Better Call Saul Rediscovers The Lost Art Of Letter Writing
Kim's plan for Huell is revealed, and it's cramping the hell out of Jimmy's hand in our EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP of 'Coushatta.'
In what appears to be early morning light, Jimmy -- in his good old University of American Samoa sweatshirt, with a hoodie over it -- reaches into the trunk of a car and pulls out a couple of gym bags, saying he thinks he has everything, but that if he forgot something, he'll "figure it out on the way." Kim, also dressed for leisure, stands next to the car, fiddling with her keys and not quite meeting Jimmy's eye as she checks, "You're back on Thursday." "Thursday, yeah," Jimmy confirms, seeming surprised and relieved that she's addressing him at all. "Unless we break down in Amarillo," he adds with a smile she does not return, instead making a Kimface and nodding. When he comes around to where she's standing, she quickly moves to close the trunk, but Jimmy proceeds nonetheless: "Kim, I want you to know, I don't take this for granted. It means a lot." Clearly, the answer Jimmy's hoping for -- if not expecting -- is something along the lines of "Don't mention it" or "You'd do the same for me" or "It's a small thing to ask of someone who loves you"...
...but Kim just nods again, icy, and says, "I'll see you Thursday," not seeming to look forward to it very much. Jimmy sets his jaw and -- seeing that he's not going to be sent on this journey through Amarillo with so much as a handshake, never mind a kiss goodbye -- leaves her to whatever responsible adult activity she might get up to while he's not around. I'm barely either of those things so I can only guess what that might be. ...Oil change???
Kim has dropped Jimmy at the Albuquerque Transit Center, and when we see him next, he's on a bus bound for Houston, sitting in a window seat. Next to him, one of his gym bags is open and positively bristling with the spoils of Kim's "Something Stupid" shopping spree. I would have 100% understood had its purpose been to bring some artificial sense of order to her own messy life -- Ask Me About My Stack Of Coil-Bound Sketchbooks And Boxes Of Reserve Uniball Vision Pens -- but no: what Kim has in mind is evidently going to require Jimmy to write a LOT of personal correspondence. He writes postcards. He writes cards. He writes in different pens and pencils. He arranges his fingers around his various writing implements in awkward positions to disguise his handwriting. He licks envelope after envelope. He flexes his hand to try to relieve cramps. When the bus picks up more passengers at some unidentified southwest outpost, an older guy stops at Jimmy's aisle and asks if he may take the seat on which Jimmy has set up his mobile office; Jimmy says sure, and starts to gather up his stuff, but warns, "I had a pile of cheese chili fries back at Stuckey's -- with onions on top. The last guy who sat here didn't last five miles but, you know, you're welcome to it." Jimmy's fellow passenger decides to move on and minimize his methane exposure, though regardless of which seat he ends up in, he is still on a mobile interstate fart canister. We eventually see that Jimmy has switched to the opposite side of the bus for the Shreveport-bound leg, the lone passenger still awake after dark, licking envelopes under the faint light above his seat. He gulps down a 5-Hour Energy. And when a new day dawns, we see that Jimmy is just one of many bus passengers scratching away at their correspondence. What a wild coincidence that Jimmy's ended up on a conveyance with so many other practitioners of this old-fashioned pastime!!! Jynetta, a teen in messy twin buns and a butterfly necklace, comes up the aisle to hand Jimmy a pile of note cards, out of their envelopes for him to review; he compliments her choice to put hearts over all her "i"s, and pays her a sawbuck for the ten cards she wrote, offering her the chance to do some postcards for 50 cents apiece, which she cheerfully accepts. OHHHHH, it's NOT a coincidence AT ALL. Bubba pops up from behind Jimmy with a smaller stack and receives with equanimity Jimmy's fearless feedback about coming across too angry: "Make it that you're-- You're sad that you even have to write the letter. 'I couldn't believe people could be so heartless until I heard about you' -- 'kay?" Bubba's with it, taking both a Lincoln for the five notes he wrote, and another batch of blanks. Jimmy then taps Chastity, a young woman across the aisle; unfortunately, she ignored Jimmy's direction to be respectful and doesn't get paid for a card filled with swears, which he regretfully tears up in front of her. An editor's job is tough, you guys.
Finally, Jimmy disembarks the bus at his final destination and walks into the post office in Coushatta, Louisiana, 71019. He's back out less than a minute later, sitting on a bench outside, ignoring the sweet pooch who wants to be his friend, and waiting for whatever's next -- which, for us, is the opening credits, in which a tie changes from garish lavenders to garish blues while being inspected by a passing tarantula. Even the tarantula doesn't want it.
