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television -> Better Call Saul episode seven recap/ review

Better Call Saul episode seven recap/ review

Bingo

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Returning from a Mike-centric episode in “Five-O”, “Better Call Saul” resumed the Kettleman embezzlement plotline in “Bingo.” Director Larysa Kondracki (The Whistleblower, “The Walking Dead”) opens on a long two-shot of Mike and Jimmy sitting on a familiar bench. Counsel breaks silence and instructs Mike that he let his lawyer “do all the talking.” The lead investigators in his son’s death appear and the over-zealous, younger cop accuses a stone-faced Mike of theft.  Jimmy relinquishes a notebook he “found in the parking lot” on his way to represent his client. The older cop dismisses his partner as Mike tells Jimmy that it’s now his turn to talk.  Jimmy excuses himself on his client’s request. The seasoned detective and his former colleague talk about how Hoffman and Fenske got their just desserts and that other veterans are quickly retiring to make room for young blood, which essentially would be clean cops uncorrupted by the mob—just like the notebook’s owner.  Jimmy returned to his protagonist duties as Mike went back to being another supporting fellow despite his scenes being the best “Bingo” offered.

The camera hops forward to the younger McGill brother paying the elder a visit.  Jimmy looks shocked and unnerved when he discovers Chuck standing outside trying to “build a tolerance” to what ails him.   When they finally sit comfortably inside, Jimmy leaves several boxes of case files that apparently overpopulate his office.  He needs the extra storage for a brief amount of time to get caught up at the office, but it’s more of a thinly veiled ruse to pique his brother into working on a few of his cases, or, perhaps, keep him indoors reading them at the very least. After this, Jimmy and Kim visit a “blank slate” potential office for his elder law practice.  The location is within a ritzy building that impresses Kim.  He uses the platform to offer her a place in his firm which she kindly declines.  We remain with Kim as she then meets with a Kettleman pairing that sound delusional to the highest degree.  Their counsel informs them of a deal she struck with the D.A.’s office involving the entire return of stolen funds and a sixteen-month county sentence with the possibility of parole. Mrs. Kettleman insists there simply is no money and fires Kim & HHM as legal representation.  Hamlin stalks them down the stairs as they storm out and call for a new lawyer—Jimmy McGill.  Leaving the firm for Jimmy seemed like a sweet deal for Kim as she dealt with the delusional, crazy Kettleman parents who ultimately fired her after bargaining for the best deal they were ever going to see.

Bingo

The Kettlemans summoned their potential new lawyer from a heated senior citizen Bingo night brought to you by the law offices of James McGill.  Jimmy and the Kettlemans meet in a familiar diner where the accused parents attempt to renegotiate the “retainer.” Our hero excuses himself from the booth to relieve himself of the Big Gulp from his way over. Once inside the restroom, one lawyer calls another as he tells Kim about the Kettlemans trying to jump over to his ship. She instructs him to direct them back to HHM, which he willingly agrees to do as he wants to focus on elder law.  He sits down with the Kettlemans and repeats what Kim said during their phone conversation.

They lean on Jimmy, citing the $30K bribe/ retainer from “Hero.” He has no choice but to take the case…or does he?  The next scene follows Jimmy once again inside the HHM offices where he picks up the Kettleman case files.  While there, he notices that Kim’s office has significantly downgraded due to losing the very guilty couple.  On his way out the door, Jimmy stops to share a cigarette with Kim who reiterates that the Kettlemans are “guilty as sin” and that the deal she struck with the DA was the best they’d see. No matter how he tries to make the case work in their favor, Jimmy just can’t see any differently than Kim—Craig Kettleman is totes guilty.  Luckily, he has an idea for the remainder of his Kettleman “retainer” and gives his next-to-newest client a phone call. 

Kettleman

A montage following Mike’s stakeout and breaking in should have bored the audience, but Jonathan Banks’ ability to act without speaking lends itself well to funky music playing over top of the sneaky shenanigans. Chris Joss’ groovy song “Tune Down” plays as Mike Ehrmantraut slips undetected into the Kettleman establishment. No dialogue gets spoken, nor is there even a door creak as the track consumes the audio. Mike sticks to an ultraviolet light as a primary device of choice and plants a stack of cash on a toy dump truck which Craig finally discovers after Mike puts about six or seven fresh, growing apples away while watching them from afar. The Kettlemans argue and go to bed. Mike uses his light and tracks the money down once the house goes to bed for evening. Jimmy directs Mike to ditch the cash at the DA’s office as he meets with the Kettlemans the following day. He tells them that they are essentially screwed: the money is with the DA and they can’t do anything about it. Betsy Kettleman leans on Jimmy yet again, stating her intention to implicate him in court for taking the bribe.

Betsy gets lawyered as Jimmy immediately replies if she implicates him in court, then he will implicate her for offering the bribe, putting both Kettlemans in prison and their children without parents. The next scene puts Jimmy in front of HHM as Kim passes him on her way out the door without speaking.  She exits and heads toward Jimmy’s car where the Kettlemans sit in the back seat.  The episode ends with Jimmy, having done the right thing with nothing to show for it, entering the potential future office he boasted earlier to Kim. He ferociously takes his frustration out on a door, sitting and kicking at it until his phone rings and he answers in a different voice on behalf of James McGill as if he hadn’t just thrown a fit.  How unmistakably human.

Keywords: Better Call Saul, AMC, recap, review, Bingo, Mike Ehrmantraut, Saul Goodman, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Vince Gilligan
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