Nicole Wilder / AMC / Sony Pictures Television

Better Call Saul Copes Near Copiers

Kim steps in for Jimmy in the settling of Chuck's estate while Jimmy sells himself as a salesman in our EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP of 'Breathe.'

We begin with some very moody closeups of a hospital room by night, which are soothing right up until THE CLOSEUP OF A LIGHT GETTING SHINED RIGHT INTO AN EYE. Oh my god, I'M AWAKE! JESUS! The patient whose eye is being assaulted is, of course, Hector Salamanca, and whoever's interfering with him moves on from the eye to a check, with a gloved hand, of Hector's lower teeth, fingertips, and feet, the last of which don't respond to the instrument this consultant rolls up the Don's soles. With Victor posted up in the shadows by the door, the consultant -- who turns out to be Dr. Goodman, last seen in Season 3 -- stands out of sight as he reads Hector's chart by flashlight, snapping it off when Victor silently signals by raising two fingers at him as a couple of guys in scrubs pass in the hall. When they've gone, Dr. Goodman returns to the chart, looking from it to Hector to a figure standing in the parking lot below...


...who turns out, sometime later, to have been Gus, to whom Dr. Goodman is now reporting in Gus's SUV: "He's no longer in a coma, but he's unresponsive. His condition is stable. They're managing his blood pressure. But whether he will wake up and understand what's going on around him, there's no way of knowing." "That's unacceptable," Gus intones. Dr. Goodman insists that Hector's getting very good care; not even the best hospitals could do much more. Throwing it out like it's a science fiction-worthy impossibility, Dr. Goodman muses that things might be different if Hector were being treated at, say, a Johns Hopkins: "Or it could make no difference at all. But in the end-- In the end, I can think of no better judgment on this man." Gus slowly turns to look at Dr. Goodman, who asks, "Isn't this what he deserves?" Gus gazes back steadily: "I decide what he deserves. No one else." Thank god this takes us into the opening credits because after that bone chill I need to wrap myself up in four quilts and a parka.

Kim, sleeping with her casted arm above her head, is awakened by the buzzing of an electric gadget, and you can tell where my head is generally at compulsive-tidiness-wise that I initially think it's a vacuum cleaner -- but no, it's a juicer. Neither is okay to run when the other person in the household is SLEEPING, but at least vacuuming is helpful given Kim's injury. You can just buy juice, damn. Anyway, Jimmy's obviously been up for a while and is extremely cheery, offering Kim fresh OJ he claims will help her heal faster. Kim's not sure that's how it works and declines, but when he produces the bacon left over from his breakfast and touts its "definite healing powers," she concedes that she'd probably believe that. Jimmy also brings her a cup of coffee with cinnamon: "Just trying something different!" Kim comments that he's up early as opposed to guessing that he didn't sleep at all, which is what I suspect. He worries that his noise woke her and apologizes through her lying denial. He then tells her about the many job interviews he has lined up today, and Kim tells him he can take some time off: "Nobody's going to ding you for not having a steady job right this minute." "Nobody's" going to care if Jimmy lives or dies anymore except Kim, as we all know, but the sentiment is kind. Jimmy sighs and then replies, "Why wait. I don't want unemployment hanging over my head, and we could use another paycheque, and besides: this is your office now. I don't want to be a distraction." She says he's not, and he agrees -- because he's going to be out finding himself a job! On his way to the door, he asks whether she wants him to bring home Thai or Mexican for dinner; she leaves the choice to him. He's about to leave when she asks, "Are you-- You're not going to that meeting?" "Nah," he tells her. "If there's anything important, Howard knows how to find me." Jimmy departs, leaving Kim to her concerns, which at least she can pair with some bacon.

