Better Call Saul cocked a loaded gun in episode three's "Amarillo,"

The Armadillo from Amarillo

Last week, I mentioned that I was alright with Better Call Saul increasing the pace a little. Even though I’m not sure “Amarillo” itself did that, it certainly cocked the gun that is sure to go off next week. Jimmy’s superiors will see him for who he really is, and Mike will get drawn into a job that comes with “better pay.”

But let’s back up. I’m glad that the show wasted no time establishing that Jimmy will always fall back on less-than-legal means to achieve what he wants. That’s a given at that point. Even though taking the time to bribe a bus driver in order to explain to the elderly Sandpiper residents that they’re being ripped off sounds nice, it’s actually grounds for disbarment. He almost gets away with it, too, if it wasn’t for his brother Chuck lingering on the impressive figures he’s pulling in.

Thus, Jimmy needs a new way of attracting these clients. A legal way. When he has the idea for a commercial, his boss seems interested, and he quickly sets to work. What he finds is a precedent of bold white text, droning narration, and a background of blue waves that took forever to get just right. So what does he do? Strikes out to make an Oscar-worthy advertisement that he knows probably won’t get approved.

Except it works.

Watching those phones light up as Jimmy gazes out across the desks is one of the best moments of the episode. He can do it. He can do it legally. He could do it cleanly, if it weren’t for the fact that he forgot one teensie, tiny, problem.

better call saul s02e03 amarillo review

I wanted to see a resolution regarding his boss this episode, but the fact that they decided to end on a cliffhanger of sorts makes me confident whatever Jimmy has coming is going to be a permanent change. Maybe not disbarment, but either a real scare that will force him to make some professional changes or a validation of his actions that will let him take bolder steps.

Speaking of bolder steps, Mike has his own problems to sort out. Firstly, his daughter in law Stacey is convinced she’s heard gunshots in the middle of the night multiple times. Upon investigating, it’s clear she’s either still in a state of trauma, or she really doesn’t know the difference between gunshots and newspapers hitting the street. Regardless, Mike always wants what’s best for Stacy and his granddaughter and lets them stay with him.

Safety is a relative term for Mike, who decides against his initial judgment to take a job with “better pay.” Almost unsurprisingly, this places him again in the path of Nacho, who needs someone to go away, of course. It’s unclear who exactly he needs gone, but it will be interesting to see how far this Mike will go for pay. Ripping him from the relative moral safety of just being a bodyguard and putting him in the position of a hitman places him on track to work for Gus. Who knows how soon, or if, the two will be introduced during this series.

“Amarillo” didn’t really tell us anything new about these characters or their situations, but it seemed to wind up a major punch that will land next week. We’re heading into the meat of the season, and it’s time for BCS to take us someplace new and unfamiliar.

Odds & Ends:

  • There was extreme irony to seeing a CBC Settlement Funding commercial that was just like the one Jimmy watched, but worse.
  • “I’m ready for my closeup” – simple trope, effective.
  • Notice the armadillo on Jimmy’s bolo tie when he was on the bus? I wonder if that was an Armadillo from Amarillo reference.
  • Is that children’s book actually popular, or did I just think it sounded like it would be? Because it is a children’s book, I just don’t know if it’s popular.

Steve grew up reading Stephen King as a toddler so who knows. He’s on Twitter. 

Steve Dixon

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