The Best-Laid Plans Of Better Call Saul Often Go Awry
Not all of them, but as Jimmy heads into his reinstatement hearing, Ziegler misses his wife, and Lalo relies on a prop, our EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP breaks down all the strategery.
Kim and her full-dress ponytail crutch briskly into Lubbock, TX's City Hall, and down a noirishly lit corridor to the Department Of Building Safety's Commercial Plans Division. Asked by an auntie type if she can help, Kim breathlessly runs through a story about refiling internal plans for Mesa Verde's Lubbock branch and realizing she's not sure the correct version is on file with the city. She's brought the right proposal with her; she's hoping to compare versions and see if Lubbock has the one with the updated conference-room dimensions. The department liaison, whose name is Shirley so let's just start calling her that now, winces and says Kim can have a look, but if it's wrong, she knows she'll have to refile, right? Kim knows. She just wants to confirm Lubbock has the wrong paperwork before she gets "into it" with her bosses.
Shirley comes out with the filed plans, and helpfully comes around to Kim's side of the counter so they can compare dimensions. While they're going over the numbers, Shirley politely asks if it's a break or a sprain, which lets Kim overshare about "trail running" and catching her foot on an exposed root. Kim then moves on to another set of numbers before musing that she's managing the sprain okay, but she has "an eight-month-old," so that's challenging. "Congratulations!" Shirley chirps, and Kim thanks her before saying tightly that she's "kinda doing it on [her] own," although her brother has pitched in of late, driving her around. Shirley plays her expected part, burbling that it's nice to have family around, and Kim's like, yeah, "for the most part," and when Shirley looks at her expectantly, fills in with a laugh that "he tries -- that's the important part, right?" Looking again at the plans, Kim half-says, half-asks, "These are the same." They look the same to Shirley! Kim gathers up the plans, overthanking Shirley in a gust of relief -- her bosses would have "murdered" her.
As "her brother" is flip-flopping in stage left, carrying a huge fast-food soda and a diaper bag, Kim further unconsciously enlists Shirley to her side by sighing that, when you're the one person in charge of organizational crap, "everything's your fault, right?" and adding that she bets Shirley knows all about that. Now it's Jimmy's turn, and he's got the part of incompetent childcare provider "Bill" down cold, right down to the Jimmy Buffett tee; when "Lizzie" wonders where "Aidan" is, Bill's like, he's fine, he's in the Jeep, now could you give this breast milk a sniff because I think it's gone bad. Kim's like, Aidan's in the WHAAAAAT?!, and when Jimmy eye-rolls that it's fahhhne, he cracked a window, Kim starts scrabbling for the car keys and rushing for the exit. Shirley's like, go help her maybe? Jimmy plunks the breast milk down on Lubbock's copy of the plans and shambles after Kim all "slow down, I'm wearing flip-flops" as, sure enough, the breast milk starts leaking all over the plans.
When Kim returns, Shirley asks after Aidan, and is assured he's fine, although I did wonder in passing what the plan looked like if Shirley offered to go to the car, or decided to come with them, or called 9-1-1 just in case. Kim may have waited by the car long enough to satisfy herself that that last thing wouldn't happen, but I'll stop overthinking this now since everything works out in Kim and Jimmy's favor -- namely that the sack of breast milk, per Shirley, "just kind of went everywhere." Kim takes in the crumply damp plans, paper towels stained with milk and ink, et cetera and starts very convincingly spinning out, her voice spiraling higher and higher, before Shirley's like, okay, here's what: you give me your copy, "and we'll trade them out." Kim asks if she won't get in trouble. "They're exactly the same! No one has to know!" Shirley says. Is she sure? She tells Kim to go and get her copy. Kim doesn't press her luck and opens the hard-sided tube to produce "her" copy, but as she's babbling her thanks, of course she's pushing the plans Shirley saw before farther into the tube, and pulling out a different set. Here, too, I find myself questioning whether Shirley wouldn't notice the difference in wear between the two sets -- the first set of dummy plans is visibly "fluffier" -- but I suppose all cons rely on a certain amount of this pattern-recognition overlooking of switched-out McGuffins, and I'm not criticizing; I find these sequences fascinating. "We need to stick together," Shirley says, cleaning her hands with an antiseptic wipe. "Being a mom is hard enough." Yahtzee. Kim hops aside to make room for Shirley and her official stamp, and as Shirley firmly stamps the bogus plans, Kim looks very pleased with herself indeed.
