In Better Call Saul’s seventh episode, “Inflatable,” things really start to move forward for our favorite con man/lawyer, Jimmy McGill. Spoilers ahead!
This was a great episode. Almost as if creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan read my last review and accounted for my complaints, this episode takes the focus away from Mike and Kim and (finally) puts it on Jimmy. Those two appeared in the episode to be sure, but their roles were mostly to compliment scenes featuring Jimmy.
The only thing Mike did by himself here is buying that house for Stacey and Kaylee. What a nice guy. He’s probably going to have to break his little “no-killing” streak if he wants to pay for it, though.
More interesting was the Mike and Jimmy legal session, where Mike lied that the gun was not Tuco’s to lessen his jail sentence. This was his promise to Hector Salamanca, in exchange for $50,000 and the Cousins NOT killing his family. Yeah, Mike, I’d probably lie in that situation too! What surprised me is not how Mike lied about Tuco’s gun, but how Jimmy – doing yet another pro bono case for Mike – defended the possibility that the gun belonged to neither man. Maybe it fell out of a bird’s beak from above their heads, Jimmy defends.
The prosecutors didn’t believe them (who would?). Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of their inquisition as to what really happened with Mike, Nacho and Tuco.
I loved the clash of Jimmy telling Mike that this defense was free and Mike insisting that he bill him. That’s classic for both of them: Mike doing the honorable thing and Jimmy just enjoying a good session of blatant lying.
“Inflatable” opens with a flashback to Jimmy’s youth as he spends time in the family convenience store while his father mans the till. In a very “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” moment, we see a con man enter the store and convince the elder McGill to give him 10 bucks for his dying son or some such. Jimmy knows it’s a lie, tells his father that everyone is always taking advantage of him, but his dad is too kind. He gives him extra money, helps him start his car, etc.
Like the treasure hunter, fedora wearing badass from the River Phoenix flashback in Last Crusade, this man gives Jimmy a lesson he won’t soon forget. In a moment of privacy, the man tells Jimmy that there are “Two kinds of people in this world, wolves and sheep.” I don’t think it’s a secret that Jimmy has always strived to be a wolf. It’s emphasized by the next moment, when Jimmy steals money from the till. These are the origins of a tiny Saul Goodman here.
In modern day, Jimmy decides he’s had enough of a normal, straight-man life and does everything in his power to get himself fired from Davis & Maine; he can’t just quit, because that would null his salary bonus. This montage was genuinely hilarious. He dresses up in every color of tacky suit and tie imaginable, loudly juices fruit and veggies in the middle of the office, doesn’t flush the toilets to “preserve water” and publically attempts to learn the bagpipe. Yes, the bagpipe, also known as the most annoying instrument of all time. Odenkirk is a genius of comedic timing. And what do you know? He gets fired.
Kim Wexler crosses paths with Jimmy again, but not before she has a terrific interview with Schweikart & Coakley for a new job at their firm. All is going well for our ambitious lawyer; all except for a brief, awkward moment when she mistakes Schweikart for Howard of HHM. This moment took on more significance to me the more I thought about it. It echoed Jimmy’s earlier warning that taking this job would just be subbing out one Howard for another by a different name and that Kim would just be moving laterally in her career, not forward.
This made it all the more interesting when Jimmy comes to her with a business proposition: they should form a new law firm called Wexler & McGill. Together. Kim is rightfully suspicious of Jimmy’s intentions here, asking him what kind of lawyer he really plans to be (the legal kind or the Slippin’ Jimmy kind). He almost said he’d follow the rules, and I was so close to being annoyed at this decision.
Then, in a moment of great writing, he grips his pinky ring – his deceased buddy Marco’s ring – and admits to Kim that he shouldn’t do this if he can’t be himself, if he can’t be “colorful.” This made me much happier with the show’s progress, because had he gone to work with Kim and followed each of her rules, he’d be no closer to the Saul Goodman character we all want to see him become! Now he’s well on his way, dressing the part too.
Kim compromised with Jimmy’s offer in a very interesting way: she told him that while they shouldn’t be partners, they should work under the same roof and have separate practices. This allows their relationship to continue romantically, but not as much professionally, which is probably for the best given her ethics. I’m not so sure we’ve seen the end of the law partnership idea though, because the notion that both Kim and Jimmy quit law firms and went independent to pursue their “true passions” is too big a coincidence. They are more similar than I think we realize.
Overall, this was an excellent episode. No action or gunshots, but I never expected much of that in a legal-drama/comedy show anyway. Bob Odenkirk was hilarious and dramatic when he needed to be, and the plot really moved along for him. I hope the focus stays mainly on him for the remaining three episodes!
Some other great moments:
Click HERE to see a promo for next week’s episode!