In the ‘Better Call Saul’ recap, Jimmy finds out making an honest living isn’t very easy and Mike gets drawn back into another war against Hector Salamanca…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
If there’s been one thread at the heart of ‘Better Call Saul’ through the first three seasons it’s the crisis of conscience that will seemingly one day drive Jimmy McGill to become Saul Goodman.
Now that thread was already tugged at long before Jimmy McGill got his law license because for many years he spent his days and nights as a conman, bilking people out of their money through one kind of scheme or another. Jimmy has continued to walk a thin line known as the law since becoming a lawyer but after having his license taken away from him for a year, he’s finding it harder and harder to earn an honest buck.
Jimmy knows that if he wants to get his license back in 12 months he has to walk the straight and narrow but making ends meet these days is much harder than it seems.
Add to that, Jimmy’s gal Kim seems to be filling up with regret about how they fire bombed Chuck back under his space blanket and it’s all coming together as one big moral conundrum that may drive Albuquerque’s favorite elder care attorney into the flashy suit wearing, Bluetooth talking slickster who will one day defend a goofy drug dealer named Badger before he becomes the right hand man to his boss, Walter White.
Jimmy has tried being good but if the end of tonight’s episode is any indication, he much more enjoys breaking bad.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Better Call Saul’ titled ‘Expenses’…
As part of his agreement with the New Mexico courts, Jimmy is now doing community service rather than jail time and that means picking up trash underneath highways, but civic duty can’t get in the way of him conducting business as he’s trying to get “Saul Goodman Productions” up and running so he can make back the money he spent on all those adds running on television.
Throughout his four hour shift, Jimmy answers a number of calls while also trying to get out of his malpractice insurance because why would he need that if he’s not practicing law for the next year? Nothing seems to be going Jimmy’s way and it only gets worse when the supervisor over the crew only gives him credit for 30 minutes of work because he spent the majority of his shift on the phone.
Jimmy would love to argue his way out of this situation but time is running short and he’s got places to be.
After he’s dropped off at his car, Jimmy does a quick change — including a wet wipe shower — before rushing off to a local furniture and recliner store to shoot his latest commercial-in-a-day for a business in town. Jimmy does his magic — or as much as he can drag out of the owner of the store starring in the commercial — before his hard sell at getting more airtime out of the guy. Sadly, this guy isn’t going to spend another dime.
Back at the office, Jimmy does the monthly finances with Kim, who is making a decent salary now while working with her one client at Mesa Verde banks, before the settle up on expenses. Jimmy forks over his part of the rent and bills despite a look from Kim because she knows he has to be running low on funds by now.
Still, Jimmy promises it’s no big deal and even pays for Chinese food delivery as a sign that everything is just fine.
Unfortunately, Jimmy’s cash is running painfully low and when his next commercial flakes on him after already arriving at the shoot, he’s virtually out of options. Jimmy ends up offering the owners of the music store a free commercial under the premise that once they see the returns on the initial advertisement that they’ll buy a full elite package from him for the services.
Outside the store, Jimmy pays off his college filmmaking crew with the last few hundred dollars he has in his wallet before sitting on the stoop just contemplating how it all went wrong. Jimmy may get his law license back in a year but that’s assuming he can stay from living in the gutter between now and then.
Finally, Jimmy decides to take Kim out for a drink despite her protests about too much work and they head to a local lounge where they start scouting out potential scams. Much like the way they suckered Ken Wins out of his cold hard cash, Jimmy and Kim spend their evening coming up with scenarios for all sorts of bar patrons on how they would grift them out of their money.
The only problem is at one point it all gets too real for Jimmy because he’s seriously contemplating a scam on one particular asshole who’s just begging for his money to be taken. Kim snaps him out of it and Jimmy returns to reality — you know, the one where he’s a broke, not quite a lawyer, with no real prospects on how he’ll make money for the next 12 months much less pay for the law firm he shares with his part time girlfriend.
The Pryce Is Right
Much like Jimmy, Mike is trying to stay inside the law these days while supporting his daughter-in-law Stacy and his granddaughter Kaylee. Lately, he’s been spending the money he stole from Hector Salamanca to fund a playground project for the church where Stacy has been attending meetings for people still grieving over the loss of loved ones.
Mike lays down concrete and even concedes to some help being offered when some of the local parishioners insist on giving him a hand on the project. Mike even meets one particular widow, who seemingly catches his eye while also telling him a story about how she lost her husband when he went on a hike in the mountains and never came home. She can’t be sure how he died or whatever happened to him, but he’s gone and never coming back. Much like his own son Matty went out for work one day and never came home, Mike is still haunted by the past while being tormented by his own choices for the future.