Over to El Michoacano. Having apparently exhausted his sick days, Nacho's back at work -- and, in fact, is sitting in for Hector and watching over Domingo's shoulder as he takes dealer payments. Domingo also has to take dealer excuses: this dude, Blingy, casually says he's a little short due to a "dumbass festival over at the fairground -- Indian shit," which was lousy with rent-a-cops: "We're going to make it right next time." "You're goddamn right you are," says Domingo, eyes hard. "Fo' sho'!" chirps Blingy. "Next week." Domingo snaps the elastic band around the bills, dismissing Blingy, but Nacho would still like a word, and calls Blingy back when he's halfway to the door. In a show of shocking impertinence, Blingy lightly tells Nacho he has to go, but Nacho repeats the non-request, and Blingy comes over to the side of the table, asking what's up. Nacho just stares at him for a while and then blinks pointedly, at which Blingy leans down...whereupon Nacho yanks the giant hoop earring out of his right ear -- doing him a favour, honestly, because while I gather, with such a name, he feels he has a reputation to live up to, that shit is gaudy as hell. Domingo steals a tiny peek behind him as Blingy groans as quietly as he can, and Nacho calmly pulls out a wad of napkins; when Nacho moves the dispenser over to him, Blingy respectfully pulls a bunch to clean up the mess he rudely made spilling all his blood on Nacho's table. "What you owe, you owe with interest," murmurs Nacho. Blingy nods and scurries out. Domingo's clearly fucked up about this, but since he doesn't want any of his body jewellery removed so abruptly, he manages to kiss a little ass anyway, turning around to tell Nacho, "You had to do that, man! Guy's not going to learn otherwise." "Mmhmm," Nacho agrees. "So why didn't you do it." Domingo, looking terrified, gives this performance review one quick nod and, fortunately, has another dealer coming in to distract him.
After a long day of intimidating human parasites, Nacho drives his hot rod home -- and WHAT a home! My man lives in a very stylish Brutalist bungalow. Before he enters, we see who's waiting for him: a blonde, lying on a love seat and scratching at a glass pipe; and a brunette, lounging on an adjacent couch, picking her big toenail with one hand and flipping through channels with the other. She's just landed on a home shopping channel when Nacho opens the door and they both sit up to greet him, which is when we see the enormous piece of automotive pop art over the brunette's head.
I am not so much with the art and thought it could possibly be a real Roy Lichtenstein but, uh, no, it is clip art from Shutterstock. Anyway, both these women seem to be Nacho's girlfriend based on their greetings -- one calls him "babe" and is surprised he's home so early; the other offers to make him dinner -- but he has nothing to say to either of them, instead tossing them each a little sachet of drugs, to grateful grins. The brunette asks if he's going to smoke with them, but he doesn't answer that either, and we watch through the wall of glass as he goes through the house to his bedroom, past several other large-scale paintings. I don't recognize them and there isn't exactly a Shazam for art, so I can't tell you if these are actually significant pieces, but I think the point is that Nacho has chosen to spend his money on gracious living...and on red leather furniture for his drug-enthusiast lady friends. In the bedroom, Nacho locks the door, takes off his jacket, and sets his gun and an envelope of cash on his nightstand; when he strips off his shirt and his tank top rides up, we see the gunshot wound on his side has healed up nicely. Then, just to give you an idea of the kind of living well that should, on its own, be Nacho's best revenge, he crosses through his walk-in closet to ANOTHER CLOSET containing built-in shelves he is NOT EVEN USING; and a safe, which he opens. He's putting his things away when he knocks a clear plastic envelope onto the floor, and we see it contains a phony Manitoba driver's license with his picture on it. (I knew Michael Mando was Canadian so I thought this might be a cute nod to his birthplace, but no, he was born in Quebec City.) Pensively, Nacho picks up the sleeve and pulls out both "his" own ID and one behind it, for his dad, before clenching his jaw, flaring his nostrils, and locking them away again. I'll say this for making Manitoba part of your fake backstory: no one's going to fact-check the details you come up with because nooooooobody cares.
Then we're with Ziegler's crew as they get their promised R&R at, what else, a strip club. There, Kai (who else) is the first we see enjoying the attentions of one of its curvaceous performers. While the ladies work, Ziegler is sitting at a dark bar away from the action, looking very Lutheran, or possibly just bored; Mike stands with his back to some glass bricks, surveying the scene; apparently satisfied that the crew guys aren't embarrassing themselves or him, he comes over to Ziegler and exchanges some words we can't hear over the pounding music. Ziegler gets up, and after Mike stops at a bouncer and briefly confers with him as well, Mike leads the way to the door...
