Better Call Saul episode 109 recap — Pimento


With just a week to go until the Better Call Saul Season 1 finale, we open with Chuck and Jimmy sitting side by side on a park bench near Chuck’s house on a lovely, sunny day. Chuck is zeroed in on the power lines overhead, but Jimmy tells him to kick off his shoes and feel the grass between his toes. Remember what it feels like to enjoy the great outdoors. Chuck does as he’s told, then changes the subject back to the Sandpiper Crossing case.

better-call-saul-chuckChuck tells Jimmy they must stay on their toes, because Schweikert is sure to file a restraining order soon. Civil harassment. He’s surprised it hasn’t happened already.

Cut to Stacey’s yard where those of us fearing for the fate of the shelter dog from Mike’s trip back to the vet last week felt much, much better. Mike has gifted Kaylee with the pooch and Stacey agrees to keep the shaggy girl. They’re watching the pair play when Mike’s phone rings and he excuses himself to take the call. Job opportunity, he tells his daughter-in-law when he returns to the yard.

Sure enough, Jimmy and Schweikert square off in court over the civil harassment situation. Jimmy can meet with his clients, says his rival — just not on Sandpiper Crossing turf. The judge dismisses the request, but it turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg. While Jimmy was wasting time before the judge, boxes and boxes of paperwork were delivered to Chuck’s doorstep — enough to keep them busy for months.

Adopting his patented Mr. Rogers, Jimmy-whisperer tone, Chuck suggests that maybe a case of this magnitude is more than they can handle. Maybe they should refer it to …

Don’t say it, says Jimmy. HHM already got the Kettlemans — and the glory — courtesy of Jimmy’s hard work. They’re not getting this one too. “We’ll Erin Brockovich the shit out of it,” he tells Chuck. Chuck tells him that Erin had big-league help, too. Besides, the Sandpiper folks might not even have as long as the paperwork alone will take, so think of them, won’t he?

Jimmy stares. “Hail, Satan,” he says finally. “I submit to the dark side.”

Chuck chuckles paternally and looks pleased. Until Jimmy says he hopes his HHM office is right next to Chuck’s.

Later that night, as Jimmy sleeps, Chuck dons his space blanket and an oven mitt and heads out to the mailbox. Fishing out Jimmy’s phone, he punches in a number. “No,” he says when the party he is calling picks up. “It’s me.”

Oh oh.

better-call-saul-mikeCut to Mike waiting patiently in an empty parking garage, his lunch in a neatly pleated brown bag on the curb. Soon he is joined by his coworkers: a mountain of a man with a bald pate and a scraggly beard, and a twitchy stringbean with a feral face and fatigues. The big guy’s the quiet type, but the other one runs his mouth like a faucet.

They’re all on a “civilian protection” gig. Dangerous, Stringbean says, because “dealing with some of these ethnic types, blood tends to run a little hotter. That’s just science.”

Speaking of heat, what kind is everyone packing, he wants to know. He’s got three pieces on him, and that’s just the ones he’ll tell them about. The other guy is carrying, too. Mike has his sandwich. Pimento. The caviar of cheeses. And that is it. Doesn’t think he’ll need a gun.

And here comes the civilian they’ll be protecting … in a minivan with wood-paneled sides. Turns out he’s about as ethnic as Wonderbread in his glasses, pleated khakis and dad tennies, but he is organized to a fault. It’s a three-man job. $500 apiece if it’s a success.

Stringbean has other ideas. Uncle Fester here, he says, pointing to Mike, isn’t even packing. $725 for him and Mountain Man and they leave Mike in the garage to eat his pimento sandwich. Mike says if he needs a gun, he’ll just take one of Stringbean’s.

Try it, says Stringbean, holding out the gun. I’ll make it easy. Don’t make it easy, says Mike. Stringbean points the gun at his head. In an instant, Mike takes the guy’s weapon and lays him out with a throat-shot. He removes all the guy’s other weapons, throws them in the trash, then turns to see where Mountain Man is on all of this. Mountain Man is out the door

Let’s roll, Mike tells his dubious client.

Time for the Brothers McGill to meet with HHM. Jimmy has rejiggered Chuck’s suit with a space blanket lining and asks him if they should agree on a safe word, just in case.“How about, ‘Get me the hell out of here,’” quips Chuck, resplendent in his Hamlindigo shirt.

No need for a safe word. HHM has rolled out the red carpet for Chuck’s return, sequestering all cell phones and shutting off the electricity right down to the security system. Two floors of staff line up to applaud.

Chuck hugs Howard and the pair head off chummily. Kim helps Jimmy with his boxes.

better-call-saul-howardSurrounded by the literally silent partners in the now-familiar HHM board room, Howard tells Jimmy they’re thrilled with the case and will give him 20-percent of the common-fund share. But, since that will take years and they’re ethically opposed to referral fees, how about a $20K of-counsel fee for Jimmy’s work thus far? Chuck nods approvingly. Jimmy is agreeable to that, too. Well, that and the office next to Chuck’s while they bang this multi-million dollar bad boy out.

