Better Call Saul Episode 1.9 “Pimento”
Directed by Thomas Schnauz
Written by Thomas Schnauz
Starring Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Kerry Condon AMC
Air Date: Monday, March 30, 2015, 10pm
In Better Call Saul Episode 1.9 “Pimento,” Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) finally has a way to make it out of the mailroom, so to speak, at the Hamlin, Hamlin, and McGill law offices. Jimmy has stumbled upon a valid case-action law suit, but it’s too big for him and his lawyer-on-hiatus older brother, Chuck (Michael McKean), to handle. So, much to his reluctance and at Chuck’s behest, Jimmy agrees to reach out to his nemesis Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) at HHM on the case to go after the Sandpaper Crossing Assisted Living facility, which has seemingly been mishandling (i.e., stealing) the finances of their elderly residents.
Meanwhile, in an effort to help his widowed daughter-in-law and his granddaughter with their finances, Mike (Jonathan Banks) takes on a new gig outside his little parking lot clerk booth. After years in law enforcement, the former Philly cop is taking an off-the-books job, so to speak.
As Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad, we know Mike ends up being henchman to Gus Fring’s drug lord, but we didn’t really know how he got there. In “Pimento,” we really see what Mike’s made of. Call the bald, elderly man “Uncle Fester,” but Uncle Fester will kick your ass. And remember those parking stickers he insists on collecting, no excuses? Well, imagine how unyielding he can be when the stakes are higher. This is the Mike we know from Breaking Bad, the Mike who scared the pants off us in those early Bad episodes — the Mike who knows his shit.
But back to our main man Jimmy. Over the course of nine episodes now, we’ve seen what motivates him — he wants his brother’s approval; he wants to stick it to Hamlin, who’s never seemed to like him for some reason; and wants to prove to everyone around him that he can go from the swindling Slippin’ Jimmy he once was to a being a successful lawyer. Making Chuck proud of him and having his brother’s once-low opinion of him elevated seems to be the great motivator for Jimmy. And now, he’s done the hard work to get what will likely be a multi-million dollar case-action suit off the ground. Now, he can finally move up from the metaphorical mailroom AND get his ailing brother out of the house and back at work. Once at HHM, Jimmy and Chuck can work together, which seems like Jimmy’s dream ever since he secretly earned his law degree from the University of American Samoa online law school.
All the pieces have finally fallen into place and Jimmy is about to have all his dreams come true — a massive financial reward, the respect of his peers, and a major team-up with his brother. But, something goes wrong. What is it? What’s getting in the way of all of Jimmy’s dreams? It doesn’t seem fair. Then again, we don’t know how much bad karma he racked up during his Slippin’ Jimmy days; but surely, he’s redeemed himself by now, right?
It’s hard not to see Jimmy come out on top and to win. Even though he was plenty slippery as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad, he was just so lovable and easy to root for. This is a guy who is just so likable. So, seeing him in his early days in Saul struggling so much and being let down every week is heartbreaking.
There’s only one more episode left in this first season, so something has got to give whether good or bad. And something major has got to happen to end this inaugural season, likely something very bad. Will Jimmy lose Chuck for good? Or maybe Kim? I know I don’t want it. I want it all to change and for Jimmy to be number one. But, that’s not going to happen. Jimmy needs to get on the road to “Saul” and to do that, he had to have no more reason to stay the straight and narrow course.
The next installment of Better Call Saul, Episode 1.10 “Marco,” the Season 1 finale, written and directed by Peter Gould, airs on AMC on Monday, April 6 at 10/9c.