This week’s episode of Better Call Saul reveals Gus Fring’s growing paranoia and the next piece of Jimmy and Kim’s scheme. Also, two main characters finally meet. Directed by Rhea Seehorn, let’s talk about “Hit and Run.”
Where is Lalo Salamanca?
The cold open shows a couple leisurely biking through an Albuquerque neighborhood, proficiently using hand signals at every turn. After stopping for a minute to complain about the color that a neighbor’s house is being painted (“There is no way the Homeowners’ Association approved that color!”), they arrive at their own house. Inside are armed men milling about, making coffee, and getting food from the kitchen. One of the men is stationed in front of a bank of closed-circuit cameras that are focused on the house next door. The seemingly straight-laced neighborhood cyclists are clearly part of this operation, and their house is Command Central. But who are they watching?
Gus Fring drives up to the front door of the surveilled house after a long day’s work at Los Pollos Hermanos. He gathers the mail, walks inside his house, and heads upstairs to change out of his work clothes (keeping the bulletproof vest on) and into his … work clothes. He takes his clothes downstairs to the washing machine in the basement, and he then reveals a secret door built into the concrete wall. Beyond the secret door is a lighted tunnel that takes him into the basement of another house. And upstairs is the Command Center in the cyclists’ home, with Mike watching over the operation.
Gus gets a brief update from Mike about what has happened during the day, which is exactly nothing. Mike assures Gus that nothing suspicious has happened anywhere. Mike then explains to Gus that his men, who are stationed all over Albuquerque working 18-hour shifts of repetitive surveillance, are starting to grow weary and tired. Gus is unconcerned about that, refusing to believe that he is safe and waiting for the slightest whisper that Lalo is near. “Lalo Salamanca is alive,” he reminds Mike. “Then where is he?” Mike asks him, a question that all of us are asking.
Who Moves a Cone?!
We see a dark-colored Jaguar driving down the street, with the very recognizable NAMAST3 plate on the back. Howard Hamlin eventually pulls up to a building and parks in a space marked for “Patients Only.” He walks upstairs and opens the door to his therapist’s office. After a few minutes, Howard begins telling his therapist about a dream he had, something that involves him trying to decipher a plane ticket written in a language he can’t read. Meanwhile, outside the building, we see Howard Hamlin. No, wait — that’s Jimmy! Decked out in pinstripes, a spray tan, and a wig that mimics Howard’s signature white-blond hair, Jimmy takes the opportunity of Howard’s therapy appointment to enact the next part of his and Kim’s plan to take Howard down.
Using the car key copy given to him by Huell, he gets in Howard’s Jaguar, backs out of the space, and puts an orange cone in its place so he can return the car without Howard noticing anything amiss. He drives to the Crossroads Motel and picks up prostitute Wendy (hello, Breaking Bad Easter egg). He has clearly hired her to help in this part of the plan because he asks her if she remembers what she is supposed to say. Jimmy is frantic and anxious at this point, knowing his window of opportunity is shrinking. Wendy just wants a root beer.
Meanwhile, at a restaurant somewhere else in town, Kim is meeting with attorney Cliff Main. She is pitching him her idea of a group of independent lawyers who provide their services pro bono, in an effort to be able to help more people on a larger scale. Cliff seems interested in the idea and tells her that she might be on to something. But under the table, Kim presses a button on her cell, which signals Jimmy to make his move.
While Kim and Cliff are drinking coffee, the sound of screeching tires interrupts them, and Cliff sees a dark-colored Jaguar grind to a halt in the middle of the street. The passenger door opens up and out falls Wendy, screaming about getting paid. Cliff sees the whole thing happen, and Howard’s NAMAST3 plate is deliberately visible. As the Jaguar races away from the scene, Cliff asks Kim, “Was … was that Howard?” The latest leg of their plan has worked: Cliff now has yet another doubt planted in his mind about his friend’s well-being.
