Much of the criticism lobbed at the first two seasons of Better Call Saul were in regards to it’s slow pace as it doled out the story it was telling one piece at a time. While I don’t necessarily agree with those thoughts, after this week, it seems those criticisms won’t have to apply to this season.
“Witness” as an episode barrels ahead and plays with viewer’s expectations for the pace of this season. We’re expecting Chuck’s plan to come to fruition eventually but then the episode opens with him and a private investigator waiting on the chance that Jimmy will break in. We’re expecting the appearance of Gus Fring, as has been touted in the lead-up to this season but I’m not quite sure we were expecting his appearance to play out as it does.
Mike follows the guy tracking him and ends up at Los Pollos Hermanos, he knows something is up but can’t go inside himself without revealing that he is in on the tracker. So, he enlists Jimmy’s help and we get a long scene of Jimmy clumsily attempting to watch the man. Jimmy is nervous, unsure exactly what Mike is up to and clearly is not very good at keeping a low profile.
Then, Gus arrives. First, we see the noticeable yellow of his shirt, out of focus, as he goes about cleaning the tables and sweeping the floors. It’s a beautiful moment of tension building, Jimmy has no reason to pay attention to or suspect the manager of a fast food chain and so, when he sees the man leave with nothing having happened he freaks and begins checking the trash, drawing even more attention to himself. At this point, Gus finally appears and while Jimmy manages to get himself out of the situation in the moment, Gus isn’t so easily conned. Mike has been made and we’ll have to wait and see what exactly that means for him.
Elsewhere, Chuck’s plan falls into place almost as he expected. Ernesto shows up at Wexler-McGill and explains the situation, Kim assures Jimmy that Chuck has no legal standing to use the tape but legal standing isn’t what eats at Jimmy. It’s the betrayal of being manipulated by his brother, sure, Jimmy has essentially brought this on himself but he wasn’t expecting Chuck to stoop to his level. Jimmy committed the crime but Chuck committed the moral sin.
Chuck knows his brother though, it’s how his plan is able to work, he’s expecting Jimmy to break in and destroy the tape but he isn’t prepared for the rage Jimmy has over Chuck’s actions. Instead, he is put face to face with his brother and while Chuck may get the satisfaction of knowing that he was able to bring his brother down, potentially at least, there is still much more of this story to unfold.
The simmering tension between the McGill brothers has come to a head and where ever the show goes from here it is sure to not be good for either of them.
Bits ‘n Pieces
- Saul’s secretary, Francesca, makes her first appearance this week and it’s odd to see her upbeat and happy. She mentions wanting to “do some good” in her interview and that gives us a clue to why she might not be so happy eventually working for Saul.
- Kim becomes Jimmy’s legal client so that they can have confidentiality but I suspect helping Jimmy get out of this mess might be the breaking point for Kim.
- Jimmy brings up Rebecca, Chuck’s wife, and mentions her leaving him so it looks like there is more to explore in that area as well.
- “Perfection is the enemy of perfectly adequate.”
- “This one does not want to talk about Cracker Barrel.”
Jesse Swanson is a would-be writer, podcaster and funny guy who covers TV shows of all shapes and sizes. You can find him on Twitter @JesseSwanson