Over to the upholstery shop. Manuel has let himself in and is about to start his day when he sees a figure waiting for him at the back of one of the bays. "It's just me," says Nacho (in Spanish, as is their whole conversation). Manuel doesn't answer, going into an office and returning with a box of tools he starts to unload. "Dad, it's over," Nacho tells him. Manuel stops, turns around, goes into a room at the opposite end of the building, and pulls out a cash box. Nacho follows as Manuel opens the box, takes out a small stack of $50 bills, counts them out into three piles of three, and lays them on a countertop, standing aside and grimacing as he waits. "You can keep that," Nacho tells him, still hanging back. "No one's coming for it." Manuel doesn't move. There's a long beat before Nacho comes forward, gathers the stacks back into one pile, folds them, and makes for the door, putting the cash in his pocket. Manuel calls to him, stopping him just as he's about to leave: "And when is it over for you?" "I'm working on it," Nacho replies, purposefully striding out.

Jimmy's Esteem, battered but still currently functional, squeals into a covered parking lot. Weirdly, there's a store down here? Like, it's basically an underground parking lot and this glass-fronted store opens directly onto it? Whatever: they sell photocopiers (kids, ask your grandparents), and this is where Jimmy's going, for a job interview, though he doesn't exactly boost his confidence when he goes to smooth his hair with his hand and dislodges several loose strands. Nothing for it but to finish what he started and check his teeth before heading in.

While Jimmy waits for the owner, Mr. Neff, another staffer -- identified in the show's press materials as Seymour, though when Neff later comes into the scene (spoiler), he seems to be calling this guy Henry -- shows off various points of interest in Neff's office, starting with a framed photo of Neff's aunt and uncle, Alma and Ollie, who started the company in the '50s. When Henry says he thinks the third person in the photo is Frank Corker, an early repairman, Jimmy comments that the Neffs must have relied on him a lot: Jimmy's familiar with the model they're posing with and knows it required a special kind of paper. Henry is impressed that Jimmy knows copiers, and Jimmy replies that he worked in a mailroom, so he was acquainted with a lot of repairmen: "They love talking shop." Jimmy also knows about the colour copier in the next photo Henry shows him: "That's a warhorse. I mean, d'you ever see the guts of this beast? It takes fifteen seconds to get a printout. I worked with one back in Chicago." Henry chuckles that the model was almost too good: "Counterfeiters used it to make phony $5 bills."


"What?" gasps Jimmy. "That's-- That's not right." When he worked with one in Chicago, he was probably using it to make flyers to inform his fellow parishioners about choir practice! Jimmy moves over to a trophy case displaying awards won by youth bowling teams Neff used to sponsor in the '90s, but which kids don't seem that interested in now. "Yeah, this generation is all hacky sacks and videogames," Jimmy sighs early aughtsily, as he squats to look at the bottom shelf of Neff's cabinet, featuring several Hummel figurines. "Those were Alma's," says Henry, crouching down next to him to say she loved collecting them, and has since passed away. "Yeah, I knew a lady, same way," says Jimmy wistfully. Neff enters at this moment to joke that they're "touring the wall of crap," adding that he hasn't had a chance to "drag that stuff to the dumpster." Yeah, everyone knows there's nothing more dumb and worthless than things old ladies like!!!

Introductions are made, and when the gentlemen have sat, we learn Jimmy's applying to be an office-to-office sales rep, focusing on getting clients to upgrade their existing equipment. Neff says it's a lot harder than it sounds, and Jimmy humbly says he'd "love a crack at it": "I've been told stubbornness and persuasiveness are two of my top qualities." Henry reports that Jimmy "does know his way around a copier," but when Neff glances at the CV Henry's just handed him, he notes that Jimmy was an attorney until, uh, quite recently, and asks what changed. Jimmy responds with a joke: "You know why God made snakes before He made lawyers? He needed the practice." Neff and Henry crack up, Jimmy adding that it's pretty much the only lawyer joke he knows, "'cause all the others are true stories." Henry and Neff appreciate that zinger as well, and Jimmy smoothly downshifts to anticipating the next question, about his lack of sales experience (which, uhhhhhh, we know he has, even if it's not the kind he can put on a résumé). Jimmy explains that his work as a lawyer was all sales -- selling judges; selling juries; selling a client the best of two bad deals: "But every hour of every day, I was convincing, persuading -- I was selling!"