Meanwhile in another part of town we catch up with Daniel “Pryce” Wormald — you remember, the novice drug deal who hired Mike back in season one for protection and then fouled up that relationship when he bought a yellow Hummer with red flames painted down the side before getting fleeced by Nacho Varga. Yes, the same guy who got out of trouble with the police thanks to Jimmy’s quick explanation about his fetish as a “squat cobbler” — a guy who gets off from sitting in pies.
Well he’s back.
See, Nacho Varga broke into his place and offered to do another piece of business with him. He wants Wormald to steal a bunch of drug capsules from his work — the same drug capsules containing Hector Salamanca’s heart medication. In exchange, Nacho will give him $20,000 for the empty capsules with the exact same markings as the real deal currently helping to keep Hector alive.
After a sour experience the last time around, Wormald seeks out Mike to watch his back as protection. Mike turns him down at first before hearing the widow’s tale about losing her husband and this somehow kicks him back into action where he’s earning his money from more nefarious means.
Mike goes to the drop where he runs into Nacho for the first time in quite a while. Nacho confesses that his plan is to switch out Hector’s pills to give him a heart attack because the cartel boss intends on making his father an accessory to his drug trade and he knows it will never work. Nacho’s father is an honest man who won’t bend to the will of the Mexican cartel so he will inevitably go to the cops. In turn, the cartel will undoubtedly kill Nacho’s father and he can’t allow that to happen.
Obviously, Mike has no love lost for Hector Salamanca so he helps Nacho complete his deal with Wormald before offering up a piece of advice. He tells Nacho to not only switch the pills that will cause Hector to have a heart attack and die but to make sure he puts the real deal back in the bottle after his boss expires. Mike knows that if Hector has a heart attack and dies, his associates will check that medicine to make sure it was working properly and if they find anything other than what’s supposed to be inside it’s going to lead back to Nacho and that’s bad for him and his father.
Of course we already know that Hector doesn’t die but perhaps Nacho’s plan still works, in a manner of speaking anyways.
Over the course of her relationship with Jimmy for the past two seasons, Kim has fractured a law or two but always for a good reason — or at least so she thought. Of course, Kim admonished Jimmy for fabricating evidence in that whole squat cobbler case and she’s done her best to keep him on the right side of the law but that’s not really supposed to be her job.
So after she helped to obliterate Chuck McGill in front of the Bar Association, Kim is starting to feel less like a hero and more like the villain who exploited a mentally ill man in front of a room full of people so she could held her boyfriend avoid losing his law license for good. When her Mesa Verde contact Paige remarks about how Kim played Chuck like a musical instrument at the hearing before decimating him in front of the panel, she’s not quite comfortable with celebrating her former boss’ downfall.
In ends up with Kim snapping at Paige during their meeting before she apologizes because she was feeling guilty about the way she treated Chuck at that hearing. Before leaving, she even tells Paige that she doesn’t celebrate her victory but instead only kicked a guy who was so clearly already down.
Later that night while out for drinks with Jimmy, Kim expresses her slight regret about the way they handled the hearing but her partner in crime will hear no such thing. Jimmy knows that Chuck got exactly what he deserved, especially after everything his brother did to tear him down.
The next day, Jimmy goes to the offices of the company who sold him the malpractice insurance he no longer needs. Jimmy desperately wants a refund but the woman in charge isn’t playing ball. She explains how Jimmy’s payment is non-refundable, especially considering one of his clients could still come back to file a lawsuit against him even if he doesn’t have a license right now. She also informs Jimmy that thanks to his recent suspension that when he does return to practice law, his rates for the insurance will likely go up around 150-percent.
Just for your information, an attorney’s malpractice insurance can run north of $30,000 a year in some states so that’s no small fee.
In the face of another roadblock, Jimmy finally breaks down in front of the woman from the insurance company. He sheds a few tears about his miserable situation while then breaking down about the severed relationship with his brother Chuck, who is also represented by the same company. Jimmy confesses that deep down he wants to reunite with his brother but after what happened in court between the two of them, there’s no chance they’ll ever be family again.
It’s almost like Kim’s story about regret for what they did to Chuck finally got through to Jimmy. He blurts out about Chuck’s mental illness and how he had a breakdown in court, not to mention the mistake he made on his client’s behalf before he was fired from the job. After all, it’s in the transcripts from the court proceedings.
At that moment, the woman from the insurance company begins taking down notes while Jimmy “pleads” with her to have sympathy and he was just caught up in an emotional moment. He excuses himself from the office but as Jimmy is leaving, his tears dry up and his face turns from sadness to a look of vengeance in his eyes.
Chuck didn’t take Jimmy’s law license away forever but this next year is going to potentially put him into bankruptcy so he’s going to make sure his brother feels his pain. Jimmy’s small act of revenge just shows that he feels no regret whatsoever for how he treated Chuck in court and this scheme to hammer his brother’s insurance fees is just one more small victory in the eternal battle of McGill versus McGill.
Three episodes left this season as ‘Better Call Saul’ returns in two weeks for a new episode on AMC.