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Episode 4 Recap, Theories, and Thoughts


I don’t know if I’m just way too into this show or what, but Better Call Saul always seems to fly by so quickly I barely have time to process anything I see. Each episode comes jam-packed with so many tidbits it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. I’ll do my best, but I must say that “Hit and Run,” the fourth episode of the sixth and final season of our beloved series, is a terrific hour of television and probably the best entry so far this year.

Right off the bat, the biggest surprise of this episode is that it’s directed by none other than Rhea Seehorn, aka Kim Wexler, making her directing debut (not counting the 2017 short film How Not to Buy a Couch). I’ve gotta say that she directs the hell out of this episode. From the overtly casual biking couple in the early moments to the foreboding final shot, everything about “Hit and Run” is perfection.

Indeed, there are a number of Vince Gilligan staples, notably stunning establishing shots, sequences filmed from within mailboxes and attached to car doors, and slow pan overs to reveal characters or items lingering just out of frame. On that last point, two key characters finally come face-to-face in this episode, and the moment feels as monumental as the moment when Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow locked eyes for the first time, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

First, let’s dive into the previous 40 or so minutes.

The episode begins with one of those patented Breaking Bad-styled cold opens that ends on an eerie note. In this case, a typical couple rides their bikes through a neighborhood on a very normal afternoon. The pair obey the rules of the road right down to their hand signals and only stop to critique the obscure paint job on their neighbor’s home — who choose bright red?

They arrive at their home and engage in normal conversation and are undeterred by the two gun-toting men camped out in their kitchen. The woman grabs some tea out of the fridge and heads into the living room where another man resides in front of an assembly of monitors. His eyes fixed on one house in particular…

On a side note, I loved the buildup to the reveal. We get shots of the couple cruising through the neighborhood before we see them via a security camera — which is connected to the monitors inside their home. Better Call Saul is in a league of its own.

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Jimmy

Make no mistake, Better Call Saul is at its best when the narrative focuses on Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim. Oh sure, Mike (Jonathan Banks), Nacho (Michael Mando) and Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) are entertaining enough, but Jimmy and Kim are the beating heart of this series — the driving force propelling the story forward. A part of me wishes the show weren’t connected to Breaking Bad and would splinter off into its own unique creation revolving around the (mostly) corrupt law firm of Saul Goodman and Kim Wexler. Seriously, these two could spend an episode making a peanut butter sandwich and still hold my attention.

Anyways, the next segment sees poor Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) spilling his soul to a therapist who I mistook for William Shatner at first glance. How weird would that have been? Howard discusses the happenings at his law firm before revealing a sad nugget: “At home, things are more or less the same. Not any worse. I guess I should be grateful for that.”

Save your tears because, whether warranted or not, Jimmy lingers just outside the building adorned in a suit jacket and boasting blond-streaked hair and a fresh spray tan. Yup, he looks just like Howard. At least from a distance, which will do just fine. And yup, this is yet the next phase of Jimmy and Kim’s master plan to bring down poor Howard, who might as well be a cow lumbering across the path of a tornado at this point.

Jimmy uses the digital keypad obtained in last week’s episode to unlock and drive Howard’s car and is savvy enough to place a cone in his parking spot — because who moves a cone, amirite?

The next step involves picking up everyone’s favorite meth addicted prostitute, Wendy (Julia Minesci). (Is Jesse Pinkman lingers in one of the rooms in that scummy hotel first seen in Breaking Bad?) You see where this is going, right? Wendy takes her time and even attempts to purchase a root beer before Jimmy promises to buy her an entire case of soda and shoves her in the car.

Kim

We cut to Kim who busily fumbles with a cellphone at a table outside a restaurant. Cliff appears. She hides the phone. And the pair engage in business speak long enough for Jimmy to speed by in Howard’s car, slam on the brakes and toss Wendy onto the street right in front of Cliff.

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure if Cliff bought the ruse. The entire design felt a little too on-the-nose and the old guy already arrived at the lunch meeting questioning Kim’s motives. Things are moving along too perfectly for my taste. Either the plan goes swimmingly and leads Howard to do something really foolish — in effect, leaving Jimmy and Kim guilty for their actions — or Cliff sniffs them out and teams up with Howard to do something that leads to something really foolish — in effect, leaving Jimmy and Kim feeling guilty for their actions.

Up until now, I assumed Kim had dove head first into the villain pool, but this episode shows her having second thoughts. It’s far too late for that, Mrs. Goodman. Also, do we really want to see Kim reverse course at this point in her journey towards the dark side? That’d be like Walt deciding to turn himself into Hank in the early episodes of the final season of Breaking Bad.

