REVIEW: ‘Better Call Saul’ Episode Four: Hero

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It’ssss sssaaaauulll gooooood mannnn!

To say Jimmy McGill is heading down the rabbit hole of criminal enterprise is incorrect. From the flashback in the opening of this week and last week’s episodes, we know that before Jimmy became the hapless lawyer he is, he was a petty criminal conning drunks for his own “beer money.” Good cons, but petty. And we know that in the future, he is a professional criminal under the guise of a ambulance chasing defense attorney.

In the current timeline of “Better Call Saul,” Jimmy is at the crossroads of respectability and criminality. The Kettlemans offer him hush money so he doesn’t rat them out. He doesn’t want that tainted money, he wants them as clients. But as Mrs. Kettleman tells Jimmy “you’re a lawyer guilty people hire.” Sure, she is a hypocrite in that she is, indeed, guilty. She equates her husband’s non-paid overtime to “slavery” as a justification for their actions. But even she sees Jimmy as a two-bit operation.

So, Jimmy takes the money. He tries to rationalize it by itemizing his time dealing with the Kettlemans. Finally, he embraces his new-found money. Suits, haircuts and a billboard ad…mocking his brother’s (somewhat former) legal firm, and specifically mocking Howard Hamlin who heads it.

Now, it’s in the last quarter of the episode that we see that, just like Walter White six years later, Jimmy is pragmatic. He is a few steps ahead of everyone else. He gets student journalists to videotape his “David and Goliath” story between himself and Hamlin, when suddenly a worker falls from Jimmy’s billboard ad, and is dangling for his life. Jimmy sees this, and rushes up 60-plus feet to save the guy. And he does! And the worker was in on the con.

So Jimmy makes the nightly news, as a hero, with his Hamlin-mocking billboard plastered on the televised segment and the next day in the newspaper. It’s a great plan, the first we truly see of how manipulative Jimmy can be. He finally gets messages asking for his service on his work phone. Jimmy’s moving up in the world, but not in the way he wanted to.

And we see this when he talks to his brother Chuck. Jimmy gloats and brags about his new business opportunities. But he doesn’t want Chuck to be disappointed in him, to see that his new success was built on a scam. Jimmy hides Chuck’s one outlet to the world, his newspaper.

What followed was a very unconformable and frightened Chuck, space blanket in tow, out to get his newspaper. A harrowing event for Chuck, who seems agoraphobic and a little schizophrenic. It’s the one time, thus far, we see how Chuck operates outside the comfort of his home: scared, panicked and uncomfortable. I am looking forward to see just what happened to Chuck to put him in such a place psychotically and emotionally.

Thoughts:

* The one scene with Mike at the toll both shows that Jimmy sees something respectable in the man.

* “Because if there is one thing kids love, it’s local print journalism.” Chuck on the idea kids stole his newspaper. That stung.

* Kim Wexler’s looking out for Jimmy while working with Hamlin is nice. That smile she gives when he says Jimmy’s rescue scene on the news is a PR stunt was priceless.

* Jimmy’s speech to Nacho about how he should be thanking the good Samaritan for warning the Kettlemans was almost classic Saul from “Breaking Bad.”

* Hamlindigo Blue

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