Four Letter Nerd

Better Call Saul Season 4, Episode 5: Quite a Ride Recap

As we hit the halfway point of Better Call Saul’s 4th season, Jimmy and Kim are having unspoken issues. Both are living individual lives that barely intersect at home as Kim appears headed for an ill-fated ending with Mesa Verde and Jimmy continues to flirt with criminal entities.

Neither discusses what they are doing with the other. So what will happen when all these secret activities boil over and reveal themselves? We know the result for Jimmy, but what will the backlash be for Kim?

On the other side of the coin is Mike and Gus. Mike’s “job” ends in success as the duo finds the man who will ultimately build Gus’s meth lab. Gus is moving closer to his status as top of the food chain in Albuquerque’s drug world as Kim and Jimmy move closer to an ill-fated conclusion.

And let’s not forget the opening scene, where we see Saul Goodman making escape plans from his office before he went into hiding.

We’ve got plenty to discuss, so let’s kick things off with Mike and Gus and their search for the perfect meth lab architect.

“Dangerous, difficult, very expensive, but quite possible.”

As it turns out, Gus’s job for Mike is to find an architect: the man who will build Gus’s meth lab in the bottom floor of the laundry warehouse Gus now owns.

The first candidate is brash and confident. Mike arranges for him to pick up a phone from a car at the Denver Airport. Mike calls and directs him where to drive the car. The man then puts a sack over his head and they drive to Albuquerque (though the guy in the bag has no idea that’s where he is).

The guy clearly knows about the job and runs a few tests over it with his computer and another tool. I’m sorry I don’t know what thing that beeps is, but what the tool is for doesn’t matter. His inspection is quick and explanation of his work is too idealistic and easy. Mike gets a call from Gus, and next thing you know, this guy is back at his car with a plane ticket ready to fly back from wherever he came from.

The next candidate appears far less confident. He struggles with the ride there. Then when he gets there, he sees a tough, expensive project. This man is named Werner Ziegler, and he pulls no punches explaining just how difficult this job will be.

But he assures Gus that it is possible, and the two men shakes hands. Gus has his man to build his state of the art Meth Lab.

Mike meets with Werner Zigler, the man who will build Gus’s meth lab.

“We’re not a client you hang up on.”

Last week, a judge in court challenged Kim, saying that if she kept hanging around his court, he would find her something to do.

Well, Kim took him up on that challenge, taking the case of two defendants at the expense of her main client.

Kim’s first client is David, a defendant who threw a rock into a jewelry store and tried to rob it. But the cops didn’t read him his Miranda rights, so their evidence could be thrown out if the case goes to trial (at least that is what Kim tells Bill Oakley (a familiar face), Assistant District Attorney.

She holds firm on a deal for 4 months probation and time served right up until the case for the young man begins. She gets her deal, but she neglected checking paperwork her paralegal has been doing for her.

Kim negotiates with Bill Oakley.

Later, Kim has a client who misses her time in court because she’s afraid of going to jail. Kim takes a cab to the girl’s house and talks her into appearing in court. But while counseling the girl, Kim gets a call.

Paige from Mesa Verde is upset because there is a mistake in the paper work. Kim promises to take care of it, but she has something to deal with before she can and hangs up.

When Kim does make it to Mesa Verde, she finds the mistake has already been corrected. And Paige isn’t even upset about the mistake. She says Kim cannot hang-up on Mesa Verde in the future. Kim promises to never do that again, and I don’t think anyone watching last night believes her.

“It sounds like you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Meanwhile, Jimmy continues his long, boring days “selling” cell phones at CCMobile. And Jimmy with idle hands is almost always a bad idea.

Last week, he painted on the windows a message that basically said, “Hey criminals, want to keep your activities private?” Well, he caught his first fish with that bait this week. A guy walks in who isn’t declaring all his income with the IRS.

Jimmy gives the sales pitch and convinces the guy to purchase every “Pay as you go” phone he has on stock.

Later, when Jimmy gets home, the “idle hands” comes into play again. Kim as legal documents to review, so she can’t watch a movie with Jimmy. So as “Slippin Jimmy” sits there bored he gets to thinking of a scheme.

He leaves for what he says is “work,” purchases the rest of his stock of “Pay as you go” phones, and heads out to the streets to sell them.

Jimmy selling “Pay as you go” phones on the street

The first group he presents to refuses. But everyone else is all in, including a biker gang everyone else is afraid of.

But that first trio took notice of the amount of money Jimmy made selling phones. And they beat him up and take the money, leaving Jimmy in the middle of the street broke.

This experience seems to turn Jimmy back to being on the up and up. He removes the painted message from the cell phone store, takes the number to that psychiatrist Kim recommended, and heads to court for his monthly check in with his probation officer.

But then, Jimmy runs into Howard, and things are not going well for the head of HHM. He’s not sleeping, but he won’t tell Jimmy all the issues he’s having right now. Jimmy wants to recommend a psychiatrist for Howard, but Howard says he’s already seeing one twice a week. Seeing Howard in the state he is in is enough for Jimmy to give up on seeing a shrink, and he tears up the number and throws it in the toilet.

Later, Jimmy does his monthly check up and promises a return to law that is going to be “bigger, better, and everyone’s going to know about it.” And he plans on practicing with Kim. But the conflicted look on Jimmy’s face makes us wonder if he believes that.

Of Note

-Before the start of the season, Vince Gilligan promised scenes that took place during the Breaking Bad timeline. Well, we got our first scene Monday night (and hopefully not the last) as we see Saul Goodman tearing through his office as Francesca shreds documents.

Jimmy had money hidden all over that office (in the ceiling, behind the Constitution, etc).

And I am amazed how much Francesca was willing to do for Jimmy right up to his very last moment as Saul Goodman. Of course, her work wasn’t for free, and she clearly shows no affection for him. But was money the only reason she stuck by him right up until this last moment?

And will this scene serve a greater purpose later on in Better Call Saul?

Saul Goodman and Francesca cleaning out his office.

-It is interesting to see Kim take the place Jimmy held at the start of the series and be so much better at it than he was.

-So a kid faces 18 months in jail, Kim gets it down to four months probation, and that ingrate is upset he has to see a probation office?

-Also, was David (the kid Kim defended) one of three that robbed Jimmy?

-I wonder how much of Jimmy’s “late night at the Dog House” story Kim really believes.

That’s the halfway point of Season 4, ladies and gentlemen. And I don’t expect the 2nd half to be anything but tense as some big decisions are likely to be made before it’s over. See you next week.

 

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Jeff Merrick

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