After the credits, which this week feature a Saul Goodman matchbook floating wanly in a urinal, we pay a visit to a "senior campus" at which various older folks do puzzles, watch The Newlywed Game, and play card games, aka my dream retirement slash how I socialize with John Ramos. Well, we watch tennis instead of Game Show Network, but: bagatelles. Anyway, enter Lalo and Nacho, and at the sight of Hector parked in a sunbeam in his wheelchair like an old humpy cat, Lalo mutters in Spanish, "Oh, God," before pasting on a smile and heading over to greet Hector. Hector remembers him, doesn't he? Hector acknowledges this with a single finger tap. "One means yes?" Lalo asks Nacho. Nacho dourly answers, "Nothing means no." Hey, I get it! Lalo pulls up a seat and starts blowing gold up Hector's culo about his big balls via a reminiscence about a Hotel Tulipan, which apparently they burned down together to show the liberal-elite so-and-so who ran the place a thing or two. Hector starts breathing heavily as Lalo murmurs that he went back inside the still-burning building to grab a "souvenir," and while this is perhaps more time than the show strictly needs to spend on the origin story of a prop,
Hector's bell is a legend, and attention must be paid. Lalo carefully affixes the purloined front-desk bell to the right arm of Hector's wheelchair with rubber bands, and combative ding!s soon fill the recreation room. Lalo villain-laughs. Nacho flares his nostrils. Matters don't improve when the dinging stops and Hector slides his eyes from Nacho to Lalo, who catches his snap immediately and suggests that Nacho "…go get some Jell-O." Nacho has barely moved off when Lalo suggests they talk "about the Chilean." This gets a ding!. Nacho stands behind a nearby sectional, and while I too would feel very protective of such an excellent pocketbook,
its owner's prompt gathering up of said pocketbook when Nacho wanders over is pretty clearly racially motivated. Or maybe she's just worried a particularly vehement nostril flare in response to the office-politics game Nacho is clearly losing is going to knock it over and spill everything. Nacho looks concerned at another ding!. Some time later, Lalo gives Hector a goodbye buss on the cheek and comes through the double doors where Nacho is waiting. "Same old Hector," Lalo says fondly. "Just wants to kill everybody."
At a diner, Kim and Jimmy enjoy a victorious meal and some jokes about the world's best pancakes. Kim tells Jimmy to ease up on the coffee, but he says they have at least another hour on the road and he doesn't want to doze off. It's more about his getting a good night's sleep, Kim says, asking when his hearing is. Eleven AM, Jimmy says, and he's confident that "this time next week," he'll once again be "James McGill, Esquire." They clink mugs. He adds that he's gotten a jump on his practice; the drop-phone business "is great for client development," since "every last one of those idiots" is going to need a lawyer eventually. Of course, they only know him as Saul Goodman…he trails off. Kim shrugs, "Details," and regards him lovingly as he goes into a pitch about their teaming up, saying people would pay dearly for "the ol' Huell Babineaux treatment." Kim looks away and tries to find a way to parry, settling on a mealy-mouthed "I think we should only use our powers for good." He's like, so does good start right now given the job we just pulled today, or…she cuts him off: "You know what, it's like Potter Stewart said. We'll know it when we see it." Jimmy looks at her speculatively. Then, after checking to make sure nobody's listening, he whispers that they just drove 300 miles so Kim's client's bank branch could be 13 percent bigger. He loved "every second," don't get him wrong, but how is that using their powers for good? Kim stares sadly off to the side, then turns the same morose face on Jimmy, who relents; fine, sure, they'll know it when they see it. She smiles and takes his hand.
At the future Superlab, Kai and Ziegler prepare the troublesome rock to be smithereened with long tubes of explosive. The rock is not quite Star Trek: TOS levels of fakey,
but it does look kinda like you could just nudge it to one side with your shoe, which is a bit surprising for this show, and not great given how much we've heard about the immovability of this object. In any case, the Styrorock is festooned with the word "Wiedersehen" in spray paint (drink!), an interesting choice given that 1) it's not the entire phrase, auf Wiedersehen, which of course means "goodbye" (sorry if I'm Buntsplaining; it's possible one of y'all never watched Project Runway, hee); and 2) I think this would not translate to "bye" for most native German speakers, as auf Wiedersehen is comparatively formal. Tschüss is not as handy for episode-titling purposes, though, is it…and Wiedersehen literally means "meet again" or "reunion." Moving on! We have a reunion with Tyrus, who is in position with a huge open hauler that I assumed was intended for the upcoming debris (and could also be that, but is primarily meant to disguise the explosion).
