Better Call Saul, Season 1, Episode 8 (RICO).
This episode finally showed us Chuck McGill – not the electromagnetic sensitive Chuck – but Chuck McGill of Hamlin, Hamlin McGill. Even as the episode started we see Jimmy delivering the mail around the office and entering Chuck McGill’s office revealing the good news. The opening alone was a signifier that we would see Chuck in his prime again, not just in a flashback but actually during the present storyline. Not only do we see Chuck integrate himself with Jimmy’s latest case, but we actually see him unknowingly exit the house (as though it was nothing out of the ordinary) – and once realising not even giving a damn.
It’s almost upsetting seeing Jimmy always being undermined by his brother. As he requests a job in the flashback, we see the uncertainty in Chuck’s reaction. As he finally dwells into a major case, Chuck takes over. As Jimmy takes leadership in the meeting with the nursing homes defendants, Chuck makes his $20 million demand. There’s an obvious sense of the effort Jimmy applies into making his career, yet Chuck has made it more about himself opposed to Jimmy. These subtle touches remain unmentioned during RICO, but it’s easy to imagine the writers calling it out later on. No matter what Jimmy does, his spotlight ends up being stolen. Even as this case appears to be making it’s ground, it’s inventible that Hamlin, Hamlin McGill will interlude Jimmy’s case due to the conflict of Chuck aiding Jimmy. It’s unfortunate, but it makes a real engaging drama!
It’s interesting how we’re already eight episodes in and yet there hasn’t been a major case which Jimmy can claim as his own. The Kettlmen’s clearly could’ve been his big break, yet his scolding looks to the television indicates the resentment of him doing “the right thing”. This is exactly how the series’ other plot thread, the elder law, comes swooping in and constructs the path possibly for the rest of the season.
Whilst there’s a clear indication of where Jimmy’s plot is taking us, Mike is left with a rather slower paced B plot. Essentially, the writers are hinting that Mike wants to help aid Stacey and Kaylee – something which of course can only be achieved by illegal means. It’s a slow burner as not much other than these hints happen within Mike’s scenes, but hopefully it’ll lead to more interesting plot developments next week.
Even so the stakes are raised in this episode. Vince Gilligan is building the season to a climatic ending, just as Breaking Bad had often done. There’s this indication that Jimmy’s case can only fall south, or that Mike reprising his illegal career will only lead to chaos, and it’s fantastic to watch unfold!
+ I just don’t understand how Jimmy can willingly take that sweet lady’s money! But at least there’s potential for Jimmy to increase her “allowance” if he wins this case!
+ “Twenty million dollars… or we’ll see you in court”.
+ I wonder how next episode will deal will Chuck’s realisation to him being outside? Will he instantly act socially normal again, or will his fears return?
– Mike’s character was practically a wasted opportunity this episode. Hopefully his illegal schemes will give him more to do.