By Carl Franzen
Leave it to Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) to turn one man’s trash into his treasure, quite literally.
After last week’s relatively anticlimactic episode, Better Call Saul was back on top this week with “Rico” (a special pat on the back if you predicted in advance that the title referred to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a not wholly uncommon plot device in the modern TV landscape).
This week brought several important new developments into play, including our first time seeing Jimmy work a case with his electromagnetically-phobic older brother and role model Chuck, as well as the beginnings of Mike Ehrmantraut’s eventually fruitful criminal career.
Summarizing those events as succinctly as I just did massively understates just how smartly and how poetically they came together on screen. And the dialogue, while always reliably entertaining on this show, was absolutely crackling with humor and wit this week. Written by novice Gordon Smith (formerly show creator Vince Gilligan’s assistant and the writer of the excellent episode “Five-O”) and directed by Colin Bucksey, this pair absolutely get all the elements and style that make BCS so fun and engaging to watch. That includes elevating toilet humor into hilarious and unforgettable satire.
The episode opens with a stylized shot that immediately grabs your attention: the bottom wheels of a mail cart whisking through an office. We see Jimmy with a shorter haircut pushing the mail cart around the offices of his brother’s firm, Hamlin Hamlin & McGill. This is clearly a flashback and he’s the mail delivery guy for HHM, at least until he finds out the good news that he’s passed the bar (on this third attempt, “I guess it’s like losing your virginity, third time’s a charm,” as Jimmy memorably puts it).