Written and Directed by Thomas Schnauz.
Things are not going well for Jimmy McGill. His court-ordered community service is not only disgusting but cutting into the time he needs to start building Saul Goodman Productions and turn a profit. He’s dealing with hours of picking up trash under a highway in the Albuquerque sun (which I can’t imagine smells great) and during his first day of community service he thinks he can get away with conducting business on his phone while he works. The guy in charge of the time cards has other ideas. He only gives Jimmy credit for half an hour of a four-hour day. Jimmy tries to contest it but no dice.
This is really just a taste of how Jimmy’s life is going to go in this episode. He does a bit of a quick change in the Parks Department parking lot (complete with a wet nap shower) and hauls ass to a commercial shoot for Duke City Recliners. He’s got the UNM film crew with him and “Saul” is trying to get the business owner to shoot several commercials instead of just the one, even though the guy already said he can’t afford “the elite package.” Jimmy is really hustling here because the ideal situation, obviously, is to shoot the rest of the commercials he needs to cover his costs and fill his air time with a single business and one large payment.
But that doesn’t happen, and after paying Camera Guy, Sound Guy, and Makeup Girl, he’s left with a little over a hundred bucks. This doesn’t nearly cover Jimmy’s expenses, which Kim later lays out for him as they do their accounting for the month. She is ahead and Jimmy wants to even up with her, which takes $1,586. He pulls out a wad of cash from a bank envelope and hands it over so he’s square as far as their shared expenses go. Kim asks if he emptied his bank account to get the money and he says no (which is almost definitely a lie).
Jimmy is desperate to cling to the idea that nothing has to change because of his suspension—that he can hold up his end of their original bargain and they can keep things (except for his current profession) the same: same office space, same fifty-fifty partnership. And he’s willing to work his ass off in the commercial business to get it done. Only problem is, the big money clients just aren’t there. He’s drowning, and he can’t admit it to Kim out of fear of disappointing her.
Daniel Wormald (aka Mr. Squat Cobbler) returns in this episode, coming back home to a new super-security system. Of course, it’s no match for Nacho, who is sitting on his couch waiting for him. He scares the shit out of Daniel, who assumes he’s there to rob him or beat his ass or something worse. But that’s not Nacho’s game. He’s gone to Daniel because he needs more pills, but this time it’s not oxy. He hands Daniel the capsule that he took from Hector and tells him he needs the capsules empty, before they are factory sealed, with the same exact markings. Nacho will pay $20K for them and Daniel agrees, more out of fear than greed.
Mike digs around in his secret stash of money and pulls out a wad of cash to buy supplies to help build the playground—the project Stacey volunteered him for. At the job site, he is working solo when he’s approached by Stacey and a few members of the group who want to help. He gives the two men a job mixing concrete but says he’s got nothing for Anita (played by Tamara Tunie of Law and Order: SVU fame). She’s insistent on helping and Mike gives her a job, and they do some formal introductions. Mike seems to warm up to her a bit (as much as Mike really warms to anyone).
Mike goes to work the late shift at the parking lot and finds Daniel there in his car, waiting for him. Daniel wants to hire Mike as his muscle again but Mike wants absolutely nothing to do with it (and thinks Daniel shouldn’t either). When Daniel tells Mike that the deal involves Nacho, it piques his interest and he wants to know what Nacho wants. Mike finds out that Nacho is in the market for some nitroglycerin pills and now he’s even more insistent that neither he nor Daniel be involved. Mike knows there’s only one possible reason Nacho would want black market nitroglycerin pills and his name is Hector Salamanca. He tells Daniel to get out of it somehow and that he’s not getting involved any further.
Kim arrives at Mesa Verde for a meeting and (after a quick 5-minute nap in her car), she meets up with Paige in the lobby. Paige tells her that she read the transcripts of the hearing and she’s absolutely thrilled about the fact that Kim and Jimmy destroyed Chuck on the stand. To Paige, Chuck is just another obnoxious, privileged old white dude who has disrespected her and talked down to her during her career, so she’s over the moon that he got what she believes he deserves. Kim is visibly uncomfortable as Paige mocks Chuck and laughs about how Kim and Jimmy set him up perfectly for his fall. I can’t blame Paige for being happy about it. Chuck treated her horribly and she doesn’t know the full story. But Kim does know, and it’s obviously bothering her.
She ends up snapping at Paige during their meeting. She actually has a Chuck moment where she treats Paige like she’s an idiot, but the difference is that Kim immediately acknowledges she was wrong and unprofessional and apologizes to Paige, who accepts it and tells her to forget about it. Kim is burned out and stressed out and Paige can see she’s been working hard. Kim is only human and everyone has one of those moments every now and again, but at least Kim can admit when she’s wrong and own it. Paige respects that, on top of which they are friends in addition to working together. Paige is willing to let it go and move on but Kim needs to unburden herself for a moment and address the Chuck thing. She opens up to Paige about her guilt over what they did to him, and only then can she move on and get back down to business.
I think this is likely the first time that Kim has said this out loud. I don’t think she has admitted her guilt and shame to Jimmy, or maybe even to herself until this point. Jimmy isn’t the only one not being fully honest and open in their relationship.
After another garbage pickup session, Jimmy takes another wet nap shower in the parking lot and meets up with his film crew. The Esteem finally dies in the parking lot (and I’m shocked it’s lasted even that long) so they are forced to take the bus to their next client: ABQ In Tune. The business owners are having second thoughts about doing the commercial because they don’t think they are going to see any sort of significant return on their investment (especially during the Murder She Wrote time slot). Their concerns are reasonable, to be honest, but Jimmy isn’t willing to give up so easy. He tries his best to sell them but it’s not working and eventually he tells them that he’ll do the whole thing for free as long as they agree that, if the spot brings in new business, they will pay full price for the other commercials.
