Better Call Saul – “Pimento”

Season One, Episode Nine

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Grade: A-

Boy, if things haven’t been bad enough for poor Jimmy McGill, things just got a lot rougher for him. Already one of the strongest characters who we feel bad for every episode, the penultimate episode in season one dropped a bomb on everything that Jimmy has believed in since he was younger. His own brother, Chuck McGill, the prestigious lawyer and idol to Jimmy, doesn’t even respect his younger brother. Jimmy has been knocked around a number of times before, but this is the biggest blow in his life.

Let’s back things up a bit and concentrate on the events leading up to all of this. The McGill brothers are taking on Sandpiper for a multimillion dollar lawsuit that spans across several states, and for everything that they’ve already dug into, things look very promising for the McGill brothers. Then the lawyer-ing comes in and the Sandpiper lawyers begin to slow the process down by throwing boxes upon boxes of paperwork their way, something that Jimmy and Chuck must go through. Sure, they could do everything by themselves but like Chuck put it, two people can’t build a bridge. Jimmy realizes the uphill battle they have and agree with Chuck to bring the case to HHM.

Up until this point, it was Howard Hamlin who has been standing in Jimmy’s way of working with his brother in the law firm, but at the end of the episode we find out that it’s been Chuck’s doing all along that has been keeping Jimmy from landing a job. It’s certainly a trick that has paid off from excellent writing since the beginning of the season. Patrick Fabian has been playing Howard as a weasel, someone who seems to have a stick up his ass and who hates Jimmy for some reason. But as Chuck erupts at Jimmy, he explains to him that he’s not a real lawyer and he’ll always be a crook, and a crook cannot change. After working hard and devoting a large part of his life to achieving everything he has, Chuck couldn’t bear to see Jimmy with an office in the same firm after taking shortcuts. Does he have a point? I guess he does, but he shouldn’t have been dragging him along all this time. There was still honor left for Chuck if he would’ve told Jimmy how he felt long ago, but after everything Jimmy has done for the older brother he looked up to, this is inexcusable.

Meanwhile, Mike’s B-story shows us what kind of work he’s doing for the veterinarian. Everything that we see from Mike this episode reminds us of why he loved him so much on Breaking Bad. He provides a dog for Kaylee. His quiet demeanor pisses off one of the “bodyguards” until he shows everyone why he’s the real tough guy on the show. His job this episode was to be the muscle for a nervous guy who’s about to sell Nacho a lot of pills. Everything runs smoothly, which Mike anticipated and he gets a nice $1,500 payday for his work. While Mike’s story is a lot of fun to watch, his conversation with the man is what makes it important. Mike explains to him that though he’s now a criminal, it’s up to him whether he’s a good or a bad guy. This is something that Jimmy has been going through with his life. After the stunts he pulled as Slippin’ Jimmy, he’s been trying to atone for his actions by remaining a good and loyal person. He could’ve taken the money from the Kettlemans, but he gave it all back. He could’ve allowed Tuco to kill the skateboarding idiots, but he talked him out of it. Unfortunately to Chuck, it doesn’t matter how many good things he does, he’ll always be Slippin’ Jimmy.

So how’s Jimmy going to respond to this? It sure doesn’t look like he’s going to be talking to Chuck anytime soon, and if anything he has another enemy to fuel his fire. The only person on his side is Kim. It’s a lonely road ahead for Jimmy, but if he takes the deal then he’ll at least have a bunch of money to spend figuring out if he still wants to pursue this whole lawyer thing. Wouldn’t it be funny if he somehow joins the Sandpiper team just to spit in Chuck’s face?

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