In the ‘Better Call Saul’ recap, Jimmy goes job hunting, Kim settles Chuck’s estate and Nacho finds out what happens when you cross Gus Fring…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Ever since ‘Better Call Saul’ first debuted, the biggest question that has been asked is how the Jimmy McGill we meet in the first season somehow transforms into the slickster attorney known as Saul Goodman by the time he pops up in ‘Breaking Bad’?
Now there’s no single incident or encounter that turns Jimmy into Saul but the gradual transformation has been taking place season by season. It seems more than ever during ‘Better Call Saul’ season 4 that Jimmy processing the death of his brother Chuck will have a profound impact on his trajectory.
For the majority of the history on this show, Jimmy has done everything possible to make his brother proud of him. That all collapsed when Chuck told Jimmy that in reality he never really cared that much about his little brother or what he did with his life.
Chuck was more concerned about the trouble that Jimmy could cause him rather than protecting his younger sibling from going down the wrong path in his life. That revelation combined with Chuck’s death will certainly impact Jimmy in all sorts of ways this season and the reverberation was already felt in the first two episodes.
Meanwhile, Hector Salamanca slipping into a coma that will one day see him bound to a wheelchair with a bell as his only form of communication helped Nacho sever the ties that his former boss had just recently made with his father. Unfortunately, Nacho failed to realize that while Hector was a powerful figure in the Mexican cartel, he was more about brute strength and intimidation than actually out thinking his opponents.
While Nacho may have incapacitated Hector, he failed to deal with the real threat that is now dangling over his head like an axe — and that is Gustavo Fring.
And finally, Kim Wexler, who may be the last remaining tether for Jimmy and a life on the right side of the law, decided to go 12 rounds with Howard Hamlin this week on behalf of her grieving boyfriend. Well 12 rounds is generous because the reality is Kim had Howard gasping for air after about three minutes taking punches.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Better Call Saul’ titled ‘Breathe’…
In the wake of Chuck’s death, Jimmy has a lot on his mind but nothing really to do with his brother’s passing. Instead, Jimmy is up before dawn to make fresh squeezed orange juice, bacon, cinnamon flavored coffee before feeding Kim a few early morning lies about how he’s got a job interview for an office manager position.
In reality, Jimmy is actually applying for a salesman job at a copier company and he’s got all the tools to convince these guys that he’s the man they should hire. Jimmy says all the right things and even has a well timed joke about why he’s no longer a lawyer when they ask him about his previous employment.
Jimmy even manages to explain how being an attorney made him the perfect salesman in training because he was always trying to convince the judge, the jury or sometimes even his clients to take his word for it.
While it’s a slam dunk interview the copier folks want a few days to decide and just as Jimmy is about to leave, he does an about face and returns for the second stage of his attack.
Jimmy walks right back into the office and explains to the management team at Neff Copiers how they would just be wasting time interviewing other potential candidates when they could put him to work right away selling their product on the street. The sales pitch works and after a brief conversation, Jimmy is hired as the new salesman for the copy company.
Unfortunately a split second later, Jimmy erupts on both of the managers for just taking a chance on him without any kind of due diligence or research on what he’s selling them. They have a copy of his resume but there’s no telling if a single word on that sheet of paper is truth or fiction. Jimmy berates them for being so easily conned into hiring a man off the street with no actual knowledge what he can do for them outside of the fact that he sold them in less than 30 minutes on giving him a job.
As Bob Odenkirk explained in the ‘behind the scenes’ video for this episode — Jimmy’s encounters with the copy machine managers is very reminiscent of the experiences he had with his father growing up in Illinois. Jimmy’s father was far too trusting and naïve to believe somebody would take advantage of him. These two guys were just a carbon copy of the man he saw get suckered constantly when he was growing up.
That’s why Jimmy turns down the job, tells the two copier guys they are nothing but suckers and then walks out of the building.
Later that night as Jimmy is contemplating the next awful job he has no desire to take, he starts thinking about the collection of Hummel figures that were on display at the Neff Copier building that used to belong to one of the owners, who is now expired. Back when he was first setting up shop as a elder care lawyer, Jimmy helped a woman account for her collection of Hummel figurines as part of her estate.
That’s why Jimmy knows that each one of those rare figures just sitting out for anybody to steal would easily net him thousands upon thousands of dollars.
So rather than make an honest living selling copy machines, Jimmy wants to make these two goofs pay by orchestrating a robbery and stealing those Hummel figures. The first call he makes is to Mike Ehrmantraut, who he promises good money with low risk if they can pull off this job together.
While Jimmy is out job hunting, Kim is handling the business of settling Chuck’s estate alongside her former boss Howard Hamlin and Chuck’s ex-wife.
When Kim arrives, the major work has already been completed with Chuck leaving all of his property and possessions to his ex-wife and a big chunk of money set aside for a scholarship fund. Meanwhile, Jimmy was cut a check for $5,000 — and as Kim says, it’s just enough money to pay Jimmy off so he won’t contest a will where he wasn’t named.
