Better Call Saul
“Coushatta” (Episode 408)
September 24, 2018
Last week on Better Call Saul, we jumped almost a year in time as we watched Kim and Jimmy splitting apart. But, a criminal case involving Huell maybe will bring them back together? Over at the SuperLab, Mike is trying to figure out the Germans to keep them motivated and working and Hector Salamanca is awake.
Catch up on everything from last week with our deep dive recap and review here! Ready? Great, read on for our recap of tonight’s episode of Better Call Saul, “Coushatta” … after the jump (BEWARE: SPOILERS)!!
We open with Jimmy grabbing some luggage and saying bye to Kim. Wait, what? I guess he did move out. Nope (well, maybe he moved out – they haven’t actually said yet), he’s just going on a trip. Jimmy’s on a bus. Jimmy’s working really hard day and night on the bus, writing out letters and postcards. He’s writing with many different pens on different kinds of stationary with different writing styles. Jimmy is working hard at making it look like a lot of people wrote to someone on something. It’s a long bus ride and Jimmy eventually employs three travelers to do some writing for him – he’s paying for work completed.
Finally, Jimmy arrives in Coushatta, Louisiana. We know this because he’s walking into the Post Office which is clearly labeled as Coushatta, Louisiana.
He comes out a few minutes later and sits down on a bench. The Coushatta post office is also a bus station so, maybe he’s waiting for someone?
We come back to Nacho, in the restaurant seat Hector usually has, watching Domingo (Max Arciniega) collect Salamanca money. Blingy (KeiLyn Durrel Jones), the current runner, is complaining about how he couldn’t help being “light” this week. Domingo lets him off with Blingy’s half-hearted promise to be right next week. As he starts to leave, far too happy for anyone’s tastes, Nacho calls him over for a quick talk. As Blingy bends slightly to speak with the new boss, Nacho rips his earring out of his ear and slams it on the table.
“What you owe, you owe with interest.”
Nacho’s whisper threat has its intended effect and Blingy, a bleeding mess, beats feet out of the restaurant. Domingo turns around and tells Nacho that he did what he had to do, that they have to learn. Nacho agrees and asks why Domingo didn’t do it?!? Domingo nods, contritely. Lessons learned all around.
That night, we watch Nacho come home. He’s got two women waiting for him, well they’ve watching TV and just laying around. He tosses each of them a little baggie of drugs and without a word, heads to his bedroom. I’ll note that his hallway walls are covered with really large paintings. In his room, he takes off his shirt and we get a quick glimpse of his permanent bullet wound scar. He opens his safe to deposit that day’s cash and has a moment of reflection as he stares at the Manitoba ID cards him and his father used to get into the country. They were the Cavallos, if that matters at all. Nacho looks exhausted, physically and spiritually. Commercials.
We come back to Mike babysitting the Germans at a strip club that has either been closed for their private use or else, is very very slow that night. He grabs Werner and the grown men head to the bar for a drink.
Some Werner backstory, his father was also an engineer – impressively, he solved the problem of the concrete arches for the Sydney Opera House and was involved in building it. Mike doesn’t have a similarly endearing father story so they move on to having kids. Werner never gave it much thought, his “Marguerita” being enough for him. He is sad face about being away from home for so long. The men “Cheers” to home. The Fring Security Guy that Mike left in charge of the Germans comes and gets him.
Outside Fantasy World, seems Kai has been thrown out for touching when the price only includes looking. Mike pays off the owner who is talking about involving the cops and confirms the others can stay. He turns to Kai and tells him he’s done and to go home. Kai is belligerent seeing as he’s paid his money and all but Mike dares him to make a move. He doesn’t cause Kai’s a pussy. Mike has the Fring Security Guy take him home. Alone, Mike turns to to the owner and gives him extra cash for the girl Kai messed with. He confirms they’re all good.
Like Nacho, Mike looks physically and spiritually exhausted. He comes back into the bar to find Werner talking about intricate building techniques with some local patrons. Mike puts a hand on his shoulder and not so subtlety tells him its time to go. Werner says goodbye with all sorts of German and man, way to keep a low profile. He’s passed out in Mike’s car before Mike even pulls out of the lot.
Kim’s Apartment. Jimmy, who must still be living there (for now), interrupts Kim who is rocking out with loud headphones as she goes over Huell’s case file. he tells her he’s going to head to the Nail Salon “to finish setting up.” She’s all “great, smell ya later” and has the headphones back on before he’s even turned to go. Feeling the brush off, he comes back and again tries to make a connection of meaningful conversation. This time about food – always a common topic of interest for these two – but again, she blows him off. Jimmy is not feeling the love.