...and when we see them next, Mike and Ziegler have repaired to a much quieter pub and are chatting over beers. Ziegler volunteers that his father was also an engineer: "Learned the work by doing the work. Hands like knots of a tree." Mike smiles fondly. Ziegler points to something behind the bar and tells Mike his father built it. Surprised, Mike frowns: "The Sydney Opera House." "Those concrete arches -- impossible in 1957. Six years it took to solve the problem. Six. And years more to pour correctly. To that, my father gave ten years of life." The bartender comes by to take an order from a thirtysomething mop-haired dude, whose name we'll soon learn is Terry. The bartender remembers that his first drink was a stout and asks if he wants another one, but Terry says he wants to try the "hee fee wee sin." Ziegler can't stop himself from correcting Terry's pronunciation of "Hefeweizen" (more like "HAY-feh-VIE-zen," in case you don't want to be schooled by a real-ass German the next time you try to order one), and Terry amiably apologizes for mangling it, asking Ziegler to repeat it.
Mike doesn't look thrilled that Ziegler's engaging in this potentially memorable exchange, but also can't exactly put a stop to it without making it even more memorable than it already could be for Terry, and when Ziegler pays for Terry's beer and Terry goes on his way, Mike evidently decides to let it go without comment, and Ziegler returns to the subject they were discussing before Terry interrupted: "The Opera. It's for the ages. For my father, it was his achievement: the creation that will endure." Ziegler taps the glass with his nails to put a button on the conversation and asks Mike what his "papa" did. Mike snorts, "My dad? Ohhhh, left behind a cold water flat and a stack of bills, that's about all." "Not true!" gasps Ziegler. "He also left behind you, Michael! You are his legacy." This old-man friendship is extremely endearing, which therefore also makes it extremely worrisome for me personally given the many ways it could yet go wrong. For now: Mike laughs ruefully at Ziegler's sentimental framing of the elder Ehrmantraut's legacy before asking whether Ziegler ever thought about having kids. Ziegler looks down at his hands: "Once, maybe. My Margarethe, she's enough for me. She's my heart. This is the longest I've ever been away from her. Twenty-six years, never this long away from home." "To home," says Mike, tilting his glass at Ziegler's for a clink of agreement. They both sip, and before Ziegler can ask about MIKE's fatherhood, if he was going to, the bouncer from the strip club is at the door calling for Mike, who checks to make sure Ziegler will be okay at the chill bar without him before going to investigate...
...and finding out that of course Kai could not be trusted to stay out of trouble, has been escorted outside for touching a performer during a private dance, and is belligerently trying to argue that they can't kick him out because he paid for the dance AND to stagger past the bouncers restraining him to get back inside. The lead bouncer threatens to call the cops, at which Mike steps out of the shadows, telling the bouncer he doesn't need to do that, already getting his cash out. The bouncer, reasonably, wants to know who Mike is; Mike calmly tells him, "I'm the guy who's telling you this one's had too much and I'm here to get him out of your hair." The lead bouncer asks about Kai's buddies, and after Mike gets him to admit that they're behaving themselves, he hands over a couple of bills to secure their right to continue hanging out while Mike takes "this idiot" home. Kai then starts arguing with Mike, because he may be sexy but he is not very wise. "You are done," Mike tells him firmly. Kai sort of wavers like he's considering lunging at Mike, but when Mike urges him to try it, Kai summons the last of his wits and decides against it. After one of the secondary bouncers has dragged Kai off toward Mike's car, Mike deeply sighs, apologizes to the lead bouncer, and asks after the dancer; the lead bouncer says she's fine. Mike peels off some more cash "for her trouble": "All good?" The lead bouncer says, "We're cool." HE will never be as cool as Mike, but I don't blame him for trying to put them in the same category.
At the chill bar, Ziegler evidently got bored and is now sitting with Terry and his buddy, sketching schematics on the back of a coaster as he explains -- minus salient details, naturally -- the engineering challenges inherent in his current project. When Mike returns to retrieve Ziegler, he can't quite believe the loose-lipped spectacle he became in Mike's absence, but keeps cool by merely putting a hand on Ziegler's shoulder, almost imperceptibly pocketing the coaster, and telling him, "Time to go." Ziegler -- toasty from the beer, and enjoying having an audience to lecture avuncularly -- wants Mike to join them. Mike pointedly replies, "Your wife's calling?," and Ziegler is too drunk to get it at first, marveling, "My WIFE???" "...Yeah," says Mike. Ziegler locks in then and gets up, thanking his new young friends for their "hospitility."
Outside, Mike backs out of his parking space while Ziegler and Kai sit silently, careful not to do anything to make Dad more mad at them.