Tyrus will have to wait, though; on the board that controls the detonation, one of the connections is throwing a red light, which means there's no "continuity" of circuit, and someone will have to walk it to check. An apologetic Ziegler says he'll go. Mike asks Kai with asperity if he isn't the demolitions expert, but Ziegler says it's his responsibility, and proceeds belowdecks, gingerly following the orange line. The sequence is nerve-wracking -- only the fact that we know Mike survives into Breaking Bad brings me any sort of relief -- and it's not helped by Ziegler having an attack of the yips, staring at his shaking hands and getting wigged out by his own breathing. He orders himself in German to pull it together, steadies his mitts, and begins to draw the orange-wired dynamite out of its firing hole. Partway down the wiring, he finds an end still taped off, and carefully marries it to its mate to close the circuit. Task completed, he subsides against the rock, coughing and panting…
…but when he reappears, he's evidently unperturbed: "Try it now." Kai turns the key and flips the switch on the board. All the circuit indicator lights turn green. Tyrus is alerted, and says into his walkie: "On the go." He pulls the truck around the building. Minor-key long-shot-caper music starts up on the soundtrack as, inside, Mike makes frowning note of Ziegler's hand clenching behind his back. The truck approaches some kind of launch point, and Tyrus starts a countdown from five. Close-ups on Kai's face; Kai's thumb over the ignition button; and Mike still looking at Ziegler's fist. Tyrus calls go as the truck is going over some speed bumps outside the laundry, making a big clatter that masks the noise of the explosion, and blocks the view of the dust and pebbles emitted by the blast from the road. Much cheering inside from the team, and Kai permits himself a relieved smile before muttering to himself, "That's how it's done," and getting up to accept the congrats of his colleagues. Amidst all the shoulder-clapping and huzzahing, Ziegler looks more grimly relieved than anything, and Mike studies him, perturbed. …Well, fair, "perturbed" is just kind of Mike's face, but he's pointing that face at Ziegler.
Aboveground, a sloppy toast with beer steins culminates in Kai noticing that Mike doesn't have a brau, and though he tries to wave them off, a chant of "Mike! Mike! Mike!" and Kai's presentation of the beer on his knees induces a smile and a "Good job!" in German from Herr Ehrmantraut. When the others start chatting auf Deutsch, Mike takes the opportunity to slip away to where Ziegler is brooding on one of the couches. Hat tip to the set dresser, as while the TV area is reasonably clean, there's of course one bag of chips tipped over on a table, and some shoes in a chair. It's exactly what you'd expect to find, without realizing it. I don't know what Mike expects to find, but when he asks Ziegler what's on his mind, he doesn't accept that Ziegler is pleased the blasting went well, or "just tired," and says with a hint of regret that he needs to know what's going on with Ziegler. Ziegler must have forgotten that Mike was a cop, because he continues to protest that it's nothing, but Mike is silently not having it, so Ziegler haltingly concedes that the job is taking longer than he'd estimated, and he appreciates the R&R for the boys, really he does, but he's adrift without his wife. When Mike seems sympathetic to this, Ziegler pitches the idea of a quick trip to Germany -- Kai could supervise while he's gone! he'd only be gone four days, five at the outside! Mike blinks slowly at the suggestion that Ziegler could leave "detailed instructions" so as not to delay the work at all, and replies without even mulling it that if Ziegler wants to see his wife, he needs to finish the job. Ziegler seems to go away a little bit, behind the eyes, and Mike, sensing this, says Ziegler can do this, he just has to put his head down and push through…and when he's done here, with this money he'll never have to leave his wife again. Ziegler sighs that he knows; it was just a "flight of fancy." Mike offers extra phone time the next day, and Ziegler thanks him with a weak attempt at heartiness, and takes his leave. Mike calls after him pointedly to "hang in there" and looks concerned.
