THE FOLLOWING RECAP CONTAINS EXTENSIVE SPOILERS OF THE ABOVE EPISODE.
Just like future Francesca shredding evidence of extensive wrongdoing, Jimmy takes the number of the shrink recommended to him by Kim and – despite promising again that he’ll call – rips it up in a toilet cubicle.
The opening sequence with the deliciously purple-shirted Saul is thrilling not least because we can contrast everything we now know about Jimmy’s character with that of his most infamous identity, even for a brief few moments. He doesn’t seem so different, even though we know that by this point he has been dragged deep into a criminal underworld far murkier than the one inhabited by Jimmy. Odenkirk adds slightly rougher edges to the characters voice; his tone barely tangibly less warm. I don’t think I’d give Saul a hug either, Francesca.
Is Jimmy huggable? Perhaps a little more so, at this point. He reclaims centre stage in this episode, courtesy of a vibrant, fun sequence in which he hawks pre-paid CC Mobile devices to a motley crew of drug dealers, punks and bikers before receiving a light beat-down from the three youths he first pegged as potential clients.
The retreating aerial shot of Jimmy prone in the Dog House parking lot explicitly recalls two of the most memorable images of Walter White – one when he lies beneath floorboards, laughing manically upon discovery of his stolen money, and one in the final shot of Breaking Bad, when he is presumed dead. Each of these connections can be interpreted as representing something happening to Jimmy. He may be losing himself, just as he has lost his law licence and is sure to lose Kim, on account of his poor choices and failure to heed advice. Walter certainly appeared to lose his sanity in that first instance. Alternatively, it’s undeniable BCS as a whole essentially documents the ‘death’ of James McGill.
Meanwhile, Mike’s got some actual work to do, the kind that is less clipboards in warehouses and more escorting prospective meth-lab engineers with European accents on quite a ride. I have to say, having a heavy bag over your head is significantly improved by Jonathan Banks’ dulcet tones guiding you – even if you needed to pee. At the end of those bumpy roads is a familiar laundry facility, the basement of which will soon be transformed into a state-of-the-art narcotics factory. Or perhaps not so soon – Werner Ziegler (Rainer Bock) does not project an unrealistic timeframe, perhaps wisely, given that the previous candidate’s estimate of six months landed him back on the next flight home. Gus will take quality over haste any day, even if it means eccentric (and carsickness) over suave. We don’t yet know how long Gus’s project will take, but we do know that it will be a number of years before Walter White enters the Ziegler-designed basement-cum-production area. Mike’s part in all this is incidental – he’s just happy to be doing something, but still looks bored. We sense that Gus will have more vexing tests of his new assistant’s character lined up.
Kim has shed the challenging for the mundane, however, flipping off Mesa Verde for open-and-shut cases of the kind of people Jimmy might see as potential sales targets. We’re well acquainted with Kim’s human side by now, highlighted in her grief over Chuck next to Jimmy’s lack thereof, and she picks Denise over Paige; downtown front porch steps over lavish entrance halls. Kim does not belong in Mesa Verde, and her severing of ties with it looms. Let’s hope it’s spectacular. Let’s hope David and Denise turn their lives around.
Kim sympathies for those with nothing does not extend to those with everything, like Howard. Yes, Patrick Fabian returns! He’s not had a lot of sleep, mind. He looks a shell of the man he was three episodes ago, last seen on the receiving end of Kim’s tirade of shaming truths over Chuck. I’d hate to see him if he wasn’t using a shrink, though maybe like Jimmy points out, he could do worse than call a different number.
I guess we’ll never know, as, just like any residual guilt Jimmy feels and Francesca’s incriminating paperwork, it has since been ripped up and disposed of.
Where, we wonder, will Jimmy really be in nine months and 24 days?
P.S. – No Nacho 😦
Better Call Saul season 4, episode 5 is available to stream on Netflix now