurant well, and have the blessing of hindsight of knowing that it is a front. But without our knowledge of hindsight, Mike enlist help to figure out what’s going on, calling Jimmy. Not only does it bridge our two favorite characters back together, it also revealed that Mike isn’t a big fan of Cracker Barrel like the rest of his age group.
The comparison of Jimmy and Mike’s stakeout and investigative skills is fully evident in the Lawyer stakeout of Los Pollos Hermanos. It’s evident through fidgeting and straight stares that Jimmy doesn’t contain the same composure and discernable demeanor as Mike has been displaying throughout. At one point the camera even frames Jimmy’s eyes to be the only thing in focus looking over a counter, displaying just how obvious he looks.
The scene doesn’t exactly reveal how the dead drops are being done, but it serves its purpose by not only highlighting just how good Ehrmantraut is at investigations, it also reintroduces one of Breaking Bad’s illustrious villains.
While his role is limited to picking up Jimmy’s watch from the trash, Mr. Fring return was done marvelously. From the shot of him cleaning out of frame, while the camera was focused on Jimmy, to the few seconds of him pondering the situation in question, it was the perfect taste to remind me that though he’s not always in the forefront, he’s always one step ahead. Which leads to, what I can only assume is, the end to Mike’s investigation, when one of the signals he was tailing, ends at a cell phone placed on a gas cap.
Though I continue to thoroughly enjoy Mike’s scenes and the build up surrounding its circumstances, Ernie’s admission to Kim about the tape set off one of the best endings of Better Call Saul yet. Starting with Kim and Jimmy’s individual reactions to learning the news. Kim continues to reaffirm the character that has been built so far, as she approaches of the situation head on after hearing about it, attempting to be practical, figuring out just what Chuck could or would do.
But it’s Jimmy’s reaction, unsurprisingly, that is not only a reaffirmation of his character as well, it’s a heartbreaking performance by Bob Odenkirk. The range of emotions displayed by the actor is impressive, as Jimmy is obviously despondent upon hearing the information, but then puts on a brave (and charming) face for his clients. Then, as he is peeling off the tape to the logo he unveiled to the new assistant at the beginning – in the same calm manner that Chuck told him was the right way the last episode – he has the opportunity to open up to Kim, but he doesn’t.
Instead, the flawed, emotional Jimmy tears the tape off and storms to Chuck’s house, kicking the door down, angrily berating his brother, and tearing up the tape…all in front of the Private Investigator and Howard. Both of who state they were both a “Witness” to the whole scene.
Did you catch last night’s episode of Better Call Saul? If so, what did you think? What scene or scenes did you like the most? What are your predictions for season 3? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to check back each week for the lead-up and coverage of the shows next episode immediately after it airs on AMC at 10 PM EST.
- Breaking Bad hindsight
- Los Pollos Hermanos returns
- Chuck’s plans
- No (Future) James Scenes