Gus Fring is cross-checking some numbers in his office when Little Big Shot Lyle comes in to tattle that one of the guys who "made all the trouble last year" is in the restaurant. Gus continues to find Lyle's clueless conscientiousness sweetly amusing, and kindly says he'll take care of it.
Gus continues to find Los Salamanca not sweet or amusing in the slightest, but girds his loins and approaches Lalo and Nacho at their table, asking if everything's to their liking. Lalo full-on raves about the chicken, which I think is actually sincere and which could explain why Nacho is so mortified, even the nostrils are at a loss.
But Lalo and Gus are both pros, and Lalo knows exactly what to say about an interest in franchising to get himself invited back to the office. He slides eagerly out of the booth and heads back, at which time Gus directs his patented "really, bitch?" smile melt-off at Nacho and Nacho returns it with an "idk" hand shrug.
In the office, Lalo goes into his good-time-Carlos routine about Gus's "incredible" accomplishments in the field of fast-casual poultry before unctuously offering Gus thanks on behalf of the family for saving Hector's life "while everyone else was picking their asses." There is a veiled reference to Hector's condition that may imply Lalo knows Gus didn't try that hard to rescue his uncle, but Lalo also says straight out that, given the "history" between Hector and Gus, the family considers Gus's actions "a gesture of peace." Gus is happy to hear that, he says. Lalo burbles in English about how the two of them are getting along fine, then switches to Spanish to ask in a gossipy tone if he thinks Don Eladio gets off on the "bad blood" between Houses Salamanca and Fring; he refers to Don Eladio chillaxing by his pool, "giving orders," when Gus's trucks and Salamanca "muscle" get the real work done. Gus shrugs that he doesn't think there's bad blood, and Lalo goes back to English to huh, "Real-ly," then adds that, if the two Houses got along "too well," Don Eladio wouldn't love it. Gus isn't falling for it and blands that he's "satisfied with the current arrangement." Apparently this is the desired answer, as Lalo smiles too broadly that he's "just shitting" Gus -- he'd "be crazy" to cross Don Eladio. Gus pops a skeptical "I'm not a freshman at this school" brow. Lalo's like, so anyway, let's hang out again, and reminds Gus that Los Salamanca "owe" him, and if he needs a favor, Lalo's his guy. "Same," Gus says energetically, and they try to out-strong-handshake each other. After another comment about the tasty chicken, Lalo's out, and Gus watches him go with a "ffs" tilt of his head.
Outside, Lalo tells Nacho he'd like to check out the chicken-farm pick-up point for Nacho's weekly re-up. As they drive out of the parking lot, Lalo makes sure to chuck his empty soda cup on the ground.
In a drop-ceilinged hallway, Jimmy is facially rehearsing before his meeting with the licensing board. Once he's called in, it's about what you'd expect: he's asked about his employment during his year "away," and refers to a letter from his supervisor; he's self-deprecating about the handful of sales awards he's won; he says he chose "that particular field" to put bread on the table, and it's given him a new outlook on client relations. When the lead examiner asks him if he's kept abreast of developments in the law, Jimmy shows off his bar-journal reading, and goes a little overboard in my opinion in citing a particular decision ("it's classic Scalia!"), but the panel seems to buy it. There's a shot here of the panel positioned beneath the art in the room, a painting of what I assume is Albuquerque dwarfed by a blue-tinged mountain that looms over fully eighty percent of the canvas, before we cut away to a side angle of the lead examiner asking in a confidential tone if Jimmy has anything to say about the reasons for his suspension. Jimmy says he's thought of little else over the last year, and he's humbled by the sheer stupidity of it; he won't make excuses, because there are none, but he assures them that nothing "like that" will ever happen again -- "never." My notes here read, "Well, it can't, because Chuck…died," but we'll get back to that.
