Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow…

I love how on Better Call Saul, and it was the same for Breaking Bad, you can watch an episode while the episode’s title lingers in the back of your mind as a mystery. Case in point: I knew this week’s chapter was called “Piñata” so occasionally my thoughts would turn to “Hey, I wonder why this episode’s called piñata?”

This week’s adventure didn’t answer my query until the very end – and when it did, it was a doozy. What seemed to be an earnest attempt by Jimmy to stop some local punks from rolling him when he was selling phones turned into a pretty damn diabolical plan to scare the utter s*** out f these boys, by hanging them upside down in a warehouse and having Huell and another heavy threaten them with ball bats. Jimmy never expected these kids to accept his generous offer and knew they could be suckered into a chase. His ability to read the worst in people is almost superhuman.

Bottom line: Nothing was going to stop Jimmy from selling those phones. Does he have something else in mind with the money he’s scoring or does he still long to share an office with Kim? She dashed his hopes over some pretty jagged rocks this week when she revealed she was joining Schweikart and Cokely so that she could manage both Mesa Verde and her love of Public Defender work. Jimmy reeled from this news, but it didn’t seem to course correct him. He left, perhaps, more determined than ever to woo her with a giant office and a bright casino-sized logo sign.

“Piñata” was a pivotal episode because it showcased, possibly, Jimmy’s last ditch effort to fulfill his dream life with Kim, as both lovers and co-workers. He’s not set on being a full time crook yet, as his words from last week about being a big important lawyer still strongly linger, making him dead set on providing the two of them up with a new life. It just now needs to happen at an accelerated pace and he needs to move a giant batch of pre-paid phones (which he bought using his money from Chuck).

As viewers watching a prequel series, we’re hyper-aware that Jimmy’s life with Kim doesn’t work out, making everything here even more tragic. He’s worked so hard at being a lawyer that he hasn’t completely given up yet on becoming a hugely successful legitimate one. The opening 1993 flashback (so…ten years earlier?), featuring law student Kim, a fully-haired Chuck, and a ignorance-feining Jimmy, amazingly illustrated how important it was for him to become a big success right under everyone’s noses.

Like Howard, who’s in the middle of a corporate crisis thanks to his own personal demons and the public’s new perception of the firm, Jimmy has to reconfigure his plans. Instead of “rightsizing” though, which is what Howard’s facing, Jimmy has to manifest his ideal life. He even tried to light a fire under Howard’s mopey ass but not everyone’s able to compartmentalize, and push aside, their grief like him. Any pause for Jimmy feels like “wallowing.” It’s a huge reason why he won’t go to therapy. And that, in itself, is a big reason why Kim is hesitant to fully bet on Jimmy as part of her (at least) professional future.

Mike’s side of the coin this week involved the housing, and monitoring of, German workers. Having been ostracized from his group meetings (which might be a self-imposed exile more than anything), Mike’s found himself splinted a bit from Stacy, and a lot from Anita. He can now devote himself more to Gus’ burgeoning operation which, unlike the support group, actually requires a blunt demeanor and total honesty. Mike knows he was wrong to expose the grief tourist in the manner that he did, but it’s in his nature to call out falsehoods and offer warnings whenever and wherever the can. That’s his value to Gus, which is a hinderance in real life.

This week, after helping facilitate an entire warehouse set up for workers to exist in seclusion for six months, Mike’s already spotted a possible troublemaker. Again, watching the ins and outs of “how” Gus builds his lab is interesting, but it’s always going to be the character development that allows this type of minutia to take place. What will this mean for Mike? He’s working to mend things with Stacey, but will this new rebellious worker, Kai (Ben Bela Böhm), suffer the brunt of Mike’s orbiting frustrations? Mike’s now allowed to control who’s in and who’s out of this group, and he won’t be chastised for being less-than-fragile.

The Gus hospital room moment with Victor, meanwhile, offered little new other than it being a cool, badass scene featuring a bit more insight about Gus and his uncanny patience. Patience not only when it comes to building something up and helping it blossom, but with his cruelty as well. And the amount of time he’ll dedicate to watching something, or someone, decay. Again, nothing we didn’t know but still a chilling speech.

The Verdict

Last week’s episode may have seemed like Jimmy’s biggest step toward becoming Saul, but as long as all the shady things he’s doing are in service of his dream of working with Kim, he’s not quite there. This week, when Jimmy seemed to handle Kim’s rejection harder than the death of his own brother (because he’s using his life with her to mask his grief), it’s becoming clearer that the final “Saul” straw will come when this dream collapses entirely.


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