After Chuck’s ex-wife leaves, Kim turns her full attention onto Howard for his decision to show up at her apartment and decide to tell Jimmy on the day he buried his brother that there is suspicion that his death was a suicide. Howard not only told Jimmy that piece of news but then he unburdened his own conscience about the rise in liable insurance rates that ultimately forced him to sever ties with Chuck and the law firm.
Of course, Kim doesn’t know Jimmy’s part in why those insurance rates were raised but she’s there to fiercely defend the man she loves while berating Howard for just about every decision he’s made since Chuck died.
In the end, Kim’s vitriolic attack leaves Howard speechless as she essentially tells him this is the last time they will cross paths.
Before leaving, Howard does pass along one final piece of Chuck’s estate — a hand written letter from brother to brother that’s addressed to Jimmy.
Now Kim knows that Chuck has emotionally tortured Jimmy for years and his declaration that his brother never really mattered all that much to him was really the final breaking point in an already brittle relationship. So what could this letter possibly say and more importantly how will it affect Jimmy?
When Kim returns home, she’s greeted by an exuberant Jimmy with a pile of Thai food and a classic movie (although ‘Jaws 3-D was clearly the better choice) on TV. Before they can watch a single frame or take a bite of the food, Kim is contemplating whether or not she should hand this letter to Jimmy.
Instead, Kim leans over and kisses Jimmy before they fall into each other’s arms and eventually lay down in bed together. Before falling asleep, Kim is still haunted by the decision she has to make — give Jimmy this letter that could tear his world apart or deny him the ability to read his brother’s final words to him?
Something tells me this isn’t going to end well for the happy couple.
Mike Ehrmantraut’s unexpected visit to a Madrigal warehouse not only rattled the already nervous Lydia Rodarte-Quayle but it actually resulted in a trip to New Mexico to talk to her new ‘security consultant’.
When Mike arrives, he pays Lydia very little mind as he’s always done and essentially tells her that him popping up at Madrigal facilities and playing security consultant only helps to further their cover while paying him large sums of money that’s being laundered through their company. Lydia disagrees but Mike prefers his way of thinking — in fact he plans on visiting the other seven Madrigal warehouses in the area to help them with their security concerns as well.
Following Mike’s exit, Lydia makes a frantic call to Gus Fring to ask him to rein in his new security consultant.
Rather than admonish Mike for being overzealous about his job title that actually holds no real value, he instead turns his attention back on Lydia. Gus tells her that Mike is a trustworthy employee and instead of calling him to complain about him stealing an company badge to give a surprise security check, perhaps she should listen to his expertise — and get him his own badge.
With that, Gus hangs up the phone and Lydia is left with nothing to do but get Mike his Madrigal badge as requested so he can continue his security checks around the southwest region.
All Gus Fring has ever wanted since that fateful day his partner was shot dead was an opportunity to exact revenge against the man who pulled the trigger. With Hector Salamanca falling victim to Nacho’s plot to get him away from his father, Gus has been denied the satisfaction of watching Hector suffer and die at his hands.
Of course, Nacho doesn’t know any of the back story surrounding Hector and Gus but he’s just accidentally thrown himself into the fray.
First things first, Gus has people checking up on Hector to find out how he’s recovering and what are the chances that he’ll ever be cognizant again. In fact, Gus is so determined to get Hector back on his feet — just so he can be the one to exact revenge — that he brings in a top doctor from Johns Hopkins to help the ailing Salamanca patriarch.
The doctor arrives just in time for a meeting with Hector’s nephews — the notorious Cousins who nearly killed Walter White in ‘Breaking Bad’ before they were run down by Hank Schrader — and she gives them the prognosis and her course of treatment. She suggests everybody talk to Hector because on some level he can still understand what they’re saying.
That leads to Arturo and Nacho explaining to Hector how they are protecting his territory and ensuring that everybody is paying up what is owed.
Later that night, Arturo and Nacho head over to the Los Pollos Hermanos warehouse for their latest pickup of drugs from Gus Fring. When they arrive, Victor and Tyrus are awaiting them with one kilo less than what they were expecting.
A tense face off ensues but it ends with Tyrus handing over the extra kilo while Arturo celebrates standing his ground in the face of a potential new enemy. Sadly, Arturo’s victory was short lived when he walks outside where he’s immediately attacked by Gus and his men.
Gus inflicts one of the most horrific ways to kill a person — by wrapping a plastic bag around Arturo’s head and then zip tying his arms and legs together so he can’t break free. Nacho watches as Arturo struggles for air before finally succumbing to the lack of oxygen.
Remember, Gus had Nacho followed last week to prove that he was behind Hector’s mysterious collapse. Now Gus has confronted the would be assassin by reminding him that he knows all about the plot to take out Hector but the Salamancas are still unaware.
That means from this moment forward, Nacho belongs to Gus.
It’s a rather ominous proclamation considering what happens to most of the people closest to Gus during the course of ‘Breaking Bad’ including both Victor and Tyrus. That doesn’t bode well for Nacho, especially given the fact that he never appears in ‘Breaking Bad’.
For now, Nacho has been given sanctuary for trying to kill his boss but that also means he answers to Gus Fring.
‘Better Call Saul’ returns next Monday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC with a brand new episode. Take a look at the preview below: