Better Call Saul S1E10: “Marco”
It has become common place in television for the penultimate episode of a season to have the last big event, using the season finale as a wrapping up period and a time to set the table for what is to come in the next season. “Pimento” obviously had the big game changing moment for the first season of Better Call Saul so what does “Marco” give us for a final act? Why don’t we find out?
We begin as usual, with a flashback. Away we go to Cicero Illinois, and Jimmy is not the first thing we see. Marco is making his second appearance and is back scamming people in a bar, he was the friend Jimmy ran the Rolex watch scam with in “Hero”. Not trailing too far behind is Jimmy coming in to say goodbye to his friend. This is after the whole Chicago sunroof incident that Chuck was able to get dropped. Chuck thinks it best to have Jimmy start fresh in Albuquerque and Jimmy agrees. He tells Marco that and tells him they have to grow up, saying they can’t just stay at the bar forever.
Ten years isn’t forever but we learn that ten years is the amount of time that has passed since Jimmy followed his brother to the land of enchantment. After the incredibly tense and stressful break in his relationship with Chuck, Jimmy decides to take the cash and hand the case over to HHM. Jimmy and Howard have a decent conversation that does in fact put Howard in a new light. From everything I can gather, Howard has absolutely nothing against Jimmy and just had to follow orders from Chuck who is his superior. If Howard was in charge I think things would be a whole lot different. With the break of the sibling relationship, Jimmy hands over his responsibilities involved with taking care of Chuck over to HHM. Howard is surprised at how much time and effort Jimmy has put into caring for his brother. It is in fact a lot but that bridge has been burned for now so Chuck is going to have to live with the services of Ernie, a former mail room clerk back when Jimmy was down there too. That’s it for Chuck in this one.
After everything that went down Jimmy feels burned out, who wouldn’t? Jimmy takes some time off and heads back to Cicero for a little vacation. The first place he goes is too look for his old friend Marco and it is in the same bar from the flashback. Ten years isn’t forever but it is a long time and Marco still hasn’t changed much at all. They have a conversation in which it’s revealed that Jimmy had come back to town a few years back but never contacted Marco and that clearly saddens Marco. He doesn’t have a lot to live for and with Jimmy’s recent tough times, the two go back to a more comfortable setting, conning people. The first scam they run is overpricing a JFK dollar coin and it’s a pleasure to watch it unfold. That is only the start of the debauchery as we get an excellent montage filled with time lapses of the Windy City and starts to cons that leave you interested in their development but cuts away to the next con before you can get too invested. After a week back to his origins, Jimmy checks his phone and sees a plethora of voice messages from his clients. He knows he has to go back. He tells Marco he is a lawyer and Marco is proud of Jimmy, he made something of himself and is a professional. Marco tells Jimmy that he doesn’t have any of that. All he has to live for are these scams and with one Rolex left in stock, he guilts Jimmy into running the scheme one more time for old time’s sake. The scene ends in tragedy as Marco suffers a heart attack and passes away.
Along with feeling grief for his best friend, Jimmy realizes that it’s probably for the best that he leaves those days of his youth behind him. With some well-deserved good news, Kim calls him saying that the Sandpiper case has sprawled too large and HHM has to get another firm involved, Davis and Main. D&M as it turns out are interested in Jimmy and are eyeing him for a partner track. Jimmy heads back to his real life in Albuquerque and heads over for the interview. He shortly thereafter leaves, whether there was a time skip or not is made unclear. In a move that seems to solidify that we are quickly heading towards a Jimmy to Saul transformation Jimmy talks to Mike asking why they didn’t just split the Kettleman money when they had it as they would have been in the clear. The Kettleman’s couldn’t rat on them even if they knew it was them because that would admit to embezzlement. Mike says that Jimmy didn’t take it on account of wanting to do what’s right. Jimmy says he knows what held him back and says it won’t be stopping him anymore as he drives away humming Smoke on the Water, Marco’s favorite song to hum.
Marco’s mother gives Jimmy one of Marco’s rings. This ring becomes a signature of Jimmy’s outfit as he dons the ring often in his Breaking Bad appearances.
Jimmy convinces a couple of women in Cicero that he was Kevin Costner and Marco was his agent. As smooth as conmen as they are, I really wonder how they swung that.
Jimmy had a nervous breakdown while narrating the bingo game at a residence home. Too many B’s in a row. And it led us to our word of the day!
Chicago Sunroof: When one defecates through the sunroof of a car
A break in the direct plot of the show lets Better Call Saul breathe after a very tense episode in a fun manner. Jimmy seems ready to make the jump to Saul as we rev up for season 2.
Season Grade B
Episode Grade A-