Neff looks convinced, persuaded, and sold, and he says he hears what Jimmy's saying. When he adds that they're selling high-ticket product to clients "primed to say no," Jimmy replies that his spirit animal is a Gila monster: "Once I latch on, I don't let go." Neff laughs again, and then...the interview is over? Neff says Jimmy has made some great points, and that they'll get back to him in a week or so. Jimmy thanks them and has made it halfway to the door...

...before he clenches his jaw, steels himself, and turns back around. He strides back to Neff's office for another minute. He knows they're going to consider their options, but maybe they could settle this right now. They all know about opportunity costs, and the time they spend looking at other candidates is time Jimmy could be out selling copiers for them. He acknowledges that there are salesmen who have more experience than he does, but none of those may walk into the store in the next week: "And is it worth the wait? Maybe. Maybe. But I can tell you this: none of them will have the connection to your machines that I do. None. I worked in the mailroom. I know how important the copy machine is. Deadlines! Last-minute changes! And I was in there, I was clearing paper jams, I was cleaning ink off gears and rollers trying to figure out where the mystery streaks were coming from! I was down on my hands and knees with my tie over my shoulder and ink-stained hands, and a line of assistants out the door, and they're all worried that they're going to lose their job if they don't get their document in the next five minutes. I know. I know better than anyone that the copier -- it's the beating heart of any business. It goes down, it causes delays, that is lost money, that is frustrated employees, that's a negative work environment! That's a business on life support. But you plug one of your new machines into the system? Whoo, that is a healthy, strong heartbeat, ka-CHUNK! ka-CHUNK! ka-CHUNK! That is a healthy business, ka-CHUNK! ka-CHUNK! ka-CHUNK! That is a successful business! And that's what we're selling."


Henry and Neff both look like they've just seen the face of God. Neff tells Jimmy to wait a minute, and Jimmy just hangs out ten feet away from them as Henry and Neff lean slightly toward each other to discuss this pitch. Jimmy turns away from them, at first smiling to himself in the secure knowledge that he nailed that shit, but then his face falls. He turns back around and waits while Neff and Henry continue whispering to each other for a few more seconds and then, UH DUH, offering Jimmy the job on the spot. Neff approaches with his hand out to shake. "Really?" asks Jimmy, his voice cracking a bit as he takes it. "Damn right!" enthuses Neff. Henry congratulates Jimmy and takes his turn shaking his hand. Henry mentions the various administrative tasks they'll need him to do, but that they should have him set up by the end of the day.

"So just like that, huh?" asks Jimmy, still smiling, though not with his eyes. "Why wait when we could get you rolling?" asks Neff rhetorically. "You were going to take some time, though, and consider your options, but, uh, I just come in and do that little song and dance and I'm in?" "Yeah, right, that's right," says Neff, apparently under the mistaken impression that Jimmy is trying to fluff himself. "Well, are you out of your mind?" asks Jimmy, in a tone suggesting that he's seriously concerned they literally are mentally ill. Henry and Neff kind of chuckle again, apparently thinking this is just the setup for another classic Jimmy bit. It is not! "You don't know me!" Jimmy tells them. "I just came in off the street! You guys are like a couple of cats -- I come in, wave a shiny object around, you're like, 'I want that!'" Neff laughs again, uneasily, but Jimmy continues: "No due diligence? No background check? No, just hire the guy that says them fancy words?" I mean, in fairness, that is what all sales pretty much boils down to. "I could be a serial killer!" Jimmy bellows. "I could be a guy who pees in your coffee pot! I could be both!" Hey man, you're going to be on the road! What do they care? "So you're...not taking the job?" Henry checks. "No, I'm not taking the job," sputters Jimmy. "Suckers." He turns around, grabs his briefcase, and stalks out, adding as a parting shot, "I feel sorry for you." I mean, I kind of feel sorry for them. And for all copier stores, if they're supposed to be doing background checks on everyone they consider hiring. The margins have got to be paper-thin (geddit) on these machines and on top of that you start from the assumption that every sales rep is a serial killer until a background check maybe proves otherwise?! I'd rather have a churro stand!

