Written by Jonathan Glatzer; Directed by Thomas Schnauz
This week’s episode, “Sabrosito,” was basically an episode of Breaking Bad at times, but I’m kind of okay with it. Better Call Saul has been mostly a slow-build, but we’ve reached the point where the tension is really ramped up—both for Mike and for Jimmy—and that is really coming out in the overall tone of the episode. Breaking Bad was characterized by the sort of anxiety-inducing moments that I felt at points throughout this episode. This started at the very beginning with the reappearance of Don Eladio.
I would imagine dealing with a powerful, ruthless a drug lord is always a stressful experience. It certainly was during the times Don Eladio showed up in Breaking Bad and this time is no different. Hector arrived at Don Eladio’s mansion with Ximenez, the driver of the ice cream truck. This puts us somewhere in the past, since Ximenez got shot out in the desert in last season’s finale.
Fun Fact: Turns out Hector’s drug front ice cream shop, El Griego Guiñador (Spanish for “The Winking Greek”) is named after Don Eladio. It’s kind of fun to watch Hector be a kiss ass giving tribute (in the form of a little bobble head doll called “Sabrosito”) since he’s always been so intimidating. Hector delivers a bunch of cash, but he’s soon shown up by Juan Bolsa who brings the money from Gus’s operation (along with a pretty sweet Pollos t-shirt). Gus has made a LOT more money, and it is neatly packaged compared to Hector’s rolled stacks in a duffel bag. Don Eladio is impressed and Hector is humiliated. Hector has always had a distaste for Gus—especially with regard to his sexuality—but now that Gus is out-earning him and making him look bad in front of the Big Boss, Hector hates him even more. Don Eladio even uses the bobble head to mock Hector in front of Juan.
Back in the present day, Mike watches as the DEA raids Hector’s ice cream shop. He calls Stacey and we learn she’s all set up in her fancy new house with Kaylee and hasn’t seen Mike in a while. She invites him over for dinner and he agrees but Stacey can tell there’s something not quite right with him. Even though Mike’s got the world’s best poker face, it’s obvious to her that he’s got something on his mind. He won’t share, of course, and they watch TV and eat ice cream in awkward silence.
Hector knows that Gus is somehow involved in the DEA bust. With Hector’s distribution network totally screwed, the field completely open for Gus to push him out. Hector decides his best move is to go to Los Pollos Hermanos in the middle of the day (with Nacho and Arturo as muscle) and demand to see Gus. At first poor Lyle, the assistant manager, takes the brunt of Hector’s abuse.
Lyle tells Hector that Gus isn’t there and tries to get him to leave but Hector has other plans. The customers are starting to notice that something shady is going down, with Nacho and Arturo posted up near the exits and Hector lighting a cigar directly in front of a No Smoking sign. A mother and her son try to leave and Arturo stops them but Nacho shakes his head and Arturo lets them leave. Hector pours himself a soda and walks back to wait for Gus in his office, and nothing poor Lyle can say will stop him. Nacho looks not entirely comfortable with the situation.
Gus is playing the upstanding citizen with the local firefighters when he gets the call that Hector has taken his employees hostage. When Gus arrives he acts like everything is totally chill and tells everyone to just go home for the day and they will be compensated for the full shift but they all look at him like he’s crazy because, like, they’ve been kept there by a bunch of scary dudes and Gus is acting like it’s all good. They all leave except for Lyle, who lingers and wants to make sure Gus is okay with these dudes or if he wants him to call someone. Gus tells him no and basically kicks him out for his own safety.
The second Lyle leaves Gus goes back to see Hector. Gus keeps his cool and tries to tell Hector that endangering his business (and civilian employees) is bad for the cartel but Hector has a plan for Gus. Instead of letting Gus push him out of the business, he’s going to force Gus to be his mule and distribute Hector’s product on the Pollos trucks. Hector starts to scrape shit off his shoe onto Gus’s desk, using Gus’s own pen, and still Gus keeps it together but you can see his blood boiling just under the surface. Gus is a very neat and tidy guy and Hector knows it must be driving him absolutely insane to watch what’s happening.
Gus says he’s got no room for Hector’s product on his trucks and asks if the order is coming from Don Eladio himself but it’s clear Hector is going rogue. He knows that they way to get at Gus is to threaten his business so he took over Pollos to flex some muscle and make it clear that if Gus doesn’t do what he tells him to do, he’ll be back. From what we know of future Gus, he doesn’t take kindly to threats, so I think Hector is well on his way to dinging that bell in his wheelchair.
The next day it’s business as usual at Pollos prepping for opening, except it’s not at all because everyone is tense and wants to know what the hell is going on. Gus arrives and gives his staff a comforting pep talk before they open. He explains away the incident by telling them a story about how they extorted money from him back when he opened his first store in Mexico but tells the staff that he refused to give them money again. He assures his staff that they won’t be back and it’s actually pretty convincing.
