Better Call Sall: ‘Amarillo’ Review

“You and I both know you can do this job. But please, you just have to do it right.”

Kim’s plea to Jimmy is the central issue of episode.  Jimmy is fully capable of doing the job the right way, but his need to cut corners continues to get in his way.  Jimmy’s continual self-sabotaging is painful to watch and his personal and professional life seems to be a ticking time bomb.  The episode seems to emphasize that the ends do not justify the means.  Despite the success of his efforts, the episode ends with his professional career in jeopardy.

Creator: Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould
Staring: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando & Michael McKean
Run Time: 47 minutes
Exhibition: AMC

The episode showcased Jimmy’s excellent people skills.  The opening segment of Jimmy soliciting clients for the Sandpiper Crossing case highlighted his ability to inspire people through his words and sway a crowd.  One of Jimmy’s greatest features is his ability to convince people that they are capable of great things.  His speech about Wells and the greatness of advertising to the two youths that are helping him create his commercial is a highlight of the episode.

The rivalry between Chuck and Jimmy remains ever-present.  Chuck’s cold dismissal of Jimmy’s accomplishments with his clients was tense and foreshadows their inevitable confrontation at some point this season.  Again, it’s because of Chuck’s clear disdain for his younger brother that pushes Jimmy to not do the right thing.  Jimmy slipping the commercial on air without telling the firm’s partners was inevitably going to get him in trouble.  Even though it’s highly successful, Jimmy’s bosses don’t seem to care.

Better Call Saul 2

Speaking of the right thing, it’s tragic to see Jimmy continuing to lie to Kim.  I understand why he’s doing it.  After Kim made it clear in the last episode that she did not want to hear of Jimmy’s misdeeds, he’s honoring her wishes.  But ultimately, there’s no way this doesn’t end up wrecking their new relationship.  Which is sad because when they’re together in the little moments, such as watching a movie together, they’re a cute and happy couple.

Even though we know Jimmy’s happy life with Kim and Davis and Maine is not meant to be, there’s still a general feeling of dread as we watch Jimmy throw away the good things in life.  His continual lying to Kim and his decision to not tell his bosses about the commercial will have consequences.  Jimmy must be aware of this, most obviously that his decision not to tell his bosses would hurt him.  I think he assumed the blow would be softened because of how successful the commercial was, but clearly it wasn’t.  And while I’m looking forward to seeing Jimmy McGill become Saul Goodman, it’s a testament to the writers and Bob Odenkirk that this process is painful to watch.  It’s also interesting to see that Saul Goodman was Jimmy’s fault.  Other shows, such as Starz’s Black Flag, use a malignant outside force to necessitate a massive character change.  But Jimmy’s transformation/devolution is entirely his own doing.

Mike’s arc was more tangential this episode.  His story is, for the moment, separating from Jimmy’s.  Jonathan Banks again shows his gruff and caring nature as he soothes his daughter-in-law Stacy and plays with Kaylee, his granddaughter.  Mike’s going to have to make a choice, since he needs more money but will have to do “high level work for high level pay”, which Mike seems hesitant to do.  This season could begin exploring how Mike becomes a true criminal.  Fingers crossed, we’ll see Gus Fring soon.  The slow build to Mike’s final meeting with Nacho left the episode with an intriguing cliffhanger.

Jimmy’s continual dishonesty and skirting of the law hurts his professional and personal life.  We know that he’ll never have this happy life with Kim and Davis and Maines, but it’s still hard to watch him sabotage himself like this.  Mike’s story was unrelated to Jimmy’s but set up an intriguing cliffhanger after the final meeting between him and Nacho.

Verdict: 8.7- Great


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