Anyway: Jimmy stomps out to his car and throws his briefcase onto the hood, looking back in contempt at the morons who were too credulous to see through his rap. Taking a couple of deep breaths, he pulls out his classifieds, calls a number, and asks the person who picks up if they're still hiring for a sales associate. They are! Unfortunately. ...For them. (Probably.)

Kaylee's showing Pop-Pop how high she can swing when he gets a call summoning him to a meeting that, based on his manner, is going to be annoying. He hangs up and tells Kaylee they have to go, but she begs him for five more minutes and -- Kaylee's Pop-Pop being the softest touch in all the land -- she gets it.

We're then following the camera from the embellished ceiling of a dome, down over an abstract sculpture with a ziggurat headpiece, while soothing yet tuneless woodwind music plays.


Mike pauses to contemplate the sculpture for a moment while we wait to find out what cult has called him to its temple to offer him a job, but then the camera follows him to...a reception desk, because this is just a hotel that has gone ALL IN on Upscale Southwest. The desk clerk directs Mike to the room Madrigal Electromotive is using, and Mike enters an enormous space occupied only by Lydia, who we hear telling him to take a seat before we see that she's working at the far end of an enormous conference table. Mike sits a couple of seats away, soon tires of her power play of ignoring him, and rumbles, "You didn't come all this way just for me." Lydia briskly says, "I frequently travel to conference with distributors, Albuquerque's one of many stops" like, we already knew she was a shithead before she used the word "conference" as a verb, show, but thanks. "...Okay," says Mike. Finally, she closes her computer and says she's just looking for an explanation: "You steal an employee's badge. Waltz through my warehouse. Interfere with operations. And strong-arm my facility manager. Why?" "I'm on your books as a security consultant," Mike reminds her (and whoever's just tuning in, I guess). "If I show my face in your warehouse, it makes for a better cover story. Anyone ever ask if I was there? I was. Plus you had a few things that needed correcting, so consider it a bonus." "That's not the point," snips Lydia (and you just KNOW she wants to argue with him that anything she has a hand in isn't correct already). "This is meant to be a paper transaction," she continues. "You sit at home, and we pay you. Your own money. Doing what you did, the way you did it, raises the threat of exposure." "Way I see it, it lowers the threat," Mike replies. "Like I said, now there's a face to the name that cashes the cheque." Lydia stares at him for a moment, cocks her head, and asks, "So: what's your plan, then?" "Madrigal has eight terminals in the southwest," says Mike. "One down, seven to go." "Uh huh," says Lydia. "And if I asked you to reconsider?" "I'd ask you to do the same," says Mike. The two stare each other down a few more beats before Lydia starts packing up her things, eventually adding on her way out, "At the moment, you have Gus Fring's respect. I'd want to keep that if I were you." EVERYONE WHO HAS HIS RESPECT SURELY THINKS OF NOTHING ELSE, LADY.

Back at the hospital, a Dr. Diseth is nervously checking Hector's vitals, and we soon see what's tightening his butthole: Hector's nephews are standing side by side in the corner of the room, watching every move the doctor makes. Soon an administrator knocks on the doorjamb to get Dr. Diseth's attention so she can introduce the woman with her: Dr. Maureen Bruckner, who just arrived this morning! She's visiting from (guess where, y'all) Johns Hopkins! "A generous grant came through which allowed Dr. Bruckner to lend us her expertise!" WHAT A CRAZY SERIES OF COINCIDENCES!


Dr. Bruckner, by the way, is played by Poorna Jagannathan, and the way she's styled here really highlights how young she actually is and how absurd it was for her to have been cast as Naz's mother in The Night Of -- not because she wasn't good but because she's only ten years older than Riz Ahmed. That's some Sally Field in Forrest Gump shit right there. But I digress: Dr. Diseth offers whatever help Dr. Bruckner may need, and when she says she's not there to step on toes and would be happy to co-manage Hector's care, Dr. Diseth's like, THAT'S COOL, HERE'S HIS CHART, GOODBYE LITERALLY FOREVER and gets the fuck out as fast as he can, offering a somewhat loaded "Good luck" as he goes. The administrator also leaves her to it, and Dr. Bruckner starts taking a quick scan of the chart, asking Marco and Leonel if they're family. When they don't answer, she assumes it's due to a language barrier, and asks again in Spanish, which she uses for the rest of the scene. Her fluency seems to impress Marco, who takes a step forward as he confirms that Hector's their uncle. Dr. Bruckner starts by assuring them that Hector's been receiving excellent care, but that they're going to try something different. Their job is to teach Hector's brain to rewire itself, starting with his legs.

