Four Letter Nerd

Better Call Saul Season 4, Episode 4: Talk Recap

Inspiration. Motivation. The reason you get up and go to work everyday. In a pivotal season of Better Call Saul where major bridges between Jimmy’s journey to becoming Saul Goodman, Gus’s rise to the top of the food chain in the cartel, and Mike’s emergence as Gus’s right hand man will likely be crossed, Monday night’s “Talk” pulled things back a bit as we looked deep into four characters and the reasons why they chose the line of work they chose.

For Kim, dealing exclusively with banking regulations has her yearning for motivation to keep going as a lawyer. We see her attending random legal proceedings hoping for an inspiring case that will return that itch that brought her to HHM years ago.

For Jimmy, it’s the sales pitch. Sitting in an empty cell phone store unable to perform has Jimmy in a bind. But by the end of the episode, Jimmy finds inspiration from a conversation with Ira, a “new” associate he first met last week.

For Mike, the instinct of his old profession never leaves him. Even in a support group for people dealing with grief from losing loved ones, Mike’s antenna for sensing lies will not turn off.

For Nacho, it’s regret. Why did he involve himself in the games of the cartel? I expect season 4 will end in tragedy for Nacho. And as he sits in his father’s house indebted to Gus, hiding secrets from the Salamaca’s, and slowly dying from a wound that a real doctor will never treat, all Nacho can ask for is a little rest in his father’s home: a good man who must ask why his son felt the need to pursue such a dangerous path in life.

Now, I expect our path towards where we know our major characters end up to continue in earnest next week. But “Talk” takes a wonderful step back to remind us who these characters are at their cores. And those core values will be essential as these characters plot forward to their ultimate destiny (or demise) in the weeks to come.

“Get some rest, you have more to do.”

Gus’s ultimate plan for killing Arturo was to claim hold of a territory held by the Espinosas: a family who deals cocaine in what appears to be a poor part of Albuquerque.

Nacho takes the Twins to the Espinosa’s hideout (a location we briefly visited earlier in the episode). Nacho spots the car ( a car he described to the Twins in detail last week as responsible for ambushing him and Arturo), and the Twins waste no time going in.

Now, keep in mind, this is a fairly large operation with at least ten to fifteen people inside this territory. The Twins remind us how bad ass they are as they go in (just the two of them for the most part) and take out everyone. Nacho, still struggling with his injury from last week, provides back up when the Twins appear trapped. But otherwise, it is Hector’s nephews who take everyone of the Espinosa’s down and walk out with the cocaine and the money.

Nacho and one of the Twins take out the Espinosa’s for “revenge.”

Nacho tells Gus that the Twins are heading back to Mexico until things cool off. That opens the door for Gus to expand into the Espinosa territory. Nacho figures this out quickly, but Gus assures him that he still has “more to do.”

Nacho needs rest. And in the episode’s most heartbreaking scene, he finds it in his father’s house. Nacho’s dad doesn’t want him there. But when he turns on the light and sees his son struggling, he relents. He tries to call 911, but Nacho tells him he can’t (the wounds would likely be reported to police and end in a worse outcome than the slow death Nacho might be dying here). All Nacho asks for is rest: rest for both his hurting body and from this deadly game with no way out.

“It’s the real world, Ms. Wexler, and you won’t find any ‘save the broken lawyer’ cases in it.”

Kim has been spending a lot of time in court recently, a place she misses dearly.

With Mesa Verde, there are no court cases, just a constant stream of legal documents and banking regulations with an occasional regulatory board hearing (I fell asleep typing that sentence).

So Kim sits in the court of Judge Benedict Munniser (who has to be a judge or a teacher at Hogwarts). The judge notices her and calls her into his office, giving her sound advice: do your work, make money, and give some of it to charity if you need a cause because these trials aren’t going to be a like the movies.

He also warns Ms.Wexler that she will be put to work if he keeps seeing her in his court. But instead of hearing a warning, Kim hears a challenge. For when Judge Munniser is done with his lunch and returns to his bench, he sees her sitting right back down in the same seat. Don’t be surprised if Kim picks up some public defender work in the coming weeks.

Kim sits in court observing trials, looking for motivation.

“So this is a normal weekday?”

In only took four episodes, but Jimmy finally has a job. Now, the only reason he has that job is he doesn’t want Kim to think he needs therapy.

The job is “floor manager” of a cell phone store. But the CC Mobile branch Jimmy works in doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. And by that, I mean no foot traffic at all. Jimmy spends his days bored out of his mind. But he finds motivation from a meeting with Ira, his partner in crime from last week.

