Better Call Saul: “Pimento” Season 1 Episode 9 Review

Photo Credit:http://www.amctv.com/shows/better-call-saul/episodes/season-1/pimento

I’m not sure what’s in store for next week’s season finale, but damn, “Pimento” was just a masterclass in storytelling.

There’s a startling thematic connection between the two stories within tonight’s episode. While Saul and Chuck continue to work on the Sandpiper case, Mike goes off on a job that sees a criminal with his button-down tucked into his khakis trading pharmaceuticals for money. After the job is done, Mike calmly tells the man that he is a criminal now. The man seems taken aback, claiming he’s not a bad person. Mike agrees. “There are bad cops and honorable thieves,” he says before leaving the man to his thoughts. Well, there’s no better confirmation of what Mike says than when Chuck yells, “The law is sacred!” to the brother he betrayed out of his dream job.

We learned from the flashback a few episodes back to when Chuck bailed Jimmy out of prison that he always looked down on his younger bother. Jimmy’s side of the story never mattered to Chuck because he was on the wrong side of the law. To Chuck, good lawyers can’t be criminals. We know that Saul Goodman will eventually prove him wrong.

Leading up to the reveal of why HHM won’t hire Jimmy, we got a ton of great material from the entire cast. “Pimento” was the first episode to show a human side to Howard Hamlin. His hands are tied in this case, as Chuck, his partner, doesn’t want to hire Jimmy despite this being a huge win for the firm. The writers do a great job of defining this decision as unreasonable well before we know Chuck is behind it.

Then there’s Kim, whose slowly becoming one of the most engaging players on the show. She simply weaves between Hamlin and Jimmy just trying to figure out why her friend is being shortchanged, only to pity him once Hamlin lets the truth out. Jimmy yelling at her after we know she put her best foot forward to help him was difficult to watch.

But Jimmy ends up being smart enough to put the pieces together on his own. That’s when the brotherly relationship comes crashing down as years of Chuck’s resentment come spilling out. Kim says earlier in the episode that Jimmy is a great lawyer, and she’s right. Chuck can’t handle his brother’s natural gift for the craft after all his own hard work. He’s the reason Jimmy is working in the back of a nail salon, hardly able to pay rent. And now he’s responsible for losing the only person who cares enough to put up with his mental condition.

With so many moving pieces, thematic connections, and emotional moments, “Pimento” may have been the richest episode of Better Call Saul yet. What it’s all leading to, I don’t know. There’s an unpredictability here that so few shows are able to achieve. But after next week, I doubt Jimmy’s world will ever be the same again. Grade: A

 

Some Other Notes:

– Both Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean were at the top of their game this week.

– The scene in the parking garage, followed by the actual exchange were chock-full of perfect Mike moments.

– Nacho returned only to have two lines and drive off. Weird that Michael Mando got top billing this season. The writers must have big plans for the character next season.

– Who else has got a bad feeling about Chuck going into the finale? As in, whether he’ll make it out alive.

 

By Matt Dougherty

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