Dr. Bruckner's presentation is interrupted, for us, as we cut back out to the hall, where Nacho and Arturo are quickly making their way to the room. "When did they get here?" asks Nacho, of Leonel and Marco, visible through the glass. Arturo shrugs, but adds that Nacho shouldn't worry: "We're still running things."

As Arturo and Nacho enter, Dr. Bruckner greets them brightly, still in Spanish, and asks their relationship to Hector; Nacho says they're friends of the family. Dr. Bruckner resumes: she'll return with an occupational therapist and gets started on some electrical stimulus. "In the meantime," she tells them, "I'd ask that you speak to Hector." All credit to the great Michelle MacLaren, who directed this episode (and many other episodes of both this and Breaking Bad) for having the restraint not to cut from this line to Marco and Leonel who are, as we know, absolutely not going to follow this direction. Dr. Bruckner explains that, on some level, Hector can hear them: "The more you speak, the more his brain will work to respond and find pathways to connect." She promises Leonel and Marco that she and the rest of the staff will do everything they can to help Hector, and takes off to check out some of the hospital's other tough cases and probably chattier loved ones. Once she's gone, the gangsters stand awkwardly around Hector's bed for a while until Marco orders, "Speak." Nacho and Arturo look at the nephews in silent low-key shock, then at each other, then back at Hector, Arturo deliberately clearing his throat before taking a couple of steps forward and leaning in and then hesitating SOME MORE before managing to tell Hector, "Everything is good out on the street. All our men are keeping busy. Real busy." "That's right, Don Hector," Nacho quietly confirms. "We're staying on top of the count. It's all looking good." Now on a roll, Arturo takes over: "We had a problem with that shit gang over on Lomas, but we showed some muscle. Took care of it." "No one wants to mess with the Salamancas," Nacho fake-gloats. "No one." Hector continues lying there, unresponsive. Marco and Leonel look at him for a moment, then slowly swivel their heads toward Arturo and Nacho, who look back like, what? Arturo tries to change the subject off business, leaning in further and gravely telling Hector he looks good: "The doctors, they're gonna fix you up." When Arturo's stepped aside, Nacho takes his place: "Yes. You're gonna get past this and be stronger than ever."


As usual, even as Nacho's mostly keeping his cool, his nostrils betray him.

Gus is in the Pollos Hermanos parking lot fastidiously sweeping up litter when Lydia calls him from an elegant rooftop bar, the shot confirming what we already knew: that the stilettos she was also wearing for her conversation with Mike are ABSOLUTELY Louboutins.


Anyway, since she didn't get her way with Mike, Lydia's going over his head and whining about him to Gus, who kind of sets a tone for the conversation by telling her when she asks to meet in person that it's not a good time. Lydia recaps her meeting with Mike, and since she makes her irritation very audible in her voice, she is flummoxed that Gus's response is a mild "I understand." "But what he's doing makes no sense," Lydia snits. "Do his reasons matter?" asks Gus serenely. Lydia says they do if Mike's unreliable, and Gus confidently states that he is reliable. "So I'm just supposed to let him keep stealing my employees' badges," Lydia pouts. Hey man, maybe hire employees who are smart enough not to let him. (Just kidding, no one is smarter than Mike.) Gus glances over to see Tyrus pulling into the parking lot as Lydia continues bitching about how disruptive Mike is, ending on "This isn't something I want to spend my time worrying about." "Then I suggest you give the man a badge," says Gus curtly, hanging up. Sweet Gus. I am so sorry not every manager is as naturally gifted as you.

