It must seem that each week I come here and talk about how the story of Better Call Saul is slowly threading it’s way into Breaking Bad, and how exciting it is to see those developments. To be there and watch things flourish from the ground up so to speak. This in no way is meant to diminish Saul in any way because, as I’ve stated before, it is way more than just a Breaking Bad prequel. Saul is able to stand on it’s own and provides brilliant story telling fused with literary nuances that leave it on par with Breaking Bad and not just the cousin trying to cash in on the name. With that being said though, last night’s episode, “Sabrosita” is probably the closest Saul has come to being Breaking Bad. The minute this episode started, over at Don Eladio’s place, it had that familiar feel to it. The color scheme felt like an old friend, the pool was instantly recognizable, and the atmosphere kind of changed a little. Not saying that these changes compromised Saul as it’s own entity at all, but more like it had opened a window and the tasty aromas of Breaking Bad were working their way in.
And what better way to bridge the gap between Saul and Breaking Bad than Mike Ehrmantraut. Because when you think about it, Mike was always going to be the bridge between the two worlds. Last night Jonathan Banks continued his ridiculously incredible portrayal of Mike (#givehimanemmy) and allowed us to shift effortlessly between the episodes story threads. Everything that concerned Gus this week was a result of Mike’s actions last week, getting Hector’s truck drivers arrested and screwing up his deliveries clearing the way, either intended or not, for a Los Pollos takeover. Mike didn’t do it for the money he did it to rid himself of Hector Salamanca which is why he doesn’t take Gus’s payoff. If there ever was a character who understood his identity in this universe it would be Mike Ehrmantraut. Think about it, Gus has two faces, one for the public and one for carteling, Jimmy will eventually become Saul so currently he’s in flux, Kim wants to be a con artist but also wants to lawyer, Chuck wants to lawyer but also can’t ignore space blankets, and then there’s Mike. Mike is Mike and always has been. That’s the beauty of the character, so when he tells Gus later on in the episode if the work is agreeable to his standards than he’ll have no problem working with one half of the chicken brothers, then you know he means it. Mike doesn’t compromise his character but that’s not saying his character isn’t comprised. Does that make sense? I’m kind of going for an honor among thieves type deal here.
Through Mike’s exploits we get our deepest look into the life of Gus Fring and we see that he works hard at suppressing his rage towards Hector. I’d imagine it’s what he works the hardest at. Gus sees a million moves ahead and there is no doubt that he always knew that he was building towards the pool party at Don Eladio’s (you remember that Breaking Bad episode, right?), but in order to do that he needs to swallow shit first. Gus’s sense of business and work ethic are enough to get him in the good graces of Eladio but enough to infuriate Hector and his rolled up bills. The disrespect you see at Los Pollos Hermanos is legit and I think apart of it is hatred of Gus, his life style, how well he runs his business (both legal and illegal), and his ability to always stay in control, and another part of it is wanting to goad him into breaking. If Hector could get Gus to snap that would be all he needed. Which makes the scenes where he’s smoking in the restaurant or scraping the muck of his shoes on to Gus’s desk that much more annoying. He is clearly poking the bear in the hopes of finding the one thing that will set it off, but Gus is too good for that. He evenly stands there and swallows the crap and doesn’t bat an eyelash. Even when he tries to hire Mike, Gus acknowledges the fact that Hector is a bag of d’s but currently necessary. I can’t imagine just how much the existence of Hector Salamanca must ruffle the every day feathers of Gus Fring. I can see why he was so obsessed with his revenge, I like to believe to some degree he earned it.
Mike had a busy week though and didn’t spend all his time over at Los Pollos, no, he was also repaying a favor to Jimmy (anyone know for what? I may have forgotten) and helping clarify Jimmy’s master plan of escaping Chuck’s wrath. It may have taken me a bit longer than I’d like to admit to piece together just what Jimmy was using Mike for but by the end of the episode… bingo! It all came together in it’s malicious masterfulness.
Based on the closed doors hearing between Jimmy and Chuck, it has become clear that Chuck not only wants Jimmy to be disbarred but to be publicly shamed as well. Jimmy doesn’t need jail time, he just needs to be humbled with a little bit of egg on his face. That would be enough to satisfy Chuck, and last night’s closed door hearing seemed to go a long way in the shaming of Jimmy McGill. Was it me or did that judge (was she a judge?) seem like she was purposely making Jimmy do things in order to coddle Chuck’s bruised ego? That whole exchange, especially the apology, was a bit uncomfortable, but it also seemed to come with a bit of a veiled warning towards Chuck. If you listen closely, didn’t it seem that Jimmy was either warning or foreshadowing future events? I’m not entirely sure if Chuck picked up on the layers under the apology but there totally seemed like there was some syntax there.
It’s that syntax and hidden warnings that bring us back to Mike. I don’t think there was ever any doubt that Chuck made a copy of Jimmy’s confession tape as he’s too proficient of a lawyer not to. Although I would imagine he had someone else make the copy because #electricityisbadforme Both Jimmy and Kim suspected this and immediately tapped into their con artist roots, canceling the company coming to fix Chuck’s busted door, and replacing them with Mike. Mike who now has a lay of the land and most likely a key to the brand new door. What better way to sneak in to your brother’s house than with a key to his brand new door. Now when Chuck goes to play the tape in court it’ll either be replaced with something else or gone entirely. This will cause Chuck to blame Jimmy and claim he stole it, but Jimmy doesn’t have a key to the house anymore and has no means of getting one which makes Chuck look crazy. And bingo, Jimmy walks. It would appear that the gloves are now officially off.
There you have it Geeklings. What did you think of this weeks Better Call Saul? Were you happy to see how much it felt like a Breaking Bad episode? Do you think Jimmy’s plan will work? Is Mike the linchpin for all things Breaking Bad? Sound off in the comments below. As always if you’d like to talk about all things Saul or Bad you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. Oh, and real quick, sorry for the lack of preview column this weekend. I kind of lost track of time. I’ll be back this week for sure. In the mean time happy viewing and many huzzahs!
Images from AMC