As Stereolab's extremely apropos "Tempter" plays on her headphones ("Midway between happiness and sadness boiling but not overflowing / fails to only make a better come back, more powerful and poignant and falls again / Destructive lust for life erected, on the verge pricked up like a picket / fearing to respond to the tempting but malevolent call of the other side"), Kim works intensely on Huell's file; the music's up so high that she doesn't hear Jimmy until he's leaning in to her face to get her attention. When she pulls off her headphones, he tells her he's going to the nail salon to "finish setting up"; she tells him that's a good idea and that she'll see him later, trying to forestall further conversation by putting her headphones back on immediately. Jimmy makes it almost to the door before turning back to see if she wants him to bring dinner home, but Kim is pretty clearly making a point to need as little as possible from him right now, saying she'll just "scrounge" but that he should do what he wants. He hesitantly lets her dismiss him.
At the shop, Mrs. Nguyen is on her way out for the night when she hears Jimmy sighing in his office and goes in to see what's up. Jimmy's surrounded by dozens of phones, all plugged into chargers, as he says he has to be there a bit longer but that he'll lock up when he leaves, if that's okay. "Wife mad at you?" she guesses. "She's not my wife," says Jimmy hoarsely, halfway between a haughty chuckle and a sob, but then admits, "I don't know." "Yeah, she's mad at you," says Mrs. Nguyen knowingly. She sidles back out into the hall and returns with a bottle of vodka, pouring him a generous belt: "Go on." Jimmy has just taken a bracing sip when Mrs. Nguyen delivers her happy not-wife, happy life advice: "You take her to dinner. Nice place, with a waiter. Cloth napkin. You bring flowers. You say 'sorry.' Then, say 'sorry' again. Whatever she says, you say 'sorry.'" It's a sexist cliché, but like...it also probably works about 90% of the time. Straight men should be more sorry in general, in my opinion, and white men? PLEASE. "I think we might be past that," murmurs Jimmy. Mrs. Nguyen doesn't bother telling him to say "sorry" even more, instead saying, "I'll leave the bottle." I feel like you can either be sorry or drunk, so this might be a high-level sabotage on Mrs. Nguyen's part. When she's gone, Jimmy carefully sticks a label on a phone and sets it on his desk. How many dang phones does one disbarred lawyer need?!
The next day, Kim is ponytailed for battle as she stalks through the courthouse halls, trailed by three young associates, and heads straight to Suzanne's office. Opening the door just a little, Kim pokes her head in to see if Suzanne's ready for her, since she's early; Suzanne checks her watch and waves her in, which is when Kim throws the door open and reveals her whole squad: Gary, Stef, and Pat. After a sidelong glare at Kim, Suzanne rises from her seat to shake everyone's hands, and then plops down to find out what form of baloney Kim's about to serve her. First, Kim responds to Suzanne's proffer: time served, three to six months' probation, and a plea to simple battery -- a misdemeanor, as Suzanne notes, before recapping that Kim's trying to go from eighteen months of jail time for Huell to zero: "Sorry, I can't do that." Kim accepts that, and turns to Gary for Act II: a motion for continuance, since they need more time to prepare their defense. The officer didn't canvass for additional witnesses, but businesses around the site of the incident have security cameras, and Huell's legal team will need to subpoena the tapes. Instead of addressing Gary, Suzanne rudely turns to Kim to ask if she doesn't think that's "a little much." Kim coolly says they doubt a judge will. Stef takes over to say they just want the most information they can get -- to wit, they're filing a motion for the cop's personnel file. "Good luck with that," sniffs Suzanne, once again to Kim...
...who is not rattled by Suzanne's attitude, like, at all. Pat adds that if the cop has a history of run-ins with anyone Huell ever knew, basically, they want to know. "You're thinking of pursuing civil litigation," Suzanne snits at Kim. "We are in conversation with the ACLU, assessing the possibility that Mr. Babineaux's civil rights may have been violated."
Suzanne looks like she almost respects it as she curtly says, "Okay. Is that all?" Kim gives her a brief Kimface before saying, with some portent, "For now." Suzanne gathers up all the motions, saying she'll deal with these issues and then set a trial date. And since she feels that's all they have to talk about, Kim and her crew pack up and prepare to leave -- but, of course, Suzanne would like a private word with Kim first. "You're throwing three $400-an-hour associates at a pro bono case?" "I never said this was pro bono," says Kim. Suzanne is completely gobsmacked and literally throws up her hands as she asks Kim what the plan is, here: "Because shock and awe isn't going to cut it. Bring every fancy associate you got, file all the motions you want, and at the end of all this, your client is still going away." "Okay," says Kim serenely. "I guess we'll see." Kim strides out with her usual perfect posture, betraying nothing...right up until she gets to the outer door of Suzanne's office; as she crosses the camera, we barely hear her take one slightly unsteady breath. Look, USPS. You've let us ALL down at one point or another in our lives. Do not fuck over Kim right now.
