“I do all the talking. That’s the only way this works.” -Jimmy McGill
Last week I declared the episode “Five-O” as the reason Better Call Saul exists. Jonathan Banks was so captivating as Mike Ehrmantraut that I declared him the true star of the series. This week in the episode titled “Bingo”, Bob Odenkirk reminded me why the show is called Better Call Saul.
Spoilers after the jump.
Jimmy runs purely on hope. His career isn’t anything to be proud of. So he gets through each and every day with hope. Hope that the next big client comes. Hope that he can keep his act together and do everything the legitimate way.
In fact Jimmy almost has a lost 20-something-after-college kind of quality going for him. He doesn’t have the accolades to succeed. Hell he only vaguely knows what he wants to succeed in. None of that matters because he has hope and a fake-it-til-you-make-it attitude.
Here in this episode hope is a prevailing theme. It starts off with a caterpillar working its way out of its cocoon just outside of his brother’s, Chuck, house. This symbolism reveals itself immediately as we see Chuck is attempting to build an immunity to his electromagnetic allergy by stepping outside of his house for minutes at a time. Much like a caterpillar his progress is slow but it is enough to give Jimmy hope that his brother will become useful again.
That hope continues to run through Jimmy as he shows off his new office space to Kim. It is located in a beautiful office building that has corner offices and a kitchen with stainless steel. Far from the fake presidential background and cramped waiting room in Saul’s future dwelling.
Apparently on a hope high, Jimmy makes Kim a partnership offer. Kim politely declines and begins a spiral of disappointment for Jimmy.
Previously Jimmy’s biggest ray of hope came in the form of the Kettlemans. A con-artist (If you call a 3-year-old’s crayon scribbles art) couple that has stolen over a million dollars from the city. Jimmy tried desperately to represent them but they declined and deflected to HHM.
Now the Kettlemans have fired HHM after receiving a, “you’re screwed” deal from Kim Wexler. They have nowhere to turn except to Jimmy.
At this point the hope roles have reversed. The Kettlemans are desperate for any positive news from Jimmy. Jimmy doesn’t want to help these people. They dashed his hope previously and he didn’t want it to happen again. The Kettlemans use their previous bribe as blackmail and Jimmy is forced to go along.
Later he realizes there is no hope for the Kettlemans. At the same time he realizes there is no hope that he will be able to keep his bribe. He hires Mike into helping him trick the Kettlemans into giving the money back.
Jimmy then visits his, no longer future, office space. He lost his money, his office space, his partner, his chance at a giant case, and most important of all, his hope.
He takes his aggression out on the door before his phone rings. He doesn’t know who is on the other end but as he answers Jimmy can’t help but feel a glimmer of hope.