In the ‘Better Call Saul’ recap, Jimmy slips back into old habits and Gus runs into an old friend as he gets closer and closer to meeting Walter White…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
As each season of ‘Better Call Saul’ unfolds, the show inevitably draws closer and closer to the events in ‘Breaking Bad’ and that evidence has never been clearer than the latest episode.
While ‘Breaking Bad’ Easter eggs have been sprinkled throughout every season of ‘Better Call Saul’, it seems like several very important appearances lately are starting to hint at the timeline starting to catch up.
Following last week’s episode where Jimmy erupted at a far too trusting potential employer before deciding to rob him blind and Kim felt the brunt of Chuck’s death more than his brother has even acknowledged, the fallout started to hit in this latest offering.
Jimmy plots out his heist of an expensive Hummel figurine while trying to find a bag man willing to ‘shit gold’ because that’s just how easy this job is supposed to be. His accomplice is a familiar face from ‘Breaking Bad’, who ties together a somewhat throw away line from the introduction of the Vamonos Pest company.
Meanwhile, Kim is getting back to work but she’s no less overwhelmed than the day when she skidded off the road and got into a car accident because she was burning the candle at both ends with a flame thrower.
And finally, Gus Fring is orchestrating the steps necessary to sever ties with the Mexican cartel while quietly setting up his own drug business in the U.S. without their supply. The strategy involves Nacho taking two bullets and Gus calling upon a certain scholarship student for help.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Better Call Saul’ titled ‘Something Beautiful’…
On the heels of last week’s episode, Jimmy is determined to heist the rare Hummel figurine that he spotted at the copier company where he rebuffed a job offer. His first call went to Mike Ehrmantraut, who was less than enthusiastic about the plan to break into the copier company, switch out the rare figurine for a cheap knockoff and then walk away with $4,000 for each man.
Little does Jimmy know but Mike is making plenty of money right now thanks to the cash he stole from Hector Salamanca that is currently being laundered through Madrigal. At the same time, Mike seems to think this whole plan is a bad idea and he even offers Jimmy condolences on the passing of his brother — an event he’s still not ready to face just yet.
With Mike passing on the job — after meeting at his favorite diner that appeared in ‘Breaking Bad’ — Jimmy decides to call on the crooked veterinarian named Caldera, who helps connected interested parties who want to get involved in some sort of criminal enterprise. Unfortunately even Caldera is having a tough time convincing his contact to break into the copier place for Jimmy’s plan.
Rather than watch another opportunity slip by, Jimmy grabs the phone and does his own sales pitch to convince the contact to join him on this low risk heist.
After meeting up, the new cat burglar turns out to be Ira — the future owner of Vamonos Pest where Saul Goodman coordinates a working relationship so Walt and Jesse have a place to do all of their meth cooking. When Saul first introduces Walt, Jesse and Mike to Vamonos Pest, he mentions that he’s been keeping Ira and his crew out of legal trouble for the past five years.
By that timeline, it would seem this initial meeting with Ira is the start of a long working relationship as Jimmy transforms into Saul over the next few years.
Sadly, Jimmy’s plan to heist the Hummel figurine hits a snag when Ira makes the switch and then discovers that Mr. Neff has been saddled with sleeping at his office after making the mistake of buying his wife a beautiful new vacuum cleaner as a present.
That forces Ira to hide under a desk while Neff argues with his wife and ultimately orders pizza from Venezia’s — the same place seen throughout ‘Breaking Bad’ including Walt tossing a pizza on top of his own house. Neff even specifies for the pizza to be sliced, which is another call back to ‘Breaking Bad’ during an episode when Badger orders a few pies and tells Jesse that their gimmick is they don’t slice the pizza in order to ‘pass the savings along to you’.
Anyways, the pizza arrives and Ira is still trapped so he’s forced to call Jimmy to come and rescue him.
Jimmy ends up breaking into Neff’s car and releasing the brake, which not only sets off an alarm but then sends the car rolling backwards out of control. Neff runs after his car in a panic and that allows Ira to make his escape with the valuable Hummel figurine in his pocket.
Jimmy and Ira walk away with a cool $8,000 and a new friendship is formed.
Meant for Better Things
Following Arturo’s murder last week at the hands of Gus Fring, the plan now is to make it look like he was killed by a rival gang to help shift the power more and more away from the Salamanca crew.
To make it look authentic, Victor and Tyrus set up a scene in the middle of the desert where one of the Salamanca runs would have taken place. Much like when Mike hit one of the Salamanca truck deliveries, Victor and Tyrus set up road spikes to stop the car and then unleash about 100 rounds of bullets while also sprinkling some shards of plastic along the road to make it look like there was a gun battle with Arturo firing back at his would be hijackers.
Of course, Arturo wouldn’t be alone on this run so this is going to require Nacho’s assistance to help with the authenticity of the set up.
So after unloading on the car and putting a couple of bullets into Arturo’s already dead body, Nacho is required to take a shot in his shoulder. As he stumbles out of the car asking if it’s time to make the call, Tyrus shoots him one more time in the gut as Nacho falls to the ground in pain.
Tyrus tells him it has to look authentic — and so he then tosses Nacho a phone to make the call before he passes out. Clearly, Gus’ crew is more worried about the Salamanca crew believing this was another hijacking of a shipment and they’re not too concerned about whether or not Nacho survives.
