The Better Call Saul Lie Detector Test is a weekly recap of the major events of the final season, separated out by their apparent truthfulness at the time. This is not one of those recaps that gets into granular detail about things. It will miss the occasional callback or foreshadowing. But it will be fun. Sometimes, that’s what’s important.
Season 6, Episode 4: “Hit and Run”
Kim Wexler is doing great
This was supposed to be fun. Kim Wexler thought she was having fun. She’s not naive, and never was, but that still doesn’t mean she’s not entitled to get a little antsy when things start getting a little too real. Even a mischievous rascal — one who likes it a little more than others when the heat on the burner goes up and the oil in the pan starts popping — gets to freak out a bit when she suspects, correctly, that she’s being surveilled by weird dudes who work for either the government or a cartel. The episode ended with her very literally looking over her shoulder. With good reason. It’s one thing when you’re framing your doofy old boss for prostitute-related shenanigans. It’s another thing when you’re smack in the middle of a violent underground power struggle. That second one is less enjoyable.
It was also interesting that all of this real cartel business happened in an episode where she kind of remembered the thing about the law that she enjoyed. The hijinks were bred from disillusionment, mostly, probably, from being a little fed up with pulling that ponytail tight and following the rules and watching old Jimmy Shenanigans skirt the consequences over and over. There was a little bit of, “Well, if this is how it’s gonna be, then fine” to it all, I imagine. But then she pitched the legal aid thing to Cliff while she was setting Howard up for the hooker flim-flam, and Cliff was buying it for real, at least in its early stages, and she got a little excited. Which is fair, really.
But then there were the guys following her. And Mike explaining the situation to her after getting the drop on her in a public setting. And her realizing that maybe Lalo isn’t dead and maybe her ties with Jimmy have them both in danger and maybe all that talk the other week about Jimmy actually being Saul and not being a rat was a little further out ahead of things than she’s really comfortable with. Maybe not. Maybe I’m reading too much into things. But maybe Kim is not doing too great right now and might not be ever again. This is getting real for you and me, too, in that way.
The main thing I take away from all of this is that Kim Wexler is the main character of the show now. Jimmy was the main character for a while, to see how he became the Saul we saw in Breaking Bad. We see that now. He’s almost there. And that means he’s sliding, at least partially, back into his old role of being comic relief while other people deal with the consequences of the actions he takes. None of this is a complaint. It was always headed this way. We’re just there now. It’s going to be really stressful.
Rhea Seehorn is not talented
In addition to starring in the pivotal scenes in this episode and carrying the first steps of the drama that will carry us until the show merges into the Breaking Bad timeline, Rhea Seehorn also directed it. That’s… cool. It’s just really cool. I’m always kind of blown away when people direct things they also act in. That seems impossible to me, to dive into your own performance — again, in important moments! — while also having the director part of your brain humming to be sure everything else is clicking together like it should. The other actors, the camera, the lighting. It’s a lot. I heard a song I liked the other day and missed the street I was supposed to turn on. By like three or four streets. I was fully somewhere else, literally and figuratively. This type of situational awareness is like a superpower to me.
The coolest thing about it all was that this was just, like, another great episode of the show. The tone and style and everything were exactly the same as always, with the vague intro that pays off later and the cool shots of nothing that kind of mean everything. That’s a director’s job sometimes, especially in television, to just do things so well that the work becomes a little invisible, at least to the degree that none of it distracts from the story. This might sound like damning with faint praise, and I hope it doesn’t, because pulling that off is not easy at all. Real big week for this lady, in front of and behind the camera. Very cool.
Howard Hamlin has great taste in music
I stand by the thing a few inches up the page where I called Howard a doof. He would listen to elevator music while he drives around. He would. And he does. It almost makes the bad stuff that’s happening to him worth it.
In a related matter, please do not steal my car and judge the music I have been listening to. That’s different. “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany is a great song. Shut up. Leave me alone.