The reaction shots of the lead examiner, the blonde examiner, and the examiner in the butterfly shirt indicate that they're believing Jimmy, even rooting for him, based on their engaged half-smiles -- and the lead examiner's preparing to wrap it up, but Butterfly Shirt, who seems almost flirty in her exchanges with Jimmy (and he in turn seems to be playing to her somewhat), asks what the law means to him. There is a too-long pause that Jimmy flounders through before admitting that, as a kid, becoming a lawyer wasn't in the mix at all; even if he'd wanted to do that with his life, he "didn't have the smarts or the skills or the…stick-to-it-iveness." But he got a job at a law firm, and something in him made him think he could do it. He changes tacks to concede that his degree, from the University of American Samoa, is exactly what it sounds like -- "that's a correspondence school" -- and he wishes his diploma had a fancier name on it, like Georgetown, but he "wasn't a natural." He quit a bunch of times; trying to pass the bar nearly killed him…but he kept coming back to it. The room is with him so far, but when he enters the clubhouse turn and starts talking about our imperfect system being our closest approximation of justice, and the joy of working with actual clients and advocating for them…well, after Jimmy says with a performative frown that he's "missed the hell out of" it this past year, Butterfly Shirt tells him, "That was very eloquent," takes a pause, and asks if "there was any particular influence, on your views," and it's not that she's skeptical, although the catch in Jimmy's voice at the end there struck me as manufactured. It's that they clearly want him to tie a Chuck bow around the whole thing…and he just can't. You hope he's going to, when he begins, "Credit where credit is due," and as of this scene I'm not sure if Jimmy knows he can't, or if he considers mentioning Chuck and balks for reasons he doesn't understand, or what, but it doesn't happen.
Instead, Jimmy praises UAS, ending with an awk "goooo Land Crabs!" Butterfly Shirt nods almost imperceptibly and her eyes crinkle with compassion, because she sees he's incapable. Lead Examiner says they have everything they need, and Jimmy will get a letter with their decision in a few days. Jimmy's face falls -- he was clearly hoping to sell it in the room -- but he thanks them for their time and lets himself out.
In the hallway, Jimmy thinks about going back in, but stops himself. Time-lapse to him still in the hallway, slumped on a bench, evidently waiting for the panel to emerge so he can buttonhole them. Finally, the stenographer comes out, and he leaps up to greet her, choosing to ignore her shifty body language to say he knows they said they'd send a letter, but "just between" her and Jimmy, what did they decide? Loooong, gawpy pause as the stenographer looks over his shoulder, possibly to see if the panel is coming out to save her, possibly to see if they've made their escape (...we'll get to it), and Jimmy can't choose to ignore what that means, breathing, "You've gotta be kidding me," then repeating, "No no no no," and rushing back into the meeting room. The panel is gone; they've departed out a second door. "NO!" Jimmy growls, rushing through that door. Lead Examiner is heading down a set of stairs when Jimmy spots him and wails, "You're denying me?" He gets right up in Lead Examiner's face, then backs off a bit to plead that he did everything "right," and to ask Lead Examiner to "please tell" him why they ruled against him. Lead Examiner throws some clichés at the problem, but Jimmy insists that he deserves an answer, so Lead Examiner gives in and grits that "it was a question of sincerity." Jimmy is flabbergasted, but Lead Examiner confirms after checking to make sure nobody's listening that "some members of the committee found you…insincere." Jimmy is speechless, his face a tragedy mask of confusion. "You're free to apply again next year," Lead Examiner blurts, and hurries away. Jimmy hurls his briefcase against the wall, startling a passerby.
Mike lets himself into the security trailer outside the Superlab site for a check-in. The two dudes therein seem to divide their duties between video and audio, so that's what I'll call them, and Video reports that Kai cheats at volleyball, which of course he does but also how does one even do that in the first place. Mike asks Audio if Ziegler is "still talking." He and the wife "have been saying goodbye for about 20 minutes now." Anything of note? Not really -- they got a new puppy, who's peeing everywhere; Mrs. Ziegler's back is acting up, so they want to take a trip to the hot springs when he gets home; just the usual. Audio says it's been 90 minutes; should he give "a ten-minute warning?" Nah, Mike says; let him talk as long as he wants. As it turns out, Mrs. Z has to "get to book club," so they're wrapping it up anyway. Mike sighs that he's going to check the perimeter.
Cut to a close-up of Ziegler heaving a sigh, then an even tighter shot of him stubbing out a cigarette. He stops to watch the volleyball. The sound of the workers' merriment drops out in favor of a melancholy piano and synth cue, and a focus pull from Ziegler looking beleaguered to what he's looking beleagueredly at, namely one of the security cameras. He looks down, then shuffles into his little house.