Nacho makes the call at the Cousins eventually show up to investigate the scene. Everything was perfectly planned to make them believe this was a shipment being hijacked and after finding Arturo dead and Nacho nearly the same, they have no reason to question what just happened.
To help save Nacho’s life, they are forced to call on Caldera to give him medical treatment to ensure that he doesn’t die. The end result is Caldera mostly saving Nacho’s life — thanks in some small part to one of the Cousins offering up some of their blood — and he does mention the grim possibility that he ends up with internal bleeding. Before leaving, Caldera tells Nacho this is the last time he’s going to help him because he doesn’t want to get caught up with anymore cartel drama. That might explain why he’s never seen or heard from in ‘Breaking Bad’.
The Salamancas are then forced to pass along word of this hijacking to Juan Bolsa, who then calls Gus Fring to tell him what unfolded. Of course, Gus takes the call with a giant smile on his face as his entire plan is coming to fruition.
With the latest shipment jacked, Bolsa is forced to tell Gus to deal with an American supplier to help supplement their demand for drugs for a few weeks until they can get more product across the border. This was Gus’ plan all along because he wants to work to sever his ties with the cartel but this is the first step as he’s now going to start looking for his own meth production — and we all know where that leads.
First things first, Gus has already started to look into suppliers long before he got that call from Juan Bolsa and that requires a stop by a local school where he talks with his own personal chemist.
Enter our old friend Gale Boetticher.
Much younger than when we first meet him in ‘Breaking Bad’, Gale is working as a chemistry teacher who Gus has groomed since first giving him that scholarship founded in his former partner’s name. Gale has been tasked with testing several meth samples and he reports back that the purity ranges from 30-percent up to 68-percent but nothing he’s seen has been all that special.
Gale then offers his own services to cook up a better brand of meth for Gus but he declines and tells him that he’s meant for much better things. Even in those days, Gale was striving for perfection — just like his desire to craft the perfect cup of coffee.
Gale was always one of the more tragic characters in ‘Breaking Bad’ — seemingly so innocent in nature and yet he got caught up in the power play between Walt and Gus, which ultimately cost him his life. Hearing Gus tell Gale that he was meant for better things was somewhat heartbreaking because we all know the hand fate will deal him eventually.
The bigger story here is that Gus is beginning to set up his meth empire on the U.S. side of the border and that will eventually lead to his partnership with Walter White several years later.
Following the car accident a couple of weeks back, Kim is starting to return to work where she’s focused on her clients at Mesa Verde and the bank’s ever evolving plan of expansion. Kim has hired a paralegal to help with her workload as she starts to get back on track after suffering a broken arm in the accident.
After arriving at Mesa Verde, Kim immediately begins to feel the weight of the world bearing down on her again when the president of the bank starts to lay out his plans for a much bigger expansion than just going from New Mexico into Utah. Mesa Verde now plans an aggressive nationwide campaign that will put them into several states over a very short period of time and you can just see the look on Kim’s face that this is all going to be too much to handle all over again.
On the way home, Kim starts doling out responsibilities to her paralegal as her mind is already starting to get overloaded with the work that lies ahead.
The next morning, Kim is already plotting out her next course of action when Jimmy awakens from a deep sleep — no doubt still reveling in the fact that he just fleeced that copier idiot for $8,000 that he didn’t even know was stolen.
With Jimmy chomping down a bowl of cereal, Kim takes this opportunity to pass along word of Chuck’s will after her meeting with Howard from days earlier. She hands over the check for $5,000 — the payoff money so Jimmy won’t contest the will — but rather than seem upset, he just remarks how he can use it to pay down his Mastercard bill.
Then Kim decides to hand over the letter that Chuck wrote to Jimmy before his death. She’s expecting the absolute worse when Jimmy reads that letter, which is why she was so hesitant to give it to him in the first place.
Instead, Jimmy just rips open the letter and reads it aloud while continuing to munch on his cereal. The letter has no discernable date so there’s no telling when Chuck wrote it — given the tone it sounds like it was written several years ago.
Chuck says in the letter that he’s proud of Jimmy for turning his life around and dedicating himself to the law. No matter what happens, Chuck is happy for his brother and he’s proud of the man he’s become. Jimmy more or less discards the letter as if the words from his brother from beyond the grave don’t affect him in any way, shape or form.
This letter may be an outpouring of pride from Chuck but Jimmy will only remember one of his final conversations with his brother when he was told that he was never all that important to him and didn’t really matter. The sting of that rejection left Jimmy cold and it explains why he’s refused to acknowledge Chuck’s death much less grieved for his loss.
Meanwhile, Kim is overwhelmed with emotion — perhaps from Chuck’s death or the fact that Jimmy doesn’t even seem to care. Either way, Kim can’t handle it anymore as she rushes away from the breakfast table to cry alone in the bedroom.
Kim has consistently been one of the constants in Jimmy’s life to help him pull back from his worst instincts. His refusal to deal with Chuck’s death is starting to cause a fissure in his relationship with Kim and judging by his future as Saul Goodman, it’s tough to imagine any other scenario than that ravine widening even further from here.
‘Better Call Saul’ returns with a brand new episode next Monday night at 9pm ET on AMC. Check out a preview for the episode below: