Better Call Saul
“Something Stupid” (Episode 407)
September 17, 2018
On last week’s Better Call Saul, we saw everyone making moves to better their position (as they see it): Gus Fring began construction on his SuperLab, Kim offered herself up to a large firm to build a practice away from Wexler & McGill, and Jimmy consolidated some power on the mean streets of Albuquerque. Catch up on all the action here!
Caught up? Fantastic. Read on now for our recap & review of tonight’s Better Call Saul, “Something Stupid” (BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD)!
We open on domestic bliss, a mundane shot of Jimmy and Kim brushing their teeth. Its split screen so we can tell this is time passing. Routine! The lifeblood (and sometimes death knell) of healthy relationships!
The split screen continues as we see Kim moving herself and her files into her new office space while over to CC Mobile, Jimmy is still engaged in his ball bouncing game – I can’t imagine the scuff marks he’s leaving everywhere. As Kim’s nameplate goes up on her door, Kimberly Wexler, we see Jimmy opening a box of business cards …
[NOTE: This is a fairly momentous occasion – a formal adoption of Saul Goodman, despite it being tucked in a music montage. The juxtaposition of names unveiling at the same time is not lost on me.}
The montage continues with more Mesa Verde files coming into Kim’s office while we see Jimmy (in multiple track suits) and Huell Babineaux (Lavell Crawford reprising the role from Breaking Bad; yes, we saw him last week as one of Jimmy’s pinata thugs but we get his full face tonight) move tons of Pay As You Go phones out of his Nail Salon office.
Kim continues to decorate her office as the split screen has Jimmy attending another PPD meeting. The split screen even continues as the “couple” sit next to each other, eating dinner in the apartment. It continues into the night where they occupy their sides of the bed (until Kim kicks her leg over).
The next morning, we are back in the bathroom and the split screen is still here bu there is no Jimmy, only Kim is brushing her teeth. Jimmy comes into his side of the split screen to brush his teeth but when Kim leaves, it’s clear that they were not together at the time of brushing. We continue. Kim is getting her cast removed (finally) while Jimmy uses his juicer.
At work, Kim holds a Mesa Verde meeting (while doing hand strengthening exercises under the table) and attends criminal court with her new and varied public defender clientele. On the rougher side of town, Tracksuit Jimmy works phone customers while Huell tosses him brand new phones from the back of the van.
We’re now into October 2003 (the montage began at Mother’s Day). Another deal toy from Mesa Verde representing another location opening and another PPD meeting on Jimmy’s road to being a lawyer again.
[NOTE: Given the time jumps we’re going through here and that we get a lot of focus on Jimmy’s file going into “PPD Cases- Current,” I’m thinking his case will be PPD Cases – Closed soon enough.]
The split screen montage takes us to another apartment dinner but Jimmy and Kim are not connecting at all – they are looking in opposite directions reading their own things. Bed time for Kim, TV for Jimmy. Separate tooth brushing and another day has started.
January 2004, Mesa Verde opens in North Platte, Nebraska. Jimmy has his final PPD meeting. His file goes into “PPD Cases – 2004 Completed.” As the song comes to an end, Kim is taking dinner in her office while Jimmy eats alone in the apartment – someone has to feed the fish, I guess.
That night, the split screens shows Kim getting into bed, Jimmy is already there and asleep. Kim flips on her side. Jimmy wakes and Kim’s side of the split screen fades to black as Jimmy stares out.
We come back to Jimmy giving a tour of a house he is pitching to be used as a law office. He’s selling hard the idea of this average house as a magnificent office space. Turn the camera around and Jimmy is talking to Huell.
If you were a lawyer, Huell, what would you think of this for a lawyer’s office? Not much, as it turns out. Huell sees himself as a boat dwelling, office on the 40th floor of a glass hi-rise, kind of lawyer. Also, “no more cell phones?”Huell asks, annoyed. Jimmy explains that the cell phone business was for this reason – to pay for Jimmy’s reemergence into the legal field. For Jimmy’s part, I have to think he was thinking of pitching Kim on the law office idea (he makes specific reference of its proximity to the court house).