“New job, new phone. You never know who’s listening.”

Jimmy closes the store briefly (and I’m sure lots of people noticed) to pick up money from Ira.

Now, I have to apologize. I thought the Hummel job was barely thought out and poorly executed. But turns out it produced more money than Jimmy thought it would. Sorry Jimmy for doubting any of your schemes.

Ira took it to the Hummel figurine convention where a bidding war broke out. Ira also showed himself to be an “honorable” thief, giving Jimmy half even though he could have just given Jimmy the $4000 McGill expected back.

I expect these two to work together again in the near future. Ira tells Jimmy if he’s got another job, call the vet because he won’t be using the same phone.

Jimmy and Ira discussing future business together.

That last line gives Jimmy an idea. He heads back to the store and breaks out the paint. I’m sure Jimmy asked permission to do this (wink,wink) as he plasters a new message across the windows of the empty store: “Is the man listening? Privacy sold here.”

Jimmy’s post elder law life has included mostly unsavory dealings with unsavory people. And I suspect this message, a message that screams “We sell burner phones!!!!” will bring more unsavory people into Jimmy’s path.

Jimmy’s new promotional message for CC Mobile.

“You wanted me to talk, I talked.”

For the first time this season, we return to the support group Mike and Stacey have been attending. And we also get a date for Mike and Anita, the true power couple of “Better Call Saul.” OK, well maybe there not Kim and Jimmy level yet, but I have to root for them even if I know they are unlikely to end up together.

Over lunch (I think) Mike and Anita make a bet. Mike thinks Henry, a guy in the support group, is lying about having a wife who passed away. He notices Henry’s stories have details that don’t line up with facts and are constantly changing.

Mike and Anita (who Mike met last season at the support group) having lunch together.

Now, up until this point, Mike has kept quiet while Henry told his fake stories. But when he tries to give advice to Stacey after she shared genuine grief, that crossed a line.

Mike speaks up, calling Henry out for his lies. Henry gets up and leaves, and we are left unsure what the full fallout will be for Mike with the support group, with Stacey, and with Anita.

Mike confronts Henry as he tells made up stories about his made up wife.

“So why don’t you stop running the game on me an tell me about the job.”

Back to Mike’s “day job,” he gets a call from Gus. Gus wants to meet, and Mike snuffs out quickly what it’s about.

Now,with most people Gus needs something from, he presents a stoic expression making the subjects of Gus’s stare think they are in trouble (and sometimes they are). Gus is able to get assurances from them before he asks for a favor or gives a job offer.

Well, Mike is not falling for it. He knows why Gus is upset: Mike didn’t tell Gus about Nacho’s plans for Hector (“I said I wouldn’t kill him. I didn’t say I’d be his bodyguard”). Mike also knows that if Gus wanted to hurt Mike, he’d have already done it. This isn’t about Nacho, this is about a job. And Gus has something he wants to “ask” Mike to do.

That intuition that works sniffing out a liar in a grief support group works just as well when standing toe to toe with Gus Fring.

Gus has a job for Mike.

Of Note

-When Kim gave Jimmy that number to go see a therapist, I wondered if she sought the therapy out for herself first.

-I also liked the use of a movie plot by the judge to make his point to Kim. We’ve established that Kim is a cinefile, so she would pick up right away that Judge Munniser was describing a plot to a movie.

-It was a sweet moment to start the episode as Mike describes to the support group a story of a young Matty watching him lay down concrete.

A young Matty looking on as his dad (Mike) lays concrete.

-Mike, Security Consultant for Madrigal, found the following issues in this week’s inspection:

  • The temperature in the loading container was 3 degrees too hot,
  • There was double stacking where the boxes clearly said “No Double Stacking,”
  • And a frayed strap, which means every strap must be pulled back and inspected.

I recommend calling in sick if you get wind of Mike coming in to inspect your warehouse.

-I feel pretty good knowing that, if Henry would have told a story about a night game at Wrigley Field before 1988, I would have picked up that he was a liar as well.

-And speaking of Henry, I think we all recognized the actor who played Henry, even if we didn’t all remember him from the same television role.

The actor is Marc Evan Jackson, and you probably recognized from roles such as “The Good Place,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Parks and Rec,” “Rizzoli and Isles,” “The League,” or any other TV show that’s been on the air the last ten years. He’s appeared in almost all of them.

On the left is Henry, played by Marc Evan Jackson, the conman in the grief support group.

Next week, we’ll see what Gus has for Mike, what Jimmy’s latest scam is, what’s eating at Howard Hamlin, and what mistake does Kim make with Mesa Verde. See you then.

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Jeff Merrick

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