Egan Davis ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
“I broke my boy,” said a teary-eyed Mike Ehrmantraut on Monday’s emotionally draining episode. This week saw a secondary character take center stage and the results were spectacular. This episode contained very little of the main character but still found a way to be heart breaking, suspenseful, and compelling.
The events mainly focused on Mike’s backstory and how he came to be in Albuquerque. The writers have really been playing with the timeline in this show and it makes for a more interesting story. “Five-O” begins with a flashback to Mike arriving in Albuquerque. He looks shaken up and has a fresh bullet wound on his shoulder. In the next scene Mike is pushing his granddaughter Kaylie on the swings and has an important conversation with his daughter in law, Stacey. Stacey and Mike discuss Mike’s son Matt who was a police officer in Philadelphia and got shot on the job. In the time since his death, Stacey and Kaylie moved to Albuquerque. Stacey tells Mike that in his last few weeks Matt was acting very strange and had loud arguments over the phone. Mike dismisses this and tells her not to worry about anything. Mike leaves Stacey’s house and asks his cab driver for a connection to some low-key medical attention. This leads Mike to a veterinarian who stiches him up and sends him on his way. Both Stacey and the veterinarian ask Mike, “Are you just passing through or sticking around” which is probably a question a lot of fans have as well.
The audience is brought back to present day and Mike is being questioned by police but refuses to talk until his lawyer (Saul/Jimmy) shows up. When Saul and Mike talk privately, Mike tells Saul to spill his coffee on one of the police officers but Saul says he won’t do it. The two detectives come back in and give Saul the backstory on why they are there. Just three months after Matt was murdered, the two police officers who were with him were found dead. They had no other leads and a few sources saw Mike and the two cops in the same bar the night of their deaths. After Matt’s death, Mike began to fill the pain with alcohol and told the detectives he wouldn’t have been able to kill the cops because he was so drunk. Mike denies and involvement and asks to leave. On their way out, Saul awkwardly spills his coffee on the detective and as Mike wipes him off with one hand he pick-pocketed his notebook with the other. Saul disapproves of this but lets it slide.
Inside the notebook, Mike discovers that it was Stacey who led the police officers to Mike. Mike goes to Stacey’s to confront her and Stacey tells him that one of their mattresses was lined with money supposedly stolen by Matt. Mike defends Matt and tells Stacey “My son isn’t dirty”. Mike admits to being on the other end of the line during Matt’s loud phone argument and leaves the house.
As Mike is about to get into his car he has another flashback to the night of the two cops being gunned down. Mike is in Philadelphia and before going into a bar, unlocks a police car using a piece of string and plants something in the back seat. Mike (supposedly) gets extremely drunk and sees the two police officers in the bar. He walks up to them and tells them, “I know it was you” and walks away. As Mike walks home, the two police officers offer to give him a ride home and put him in the back seat. When one of the cops asks Mike about what he meant earlier, Mike tells them both that they killed his son and he was going to prove it. They pull over the car in an abandoned part of town and plan on killing Mike but make it look like a suicide. When they turn around, Mike has a gun pulled on both of them and shoots them. Before he kills the second police officer he gets shot in the shoulder which explains his wound in the opening scene.
The next scene is one that audiences and critics will likely be talking about for a long time. Mike comes clean with Stacey and explains to her that Matt was not a dirty cop, Mike was. Matt was killed because he was going to rat on his friends for taking drug money from crime scenes. When Matt came to his father for some advice, Mike told his son that he too took drug money in order to get by. Mike starts to get emotional as he says that he convinced Matt to take a cut of the drug money so he wouldn’t be a target. This scene is incredibly acted by Jonathan Banks and his line “I broke my boy” is Emmy-worthy. He convinced his son to take a bribe but was still shot by the two police officers. “I made him like me and the bastards killed him anyways”. For a character who is known for being straight-faced and tough, Mike has some serious demons. This is by far Better Call Saul’s best episode and may even stack up to some of the better Breaking Bad episodes. Overall a great episode with top notch acting and story telling.
Overall Episode Grade: A+