‘Breathe’ – Better Call Saul season 4 episode 2 review

Jimmy hatches a new scheme while Nacho runs afoul of Gus in one of the show’s best ever episodes


“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” That famous Groucho Marx quote was the first thing that came to mind when Jimmy turned on his potential new employers at Neff copiers. There’s no doubting that his spiel about how copiers are the heartbeat of a healthy business was an impressive one, but there was a huge part of me that was crestfallen at the idea of Jimmy taking that job, no matter how good he might be at it. But those two guys being so quickly taken in by Jimmy’s hustle, so easily swayed by someone they knew nothing about (“I could be a serial killer. I could be a guy who pees in your coffee pot. I could be both!”) was something Jimmy couldn’t stand. He’ll hustle anyone, but he can’t bring himself to work for anyone who is that easy a mark. “Suckers,” he says, “I feel sorry for you.”

Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) charms the copier guys

After all, for all their battles, you can’t ever doubt that Jimmy respects Howard as an opponent. He’s a schmuck (albeit a fundamentally decent schmuck) but he’s smart and he’s someone Jimmy has always had to pull out all the stops to beat. An authority figure that Jimmy can run rings around is one that wouldn’t interest him. There are so many things I loved about this scene, to the point that I could spend this entire review discussing it. It’s a showcase for how brilliant the writing is on Better Call Saul, and not just in Jimmy’s big sales pitch. In particular, there’s the moment when Jimmy initially leaves the interview, pauses in the corridor and with just a brief interlude of silence and a clenched jaw from Odenkirk, you can see the cogs turning in Jimmy’s mind. It’s a tiny piece of perfect genius in an episode that’s full of them. Everything becomes so much clearer later, when Jimmy checks up the price of the Hummel figurines in the copier boss’s office and then steps outside to call Mike.

Gus is taking no prisoners

Elsewhere, Kim represents Jimmy when Howard settles Chuck’s affairs. It’s not much of a surprise that Chuck leaves Jimmy the equivalent of a kick in the teeth: $5,000 and stewardship of a legal scholarship, the kind of scholarship, Kim points out, Chuck would never have given Jimmy. There’s also a letter, one that Kim understandably decides to keep from Jimmy. Her explosion at Howard over the heartless insult of Chuck’s last wishes is out of character but completely justified. One of my favourite things about Better Call Saul is the relationship between Kim and Jimmy, but her absence from Breaking Bad and the post-Breaking Bad black and white vignettes suggests this relationship isn’t going to last. They’re already keeping things from each other, and you sense it won’t be long before the distance widens into something unbridgeable.

You try telling them that visiting hours are over

The distance between Nacho and the freedom he tells his father that he’s working on is looking similarly unbridgeable. Gus brings in a specialist from Johns Hopkins to care for Hector, his way of controlling how and when the old man dies, and he’s all too aware of Nacho’s role in it all. We know Fring is as ruthless as they come, so it’s unsurprising that his solution to the while situation is to kill Arturo in a disturbingly brutal way in front of Nacho. “I know what you’ve done. The Salamancas do not. From now on, you are mine,” Gus hisses at him. This will not end well.

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