Nail Salon. Jimmy is busy setting up phones when Mrs. Nguyen comes by to say she’s leaving. Jimmy tells her he’s going to be awhile and he’ll lock up. Mrs. Nguyen understands this is code for “fight with wifey.” She’s not my wife, Jimmy says but the concept holds. She brings Jimmy some booze and tells him the best advise you can ever give any man when a woman is mad at him – buy her flowers, take her to dinner, and apologize for everything that’s ever been done to anyone forever.
“I think we might be past that.”
Mrs. Nguyen tells him to keep the bottle. She leaves and Jimmy goes back to his phones.
Courthouse. Kim meets with ADA Suzanne Ericsen and brings a whole legal team along with her. Clearly an intimidation tactic that, based on Ericsen’s face, isn’t lost on the ADA. Kim tells Suzanne that she is countering the DA’s offer to Huell with time served, 3-6 months probation in exchange for a guilty plea to battery. “A misdemeanor,” ADA Ericsen confirms incredulously. Yeppers. Ericsen can’t fathom going from the requested 18 months jail time to time served and probation … which Kim expected. Her legal team begin piling motions and planned legal maneuvers on to ADA Ericsen’s desk – if the DA’s office won’t budge, Kim (backed by her large law firm) is going to make this a full blown legal production which will include opening the police officer’s personnel record as well as all of his previous dealings with Huell and Huell’s associates public record.
With a look like someone just pissed on her shoes, Ericsen takes this all in stride and says they’ll proceed to trial then. The meeting over, Suzanne asks Kim for a moment alone. She lets Kim know that the shock and awe won’t work and that at the end of all the legal shenanigans, Huell is going to go to jail. Full of steely resolve, Kim basically tells her, “we’ll see” and leaves. In the hallway, you can see Kim breathing a little more heavy … hoping against hope that shock and awe will actually work in the end.
SuberLab Construction Residence. Mike approaches Werner with the architectural drawing from the night before in the bar with the strangers, and Werner instantly goes into denial mode. He says that he didn’t say anything of import and Werner is sure those men will have forgotten by now. Mike questions whether Werner really thinks the men will have forgotten “the German national in the middle of Albuquerque talking about pouring hundreds of tons of concrete in a secret location”?!? Werner cops to the mistake and, after Mike makes clear that Gustavo Fring is not a man not to be fucked with, promises he’ll never have loose lips again.
Judge Munninger’s Chambers. Judge Munninger opens his door to Kim and ADA Ericsen and asks if Suzanne is prosecuting Santa Clause. Why, she asks? Well, it seems that Judge Munninger has been inundated with hundreds of letters of support for Huell from his hometown of Coushatta, Louisiana. All the letters are coming to the Judge, Kim denies being behind the campaign but says she is aware that a contingent from Coushatta is planning to attend the trial and make a stink. Judge Munninger says this case is not worth a circus and for Kim and Suzanne to work it out. He will not have yahoos in his court!
Back in her office, ADA Ericsen puts her entire staff on Huell duty – demanding they dig into every aspect of Huell’s life as well as the arresting officer’s story – something has been missed. Opening one of the letters, an assistant locates a phone number and Suzanne gives it a ring. She gets a voicemail so she calls another number. This time, someone picks up and “Eloise Lockhart” says that she loves Huell, everyone in Coushatta does. He’s a pillar of their church, Eloise says. Ericsen’s assistant pulls up the website for the church Eloise mentions, Free Will Baptist, and you can see Huell’s face in all the pictures – he sings in the choir! Ericsen is distracted by this as she’s talking to Eloise and once Eloise finds out that it’s Ericsen that is prosecuting her beloved Huell, she yells at her and hangs up.
We see Eloise is one of Jimmy’s commercial actors from a couple of seasons ago. Jimmy compliments her performance and she mentions she’s been taking improv classes. We see a table with a hundred plus phones lined up and a white board with Huell/Coushatta information in the background. Kim’s idea is next level, Jimmy-level, scam worthy!
Ericsen isn’t done. She finds the number for the Pastor on Free Will’s website and gives it a ring. Jimmy locates the ringing phone, has organ music cued up and begins to speak to the ADA as Free Will’s Pastor Hanson. It’s hysterical. Ericsen asks the Pastor how and why Huell is such a hero in Coushatta and Jimmy spins a yarn! Seems that Huell saved a congregation of old people during a night time fire in the rectory. Jimmy snaps his finger and one of his actors begins pinging the Free Will website with donations, which Ericsen sees on the website in her office.
“Pastor Hanson” tells Suzanne that she sounds like a nice lady doing her job BUT she needs to understand that the Huell he knows would never hurt a police officer and it seems like a big misunderstanding. Before hanging up, the “Pastor” asks Ericsen if there is a trial date yet? Not yet, she replies and “Pastor Hanson” asks to be kept informed of when one is set – they’ve got some charter buses and are ready to bring the entire congregation up to the trial.
