Better Call Saul was under the long shadow of Breaking Bad in Monday's new episode, much of the story having to do with protracted setup for events from that series. But there were some nice character moments to remind us that Better Call Saul has some of its own blood in its veins.
Spoilers after the screenshot
Some of the best moments on Better Call Saul have been watching Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) pull scams. Watching him compulsively hustling in his job as a cell phone salesman has some of that pleasure. When he and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) talk about Jimmy getting mugged by kids and he gets a funny look in his eye when he says they wouldn't have dared "roll" him when he was one of them, the transition to talking about getting him a shrink almost felt like getting a therapist to cure Jimmy of who he really is. Like Breaking Bad, this show isn't afraid to discuss the sense of personal liberation that might come with criminality.
I'm pretty sure one of the kids who mugged Jimmy is the one Kim managed to save from a harsh sentence in an earlier courtroom scene. I wonder if that's going to come back to haunt the two of them.
It seems Kim is starting to feel pulled between two applications of her job as she chooses to stick with the nervous young woman instead of attending to an emergency at her cushy Mesa Verde job. As Jimmy is compulsively drawn to crooked behaviour, Kim is compulsively drawn to being a heroine.
Meanwhile, in a mildly interesting couple of scenes, Mike (Jonathan Banks) vets criminal contractors for the job of making the underground facility Walter White will eventually use. Whoopee.
For the real Breaking Bad tie in, though, the episode began with a scene set during the events of that series with Saul wearing the same outfit and bearing the same wounds we see in the last season of Breaking Bad. Though Odenkirk's noticeably older in the prequel.
He was so much older then, he's younger than that now.
What was the purpose to Better Call Saul's narrative of the flash forward? He hands Francesca (Tina Parker) a card for a lawyer. Is that lawyer Kim? Or maybe Howard (Patrick Fabian)? I liked the darkly funny scene in the new episode where Jimmy runs into a dishevelled Howard in the restroom, complaining about insomnia. When Howard tells Jimmy his shrink has been working "great" you can't really blame Jimmy for then flushing the number Kim gave him for a psychiatrist down the toilet. Does Jimmy really have any good choices? That's a good noir kind of question.