"Morning" "dawns" for Ziegler and his crew, who stagger through the warehouse to the truck seeming a bit more sluggish than usual but, generally, in good spirits. Ziegler's bringing up the rear as Mike stands between him and the truck for A Bit Of A Chat, which Ziegler doesn't seem to see coming, cheerfully telling Mike that "everyone seems much improved." Mike just stands there regarding Ziegler, who finally asks whether something's wrong. Respectfully waiting until the last of Ziegler's guys has boarded the truck, Mike reaches into his pocket and hands Ziegler the coaster he'd sketched on the night before. "This?" sputters Ziegler. "Don't be concerned. I said nothing! Men at a bar, talking to make talk, and look -- no details, no scale at all. Could be a skyscraper. Could be box for shoes." Not sure how many shoe boxes need load-bearing walls, but then I never bought any by McQueen. Ziegler smiles, endearingly but also naïvely, and when Mike just stands there continuing to gaze at him, Ziegler's face falls a little and he insists, "I said nothing about the construction that would not be true for thousands of others. By now they have forgotten me entirely." "They forgot," Mike repeats. "The German national in the middle of Albuquerque, talking about pouring hundreds of tons of concrete in a secret underground location." Well, sure, anything sounds bad if you describe it accurately. Ziegler, chastened, admits, "Yeah, you're right." He apologizes, saying he had too much to drink and "may have said" more than he should have. Mike takes a step into Ziegler's personal space to make his point emphatically and clearly: "The man we're working for is very serious. Think about the precautions we take to keep everything that goes on here quiet. Think about how much money you're making. Think about what happens if something goes wrong. Do you understand what I am saying to you." Ziegler gives Mike a long look and gravely replies, "I do understand. And I'm sorry to cause any problem." Instead of adding, "Please don't tell the man I'm working for that he should kill me," Ziegler holds up the coaster and promises, "You have my word, nothing like this will happen again." Keeping his eyes locked on Ziegler's, Mike snatches the coaster away and puts it back in his pocket, taking a long beat before telling Ziegler, "Okay. Let's get you to work." They might need to grab Ziegler some coveralls that haven't been very recently pissed in first.
Judge Munsinger's already at a 10 when he yanks open the door to his chambers and demands of Suzanne, standing there with Kim, "Are you prosecuting Santa Claus?" Suzanne has no idea what he's talking about, and follows him inside as he yelps, "It looks like Miracle On 34th Street in here." Indeed, his desk is covered with four plastic bags and two USPS bins filled with multi-coloured envelopes -- and, per Munsinger, this is just today's haul: "All addressed to me, all from some backwater in Louisiana?!" He pulls one from the top of the pile: "'Get your hands off our hero,' they say. 'Mercy for Huell Babineaux,' they say. What, like I'm sending him to the electric chair?" He asks whether Kim "started this particular ball rolling"; aghast, she says she certainly did not instruct residents of Coushatta, Louisiana to start writing letters to him. Technically correct, the best kind of correct! "That being said," Kim adds, "it's clear Mr. Babineaux has touched the lives of many people in his hometown." Since she is not an idiot, Suzanne can smell the bullshit, and furiously works her jaw as Kim goes on to say she knows that Coushattans are planning to send a contingent "to show their support during the trial." "You're talking about a bunch of yahoos packing my court?!" sputters Munsinger. Suzanne tries to suggest that they can just ignore all this and proceed with whatever trial strategy she had before she found out about the mail bombs, to which Kim says Suzanne shouldn't be surprised by the outpouring given that she knows Huell's history as well as she does. Munsinger announces that he doesn't want to get one more letter from "some swamp-dwelling do-gooder." (Jealous of wetlands much, New Mexico?) Suzanne thanks the judge for bringing the matter to her attention, and asks if she may take some of the mail. Munsinger presses a bag on her in addition to the bin she already had her eye on, and sends counsel off with a final warning: "I have looked at this case. It does not merit a circus. Now, you two WORK IT OUT." Kim primly says they've tried. "Try. Again," orders Munsinger.
Suzanne stares daggers at Kim, and though we don't see Kim's face in reaction, we may reasonably assume she DGAF.
