Review: Better Call Saul – 1.8 – ‘RICO’

Photograph: Pexels
Photograph: Pexels

We have heard the chimes at midnight, have we not? Three to go and here we are.

Beginning with a flashback within a flashback is always one of the best treats of this show. It’s telling that it can add mileage to itself by doing this and makes BCS more than just a ‘when is Walter White going to appear’ show. The opening is brutal and explains a lot; it’s sweet and cruel and makes Howard Hamlin out to be the right bastard that’s always alluded to. You feel sorry for Jimmy McGill and it adds another layer to his character as well as to the relationship with his brother. Kudos to the cinematography when all you hear is the photocopier and Hamlin rejecting Jimmy’s job ideas and to the makeup department that makes the different ages of the character believability.

The recurring theme from this series, and what places it in direct opposition to BB, is Jimmy McGill’s wrestling with his sense of right and wrong. In this instance, it’s clear cut, defending a group of elderly people who are being exploited by an unscrupulous company. His zeal pursuing the case not only confirms the character is a competent lawyer but explicitly advances the mystery as to why he would then turn to being a less than savoury character for criminals and lowlifes.

At the other end of this is seeing Mike with his granddaughter Kaylee. The great meme online was always ‘someone loves something more than Mike loves his granddaughter’. It’s funny and has merit and was always going to have to be explored in BSCS. Curiously I can’t remember seeing his daughter-in-law in Breaking Bad, which makes me think there may very well be another loss to the big man that turns him to an even unhappier camper. What’s brilliant to see from this episode is that, as suspected, the motivation for Mike getting properly into a life of crime was for his granddaughter.

Developments with Chuck at the end are interesting but again it begs the question as to what is going on. What does it mean that he can leave the house? As the series draws to a close, more questions are being raised but for anyone who’s watched Breaking Bad that’s no surprise. What really caused his illness? I’ve complained previously complained that this isn’t Law and Order, but the legal aspect of taking on the dodgy company was brilliantly entertaining, particularly with the McGill brothers on form. Could they end up going into business together? Watch this space.

All in all, it’s a smooth episode with plenty of Saul moments, my favourite being him conducting a legal phone call in a rubbish bin.

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Alastair Stewart 188 Articles

Alastair Stewart is a freelance writer and journalist based in Edinburgh and Almería. He currently works as a journalist for The Sol Times and regularly writes about politics, history and culture for magazines across Europe.

He was formerly a press officer at the Scottish Parliament. He graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in International Relations.

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