Jimmy hangs up and his crew asks what now? Jimmy gets up to leave and tells them to answer every third call and stick to the script. They stay until Jimmy says they can leave (they’re being paid for the entire day). Jimmy takes the church phone with him (in case Ericsen calls back) and heads to the courthouse. Jimmy sees Kim and Suzanne in a heated discussion and then finally Kim sits back happily (smugly, if we’re being honest) while Ericsen hunches over her desk in defeat. A little while later, Kim drags Jimmy into a stairwell, pushes him up against a wall kisses him hard. Commercials.
We come back to Jimmy and Kim in bed and Kim asking for more. Jimmy goes into a protracted Bayou accident and I feel like I’m watching The Waterboy. They compliment each other on their well played parts and we learn that Huell will get 4 months probation and time served. The moment ends and each goes back to their separate lives.
Kim heads to meeting with the Mesa Verde folks. Paige catches everyone up on the next developments in Mesa Verde’s continuing rapid expansion but Kevin has a wrench to throw at Kim. He wants to know if they can change the design on a new building site – a larger building design than they currently have planned. Paige has already told him it won’t be feasible but Kevin wants to know if Kim can pull another rabbit out of a hat for them. She thinks a beat but then says she agrees with Paige. The current plans they have took forever to get approval; if they go back with a new design, they’ll blow their timetables by a mile. Kevin is disappointed at her answer but concedes the fight. You can tell by Kim’s face that maybe it’s her commitment to the project that is what she doesn’t think will be there and not necessarily the plan. Kim doesn’t have that Mesa Verde hyper focus like she did before.
SuperLab Construction Site. Mike is taking Fring the latest developments and statuses on the building project. Mike tells Gustavo everything, including the delays from the broken support beam and form to the rock which will need to be blasted out of the way of the elevator shaft. He admits they are way behind schedule but says the work is solid. On Werner, he tells Fring that he gave him the “come to Jesus” speech and that Werner swears it won’t happen again. He’s got eyes on Werner now but he thinks it’ll be okay. This assurance from Mike is sufficient for Fring.
We cut over to Jimmy checking out a potential office site which has at the very least, water damage and rodent problems. But hey, it’s small and close to the court. His walk through with the realtor is interupted by Kim who he sees walking around outside. She’s smoking a cigarette and looking dazed. After asking what’s up, he answers his own question – he tells her that she went way out on a limb for him and Huell. She could have “boned” herself with S&C to say nothing of the number of crimes Jimmy committed – especially with him being so close to being reinstated. He promises that it’s over and no more scams. Up and up going forward.
“Let’s do it again.”
This is NOT what Jimmy thought Kim would say.
Salamanca Collections Spot and Mexican Restaurant. Nacho arrives to work and finds loud music playing in the restaurant and Domingo sitting very passively at a table. In the kitchen, Nacho finds a man we’ve never met cooking up some food. We learn his name is Lalo (Tony Dalton) and he’s in the Salamanca family. Lalo guesses who Nacho is and says he’s heard Nacho was smart. Nacho asks what Lalo is doing here specifically and he responds that he’s just here to make sure the business is running smoothly.
“I’ve got a, got a good head for numbers. But listen, don’t even worry. It going to be like I’m not even here. “
He’s also extremely cheerful, this Lalo. Which probably means that he’s a psychopath. Lalo finishes cooking and calls Nacho to eat. The episode ends with Nacho looking out into the dining room as Lalo sits with Domingo and a man comes into pay his money. Tough times are ahead for Nacho, I fear.
Thoughts. Kim and Jimmy are at their best when they are scamming. Now, we know Jimmy knows how to run a scam but the Coushatta shuffle, Kim’s brain child, was next level shit. It’s no wonder that she wants to keep going – imagine the rush of that success for Huell versus overseeing the expanding corporate empire of Mesa Verde. As a corporate lawyer by trade, I can tell you that it can be a dry, dry life. I appreciate her quest for adrenaline, the rush she’s clearly needing at the end of the episode. Love these two and I’m going to be sad when we inevitable say goodbye to Kim.
Mike, Mike, Mike. I know you like Werner but you’re vouching for him to Fring – I hope you know what you’re doing. Clearly, you survive the construction of the SuperLab but what is it going to cost you with Fring before that happens?!?
And Nacho. You’re one of my favorite characters in a show filled with favorite characters – Hector is alive and kicking and clearly, he’s thinking of replacing you. You weren’t in Breaking Bad and so, with Hector’s resurrection, I have to start worrying about your Death Clock and how much time is left before the sun sets on your time. Ay dios mio.
Until next week, my friends.