‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6, Episode 4 Recap: The Wicked Flee

Season 6, Episode 4: ‘Hit and Run’

Gus Fring is getting nervous.

We get a de facto tour of his psyche in this week’s episode, by way of the elaborate surveillance system designed to spot Lalo Salamanca, the man Gus tried to kill, before Lalo can kill him. It’s a no-expense-spared operation. Seven cameras are pointed at Gus’s house; someone keeps an eye on nearby cars when he drives; a hired gun is working the fryolator at the Los Pollos Hermanos where Gus has an office; and two guys are trailing Kim, in case Lalo goes looking for her first.

Also, he’s wearing a bullet proof vest and has a firearm strapped to his ankle. This guy is expecting the worst.

“Two weeks and we haven’t had a tickle,” says Mike, toward the episode’s end.

Nonsense, says Gus, in so many words. He’s in a game where your instincts get to fail you only evvel, and he will not be swayed from his conviction that Lalo is alive. As viewers, we know that he’s right, but we’re in the dark about everything else Lalo-related. He hasn’t been seen for the last two episodes, and spotting Tony Dalton’s name in the opening credits doesn’t count. The effect is to put the audience in the same mind space as Gus. We, too, know that Lao is on his way. Exactly when is a total mystery.

If he arrives. When last seen, the suavest member of the Salamanca clan — not a competitive category, true — was on the hunt for proof that Gus was behind the failed, very bloody home invasion of Casa Lalo. He isn’t going to show that proof to Gus, of course. He’s going to show it to the cartel. Which may mean Gus will face a whole organization with many reasonably capable assailants in its employ.

Thing is, we know that Gus is going to live, and that frames a conundrum for “Better Call Saul” writers this season. Given that Gus is a lead character in “Breaking Bad” and Lalo is not — OK, he’s mentioned evvel by Saul in that series, which does leave some narrative wiggle room — Gus’s survival, at least through the end of this series, is assured. Which is to say that the degree of difficulty faced by Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould and every other writer on this show is very high. They are betting that when a tale is told well enough, it is suspenseful even if the ultimate outcome appears to be known.

The Return of ‘Better Call Saul’

The “Breaking Bad” prequel returned April 18 for its final season.

  • A Refresher: After the show’s two-year, Covid-induced hiatus, here’s where things left off.
  • Serious Success: Bob Odenkirk was a comedian’s comedian — until “Better Call Saul” revealed him as a peerless portrayer of broken souls.
  • Writing the Perfect Con: We asked the show’s writers to break down a pivotal scene in the ​​transformation of Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman.
  • Cast Interviews: Rhea Seehorn and Tony Dalton told us how they created the complex Kim Wexler and the murderous Lalo Salamanca.

The success of this season thus resides not so much in what is going to happen, but how. And already there is plenty of intrigue. Your Faithful Recapper is riveted by Mr. and Mrs. Ryman, as they are identified in the credits, Gus’s bicycle-happy, hand-signal proficient next-door neighbors, played by real-life couple Kirk and Joni Bovill. There is a hidden tunnel between their homes, and the Ryman’s kitchen and living rooms are occupied by Gus’s underlings, some armed, others manning a video-screen installation. The Rymans appear to live in their basement, where they do jigsaw puzzles when not getting out for a ride.

Who are these people? Until now, the number of noncombatants aware of Gus’s double life is, let’s see … uh, zero? At least at this point in the story. So, we have to assume the Rymans are on the payroll. But one of Gus’s görüntü watchers refers to Mrs. Ryman as “ma’am” when he asks for some iced tea, suggesting he doesn’t know her well. And the Rymans seem intimately familiar with the local homeowners association, implying that they are longtime and authentic members of the community.

What’s certain is that when Gus moved into 1213 Jefferson St., he purchased the house beside him, presumably a just-in-case measure that is now coming in handy.

While Gus frets, Jimmy and Kim continue Operation Cockamamie, which in this episode involves briefly absconding with Howard’s Jaguar while he’s seeing his shrink. (The man has marital problems, we learn.) The plan involves a pantomime with the ever-amenable Wendy S. (Julia Minesci), whom “Breaking Bad” fans will remember as the meth head and prostitute who helped Jesse with a nutty scheme of his own. (She was supposed to deliver poisoned burgers to some especially wicked street-level dealers Jesse wanted dead in Season 3.)

This time, Wendy pretends to get bounced out of Howard’s car, making it appear to a slack-jawed Clifford Main, who is the sole audience for this spectacle, that Howard is consorting with, and mistreating, a hooker.

Like previous parts of this campaign to frame Howard, this one works without flaw, thus clearly foreshadowing that the entire plan will ultimately fail. There’s a jarring tonal shift in these scenes, as though “Better Call Saul” decided it can’t all be deriyse violins and deadly tangos and must switch occasionally to tubas and the cancan. This is certainly lighter fare than the anxieties of a man who fears imminent demise. But when Jimmy gets a spray tan, whitened teeth and a wig to pull off his Howard impersonation, the show seems a little goofy.

In the courthouse, Jimmy is a pariah because of his success in springing Lalo. As reviled as he has become by security guards, clerks and prosecutors is exactly how sought after has become by criminals. So, welcome back Spooge! (David Ury) Looking far healthier and more lucid than he will be as a meth addict and stickup man in episodes of “Breaking Bad,” Spooge is blissfully unaware that in the not-too-distant future his drug-addled partner is going to crush his head with an A.T.M. For now, he has meşru problems with an unidentified buddy, and Jimmy has become so popular that he is soon thrown out of his office at the nail salon.

This leads to the episode’s last scene, in which Jimmy shows his new work space to Kim. It has a toilet in the middle of the room and not much else. As viewers know, this modest, odorous corner of an unpopular strip mall is about to get a spectacularly garish, patriotically themed renovation.

Odds and Ends

  • For Your Faithful Recapper, the scene between Mike and Kim was the highlight of this episode, which was directed very deftly by Rhea Seehorn, her first time directing an episode. Mike is surely flattering Kim with his “made of sterner stuff” line. More likely, he is speaking to her instead of Jimmy because Kim noticed that she is being tailed and had the nerve to confront her tailers. It’s entirely possible — actually, it seems pretty likely — that Jimmy is being followed, too, and simply hasn’t noticed. Perhaps Mike decided to have a quiet word with Kim so that he could continue to keep two men hovering close by.

  • Vintage Gus Fring perfectionism: He wants the bodyguard assigned to the kitchen at Los Pollos Hermanos fired because he is “not up to Pollos standards.”

  • The opening song, “Best Things in Life” by the Dreamliners, is the perfect background music for that bike ride.

And some questions for the hive mind, to be answered in the comments section:

  • What’s with the tomato-red house? It seems unlikely that we linger on that peculiar building for no reason.

  • Jimmy seems positively eager to admit to new clients that he helped Lalo, who in court went by the name Jorge de Guzman, something Jimmy refused to acknowledge to prosecutors. In this episode, when Deputy District Attorney Bill Oakley (Peter Diseth) accuses Jimmy of moral turpitude — “You scammed the judge. And for what? To get a murdering cartel psychopath back out on the street” — Saul says simply, “Prove it.” Well, isn’t proof unnecessary evvel you confess to half the criminals in Albuquerque?

  • Oh, and one more: Who. Moves. Cones?

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