No one wants to see Michael Corleone regret his actions. He’s more interesting as a good man spiraling out of control.

Jimmy

Once the mission is accomplished, Jimmy speeds back to Howard’s psychiatrist office only to find someone has parked their vehicle in the coned-off parking spot. (“What kind of asshole moves a cone,” Jimmy shouts whilst disguised as Howard. It’s fair to wonder if Jimmy even processes the notions of right and wrong at this point.) Thinking quickly, Jimmy noses his vehicle car onto the no-parking zone, wrestles the “Patient’s Only” sign from the ground and sticks it in the ground directly in front of Howard’s car — just as Howard exits the psychiatrists office. Phew!

The deception works. The Attorney Criminal lawyer of Hamlin Hamlin McGill never suspects a thing, gets in his car and drives away. Mission: accomplished.

Kim

Kim has a quiet moment with Wendy and even offers her services — free of charge! — should the poor woman ever run into legal trouble. Wendy seems genuinely appreciative, but notices a car pulling up across the street — the same car we saw tailing Jimmy and Kim at the end of Episode 3. Wendy assumes it’s the cops, but Kim has her suspicions aroused when she spots the vehicle tailing her…

Also, I loved the added detail of Wendy heading back to the soda machine to continue her purchase after Kim drops her off. I assume she just made a large sum of cash, but all the woman wants is a cold root beer. It’s the simple things, folks.

Jimmy and Kim

Back in their base, Jimmy recites his crazy adventure to Kim who laughs at the wicked affair as though she’s listening to a normal, run-of-the-mill, wacky office story; and not a piece of some diabolical scheme to destroy an innocent man’s life. After a beat, she tells Jimmy about the mysterious car. “Well, you know what they say,” Jimmy whispers, “‘the wicked flee when no man pursueth.’”

Kim is taken aback. “You think we’re wicked,” she asks, briefly awakening from her fantasy.

Sensing this, Jimmy explains that she’s only feeling this way because they’re getting away with everything, and not because, you know, what they’re doing is wrong.

I’m not sure what to make of this bit. Last week it seemed like Jimmy was having second thoughts about his newfound life and almost seemed afraid of the monster Kim had become. This week, she looks confused, even frightened, while Jimmy is confident as ever. Perhaps we’re meant to take this as a sign that they are enabling one another down this rabbit hole to Hell…

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Jimmy

Jimmy makes his way up the stairs of the courthouse and is surprised when the officer at the security gate — Steve-O — orders him to remove his shoes, belt, and jacket. Later, we see him unsuccessfully try to woo the Contract Counsel Administrator with a doll — I vaguely recall seeing the character, played by Nadine Marissa, in Season 1 — and get shunned by Bill following a vending machine mishap. What’s going on?! 

As it turns out, word got around that Jimmy was protecting Lalo Salamanca, which pisses off everyone — including the likes of Bill, who admits to Jimmy, “I liked you better when you were just a regular bottom feeder.” Bill may be a sleazy criminal lawyer, but there’s a difference between defending a low level punk committing minor felonies and protecting a dangerous, murdering psychopath like Lalo Salamanca.

Speaking of which, we haven’t seen Lalo for some time, but his presence is felt throughout this episode. I expect him to show up sooner rather than later, but that goes to show you how amazing Tony Dalton has been that his character can impact an episode without making an appearance.

Kim

Kim dines with another client and again spots the mysterious car. Not a coincidence. She sneaks around and catches Mike’s men chilling inside the vehicle. She demands answers and neither complies. Eventually, the pair drive off.

Try as she may, Kim does not enjoy this type of danger. I suppose there’s a difference between pulling the world’s cruelest practical joke on your former boss and dealing with members of the cartel.

Also, once again, shoutout to Seehorn for her amazing work here in front of the camera. Her performance is so great. Does this series really need to end?

Jimmy

Back with Jimmy, we see the lawyer head back to the old nail salon where an astonishing amount of new clients await his services. In direct contrast to the employees at the courthouse, the low-level criminals of Albuquerque are enamored of Jimmy’s work with Lalo and come from afar to seek his council.

Jimmy organizes his customers, drawing numbers on their hands as they wait outside. One thing’s for sure: he’s gonna need a bigger office.

Kim

After another meeting with some more clients, Kim peeks out the window in search of her followers. And then it happens: the camera pans around and we catch the unmistakable shape of Mike lingering in the background. I wasn’t even looking for the guy and I easily spotted his bald head and checkered shirt seated at the bar.

Kim asks for the check and peers outside and then we hear that legendary growl: “They’re gone.” The camera pans over and reveals the old fella hunched over a cup of coffee. At this moment, my mind raced to recall a time when these two characters shared a scene together. Surprisingly, through five seasons the pair have never made direct contact. Weird.

