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If “Pimento” dropped the bomb then “Marco” was the fallout. Brother, betrayal, Belize (Shout out to the Breaking Bad fans).

B also stands for bender, and boy did Jimmy … ahem… break bad this week. It was a quieter episode than last week, no murder, no mayhem, no big cliffhangers, but it was also no less enjoyable as Vince Gilligan and Co. ended an outstanding first season with Jimmy finally realizing what the universe has been trying to tell him: Go West.

Hit the jump for the recap and review of Better Call Saul’s season finale.


We open in a flashback where Jimmy has come to say goodbye to his friend and partner in crime, Marco (Mel Rodriguez). Marco isn’t happy that Jimmy has given up their life of petty crime but Jimmy is resolute; Chuck’s waiting and Jimmy has to go with him to New Mexico.

“It’s like watching Miles Davis give up the trumpet,” says Marco.

But this is an optimistic and freshly sprung out of jail by his brother Jimmy. He has to take the opportunity.

Cue the credits and cut to the present, as Jimmy sits on a bench, waiting to hand over his big case to HHM. The visuals are stunning as always and drive home how out of place Jimmy is at HHM despite his decade-long desire to work there. Kim arrives and sits next to him.

“Why didn’t you just tell me?” Jimmy asks her.

“Because I didn’t want you to hate your own brother.”

Upstairs, Howard (Patrick Fabian) and Jimmy talk. Howard seems contrite, and though I find him a bit spineless, I want to believe him when he says he didn’t want things to go the way they did. Jimmy tells Howard that if he has any trouble getting the Sandpiper residents to work with him, Jimmy will smooth things over and send them his way.

Also, he’s sorry he called Howard a pig-- (you know the word), a nod to the fact that Jimmy knows exactly who was behind his lack of a career at HHM and, rightly or not, isn’t holding it against Hamlin.

Onto the next order of business, and Jimmy receives his “of counsel” fee. That’s a nice chunk of change for Jimmy and I hope he puts it to good use.

We find out Jimmy is still worrying about Chuck despite his scheming, making sure that Howard keeps him in supplies in Jimmy’s absence.

“You’ve been doing all of this every day?” asks Howard. “For over a year?” It’s a moment, and he seems a little taken aback by Jimmy’s effort. Enjoy your crow, Howard.

“I always liked you, Jimmy,” Howard says fondly as he turns to leave. “Remember I used to call you Charlie Hustle?”

Jimmy doesn’t seem to remember it quite the same way, wincing a little as he departs. But it’s yet another moment, and I find myself hoping these two might conspire for some dastardly deeds in the future. I don’t see them becoming best friends forever and Hamlin’s definitely not a good guy, but he could be a powerful ally and a source of future income for Jimmy, sending his less than legit clients his way.

In the parking lot, Jimmy meets up with Kim and they hug it out. It feels very final and my heart breaks a little.  She wonders how he’s stayed so calm despite everything Chuck has done.  He seems reconciled with the reality of the situation.


“He’s my brother,” he says, repeating a theme that replays throughout the episode. “He thinks I’m a scumbag. There’s nothing I can do to change that.”

Kim respects his maturity.

“Dalai Lama’s got nothing on me,” says Jimmy.

Cut to the bingo hall, and Jimmy is at the podium calling the numbers.  This scene is amazing in how it builds and builds from a relaxed and jovial Jimmy, to a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The focus narrows and closes in, jumping between the wildly bouncing balls in the bingo machine, and Jimmy, who is slowly cracking with each successive ball he pulls. A long string of Bs is the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back and Jimmy’s composure. Betrayal. Brother. Belize, which he’ll never get to visit.

Story time!

We learn the specifics of a “Chicago Sunroof”, and why Jimmy was in the slammer and needing to be bailed out by Chuck.

The jist of the story is that Chet not only owed Jimmy money but also slept with his wife ­­––

Whoa, whoa, whoa! His what?! This might be the bombshell of the episode. I can’t wait to hear about Jimmy’s ex.  Alas, it’s the only mention we get of her this episode.

