Monday, October 1, 2018

REVIEW: 'Better Call Saul' - Jimmy's Sincerity Is Called Into Question by Many Individuals in 'Wiedersehen'

AMC's Better Call Saul - Episode 4.09 "Wiedersehen"

Jimmy and Kim unburden themselves, risking their relationship in the process. Nacho is forced to make the rounds with Lalo. Mike has cause to worry.

It was very ominous when Kim turned to Jimmy and said that she wanted to continue pulling jobs with him in order to succeed in their legal cases. She did so to help Huell. It was so invigorating for her. It was a rush of adrenaline that she doesn't normally get from her work. And now, Jimmy is fully supporting this turn with her as well. He continues to encourage it. They are right back in the field at the top of "Wiedersehen." They are deceiving someone in the hopes of helping one of their clients. In this case, it's Kevin and Mesa Verde's expansion into Texas. It was just a simple request that he was intrigued about a week ago. He wanted to know if it was too late to redesign the conference room at one of the upcoming sites because the other version has been such a success so far. It's not a deal breaker for this client relationship though. Kim remains on solid ground with Mesa Verde. This isn't the one detail that she isn't able to give to them after a year of impressive and stunning work. They are very happy with what Kim has done for their business. They are still moving forward despite this obstacle. It's no big deal whatsoever. And yet, Kim internalizes that and actually sets out to improve the plans to satisfy her client. She walks into the county office on crutches with an elaborate story to tell the nice worker behind the desk. She tells a tall tale about the plans possibly being mixed up and the final version not being the one that was submitted for approval from the county. It's in the process of checking the two blueprints that Kim goes into her sob story of twisting her ankle while on the run and counting on her clueless brother to help raise her newborn son. When Jimmy comes into the scene, it's in a panic because he just locked a toddler in a vehicle all alone. That's absolutely horrifying. But it's all to deceive this nice woman so that the blueprints on file are destroyed and Kim can slip the updated version to her. It's such a remarkable heist too. It's so simple. And yet, Jimmy and Kim play it so well. They know how to put on these performances. It remains a skill set that each can utilize whenever it best suits them. In the end, they have once again succeeded with this project. They have deceived in order to make a client happy.

More importantly though, Kim is establishing a code of conduct for her business. She only wants to pull deceptive jobs like this if the situation is good and right. Jimmy presses for more details about when a project is appropriate for them to implement these skills. He wants to know what the rules are as well. He doesn't want to push her into a situation she isn't comfortable in. But she doesn't know how to define their evolving relationship either. She just accepts that they will both know it's right when the situation arises. She doesn't want this to be the lawyer she is all of the time. It's only a brief appeal that can excite her for a moment. She is completely open and willing to letting it happen. But she wants to know that she's making a difference. And yet, it's hard to trust her at her word as well because of the situations in which she bended her morals to help her clients. Huell wasn't innocent. He did assault a police officer. But Kim and Jimmy were able to justify it as a big misunderstanding that didn't need to ruin the rest of Huell's life. They were living in those extremes where sending in a full on letter campaign was the only way to effectively create change. But with Mesa Verde, it's just a request that Kevin had. It didn't need to happen. It's just something that Kim opted to do in order to feel good about representing them. This was her continuing to go above and beyond in all aspects of the job. But again, Jimmy rightfully wonders where the line is. This latest job is only good for Mesa Verde. It doesn't have an impact on anyone else in the world. It's simply making a conference room bigger. That's all that there is. And yet, Jimmy and Kevin are driving through the night in Texas in order to make this a reality.

Right now, Jimmy is more focused on becoming a lawyer again. He has operated this entire season under the assumption that as soon as his suspension was over he would get to practice once more. He and Kim could even reopen their law practice together. And now, it does seem like they are operating as a team once more. They are moving in sync with one another. When they are out in the field putting on these different personas, they are so effective. They achieve their ultimate goals each time. And now, Jimmy already believes he has a new stream of clients ready to hire him as a lawyer. He has been making connections with the people who bought phones from him. He sees them as the crowd of people who would need lawyers as well. They are running these illegal operations that definitely need someone to represent their interests in the courtroom. Sure, Jimmy also notes the problem in that these new associates only know him as Saul Goodman. As such, that should worry the audience that he's about to get his law degree back under that alias in order to create a smooth transition for this new business. He would no longer be representing the same clients he did previously as a lawyer. And yet, he believes his life is substantially different now as well. Before his suspension, his time with the law was completely defined by Chuck. Their sibling rivalry was what led to Jimmy's suspension in the first place. And so, it's absolutely a big deal when he fails to mention Chuck at all during his meeting to review his license to practice law. He believes he is absolutely nailing every single question. He is being charming about how he spent his time during the suspension. He is noting the many ways in which he has kept up with the changing law statures. He discusses how the suspension has changed his view and willingness to practice. But he's also asked what the law means to him. He believes he is doing everything correctly. And yet, he still has to stay behind to learn what the panel decides. He can't just wait until the letter arrives in the mail in a couple of days.

