‘Better Call Saul’ Review: “Witness”

Chuck’s only friend is the law.

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Well, maybe Howard too (but screw you, Howard). It’s important we find out in this episode, “Witness”, what happened to Rebecca, Chuck’s ex-wife. We saw her in a flashback last season, when Jimmy visited her and Chuck for dinner. Much to Chuck’s chagrin, Jimmy entertained and amused Rebecca.

In “Witness”, Jimmy storms into Chuck’s home, angry and upset after finding out about the tape recording. He asks Chuck if he wants to ruin his family over the tape. Jimmy then suggests this is why Rebecca left. While Chuck’s mental illness throughout the series may have suggested that Rebecca died, we now learn that wasn’t the case. She was driven away, likely by her ex-husband’s behavior.

So Chuck lost his wife, and is now losing his brother. All of Chuck’s tactics are done by-the-book, but the legal implications aren’t what drive Jimmy to break in and destroy the tape. In fact, the tape likely can’t be used to hurt Jimmy in a court of law, nor was it intended to do so. Jimmy is crushed by the news of the recording because of what it means for his relationship with Chuck.

Jimmy put himself on the line to help his brother in a time of need. Now he learns it was all a charade, another of Chuck’s elaborate schemes to gain the upper hand. We’ve witnessed Jimmy fall into Chuck’s traps many times throughout Saul’s run, but the impact of it is never diminished. This is because Chuck’s intentions are simply malicious, while Jimmy actually wants to be in good standing with his brother.

Kim, after doing some research, goes over the legal possibilities of the recording. But Jimmy doesn’t care. In this moment, he’s carefully unraveling wall tape using the method his brother taught him last week. “Have some finesse,” Chuck told him. But Jimmy’s frustration is boiling over, and he decides to rip off the rest of the tape, leaving behind a messy paint finish.

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Chuck, of course, knew Jimmy would fall right into his trap. As viewers, we could see this coming as well. That’s the tragedy of it. The episode does a stellar job of portraying Jimmy’s impulsiveness in various situations leading up to the final scene. He and Kim sit down to interview an intern candidate. Jimmy, despite Kim’s disapproval, is set on hiring the very first person he sees. “Perfection is the enemy of perfectly adequate”, he tells Kim.

Later, Mike recruits Jimmy to help him on his spy mission. He asks Jimmy to sit in a restaurant — Los Pollos Hermanos — and find out information about the man he’s been tracking. Jimmy clumsily follows the guy around, unknowingly alerting the store’s manager of his antics. Unfortunately for Mike, that manager is none other than Gus Fring. Jimmy’s borderline recklessness becomes more apparent when he’s paired Mike, who’s methods are careful and thorough.

But what Mike doesn’t know is that he has met his match. Gus sweeps the floor outside Los Pollos with a sly smile, while Mike is led right to the tracker he placed and a phone ringing just for him.

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