Better Call Saul “Inflatable”

Better Call Saul S2E7: Inflatable

“There are sheep and wolves in this world kid. Figure out which one you’re gonna be”.

So says the con man who comes into Jimmy’s dad’s corner store in a cold open flashback. This isn’t an unusual occurrence. Jimmy even says so saying everyone knows this is the spot in town to get a free hand out. Jimmy’s dad will hear nothing of the matter and it’s sad to see a genuinely good guy like Jimmy’s dad get run over in this cruel world, unfortunately he’s a big fat sheep. When Jimmy’s all by himself he slips some money from the register into his pocket. Chuck is at least somewhat right about Jimmy stealing money and more importantly for the story, it’s the point where Jimmy decides he’s a wolf.

The quote up top is something that all our main cast has to mull over in what can best be described as a table setting episode of Better Call Saul. Shortly after helping Mike amend his statement to the prosecutor about Tuco’s gun not actually being Tuco’s, he heads over to the office and decides that if he’s a wolf, it’s time to start acting like one. It seemed only a matter of time before Jimmy and Davis and Main decided to go different directions and “Inflatable” is the episode that makes it official. Intent on quitting, Jimmy has a quick change of heart against it after Omar reminds him that he’s going to have to give back his signing bonus if he quits. The job just isn’t a right fit for him so he’s going to have to find some other way to get out of it and he’s inspired by a car dealership’s inflatable man (those floaty things that whip back and forth all day). Boy should we consider ourselves lucky that Jimmy found inspiration in that inflatable man because what follows is most definitely the greatest montage in Better Call Saul’s run, which has been full of great ones.

I couldn’t decide what I found funnier, whether it was Jimmy buying and playing the bagpipes, the juicer spillage incident where he only makes matters worse by spreading the stain around, the colorful suits that Breaking Bad veterans know are much more Saul style, or whenever the inflatable man would find his way into the montage. Actually, it’s probably the latter that wins. In any case, mission accomplished for Jimmy. Cliff gives in and fires him. Jerk Jimmy may be, but being a jerk is not just cause for firing so when Cliff does it anyway, Jimmy gets to keep his signing bonus. Cliff wants to know however, why it is that Jimmy wouldn’t give this job a chance when Cliff and everyone at the firm gave him chance after chance to succeed here. Jimmy has always been trying to impress Chuck by being a lawyer who plays it straight but in an honest evaluation of himself, Jimmy admits that he’s not cutout for the lifestyle. He’s a square peg in a round hole. To hear him say that for once is most definitely very satisfying.

So what’s Jimmy up to now? He’s back to being his own man and now he’s a man with a plan. He stops by HHM to make a pitch to Kim, one that he’s clearly spent a lot of time mulling over. Jimmy asks Kim to join him in starting their own firm, Wexler McGill, business card ready and all. Kim seems intrigued and asks if Jimmy can do this the right way or if he’s going to do it in his colorful fashion. Jimmy tries to say he’ll play it right but he stops himself knowing that’s a big fat lie. He’s done playing it other people’s way and the whole point of venturing out on his own is being able to do things in his colorful way. That’s two honest self-evaluations for Jimmy in one episodes so that’s good to see. What follows isn’t as good for Jimmy as Kim politely declines the offer. Ouch.

Later on Kim decides to go through with an interview over at Schweikart & Cokely. Things seem to go well and it appears as though she will be offered a job and a relatively quick ride for partner track. As she says her goodbyes to the senior partners, we get a very revealing Freudian slip as Kim calls Rich, Howard. In his pitch to Kim, Jimmy mentions that going over to Schweikart & Cokely would simply be a lateral decision, she’d be subject to play by the same rules and that Rich will just be Howard in a different suit. The mixing up of her current boss and her potential boss shows that Jimmy is right. She says she wanted more in her interview with Schweikart & Cokely but taking this job would be doing a disservice to that dream and so would staying put at HHM. She rips the business card Jimmy gave her for their potential firm and has an idea. She heads back over to Jimmy’s boiler room office, this time she has the pitch. Not Wexler McGill she says, her idea is Wexler and McGill. Two separate practices in the same building providing support for each other along the way with anything they may need. We don’t get an answer here as Kim waiting for Jimmy’s answer is our episode end scene so we along with Kim will anxiously await what Jimmy has to say.

Meanwhile in Mike world, Mike is kind of getting suckered by his daughter in law. She keeps asking for more and this time it’s a brand new house. She got to this point by making Mike think she and Kaylee were in danger and the ironic thing is, this pursuit of wanting to keep his family safe has put Mike in the line of danger himself. It’s family though so whether Mike knows or even sees it as Stacey taking advantage of him, it doesn’t matter as long it’s for the family. His desire to keep his family safe is what drives him to scout out the Salamanca ice cream shop, where they secretly do business. Mike will not be quick to forget that they threatened his daughter in law and his granddaughter.  He is a wolf and he will protect his family. Maybe the Salamanca’s were ready to leave Mike alone or maybe not, but the ball will not be put in their court as Mike has made the first move. Where we go from here, I am excited to find out.

 

Other Thoughts:

Chuck is a no show in this episode and has been riding the bench for the most part during season two’s middle stretch. With the season heading towards its conclusion, will there be enough time to add some drama to Chuck’s story?

I think we all need a friend like Omar. He saved Jimmy from quitting and losing the signing bonus, and afterward he helps Jimmy move his cocobolo desk into his tiny boiler room office. Jimmy tries to pay him or offer him a drink but he’s got to run home for the kids. I can’t be the only one who didn’t see Omar as a wife and kids kind of guy. Either way I hope that wasn’t the last of Omar.

Jimmy’s montage started with a rainbow of colorful suits, much like Kim’s montage with rainbow post its. Interesting they both had career hardships and went about fixing them in complete opposite ways.

Jimmy was meeting with the UNM film kids again. Are we getting a no restrictions Jimmy style commercial soon? Let’s hope so.

Kim reveals she grew up in a small town on the Kansas Nebraska border. Cinnabun manager and Omaha resident Gene isn’t too far up the road. Might there be something there, a future scene where they meet up?

Quote of the day. Jimmy and Cliff say their goodbyes.

“For what it’s worth Cliff, I think you’re a nice guy.”

“For what it’s worth Jimmy, I think you’re an asshole.”

The big players of Better Call Saul unleash their inner wolf and each take control of their own destiny. The table is set for an exciting final act to a great season.

Grade A-

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