Better Call Saul recap: 'Witness'
Jimmy makes some important acquaintances, while Chuck's plans for the confession tape take shape
Break out your bingo cards, Saul Goodman fans: This week’s episode of Better Call Saul broke bad, in more ways than one. Not only did a few familiar faces from the world of Walter White make their hotly anticipated debuts in “Witness,” but our antihero himself took a huge step in the direction of becoming the Goodman we all know and love. Is this the start of Jimmy McGill’s final downhill slide?
This week, the action begins again at Chuck’s house, where the senior McGill is now keeping company behind locked doors with a solitaire-playing tough guy. Chuck’s intentions? Still a mystery, but they’re clearly sketchy, because he’s whistling, and whistling people are always up to no good; it is known.
Meanwhile, Mike reverse-stalks the men who were stalking him back to a power plant parking lot, where the tracker from his gas cap is handed off by a pair of puzzle enthusiasts to a man in a green Chevy Blazer. (The camera lingers on a quartet of circled puzzle words: COLUMBIA, ROCKET, ROCKS, TRAJECTORY. A Breaking Bad Easter egg, perhaps? Discuss!) A long night of driving ensues as the man in the Chevy visits a series of money drops (behold your future, Mike Ehrmantraut) and ultimately disappears into a building, where he leaves behind the tracker and (presumably) all his collected cash. Mike looks confused, but we don’t have to be; as he gives up on spying and pulls away, the camera pans out, the music swells to a thrilling climax, and all is revealed. He’s been parked outside Los Pollos Hermanos.
Cut from a familiar place to a familiar face: Back at the offices of Wexler & McGill, Francesca (she of the shredder and steel nerves) has made her appearance as an applicant for the firm’s receptionist job. Jimmy wants to hire her off the bat, though Kim has doubts, but Francesca’s ability to work Cracker Barrel references into every client phone call seals the deal — and the best joke of the episode, when Mike Ehrmantraut calls the office. (“This one really don’t wanna talk about Cracker Barrel,” she deadpans.)
Next stop: Los Pollos Hermanos, where Jimmy is spying a little too hard to help Mike discover the trajectory of the cash knapsack. The guy from the Chevy comes, eats, and leaves, leaving Jimmy confused— but not us! There’s a familiar figure cleaning tables in the background, and right around the time that Jimmy dives into the garbage thinking that Chevy Guy might have left something in there, that figure turns out (of course) to be Gus Fring. (Nice to see you, Gus! Has anyone mentioned that your face is looking wonderfully intact today?) Jimmy doesn’t make anything of the interaction — to him, it’s just a thrilling opportunity to do something more fun than drawing up wills for geezers — but he’s definitely been made. Shortly thereafter, Mike watches a black SUV speed into the Pollos Hermanos parking lot, then speed away, taking the tracker with it. And when he follows it, he winds up in the middle of nowhere, staring at the tracker that’s been left in the middle of the road.
With a cell phone on top of it.
The phone is ringing.
But this is where the Breaking Bad fan service ends and Jimmy’s unraveling begins. Ernie tells Kim about Chuck’s tape, and Kim tells Jimmy — who has been betrayed by Chuck before, but there’s something different about this. Jimmy doesn’t just look sad; he looks flayed. Kim has a million strategies for combating the tape in court, if need be, but Jimmy puts her off.
“Kim, I’m good,” he says.
But he’s not. He hasn’t just been betrayed; he’s been conned, and he can’t stand it. Which is how he comes to kick down Chuck’s door in the middle of the day, rampaging through the house — “You destroy our family,” he screams, “and for what?!” — forcing the desk drawer with a crowbar, and breaking the tape in two… right in front of Howard, Chuck, and the private investigator Chuck hired to witness precisely this scene.
“Howard, you were a witness to what happened here?” Chuck asks.
“I was,” says Chuck.
“So was I,” says the detective.
And so were we, and it must be the start of something. A new lease on life, perhaps… or at least a Cadillac with a vanity plate that reads LWYRUP.