Inside, Tyrus reports on Hector's various visitors, and that there's been no change in his condition. From a manila envelope, Gus pulls out and flips through a sheaf of print-outs from Hector's chart. Tyrus asks whether Gus wants him back at the hospital. "No," says Gus thoughtfully. "Call Victor. Have him meet us."

A cab pulls up in front of HHM, and Kim -- looking as smart and put-together as she can with the sling on her arm and the cuts on her face -- strides in, pausing for a moment at the reception desk's elegant memorial to Chuck.


That photographer must have known him pretty well to capture his bastard essence.

Upstairs, Rebecca is wrapping up the paperwork involved with the settlement of Chuck's estate, which -- Chuck being Chuck -- involves not just a notary but fingerprints. She small-talks that she didn't expect so much paperwork, and Howard tightly smiles that, having worked with Chuck as long as he did, he was "pleasantly surprised at his restraint." Soon Kim knocks on the door to ask if she's late, but Howard says she's right on time. Kim greets Rebecca guardedly, but Rebecca warmly says it's nice to see her again, and adds that she's sorry they didn't get a chance to talk more at Chuck's service. "I don't think anyone felt much like talking," says Kim. "Jimmy's not coming," Howard guesses, and Kim says she's there on his behalf. Howard apologizes for reuniting them all so soon after Chuck's memorial, and Rebecca breaks in to say it's her fault, and that Howard's being polite. Kim lets that one go without comment, though the way she's chewing her lips is fairly expressive. Howard says they thought they should talk through the estate in person while Rebecca was still in town. No surprise, Chuck left the house to Rebecca, which Howard, in his role as executor, will be liquidating. "Howard suggested -- and of course I agree -- that it would be the right thing for Jimmy to go through whatever survived and take what he wants," says Rebecca. "I mean, anything with sentimental value." Howard adds that the estate can provide a truck and storage, and after gazing stonily at Rebecca and Howard in turn, Kim grits, "That's okay. Jimmy doesn't want any of it." Howard -- whose specialty, I'm guessing, is not estate law, given the moronic way he is behaving -- asks if she's sure, since the garage is pretty much intact, like, what do you think Jimmy wants, Chuck's MANUAL lawnmower? You know that motherfucker didn't have a beer fridge! Kim firmly repeats, "He doesn't want it. Thank you."


At Kim's Kimface, Howard finally drops it, stepping over to his desk to retrieve some paperwork for Kim to pass on to Jimmy: an agreement letter he needs to sign, at which point they can disburse his share of the estate. Kim nods: "Let me guess. Four thousand?" Howard clenches his jaw before whispering, "Five." Rebecca looks stunned that Kim's guess was so close, so Kim -- starting to raise her voice a little -- explains, "It's what you give when you want to cut someone out of a will but not have it contested. Just enough money to show the recipient wasn't forgotten." Rather than engage that remark, Howard says Chuck also left an endowment for a scholarship; Howard hoped Jimmy might serve on the board. Rebecca smiles encouragingly at what she is clearly hoping Kim and Jimmy will both regard as a generous gesture, but guess what? Kim's not feeling it. She takes a visible, furious breath before swallowing and telling Howard, "I'll let him know. What else?" Howard seems reluctant to get to it, and doesn't meet Kim's eye as he says that Chuck left Jimmy "a personal letter. His eyes only." Kim takes the envelope, glares at it, clenches her teeth, and nods. The silence is broken when Rebecca -- wisely looking to get the hell out of there before Kim tries to scratch Howard's eyes out, misses, and tears off Rebecca's lip -- thanks Howard, saying she knows this work has been difficult. "It's hard on all of us," says Howard Howardly, before gesturing to both women as he says, "Well, I don't want to keep you. Let me walk you out." "Actually, Howard, we have a few more things to discuss," says Kim. Rebecca is not going to let her escape window close, and stays by the door as she asks Kim to give Jimmy her best. Kim gently says she will, adding sincerely, "It was very nice seeing you, Rebecca." "You too," says Rebecca, looking anxious about what's about to happen yet helpless to stop it in a way that's very endearingly Cusackian.