Howard excuses the team. Kim shoots Jimmy a nervous look on the way out. Here’s the thing, says Howard. HHM wants the case. Just the case. If you get Howard’s drift.

Stung, Jimmy tells Howard he can go to hell. He’ll burn every file before he hands the case over to him. Howard calls Jimmy’s bluff.

“What the hell just happened?” says Jimmy to Chuck afterward. Chuck squirms.

Later, Kim comes to Howard to pleads Jimmy’s case. He’s her friend and a good lawyer and Howard treated him unfairly. Why? None of her business, says an irate Howard. Kim stands her ground. Howard loses his cool and dismisses her, then calls her back and asks her to shut the door.

Meanwhile, Mike and his man are waiting at an abandoned plant outside of town. Turns out the guy — like the vet who sent Mike his way — is in the medical field, too, and about to make a side deal. He’s a little nervous about how this is supposed to go down.

“Take the money, count it and if it’s all there, hand over the pills,” Mike says patiently. “Easy peasy.”

better-call-saul-nachoA familiar van pulls into view. It’s Nacho and two comrades. While the extra-curricular pharmacist counts the cash, per Mike’s instruction, Mike and Nacho have a stare down. Turns out the envelope is twenty bucks shy of the agreed upon price.

You’re going to quibble over that, Nacho complains. Agreed upon price or no deal, says Mike. Nacho pulls out a wad of bills, peels off a twenty and lets it flutter, the pill peddler scrambling after it. The drugs are handed over and Nacho and his cohorts drive away, no guns drawn, no drama for their effort.

As Mike’s client hands him his $1,500, he asks how Mike knew that he wouldn’t need a gun. You got a deal, Mike tells him, because Mike did his homework. This is side deal for Nacho, too, and if his crew finds out, he’s toast. The faster the deal is done, the better for all involved.

“The lesson is: If you’re gonna be a criminal, do your homework.,” Mike counsels.

“I’m not a bad guy,” the pill-peddler protests. Mike never said he was a bad guy. Just a criminal. The guy wants to know the difference.

“I’ve known good criminals and bad cops, bad priests and honorable thieves,” says his wise companion. “You can be on one side of the law or the other, but if you make a deal with somebody, you keep your word. You took something that wasn’t yours and sold it for a profit. You’re now a criminal, like it or not. Good one or bad one, it’s up to you.

But he’s pretty sure Nacho is a safe and reliable pipeline for some extracurricular cash if they play their cards right.

better call saul kimMeanwhile, Kim is waiting for Jimmy when he pulls up to the nail salon after his rough day. Jimmy says she is welcome to party in Jimmyland if she agrees to “listen to me rant about what an unwashed asshole your boss is. … he hates me that much? I hate him, more. Whatcha drinkin’?”

Looking stricken, Kim tells Jimmy to take HHM’s deal. It’s enough for him to get a nice office, build a nice practice, become his own guy and forget HHM and all that it stands for. All of the reward and none of the risk, she smiles weakly.

Jimmy is dumbfounded. And wounded. What is with her loyalty to Howard? “Take the deal, Jimmy,” Kim says, her eyes teary and pleading as she heads for the door.

Plugging in his cell phone, Jimmy picks up the landline and prepares to dial. Then he sees the message light blinking on his phone.

Back at Chuck’s, the elder McGill is whistling a happy tune and preparing to do some non-electric ironing of his dress shirts when he realizes he is not alone. How long has Jimmy been sitting there? A while. But he has a fine idea: Chuck could let Howard know how much he believes in Jimmy and how serious he is about them working together by threatening to quit HHM. Because he is serious, right? Right, Chuck?

Chuck is silent.
You called him,” Jimmy blurts. “You called Howard.”
Chuck is stunned.

Jimmy tells his brother that he was so mystified about how his phone ran out of juice when he was sure he turned it off  that he called the phone company to find out if anyone used it after he got to Chuck’s. Someone did. At 2 am. And then deleted the call.

“Why’d you do it, Chuck?” Jimmy says.

So much for mild-mannered Chuck. “You’re not a real lawyer,” he seethes, calling out Jimmy’s degree. “I worked my ass off to get where I am. You take these shortcuts and you think you’re my peer?”

The law is sacred and you don’t just slide into it like a cheap pair of slippers, Chuck adds. Jimmy is merely Slippin’ Jimmy and Slippin’ Jimmy, he can handle. Slippin’ Jimmy with a law degree? “Like a chimp with a machine gun.” And, he insists, Jimmy knows he’s right.

In other words, Jimmy is good enough to fetch Chuck’s mail and his household needs, but unworthy of his profession. And Howard is not the most unwashed asshole of all.

Ouch. The worst kind out of ouch. The family kind.

Jimmy composes himself as best he can, then tells his brother there are three days worth of supplies and ice here for him. After that, he’s on his own.

And so is Jimmy, no doubt eager to shed the McGill name and show the world what he’s made of.

The Better Call Saul Season 1 finale airs Monday, April 6 at 9pm on AMC.

Photos: AMC

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