[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 4, “Hit and Run.”]
After last week’s seismic installment, Episode 4 of Better Call Saul was a bit more easygoing, even if things grow more and more uneasy for everyone. As the old saying goes, it’s not paranoia if someone is actually out to get you, and while things actually do seem to be going pretty well for Kim Wexler and Saul Goodman, attorneys-at-law, Kim at least is not sleeping easy these days.
The centerpiece scam this time focused on Jimmy and Kim’s ongoing campaign to ruin Howard Hamlin’s reputation, which pays off last week’s key-copying adventure. While a blissfully ignorant Howard sits down for therapy, Jimmy uses his duplicate key for Howard’s car for a wild little bit of sketch comedy involving a prostitute and the street right where Kim and our old pal Cliff happen to be eating together. Cliff has no trouble identifying Howard’s car, adding to the pile of evidence created by Jimmy and Kim that something’s Not Right with the lawyer.
But, in addition, we get a peek at just how paranoid Gus is feeling about a vengeful Lalo Salamanca potentially being out there on the loose, and Jimmy personally takes several steps closer towards his inevitable future. Rhea Seehorn makes her directorial debut here, and nails it with aplomb.
Remembering What Hasn’t Happened Yet (The “Breaking Bad” Tie-In)
Everyone knows it’s Wendy! Julia Minesci returns to the Gilliverse (as some have referred to these two shows plus El Camino) as the world’s most unfortunate sex worker — though she’s looking a little better than she will in Breaking Bad (after, one presumes, a few extra years of meth addiction), her preferred haunt remains the Crossroads Motel.
Wendy isn’t the only returning Breaking Bad guest star — also making an appearance here is a hapless criminal named Spooge (David Ury), who we meet as a prospective client of Saul’s but whose ultimate fate we already know: He’ll eventually become the meth addict whose head gets crushed by an ATM by his unnamed partner, in Season 2 Episode 6, “Peekaboo.”
Also, shoulda pointed this out weeks ago, but let us not overlook that Kim has chosen El Camino Dining Room as her “office” — this is a real Albuquerque-area eatery, so the name is likely just a nice coincidence… except is anything on this show ever really a coincidence?
And finally, of course, the episode ends with Jimmy meeting with Kim at the future offices of Saul Goodman — offices Breaking Bad viewers will come to remember quite well.
Achievements in Cinematography
There’s a great one-er towards the end of this episode that lays out the depths of Gus Fring’s planning, as we follow him from his own modest home at 1213 Jefferson St NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110 (should you want the complete address) through a secret tunnel in the basement to the house next door, where a very lowkey (and likely well-compensated) neighbor couple are playing host to a large-scale surveillance operation on Gus himself. Mike’s doing his best to do his job — keep Gus safe — but all the precautions in the world
It’s a shot that looks relatively simple on the surface but when you think about the execution, it’s dazzlingly complex: When Jimmy’s making off with Howard’s car, a camera mounted to the door of the sedan doesn’t just capture Jimmy driving away, but also the moment when Jimmy stops driving briefly to position the cone inside Howard’s original parking space. A standout bit of framing and focus that could be easy to overlook, but adds so much to the sequence — quintessential Better Call Saul.
It’s All About the Details
There are two key bits in this episode that bear noting, as we prepare for the endgame: The first is the revelation that Gus Fring, always dressed to perfection, wears… clip-on ties? That feels like a decidedly out-of-character choice for a fastidious man like himself, until one considers that of course a man wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a gun in an ankle holster would prefer clip-on ties — as a real tie would present a strangling risk.
Also, if that stuffed owl in a graduation cap that Jimmy tries to give the courthouse clerk looks familiar, it’s because you first saw it in the season premiere cold open, as one of many, many items being packed up by the movers deconstructing the home of Saul Goodman. Guess he never made up with the staff at the courthouse, at least to the point where they started accepting his gifts again.
(For the record, the courthouse clerk’s official character name is Contract Counsel Administrator, and the actress playing her is named Nadine Marissa, which is perhaps not information you needed, but information that took a little time to confirm, so now I share it with you.)
On The Journey From Jimmy to Saul
While “Hit and Run” might feel like a comparatively quiet episode in comparison to, say, Episode 3, it does mark a pretty huge moment for the series as a whole, as it’s getting harder and harder to think of Jimmy McGill as anything other than Saul Goodman.
Thanks to his involvement with Lalo getting his freedom, the Albuquerque legal community has turned its back on Jimmy, with even his fellow lawyers ostracizing him at lunch. But that doesn’t seem to bother him, once a flood of paying clients interested in his reputation start swarming into the office.
“What kind of asshole moves a cone?”
There’s a beautiful irony to Jimmy complaining about the audacity of some unknown asshole moving the cone which Jimmy was using to cover up a literal car theft. (Yes, a temporary car theft, but still.) No honor among thieves, of course.
In Conclusion, Your Honor
Perhaps the biggest shock of the episode comes with the reveal of a patient Mike sitting at the counter of El Camino Dining Room, waiting for the perfect moment to talk to Kim about the men she correctly assumed were following her. Not just because of the realization that yes, after over five seasons of television, this is the first time these two series regulars have talked, but because it means the lines between worlds have now officially vanished.
Kim is now in Mike’s world, which means she’s now in Gus’s world, and that’s a very, very scary place to be — even if Mike thinks she’s made of “sterner stuff” than her husband. Jimmy might be telling himself that everything’s going to be okay; believing that might be his superpower. Meanwhile, Kim’s superpower is being very very aware of the reality of the situation, and knowing that the sky might be about to fall down.
Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 9:00 p.m. on AMC.