Better Call Saul 1×08 ‘Rico’: Get in that dumpster

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While getting tantalizingly close to the end of the first season of Better Call Saul, it’s a little surprising the decision made to slow down the show a bit, at least from the momentum it had built in previous episodes. This episode is purely build up and character development and lacks the same punch the most episodes have had. But it does continue to prepare us (somewhat) for what the next two episodes will bring.

As most of these episodes have done so far, this week’s episode starts with a flashback. Unsurprisingly, we learn that before Chuck got “sick” and was a partner at HHM, Jimmy worked in the mail room and was working to become a lawyer in the meantime. Tension is established between Hamlin and Jimmy as Hamlin presumably refuses to promote Jimmy from the mail room. It’s not the most thrilling flashback we’ve seen, but it is revealing. It finally shows that Kim and Jimmy were in a relationship and shows some of the origins of the rivalry between Hamlin and Jimmy.

AMC

AMC

Getting back to the present day, Jimmy goes back to working elder law after the whole Kettleman’s situation, but finds that one of the retirement homes where he has clients is committing fraud and scamming their residents. The owners of the retirement home suspect that Jimmy’s on to them after his first visit and make it hard for him to see his clients. And then of course they start shredding up presumably incriminating documents which leads Jimmy to go dumpster diving (which is particularly disgusting).

Chuck and Jimmy end up working on the case together after Chuck helps assemble some of the shredded up documents. Chuck is doing a lot better in terms of his “electricity allergy,” although he still refuses to have electronics in the house. However, it’s clear at the end of the episode that his “condition” really is just psychological after he goes outside to get more documents out of the car, not realizing what he’s actually doing until Jimmy calls him out. And…that’s how the episode ends.

It’s odd and slightly disappointing that there really isn’t that much else to go on with this episode. Yes, Mike does show up for a bit but it doesn’t have anything to do with Jimmy. He babysits his granddaughter, which is very sweet, and reassures his daughter-in-law that she can use the money that her husband got from the dirty cops for financial purposes. But that money is still not enough to completely help his daughter-in-law’s financial troubles, so Mike reconnects with the dodgy veterinarian from a couple episodes previous, making it clear that Mike’s going to be getting on the wrong side of the law to help his daughter-in-law and his granddaughter.

AMC

AMC

While this new case with the retirement home and Mike’s veering towards the illegal are important developments, the episode itself lacks some of the pizzazz that past episodes have had. It could just be a strategy by the writers to downplay the momentum right before the season finale in order to make the last two episodes pop. Even so, it’s hard not to expect a little bit more, especially since it’s clear that the writers can save potentially dry episodes with just one expertly written scene. But what this episode lacks in momentum it slightly makes up for in building and developing Jimmy and Chuck’s relationship. And with the ending of the episode, it’s clear that whatever happens next, whether it be a relapse during Chuck’s recovery, is going to be vital to their relationship and to the overarching story in general.

What to expect from the last two episodes? I’m guessing more flashbacks, many scenes with Chuck and Jimmy, and hopefully Jimmy and Mike’s partnership becoming an actual thing (but that’s mainly just wishful thinking on my part). I don’t think Jimmy will transition fully to Saul Goodman at the end of this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another flash forward (more wishful thinking). Despite wherever it goes, it’s probably safe to say that Better Call Saul has not disappointed. And hopefully the last two episodes will confirm it as a truly successful spin-off.

Sarah Lord

is a college student in New York City. Her extreme knowledge of British comedians and TV shows almost surpasses her general love for film. When she’s not sitting in her apartment/nerd cave reviewing movies and TV shows, she sometimes makes time for long walks in the moonlight. Check her out on YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr as TheSplord.

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