‘Better Call Saul’ episode 9 review: Breaking betrayal

Better Call Saul season 1Is Jimmy McGill good enough to be a lawyer? What is good enough to be a lawyer? After watching “Better Call Saul” Monday night, these are questions worthy of discussion.

For Chuck McGill, he follows the Tao of Good Lawyers, or what he believes it takes to be one: Busting your butt, following the rules, and being the poster child for all that is good. There is no grey; his feelings towards law are almost as black-and-white as his feelings once were about electricity. So to have him sell Jimmy out to Hamlin and set the stage for an epic betrayal was to him a move all about what was right. This all makes sense, and yet we sit here wondering if the move was somehow out of character. Why would Chuck of all people suddenly turn against a man who has cared for him and in many ways worked to cure him of his ailments, just for the sake of morality? It’s a move so selfish, it is the equivalent of any Slippin’ Jimmy antics. He is a mere servant of the Greater Good the way that Jimmy is a slave to the dollar.

Sure, a degree from American Samoa and dirty tactics are not the best way to rise to power, but they were for Jimmy a means to an end. He was out for money, but his actions against the nursing home conglomerate were to help people. He would’ve made money by giving Hamlin and co. the deal, but he would have lost the pride. This is the second time this season Jimmy has felt enormously screwed, with the first being when he willingly gave the Kettlemans’ money away to ensure that Kim and HHM were able to take on a case. He scratched their back, and they returned his good deed by punching him in the face.

Even Kim, who saw in Jimmy some sort of reckless idealism that she hoped she could replicate, proved in this episode that she did not want to.

For Jimmy, tonight’s episode was conformity vs. rebellion. While everyone wants to be the rebel, at the end of the day fear drives them aside. Jimmy is the difference. Ergo, Jimmy is also alone.

The only man on his level is Mike, who trades violence in the way Jimmy trades rule-breaking. His scenes in “Pimento” were brief but powerful, as we got a sense of how skilled and masterful he is in preparing for “missions.” This is why he becomes a fantastic career criminal; he is just as thorough as he was a cop.

The events of “Pimento” in the end were relatively simple, but we feel the consequences are not. This will shape the events to come, and turn a bean of hope for Jimmy into a stalk. Grade: A-.

(Photo: AMC.)

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