Better Call Saul
Jimmy’s definitely in the game now. It’s time to leave “World’s 2nd Best Lawyer” mugs, Davis & Main sport bottles (be they filled with piss or vinegar), and other playthings behind. Sadly, that even includes his stalwart Suzuki Esteem, which had never before ferried more than $50 but briefly burst at its bolts with $7 million. Now, like the travel cup Kim gifted him in greener days, his two-tone beauty is riddled with bullets, leaking and best left for dead in the middle of the desert.
The good news for Jimmy is, he doesn’t meet a similar fate. He should have, but just as one of Lalo’s rivals (or perhaps comrades, as it seems he robbed Peter to pay Paul) points a pistol straight at his face, Mike’s sniper bullets save the day. The old man’s a one-man killing machine, mowing down cartel members left and right, armed with automatic weapons and endless rounds though they may be. But Mike is patient, and precise, and all but one of his targets go down in the hailstorm of battle.
It couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes, but Jimmy is jarred into stunned silence, confirming he isn’t shot but barely able to babble, let alone deploy his silver tongue. Mike is tender in a way, or at least in a way we’ve seen before, sympathetic to Jimmy being in over his head but weary from escorting another lost soul out of their personal crossroads and into the underworld. He’s even more unnerved to discover that Jimmy’s been candid with Kim about being in the middle of nowhere to pick up a small fortune from Marco and Leonel and ensure its arrival back to Albuquerque to post $7 million bail in Lalo’s name. Or Jose De Guzman’s, as it were. For that matter, it’s news to Mike that Jimmy and Kim tied the knot, and Mike betrays a silent incredulity at their naïveté that speaks volumes.
The problem is, while Jimmy and Mike are mired in their own private “Pine Barrens,” camping out by glowstick and lugging Lalo’s loot under the oppressive southwestern sun (even I was thirsty from all those lingering shots on Jimmy’s blistered lips and battered complexion, comparable to the rusted panel of his Esteem’s rear passenger door), Kim is left to her own devices back home. Perhaps still reeling (or rejuvenated) from her recent confrontations with Mitch and Kevin and Mr. Acker, et al., she’s chosen to come at Lalo with straight talk, woman to man. Only, Lalo is a monster. Kim and Jimmy’s pact to be forthright with one another has already run up against its limitations. Coming to Lalo with an acknowledgment that she knows the truth about who he is and where Jimmy is — and why — is going to hurt.
Desperation to return to Kim (and a little pep talk from Mike about his own loved ones he’d like to see again) motivates Jimmy to demonstrate true bravery, though it could have been avoided had he summoned the courage to stay on a straighter course at so many different turns. As the lone surviving assassin hunts them down in an infinite loop, like some Mad Max mercenary in the open West, Jimmy calls an audible and steps out in plain view, reflective space blanket all but acting as a suicidal SOS. (An entire essay could and should be devoted to what the space blanket in this episode represents to Jimmy vis à vis Chuck.) Mike stumbles to his feet, readies his weapon, steadies his sights and, after one untrue shot, nails the lunatic behind the wheel and leaves Jimmy breathless and barely pulsing — again.
Mike tramples the space blanket as he and his unlikely ally cling to rifles and compromised cash, one of them several steps ahead of what Gus has in store and the other about to be $100,000 richer, but bewildered about what they just experienced and whom he should trust and fear. The answer, of course, is everyone and no one. Or, rather, no one and everyone. None of this is a straight line, and now Kim of all people is at the mercy of someone else’s narrow rules. She’s in the game.
Apart From All That:
Before tonight, it was always hard to tell exactly how in love Jimmy and Kim were. Tragically, now we know.
Kim to Jimmy: “When you said you couldn’t do it, I knew you’d find a way.” Heart emoji?
RIP, Esteem. And one last link back to my 2015 treatise on the overlooked (till now) 2000s sedan.
My opinion? I still believe Ed the Disappearer is an old war or cop buddy of Mike’s, and now I’d bet that Jimmy uses his $100K from this errand to help Kim vamoose. Somewhere far away from Gene’s Omaha, Giselle is still searching for her Viktor.