For the Breaking Bad fans out there this episode offered a morsel of what we miss. However, the story is still unfolding and it’s exciting because we know there is so much more to learn.
To begin, Chuck sets his plan in motion by allowing Ernesto to “accidentally” overhear the tape where he recorded Jimmy admitting to the Mesa Verde address swap. Ernesto does exactly what Chuck wants him to do and runs to tell Kim. The episode starts with Chuck locking all of his doors and checking the windows. He has a man sitting at the table playing solitaire; we can only assume that he may have him there for his protection.
Poor Ernesto, who has fallen into Chuck’s diabolical plan, goes to Kim to tell her about the evidence that he overheard. This frightens Kim and she calls Jimmy into her office. She tells him to giver her a dollar so that she has lawyer-client privilege. She tells Jimmy what Ernesto told her and she says what they both know– that Chuck shouldn’t be able to use the tape in court, but he may be planning something else. Jimmy feels the weight of everything, but goes back to work. After the Jimmy takes care of the last client, he goes to finish the painting. He begins to carefully pull the painter’s tape from the wall, but as he digests the situation, it makes him so mad that he rips the rest of the tape off and angrily goes to visit Chuck.
Mike is still trying to determine who left the note on his windshield telling him not to shoot Hector Salamanca. He follows the tracker that he swapped for the one that was tracking him. Through a series of exchanges, he follows it to Los Pollos Hermanos! I think it is really appropriate that his car is parked next to a “Dead End” sign because that is exactly where his trail has led. Although his trail is cold right now, ours is warming up. As a Breaking Bad fan, it is exciting to see Los Pollos Hermanos. Mike and Jimmy both eventually have a relationship with Gus Fring, and it’s fun to see how it all starts.
Mike knows that he will be recognized if he goes into Los Pollos Hermanos to find the tracker, so he calls Jimmy to come help him. He sends him in to watch for the man with the bag. While he is there, he watches carefully. He orders food, he gets coffee and he watches the man the whole time. Poor Jimmy bumbles around trying to do his bit of private investigating, but he isn’t very stealthy and he attracts the attention of a certain Los Pollos Hermanos employer, one Gustavo Fring. He comes right from behind Jimmy, sweeping as if a regular employee. The camera keeps Jimmy in focus and Gus out of focus, until he passes Jimmy and begins sweeping the floor under the man whom Jimmy is observing. Jimmy has no reason to suspect Gus at this time and from what he sees, he doesn’t notice the tracker exchanging hands. However, we know that nothing is as it seems when at Los Pollos Hermanos. My thought is that Gus sweeps the tracker up as he passes ever so nonchalantly. Jimmy was looking for a big exchange to happen, but that is not how Gus works.
When the man gets up (still carrying the bag with him), he throws away his meal trash. Jimmy starts digging in the trash right after him. He gets himself awkwardly stuck in the can looking for the tracker and of course attracts Gus, who asks if there is anything he can help him with.Again, Jimmy has no reason to suspect Gus for anything. However, Los Pollos Hermanos is a very well oiled machine. Gus invests his time into everything he does, so m than likely, Gus already knows that Mike is on his trail. When Jimmy goes to debrief Mike, he tells him that he didn’t see anything. He wants to continue tailing and all but begs Mike to let him go with him (maybe thinking it would distract him from what is going on with Chuck). Mike tells him no and they part company. As they leave, Gus is sweeping the parking lot. As he raises his head from sweeping, he has a menacing look on his face. And we know that he knows.
Mike tries to keep a watch on Los Pollos Hermanos. As he watches through binoculars we can see that Nacho pulls up in an SUV and leaves. Since Mike has a previous relationship with Nacho, his curiosity is heightened. We end with Mike getting a phone call. He answers, “Yeah” as if he knew the caller. Is it Nacho? Is it Jimmy? Is it Gus? We don’t know.
Another Breaking Bad Easter Egg is that while Kim and Jimmy are looking for a receptionist a lady who has experience working for the DMV comes to apply. It is Francesca! She is Saul’s receptionist all through the Breaking Bad series and we can see the de-evolution of this character. Here in Better Call Saul, she is perky and upbeat and takes direction from Jimmy quickly, while in Breaking Bad her character, remains strong-tongued, yet is much less respectful in her speech to Jimmy.
She comes to see Jimmy at office while he is painting. He asks her if it looks straight, and she says it’s a little crooked. This painting serves as a metaphor for how Jimmy’s character is. Just like he can’t decide who he wants to be, he can’t decide what he wants on the back wall of his office. Here he is a little crooked, given the fact that he has been caught tampering with court documents.
Kim and Jimmy interview Francesca for the job and Jimmy asks her when she can start. This irritates Kim and they fuss about hiring her. Eventually Kim gives in. He instructs Francesca on how to talk to the elderly. “Be folksy, talk about Cracker Barrel.” She tries it on a call and she sees it works, but when someone calls insisting that he wants to speak to Jimmy, she doesn’t understand why it isn’t working. When she starts to try to pronounce his name “Ehrmantraut? Like the fish Trout?” Jimmy immediately picks up the phone and talks to Mike. This is when he sends Jimmy on mission to watch the tracker at Los Pollos Hermanos.
The last part of the episode shows how estranged Chuck and Jimmy have become. Chuck has his private investigator and has strict instructions for Howard when he wants to come talk. He is getting wary to Chuck’s plan and tells him that it is too expensive to keep a PI around the clock. Chuck ensures him that his plan will work and that more than likely Jimmy would come in to steal the tape at night, so they can limit the PI to night time. At that moment, Jimmy busts down the door and demands the tape by breaking into the desk drawers. He destroys the tape in Chuck’s face, and says, “are you happy now?!” Chuck stays firm, however. Howard then comes out and tell Jimmy “that’s enough!” Then Chuck’s pan comes out. Chuck asks Howard and the PI, “Are you a witness to this?” They both answer, “yes.”
Jimmy is still searching for who he is and what kind of lawyer he will be. He seems to be at his best, although still clumsy, when he is working with Mike. He hasn’t found himself yet, but he will.
If you haven’t seen the Los Pollos Hermanos commercial or the Employee training video yet, here they are. They’re quite the treat.