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TV Review: Better Call Saul 1.7 “Bingo”
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Better Call Saul 1.7 Jimmy and Kim

Better Call Saul
Episode 1.7 “Bingo”
Directed by Larysa Kondracki
Written by Gennifer Hutchison
Starring Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Kerry Condon, Omid Abtahi, Barry Shabaka Henley
Air Date: Monday, March 16, 2015, 10pm

Better Call Saul Episode 1.7 “Bingo,” the embezzling Kettlemans are back and they’ve had a change of heart about hiring Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) to be their counselor. While Mrs. Kettleman previously described Jimmy as the kind of lawyer that guilty people hire and as it turns out, they are guilty as hell. And they were sloppy about their crime, too, yet they believe they should be able to keep the $1.6 million that Mr. Kettleman stole from the county as well as stay out of jail and maintain their innocence and they think that Jimmy is the person who can do this for them.

While we’ve seen Jimmy’s Breaking Bad alter ego Saul Goodman in action with clients like this, even the hustler he becomes could not give these people everything they want. But, Better Call Saul is a prequel, where Jimmy is just getting his start. We see him in this episode hosting a BINGO game at the local nursing home, which is filled with his new clientele now that he’s taken up elder law. But, when the Kettlemans call and threaten to implicate him in their crime, since he actually took a bribe from them, Jimmy’s hands are tied. He has to take the case or go down with them.

Episode 1.7 “Bingo” gives Jimmy a triumphant return to center stage. Last week’s episode, 1.6 “Five-O,” revolved around Mike Ehrmantraut’s (Jonathan Banks) troubled past and his recent inquisition by the detectives at the Philadelphia Police Department who tracked him down to Albuquerque, NM. It was great to finally find out what makes the stoic Mike tick and what his origins are — they’re nothing I would ever had suspected — the draw of Better Call Saul for me is Saul/Jimmy. I just can’t get enough of Odenkirk’s performance, whether he’s downtrodden, conniving, elated, or being the snazzy lawyer we know he can be. In “Bingo,” we get to see all sides of Jimmy.

The episode opens with Jimmy defending Mike, who is in trouble for lifting a notebook from one of the Philly cops investigating him in conjunction with the double homicide of two of their own. Jimmy works his Saul magic in this scenario, which constantly makes me wonder how he’s not a bigger success, since he’s so damn clever and knows how to cite the law and be quick about it. There’s still so much we don’t know about Jimmy and why he’s in the position he’s currently in.

After the opening, it seems like Jimmy and Mike’s relationship will be resolved. There doesn’t seem like a reason for it to go on, especially if you look at it through Mike’s eyes. But later on, Mike returns in an interesting sequence that will make you wonder what Jimmy has up his sleeve.

Jimmy consistently dazzles us with this skills, which again, make me scratch my head as to why he’s not a more successful lawyer. What are we missing here? Is it that he just doesn’t have the reputation yet? He’s proven that he’s smart, all around, not just with the law. Even when it comes to handling his brother, Chuck (Michael McKean), who’s also very intelligent, Jimmy knows how to manipulate a situation.

The whole pitch for Better Call Saul is that this is Jimmy at the very start of his law career and it’s not taking off the way it should. He’s not getting the business he wants and somehow his life will lead him to the strip-mall office and the crooked clientele he gets in Breaking Bad. But when I watch Saul, I don’t want to see this brilliant man go down that road, but I know he will. So far, the journey has been incredibly entertaining.

The next installment of Better Call Saul, Episode 1.8 “Rico,” airs on AMC on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10/9c.

Episode 1.7 Image Gallery

Episode 1.7 Video

Talked About Scene: Episode 107: Better Call Saul: Bingo

Jimmy visits the Kettlemans.

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