Previously on Better Call Saul, “Off Brand”
Life hasn’t gotten any better for Jimmy since he and Chuck parted ways. In fact, he’s at his absolute lowest. Unable to built up clientele for his newest venture, community service is the pits, the bills are piling up and worst of all, Jimmy feels he’s becoming a disappointment in the eyes of Kim. The stress of it all is evident for the entirety of “Expenses” as Jimmy goes through his own twisted version of the Seven Stages of Grief, realizing that Charles has indirectly stilted Jimmy’s options now that he can’t practice law for a year.
With no Charles or Gus in sight, Bob Odenkirk does most of the heavy lifting this episode and provides viewers the darkest glimpse into Jimmy’s psyche yet. Between the consistent failures of Saul Goodman Productions, the humiliation of picking up garbage underneath the highway, and relying on Kim to keep their offices afloat, Jimmy gets creepily vindictive during his night out with Kim, suggesting increasingly violent cons for each mark within their view. This, along with James’ complete dismissal of his brother’s well-being, have affected Kim to the point that she partly regrets sticking by Jimmy and representing him at his hearing.
Dejected and desperate for the slightest turnaround, Jimmy finally set up an appointment with his insurance rep hoping his pleads would make him the sole exception for receiving a refund. As we all know, insurance companies will never ever give back monies unless legally enforced. Still, Jimmy tried his damndest and for a split second, appeared genuinely distraught when explaining the last six months of his life to an unprepared Doreen Valco (Jean Villepique). It wasn’t long before we knew this was yet another con by Jimmy, who “accidentally” revealed his brother’s condition and subsequent breakdown at the proceedings. Naturally, Valco took the bait and will cause a massive speed bump in Charles’ road to recovery.
When Jimmy is petty, he’ll throw everything at you including the kitchen sink… even if it only gives him ten seconds of satisfaction.
Elsewhere, Mike continues to juggle family life and work and has been successful thus far. His relationships with Stacey and Kaylee couldn’t be better, even though Mike’s association with Gus Fring is becoming a demanding venture. To make matters more complicated, Mike may have acquainted himself with a welcome distraction that could shake up his painfully solitary life.
Ehrmantraut’s rough edges continued to be smoothed out this week as he finally became a participant in Stacey’s support group. Dipping into the cache he’s accumulated from working with Gus, Ehrmantraut buys supplies to complete a project at the church that hold Stacey’s support group. Mike’s charity and humble nature catches the interest of Anita (Tamara Tunie), an equally forthright member who, like Mike, doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. Physical attraction aside (you know Mike liked what he saw), Ehrmantraut almost instantly recognized a kindred spirit. It’s been apparent for some time that Mike wears his heart on his sleeve but kept it well concealed from his partners and his son for decades. The same can be felt from Anita in spite of the later being a new addition to the story line.
Ehrmantraut has slowly allowed his guard to come down in the meetings; he hasn’t said anything about his late son yet but his inquisitiveness is welcome by the group’s leader Anita. Mike immediately took to Anita’s earnest rehashing of the time she finally accepted her husband’s passing. After a personal discussion that gave Ehrmantraut further insight (Anita’s hubby’s “death” sounded awfully dubious when they spoke in private, fyi)
Regrettably, Mike’s happy moment went up in smoke when he saw the dopey, bespectacled, achingly puerile face of Daniel Wormald (Mark Proksch) hanging out near his booth. The “master criminal” is seeking Mike’s service once more because Nacho promised to pay Daniel 20 grand if he could acquired empty capsules identical to those prescribed for Hector Salamanca. Naturally, Ehrmantraut wanted nothing to do with the baseball-obsessed dolt, yet Varga’s odd request sounded too good to pass up.
A season ago, Mike likely wouldn’t have given Nacho such thorough advice but times have changed and so has he. Ehrmantraut can appreciate Ignacio’s determination to permanently remove Hector from the equation however his death would only create far more death and mayhem than anticipated. Taking a page out of Fring’s book, Mike recommends a more subtle gameplan that may not eliminate Salamanca outright, but perhaps cripple him and the operation before any civilians are in his crosshairs.
Better Call Saul S3E7
Better Call Saul – S3E7 – Expenses | Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando, Michael McKean, Giancarlo Esposito | Writer and Director: Thomas Schnauz