Having dinner with Mike would be fun
We find ourselves in one of those classic Two Things Can Be True situations…
ON ONE HAND: Mike is cool and it would be fun to just watch and observe him while he does anything at all, up to and including ordering dinner from a waiter he has probably terrified. What do you think Mike orders? He strikes me as a burger or pork chop guy, which he chases down with black coffee, even if he’s at a fancy Italian restaurant. He fascinates me deeply. I want to know everything about him. I feel like he could teach me so much. I also feel like he would hate me. I would ask for like spaghetti with two-thirds meatballs and one-third sausage and he would groan with enough force to make the entire table rattle.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Mike is very scary and serious and if he ever tried to deliver a message to any of us like the one he delivered to Kim we would probably crumble into a powder that someone mistakes for a pile of Parmesan cheese. I’m sorry I keep talking about Italian food. I should really not be writing these while I’m hungry. But here we both are, I guess.
It is good to be subtle
Here’s the other thing about the directing of this episode: There were at least two moments that were dead on the nose, about as subtle as a marching band getting hit by a runaway ice cream truck. One was the thing in the screencap way up at the beginning of this post where the episode ended with Kim literally looking back over her shoulder. The other was the thing where a smiling Gus walked into his house and switched his entire demeanor before donning all/mostly-black and disappearing into the secret tunnel that popped up into his secret crimes house. It was kind of a reverse Batman situation, in that he came up from underground to become a villain instead of going into a cave to become a hero. Again, not extremely subtle.
But also, like, who cares? It was awesome. I love that Gus has a villainous lair hidden as a normal house in an upper-middle-class suburban neighborhood. That’s hilarious. And so perfectly on-brand. He did another thing that was perfectly on-brand during all of this business, but I’ll get to that later. It deserves its own section.
Lalo is having a blast right now
We did not see Lalo at all in this episode, which was a bummer, because I love Lalo. I’m strangely more curious about what happens to him than I am about what happens to Kim, mostly because Lalo seems so invincible. We’ve seen him charm and we’ve seen him kill and he’s been incredibly proficient at both. It doesn’t make sense to me that someone will — or even can — outfox him. He is heartless and cruel and almost definitely a sociopath but I love him very much. I am not entirely at peace with this.
Anyway, until we see him on our screens and have something resembling confirmation in the alternative, I am going to assume Lalo is just chilling at a resort in Cancun with an umbrella drink. You cannot take this away from me.
Jimmy is going full Saul
- Officially doing business as Saul and answering the phone with “speedy justice for you”
- Getting a massive influx of clients as a result of him being “Salamanca’s guy,” which is notable for a lot of reasons but mostly because it is yet another example of his bad behavior only having negative consequences for the people around him, like he’s surrounded by a little spray tan forcefield
- Got his new office as a result of getting kicked out of the nail salon due to the massive client influx
We will continue to monitor this situation. Even though we know exactly where it ends up. Prequels are strange like that.
Better Call Saul is, occasionally, the funniest show on television
One of the many things I love so much about this show is the range it is capable of displaying. The last time it was on our televisions, it was killing off its most sympathetic villain in heartbreaking fashion, complete with a gut-wrenching phone call with his father, whose protection was ensured by the aforementioned death. This week, we opened with an extended hooker scheme that featured Jimmy, in disguise as Howard, ripping signs out of a parking lot in a frantic rush as the real Howard walked toward them. I mean, look at Bob Odenkirk — a comedy legend now in his fourth decade of doing it — make a meal out of this bit. This is a show that uses all of the tools in its toolbox.
It is also a show that is not afraid to resort to childish jokes for a cheap laugh. Meet my new favorite character on this or any show.
I am so proud of everyone involved in all of this. Good for them. Good for us. Good for Spooge.
Gus Fring is paranoid but not wrong
Back to the bullet points for three notes on Gustavo Fring:
- He doesn’t believe Lalo is dead despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, which would be a troubling/annoying personality trait if he weren’t also objectively correct
- Again, the surveillance, both in the house and on Kim, who is a lawyer in good standing with the New Mexico bar association and not, generally, the type of person one would try to intimidate or harm just based on the potential blowback
- The thing in the screencap up there where he wants Mike to find guys that are good at subterfuge but also “up to Pollo standards” as short-order cooks, which is a suuuuuuch a Gus thing and also really funny
Sometimes things are two things. That’s a good thing to remember.