Welcome to the new TV Recap series Better Recall Saul that chronicles the adventures of Better Call Saul and a young criminal lawyer as he cuts his teeth down in ABQ, and his Breaking Bad buddies might stop by to wish him luck. Feel free to join every Tuesday as the adventures unravel and the story behind one of the funniest and sleaziest lawyers in TV history begins to take form and remind us why he is such a great character in the first place. Is this spin-off meant for greatness, or is it the worst idea that AMC has ever done? You'll have to read on to find out the truth.
“You know what happened. The
question is, can you live with it?”
- Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks)
Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) gets interrogated by the police over some petty crimes. He asks Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) to be his lawyer and uses him to help steal a notebook full of important information. They recognize their loyalty. As he sits around with his daughter-in-law Stacey (Kerry Condon), he begins to share a darker story about when his son Matt died due to corruption. While he had a will of steel, Mike was able to convince him to go corrupt and ended up being shot by two police officers. When Mike receives the chance to attack back and kill those two cops, he takes it. This is shortly followed by him leaving town and setting up new residence in Albuquerque where he gets a bullet from the gunfight out of his chest and makes peace with Stacey.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks)
It's a no brainer how much of an impact Mike had on the overall episode. He pretty much dominates it and provides a back story that explains his hardened ways. Thankfully between Breaking Bad's "Half Measures" episode and "Five-O," he hasn't lost his stern gift of gab. He may have become a little hardened, but in this episode we get a deeper sense of the complexities. It is the first time that we see Mike cry or express any real emotion. While it does seem odd to finally throw attention to a side character who has felt predominantly useless in this series, it does work in terms of the bigger cannon. The gut punch of a story that ends the episode is especially effective and provides hope that now that Mike and Jimmy trust each other that things will turn out to be very interesting indeed.
Is it possible for Jonathan Banks to ever top his monologue in "Half Measures"? It does seem impossible, though with almost an entire episode serving as his pitch for an even more tragic story, he comes very close. Where he has become hardened, he is still vulnerable and is on the edge of tears as he explains the death of his son and how his corrupt behavior lead him there. It is a simple scene and one that not only informs the character, but likely enhances what makes Mike such an impressive and hard ex-cop. He did some unruly things in his past that he has to live with, and it shows in his facial reaction just how tough that can be sometimes.