Monday, March 16, 2020

REVIEW: 'Better Call Saul' - Mike Fixes a Window to Remain in Control of His Life in 'Dedicado a Max'

AMC's Better Call Saul - Episode 5.05 "Dedicado a Max"

Mike takes an impromptu trip out of town. As she and Jimmy grow closer over their campaign to help a client, Kim makes a surprising call.

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.

"Dedicado a Max" was written by Heather Marion and directed by Jim McKay

There is the perpetual fear that Mike is simply letting his life wash over him. He is no longer the one actively in charge of what happens. He has been getting drunk and remaining distant from his family. He wants to step up for them. However, he lashes out because of his unwillingness to mine the emotional depths of his psyche. It led to him getting into a physical altercation and waking up in a strange environment. That discovery comes with the potential of seeing more of Gus' personal world. However, Mike interprets it as Gus once again aspiring to control every single aspect of Mike's life. It is no longer Mike's decision whether he lives or dies. Mike walked away from this business venture. He could no longer be an active participant after what happened to Werner. He had to make that decision and carry it out personally. That has haunted him though. He sees Gus as nothing more than this malevolent force operating at the top of the world with no one truly knowing what he is capable of. And yes, that mystique will continue for years. Mike is blocked from seeing the complicated person behind the drug cartel. Gus is a man suffering from loss as well. He too is fueled by revenge and the need to hurt those who took so much away from him. He has dedicated this village to Max, his lover killed by the Salamanca family. He wants to ensure the people here have every opportunity necessary to have full and rewarding lives. But that can never offset what Gus truly is deep in his core. He is a monster who will forever remain destructive. He ends up ruining so many lives in his quest for power. Here, he makes it all sound like an enticing offer. He extends his hand believing this to be the only option Mike could take that won't end in his untimely demise. That's not true at all. Mike remaining on this life of criminality will eventually lead to his death and being taken away from his family. That just isn't fated to happen at this precise moment in time. Instead, Mike just wants to feel useful. He does that according to his own schedule. It would be so exciting to see Mike and Kim meet. That is what Jimmy tries to orchestrate here. Mike isn't interested in the job though. He couldn't physically do it either because he is stuck in Mexico for a week. He simply has no patience for whatever shenanigans Jimmy wants to bring him into. Instead, he is focused on fixing a window after it leaks during a storm. That's where he can feel useful. Gus arrives presenting an alternative for how he can live his life moving forward. It's a plea built around the idea of revenge. And yes, that remain core to Mike's identity for a long time. He may never fully overcome the issues that have plagued him this season. That is inherently tragic. He and Gus may forever be doomed to repeat the same patterns because of their vices and personal failings. They can survive for awhile. That may not be enough though. In Jimmy's case, he is still very much alive. Sure, he is in Omaha living under a new identity as Gene. However, he feels the urgency to take ahold of his life once more. Right now, he is more than capable of disrupting construction for Mesa Verde's new call center and costing the company millions of dollars. He instinctively understands that's how companies understand the value of the world. When their money is targeted, that's when they start to care about the morality on display. Kevin wants this property no matter what. He can't be persuaded to ensure this man gets to remain in his home of the past 30 years. Everett Acker is simply along for the ride as Jimmy comes up with these creative delays to the construction. Acker doesn't have to be evicted quite yet. But all of this will become toxic for Kim and her relationship with her client. Rich Schweikart can already see that Kim is working against Kevin. He has clear eyes on the situation. She just feels the need to remain in control for as long as possible. She has to make a difference in this man's life. She feels that so deeply even though it comes at the expense of the client she has worked so hard to impress for a long time. This can disrupt so much. And yet, she is persuaded by Jimmy's arguments that making things personal with Kevin is the only way to keep this fight going. She may not like the methods his investigator goes to. But she also beams with happiness upon discovering a way to attack Kevin in a way that will do a lot of damage. She is fighting. It's so enthralling to watch. But again, it's bound to come at a great personal expense as people are starting to see her character in a new light. She was once lifted up as this genius lawyer capable of doing the impossible. And now, she's conspiring with Jimmy in a way that is thrilling to them but costly to the companies at the top of the world. They believe Kevin can withstand that blow to his bottom line. It's a way to take a moral stand for a human being. And yet, the consequences may prove just how far Kim is willing to go in order to embrace what Jimmy will become as Saul Goodman. This is the first indication of her truly entering his criminal world and knowingly enjoying its benefits.