Kim is on a conference call, hacking a World's Best Lawyer travel mug to read "World's Best Lawyer Again" using nailpolish. Aw. She also got him a briefcase, monogrammed JMM, and she's further jinxed the proceedings by styling her hair in an uncharacteristic bun and putting on more eye makeup than usual. It's also worth noting that, even only a quarter paying attention, she's A-plus at her job and knows just when to unmute and jump in when she hears the word "overstepping" on the call. She re-mutes when her phone buzzes; it's Jimmy, of course, and that big smile peels off her face in response to the ranting we don't hear (yet): "Slow down; slow down."
Smash cut to Jimmy's Esteem barreling up the levels of a parking structure, tires squealing. Kim is up top in the sunshine, stubbing out a cigarette, when Jimmy screeches to a stop and charges out of the car, snarling, "'Insincere'! 'Insincere'!" Kim asks what happened; Jimmy continues to rant that he's not going to sell cell phones "for a fucking year, I'll tell you that." Kim tries again to find out what exactly happened, and he yells over her, "Hard! Pass!" and tells her not to tell him he can appeal, because once the board hears the word "insincere," he's screwed -- how do you disprove that?! She finally interrupts to tell him to start from the beginning, and a red-faced Jimmy says, near tears, that he was good -- he "wasn't stuck-up," but he knew his shit. What have you been doing, have you kept up with the law, "yadda yadda," but then "one of them out of nowhere" springs the "weird-ass" "what does the law mean to you" question on him. That's a big one, Kim says, not knowing what else to say, and Jimmy agrees that it's "huuuuge," and he nailed it -- he was humble, down to earth, sincere -- they loved it! "So…" Kim starts, and he splutters, "So they turned me down!" Kim thinks there has to be more to it, and Jimmy maybe flicks his eyes in a way that suggests he knows what she's about to say, but again, hard to say if it's conscious. In any case, she asks what they said when Jimmy talked about Chuck, and his next response, a slightly overacted "say whaaat?"-ish shrug-off asserting that Chuck has nothing to do with "this" and asking why he would bring Chuck up, probably has to be understood as Jimmy's 1) knowing he should have invoked Chuck in the hearing; 2) having decided not to, because he didn't want to need what he may see as Chuck's "help" to get out of a mess he also may see as Chuck having gotten him into, at least in part; and 3) being furious that Chuck has dicked him over again, somehow, but also furious at himself for not just sucking it up for the sake of attaining the goal. Kim's befuddlement is real, and you can see about a dozen things crossing her face, including wondering why Jimmy can't see how tangled up he still is with Chuck and that maintaining his "independence" from his brother and his memory only enmesh him more, and whether maybe now he'll consider calling the shrink.
But she knows it's pointless to get into it now, so she's like, okay, we'll figure this out, we'll appeal, we'll find a way to make you "look sincere." Uh oh. "Kim, I was sincere," Jimmy rage-gurgles, and she says she knows that, but he's looking for a fight...with Chuck, but Kim's the one who's there, so Kim is the one Jimmy accuses of thinking he's a "lowlife," an "asshole," "the kind of lawyer guilty people hire, right?" He points angrily at her: "You look at me and you see Slippin' Jimmy." She never said that. "Yeah, but you thought it!" Kim does an eloquent "watch where you're stepping" neck roll and points out impatiently that the committee found him insincere because he didn't say anything about Chuck; they had the transcripts, they knew what happened, and they were waiting for Jimmy to talk about it. Jimmy argues that making a "big hairy deal" about his "dead brother" at a reinstatement hearing isn't exactly sincere either, which misses the point, and snots that he doesn't think about Chuck, he doesn't miss Chuck, Chuck is dead, that's it, "life goes on, so sue me!" Interesting turn of phrase; also interesting is that Kim's expression, which he's about to go off on as not believing him, is really bemused pity, which is perhaps the real issue for Jimmy, who blares, "That's why we don't have an office!" Kim is so over that conversation, she's under it, ordering him not to start in about that "stupid office," and he's more than happy to fan those flames, repeating "stupid office" and daring her to go there with a series of "c'mon" hand-flaps, but Kim would rather point out that she's been on his side since the day they met -- she drops everything when he calls, she cleans up his messes, she has a job but she puts everything aside to help him get out of confessing to a felony on tape. "Over and over again, if you need me, I'm there." Emphasis Kim's, and good for her. Jimmy really wants to push her too far, and the absurdity of what he tries next -- claiming he's okay to live with and fuck, but she won't commit to an office with him, and every time she gets bored at her job, she slums with Slippin' Jimmy -- is almost too laughable for Kim to respond to, but she's got grievances of her own, including The Great Huell Caper and Jimmy's infantile scotch-fueled provocation of Rick Schweikart. Just the opening Jimmy's been waiting for to sabotage their relationship with resentful self-pity, and he brays that she won't make the mistake of taking him to her office "in the skyyyyy" again. Yeah, maybe not, she ices. And maybe the next time he calls, she won't come. Sure, he snaps, "kick a man when he's down!" Kim tilts her head in disbelief: "Jimmy, you are always. Down." She snorts and stalks off, leaving him alone on the roof, dwarfed by her office building.
