[For Better Call Saul “Amarillo” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Amarillo. Jimmy’s client outreach efforts succeed and he exhibits new heights of showmanship.
“Amarillo” revolves around the theme doing whatever it takes to get the job done. The thing about Jimmy McGill is that he’s a go getter and doing whatever it takes is just his way. It’s what’s best and worst about him, all wrapped up in a folksy, suited Bob Odenkirk package. At one point in the episode Jimmy says, “teamwork makes the dream work,” and he means it. Trouble is that Jimmy isn’t really a team player. He plays that classic I’d rather ask forgiveness than permission game that peeps play when they’re certain they’re right. And maybe Jimmy is right; it certainly seems so thus far. But he’s not ingratiating himself with the team and in fact is breaking every one of their rules moments after hearing them. So, although we’re rooting for Jimmy we’re also in a waiting game for when this elastic band he’s stretching snaps back at him and hopeful that Kim doesn’t get smacked too because she’s frequently standing right in the line of fire, next to Jimmy.
The episode opens in Texas where Jimmy wears a cowboy hat and visits with a group of Sandpiper residents in their shuttle bus. He’s collecting clients for the Sandpiper class action by explaining that they may have been overcharged with that folksy Jimmy charm and storytelling ease. He gets the whole shuttle bus to sign on to the suit with a contract. In fact, using this method Jimmy signs over two hundred new clients in only three weeks, a fact we find out at his meeting in the next scene. It’s a conference room with all the lawyers around the table. Chuck is there and criticizing Jimmy for what he says appears to be the forbidden act, soliciting clients.
Jimmy explains that he didn’t knock on any doors, which is true. But when he reaches out for some footsie under the table Kim pulls her foot away. So, then he adds that he won’t go about it this way anymore and follows her speedily up the stairs when the meeting ends. She asks him what happened actually. He says he means it when he said he’ll find another way to get clients. Then Kim reminds him that she put herself on the line for him to get this job. He has to do it the right way. Tsk Tsk, bro.
Next we see Mike with his granddaughter and giving money to his daughter-in-law. She seems antsy and worried and eventually tells him she hears gunshots at night. When she called the cops they took a long time to come so when they arrived there was nothing to see anymore. Mike offers to stay the night but she says no. Later that evening he’s parked outside her house, on a stakeout but nothing happens. Mike waits out there the whole night. Right when he gets to work and lets out his first tollbooth yawn his daughter-in-law calls. She shows him a notch broken into the side of her house’s stucco and says she heard shots at 2:13 AM. He ask if it’s possible she dreamed it but she insists no. So, then Mike says that’s it, They’ll just have to move her and Caylee out of there.
Meanwhile Jimmy’s telling Clifford Main that instead of decent direct mail responses (like 10-12%) they often get either none or only 2-3% for their Sandpiper mailings. Jimmy says he suspects the staff at Sandpiper is probably throwing them away. But if they did a TV ad that ran during “Murder She Wrote” they’d definitely reach Sandpiper residents. Jimmy gets a couple of young filmmakers to go through what the ad will cover – a “production meeting”. He wants a grandma rocking in a chair, shivering and clutching a tattered shawl. She’s cold, hungry and friendless. It’s gotta be heartbreaking and shot in black and white, he explains.
Later Kim visits Jimmy at his fancy new apartment to watch his TV commercial and she says it look professional and will work. She also says, though, that she can’t believe Davis & Main went for this. Then we see a flash of Jimmy looking sketchy at the office, checking to see if anyone’s listening and then calling a Colorado TV station’s ad sales department. It’s looking like Jimmy didn’t get the permission he should have after all. His assistant is in on the scheme and helps set up the rerouting of phone lines so that anything from the ad goes straight to his office. At air time of “Murder She Wrote” the phones start ringing and the new clients are rolling in. Then we see Jimmy and Kim watching a movie together late at night. Clifford Main calls Jimmy and yells at him about running the commercial without checking with him first. He’s pissed and insists that they all see the ad first thing in the morning. Kim is none the wiser and Jimmy just hopes the fact that he pulled in all the new clients will make him easy to forgive.
Next Mike goes to the veterinarian who hands out assassin jobs looking for work and he’s told that if he wants next level pay he’s gotta do next level work AKA killin’. Determined to stop his assassinating ways, Mike leaves with merely a bodyguard job. Next we see Mike sleeping and awakened by the vet calling with a next level pay job. He drives out to meet the client and it turns out to be Nacho, who tells Mike there’s a guy he needs to go away.
So, in the end we see that Mike also does whatever it takes to get the job done; whether that means staying up all night to watch his granddaughter’s house or taking an assassin job to move her to a better neighborhood. They are so parallel in this way, Mike and Jimmy. Yet there’s an interesting opposition at hand too because Mike’s trying to go straight in a world that keeps pulling him into corruption. Meanwhile Jimmy perpetuates sketchy stunts in a world (Davis & Main) that wants him to play it straight and safe. One character is like a photo negative of the other. They each have an antagonist working against the very thing they want, Jimmy has Chuck and Mike – Nacho but they are also opposites. Chuck wants to see Jimmy fail and even works as a sort of saboteur against Jimmy at work. While Nacho keeps Mike working and seeks him out for more dastardly deeds. This leaves us with the question; what will bring the parallel lives of those polar opposites, Jimmy and Mike together again?