We're in the home stretch now when it comes to Jimmy and Kim's plot against Howard. While bits and pieces of info have been dished out over the last few episodes, "Better Call Saul" has also played things extremely close to the chest. Just when you think you've figured out what Kim and Jimmy are up to, they add yet another layer to their elaborate plan. This week, we see the return of a familiar "Breaking Bad"/"Better Call Saul" player: Dr. Caldera, the veterinarian who moonlights as a major contract for the local criminal underworld. He also provides medical assistance for those who can't exactly obtain it in normal, legal ways.
Jimmy comes to Caldera for a drug of some sort. Again, the show is intentionally vague as to what the drug is, but whatever it is, it causes Jimmy's pupils to dilate drastically. In the midst of all this, Jimmy and Kim learn that Caldera is thinking of getting out of the criminal world. Of course, we know that's not true, because he's still operating during the later events of "Breaking Bad." But Caldera also reveals he has a little black book full of extensive underworld contacts. The info inside the book is encrypted — "We caught the Zodiac Killer," Jimmy says when looking at the mysterious symbols — but both Jimmy and Kim seem mighty interested in that book. It's safe to say that at some point, Jimmy, as Saul, is going to get his hands on the info within those pages.
Lalo Wants To Ax You A Question
Lalo is still in Germany. And he's used the info from Werner's house to track down one of Werner's former team members, Casper, who now seems to be living off the grid deep in the woods. As is usually the case when Lalo gets involved, things go sour pretty fast. Casper is warry of Lalo from the get-go, and a chase ensues. At first, Lalo is taken by surprise and injured. But Lalo doesn't stay down for very long, and ends up taking an ax to the poor German's leg, chopping his foot off in the process.
At this point, Lalo makes it clear he wants info on Gus Fring. Specifically, he wants to know what the hell Gus is building. We know it's the meth superlab, but how much knowledge does Casper have? It's unclear, because the scene cuts away here and doesn't return. But in the end, it's likely Lalo knows even more about what Gus and company are up to, and that's bad news for Gus.
Sad Times With Howard, Mike, And Francesca
Things aren't going so well for several of the show's familiar faces. First, we finally get to see a little bit of what Howard's home life is like. His house is huge and tidy, but it's also a cold, awkward place. Because it looks like Howard and his wife Cheryl (Sandrine Holt) are going through a break-up. Is it a divorce? A separation? Whatever it is, Howard seems lost. He makes Cheryl a gigantic latte complete with some foam art on top, and she merely pours it into a travel mug without much of a comment — a move that clearly breaks poor Howard's heart.
Then there's Mike. He's told his daughter-in-law and granddaughter that he's out of town for work. But he's not — he's still in hiding in case Lalo returns. Curiously enough, Mike has decreased security details on his own house. Probably because he doesn't want Gus' other goons to notice that he keeps going back to his home, across the street from where his daughter-in-law lives, in order to spy on them with binoculars. He has a lengthy phone call with his granddaughter, but after the call ends and Mike hangs up, he looks absolutely miserable. To be fair, Mike kind of always looks miserable — that's sort of his thing — but he looks genuinely crestfallen here. Perhaps he's realizing he can't sustain his life of crime forever. Perhaps he realizes it's already too late.
Finally, we have Francesca. She's settling into her role as Saul's secretary, but it's obvious she hasn't quite caught on yet to the fact that "Saul Goodman" is not exactly on-the-level. At one point, he ropes Francesca into the plot against Howard. He has her call the offices of HHM and pose as the daughter of a Sandpiper client. This is all to get the call-in number for the mediation meeting involving the case — the one that Jimmy and Kim are also adding to their plot (more on that below). The phone call makes her uncomfortable, but it's not the main issue troubling her. Jimmy, aka Saul, gave Francesca free reign to decorate the office waiting room as she saw fit. The end result is both very busy and almost comically fancy. It looks more like an upper-class hotel lobby than the waiting room for a shady lawyer. And the disconnect becomes apparent when Francesca watches in horror as Saul's ragged, uncouth clients lay waste to the waiting area one day. One of them even urinates in a fancy water fountain wall she had installed. Out of all the characters mentioned here, Francesca is the one I feel most sympathetic toward. It's as if we're watching her spirit slowly be crushed as she comes to the realization that this isn't just another job. It's doubly depressing because the Francesca we meet in "Breaking Bad" is already someone who seems beaten down, angry, and miserable, which means sooner or later, this job is going to break her completely and turn her into a different person. That's the danger of getting too close to Jimmy "Saul Goodman" McGill. Which brings us to …
Kim Watch! How Worried Should We Be About Kim Wexler This Week?
Level Of Worry: CODE RED.
This episode's cold open brings back Young Kim Wexler. Young Kim has been caught shoplifting a necklace and a pair of earrings from a department store, and when her mother arrives, it looks like Kim is in serious trouble. But that's all for show. After they leave, Kim's mother mocks the store manager and gives Kim the very necklace and earring set she was trying to steal. Young Kim looks puzzled, to which her mother replies, "Relax, you got away with it." It's yet more great insight into Kim as a character, and confirmation that Jimmy didn't create her moral greyness and questionable decisions — he just helped bring it back to the surface.
But Kim is still a lawyer, and a damn good one. So good, in fact, that Cliff comes to her and tells her about a job opening with a foundation that funds justice reform programs. Kim jumps at the chance, but there's a snag: her interview for the gig takes place on "D Day," aka the day that the "get Howard" plot finally enters its final stage. Jimmy, knowing how important the job is for Kim, tells her not to worry — they can still make it happen without Kim being around.
The plan — which, again, remains shrouded in mystery — involves someone impersonating the judge handling the Sandpiper mediation. Last week, I theorized that Jimmy was going to be the imposter. Instead, he and his team of film student nerds have recruited an actor to play the judge, and appear in some still photos involving Jimmy and a large amount of money — a large amount of money that Howard is aware of, because the private eye he hired to follow Jimmy witnessed the bank withdraw.
There's the briefest glimmer of hope before the episode ends. On "D Day," Jimmy heads out to purchase the ultra-expensive tequila Kim likes in order to celebrate the success of the plan. But then he spots the real Sandpiper judge, and sees he's wearing a rather large cast on his arm. This will screw up the plot, since the impostor judge in the photos doesn't have a cast. Kim is halfway to her interview when Jimmy gives her a call. He's distressed, but he also calmly tells Kim that it's okay — they'll pull the plug on the entire plan and try again some other time. Here is Kim's exit. Her way out. Her chance to avoid finally going down a path that will almost certainly lead to ruin. Instead, she violently turns the car around, and angrily tells Jimmy, "It happens today." Oh Kim, you were so close.
- Big fan of Caldera, who hates working with people but genuinely loves the animals he treats. Great character.
- The actor posing as the judge is Bob Odenkirk's former "Mr. Show" co-star John Ennis.
- Katie Beth Hall returns to play Young Kim again, and she once again really nails down Rhea Seehorn's mannerisms.
- Only one episode remains in this first half of the final season. So what's going to happen? I think we can assume we'll finally see what Kim and Jimmy's plan has been building toward with Howard. But I can only imagine some big, shocking twist is in store (I haven't seen the episode yet, so this is complete guesswork on my part). If so, we'll be left with a cliffhanger until July, when the show returns with its final six episodes.
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