Better Call Saul S2E3: “Amarillo”
“What ever happened to showmanship?” Jimmy asks as he watches Davis and Main’s first attempt at a commercial, a rehash of a mesothelioma compensation commercial you have probably seen on television a thousand times. We all understand where Jimmy is coming from here. In his heart, we know Jimmy is a showman, and he’s been able to make career strides out of it, his stint in elder law was predicated on his ability to be a showman. What happens when you take Jimmy for who he really is and put him in a much more formal law setting than he’s used too? Better Call Saul examines this for really the first time here in “Amarillo”.
We kick off “Amarillo” in its namesake, Amarillo Texas. Jimmy has taken a business trip to the lone star state to see if he can recruit some Sandpiper clients in the area. Jimmy has been put in charge of the client outreach department so he has some ability to kind of go about getting more clients in any way he sees appropriate. To the surprise of no one, Jimmy goes about this task in a Slippin’ Jimmy fashion, paying a bus driver transporting the residents to a lunch buffet to “break down” for a bit so he can partake in some solicitation, which in this case is very much illegal in case you were wondering.
I like bashing on Chuck as much as the next guy but he’s got a fair point for questioning how Jimmy got twenty four new clients from a residence in which only one mailer was responded too. Illegally soliciting could throw a huge wrench in the case which they really don’t need since this case looks like a surefire win when it does eventually go to court. After Chuck brings this up, Jimmy is able to spin the sudden spike in clients with the reasoning that resident homes are very tight knit communities where things travel quickly through word of mouth. It gets him off the hook there but from now on he has to make do without the recruiting trips.
Taking Jimmy’s ability to personally come into contact with the clients is a big loss for Jimmy as he has shown throughout this show’s running that his people skills are one of the best assets he brings to the table as a lawyer. Having to think on his feet he asks Cliff about doing a commercial as he smartly points out that the residents of a retirement home have schedules that run like clockwork. All they have to do is air the commercial during the elderly’s favorite shows and that way they’re sure to maximize their marketing to potential clients. It is a good start for Jimmy, and a clean idea too. When he sees Davis and Main’s first attempt at a commercial, that is probably where Jimmy playing it by the books ends. The commercial is so lifeless that it may even offend the inner showman that Jimmy is. No longer content to play it by the books there, Jimmy, with the help of his college kid camera crew from season one, puts together a sensationalized commercial that is way out of Davis and Main’s way of doing television advertising to say the least.
The commercial ends up being a mixed bag for Jimmy, let’s start off with the good. At the end of the day, the goal was to reach and gain more clients and you can’t take that away from Jimmy. They get over one hundred new clients from his commercial, it’s a hit! His downfall hurts to watch here though. A lot of Jimmy’s mistakes so far in Better Call Saul can be broken down into Jimmy turning towards Slippin´ Jimmy antics at inopportune times. Not this time, his mistake is not one that can be attributed to his nature, it’s something completely in his control. He never ran the commercial by Cliff before sending it Colorado Springs to have it aired. When Cliff finds out about Jimmy’s commercial from not Jimmy, it makes him irate. Cliff is furious at Jimmy for not coming in and letting him have a look at it and it could risk making him look really bad in front of his fellow partners at the firm. The sad part here is that Jimmy was literally at the entrance of Cliff’s office but didn’t want to bother Cliff during his guitar jamming session. Jimmy is set to face the consequences with an early morning meeting with Cliff and the other partners on the horizon for next episode.
Meanwhile in the world of Mike, Stacey is concerned about the safety of herself and her daughter Kaylee after hearing gun shots one night and tells Mike about it. Mike decides to camp out in his car the following night to monitor any suspicious activity and finds out the only thud that could match the thud Stacey described was some kid throwing newspapers for his paper route. A relieved and probably drowsy Mike heads back to work only for Stacey to call him back saying again she heard gun shots. Mike recognizes that Stacey isn’t going to be able to go on like this and he needs to get them out of that house as soon as possible. Back to the vet Mike goes to ask for more work. The vet puts him in touch with someone who specifically asked for him, which sounds rather peculiar. The episode ends revealing that the person who has requested for Mike is none other than Nacho, with a problem that needs to be taken care of. My money is on Tuco but I guess that’s something we are going to find out about next time.
Kim again enforces the themes from her last warning to Jimmy in “Cobbler”. Kim has put her reputation on the line recommending Jimmy to the Davis and Main job so if he does something bad, it could reflect poorly on her reputation. The writers throwing that warning back in one episode later likely means it will hold some immediate relevance so watch out.
Any significance to Jimmy and Kim watching a movie where all we get is a sinking ship and the line “we’re going down and fast.”? Probably.
Apparently all corporate living arrangements have large bowls of balls and empty vases, you learn something new every day.
Quote of the Day, in regards to the swirl in the mesothelioma commercial. Omar “And the speed, I remember there were a lot of meetings about that”. Jimmy “I bet”.
Jimmy goes rogue and in the process takes one step forward and two steps backwards. Mike prepares to enter the darker side of Albuquerque