“Better Call Saul” Season 3 was joined in progress by actor Giancarlo Esposito and his character Gus Fring. In the episode “Witness”, Jimmy McGill had no idea who helped him retrieve his watch from the trash bin at Los Pollos Hermanos, but before too long, Fring knew Jimmy.
McGill entered the fast food place to watch for the shady character who is tailing Mike Ehrmantrout. His instructions were to spy on the man in the green Chevy Blazer and his backpack, never take his eyes off him or the backpack and report to Mike, in detail what occurred after the Blazer took off.
That report came in Mike’s car parked across the street. When Jimmy returned to his own car parked near Mike’s, Gus Fring was using his sweeper in the establishment’s parking lot with his back to that beat up, two-tone car. When his back stiffened and face went cold, you knew that Gus realized there’s someone poking around in his business.
There was another clue that confirmed Fring’s realization, and that was observed by Mike. A black SUV pulled into the restaurant’s lot, but went around the back, out of sight. When it reemerged a man with a clenched jaw looked around before peeling out onto the roadway. He had the tracking device in his vehicle, and Mike followed the trail until it ended.
There in the middle of one of those long roads in New Mexico with nothing but land around it, was the gas cap with tracker. On top sat a cell phone that rang as Mike picked it up to begin the next phase of his cat and mouse game, except with one of the baddest men on the planet. That game will be without Jimmy McGill’s help, who learned once again that his pathetic abilities as a rule breaker are no match for brother Chuck’s skills at knowing his brother better than he knows himself.
A good day at the office with Kim and the new receptionist, Francesca who fit right in with the clients was rudely interrupted by Ernesto. He couldn’t hold on to the information about Chuck’s tape of Jimmy’s confession, and spilled it to Kim. Once again, Jimmy’s girlfriend had to go into fixer mode, but in her own way. Kim already knew it was a distinct possibility Jimmy falsified the Mesa Verde documents and refused to let Jimmy confess, to keep her from being incriminated, or least try to prevent it. That ended with Ernesto.
It occurred sooner than she expected and taking a $20 bill from Jimmy as a retainer to make sure legal privilege attached to the conversation, she told him about his brother’s treachery. Jimmy, of course, had his usual dual feelings on the subject, which always run between deep abandonment by the brother he loves and rage.
He held it in to complete the day of elderly clients in the office waiting area, then flew out the door to act in a way Chuck knew he would and seal his fate. Kim had done some research and the tape would be admissible in a trial, but there were mitigating circumstances. Unfortunately Jimmy was about to blow those up. There he was rolling the tape between the two colors on that big painted wall in the office, just like Chuck showed him last week. “Don’t just rip it off, roll it carefully, using both hands to preserve the paint underneath”, he could hear his brother saying, before he realized he was doing it. The rest of it got taken off in a flash before Jimmy ran out the door once Kim went back into her office.
Chuck knew his brother would return, because he knew Ernesto was weak enough to spill the beans. It’s why Howard installed a private investigator to live with Chuck round-the-clock. The only thing Chuck got wrong was the time of day Jimmy would pick to arrive. He assumed his brother would try to break in at night, when in fact, he came straight to the door in daylight hours, broke down the door and came in as Chuck pretended to cower.
The fun scene prior to this involving Howard hopping backyard fences, forced to park on the next block at Chuck’s insistence, was a great mood changer. Howard was there to say enough is enough as to the cost of 24-hour security, and to see if he could get Chuck to drop the plot. Howard didn’t care one or another about Jimmy’s deed, because he’d rather it just went away. The firm would absorb the loss of Mesa Verde’s business and move on. They have a reputation in the city to uphold and other clients who believe they are a fine, upstanding business. Howard went along with Chuck to appease him, but only for a limited time. In his opinion it was a distasteful business.
Damn, if Howard didn’t become the witness of the episode’s title as he and the detective hid in another room while Jimmy ranted and raved, broke into the desk drawer, pulled out the tape recorder and shredded the tape in Chuck’s face. Boom, he was caught when Howard stepped into the room. Chuck was both satisfied and vindicated, yet didn’t gloat. Being right was enough for him, and if truth be told, he feared Jimmy might harm him.
In scenes of next week’s show, Jimmy’s in orange and in a mug shot. The question of where this leaves Kim and Jimmy’s law practice is going to be addressed quickly. How long does Kim stick around?
“Better Call Saul” season 3 airs Mondays on AMC, beginning at 10 p .m. ET/PT Image credit: AMC, used with permission