There have been moments throughout the first three seasons of Better Call Saul where Jimmy seemed miles away from Saul Goodman. At times, it’s been hard to imagine where the blurring might happen, to predict the kind of tremendous event could harden Jimmy’s heart into that of an entertaining yet callous and flippant strip mall lawyer. That event, we’re rapidly learning, is the death of his brother. That could have sent him the other way, freeing him of Chuck’s gloating, demeaning, controlling shadow. But it doesn’t. Jimmy spent the first episode numb from Chuck’s traumatic death, but in its final moments, when faced with Howard’s theory that Chuck killed himself, a switch flicked on (or most likely off) and Jimmy’s heart was rendered into stone. No grief, no regret, just a merry tune and on with life.
What Jimmy fails to understand in this episode is that there are people who really care about him, people who can’t shrug off Chuck’s boot in the balls from beyond the grave the way Jimmy can, people like Kim, who is so devastated by Chuck’s pathetically passive aggressive last missive to Jimmy that she leaves the room in floods of tears. And while she struggles to stay afloat in her professional life, the signs of strain start to show, allowing ample opportunity for Jimmy to destroy all of this once and for all. We’ll always root for Jimmy, just like we always rooted for Walter White, but Kim is one of the most morally upstanding, fundamentally decent people in either Breaking Bad and she doesn’t deserve what’s surely headed her way.
Jimmy’s impetuousness in this episode is pretty reminiscent of Walter White, especially in his disdain for ‘the way things are done’, shrugging off Mike’s distaste for the Hummel figures job and the vet’s professional attitude of keeping a healthy distance between Jimmy and the man hired to do the job. It makes you wonder what lies ahead that makes Jimmy reconsider this attitude.
Nacho, meanwhile, has found a pretty decent analogy for “out of the frying pan and into the fire”. His desperate move to be free of Hector has left him with a worse master in Gus Fring, and we already know all too well of the boundless cruelty hidden by his façade of civility. Victor and Tyrus take Nacho out into the desert, shoot up a car with Arturo’s body in it, put Nacho in the passenger seat and shoot him in the shoulder, before adding one to Nacho’s side, just to make it look more realistic, and then leave him bleeding out in the desert. Poor Nacho is left under no illusions as to how unbearably awful it’ll be to be in Fring’s employ. Juan Belsa believes a move was made on the Salamancas and orders Fring to do precisely what Fring wanted: find a US supplier. Enter one Gale Boetticher, eagerly lapping at his master’s heels, desperate to please the man who may as well be dragging him out behind the barn to be shot.