Better Call Saul Fall Review
Jimmy’s ‘Walter White’ moment in Better Call Saul episode Fall makes it really difficult to for him but makes for one compelling episode.
Written by Gordon Smith
Directed by Minkie Spiro
Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman: Bob Odenkirk
Kim Wexler: Rhea Seehorn
Mike Ehrmantraut: Jonathan Banks
Nacho: Michael Mando
Don Hector Salamanca: Mark Margolis
Chuck McGill: Michael McKean
Marco: Mel Rodriguez
Dr. Lara Cruz: Clea DuVall
Gus Fring: Giancarlo Esposito
Howard Hamlin: Patrick Fabian
Manual Varga: Juan Carlos Cantu
Lydia: Laura Fraser
Francesca: Tina Parker
Mrs. Landry: Jean Effron
Billy Gatwood: Chris Mulkey
Stuck in the mud after meeting with Billy Gatwood at his plantation, Kim finds a plank to stick underneath her tire, finds her way towards the rear of the car, and heaves. After a few pushes, the car is able to break free but she has to chase it down before it hits an oil pumpjack. Inches away, she’s able to stop the car before disaster struck. What better way to foreshadow and metaphorize her work?
Slip and Fall
Fall, aptly named after last week’s episode Slip, goes in a bit more on Kim and how much she’s overworking herself. Her meeting with Gatwood went well until her car got stuck in the mud. Yet, Kim’s problem is not relying on those around her and completing difficult tasks by herself. Aside from a few smoke breaks and a dinner out with Jimmy – where they thought of ways to swindle people – Kim hasn’t had any time off.
From working with Mesa Verde to assisting in compiling Jimmy’s case and now to Gatwood Oil, Kim has been working nonstop. She’s losing track of her days and she’s even been sleeping in the office. Seeing Jimmy with a bad back, Kim feels it’s her duty to keep a steady stream of income flowing because how little Jimmy may be able to bring in.
Crashing her car into a rock on her way to meet with Gatwood is the end result of overworking and no sleep. It’s a metaphor for Howard and Nacho, as well, as they make confrontations that could impact their lives.
Word of Warning?
Informing his father about Hector Salamanca, Nacho is met with hostility. Working for the mafia is a betrayal of trust between father and son. Proud to see his son work with him at his upholstery shop, Manual now sees his son taking advantage him, manipulating his trust for his own personal gain.
Howard, wanting to preserve HHM and preserve Chuck’s legacy at the firm, suggests Chuck should retire. Malpractice insurance is on the rise for all those who work at HHM and Howard has been doing damage control with clients after Chuck’s mental breakdown in Chicanery. The way Howard sees it, Chuck is becoming a liability. In Slip, Kim told Howard he was using Chuck’s disorder to his advantage until it served him benefits no longer. Seeing Chuck for what he is and not what he was, Howard is forced to make the choice to ask for him to retire. Building more confidence, Chuck counters with a lawsuit, which would probably bring HHM to close.
Jimmy, like Frankenstein, created a monster in Chuck. There’s also a part of Chuck that comes across as a dog preemptively biting a nurturing hand.
Wanting to prove to everyone he’s “okay” Chuck jumps to making rash decisions that may have implications that not only affect those around him but him as well.
Howard has stuck by Chuck’s side when he was at his lowest. After Chuck’s illness became public for all their clients to see, Howard’s suggestion of retirement may come as a slap in the face. Chuck wants to prove his self-worth at any cost, even if it means burning bridges along the way. The flashback in Chicanery showed he’d rather damage the relationship he had with his ex-wife rather than display any hint of illness.
Being pushed out is a hit on Chuck’s ego. Coming from the one person – other than Jimmy – who was there to care for him might come off as backstabbing. It may also let Chuck know Howard’s intentions. As per Kim, Howard uses Chuck’s illness to suit the needs of the company. Wanting to keep his head held high and be seen as the winner, Chuck’s actions could be taken as someone with too much pride. Coming to work for the first time in a long time and threatening litigation against two large companies won’t look good for his self-image.
Jimmy’s Bad Deed
Jimmy always manages to find a new low every week. Using his charm to a fault, he pits older ladies involved in the Sandpiper case to turn on the class representative, Mrs. Landry. There’s a line that’s difficult to cross and remain likable. Walter White crossed that line when he poisoned Brock in the fourth season of Breaking Bad. This is that moment for Jimmy.
Both Brock and Mrs. Landry are innocent bystanders to Walter’s and Jimmy’s schemes, respectively, but Jimmy’s scheme cuts deeper. While both use their wits (and scientific knowledge) to their advantage, Jimmy’s charm lets him sneak around in plain sight. Jimmy has a clear plan of action and the steps to execute said plan, playing both sides to his advantage.
What hurts most, in my second viewing, is the opening lines from Mrs. Landry. When asked to look through her case files, she tells him “of course, it’s you.” From his years of swindling and conning people out of their money, Jimmy taking advantage of people that look at him with such trust makes him the villain of his own story.
I cringed watching the episode, sinking lower and lower in my seat as Jimmy stooped lower and lower. I couldn’t fully get on board behind Jimmy, and I think that’s the point. Howard sums up Jimmy in this episode with his snap remark, “you’re transparent and pathetic.” But his actions are what make the show so compelling to watch, even if it uncomfortable. This is a moment that will be talked about by fans years down the line when discussing the show.