Monday, March 9, 2020

REVIEW: 'Better Call Saul' - Jimmy Receives an Offer While Kim Hopes to Find a Creative Solution in 'Namaste'

AMC's Better Call Saul - Episode 5.04 "Namaste"

As Jimmy doubles down on "Saul Goodman," a deeply conflicted Kim brings him an interesting proposition. Gus makes a sacrifice in order to play the long game. Mike attempts to smooth things over with his family.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AMC's Better Call Saul.

"Namaste" was written by Gordon Smith and directed by Gordon Smith

It's difficult to move on from the past. Jimmy has a new outlook on life now that he is practicing the law as Saul Goodman. He has a hopeful future now even though he is surrounded by criminals who will exploit his willingness to do whatever it takes to win. And yes, his creative thinking is quite entertaining. However, it can also present a mockery of the judicial system and the guidelines that are set forth for lawyers. Sure, the system is corrupt without the addition of Saul Goodman to the mix. This is a complicated world in which various criminals operate and get away with their activities for years. Hank and Gomez celebrate removing over $700,000 in drugs off the streets of Albuquerque here. That won't stop the drug trade. It will only be a small dent in Gus' overall operation. It's still a personal attack on him though. He just has to sit and wait in the backroom of Los Pollos Hermanos waiting for that fateful call. Everything goes exactly as he wanted it to. He was tipped off about this drug bust. Lalo wanted him to suffer. He certainly is. He is just doing so while still in a position of power. He can still wield that to his advantage even though it comes through the suffering of one employee who just wants to impress him with his cleaning abilities and rising to the occasion as the manager of the restaurant. But again, this fundamentally won't change anything. That is a sobering reality. People work arduously for years in the hopes of making a difference. In the moment, those efforts can absolutely pay off and be rewarding. However, Kim no longer has the same love for Mesa Verde she once did. Jimmy has found a new way to practice the law. And yet, it still stings when he has to interact with Howard. That relationship may always be defined by what happened with Chuck. On one hand, Jimmy is grateful that Howard stepped up to care for his brother when he could no longer do so. On the other hand though, Howard stood by Chuck as he strived to oppress his brother through his sheer superiority complex when it came to the law. Jimmy sees this profession as something he is incredibly skilled at. It has long given his life purpose. Chuck didn't want him to have that. By extension, Howard bears the weight of that responsibility too. It doesn't matter that he is trying to turn a corner in his life by reaching out to Jimmy needing someone who will always tell him the truth. None of this may actually be healthy for Jimmy in the grand scheme of things. It gives him pleasure in the moment though. The show is so evocative and efficient in creating tension from the opening minutes when Jimmy is literally just browsing an antiques store. It's clear right away that he has malicious intentions because he is swinging various objects around. It's not until the end that it comes into context what he is hoping to do. This is his revenge against Howard and a signal that he will never work for him or return to the life he used to know. Before this moment, Kim was the character having a hard time adjusting to the presence of Saul Goodman. And now, she sees him in court. He gets a mistrial for his client. She sees how that could be advantageous to her latest standoff with Mesa Verde where she has empathy for a man who wants to remain in his house instead of moving out to make way for the new call center development. It's a blatant conflict of interest for Kim to point Saul in his direction and for Saul to take him on as a client. It may be a losing case. The disruption of money though may be all that it takes to make a point though. That too is the fundamental lesson of the narrative. Everything revolves around the business and how that fuels the personal satisfaction of each individual character. Some remain happy through the routine and the monotony. Others evolve over time. Some embrace completely new personalities to see if that can change things. And finally, some just slump into a depression fearing that the tragedy of life is all they will ever know. It's random to see Mike attacked and wake up in a strange new location by himself. But that may also be fitting of his life at the moment where he is no longer the man giving out the commands. Instead, he is living on the whims of others who have the emotional development to have complete clarity over what anyone should be willing to do in any given situation.