Hospital. Turns out Fring was right, Hector was going to wake up. And, in the time lapse, he has! We enter Hector’s room as Dr. Bruckner is taking him through cognitive exercises. He can’t speak so he taps his finger for yes. Thinking is clearly labored and Salamanca is not in great shape here. He is with it enough, though, to cause a water spill so a pretty nurse has to bend over and clean it up. Hector is definitely giving his attention to her backside as she works. This fucking guy is the worst.
That night, Kim and Jimmy attend a S&C work party. Kim introduces him to all of her work people and he plays nice and schmoozes, as Jimmy does. He’s a charmer if nothing else. He’s also way into the passed hors d’oeuvres. And who can blame him, they look delicious.
At some point, Jimmy excuises himself into Kim’s office and takes a look around. He counts at the wall to wall steppage (10 feet versus the 6 feet that he’s planning on having in his “partner’s office” at the house office) and he looks at her Mesa Verde statues. Back at the party and he’s a drinking a bit more now. This can’t possibly end well.
He joins a conversation Kim is having with Rich Schweikart and some other associates about where to hold their company retreat (sorry Jimmy, employees only). Rick is thinking skiing in Taos, New Mexico but Jimmy tells him the place to be is Telluride. Telluride with all of S&C in matching ski parkas. Rick compliments him on thinking big and Jimmy is feeling good so he ups it to say hell, Aspen is really where you want to be. (He’s also slurring a bit and Kim isn’t enjoying this at all.) Rick isn’t amused by Aspen as a serious suggestion as it’s a 9 hour bus ride. Sure, sure, says Jimmy which is why you charter a jet to take your 56 special attorneys. He gets loud and the audience loves it. Everyone except Kim and Rich.
“Well that was something.”
Jimmy answers with a “yep” and then turns on music to block out the awkward silence. Not a great car ride home. Commercials.
SuperLab Site. Mike shows up to the construction site in a “Lavanderia Brillante” van (this will be the name of the cover business that will one day sit atop the meth lab). He loads up the Germans and transports them to the actual construction area which has come a long way in excavation since we saw it last (several months have passed by). The Germans get to work.
Fring House. Gustavo is making diner for himself and Dr. Bruckner while the good doctor fills him in on Hector’s progress. Gus is all fine fine great but is he still … Hector Salamanca. Maureen doesn’t know if that’s answerable but wants to show him Hector’s progress as proof of how far he’s come. Gus (and us) watch the video version of the scene in the hospital room. He picks up on nurse and the water right away and his faces does about 15 different cycled emotions as he realizes that the bastard known as Hector Salamanca is still well and alive inside his body’s broken shell.
Fring moves to telling Dr. Bruckner that it’s time for her to get back to her regular patient care and Hector has come far enough. Maureen can’t believe they’d stop now with this progress – Hector may even walk again, she says.
“Perhaps … we should temper our expectations.”
Fring ends the conversation with the announcement that dinner is ready. This Hector problem he knew would come up one day … is here. The change in temperature of the room as well as Gustavo’s demeanor registers on Dr. Bruckner’s face.
SuperLab Site. Werner is catching Mike up on the status of construction and Werner tells him that one more blast is needed to clear room for the elevator shaft. Mike is annoyed, he thought all the blasting was done, and asks how large a blast they’re talking about? He doesn’t get an answer though because one of the Germans back is excavator into a support pole, knocking it over. Anger flares among the Germans, who are all clearly tired of working in this black hole and living amongst each other in otherwise isolation. Mike yells at them (in German!) to shut them up. And then he sighs.
Tracksuit Jimmy is working his empty lot, guys rolling up in their cars calling out for Saul and giving him the number of phones they want. He’s definitely got regular customers. Then, a different kind of person rolls up. This man is looking for Saul Goodman (Jimmy senses trouble right away and guesses cop, correctly) because Saul Goodman sold a burner phone to a drug dealer who just got out of jail. Jimmy plays innocent, what his customers do with the phones …
(Undercover Officer) Platt (Colby French) tells Jimmy to move his van to a nice grocery store parking lot and sell phones to soccer moms – get some new customers. Jimmy replies that his customer base is here and he’s complying with all applicable laws to boot soooooo, nope.
