Sincerity. The theme of the penultimate episode of Better Call Saul’s fourth season was the word Jimmy heard from his reinstatement committee that got him all up in a tizzy.
But why was Jimmy so upset over the reasoning? I mean, of course he is angry that he will have to wait another year before practicing law again. But can he really be upset that Jimmy, a man who’s lacked sincerity more times than not on BCS, came off as “insincere?”
Was it Jimmy’s pride that was hurt by this, a man who convinces most people he’s sincere when he’s not? Was he upset his performance failed to convince the committee? Or was it because the committee brought back shades of the man who always saw through Jimmy’s “sincere” act: Chuck?
Jimmy has shoved any remorse he might have for the loss of his brother down deep all season. But now, with Kim correctly pointing out that Jimmy’s unwillingness to bring up Chuck at the hearing was the reason he is was rejected, the soon to be Saul Goodman will finally have to come to grips with the feelings he’s been repressing all season.
And it wasn’t just Jimmy who struggled with sincerity last night. Lalo (an amazing addition to the show for one introduced so late in the run) opens every conversation with a smile and compliments for the person he is talking to. But we all know he’s seeking another angle his insincere smile can’t hide.
And then there’s Werner: the surprising thorn in the side of Mike’s need to keep Gus’s operation quiet. Werner only emerged as the main threat last week. And while the love for his wife was clearly sincere, his unwillingness to stay away for her any longer to see the job finished was not.
The season finale next week should be a roller coaster of emotion as Mike searches for Werner (and I don’t think the end result is going to be pretty), Jimmy and Kim (likely) fight to appeal his reinstatement ruling, and Lalo does something (we don’t know what it will be, but the character is incredible, so you know it will be fantastic).
And speaking of Lalo (who was introduced as Eduardo last week), let’s start with him and Nacho (a man who is finding himself farther and farther away from the center of cartel operations).
“Same ole Hector, always wanting to kill everyone.”
Hector is now out of his hospital bed (thank to Gus) and in a retirement/rehab home when Lalo and Nacho come to visit. I don’t think Nacho says a word all night, showing just how far he’s fallen in the cartel food chain in a short amount of time.
Lalo recalls a story with Hector of a time when the Don dealt with someone who disrespected him by burning the place down. Lalo then pulls out a gift: Hector’s iconic bell from Breaking Bad. It turns out, Lalo (at least this is what he says) Lalo retrieved the bell from that burning building as a souvenir.
Hector then sends Nacho away so he can talk alone with Lalo about Gus (ouch, Nacho!!!)
“You’d be crazy to go up against Eladio.”
The next stop for Lalo and Nacho is to see Gus at his restaurant. And it is time for a little seed planting mission.
If you recall from Breaking Bad, Eladio ordered the murder of Gus’s business partner. So Gus has every reason to despise Don Eladio (the man who always sits by the pool and orders Gus and Hector around). Lalo uses this, encouraging Gus to distrust and possibly overtake Eladio. While you would think Gus would be smarter than that, we all know he will eventually move against and kill Eladio in the fourth season of Breaking Bad. Well, I believe those seeds were planted with this very conversation.
“Let’s make this official.”
It’s time for another scam from Viktor (with a K) and Giselle. Of course, those aren’t the roles they are playing here, but I just like to call the dynamic duo that when they scam.
The scam this time is to get the change in building plans Kevin from Mesa Verde wanted last week without having to restart the approval process. Kim comes in on crutches into the City Hall of Lubbock, Texas. She says she thinks she submitted the wrong plans, and she wants to check to ensure she doesn’t have to resubmit.
The receptionist pulls out the plans on file and compares them with the ones Kim brought in. Turns out, they are identical, so no need to refile.
In casual conversation, Kim mentions her 8 month old child when Jimmy (who is going by the name of Iggy) approaches to ask a question. But Iggy left the baby in the car!!! How could you Iggy??? They both run out to take care of the “child,” but Jimmy left a bottle of milk on top of the plans that were on file with the city.
Oh but what luck that Kim has the set of identical building plans she brought in to check. And since they just checked to make sure they were the same, the receptionist agrees to go ahead and stamp them. But the plans she stamps are different set, the ones with the alterations Kevin wanted to make last minute.
“It was a question of sincerity.”
And now it’s time for Jimmy to get back to practicing law. Or at least, that is what he thought would happen.
Jimmy goes before the reinstatement committee and has all the prepared answers he needs: where’s he been working, letters of exemplary performance on the job, obscure legal precedence that’s been established while he’s been suspended, and an apology showing regret for the actions that got him suspended.
“Jimmy, you are always down.”
But then, Jimmy gets thrown a curveball in the form of a question: “What does the law mean to you?”
Now, Kim correctly points out later that all of this was to try and get Jimmy to say something about Chuck. The committee knows the crime Jimmy committed was because of bad blood with his brother. And they also know Chuck has passed recently. And they might know Jimmy got into the law profession because of a mail room job at HHM set up by his brother.
But Jimmy never utters Chuck’s name. When talking about the mail room job, Jimmy simply states he “ended up” there, not that Chuck got him the opportunity. And when asked about what (or who) his legal influences are (a question that screamed, “The answer is your brother Chuck”), Jimmy says “The University of American Samoa.”
When he finds out he’s been rejected, Jimmy calls Kim. They go on top of a parking garage and have it out because Jimmy thinks Kim denies his sincerity.
And once again, Kim is in the right when she points out all the times she dropped everything to help out Jimmy, a man who is constantly in need of rescuing.
But later on, after the two have cooled down and are sitting in their apartment, Kim makes clear that she will still help Jimmy become a lawyer again.
“If you want to see your wife, then finish the job.”
We wrap up with Mike, who’s inevitable major issue with the Germans finally emerged this week. And just like I speculated last week, it wasn’t Kai, Casper, or any other member of Werner’s crew. It was Werner himself.
I have to give one last bit of respect to the German man before the beginning of his likely demise. When the explosives weren’t working, he didn’t send a crew member to check on the problem. He took the risk himself.
But unlike the rest of his crew, which was really excited about the successful explosion, Werner was down. And the reason was understandable. The project has gone on longer than expected, and Werner is really missing his wife of 26 years. He asks Mike if he can visit her while Kai leads in his place. Mike refuses, but does give Werner the chance to call her.
That call may not have been the best thing. Later, Mike notices spots on the cameras in the security room. He goes into the house to search Werner’s room and finds a letter and instructions for how to finish the project. Werner has run away, and he used a device that temporarily shut down the cameras to do it.
-Kai offering Mike a beer makes me think those two are about to bury the hatchet so Kai can finish the work Werner’s started.
-Everyone watching knows that when Lalo compliments Gus’s chicken that it is all a big game of flattery before Lalo gets to what he really wants. Which makes how effective Lalo is at it even more amazing.
-I wonder what the cartel suspects of Nacho. With all the time he spends with Gus, they clearly don’t trust him. But have they any clue of the role Nacho played in Don Hector’s current state? And do they know Nacho is actively working as a mole for Gus?
-“Of course, they all know me as Saul Goodman.” And very subtlety, Jimmy mentions the reason why his name change will happen.
It is already time for the season 4 finale, folks. And it promises to be quite the ride. See you next week.