[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for “Better Call Saul” Season 4 Episode 3, “Something Beautiful.”]
Chuck is dead and Jimmy’s law career is on hiatus, but Jimmy is still finding ways to keep busy. However, his method of choice is to not pursue legal options, but to instead play around in the more elicit end of the swimming pool: specifically, coming up with capers that veer towards criminal, but don’t full-on feel like felonies.
Which is good, because honestly, the antics making headlines this week come from the less legal side of Albuquerque, as Nacho works with Gus’s people to stage a shootout that explains the death of Arturo. The fact that Arturo only died so that Nacho’s personal subterfuge never comes up, but he does certainly pay the price in the form of a bullet wound that’s just severe enough to make it look real. (Maybe even too real, if our favorite local veterinarian is to be believed.)
Achievements in Cinematography
Past episodes have made clear this show excels at using silence, but seriously — the first six minutes of this episode contain exactly 17 words of dialogue. It’s a feat that deserves a great deal of admiration, even when fearfully considering what this means for Nacho and his hopes of escaping his life of crime.
The Least Legal Move
Certainly covering up a murder isn’t the best of plans, but let’s also acknowledge here that Jimmy knows more about picking locks than expected. It doesn’t make him a bad guy, but it does remind viewers he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Lady In Blue
Kim’s reaction to “seeing the models” is something worth unpacking for quite some time, to be honest, because it’s not a simple thing, how she seems to feel about over a half-dozen banks opening across the southwest based on her work. Some people might be proud, but Kim seems at least a bit ambivalent about it, and while she tells her new trusty paralegal (played by Keiko Agena from “Gilmore Girls”!) to explore what the further legal ramifications of the bank’s continued expansion might be, it feels like an unconventional reaction might be coming down the line.
Remembering What Hasn’t Happened Yet (The “Breaking Bad” Tie-In)
Hey, were you never terrified of the Salamanca Cousins during the original series? Well, from the first shot of their shoes in this episode, there’s ample reason to remember why they were not men worth crossing during their heyday. Well, and also…
What’s Up With Mike?
Nothing! Which is a notable reminder that whatever’s going on requires our attention…
Gus’s determination to keep Nacho under his thumb is now terrifying for anyone whose primary hope is to see Nacho get out of this situation alive. But more importantly, viewers are re-introduced to the beloved Gale (David Costabile), who roars in with what’s clearly a lot of backstory between him and Gus, but still in many ways regulated to the sidelines. Introducing Gale is a huge move for the show in terms of creating the “Breaking Bad” overlap, though here it’s more of a tease, since Gus tells Gale that he’s still not involved — or, from our perspective, still free.
Nicole Wilder/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
On The Journey From Jimmy to Saul
Here, Jimmy commits to his most illegal caper yet — albeit one that technically wouldn’t cost him all that much in the way of jail time. Instead, it’s a victimless B&E which speaks to his petty crime days… and probably won’t be dissuaded by the letter from Chuck.
“Say what you want — man could write a letter.”
The fact there’s no answer given as to when exactly Chuck wrote his final words to Jimmy is heartbreaking, but even more rough is the fact that it’s pretty clear it happened years ago. Which makes Jimmy knowing that, and accepting it, all the more brutal.
“It’s From a Movie!”
It’s not officially from a movie, but for those who were wondering: Here’s what Gale was singing in the lab — Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements.” (Might have sounded like an Animaniacs song, but nope, older than that.)
In Conclusion, Your Honor
This is the kind of episode which represents “Saul” getting into its stride for a season, and the results are always delicious. The brutal cold open followed by Jimmy’s less-than-life-or-death-stakes drama proves to be a fascinating contrast, even while coming to terms with how much jeopardy is swimming in the wake of these peoples’ lives. Not characters, but people. That’s just how real they feel.
“Better Call Saul” airs new episodes Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.