In last week’s episode the show took a delightful left turn and focused nearly entirely on side character Mike. It ended up being the best hour yet, a combination of solid acting, a taut script and really great editing and direction. The main flaw was that it was too digressive as the show is just beginning to introduce us to Jimmy McGill, tough-luck lawyer on the cusp of ascension. This week’s episode centered more on the story’s focus, and still found a lot of time for the primary supporting characters, and guess what, it was probably the worst episode yet. OK, let’s slow down and look up. My expert rating for “Bingo” is two point five outta five and that means I still think this installment was fairly good television, definitely worth it for anyone suffering from acute Heisenberg Withdraw Symptom. Yet, while it’s a smart show without heavy flaws I couldn’t imagine suggesting Better Call Saul to someone with no prior knowledge of what came before (or in the ABQ-verse, what comes after). This episode begins with a bit of runoff from the Mike-centric affair. The two cops from Philadelphia call Mike and Jimmy back into the police station to recover the notebook stolen last week. While the young detective, Ambassi (Omid Abtahi), is quite angry the older detective, Sanders (Barry Shabaka Henley), speaks to Mike privately, expressing through subtext that he understands, and perhaps even respects, the impulse murder his son’s killers. “Some rocks you don’t turn over”, Sanders says, which feels like a portent for the future of Jimmy McGill, or maybe I’m trying to build sinew where there is none, IDK. The scene switches to Chuck’s crib where Jimmy finds his bro standing outside in an attempt to build immunity to electromagnetism. Seeing his brother take steps to better himself causes Jimmy to swell with hope, and as a follow-up he slyly leaves a stack of legal documents in Chuck’s house as he knows his litigious brother won’t be able to help himself. That’s about all we get from that scene. The more I watch the more I feel that something really, really bad is going to happen to Chuck. The rest of the episode zeroes in on Jimmy and Kim, which is a much needed examination. Kim gets slightly fleshed out in this ep, and the more revealed the more I’m unimpressed. Jimmy takes Kim to a swanky office building (using the alias of Scott Hamlin, the yet unseen brother of Howard) and offers her a job as his law partner. Kim calmly, even nonchalantly, turns it down and expresses that her position at Hamlin, Hamlin and McGill presents a better opportunity. This rejection in the corner office seemingly affects Jimmy’s ego but it’s hard to tell how he feels about her as their relationship is ill-defined and unfocused. The main action of episode begins when we join a meeting with Kim and Mr. and Mrs. Kettleman regarding their accused embezzlement of 1.6 million dollars. Kim unloads the hard truth on the county treasurer and his whacked-out wife: the likelihood of winning at trail is slim to zero and it’s in Mr. Kettleman’s best interest to accept a plea deal that ensures a shorter sentence, contingent on “making the county whole” by returning the money. Mrs. Kettleman comically reiterates that there is no money and becomes so fervent about it that she seeks out Jimmy to represent them in trail. Our protagonist finds himself in a very tough position, not only are these clients blackmailing him into an impossible position but his friend/lover/crush/something-or-other, Kim, is set to receive a semi-demotion due to her loss of a major client. Jimmy makes a tough decision and sets up maybe even a more baller scheme that the billboard trick in “Hero.” Employing the ever-so-skillful Mike, the money is stolen back from the Kettlemans, and Jimmy even supplements it with some of his own to get it back to the full 1.6. He confronts the Kettlemans the next day and essentially reflects the blackmail by demanding they retain Kim as their council. At episode end Jimmy returns to the luxury office and throws a hissy fit. It’s an understated moment, given no explanation, but one that you’d expect from the show and its pedigree. Mr. McGill’s frustration is palpable, just as he was climbing himself out of a low and pitiful valley he’s sent tumbling back down the hill again. It’s an interesting move made by the writers, giving the protagonist minor victories, building his aura and coaxing success and then kicking him right in the gut, ripping money from his pockets and stalling out a potential law/love relationship with Kim. The themes are nuanced, maybe too much so, with repeated showings that Jimmy is killing his career, his success, his love life by taking the high road. It will cool to see how he responds to the new setbacks, my guess with three episodes left he might make some drastic moves to recoup that upward momentum. Reading over what I’ve written above this review feels a little heavy on the recap and light on the analysis. Ain’t my fault! The episode was dully patchwork, lacking the cohesiveness that “Five-O” demonstrated so well. There was a lot of plot cleanup (the Kettlemans) and maintenance (Chuck) but little in the way of compelling action. All in all this set the lowest bar for an otherwise good series. Better Call Saul 1.07 "Bingo"Jamil's Rating2.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (1 Vote)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.