Better Call Saul, Season 1, Episode 7 (Bingo).
“The right thing”.
Constantly the series has been enforcing this idea of a changed Jimmy – one who doesn’t go for cheap tricks and who aims to aid the legal justice system. We’re given doubts in previous episodes that Jimmy could be anything but sleazy, and even now his actions -whilst resulting in “the right thing”- still had a sleazy push.
The Kettleman family returns to our screens while trying to appear not-guilty and not having to give away the money (which they don’t have – never forget!) to ease the case. Hamlin, Hamlin McGill provides the best alternative to 30 years of jail by reducing the sentence to just 16 months, yet Jimmy rightfully notes these characters are in “Cloud Cuckooland” and remain in denial of this supposed money (there is no money – don’t forget!).
The absurd plot of the Kettleman and denying the existence of the money not only makes a very comedic set-up – but also causes the audience to question whom exactly is the better lawyer?
It was obvious from the start of Kim Wexler and Betsey Kettleman’s disagreement that Jimmy would then take come to the picture – but it left us to ponder how exactly would Jimmy evade the topic of a “deal” and instead clear the Kettleman’s ‘not-guilty’ name? The plot isn’t crafted to portray Jimmy as this amazing rule-bending lawyer who can win any case; that would be too easy. Instead Jimmy gives up what he’s been working not the past few episodes to do the “right thing”.
But what caused Jimmy to turn-over a new leaf? It could obviously be his deep admiration for Kim – he knows she’s a fantastic lawyer and he could feel partially guilty for her being demoted in Hamlin, Hamlin McGill. However the likely influential contender was seeing Chuck attempting to normalise himself and appeal to Jimmy’s wishes, so Jimmy obviously feels in the need to repay the favour.
“The right thing” could only be achieved by Jimmy acting sleazy – so he calls up on Mike to make things “square” by teaming up to discover where the money is and rightfully return it. This little ensemble is a great throwback to Breaking Bad and the majority of hijinks Walter and Jessie would find themselves in. Whilst the scenes felt ever-so-slightly longer than needed, it was an interesting set-up as we see Jimmy’s intentions unravel. In the end, not only does Jimmy return the money, but also adds his leftover “bribery” money into the mix too. Yes, “the right thing” truly was achieved, even if the legality of how the money was obtained remains in question. Unfortunately, that puts Jimmy back to square one.
The aspirational protagonist has always tried to make himself a worthy competitor of Hamlin, Hamlin McGill, and the purchasing of spacious offices would’ve been a fantastic push in the right direction. It’s easy to feel so happy for things going Jimmy’s way – but for him to give-away his cash and make him less likely to achieve his dream is heartbreaking.
Kim may have been the rightful lawyer for the job, Jimmy may have done the right thing by returning the stolen money, but in the end we see the character who deserves a morale boost put himself in the wrong direction.
+ “We don’t need to discuss it… you’re fired” If Betsey can’t get what she wants, she’ll find another way.
+ Irene loves kitties and I want to hear her say more about her adorable Siamese cats and how Oscar won’t wash himself.
+ Jimmy was absolute bad-ass during the revelation of the missing money scene. He reflects why he’s so dedicated and determined to be a lawyer is because he has “nothing to lose” and it’s an absolutely wonderful moment.