Meanwhile, Kim is hard at work trying to save Jimmy’s ass by calling every handyman in the phone book to try to figure out when Chuck is getting his door fixed. She finally finds the right place and learns when the appointment is and she cancels it. Kim is solidly on the shady side of things now (and she’s really good at it). She goes in to Jimmy’s office to give him the info (and help him a bit with his statement) and he’s just so impressed and in awe of her and he looks at her like this:
Kim is so ride or die this episode and I’m living for it (and clearly so is Jimmy).
Jimmy enlists Mike’s expertise to pose as the handyman that Chuck originally hired to fix his door. I was not expecting to get a Mike and Chuck scene but OH BOY was it enjoyable to watch Mike torturing Chuck with the sound of power tools.
I could have watched twenty hours of this honestly. Anyway, the door isn’t the real reason for Mike’s visit. Once he’s chased Chuck upstairs with his battery-operated machinery, he starts taking pictures around the house with a disposable camera. Remember disposable cameras? I do, because I’m old. Jimmy is very pleased with how the pictures turned out and is especially interested in one of a gas lantern sitting precariously atop a newspaper. This is a foreboding image, to say the least.
Mike also gives him a piece of paper with something written on it that he got from Chuck’s address book but we’re left hanging on what exactly that info is. Jimmy and Kim have a plan and it is unfolding in pieces. In addition to being “the Ansel Adams of covert photography,” Mike actually fixed the door to Chuck’s place. He comments on how it is nice to actually fix something for once.
Mike seems very pretty tired of doing shady shit for money, which is perhaps why he gave back the (very sizable) payment for the Mexico job. Gus goes to see Mike at the parking garage to get answers from him. He’s reading Handyman magazine and I can’t help thinking of an AU where Mike gets out of the game and becomes a different kind of Fixer. It would be like Home Improvement but watchable.
Gus thinks that Mike gave back the money because he’s still trying to rid himself of the guilt he feels over a civilian’s death but Mike claims it’s just because he doesn’t want to take money for doing shady shit and he wanted to just get Hector out of his head. Playing a large part in the demise of Hector’s business operations seems to be enough for Mike but Gus wants him on his team. He knows how skilled Mike is and, since Hector is putting pressure on him, he’s going to need someone with Mike’s skill set. Gus asks Mike to work for him and he doesn’t say no, just that it would depend on what the work is. Then out of basically nowhere, Gus tells Mike that the reason he stopped him from killing Hector was more than just business interests—it was because it was too easy a death.
This is classic Breaking Bad-era Gus coming out and I’m here for it. Mike may think he hates Hector Salamanca, but he’s not even remotely on Gus’s level. Don’t forget that Hector is the one that killed Gus’s partner back in the day. Gus certainly hasn’t forgotten.
It’s finally time for Jimmy’s hearing. Kim is representing Jimmy and Howard is representing Chuck. It’s great to see Kim holding her own against Howard and Chuck, especially after last season when they both (especially Howard) treated her like complete shit. It makes me think that maybe, for Kim, this isn’t all about helping Jimmy. It’s got to give her satisfaction to go up against Howard as his equal.
During the hearing, Chuck minces words over something that Kim had Jimmy change in his confession. Kim wanted him to say “damage the victim’s property” instead of “destroy,” as Jimmy had written it. This does not go unnoticed by Chuck, who believes it should read “destroyed a cassette tape”—as specific as possible. Kim is more than ready for this argument and they settle on “destroyed item of personal property.” I’m not sure if this is a major part of Kim and Jimmy’s plan or just something done to get Chuck worked up but either way, Kim seems fine with the end result.
Chuck and Howard may be satisfied with Jimmy’s confession but Prosecutor Hay is not. She senses his (fairly obvious) lack of remorse and forces him to apologize to Chuck on the spot. He does it, and it’s mostly a bullshit forced apology, but he does mean one thing that he says: “No one should treat his own brother like that. Not ever.” This is an obvious dig at Chuck himself, who is the World’s Worst Brother, and everyone in the room knows it except Hay.
Jimmy pays up what he owes as restitution, and Chuck and Howard are quick to point out the number is incorrect as it doesn’t include the cost of the destroyed cassette tape. It’s obvious that Chuck wants the destruction of the cassette tape on the record, for whatever sinister future plans he’s got, and he finally gets Hay to make note of the cassette via the adjusted restitution amount. Howard looks even more smug and self-satisfied than usual once they get it on the record.
The hearing ends and Jimmy storms off but Kim sticks around to tell Chuck and Howard that she’s putting them both on notice for the bar association hearing and plans to get the tape thrown out. She’s trying to get info about the tape out of them and Howard tries to shut her down but Chuck—always the arrogant asshole—admits that the tape Jimmy destroyed was the duplicate, and the original is locked up tight somewhere until the hearing.
Kim meets Jimmy downstairs and in literally the most satisfying episode ending ever, she tells him “Bingo” and they walk out like this:
Team McWexler has got a master plan and I cannot WAIT to find out what it is.