Better Call Saul Episode 1.6 “Five-O”
Directed by Adam Bernstein
Written by Gordon Smith
Starring Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Kerry Condon, Omid Abtahi, Barry Shabaka Henley AMC
Air Date: Monday, March 9, 2015, 10pm
Better Call Saul Episode 1.6 “Five-O” centered solely on Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), with the show’s regular cast of characters nowhere to be found except for main man Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), who finds himself as Mike’s lawyer. After nearly four seasons on AMC’s Breaking Bad and five episodes on this first season of Saul, we finally learn about Mike’s past and what might have driven him to go from being a 30-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department to the henchman of drug kingpin Gus Fring.
“Five-O” pretty much spells it all out for us. And I don’t know about you, but the reveal is nothing I had anticipated, especially after the ending of the previous episode, “1.5 Alpine Shepherd Boy,” left us thinking that something nefarious was going on with Mike and the woman he was watching.
This new episode also gives us something we’ve never seen from Mike before — raw emotion. His son Matty, a rookie Philly PD cop, had been killed after only two years on the job and you can see that it’s something that Mike will never get over, even though he tells his daughter-in-law Stacey (Kerry Condon) that that’s what she must do. The pain behind his eyes when he talks about his son is as if he’s perhaps to blame for Matty’s death or somehow had a hand in it. Was Mike a dirty cop? Did he bring his son into the lifestyle? Is that why Mike is living far way in Albuquerque, NM, where he will eventually take up with Fring?
These are all the things you wonder about when you watch “Five-O,” especially when Mike gets questioned by two Philly PD officers (Omid Abtahi and Barry Shabaka Henley), who’ve tracked him down to New Mexico, as he’s wanted for questioning in the murder of Matty’s partners, who’s killer is still at large.
That’s where Jimmy McGill, attorney at law, comes in.
In Episode 1.5, Jimmy had decided to focus on elder law, since his post-billboard-incident life seemed to have him gravitating towards older clients and being the life of the party at nursing homes. During one of his routine encounters at the courthouse with parking clerk Mike — who, up until then, had been a thorn in Jimmy’s side with his unweaving demand for the correct amount of parking validation stickers — Jimmy hands the older gentleman his new elder-law-centered business card — “Need a Will, Call McGill.” Jimmy thinks Mike is just a stubborn old man. He has no clue of who the real Mike is, which is why in Episode 1.6 when Jimmy shows up to be Mike’s lawyer during questioning, he can’t imagine what his new client is there for. “Did the Mayor not have enough stickers?,” he sarcastically asks because all he knows of this man is that he won’t even look the other way for three dollars’ worth of parking validation stickers. What could the police all the way from Philly want from this man?
Jimmy gets the whole scoop from the cops and sees a whole new side of Mike, one in which is more in line with old “Slippin’ Jimmy.” It seems like every time Jimmy tries to go legit, something pulls him back in. This time, it’s Mike. You can see Jimmy’s struggle with trying to be upstanding, but Mike has a plan and he needs Jimmy’s help with it.
“Five-O” clearly creates the foundation of Mike and Jimmy’s business relationship and, dare I say, possibly friendship, and oh what a path it leads them down.
The next installment of Better Call Saul, Episode 1.7 “Bingo,” airs on AMC on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 10/9c.