It’s a last-ditch effort to get their business, and one that is doomed to fail. Even the student film crew can see how desperate Jimmy is as he pays them out of his own pocket, and the Makeup Girl even tries to give him the money back. He won’t take her money, though, and he ends up sitting alone on the curb outside ABQ In Tune wondering how the hell he’s gonna dig himself out of the hole he’s found himself in.
Mike is back in the support group meeting and Anita is telling the story of how she finally managed to give away her husband’s clothes after he passed. She mentions that she kept his uniform and Mike assumes her husband was a police officer. He approaches her after and asks her about it and she tells him that he was a Navy officer. Mike learns that Anita’s husband disappeared without a trace one day when he was hiking and that she never found out what happened to him. Mike and Anita seem to have a connection and her story really seems to affect Mike—so much so that he agrees to help Daniel out with the Nacho situation. Maybe he’s imagining Nacho “disappearing” if he screws up the Salamanca hit, or maybe he’s just still carrying the guilt of the innocent bystander that got killed behind his heist and “disappeared” into a shallow grave in the desert. Either way, he calls Daniel and tells him he’s in.
Kim is outside the office smoking, stressed as hell, and Jimmy insists that they go out and blow off some steam. The end up at the bar where they scammed KENWINS as Viktor and Giselle St. Claire. Jimmy is paying for drinks, spreading the bill over several credit cards, and Kim asks him if he’s maxing his cards out. He clearly is but he won’t admit it and just tells her he’s “spreading his points around.” Kim isn’t fooled at this point. She knows Jimmy is going broke but she lets him keep up the illusion for the moment.
The two of them sit and look around for different marks, discussing the different scams they could pull. It’s all hypothetical since they (especially Jimmy) are in no position to be pulling con-jobs on people, however minor. Kim is just having fun with it but Jimmy is taking it more seriously, especially when he overhears a man at a nearby table being an absolute prick to a waiter. The guy is a lot like Chuck in the way that he’s talking to the guy, and Jimmy starts to get serious about wanting to pull a fake credit card scam. Kim can sense the change in him and she doesn’t like what she sees.
There’s a moment after that when Kim wants to open up to Jimmy about what’s bothering her but she’s hesitant. She asks Jimmy if there was another way they could have handled things and Jimmy tells her that she needs to forget about Chuck, that everything that happened was Chuck’s own fault and that she shouldn’t give it another thought. I’m not sure what response she wanted from him but it seems like that’s certainly not it. Maybe she wanted him to acknowledge that he, too, is feeling some sense of guilt about what they did but there is no trace of that in him. Jimmy is still angry and he has no room for any sort of pity for his brother. He truly believes that Chuck deserved it where Kim no longer feels that the ends justify the means. This scene, more than anything else we’ve seen from Kim and Jimmy, demonstrates that they are no longer on the same page. Team McWexler, who came so strong in the earlier episodes of this season, is starting to crack.
Daniel and Mike meet up with Nacho for the exchange but Mike has a few things to say to Nacho before the deal goes down. Mike knows the pills are for Hector and he wants to know exactly how Nacho plans to pull the switch. Nacho tells Mike that he’s got no choice but to take Hector out because if he doesn’t, Hector is going to try to use his dad’s business as a drug front. Since his dad is a law-abiding citizen, Nacho believes he’ll go to the cops and get himself killed. Mike checks Nacho’s gas cap to see if he’s being tracked by Gus and tells him that he doesn’t even know who he’s dealing with. Mike advises Nacho that, if he’s going to make the switch, he’d better switch the pills back afterwards. He tells him that before they do the deal, he needs one more thing from him. We don’t find out exactly what that is but I’m sure we will soon enough.
Jimmy goes to the Santa Rosa Insurance Group to try to get a refund for the year of malpractice insurance he’s already paid for.When Jimmy gives the insurance agent his name, Chuck’s name pops up on the computer first. He tries to get her to give him a refund but it’s a futile effort since insurance companies aren’t in the business of refunding money for unused coverage. Not only is Jimmy not getting his money back, but when his license is reinstated, his premiums are going to go up 150%. This is the last straw for Jimmy and he absolutely loses it and starts to cry.
He starts to unload on the insurance agent about everything that’s going wrong in his life and it seems sincere at first, but then he starts talking about Chuck’s illness and his mental breakdown in court and it’s obvious that at least part of this breakdown is for show. The insurance agent makes note of the things he’s said about Chuck, which is going to royally screw him on his own insurance premiums (and maybe even result in loss of coverage completely). As Jimmy leaves the agent’s office, he’s got an angry look on his face that quickly turns into a “Screw You Chuck” smile.
While some of Jimmy’s emotion was probably real, he made the most of the opportunity to really stick it to Chuck. In Jimmy’s mind, if he’s getting screwed on insurance, Chuck should be, too. It’s not enough for Jimmy to have destroyed Chuck at the hearing. As his own life spirals out of control, he’s completely fixated on making sure Chuck continues to suffer as he is. He told Kim to let it all go and stop thinking about Chuck, but he’s not taking his own advice. We’re seeing Saul come out in bits and pieces and it leaves me wondering: what will be the thing that finally ends Jimmy McGill as we know him?