“Lalo Salamanca is alive,” Mike warns. “The chances he’d come here, that he’d try, that he could come here are so remote, I have trouble even saying it.”

“And yet your first instinct was to come all the way here and tell me,” Kim retorts — well, I’m paraphrasing and using my memory of Patriot Games to do so. But you get the gist.

“You’re the guy from the desert, the one who was out there with Jimmy,” Kim says, struggling to keep calm. “Why are you telling me this and not him?”

“Because I think you’re made of sterner stuff,” Mike replies.

With that, Mike tells her to let the guys in the mysterious car do their job — it’s for her protection. I assume we’ll get a bit where the two men are offed by Lalo whenever he decides to come after Jimmy (for his services, of course).

“I do know you,” Kim blurts out. “You worked in the parking booth at the courthouse. You’re the attendant.”

“I was,” he says solemnly, and we’re reminded of how much has happened since we first saw Mike chillaxing in a booth with a book as his only company. Also, what happened to his daughter-in-law? I can’t recall the last time we saw her.

Also, I”m going to make another not-so-bold prediction: Mike kills Lalo. The action ultimately places him in Gus’ good graces until Walt comes along and screws everything up.

Gus

We suddenly cut to Gus arriving at the house we saw in the cold open — the one under surveillance. I presume the cops are onto Fring’s operation, but that can’t be. In Breaking Bad, he carried favor amongst the Albuquerque police department. It wasn’t until Walt practically led Hank to Gus that things went south for the Chicken Man. So, what are we doing?

Gus heads into his home, careful to smile while on camera. He heads into his bedroom, takes off his work shirt, and reveals a bulletproof vest underneath. He also has an ankle gun. Even cooler, the man has a secret door in his basement — right next to his washer and dryer, mirroring his operation at the laundromat in Breaking Bad — that leads to… wait for it… the home of the biking couple.

Turns out, the gun-toting crew is keeping tabs on Gus under Mike’s supervision. Yeah, Lalo is freaking everyone out.

Humorously, Gus and Mike exchange words about a new employee at Los Pollos Hermanos — placed there by Mike for Gus’ protection — who doesn’t meet the owner’s lofty standards. Murdering psychopaths or not, Gus still needs to run a solid business.

Mike feels overwhelmed protecting his boss from a man the world says is dead.

“Lalo Salamanca is alive,” Gus states.

“Then where is he,” Mike asks.

This is scary.

Jimmy and Kim

In the final scene of the episode, Jimmy meets Kim at an all-too-recognizable strip mall where he will eventually set up shop. The place is filthy, too small, and cheap. We get our second toilet of the season, although this one lingers inside the empty office and isn’t made of gold.

“This place is a sh**hole, but it’s temporary until I find something better,” Jimmy says.

Since he’s still hanging out in the locale years later during his run-in with Walt, are we to assume things never get better for Saul Goodman?

The episode ends on a rather curious note. Needing food, the pair link arms en route to Taco Cabeza. Jimmy walks confidently ahead while Kim looks over her shoulder, a rather ominous look of concern sketched across her face.

Where is Vince going with this?

Odds and Ends

  • After the first few episodes, I laid out a theory: what if the Jimmy we see in all those black and white flash-forwards is running from Kim? The idea only hit me because of Kim’s behavior. The woman had quite literally broken bad and seemed to be controlling, even manipulating Jimmy — to some degree. Following “Hit and Run,” that theory seems preposterous. At least, assuming Kim is truly experiencing a last-second change of heart about her the path she’s chosen. Now, I’m back to wondering if she sticks around long enough to meet Walt…and whether she even makes it out of Better Call Saul alive.
  • Lalo is coming…but where? When? The suspense is killing me!
  • I’m excited to see how Jimmy gets that Statue of Liberty inflatable to attach to the roof of his business. Does he steal it from the Kettlemans? Does he buy one of his own?
  • Pursuing the World Wide Web, I’ve stumbled across a number of fan theories about this show… and they all seem apt. One posits that Jimmy and Kim’s plan to destroy Howard fails, which is why he’s still in the strip mall during Breaking Bad. Except, we saw his house — or, at least, we assume that was Jimmy’s house with the gold toilet — and all the lavish goodies inside. Perhaps he and Kim wisely keep their fortune on the down low, masquerading as humble street lawyers whilst enjoying the spoils of war. Either way, I’m thinking Howard bites the big one since Jimmy doesn’t appear entangled in any legal hassles in Breaking Bad, and Howard isn’t even mentioned.  Again, we only saw a snippet of Jimmy’s life outside of his dealings with Walt, but there’s only so much a man can hide. Right?