TV Review: Better Call Saul: Episode 7: Bingo (SPOILERS)
This recap/review of Better Call Saul is written with the expectation that everyone who reads this and comments below will have seen the episode already. Thus, if you've yet to see the episode in question, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. SPOILERS!
EPISODE: Season 1, Episode 7: Bingo
PLOT: The reappearance of the Kettlemans forces Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) to make a tough decision.
REVIEW: It's inevitable that episode seven of Better Call Saul couldn't help but be a bit of a comedown as last week's edition of the series, focusing on Mike's troubled back story, just might be one of the greatest hours of TV in I dunno ever? This week's episode was a far lighter affair and more in line with how the rest of Better Call Saul's first season has been and that's not a bad thing. It's too early in the show's history to give us a solid gut-punch each and every week. That will likely come later if at all. Let's not forget, Better Call Saul is not trying to be another Breaking Bad, although last week's episode came pretty close.
However, while the focus is back on Jimmy McGill, Mike is by no means sidelined, and the early scenes pick right back up on where we left him last week. He's confessed to his widowed daughter-in-law that he murdered his son's killers, leaving his freedom in her hands. Obviously she's going to stay quiet, and by the episode's end he's in classic Mike mode, running off-the-books jobs for Saul, while looking on in bemusement at the stupidity of the criminals he's outwitting.
This is an especially important episode for Jimmy and Kim's (Rhea Seehorn) relationship, with him doing his best to send the Kettlemans back to HHM in order to save her place at the firm, even though he really wants her to join him in his new elder law practice. Part of this is also due to Julie Ann Emery's blackmailing Betsy Kettleman, who threatens to blow the whistle on how they bribed him, although in the end he masterfully turns the tables back on her, threatening to implicate her in the scam landing her some jail time. Emery's acting is great here, particularly when she realizes that Jimmy's gotten his hands on all the money. Amazingly, she makes Betsy's comeuppance feel like a hollow victory, as you can't help but feel sorry for her. It also just occurred to me this week that she was on Fargo last season opposite Odenkirk as Sheriff Thurman's widow. One lingering question when Jimmy has Mike steal the money back (set to a groovy jam by series composer Dave Porter) why does he give back his share when he's already spent some of it? Is that that he's still trying to do the right thing?
In the end, Jimmy's better nature winds up assuring that Kim won't join him in his firm, and the last scene is a great one, where he trashes the corner office he would have given her in an uncharacteristic show of rage (even on Breaking Bad, he rarely lost his temper). Part of his rage here also seems to be at the fact that without his bribe, he likely won't be able to buy the respectability he's long coveted via a swanky new office. Like everything else, this puts him one step closer to becoming Saul Goodman, and one step closer to truly 'Breaking Bad' which is a precipice both him and Mike seem to be on the verge of going over together.
Breaking Bad Crossover: Not much, although Mike's job on the Kettlemans is classic BB-style Mike. The caricature on Jimmy's bingo cards also seems like an early variation on what will become Saul's eventual, cheesy logo.