"Piñata", last night's new Better Call Saul
, had a script by Gennifer Hutchison, one of my favourite writers on the show, and was directed by Andrew Stanton. So it had a lot going for it and did not disappoint.Spoilers after the screenshot
This was a really good portrait of the evolution of Jimmy's (Bob Odenkirk) self-image and motives. We start with a flashback and we get a glimpse of Jimmy when he was working the mail room at HHM. We see how the dynamic used to work when he had just a cosy office relationship with perky law student Kim (Rhea Seehorn) and was just barely tolerated by his brother, Chuck (Michael McKean as a special guest star). We see how being treated as an inferior fuelled his desire to study law and this fits well with the scene in the previous episode where he showed just how intent he was on being a lawyer again.
Jimmy tells Kim in this episode that he's decided not to see a therapist, which seems to carry the implication that his buried feelings are being transmuted to ruthless ambition. I really liked the lunch scene where Kim lets him know she's moving on. Of course, she has to look out for herself and as much as she likes Jimmy she's not invested in the chip on his shoulder. You can see she cares for him but probably doesn't quite know how much it burns him. But we see it in that brief moment where he goes back to the kitchen and the volume's turned up on the sound effects while we look at Odenkirk's face in close up. A nice moment.
And naturally he has no patience for Howard's (Patrick Fabian) emotional issues. At the same time, it does kind of show an odd compassion that Jimmy tries to motivate him by calling him a "shitty lawyer" but a good "salesman". The scene helps the climax feel very natural, when Jimmy gets his revenge on the three kids who mugged him. As I expected, he enlisted Huell (Lavell Crawford).
And it's satisfying. After all, the kids had robbed him once and were about to do it again. But tying them up and threatening them with a baseball bat does seem like the moment when he goes from being not a criminal lawyer but a "criminal/lawyer".