When the chips are down, what other options would you pursue to get the results you want? For Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) that means intimidation. For Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) that means relying on your cunning and wit. Sabrosito opens with a flashback showing the (not so) humble beginnings of Ximenez Lecerda (Manuel Uriza), the truck driver Mike feels an ounce of remorse for his death in the season two finale, under Salamanca’s wing. In the presence of Don Eladio (Steven Bauer), Salamanca’s large presence in Better Call Saul shrinks; being outdone by Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) in both the amount of money brought in and presentation riles his feathers. Flash forward to the present as Mike (Jonathan Banks) witnesses the police seizing drugs and property from Salamanca’s money laundering ice cream business and everything, so far, for Mike is content. A night spent with his daughter-in-law and granddaughter are just the icing on the revengeful cake.
Salamanca and Fring share the same cartel but operate separate entities, two separate cash flows for Don Eladio, each vying for the respect of the head of the cartel. The flashback may not show Hector as a Don just yet but we do see a bit of a sibling rivalry between him and Fring. Fring’s presentation of money is neat, symbolizing the man who collected it, someone who yearns for more power. Though Hector, in present times, may be a don that rivalry between them both run deep. That play of intimidation may work for those customers and employees of El Pollos Hermanos, but it does little to sway Fring, at least that’s the perception of things.
Jimmy and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) have plans to take down Chuck (Michael McKean), though the full extent is not known; one can infer, however. Better Call Saul thrusts you in the middle of the action without resorting to explain every minute detail. Writer Jonathan Glatzer has the audience piece together Jimmy’s ploy creating an air of suspense and mystery. Unlike other courtroom dramas, of which one-half of Better Call Saul’s cloth is cut, legal jargon is thrown into conversations without the need to explain everything. Watching Chicago Justice for weeks now, the courtroom drama hinges on trapping someone in a lie of which the audience already knows because of how details are explained several times by multiple characters. The mediation in Sabrosito lasts about ten minutes. Every second that ticks away the scene builds with more tension and anxiety and intrigue. The inclusion of Kyra Hay (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) stacks the odds against Jimmy; Hay walks into the room and only acknowledges Chuck and Howard (Patrick Fabian).
Mike’s meet with Gus is by far one of best scenes of the season. Esposito’s and Banks’s exchange shows a mutual respect for each other. With haunting strings slowly creeping in when Gus asks Mike to work him and dying down when Mike is about to speak only to pick right back up again after Mike’s “that’ll depend on the work” is a brilliant choice in that final mix. Whether it was director Thomas Schnauz or editor Kelley Dixon, those music cues were sheer brilliance, not be to undercut by the haunting backward violins layered over the scene as Gus exits in his car.
Jimmy’s plan to get back at his brother could mean proving entrapment, showing the New Mexico bar Chuck knowingly incited Jimmy purposefully to act unlawfully. Mike’s inclusion in the plan didn’t just stop at taking photos of the interior and the damage to the door but to find the address to a possible safety deposit box with the original cassette recording. Here’s a theory: Jimmy’s plan of entrapment isn’t the only trick up his sleeve. Replacing the tape with a book-on-tape of The Adventures of Mabel would show Chuck’s incompetence in the eyes of his peers; the photo of the lantern atop old newspapers, in addition to his condition, could be spun to make Chuck mentally incompetent. The case could be thrown out and Slippin’ Jimmy could walk away with his license to practice intact, though it’s definitely not that cut and dry.
One line that stood out to me was Mike’s comment, “It’s nice fixing things for a change,” which sent a shiver down my spine with flashbacks to Say My Name, his final Breaking Bad episode.