“I’m asking nicely, all right.”
“And I respectfully decline.”
Jimmy goes on the offensive and starts asking how this cop will set Jimmy up – bogus ticket or plant some drugs in his van. Jimmy says this is why people need his phone, that maybe the cop is the problem. (Undercover Officer) Platt steps up to Jimmy to read him the riot act about greed just as Huell walks up. Huell seeing the aggressive stance and Jimmy’s distressed look springs into action. Unfortunately, with his headphones blasting in his ears, Huell can’t hear Jimmy telling him to stand down because the angry guy is a cop. Huell whacks the undercover cop upside the head with a bag of groceries. Only then does Huell hear Jimmy telling him the guy’s a cop. Whoopsies. Commercials.
We come back to Huell sitting in the back of a squad caras Jimmy tries to talk (Undercover Officer) Platt down from arresting him. His argument focuses on Huell trying to protect Jimmy and not realizing he was a cop. Except, (Undercover Officer) Platt says he arrested Huell 3 years ago for pick pocketing so that doesn’t fly. Jimmy changes course and says he’ll leave the area but too late. (Undercover Officer) Platt leaves and so does the squad car, Huell still inside.
SuperLab Site.Mike comes in to the Germans’ bunker and has a drink with Werner. They chit chat about the need for nap time and Mike works on his German. Kai comes over to refill his mug and takes the opportunity to call Mike and Werner old farts and make fun of Mike’s German. Down to brass tacks, Mike wants to know the status from Werner. The broken pole is going to delay things since the concrete has to be rebuilt and the rebar straightened. Mike asks Werner the consequence of sending Kai back to Germany. Werner nixes this idea as Kai is his best demolition man. He tells Mike that Kai is a good boy, that they are all good boys and Mike sees this as the likely source of the problem, they’re boys. Werner doesn’t disagree but, without boys doing the work – it would be Mike and Werner doing it.
Werner picks up the conversation saying that his men thought it would be 8 months and done, and here they are and they’re not even halfway done. His men need fresh air and women. They need, “R&R,” Mike finishes. Mike understands Werner’s point.
Courthouse. Huell is talking to Jimmy, the DA is asking for 2.5 years. Jimmy tells him that it’s just a starting point, he’ll never do that kind of time but Huell isn’t taking chances. He tells Jimmy that he’s going to bounce, he’s got places to hide. Jimmy tells Huells that’s a horrible idea since a warrant for his arrest will follow him forever and it’s only a matter of time before he gets pulled over for a stupid traffic infraction and gets nabbed. He asks Huell to give him a chance to fix this for him. Huell is skeptical but Jimmy tells him he’s a “magic man” and to have a little faith.
S&C Offices. Jimmy has gone to Kim for her help since he’s a month away from being reinstated and Huell isn’t waiting around that long. Kim still isn’t past the part of the story where Jimmy has been selling burners on the street?!? Jimmy tries to get through that with his opposition research that he’s done into the undercover cop – who, has been arrested for a DUI and put on desk duty twice. Jimmy’s plan is to rile the cop up in court and make him lose his temper – getting the case dismissed.
Kim thinks a second and makes a call for some caselaw material. Jimmy is excited that she’s on board and asks what the next move is going to be? Kim tells him that she won’t tear down a cop BUT she’ll look into it (the “alone” is unsaid but understood) and if its as bad as Jimmy says, she’ll work it.
“Thanks Kim. I really appreciate it.”
She doesn’t dismiss him from her office exactly but she TOTALLY dismisses him from her office. Jimmy leaves. It’s pretty fucking frosty as she has her secretary close the door on Jimmy’s face.
