THE FOLLOWING RECAP CONTAINS EXTENSIVE SPOILERS OF THE ABOVE EPISODE.
Like the effortless nature of a Wexler-McGill scam, Vince Gilligan inserts and establishes remarkably engaging characters at the drop of a hat.
There is nothing trustworthy about Eduardo ‘Lalo’ Salamanca – least of all an enthusiastic taste for Los Pollos Hermanos, coming from a family recipe man – but Tony Dalton is an instantly worthy addition to the cast. Forebodingly charismatic and sharp, he struts into Gus’s office like it’s his own, and pointedly switches to Spanish to communicate some ambiguous intentions.
It’s not clear if he wants to cosy up to Gus or threaten him in relation to Hector, via dropping Don Eladio’s name. Also dropping, rapidly, is Gus’s face as Lalo leaves. I fear we won’t be seeing much more of that ‘tache – we’ve been proven wrong re: Gus’s hit list before, but when your surname begins in ‘S’ and ends in ‘alamanca’, different rules apply.
And so to Hector and the anticipated installation of his bell, destined to terrorise residents and staff at his care facility and for an unforgettable place in Breaking Bad lore. Lalo’s story of the bell’s origin, a keepsake from a hotel Hector burned to the ground, is one that matches its explosive destiny. Nacho emotions are intriguing. It’s almost easy to forget that it was he that did this to Hector, and as he watches the man recover functionality of sorts, you have to imagine he’s wishing with all his might that he never got himself into this.
Someone who wishes exactly that is Werner. I hope we never see Werner again, as it is most certainly the only way he will live past his lab’s completion date. Skipping town to wiedersehen with his wife, it was obvious from the lonely panic attack and surreptitious glances at the cameras that something was afoot, with his request for a long weekend declined firmly by Mike. Werner does not deserve Gus’s full wrath.
This show is not cruel, but it is not sentimental either, a trait shared with Breaking Bad. I fear the worst for Werner, as I think we’ll see him again – his character has become too central, and too foolish. Worst of all, Gus has delegated all responsibility for the project to Mike, and there is no shred of doubt that includes the issuing of retribution most final.
It looked for all the world as if Kim Wexler was going to go all Skylar White on us – but it wasn’t looking quite so delicious until Jimmy’s failed hearing regarding his law license. Petty rip-offs of building companies that benefit no one but Mesa Verde is hardly what came to mind at the end of last week, but as she and Jimmy stared solemnly at one another in the mirror, it seemed inevitable that something Huell-sized was coming (the court-duping, not the man – I think).
Jimmy’s denial was something of a surprise given his virtuoso performance in front of a too easily pleased panel, but not unexpected in narrative terms. You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you? It had looked set up for a reprise of the Neff interview flourish, and that must have been Jimmy’s plan as he burst back into the hearing room. The show’s creators know that we have grown accustomed to Jimmy’s routine; we too know when he is insincere – and on the one occasion when he was the opposite, it failed.
There’s trouble afoot – for Lalo, for Nacho, for Werner, maybe for Mike – and, most enticing, for whoever gets in Kim and Jimmy’s way.
New episodes of Better Call Saul drop every Tuesday on Netflix