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Better Call Saul Gave Us All the Gus Fring We Could Handle

first_img Jimmy’s Fall Is All About Chuck on Better Call SaulWe Knew Things Would Come to This on Better Call Saul Better Call Saul had one of the best episodes of its season, and proto-Saul Jimmy McGill was barely even in it. It was a reminder that, as much as we love watching Bob Odenkirk play the charming, slightly sleazy lawyer, the world of Breaking Bad was fascinating on its own. In last night’s episode, we saw a lot more of it. The show opened with an extended Spanish language sequence where Hector Salamanca drops his money off with the cartel boss. Gus Fring can’t make it, but his associate drops off a noticeably larger, more neatly packed bundle of cash. The purpose of this sequence is to set up the small showdown between Fring and Salamanca that comes next.After two episodes of Gus Fring making very brief appearances, he finally got some decent screen time this week. After Hector Salamanca starts making trouble in Los Pollos Hermanos, Gus is pulled away from his community outreach at the fire station to deal with him. Esposito’s performance is particularly great in this episode. We know what Fring is eventually capable of, but he’s not there yet. He’s still putting up with Hector’s threats, but he’s pretty close to done. When he apologizes to his employees for Hector’s appearance, he tells them Hector was someone who demanded protection money back during Gus’s startup days in Mexico. His speech is probably the best, most inspiring talk about America and freedom since Bill Pullman’s in Independence Day. His assistant manager even starts clapping at the end of it. Why do I get the feeling things aren’t going to end well for him?Gustavo “Gus” Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) (Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC)Both sides of Gus Fring shine in this episode. We see the smiling, charming business owner, directly followed by the cold, terrifying criminal mastermind. The episode’s most mesmerizing scene comes from a simple conversation between him and Mike Ehrmantraut. Esposito and Jonathan Banks do some of the best acting of the series in this one scene. It’s a standoff between the two men, both sizing each other up, determined to give nothing away. We know they end up working together eventually, but for now, they don’t entirely trust each other. Gus offers Mike some work, but Mike is noncommittal at this point. It depends on the work. We do get a nice bit of foreshadowing right at the end of this scene. Gus reveals that he stopped Mike from shooting Hector because a bullet to the head would be too human. We all know Hector ends up in a wheelchair, unable to speak. Gus is going to do something terrible to him.Jimmy really didn’t have much to do this episode, but he and Kim continue to be a great team. After she helps him draft his confession and cancels Chuck’s door repair appointment, Jimmy hires Mike to pretend to fix the door. Mike is even the best part of Jimmy’s storyline. He shows up to fix Chuck’s door and drives him away with power tools. It’s funny to see him firing a drill into the air for a change. Once Chuck is out of the way, we learn Mike’s real purpose. He’s there to take photos, which leads to a great line from Jimmy after the job is done. “We should probably discuss the rule of thirds.” Photography jokes!Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) (Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC)Jimmy does have one really great scene at the end of the episode. During his PPD meeting, the prosecutor handling his case asks him to apologize to Chuck before she’s satisfied with the agreement. Jimmy is incredibly pointed in his word choice. It’s so satisfying to watch him say, “No one should treat his own brother like that. Not ever.” That satisfies the prosecutor, but we all know what he’s really talking about. Chuck, for his part, continues to act like the sleazier, yet pious version of his brother we now know him to be. He quibbles over the cost of a cassette tape. That seems petty, but what he really wants is for the bar to know that there’s a cassette tape involved.Once the meeting’s over, Kim tricks Chuck into revealing that Jimmy destroyed a decoy. The original is being kept under lock and key. As the episode ends, it becomes clear that Jimmy and Kim were somehow counting on that. The continued existence of the original tape was somehow a part of their plan. We don’t know what the plan is, but watching them work together is so fun, it doesn’t matter. They are the perfect team. Let’s enjoy that now because we know it won’t last.Prosecutor Kyra Hay (Kimberly Hebert Gregory), Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) and Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) (Photo by Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC)The pieces are moving now, and though it isn’t obvious yet what they’re moving towards, we know it’s something big. Gus’s differences with Hector are about to boil over, and you know there are going to be casualties. And as much as Mike doesn’t want to get involved in it, he’s going to have to if he wants to keep his family in their nice, safe new home. As for Jimmy and Kim, they’re headed to court. Chuck has assured Kim that the bar will hear the tape, so things aren’t looking too great for Jimmy. Whatever they have planned, it’d better be something good. At least they seem confident about it. Better Call Saul is one of the best shows on TV right now. By the time the episode’s over, it doesn’t feel like an hour has gone by. The worst part of the show is having to wait a week to see what happens next. Stay on targetlast_img read more

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