Wednesday, 18 March 2015

BETTER CALL SAUL, 1.7 – 'Bingo'

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


After last week's bravura showcase for Mike (Jonathan Banks), "Bingo" turned its attention back on Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk)—although there was room for some housekeeping over last week's storyline, with the investigating Philadelphia detectives being given their stolen notebook back. I'm glad this little detail wasn't swept under the carpet, and enjoyed the suggestion that veteran cop Sanders (Barry Shabaka Henley) is on Mike's side and will keep his younger, by-the-book partner in check. It appears Mike's in the clear, as it's unlikely his daughter-in-law will say anything incriminating, although there's some quid quo pro for Jimmy regarding the storyline with the Kettleman's...

Indeed, "Bingo" was notable for giving us our first major look at how Mike's skills will prove invaluable for Jimmy when he embraces the criminal underworld—as they concocted a plan to force the Kettleman's back to Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill, where they have a better chance with a plea deal Kim Wexler's (Rhea Seahorn) managed to create. While Jimmy would love to take their money to pay for his new high-rise office space, he's still a good-hearted guy and also wants to do his friend Kim a favour.

Getting to see Mike break into the Kettleman's to retrieve their stolen money (using Jimmy's own nest egg of cash, returned to Craig Kettleman sprayed with invisible ink, used to trace the whereabouts of the stash) was another highlight of this show's shiny production. I particularly loved the choice of music that was used during Mike's one-man heist.

Unexpectedly, it appears the Kettleman's situation is practically over and won't be much of an ongoing concern—unless things take an unexpected turn. Jimmy's helped a friend he can't convince to become his partner at his new firm, but at the cost of the money he needed to finance his dreams. It's a laudable sacrifice, but uncharacteristic of the kind of selfish lawyer we know his alter ego Saul Goodman will become—and that's very interesting to me. I like how Better Call Saul is making us see "Saul" as a different person in this series; Jimmy's familiar but subtley different. The title itself now feels like a whisper fate's speaking into Jimmy McGill's ear. Considering how often he's set back by doing what's best, it's only a matter of time before Jimmy decides to do what's best for him.

With Mike's heart-breaking back-story covered and the Kettleman's "nest egg" swindle having reached a likely conclusion, it's less clear where the rest of this season could go now. I assume Jimmy's earlier run-in with gangsters Nacho and Tuco will come back to bite him, but it felt important how this episode included a scene where his brother Chuck (Michael McKean) was outside trying to build a tolerance for electromagnetism. It does seem a shame to keep McKean housebound for the season, or maybe even the entire series, so I'm looking forward to the day when he's allowed into the outside world. Presumably his trip to the hospital and encounter with a sceptical doctor about his bizarre condition has made him rethink things?

written by Gennifer Hutchison • directed by Larysa Kondracki • 16 March 2015 • AMC