Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 3 – ‘The Guy For This’
The ball is rolling as Jimmy meets Lalo to come to an agreement, Kim gets dragged into a case by Mesa Verde, Mike self-destructs and two familiar faces come back into the Breaking Bad universe.
This episode begins quite weirdly with a red ant emerging from a crack in the pavement making its way toward the mint choc chip ice-cream Jimmy dropped after being picked up by Nacho. Another ant emerges and so on until a mound of them appear. The camera then cuts off.
One of the latter scenes begins with another close-up of the ants and zooms out to a street view of them a lot smaller. The inclusion of this process is intriguing, and I do not really know exactly what it means. Jimmy finishes his case and is on the way home when walks past the courtroom and sees the mound of ants on his ice-cream.
The most pressing and engaging part of this episode was in Jimmy’s meeting with Lalo Salamanca after Nacho’s coerces him. Nacho pulls up into a garage where Lalo is working and as Jimmy gingerly exits the car he is visibly nervous and agitated. Customarily, he begins blabbering and waffling through small talk. He deduces that Lalo is Tuco’s cousin and asks if Abuelita is well. Lalo cuts the speech and asks Jimmy if he can represent Molina (Krazy 8), who was nicked in the last episode.
They compose a scheme whereby Molina spews a premeditated speech to the police about information on a half a mill dead drop purposely set up. This cooperation would free Molina, but he would be subject to labelling as a snitch. Jimmy offers Lalo a phone to be smuggled into the prison for Molina to receive the info. Lalo refuses as Nacho shakes his head. Jimmy states his fee but fumbles as he informs them it will be expensive. He ends up quoting a random figure of $7925 which Lalo endorses with a round eight thousand.
Jimmy, as Saul Goodman, enters the questioning room at the police station with a puzzled Molina. He signals him to play along. They are given the room and Jimmy explains the plot and gives him the speech to memorise. He gets the memo and Jimmy proceeds to leave.
Later in the episode we see Jimmy being told he has to go with Molina for the delivery of the confession.
Jimmy returns home and meets Kim on the balcony of their apartment. Kim tells him that she only has pro bono cases the next day in relief and Jimmy conceals the pact with Lalo and Nacho. The next day we see Kim in her office talking to her boss from Mesa Verde. He reassigns her to deal with a particular case, removing her from the pro bono cases. She reluctantly agrees. The case involves a property set amongst extensive empty plots of open land. The owner, an old man, is stout that he has the right to stay there but Kim informs him that the owner who leased the land to him years ago has the right to buy back the lot, with whatever is on it (the house) at any time. Mesa Verde, through Kim, offer restitution by raising the additional payment of five thousand to eighteen thousand. The old man declines and refuses to cooperate.
Later in the episode we see Kim plagued with decisions over the case. She leaves late at night to go to the lot and forces entry by lifting the gate door lever. The old man opens the door and Kim desperately shows him other properties in his price range if he were to leave. He refuses once more by telling her that privileged people like her will do anything to get their way.
We are given a shot of a car that pulls up outside of the police station. The two people inside are hidden but as they get out the car, their outlines resemble Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and Steve Gomez (Steven Michael Quezeda). It’s common knowledge that they would return this season and their entrance was done in style. We realise that they will be in the questioning room with Molina. A lot of anticipation is built up in these scenes before the questioning. On arrival, they begin to probe a lone Molina who recites the speech. They render it as lies. Jimmy enters and states his name as ‘Saul Goodman’ with characterful enthusiasm and Hank retorts ‘s’all good man?’ to refute the validity of his name. Jimmy sits down and affirms his identity as he realises he is with the DEA. After dealing with the admission, Jimmy is denied by Hank and Steve as they think of it as phony.
A last gasp attempt sees Jimmy state that the information is contingent upon truth. Consequently, they agree on the terms. Jimmy tells Molina the black and white details of the agreement in relation to the snitch labelling, by saying that if the cartel found out he will be left bleeding to death outside his mother’s house (exaggeratingly of course). He seeks a guarantee that the DEA will not use Molina as an overt snitch and gets it.
Jimmy returns to Lalo and Nacho and tells them that Molina will be a snitch, for the DEA, nonetheless. They are dumbstruck but Jimmy consolidates them that he is their snitch and not the DEA’s per se. Jimmy completes the job with aplomb. He was definitely ‘The Guy For The Job’.
The third storyline this episode involves Mike, who is recovering and dealing with his dip in mood stemming from the meeting with Kaylee in episode two. He is seen at a bar drinking and is a bit grouchy as he asks the bartender to take a picture off the wall. He is refused but persists. He is clearly drunk and on the way home he passes a group of rowdy youths. They ask for $20 and Mike says no and that he has a lot more than that. One youth instigates a fight by punching Mike in the face. Mike replies by putting him on the floor with a grip on his arm. He pulls the arm till it breaks and the group back off. This scene shows us just how technical Mike is as a fighter but also reveals his want of a fight through his goading in telling them he has more than $20. Mike is a sucker for pain for this and his health does not seem to be improving.
Jimmy returns home before Kim, who comes back late from the case from Mesa Verde. She sees Jimmy on the balcony, a reversal of the opening sequence. They drink beers and begin to throw them into the courtyard. It is a nice scene because it’s a throwback to their shenanigans in the past, like the scams and pranks they pulled in earlier seasons. It is a break from the hectic times they went through this episode.
The action is carried over from episode one and two and I enjoyed the symmetry of the balcony scenes and the depictions of the characters in realistic, life-like situations. This is viewed through the stress from trials and tribulations and obligation to perform persistent hard work. It is another case study on a depressing lifestyle, but the genius of the showrunners is in them making it a riveting forty to fifty minute performance with action, drama and comedy perfectly balancing out.
I would rate this episode 9/10.