Cameron Lee ‘20 / Emertainment Monthly Contributor
Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers for season 3 episode 3 of Better Call Saul.
Better Call Saul this week started on a empty highway between the border of New Mexico and Mexico. A Los Pollos Hermanos truck is racing through the desolate desert, and we cut to a pair of sneakers strung on some power lines slowly losing its grasp on the wire. A street sign directly under the power line is full of bullet holes. The truck goes under the power line and the shoes fall shortly thereafter. It’s the closet this season this show has came to feeling like a traditional Breaking Bad opening; in fact it felt a lot like the opening to one of Breaking Bad’s finest episodes, ‘Dead Freight’. This opening was just the beginning of the parallels that Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) storyline had this week.
Picking up immediately following last week’s episode, Mike gets a call from Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) from the phone he picked up in the middle of the highway. Gus arrives in two black cars just like he always did in Breaking Bad. Gus- who know’s everything about Mike- tells him that he can’t allow him to kill Hector Salamanca as he has plans for him. However, he also tells Mike, “I am not completely unsympathetic to your sense of justice.” Mike realizes that Gus wants to distribute Hector’s drug supply line. Gus quickly wraps the conversation up, but not before Mike offers up his services to him. He perfectly sums up his motivation by saying “I’m not done with Hector Salamanca.”
Mike then goes to a Mexican doctor’s office and receives a small brown paper bag. He then goes to the same highway that was in the opening scene and pours the powder into the sneakers and flings them onto the power lines. What follows is in line with most of Mike’s other scenes this season; it’s slow, and with very little dialogue. Mike sets up a sniper rifle and waits for one of Hector’s trucks to stop at the gun-dumping spot. He fires the rifle into the air several times so the drivers would assume it’s the sound of hunters. They go back to the truck and start to drive away, but not before Mike shoots the sneakers, causing all the powder to dust the back end of the truck. Later that day at the U.S. border, a drug-sniffing dog finds the powder and the drivers are arrested.
On the Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) side of things this week; Jimmy sits on the porch waiting for the cops to come and arrest him. Chuck (Michael McKean)- who now holds the title as the worst older brother currently on TV- does his usual manipulative, sympathetic routine that Jimmy has, by this point, caught on to. He then delivers a harsh response to Chuck, that is so satisfying it shuts Chuck down. Jimmy tells Chuck “Here’s what’s gonna happen. One day you’re gonna get sick– again. One of your employees is gonna find you curled up in that space blanket, take you to the hospital, hook you up to those machines that beep and whir and hurt. And this time, it will be too much. And you will die there. Alone.” (Ouch, good one, Jimmy).
He then is escorted to jail where he is formally charged. Luckily, Kim (Rhea Seehorn) is there to bail Jimmy out; or not, as Jimmy declares that he will represent himself. Jimmy learns that Chuck has fired Ernie (Chuck just can’t get any worse in this episode) and that an outside DA will be prosecuting his case (double bummer). The episode ends in what is by the far the most visually stunning scene so far this season: Jimmy and Kim are talking outside their office, and the way they hold hands makes it appear like their bodies are forming the letter M; Vince Gilligan is a master at visual symbolism, so there has to be a reason for it’s placement here. The two talk about what they plan to do regarding Jimmy’s trial, and it’s a tender moment made more foreboding with the amazing cinematography. Kim isn’t mentioned in Breaking Bad, making this tender moment a sore reminder of how tragic Jimmy’s/Saul’s life turned out to be in the end.