Courthouse. We cut right to the courthouse where Kim has approached ADA Suzanne Ericsen (Julie Pearl) to talk about the Babineaux case. Ericsen can’t believe this is where Kim is going to call in a favor and objects to Kim’s whitewashing of the facts of the case. Ericsen brings up the fact that the cop arrested Huell previously and Kim says it was 3 years ago and on this day, the cop was in plain clothes and had his back turned. Kim makes a “the fuck” face but Ericsen tells Kim she’s not buying it. Kim persists. She says she’s looked at similar cases and no one in a similar situation has come even close to this kind of jail time. The ADA says this is different because its a repeat offender. Kim is ready for this and brings up a case where a repeat offender head butted an office and only got 5 months, suspended (“he was homeless”).
Something is fishy here, Kim senses. She names a bunch of much worse physical assault against cops where little or no jail time was served.
“This is unequal justice.”
Kim becomes increasingly annoyed at the ADA’s responses and body language. The undercover cop here was hit with a bag of sandwiches – how can you justify 2.5 years?!?! “There is no negotiation here, Kim,” Ericsen replies (to which Kim makes the best “the fuck” face – a face she’s great at). Ericsen isn’t done, asking why Kim wants any part of this – a decorated cop on one side and a thief on the other and a “scumbag, disbarred lawyer who peddles drop phones to criminals” as the only witness. Kim holds her tongue in defense of Jimmy and just tells the ADA she doesn’t know the whole story as she leaves.
Outside, Kim calls Huell and makes an appointment to meet and talk about the case. Waiting for her is Jimmy who is unhappy that jail time is unavoidable. Not realizing that Jimmy has basically become Saul Goodman at this point, Kim tries to get Jimmy to commit to “back my play” that Huell has to put on his big boy pants and do some time. And that Jimmy will Huell that jumping bail is the very worst idea.
Jimmy says sure, if this is the only “legitimate” way to avoid jail time. Kim’s ears perk up at his inflection and choice of words, but Jimmy reiterates that, “yeah, sure,” he’ll tell Huell to stay put. Kim walks away but Jimmy wasn’t quite done.
“You do your thing, I’ll do mine.”
Kim wants to know what that means but Jimmy drives away telling her simply not to worry.
We cut to Kim driving her car, deep in thought. A light bulb goes off and she swings her car around. Cut to her shopping for office supplies at a Staples-like store. She calls Jimmy and tells him to stop doing whatever it is that he’s doing.
“Listen. I have a better way.”
Not much analysis to be had here. The rift of Jimmy and Kim’s relationship is fairly pronounced by the end of the 5 minute, wordless music montage that opened tonight’s episode. We’ve jumped almost a year in time and these two have just grown apart. Which, was inevitable with her moving to S&C and throwing herself into her career and Jimmy … being Jimmy. Well, now, being Saul Goodman.
It’s so interesting that this massive moment we’ve been waiting for was ushered in with such little fanfare. The business cards during the montage announced that Jimmy has officially adopted his new name – sure, just for his phone business at this point but, that’s pretty big. We’ve heard Jimmy use Saul Goodman before but not in this way – this is a “next phase of life” kind of moment. If Tracksuit Jimmy was a mid point, business cards with Saul’s name on it is a destination of sorts. I notice Kim didn’t bring that fact up which makes me think she doesn’t know about the new name just yet. That’ll be another nail in the coffin I imagine.
With these 2 on such separate trajectories, the question remains (i) what is her plan for Huell – will she get back down in the much with Jimmy or does she have a loftier plan planned and (ii) how far are we from the final nail, the final end of Kim and Jimmy because it’s definitely coming. It’s just a question of when, not if. I’m assuming they’re still living together?!? Maybe. Maybe not. That final shot in the opening scene weighs heavy as Kim’s side of the split screen faded to black.
Hector is awake and still a maniacal asshole and Fring’s worst fears have come to fruition BUT he was also preparing for them for almost a year now. Always bet on Fring – he’ll be okay, I think. Related to hector, where the hell is Nacho?!? And the Salamanca Twins?
Not sure where Mike and Kai and the Germans are going but I can guarantee it won’t end well for Kai.
On to next week as we enter the final third of the season. Stick with me as we break it all down.