And, of course, as soon as Rebecca has exited the room, it's time to read Howard FOR FILTH. There's a couple of false starts before Kim says, "I just had to know: what were you thinking?" Howard doesn't know what she means. "What were you thinking when you came to Jimmy on the day of his brother's funeral and laid that shit on him?" Kim elaborates. "That Chuck killed himself? What's wrong with you?" Patrick Fabian is so, so, SO good playing this absolute shithead with an unshakeable belief in his own rectitude.


This body language is amazing: Howard is so shocked to get called out for his irredeemable dick move that he is frozen like a T.J. Maxx mannequin, like if he can just occupy space the way an Important Man does, it'll negate the challenge to his importance. It reminds me of a couple of mid-Season 2 episodes that made sure to show us how consciously Howard physically styles himself in his professional life -- but since he usually isn't getting reamed out by people who used to report to him, he doesn't know what pose he should lock into here. I don't think there's any guile in his answer and that it is what he truly believes, even though there's a false start for him, too, before he gets it out: "I thought I owed it to Jimmy to tell him." "'Owed it to him,'" Kim repeats -- and when she picks up from there, each question she asks builds on the one before, as if she is very carefully if VERY ANGRILY demolishing Howard as a witness in his own defense. "Did you owe it to Rebecca?" Kim asks. "You tell her your theory? That Chuck intentionally set himself on fire?!" Howard is silent. "I guess not," snips Kim. "I guess you just saved that one for Jimmy." Howard claims he didn't do it to hurt Jimmy, and Kim shoots back, "No, you did it to make yourself feel better!" As he tries to interrupt and contradict her, she barrels ahead: "To make yourself FEEL better by unloading your guilt. Who cares what it does to Jimmy, right? As long as Howard Hamlin is okay." "Kim, I don't think that's fair," blusters Howard. "'Fair'?" screams Kim. "Let's talk about fair. 'Hey, let's let Jimmy dig around the fire-damaged wreck where his brother died screaming, and then let's let him pick up a keepsake or two.' That is so, so fair. Did I hear you right? You want him to serve on the board of a scholarship committee? A scholarship that Chuck never in a million years would have given to Jimmy -- never. It is just-- I mean, oh, what's this, too?" she asks, suddenly remembering the letter Chuck left Jimmy. "Huh, Howard? What's in this? One last 'screw you, little brother' from beyond the grave? Am I really supposed to do this to him?" "All right, Kim," says Howard hoarsely. "What can I do to make it better?" Kim glares at him a moment before giving him the answer no straight white man wants to hear: "Nothing. There is nothing you can do. Just stay away." Jeeeeeesus christ, if this is where they are starting Kim this season, I am actually terrified to see where she ends up.

Back home and back in her comfy clothes, Kim is filing papers when Jimmy returns with Thai takeout. His back is to her as he unpacks the dishes at the kitchen counter, and she looks from the envelope in her hands to Jimmy, who's cheerfully telling her one of the classic movie channels is about to air White Heat without interruption, whereas another is presenting Jaws 3, with commercials. Though they could use the money, if Jimmy would even take it, Kim decides that the benefits of receiving a $5000 cheque are less than the pain that Chuck's letter would cause -- not to mention that she took it upon herself to go to the meeting in his stead and didn't tell him -- so Kim slides the estate paperwork into one of her files before Jimmy turns around, and corrects him that "it is Jaws 3D, to be exact," but she'd rather watch Jimmy Cagney anyway. She asks how the job search went, and he tells her he got a couple of leads, and an offer: "But, uh, it didn't feel quite right....It just wasn't a perfect fit. But I think I might get a call back on one or two of the others." Kim chuckles that it was a pretty good first day: "You know somebody's going to be lucky to get you." Rather than answer that, Jimmy asks how her day was, and she also declines to tell the full story, saying she mostly stayed there: Paige and Kevin at Mesa Verde aren't pressuring her, but she has to get back to work soon. The movie's about to start, so Jimmy turns on the TV, freeing each of them not to talk more (about less) to the other. Jimmy looks guiltily at Kim, but she smiles fondly back, leaning forward to kiss him and then continue to advance on him until he's lying back on the couch and she's on top of him and the camera has to switch to a long shot in which they are blurry in the background while their fish, in the foreground, burbles by. Perv.