Now that his part is done, Jimmy drives back to Howard’s therapist’s office. But someone has moved the orange cone from the parking space and has taken Howard’s spot. “Who moves a cone?!” Jimmy screams. Out of time, he parks the Jaguar next to it and pulls the “Patients Only” sign out of the ground, and plants it in front of Howard’s car, just as Howard is walking out of the building. Jimmy escapes unseen, and Howard drives away, blissfully unaware that his car was moved one spot over to a “No Parking” area during his appointment.
Made of Sterner Stuff
Jimmy and Kim are going over the Jimmy-as-Howard stunt that night at home, thrilled that their plan went off without a hitch. Kim assures Jimmy that Cliff fell for it completely, and Jimmy complains yet again about having to improvise in the parking lot in the final minutes. “Who moves cones?!” Kim then shares with Jimmy something that happened when she dropped off Wendy back at the Crossroads Motel. Wendy pointed out to Kim a car parked across the street from the motel that she believed was being driven by undercover cops. And as Kim left the motel, that very car followed her. Fortunately, after a few blocks, the car turned and left Kim alone. Jimmy believes there is nothing to worry about and that this was just a coincidence.
But the next day, Kim is at the El Camino diner working with a client when she notices that same car parked across the street. She immediately goes outside and walks to the car, taking down the license plate number. She confronts the driver and passenger and asks them if they are following her. They say nothing to her, and she then threatens to call in their plate number to the police, because she feels threatened by them. They apologize and immediately leave.
A few days later, Kim is back at the diner with more clients. She keeps checking outside for the car but never sees it. This seems to put her mind at ease. When she walks up front to pay the tabs (she buys her clients a meal with each appointment), she hears a man say, “They’re gone. The two men that were following you.” It’s Mike who says this, and he asks Kim to give him a few minutes to explain what’s going on.
He tells Kim that he has men watching her and her husband in case Lalo Salamanca tries to make contact. Kim tells him that Lalo is dead, but an extended moment of silence from Mike tells her that she is dead wrong. Now realizing the world of danger she and Jimmy are in, she asks Mike why he is telling her this and not Jimmy. “Because I think you’re made of sterner stuff.” He instructs her to just ignore the men if she sees them following her again and let them go about their business.
And Justice For All
Word has gotten around the courthouse that Jimmy worked to get drug cartel kingpin, Lalo Salamanca, out of prison, and this has made him an absolute pariah. He is made to go through a more thorough security check at the front door, the employees in the main office and mailroom want nothing to do with him anymore, and no one will even sit with him during lunch. While Jimmy wades through a very quiet meal, his cell phone begins to ring off the hook. Saul Goodman is open for business, and there is clientele needing his services.
At the nail salon where his office is located (in the very back behind the washing machine), Jimmy arrives to a lobby stuffed with customers who have made appointments to see him. The manager of the salon is angry that his business is taking up so much of her business’ space, but he tries to calm her down with a wad of cash. “So you’re the guy?” a man asks Jimmy. “Salamanca’s guy?” Jimmy says that he is, and he gets to work meeting with his future clients. When he calls out the names of the people who should be there, the man who asked him if he was Salamanca’s guy answers to the unfortunate name of Spooge. And if that name sounds familiar, it’s because we see him in Breaking Bad as a meth dealer who suffers a grisly death by A.T.M.
In the episode’s final scene, Jimmy has brought Kim to a place for lease in a strip mall. The wad of cash didn’t seem to work because the nail salon owner has kicked him out of his back-room office, and he needs a new place to conduct business. Kim doesn’t like the space — it’s dirty and smells funny, and has a toilet in the middle of the floor for some reason. But Jimmy assures her that this place would just be temporary. (Breaking Bad fans know better.) Kim admits that it’s a strategic location with its proximity to the courthouse, and the parking is great, too. She and Jimmy then walk off to grab a taco for dinner, and she doesn’t mention to him anything about meeting Mike or what she’s learned about Lalo.
Better Call Saul‘s fifth episode, “Black and Blue,” will air next Monday, May 9 at 9 p.m. EST on AMC. Catch our weekly recaps here.