Then we're in Suzanne's outer office as she starts yelling instructions to everyone around; she basically wants every available piece of data on Huell that exists in police and court records: "I want to figure out why a pickpocket has people this overheated." She opens a card on the top of the file and reads: "'Huell Babineaux is wrongfully accused. He's a good man. He'd never do nothing like the things you say he's done. He's a kind man and a good friend to everyone.' Jesus, they do make him sound like Santa Claus." One of her office underlings, Ben, hands her a card with a phone number on it, which she dials on speakerphone. It goes through to the voicemail of a rumbly Cajun gentleman who ends with "Have a blessed day," and she leaves a brief message. Various hands continue opening mail, and when Suzanne comes up with another phone number, she dials it and gets through to an Eloise Lockhard, who says everyone in Coushatta knows Huell, a pillar of Eloise's church. Suzanne asks which church that is, and when Eloise says it's Free Will Baptist on Bogan Lane, Ben quickly Googles, and as Suzanne's asking whether there's a particular reason Huell is so beloved by the congregation, Ben brings his laptop over to show her the church's homepage, which has been taken over by a fundraising call to action on Huell's behalf. When Eloise asks Suzanne to repeat who she is...
...we see that Jimmy's assembled his whole film crew for this project, and that Make-Up Girl is posing as Eloise, asking Suzanne to explain exactly what her role is in Huell's trial. Suzanne reluctantly admits that she's prosecuting him. "You're the one persecuting our Huell?" gasps "Eloise." "How could you? To go after someone so sweet and kind, with all those lies? Well, I'd tell you what I really think of you--" Cut to Jimmy, who directs her by silently folding his hands in prayer. "Eloise" resumes: "But Jesus is listening, so I'll just say, SHAME ON YOU!" She hangs up before Suzanne can defend herself, which gives Jimmy a chance to offer some feedback, calling Make-Up Girl's performance "not too shabby!" "I've been taking improv classes," she shyly replies. Oh, Make-Up Girl. If it's future income you have in mind, you'd be better off at beauty school.
Back at the office, Suzanne still has the church's homepage up, and decides to try to call its pastor, Blaise Hansford. This time Jimmy grabs the phone that's ringing and realizes it's the church; frantically, he motions for Sound Guy to cue up a CD labeled "Organ Music" before he picks up. Now, what happens next really cannot be properly conveyed in print, but both Jimmy and Bob Odenkirk are clearly enjoying the chance to bust out their Cajun accent in the service of bamboozling a prosecutor. Jimmy does some business with the organ music, claiming he's going to step out in the vestibule, and settles in for a nice chat. Suzanne tries again not to be too specific about her role in Huell's proceeding as she says she wants to know more about him. Jimmy says Huell is a lovely person, inside and out, and that while he might say the same about any of his parishioners, Huell is special, with "a heart as big as Lake Ponchartrain." Camera Guy shakes his head at this egregiously corny turn of phrase and indicates the whiteboard behind him, where Jimmy's high-level direction includes "Keep It Simple, Stupid," but Jimmy, of course, already knows all the rules well enough to break them and waves him off. Suzanne asks what Huell did to earn so much devotion from his brothers and sisters at Free Will Baptist, and "Pastor Hansford" takes the long way to tell her that Huell saved a bunch of elderly parishioners when a fire broke out during their Bible study by physically carrying each of them out of the building. When Suzanne asks what happened to the church, "Pastor Hansford" assures her that it's fine, and motions to Camera Guy, who does something on his laptop; Suzanne then hears a notification ding and turns to see the counter on Huell's fundraiser as more donations are added to the total. "Pastor Hansford" wraps it up: "Now, y'all sound like a real nice lady, and I know you're only doing your job, but I want you to understand something: I think you got the wrong end of the stick, here! Huell Babineaux is very important to us! Now, he-- He-- He would never hurt a police officer! I believe it's just a misunderstanding, and I-- I believe he might've been helping his friend, and that's the Huell that I know." "Pastor Blaise" then invents a distraction, telling Clarence the organist to put some robes away because they're for Communion...
...which is, I guess, when Sound Guy realizes Jimmy hasn't spent enough time in services to learn what various churchy words mean. Suzanne and "Pastor Hansford" are about to end the call when he asks whether there's a date for Huell's trial. She says there isn't, so he asks her to contact him when there is: "We got a couple of charter buses. Gonna bring the whole congregation up to y'all in Albuquerque." Suzanne wilts in resignation. Jimmy hangs up. The crew is in awe. Suzanne realizes she's fucked.
Jimmy then takes a moment to regard the desk full of silent phones. "Is it over?" asks Make-Up Girl. Jimmy tells them he's going to take the church phone with him in case Suzanne calls back. If any others ring, they should pick up every third caller, and talk no longer than thirty seconds per call. Camera Guy tries to weasel out of staying, but Jimmy, already literally half out the door, says they're paid for the day, so they'll stay until he tells them to go.
