Better Call Saul: Season two, episode five: Rebecca

bribeI really liked the way this episode kept confounding my expectations, and how cleverly the second series as a whole is challenging our perception of the characters introduced in the first (or earlier). Jimmy’s pretty much testing everyone’s patience now.

I asserted previously back at the start of the series that Jimmy McGill is no Walter White, but Kim had me doubting that assessment when she said: “Don’t insult my intelligence by saying you are doing any of this for me”. However, the difference here is that Jimmy isn’t using Kim as an excuse for wrongdoing – if anything, he wants to use her as an excuse to back out of this whole corporate law gig.

The flashback to Chuck’s better days – in an electricity-powered home with a talented violinist wife – continued to flesh out the context for his villainous behaviour in series one. It’s tempting to interpret Rebecca’s small acting of ganging-up with Jimmy to mock Chuck’s profession as a clue to the couple’s split, but I wasn’t quite convinced by it. I’m assuming he missed their wedding due to being in jail?

I enjoyed the increased role for “goddamn pixie ninja” Erin, the second-year associate assigned to babysit Jimmy and stop him doing things like openly bribing court clerks. I liked that she took the task of advising him about the spacing of documents equally seriously. House styles matter (even if two spaces after a full stop is stupid).

Meanwhile, Kim’s trying to work her way back out in the implausibly dungeon-like document review basement. Being Kim, she sets about doing this by the rules, calling up everyone she’s ever exchanged pleasantries with at a mixer. Kim’s a grafter – she doesn’t have the Ivy League pedigree or family connections that matter in her chosen profession, so she does her networking the hard way. The graft eventually pays off, but is it enough? Of course not. Because she knows as well as Jimmy that this game is rigged.

Notes

Poor Mike (and bravo to the show’s make-up artists). “First rule of Fight Club, right?” quips Jimmy, clearly overflowing with concern

I loved the couple of beats before the celebratory dance we all knew was coming

I’m not sure what to make of Chuck’s story about Jimmy stealing from their father. Is it true? It’s plausible, but it’s also plausible that he wants to warn Kim off  and reckons this will do the trick.

It was thrilling to see Tuco’s uncle at the height of his powers, trying to make Mike an offer he can’t refuse.

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