–– So one night, after one too many drinks, Jimmy spies Chet’s shiny BMW double-parked outside of a local soft-serve joint. Jimmy, drunk and hell-bent on revenge decides to oblige Chet with some soft-serve of his own. He jumps up on the roof, drops his trousers, and… yeah. That. Unfortunately for Jimmy, Chet’s kids are waiting in the back seat and bear witness to his bare behind, thus serving Jimmy up with some indecent exposure and sex offense charges. Jimmy claims it was simply a petty act of revenge by a brokenhearted guy and that the car’s illegally tinted windows were really to blame.

“And I’ve been paying for it ever since,” says Jimmy, voice cracking.


He tells the seniors to take the swag on the prize table, literally drops the mic, and takes his leave. Jimmy is done. The scene is played for laughs but Bob Odenkirk adds a heartbreaking touch to it. The actors are truly what make this show shine. Anybody else and this scene might have fallen a little flat. As it was, it played perfect.

Cue some funky psychedelic rock and Jimmy departs a cab, standing outside the pub from the teaser. He admires a junky looking Cutlass before going inside. He asks the bartender about Myrna and finds out he’s her stepson; he’s taken over and she doesn’t come in much anymore. But Marco is still there, perched on his usual barstool, and passed out at the bar. Jimmy heads on over. He wakes him up and they reminisce. Marco seems hurt that Jimmy didn’t bother to visit when he was in town for his mom’s funeral. Jimmy can’t help but try to mend fences and so he makes amends the only way he knows how.

A businessman enters the bar, and after making sure that he’s not a regular, Jimmy pulls a coin out of his pocket. The con is on!

Setting themselves up within earshot of the new guy, the two have a conversation about the coin. He has a Kennedy half-dollar, Jimmy says, the President facing west instead of east.

The story goes that the dead face east, toward the rising sun and facing the past. An employee at the Denver Mint, devastated by Kennedy’s assassination, couldn’t live with Kennedy facing the past and so, going rogue he faced Kennedy west, toward the new frontier. Three thousand were minted before they figured it out and canned the guy. Most were recovered and melted down, but according to Jimmy, around two hundred survived and, lo and behold, he has one of them. By this point, the businessman is paying attention but not quite buying the story.

It’s worth $600 to $800, says Jimmy, but he’ll let “Alvin” (Marco) have it for a hundred bucks. Jimmy, having done his part, takes his leave and departs to the restroom while Marco takes the lead. Marco strikes up a quick conversation with the businessman before turning to make a hushed call to a coin dealer. In reality, he’s listening to the current time, but the businessman has taken the bait.

Marco plays coy and Jimmy returns from the bathroom. Soon, a bidding war ensues. Naturally, the stranger ‘wins’, scoring the coin for $110. Jimmy and Marco celebrate their actual win by buying the bar a round of drinks and we segue to a simply magnificent montage of scamming goodness.

They spend the week playing all their ‘greatest hits’, culminating in a night spent with a couple of ladies, Jimmy playing Kevin Costner and Marco his business manager. The girls aren’t too happy with them come morning, but clearly the boys have had a blast.

After they leave, Jimmy listens to his messages. The seniors are wondering where he’s gone and a hint of guilt passes over his face. Marco enters and Jimmy tells him that it’s been a great week but he has to go back to New Mexico and his clients.

“What are you, a gigolo or something?” Marco asks.

He tells Marco that he’s a lawyer now and it takes a bit of convincing for Marco to buy it. Marco tries to convince him to stay in Chicago; he could make just as much or more money in the city. Jimmy won’t have any of it though because Chuck is in New Mexico.

“He’s my brother,” says Jimmy, for the third time this episode, after Marco bluntly tells him that Chuck doesn’t care about him.

But Jimmy is loyal to a fault and after a whole lot of persuasion, Marco convinces Jimmy to at least do one last con with him: The fake Rolex scam.

“I need this,” Marco says, and he’s not talking about the money. Ever with the heart of gold, Jimmy agrees.

Cut to an alley where Marco waits for their mark. The setup is ominous, and that cough that Marco’s been struggling with seems worse.

Suddenly, there’s a whole lot of howling. Jimmy is on his way. This isn’t going to play out the way we previously saw the Rolex scam go. You can feel it, and I’m left praying nothing horrible happens to Jimmy because it’s the season finale and there’s not much time left.