Jimmy, peering through the glass in the door, finds Kim in a courtroom, conferring with opposing counsel. We can only see her from the back, but Suzanne's body language -- hands on hips; chest in high dudgeon -- is tense and angry, whereas Kim leans back casually against the judge's bench, arms spread wide. Suzanne then tents her fingers on her table and hangs her head in defeat.
Jimmy's down the hall tapping his sneaker when Kim emerges from the courtroom and looks both ways before spotting him. Without speaking, she strides purposefully past the bench he's sitting on and into the stairwell, Jimmy following close behind. When they're alone and Kim's basically slammed the door, Jimmy seems to think things must have taken a turn after he stopped watching and anxiously asks, "Well?"
In response, Kim takes a breath, then chucks her briefcase onto the floor, shoves Jimmy against the wall, and kisses him voraciously. Let this be a lesson to us all: doing crimes makes you sexy.
Then the camera's panning up slowly from the foot of Kim and Jimmy's bed as we hear her suggest, "Do it one more time?" "Are you sure you can take it?" Jimmy flirts back. "I can if you can," she replies. "All right, you asked for it," Jimmy sing-songs...and then breaks into his Pastor Hansford character: "Hello dere! Look in your heart, chère, and find forgiveness! Let us take you on a trip down Naaaaaawlins way, where dey put a little extra roux in de gumbo!" Kim giggles that it's like she's in the bayou, to which "Pastor Hansford" replies that he's got crawdads in his pants. Kim cracks up, and then settles with her chin on Jimmy's chest, telling him the phones were genius. Jimmy says the phones were "a touch": "This was all you, start to finish. Bank shot off the judge. Four months probation, time served, is like watching Roy Hobbs smash out stadium lights." Kim modestly says that Suzanne overplayed her hand, then looks over Jimmy's shoulder at the clock radio and realizes she has to start getting ready for work. First, though, she asks what he's up to today; he tells her he's going to check out another office by the courthouse. Kim says she thought he'd found one, but he evasively says it was too big for him. Jimmy asks if she'll be working late, and she says she will, since she has work to catch up on post-Huell. Kim then decides she's dawdled enough and gets out of bed, turning on the shower. Jimmy remains in bed, looking thoughtfully at the space Kim's left next to him.
I really wish we'd gone from this scene back to the nail salon, Jimmy's camera crew having slept there after he forgot to release them because he was too busy fuckin', but no: we're in a conference room at Kim's office. Paige is droning on about boring bank shit while the camera stays on Kim and the quiet smile that plays across her lips as, obviously, she daydreams about the fun she had keeping Huell out of jail. When Paige gets to the end of her monologue, Kim blandly offers, "Sounds good," before resuming paying actual attention, saying they should talk about the Wyoming branch Mesa Verde wants to open in six months. Kevin passive-aggressively clears his throat, forcing Kim to ask if he has something else he'd like to discuss. He claims not to want to slow things down, particularly not with something he knows Paige doesn't want him to raise. Paige and Kim exchange a brief look before Kim's like, spit it out, so Kevin says that the Tucumcari branch is doing great, and it's probably because the design of the building is so distinctive, so even though Paige has already said it's impossible, wouldn't it be great if they could do something like that with the Lubbock branch? "I reminded Kevin that Tucumcari has a much larger footprint than the current Lubbock design, and that design is the one we've been hanging our estimates on," says Paige tightly, clearly afraid Kim is going to go back to her old ways of trying to impress Kevin by...working herself nearly to death. Kevin, of course, is hoping the opposite, and presses his point despite Paige's concerns. But no longer is Kim getting her adrenaline fix by doing anything in the financial sector, so she barely pauses before telling Kevin she's sorry, but that she agrees with Paige that starting over now would put them behind schedule. Kevin accepts Kim's judgment and admits that Paige was right this time. On to Wyoming! Kim is SUPER-PSYCHED jk she is about to slip into a coma.
Then we're under the laundry, where Mike is giving Gus a progress report, starting with the accident that happened in "Something Stupid" and how long it's going to delay the project -- less than a week, it sounds like. However, there's a gigantic rock where the elevator shaft is supposed to go, which will require blasting, adding another week on top of that. To summarize: "Best estimate, we're a little past the halfway point, way behind schedule. But the work is solid." Gus stares for a while, then asks about Ziegler. Mike takes a loud breath and says, "I gave him the come-to-Jesus. He screwed up, he knows it. Said it won't happen again." "And what do you say?" asks Gus. "I've got eyes on him," Mike replies, before adding the judgment that I am guessing he will be forced to regret and retract by the end of the season: "But yeah, he's good." "Good," Gus nods. ZIEGLER FOR GOD'S SAKE PLEASE DO NOT LET MIKE DOWN.
