“Better Call Saul” is still early in season 3, but we’re one step closer to the characters moving into the space they occupied in “Breaking Bad”. In the episode “Sabrosito”, we watched Gus Fring show up at the parking lot where Mike Ehrmantrout works the security gate.
Fring complimented Mike on his work that resulted in Hector Salamanca’s business getting raided. Then Gus got to the point, asking if Mike would be interested in working for him. Mike, always a careful man said he’d consider it, depending on the nature of the work. Fring made the trip and the offer after Hector’s menacing visit to the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant.
Hector got riled up after he was humiliated in Mexico at the home of the cartel’s Don Eladio. Fans of “Breaking Bad” surely recognized that scene at the lavish pool area. Lots of killing went down there, but for now, the Don’s fat and happy, willing to tweak his distributors and pit them against each other. Fring’s cash amount was dwarfed by that carried by Fring’s representative, as well as presented in a neat shrink wrapped bundle.
Gus did not show up in person, but the Don didn’t care because of cash dropped on his table. Hector thought he’d be cute and present the Don with a bobble-head doll named “Sabrosito”, a mascot for the ice cream business. The Don’s a vain man and didn’t care for the portly figure that he thought mocked him. Do better, was his order and for that to happen, Salamanca has to get a new delivery system going.
That’s when Hector occupied Fring’s restaurant with his henchman, demanding to see Fring, who was at one of his public relations visits to the Albuquerque FD. Hector refused to leave, lit up a cigar, walked behind the counter and took what he wanted. Kudos to the young assistant manager who handled Fring as an unruly customer breaking all the rules, which the others stood in fear.
The customers were the smartest in the place as they left one by one, knowing they didn’t want to stick around for the conclusion of what looked like a violent episode. Fring got summoned and arrived. In his calm tone he gave the employees the rest of the day off with pay, and then dealt with Hector.
Salamanca demanded that Fring leave room in his supply trucks for Hector’s drug supply since his truck was pulled off the road. Fring resisted for a while, but as we know, Gus is a cautious guy who waits until the perfect moment to act. The two cartel distributors both work for Don Eladio, but Hector believes he’s a step above Gus, otherwise why would he think he could get away with it. Maybe it’s because Salamanca travels with Nacho and other henchman, while Fring has no one to match that. Hence, the offer to Mike.
A great scene immediately after was classic Gus, a man who protects his real business by paying attention to the restaurant that serves as his cover. When the employees arrived the next day, Fring offered counseling, yes counselling, if anyone needed it. They would receive bonuses because of it and were praised for their behavior and patience. Fring explained the incident as one he’s dealt with in Mexico, hoping that in the home of the free and the brave, the United States of America, he could avoid shakedowns.
His employees stood silent, as he made his pitch to them about the immigrant’s dream interrupted by corruption. He’s praying that word won’t spread that Los Pollos Hermanos is a dangerous place. Gus has carefully cultivated the favor of city politicians and the PD/FD, providing free food and donating to charities.
On the Jimmy McGill side of the story, we got the out-of-court settlement that Jimmy and Kim agreed to with Howard and Chuck. With a guilty plea and a year of good behavior, the felony and misdemeanor charges against Jimmy would be dropped. There was nitpicking about the language of the settlement, specifically related to the destruction of the cassette tape. Chuck corrected the amount owed to him for the damage to his home, adding the amount of the cassette that bit the dust. Yes, $3.98 had to be included to make it right.
McGill hired Mike (he was popular in this episode) to substitute for a handyman Chuck hired to fix the damage to his door and home. While there he took snapshots and handed them over to Jimmy. He also snooped in Chuck’s address book which resulted in what is presumed to be the whereabouts of the original cassette. Yes, Jimmy destroyed a duplicate.
One of the more comical scenes of the night was Mike using a battery operated tool that drove Chuck out of the room with the noise. He couldn’t demand it not be used because it wasn’t electric, and that frustrated the heck out of him. It allowed Mike time to roam and find what he needed.
At the end of the settlement conference, Jimmy was told by the district attorney, as he and Kim expected, that the transcript would be sent to the New Mexico Bar for evaluation and possible punishment. Outside the conference room Kim approached Howard and Chuck to let them know that in that hearing, she’ll petition for suppression of the cassette tape.
Chuck and Howard weren’t prepared for her to know there was a duplicate, but it didn’t keep Chuck from his pedantic rant. He lectured Kim about the rules of evidence at a Bar hearing being more lenient than in a court of law. He’s certain the tape and its audio will be admitted into evidence. Kim and Jimmy are ready to rumble.
The DA forced Jimmy to show remorse, and apologize to his brother before she’d sign off on the settlement. In doing so he discussed how brothers should treat each other, staring down Chuck who refused to look at him, voicing a barely veiled threat that two could play the nasty game Chuck seems to love. The DA doesn’t know there’s a duplicate cassette, which could change her view of saintly Chuck. It might unravel the settlement.
“Better Call Saul” airs Mondays on AMC, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT Image credit: AMC, used with permission