'Better Call Saul' season 4 episode 4 review: Mike shows a rare emotional side while Kim tries to rediscover her love for law
'Talk' is one of those rare 'Better Call Saul' episodes that has a spattering of violence, and also sees Jimmy boot up his sales skills.
'Something Beautiful' kicked off in the most quintessential Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould way possible: 5:49 minutes of nothing but silence. But then, sometimes, silence speaks volumes and this case, it spelled doom for Nacho (Michael Mando). The Salamanca crony's scheme to poison and kill Hector (Mark Margolis) was uncovered by Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) in 'Breathe,' resulting in him having to shift allegiance to the Los Pollos Hermanos supremo and putting him in more danger than ever before.
Episode 3 also saw the return of our favorite meth cook, and no, we don't mean Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Gus has a meeting with a special chemist friend, and viewers are given the first glimpse of Gale Boetticher (David Costabile). 'Breaking Bad' fans will remember the overenthusiastic, sprightly man as Walter's protege, though he does meet quite the unfortunate end. He looks certain to play a role in the fourth season of 'Better Call Saul,' but to what capacity remains the question.
Elsewhere, Jimmy had eased himself into his Slippin' Jimmy persona. A ploy to steal the valuable 'Bavarian Boy' doll he spied at the copier store does not go as smoothly as he would want it to go, but still succeeds thanks to some timely intervention by the lawyer. As he disappears into the night, getting all chummy with his newest accomplice, one can't help but feel that this is the sign of things to come. Saul Goodman's is about to make a grand entrance into our lives.
However, there was possibly cause for concern for Kim (Rhea Seehorn). The living embodiment of calmness in the past three seasons, we get to see her break apart for what was the first time in series. The fact that she's absent from 'Breaking Bad' point towards her eventually being written out of the show and as the pressure of representing Mesa Verde builds on her, we see her unraveling at the seams. A staunch proponent of the law — except for those few occasions she loiters around with Jimmy — how much longer before her relationship with Jimmy implodes, especially considering his recent dishonest ways.
Similar to its predecessor, 'Talk' would unfurl with lengthy silence; 4:55 minutes to be exact (i.e., if you don't count one small sentence in between). As the first segment closes out, the camera zooms in on a name, Matty, Mike's (Jonathan Banks) deceased son.
Mike shows a rare emotional side
"You wanted me to talk. I talked," sighs Mike as the scene fades and the camera cuts to one of Fring's henchmen delivering a parcel of meth to one of the cartel's customers. A puzzled beginning, it was addressed in a later segment in the episode. If asked to describe Mike, the words that immediately spring into mind are: stoic, meticulous, suspicious, prepared, and a plethora of others that hint towards his background as a former police officer. However, the word that you most definitely do not think of is emotional.
From what we know from previous seasons, Mike lost his son, Matty, because of an internal quarrel with corrupt police officers within the department. It's a wound that, despite being years old, is still quite fresh in his mind. His daughter-in-law Stacey (Kerry Condon) and granddaughter Kaylee (Abigail Zoe Lewis) help take his mind off the pain, but in the end, they're just a plug holding back a dam. As Stacey narrates in group therapy about how she feels guilty that she forgot her deceased husband existed for a few hours, we see Mike's face contort in anger. It wasn't much — a twitch of the eyebrow here, a scowl there — but it portrayed a side of him that we never got to see before.
Violence, so much violence
'Breaking Bad' had its fair share of violence — Walt dissolving the body in the bathtub, him running over the gangsters, Gus slitting his henchman's neck with a box cutter, Hector blowing himself up — but 'Better Call Saul' had proven to be relatively less gruesome. However, one gets the feels that the entrance of murder twins Leonel and Marco Salamanca (Daniel and Luis Moncada) would signal a change in that regards; after all, all their previous appearances were a precursor to some stomach-churning savagery and barbarity, so why would this occasion prove any different?
As they haul Nacho's bloodied and battered self into their car and enquire who did this to him, the viewers get the feeling it was revenge, waiting to happen. And of course, thanks to Fring's scheming, that revenge would be directed towards the cartel of his choice. As luck would have it, it would be the Espinosas who would be the first-hand witness to the killer twins' wrath.
Ignoring Nacho's pleas to wait for back up, they stride into enemy territory with rifles in hand and almost clean up the entire place on their own. As the camera pans, we see the extent of destruction: burning cars, the pool of blood, and 20-odd corpses at the scene.
'Better Call Saul' has its own kind of charm, and I must admit that this level of excitement is always welcome.
Kim is trying to rediscover her love for the law
In the previous episode's review, I had mentioned how Kim seemed disillusioned about her profession. She was distant as Kevin (Rex Linn) gives her a tour of Mesa Verde's ambitious expansion plans for the future, and her uncontrollably breaking down at the end of the episode was at odds with her character as well. But quite possibly the most curious bit was when she asks her new paralegal to drop her off to court, begging the question of whether she had secretly taken up another equally intriguing case.
'Talk' addresses this peculiarity, with Kim being shown to be intently listening in on trivial misdemeanor cases in the courtroom. A conversation with the judge in his private chambers reveals a possible reason for her doing so, with the judge venturing whether she was trying to rediscover her love for the law. He also warns her to stop loitering around in his court, telling her he would put her on one of the cases if he saw her again.
Kim shrugs and responds in the affirmative, but is later seen sitting in the courtroom once again, defiantly staring down the judge. It is quite a curious turn of events, and her trying to reignite her passion is still pretty much only a theory, but we may get to see the real reason soon enough.
Jimmy showcases his sales skills
The New Mexico Bar's decision meant that Jimmy was banned from practicing law for all of one year, giving him the opportunity and the time to get back into some of his old, illicit ways. A scheme to steal the 'Bavarian Boy' succeeds, but it's clear that our favorite criminal lawyer has other plans in store as well. But at his core, he's still a well-meaning person. Having rejected a sales position at a cell phone store initially, he feels guilty for lying to Kim and backpedals to take up the position.
If you asked fans why we liked the character so much, you'd get n different answers, but the most common one would arguably be his smooth-talking. One of his most iconic dialogues has him claiming, "I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner and it worked, because I believed it," and there are umpteen other examples where he manages to charm his way into the hearts of those he's trying to impress. His new job, however, is seeing those skills go to waste. The shop is practically deserted, and with Jimmy being as restless as he is, decides to take matters into his own hands. His marketing flair is on full display as he paints up an ingenious slogan for the store. Don't be too surprised to see a line out the door when 'Quite a Ride' rolls around on September 3.