Four Letter Nerd

Better Call Saul Season 4, Episode 10: Winner Recap

Throughout Better Call Saul’s four season run, Kim and the audience were the only one’s left who were always in on Jimmy’s schemes(Chuck was too, but he dead, so….).

Well, now we’ve all been duped at some point after BCS’s season four finale, “Winner.”

And don’t even try to lie and tell me you were on to Jimmy as he made that final plea with the appeal committee to get back his law license. If Kim Wexler thought Jimmy was telling the truth, you did as well.

Jimmy put on his best performance and the transformation (in name at least) from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman is now complete.

And judging by her face, Kim was absolutely horrified at who she helped to create.

But Jimmy’s change to Saul was not the most tragic part of the episode. Mike finally did away with the “half-measures,” pulling the trigger and killing Werner, taking a major step into a world he can now never walk away from.

And that is where we will start the recap as Mike and one other interested party pursue the doomed Werner.

“This is on me. I can fix it.”

The first step in Mike’s search for the fleeing architect was finding where he received a money transfer. At the branch, Mike is able to convince the employee behind the counter to show him security footage by saying Werner had dementia. Unfortunately, the footage only shows Werner got in a cab off screen.

When Mike breaks the bad news to Gus, he learns that (of course) Gus already knows Werner’s wife is on a plane to Denver. Gus’s men will track her from the airport to Werner’s location. And though he never says it directly, Gus’s silence (which speaks oh so clearly) implies both Werner and his wife will be killed.

Mike convinces Gus to hold off and let him track down the German architect, but they are not the only ones looking to find Werner.

“Michael, is that you?”

Lalo used the location to follow Mike from Gus’s factory to the money transfer branch.

But Mike discovered he was being followed and used a slick gum in the parking meter trick to escape.

So Lalo goes back to the money transfer branch and, using nefarious means we’ll discuss later, gets a hold off all the information he needs to find where Werner is.

Lalo wants to find out what Gus is up to in that chicken warehouse. And if he would have been on the phone a little longer, the gullible Werner would have likely spilled all the beans. But Mike showed up before any thing of consequence could have been repeated.

Lalo on his mission to discover what Gus is up to.

“There are so many stars visible in New Mexico.”

But Mike got his man and took him out to the desert at night. Of course, Werner still seems to think that, somehow, he’s going to survive all this. And Mike tried to convince Gus to let Werner finish his work. But it was all to no avail.

Mike wants to be the one to pull the trigger, and he convinces Werner to call his wife and convince her to turn around so she will learn nothing and survive.

Werner walks peacefully out into the desert, turns his back to Mike, and stares up the stars while Mike pulls the trigger and kills him.

Mike and Werner in one of their final conversations.

“I can’t believe I wrote a $23,000 check for this.”

Kim was right about the reason Jimmy was denied the reinstatement of his law license. And they went all in showing Jimmy’s “grief” for his brother.

First, Jimmy stands at Chuck’s grave on the one year anniversary of his brother’s death. And he stood there throughout the day greeting various mourners so they could see him “crying” over his brother.

Second, Jimmy writes a $23,000 check for the dedication of the “Charles L. McGill Reading Room” at the University of New Mexico (I think). And he has the three film students he works with all the time spread the rumors all over the party that Jimmy was the one who made the donation.

Jimmy at Chuck’s grave on the one year anniversary of Chuck’s death.

“Esposito, that’s the shoplifter.”

The third action Jimmy takes is serving on the scholarship committee for the HHM sponsored scholarship named in Chuck’s honor. Three lucky high school students will be chosen, but Jimmy votes for the candidate he relates to the most.

The girl’s name is Christy Esposito. She has a shoplifting conviction on her record and has worked hard to put that behind her. But despite Jimmy’s plea, the committee only sees her as “the shoplifter.”

Jimmy has some, well I don’t really know how to describe the words he used. They aren’t really encouraging, and I guess they could be inspiring depending on how Christy uses them. But Jimmy tells her the truth: they didn’t pick you, they were never going to pick  you, and you must find your own way because committees like this will never ultimately pick you.

It is through Christy that Jimmy sees himself and becomes convinced that his words will mean nothing. It is the words of his brother that must convince his appeal committee to give him his law license back.

“I’m not going to be practicing under the name McGill.”

Jimmy pulls out the letter, the one Chuck wrote him to be given to him as part of Chuck’s will, and takes it to the committee hearing.

And it is hear that Jimmy “bares his soul” about Chuck. He starts reading the letter, but stops. He claims he’ll never be as good as Chuck. But if given the chance, he’ll “do everything in (his) power to earn the name McGill.”

The performance works, except we didn’t know it was a performance and neither did Kim. She really thought Jimmy had been harboring feelings for his brother all season. But it’s not just that Jimmy truly felt nothing for his brother’s lost. Kim never thought Jimmy would stoop so low as to fake those feelings to get his law license back.

Kim is shocked to learn it was all an act. And not only was it an act, but Jimmy will not be practicing under the name “Jimmy McGill.”

The look on Kim’s face as Jimmy walks away says she knows she’s helped create a monster. And from that moment forward, Jimmy McGill is no more. From now on, Jimmy McGill  (except of course when we see him as Gene) will be Saul Goodman.

Kim listens as Jimmy describes the act he just put on for the appeals committee.

Of Note: 

-There was strong symbolism (as usual) in this episode:

There was the use of the song “Winner Takes it All” with Chuck and Jimmy singing it in karaoke. You could say Jimmy was the “winner” of the brotherly rivalry there.

Lalo sang the Spanish version of the song as he spied on Gus’s factory in a battle we know Gus is in the process of “taking it all.”

And Jimmy quotes the song when giving his speech to Christy Esposito.

-Also, Jimmy telling the committee he’ll work hard to live up to the name, then announcing he will not be practicing under the name McGill could not have been accidental. Clearly, Jimmy doesn’t think he can live up to the name “McGill” and now just won’t try to.

-It was clear Werner did not spend enough time with Gus or take seriously just how much danger he was in when he left on his own.

-So will the rest of Werner’s crew finish the lab without him? It seemed like Mike was telling Werner the crew will be sent home immediately with the work not done.

-Gus does show Gale the lab despite its unfinished state.

-The finale set up the showdown for season five with Mike and Lalo, but I do wish the show would have found a more creative to get Lalo into the back of the money transfer branch instead of Lalo pulling out his Spidey Sense to get up into the roof.

-No Nacho in the finale, which means Nacho has survived to Season 5!!!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the recaps for this season. I know we will get at least one more season, so whenever that is, I look forward to seeing you again for season five.

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Jeff Merrick

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