Later, Jimmy's spooning Kim in bed when he slides his arm off, and rolls onto his back.

Next, the fish is watching -- and judging -- as Jimmy goes online to research Hummel figurines: one he recognized in Neff's office is on (fake) eBay for almost $9000. Out of curiosity -- or should I say CURIO-sity (I shouldn't) -- I just Googled, and apparently this guy is running more like $30 these days, though it's also unclear to me whether there's a difference between M.I. Hummel figurines (which the listing in this episode says it is) and a Goebel Hummel figurine (which is maybe accessibly priced like when a designer does a line for Target?). I don't know, but just in case start stealing that shit from your nana, I guess. Jimmy's wise enough to get in on this before the market falls out and steps onto the front stoop to call Mike and tell him he's got a job he thinks Mike will really like. I guess he's confident Mike doesn't have a sexagenarian girlfriend he wants to impress with extravagant yet very wholesome gifts.

By night, Nacho and Arturo pull up to the Pollos Hermanos warehouse. "We're taking six tonight," says Arturo as they head for the door. "...What?" asks Nacho. "Six kis," says Arturo. "It's what the boss would want." He asks if Nacho's going to back him up. Verrrrrry reluctantly, Nacho says he will.

Inside, amid the salsa and ketchup, Victor and Tyrus stand behind a table, where they've laid out five kilos. Arturo shows off his counting skills to point out the discrepancy between what he expected and what's been offered. "That was a one-time-only," says Victor. "Salamancas get six," Arturo states. "We're not leaving without six." "Your boss isn't giving orders," says Victor. "He can barely even open his eyes." Yikes! I mean, true, but still, you didn't have to tell it like it is! Arturo says he's giving the orders. "Take the five or leave with nothing," says Tyrus.


Nacho's nostrils are NOT happy. There's a lot of staring until Nacho, of all people, takes his gun out and cocks it, asking, "Do you wanna go?" Victor tells him to put it away. "Do you really want to do this?" asks Nacho. Stare. Stare. Stare. The camera stops on Tyrus, who finally blinks both literally and metaphorically, and nods at Victor, who then goes and retrieves a sixth kilo, though he does NOT look happy about it, tossing it onto the table with enough force that it almost slides off the opposite side. Nacho puts his gun away. "Yeah, that's what I thought," says Arturo, really excessively cocky considering the little he did to make this happen. He takes the empty gym bag out of Nacho's hand and starts filling it while Nacho quivers his nostrils and clenches his chin.

Outside, Arturo is making the mistake of not waiting at least until you get into the car before you start gloating about what a badass you are, and sure enough, he is immediately set upon by GUS HIMSELF. Nacho sees what's happening before Arturo does, but is too slow to stop it as Gus puts a plastic bag over Arturo's head, smashes his skull into a car hood or dumpster (guys, it's so dark), and wrestles him to the ground, zip-tying both the bag around Arturo's neck and his wrists behind his back; at the same time, Tyrus holds a gun on Nacho and makes him watch as Arturo writhes, Victor pulling him around by his feet so that Nacho has a better view of his face -- in theory, at least; the bag is fogging up pretty fast. Arturo, Gus, and Nacho form a triangle -- Arturo on the ground, Gus standing, facing Nacho, and Nacho watching Arturo -- as Gus tells Nacho, "I know what you've done." Nacho looks terrified, but not surprised. Gus goes on: "The Salamancas -- they do not. Do you understand what I'm saying?" Nacho tenses every muscle in his face before closing his eyes in defeat and nodding. Nacho watches as Arturo struggles to get out his very last breaths, until Gus tells Nacho, "Look at me." Nacho does. "From now on," says Gus, "you are mine." I mean, I'm sorry Arturo had to die -- which he does, presently -- but there's no way Nacho can't call this a win. ...Oh, there probably is? Because Nacho doesn't make it to Breaking Bad? Well, I GUESS WE'LL SEE.

Also Available As Part Of The Epic Old-School Recaps Podcast

Almost all readers liked this episode
What did you think?