By the time we cut back to Marco, Jimmy has reached him but he’s strangely still. Jimmy falls to his knees, forgetting about the scam as he tends to his friend. The mark runs off ignoring Jimmy’s cries to call 911. So Jimmy calls and desperately tries to attempt CPR on Marco, but it’s too late. Marco regains consciousness just long enough to tell Jimmy that he had the best week. He dies, at peace and happy. He died doing what he loved.

We catch up with Jimmy outside Marco’s funeral.  He bums a smoke from an old friend and as he lights up we learn Marco’s mom has gifted Jimmy with her son’s pinky ring. A million Breaking Bad fans say, “Ahhhhh!”

It’s then that Jimmy’s phone rings, and Kim is on the line with some good news.  The Sandpiper case has gotten so big that HHM is handing parts of it off to a law firm called Davis & Main in Santa Fe. They want Jimmy too, and on a partner track to boot. It’s everything Jimmy has wanted: legitimacy and to work on his own hard-won case. He doesn’t know what to say, he’s flabbergasted, but he thanks Kim for whatever she did to make this happen.

“Howard’s been pushing for this, too,” Kim says, cementing the fact that maybe Howard really isn’t an all around bad guy.

At Chuck’s house, a low level HHM assistant named Ernesto is his new keeper. While he packs up some files for copying and storing, Chuck gets pedantic over apples, telling Ernesto that he prefers Fuji apples to Granny Smiths and that he would also like to try soymilk next time. He’s just as condescending to Ernie as he is to Jimmy, maybe more so, and I really want to smack him.

As Ernesto leaves, he spots Jimmy’s car and comes over to say hello. Jimmy inquires about how Chuck’s doing and they have a pleasant but slightly awkward conversation. Through the blinds, Chuck watches, but as he reaches timidly for the doorknob Jimmy drives away. The look on Chuck’s face says he misses his brother and perhaps has some regrets but I can’t bring myself to forgive him.

I have to wonder why Jimmy showed up. Was he only interested in Chuck’s wellbeing, or did he come to gloat about his job offer as well? I know the thought would have crossed my mind were I to be in Jimmy’s position.

Cut to the courthouse tollbooth and Mike. He’s on the phone, setting up another job when Jimmy drives by and into the parking lot. We follow him as he heads for the building, rehearsing his interview with Davis and Main and fussing with his hair. He looks every bit the part of up and coming lawyer.

Halfway there though, he stops dead in his tracks. The shot is set up so that Jimmy is in profile, facing east, facing the rising sun and the past. I have no doubts that this was intentional and it works beautifully. The cinematography in this series is a character in and of itself and I cannot praise everybody who works so hard to give this shows its “look” enough. Please, throw them all of the awards.

Jimmy closes his eyes and runs his thumb over Marco’s ring before coming to a decision. The past ten years haven’t worked out so well for Jimmy, and it’s time to face a new direction.


Moments later he pulls up to Mike’s booth, this time facing west and toward the future. Mike is about to let him out, no charge, but Jimmy wants to talk first. It's probably not a mistake that the stop sign is prominently featured in the shot either. 


What stopped them from keeping the Kettleman cash, he asks. They had 1.6 million to share that no one knew about, tax-free. Did he dream it? Why didn’t they take the money and run?

“Me, personally?” says Mike, “I was hired to do a job. I did it. That’s as far as it goes.” Taking money that didn’t belong to him hasn’t worked out too well for Mike in the past and his position is understandable.

Mike recalls Jimmy saying something about doing the right thing but Jimmy obviously isn’t buying into that anymore. His position is also painfully understandable. He’s a changed man, and “it’s never stopping me again.”

With a smile on his face and belting out Marco’s favorite song, Jimmy takes off to the tune of “Smoke on the Water”. While the direction Jimmy is choosing might be sleazy, at least it’s a direction of his own choosing, and while we know it’s ultimately going to be a path of destruction that leads him to an Omaha Cinnabon, I can’t help but to root for the guy. For now at least, he’s free.

It’s a new frontier for Jimmy and Better Call Saul.