Beauty Abounds in Better Call Saul
Words by Llewellyn Horgan
Upon watching, it is unclear what the title of this week’s episode – “Something Beautiful” – refers to. There are just too many choices. Many characters have things that they find beautiful, whether it’s Jimmy’s ‘victimless’ scheme to make some easy money, Gale’s love of the orderliness of chemistry, or Merce Verde CEO’s ‘beautiful’ models of all the buildings he’s planning to construct, the empire he’s going to build. All of these characters manage to find beauty in places where others would merely find things that are unsavoury or boring. Likewise, the direction on the episode manages to find some beauty in unlikely places – early in the episode there is a breathtaking shot of a car burning, the desert smoke billowing out into the clear blue sky. Never mind the fact that the car is being burnt to cover up a brutal murder – it’s still quite aesthetically pleasing.
Once again, the two main plotlines of Better Call Saul don’t come together, with the two stories this week only sharing the brief presence of a rather dodgy yet competent vet. Despite this, they complement each other nicely.
Jimmy goes ahead with his scheme to steal a valuable porcelain doll, sending in a middle-aged criminal named Ira when Mike politely declines to be a part of the enterprise. Things do not go smoothly and Jimmy is forced to become involved. It emerges that the ‘empty’ office that Ira is trying to rob is occupied by a man sleeping on his office couch after buying his wife a top of the line vacuum as an anniversary present. Jimmy successfully helps Ira escape, and Jimmy is clearly energized by his foray back into a life of crime.
Nacho's story, however, is not nearly as happy-go-lucky. He has been forced to help Gus and his minions fake a murder. This fakery requires Nacho to get shot several times at point-blank range. But at least it looks real. Nacho nearly dies and ends up getting operated on by the aforementioned crooked vet, who does a pretty good job all things considered. We are reminded by Nacho’s story that Jimmy does have a lot of danger in front of him if he chooses to become more involved in a life of crime – which we know he does because this is a prequel. It is a mark of the strength of the show’s writing that Jimmy’s inevitable descent has the feeling of looming tragedy, rather than foregone conclusion.
Although Jimmy’s plotline in this episode is fairly light, with a heist successfully pulled off, by the end, we are brought back down to earth, with Kim finally giving Jimmy the letter that Chuck left him in his will. A letter clearly written before the brothers’ falling out, it contains some rather heartfelt words from Chuck, telling him he is proud of his brother. Jimmy slurps cereal throughout and seems unbothered by any pesky emotions or sentiment. Kim seems to be feeling enough emotion for both of them, however, and closes herself off in another room, in tears. What she is upset about, however, is not clear – ending this week’s Better Call Saul on a rather subdued cliffhanger and leaving us with a lot to speculate about until next week’s episode.