BETTER CALL SAUL: “Wiedersehen”

“Course, they all know me as Saul Goodman.”

So when we were all feeling so nervous and worried for Kim’s soul last week, when she told Jimmy she wanted to do another con? How foolish we were. It was Jimmy’s soul that was in danger all along. How good this show is at manipulation, that we thought it was all about one character and then the whole time, it was another. It’s right there in the name.

After playing the role of Phil and Lizzy for the Lubbock Department of Building Safety, very nicely getting Mesa Verde’s new, radical plans into the system through smoke, mirrors and no small amount of Jimmy McGill’s patented anti-charm, they plan their next move. Jimmy wants to make “the Huell Babineaux treatment” available to all his new clients, the freaks and weirdos he sold cell phones to. His new client base. The Saul Goodman client base. Kim, of course, is having none of this, preferring to use their powers “for good” (i.e. white collar problems, the stuff of boardrooms and city halls). The gulf that has been widening between them ever since she covered for his malfeasance at the copy shop in Season 2 has maxed out. Jimmy is about to be a lawyer again, and this time, he’s not going to be bound by the oppressive strictures of “law” and “not being a criminal.” That’s what Chuck wanted. That’s not Jimmy, and it never has been. He can’t keep up the act anymore.

So of course, when he tries to wow the parole board in his hearing, he tries to go all the way. Jimmy was not, as he says later, “a good little boy.” He has the heart of a showman, so the bare minimum is not enough for Jimmy. He regales the board with stories about his hardscrabble beginnings, and his deep and truthful love of the law. He’s got letters and case knowledge. He’s been keeping up on the readings. He’s going to be the best damn parolee anyone’s ever seen. So of course, they don’t fall for it. He refuses to talk about Chuck, so he comes off as crass and manipulative (finally someone other than Chuck sees it). He gets denied, and nearly boils over.

Jimmy is different from Walter White in a lot of ways, but in this one, they are heartbreakingly similar: they both have to be the best. You will remember them after they have gone. Every perceived slight, no matter how small, is added into their brains as ammunition for a later confrontation. So when he meets Kim later, atop another of Albuquerque’s fateful parking garages, he snaps. At her, the one person who has unilaterally supported him, even when she knows for a fact that he has not been “a good boy.” This, of course, backfires. Kim Wexler is not someone to betray. After he accuses her of kicking him while he’s down, she breaks Jimmy down to his essence and tells him that he’s always down. He’s always the underdog, the downtrodden, the birdie with the broken wing. We all know that person. The person who wakes up in the morning with a chip on their shoulder and goes to bed with a rock. The person Raylan Givens might say meets an asshole every day. This is who Jimmy is. He knows it. Kim knows it. Later on, Kim asks Jimmy if he still even wants to be a lawyer. After all of this, she still hasn’t given up on him. That’s the saddest part of all.

Elsewhere, we get a more proper introduction to Eduardo, aka Lalo Salamanca. Thus far, he’s the exact sort of late-season, hitherto unknown new character that I actually like. The mysterious, cool cousin from the other side of the country. A lot of that has to be Tony Dalton’s “Hail Fellow Well Met” act. Lalo wants everyone to be his friend, until they aren’t, and much like the parole board with Jimmy, Gus Fring sees through it immediately. He knows that no Salamanca, no matter how friendly, will ever has his best interests at heart. So when Lalo, after visiting Don Hector (and bestowing upon him his soon to be cherished bell) stops by Los Pollos Hermanos with Nacho in tow to discuss “a business opportunity,” the Chicken Man kindly shuts him down and sends him on his way. Despite Lalo’s oblique threats and sinister desire to see Gus’s chicken farm out of town, Fring has something that is sure to make this particular iteration of his war against the Salamancas quick and decisive: Nacho.

Finally, we come to this episode’s namesake, as Werner’s team reaches one of the final milestones to completing the superlab. After Werner has a mild panic attack wiring the last bit of dynamite, he begs Mike to allow him to return to Germany for a few days to be with his wife. Mike, calling him “my friend,” politely declines, and tells him to just put his head down and finish the work. Later, Mike allows Werner an extended phone call with his beloved, and after that call ends, the last we see of Werner is him suspiciously casing the security cameras at the warehouse. Sure enough, when Mike stops in for a check up the next morning, the security guys tell him about a “voltage spike” in a couple cameras, cameras that coincidentally lie along the route Werner would need to take to escape. Tracing through a series of broken locks, Mike and his man find Werner’s laser pointer, which he used to blind the security and escape into the night, presumably to find his own way back home.

This whole time, the show has been building up Kai, the demolitions expert, as a thorn in Mike’s side and Werner as his friendly, professional confidant. We thought it was all about one character all along and then the whole time, it was another. It’s right there in the name. Wiedersehen. “We’ll meet again.”

  • I imagine the next time Mike meets Werner, he’ll be doing so with a gun. We know Mike isn’t dead yet, and the only conceivable way this happens under a man like Gus Fring is if Werner bites it.
  • I loved Kim taking time during a busy conference call to paint “again” under Jimmy’s “2nd Best Lawyer in the World” mug. She may not always believe him, but Kim really does love this idiot.
  • I didn’t really go into detail on Kim and Jimmy’s scam in Lubbock, because it was one of those TV things that was almost too clever to work. Big fan of the Jimmy Buffet sweater “Phil” was rocking, though Phil and Lizzy aren’t nearly as cool as Viktor and Giselle.
  • I know Kai isn’t the loose cannon we were led to believe, but I still don’t like him. How do you even cheat at volleyball?
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