This entire storyline highlights how entitled and arrogant Jimmy is about the law. He believes he deserves to be reinstated. He paid his dues. He did everything right. And now, it's his right to get his degree back. He has been making all of these plans for how to be a better lawyer now. He no longer has to focus and worry about Chuck. His death put an end to that relationship. Of course, Jimmy hasn't put in any of the work to ensure that he can handle life without his brother in it. Instead, he has mostly been distracting himself by focusing on other jobs and helping Kim with her own career. He hasn't done any of the self-reflection to ensure that he deserves to get this career back. He believes he is entitled to it. As such, he gets so angry and puts on a huge display of vitriol when it isn't given to him. In this situation, Jimmy is being denied something he believes is rightfully his. He is latching down and hurting everyone around him who refuses to give it to him. He only sees enemies everywhere he goes. He wants to know what gives these three people the right to say if he is being sincere or not. He meant everything in his answers during the review panel. He believes he nailed every single question. He believes it couldn't have gone any better. Kim is absolutely right to call him out for how selfish he is being. He has the right to appeal. But right now, he is only focusing on the horror of having to spend another year away from the law. He can't survive it. This is the life that he wants to be living. He has been practicing once more. He's been more covert about it. He is eager to please his new clients. He's just taking it out on Kim. She doesn't deserve this. He has been a bad influence on her. She is compromising her morals in some extreme ways that are bound to lead to disaster for her. He has essentially doomed her as well because of this relationship. They scream and fight. But in the end, they are still together. That's significant even though it also signals further tragedy is awaiting them this season.

Elsewhere, the audience knew that the unexpected round of blasting was going to cause problems at the job site for Mike and Gus. It was just a mystery as to what would be the source of those problems. Would it come from the noise being noticed by someone in the neighborhood? Would it be one of the workers actually revealing too much during their trip to the strip club? Would it be the isolation that comes from doing this job in such a confined space for over a year? The show was signaling that Kai was going to be the troublemaker. And yes, he does cause various issues on a daily basis. But he still falls in line with the rest of the workers. Instead, the problem extends from Werner. He is homesick and depressed. He understands that this job could allow him to comfortably retire and never have to leave his family again. But it's been so long since he has been with them. He misses them immensely. Right now, the only kindness that Mike can give is allowing him to speak on the phone with his wife for as long as he wants. It's a moment of joy and contentment. But it only takes a few seconds for the facade to fade away and the depression to sink back in as well. It's so absolutely brutal when Werner is riding that high from talking to his wife only to come crashing back to reality upon just looking up and seeing the cameras that are still constantly monitoring him and the rest of his crew. He honors his word. He is determined to complete this project. It's hit a few unexpected roadblocks. But it's nothing that the operation can't handle. Sure, there was the fear that the blasting would go off when Werner was down in the shaft fixing the connection. But that doesn't happen. The fear of it though is absolutely terrifying. That's why he is so depressed and lonely right now. He is risking his life for this job and hasn't been reminded of what really matters in a long time. As such, he breaks free from this facility. He is able to do so very easily as well. He escapes and avoids detection until Mike comes into work. This is a huge problem. And one that risks ruining so much for Gus. It also probably confirms that things will end tragically for Werner as well before the season is over.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Wiedersehen" was written by Gennifer Hutchison and directed by Vince Gilligan.
  • An origin story is given for the bell that Hector will have to use in order to communicate with the world around him. It is a gift from Lalo. It's an item that holds sentimental value because it came from one of the most lethal kills Hector ever ordered. He burned a man alive and Lalo went back into the house in order to rescue some artifact from their heritage. Sure, a bell seems pretty lame. But that bell also holds so much power and resonance in the future of this story.
  • Mark Margolis remains such an excellent performer when it comes to the limitations of Hector's movements. He is absolutely menacing and enraged but only able to communicate that through his breathing. He intensifies as Lalo lays out this story of the past that Hector doesn't know about. And yet, it's a relief in the end. He is already starting to abuse the bell. Moreover, he is still trusted to order hits even though Lalo thinks that's the way Hector always conducts his business.
  • It's always a little unnerving to see Gus in the Los Pollos Hermanos storefront. That location hasn't been seen in awhile. And yet, the people who work there have strong memories. One worker recognizes Nacho when he comes in with Lalo. It's a completely unexpected meeting. But one that is very informative as well. It means that Gus may have to exploit his connection with Nacho once more to understand this new threat.
  • Lalo really is just getting the lay of the land. He is being driven around by Nacho as he updates him on how this operation works. He introduces him to Gus who is the partner in this business. They discuss whether or not there is bad blood between them or if they appreciate what the other does in this operation. It's a tense meeting because neither one of them completely knows what to expect. However, Lalo being around could create more problems for Gus.
  • Mike doesn't like to talk about his personal life. It's still so difficult for him to talk about or deal with Matty's death. And here, Werner gets him to open up just a little bit. He hopes to find a kindred spirit with the idea that they miss the women they were married to for a long time. Mike reveals that he was married for 22 years. That's impressive. However, there still isn't a whole lot actually known about that woman.