Then the camera's behind a hole with irregular edges as something drips past on the other side. Presently, Jimmy's squatting down to inspect it and asking, "Is that water?" The bungalow in "Something Stupid" was no great shakes, but now he's in an even less charming space: a long rectangle with grubby tile, fallen drop ceiling panels, and glass walls on two sides, several panes of which seem to have been waiting a while to be replaced. But back to the water damage: the realtor showing the property claims, "The landlord will kick in for small repairs like that," adding, "They already took care of the rodent problem." I'm going to go ahead and say this guy's not counting on closing a deal today? Jimmy, of course, isn't thrilled to hear there ever was a rodent problem, but the realtor shrugs that Jimmy specified "small and near court," both of which requirements this dump satisfies: "And it's in your price range." As he urges Jimmy to "use [his] imagination," Kim appears outside and knocks on the door; Jimmy excuses himself.
Okay, don't think less of me but I kind of like it from the outside??? Obviously, it could use some cosmetic updates, but the '70s Space Age-iness of it is pleasing to me. Anyway, Kim's leaning against a piece of pressed wood in place of a glass pane and smoking when Jimmy comes out, and asks him, "Is this your new office?" Jimmy, embarrassed, says it's a contender, and asks what she's doing there. "I was driving, saw your Esteem in the parking lot," says Kim. Ah, Jimmy's esteem. Look somewhere dodgy and you're sure to find it! Jimmy removes the cigarette from Kim's mouth to take a drag himself, and asks her what's up. "Nothing," says Kim, surveying the landscape. "Just driving around, thinking about things." Jimmy guesses at what that means, and starts doing a version of what Mrs. Nguyen had recommended: "I know what's on your mind. The thing that we did, I mean, it was nuts. And I dumped it in your lap. Ex parte communication, contempt of court, we're talking about a couple hundred counts of mail fraud -- I could've wrecked you at Schweikart, I could've boned me too. I mean, I'm this close to being reinstated. I mean, come on!" Kim doesn't answer, nodding as she keeps her eyes on the horizon. Jimmy hands her back the cigarette, telling her, "Don't worry. No one's going to know about it. Be like it never happened. And also, I agree, we are totally done with all that. Over and out, no more." Kim blinks, exhales her latest drag, then fixes her eyes on Jimmy's to let him know he guessed wrong, telling him, "Let's do it again."
Jimmy is shocked, but Kim is steady. That's the last time Jimmy takes Huell's advice about lawyers. Or ladies. Or...lady lawyers.
As Nacho comes in to start his day at El Michoacano, he's surprised to hear loud music playing inside, and shoots a look at Domingo, already seated at his table...
...and looking like he shat his pants. Nacho takes a long time silently looking from Domingo to the kitchen, where the radio is blasting, before finally heading back there, sliding a hand back to his weapon just in case. The chef is absently singing along to the music, and Nacho stands in the doorway waiting for him to turn around and notice him -- which, soon, he does, greeting him with a huge smile: "You're here! Right on time." (Throughout the conversation, they switch from Spanish to English and back again, without any significance for either choice that I can discern.) The chef finishes preparing a plate for Nacho, promising he's going to love it: "I made this just for you! Never in your life have you tasted something so delicious, it's true. Wait, wait -- you're gonna die." Okay, on the page that looks bad, but other than, you know, where he is, there's no menace to this guy: he just seems really easygoing and friendly. Also, not for nothing, hot. Still, Nacho makes a pissface and declines the proffered plate. The chef leans his face in, takes a big sniff, and, grinning, encourages Nacho, "Smell it! You can't say no, are you crazy?" Nacho doesn't move or speak, so the chef backs off, pleasantly: "Very well. You're not hungry. That's your problem." He sets the plate down, telling Nacho it's a special recipe: "A family secret." Nacho, having come further into the kitchen by now, guesses, "The Salamanca family." The chef excitedly turns around to confirm it: "I am Eduardo, but you can call me Lalo. And you must be Varga, no? They told me you were smart. And look, here you are, and you are." He chuckles as he returns to his pans. Trying to sound unconcerned, Nacho asks what Lalo's doing there. Casually, Lalo replies, "I'm just here to lend a helping hand, you know, make sure the business is running in order. I got a good head for numbers."
I'd give him a good head for numbers, wait did I type that out loud. "Don't even worry," Lalo assures Nacho. "It's going to be like I'm not even here." With that, Lalo takes his plate out to the floor; as the day's first dealer enters, Lalo calls over his shoulder, "Come on, Varga, let's go!," before settling into the seat right next to Domingo, patting him warmly on the back and, presumably, giving him the delicious dish Nacho declined.
Maybe Nacho should go to Winnipeg. I guarantee no Salamanca would follow him there, nor would literally anybody else.