That night, Kim is at home, sitting in semi-darkness with her hair down, polishing off a beer. When she hears Jimmy come in, she turns to the doorway, her face more or less blank; Jimmy looks at her, but says nothing, and goes into the bedroom with his gym bag and a file box. He begins packing as she sits in the far left of the frame -- and we see his reflection in the mirror, but we don't see actual him, and he doesn't see his reflection, and mirror shorthand is pretty tired, generally, in the culture, but I love how this show uses it (and this episode is directed by Vince Gilligan, not for nothing). Hearing him moving around, she looks over quizzically, then gets up to see what exactly he's up to, leaning heavily on the doorframe. She thinks this will stop him, but he deliberately puts his box on the lowboy and sliiiides it onto the top, moving as though he's trying not to wake a baby. Kim approaches, steeling herself, and the shot changes to another mirror shot, this one Jimmy unable to look at himself, or at how Kim looks at him.
Finally Jimmy stops, and Bob Odenkirk packs a lot of regret and exhaustion and emotional paralysis into a relatively short sigh before Jimmy croaks, "I messed it all up." It's unclear whether she puts her hand on his back -- it sounds like she might; I do think it matters, but I won't find out either way 'til next week -- but she looks at him for a moment, then over at the bed where a bunch of his shit is piled up, sorting through all the things she could say and settling on, "You still want to be a lawyer?" She looks at him in the mirror, and he meets her gaze there and says -- sincerely -- "Yeah." "Well, we can start with that," she says, through a quaver. They continue to look at each other in the mirror. I can't say what it means for their future, but I can say that Better Call Saul continues to get these moments right, that relationships don't stand or fall in the big gestures, that the aftermath of a big fight isn't going to This Is Us up a closure montage most of the time. Not that I have a problem with those montages; I like that show. But there's what you want, and there's what is.
What Mike wants is a nice boring day at work, as he arrives at the security trailer with a tray of coffees. What is, however, consists of a cluster of "dead pixels" on one of the security cameras, as the day-shift Video dude reports; there was a "voltage spike" on Camera 6 that knocked them out. Mike observes that the camera was fine yesterday, and asks if any of the other cameras spiked. Yep: Camera 10, which points at the aboveground laundry-supply storage area, has a cluster of the dead pixels as well. Mike has a bad feeling and asks to see the outside cameras. When he peers in, sure enough: dead pixels in a spot outside, near the road. "You, let's go," he tells Video, and they hustle into the main living space, Mike calling for the lights. Cue the profiler-process music as Mike heads into Ziegler's trailer, which naturally is empty, though Mike finds a schematic and a letter neatly folded on the bed. He curls his lip, which is the Mike equivalent of panicky screeching, and stalks out into the "yard," peering at the cameras and then telling Video to go up to the storage area and check it out. The workers are starting to come out of their trailers in pajamas, asking what's going on. Mike makes a beeline for the outside as Video trots up to the storage area, and finds a normally padlocked door in the back open, the lock sawed through. The door leads to a ladder up to the roof, where Video sees another sawed-through padlock and the file used to cut it, and after a moment of wandering the rooftop, scanning, Video spots the ladder going over the side and down to the ground. He heads to it and peers over the side, and there's Mike. They both look disgusted. Mike is looking around on the ground when he spots a laser measuring tool on the ground. He turns it on and points it at the outside camera. We cut to, uh, camera-cam.
Flare-apalooza. A powerful last image of the episode…or it would be, if it weren't distractingly stupid of Ziegler to leave a literal trail of litter behind.