REVIEW: Better Call Saul – “Hit and Run”

The following is a recap and review of the fourth episode of the sixth and final season of Better Call Saul, available on AMC in the U. S. and on Netflix internationally. Expect story spoilers.

In the fourth episode of the sixth season of Better Call Saul — titled Hit and Run — Jimmy McGill (played by Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (played by Rhea Seehorn) move on to the next stage of their Howard Hamlin (played by Patrick Fabian): Jimmy must disguise himself as Howard to make him look bad in front of Clifford Main (played by Ed Begley, Jr.). Hit and Run was written by Ann Cherkis and directed by Rhea Seehorn. This is Seehorn’s directorial debut, and it’s honestly a really good showcase for her.

After the previous episode focused heavily on the Gus Fring–Ignacio Varga–Mike Egrmantraut subplot, this episode focused much more, almost entirely, on Jimmy and Kim’s unnecessary but relatively fun-to-watch anti-Howard Hamlin scheme. But it did start with the more Breaking Bad-esque half of the show. In the cold open, we see how Mike’s men watch over Gus Fring’s street, and it is really impressive. It gives us a better understanding of why it was so difficult for Walter White to find a way to take out Gus in Breaking Bad. There’s that famous scene where he’s about to storm into Gus’s home, but then Mike calls him and tells him off. That makes a lot more sense now. There’s no way you’d be able to get to him there. I’ll admit, though, that I initially was somewhat puzzled about what was happening in the cold open. But when you finally see what happens, you start to realize that the show is basically presenting us with the layout, which is likely needed because they need to explain why Lalo and his family can’t just stop by and end Gus’s life even in the Better Call Saul era. But that is basically all we see of that part of the show in this episode.

And then we switch over to the Goodman-Wexler part of the show. Howard is apparently seeing a therapist. The thing is that he’s struggling in his marriage. They aren’t communicating, so, essentially, all he has going for himself is his career. That’s what he wants to talk about (outside of his dreams of course). This scene makes you feel really bad about the entire Hamlin scheme. Jimmy and Kim are having fun tearing him down, and they know that everyone is just going to get paid once the Sandpiper deal goes through. But they’re essentially actively kicking Hamlin while he’s on the ground and threatening to take away the one thing he has going for him.

“What kind of asshole moves a cone?!”

And one way that they intend to do that is to make Howard look morally corrupt in front of Clifford Main. Cliff has already heard the cocaine rumors that Jimmy and Kim started. He has already seen white powder fall out of Howard’s country club locker. And now, thanks to an impeccably timed car-jacking (while Hamlin is getting therapy) and a Howard Hamlin disguise for Jimmy to wear (make-up, a wig, a great suit), Cliff sees someone who looks like Howard kick a prostitute out of Howard’s car. It’s all very fun to watch, as the best Saul Goodman con-jobs are, with Jimmy having to rush back to the parking lot and finding a new parking spot, to which he has to move the reserved parking sign. It’s terrific.

Kim has arranged for she and Cliff to have lunch while it happens, so that he can see it happening at the right time and the right spot. It all goes according to plan, but something takes her by surprise. Cliff essentially offers her exactly what she’d ideally want for the next step in her career. When she tells Jimmy about it in bed, while they’re still high on their success, Jimmy is really happy for her. Though I did think it was odd his first comment after hearing about it was about getting money out of it. Perhaps that’s the Saul Goodman side of him talking.

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth.”

While they’re talking in bed, Kim tells Jimmy about how she thinks someone is following her — tailing her. His answer is cause for concern for Kim, as Jimmy indirectly says that they’re only afraid of being caught because they’re wicked — because they’re doing something wrong. Kim picks up on that and asks: “You think we’re wicked?” That’s a genuine question from Kim. He quickly denies it, even though he clearly does think that that is exactly what they are. That’s how he felt when they ganged up on the Kettlemans, Jimmy is just a little bit better at accepting his wickedness than Kim is.

“I liked you better when you were just a regular bottom feeder, but this?”

The next day at the courthouse, Jimmy finds out that the rumor about him knowing who Jorge de Guzman really was has made him really unpopular. He’s basically a persona non grata now. Jimmy is facing the consequences of his actions. If he’s going to thrive as a lawyer now, he probably has to put on the Saul Goodman persona entirely while on the job and accept that some people are going to associate him the extremely dangerous crowd. And, if we’re being honest, this new reputation does a lot of good for him too. He’s the guy. The cartel lawyer. Now every criminal wants to work with him. Heck, so many people stop by the nail salon that the salon owner throws Saul out of the nail salon off-screen. Now he has to get himself his own office!

“Because I think you’re made of sterner stuff.”

Meanwhile, Kim grows tired of being watched, so she confronts the car that has been following her. Though they refuse to ID themselves, it gets the job done — i.e. they leave. Later, we get a scene I never knew that I desperately wanted. Mike Ehrmantraut meets Kim Wexler. I basically jumped out of my sofa when I saw him there. In-show, Kim notes that they’ve interacted by the parking booth (though, if I remember correctly, that is only off-screen — correct me if I’m wrong), when he worked there very briefly, but this is definitely the first time she sees who he really is — or gets a glimpse of it. Mike reveals to Kim that they’re being followed because he wants to keep them safe. Lalo is still out there, he revels. Kim is then quick to deduce that Mike is the person who helped Jimmy in the desert.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this scene is that Mike chose to tell Kim and not Jimmy about Lalo being alive because he thinks she’s better equipped to handle it. I think he’s right, and he probably based all of that assessment on how she handled the threatening Lalo in her and Jimmy’s apartment in the previous season. She doesn’t freeze. Perhaps that assessment is all the reason Kim needed to refrain from telling Jimmy about Lalo being alive. It is a dangerous secret to keep from Jimmy, but, on the other hand, Kim probably knows that Jimmy wouldn’t be able to go about his day like nothing happened if he knew Lalo could be behind every corner.

A solid episode for Rhea Seehorn to make her directorial debut with. It had everything a classic Better Call Saul episode needs: hints at why things were the way the were in Breaking Bad, a fun and well-paced Goodman con-job, and a hugely exciting scene between characters that we’ve never seen interact before. On top of that, the show also plants the Lalo secret in Kim and Jimmy’s relationship. It is smart storytelling that adds another wrinkle to their scenes going forward.

B+

– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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