TV REVIEW: ‘Better Call Saul’ – ‘Expenses’

A slower burn of an episode provides plenty of developments for Jimmy, Kim and Mike.

| May 25, 2017

Spoiler Warning for Season 3, Episode 7 of “Better Call Saul,” as well as all seasons of “Breaking Bad.”

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler and Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill. (Photo credit: Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC)

All actions have consequences and that theme comes into play as things slow down a bit to pick up the pieces and develop the characters after multiple hectic episodes. Jimmy must work harder than ever to keep himself afloat while serving his sentence. Meanwhile, Kim struggles to come to terms with what she and Jimmy did to Chuck. This episode isn’t as thrilling or gripping as the last few, but serves as proof that this is the best season of the show yet.

While he may have escaped jail time and disbarment, Jimmy still must perform community service. Along with several others, Jimmy is taken to an area under an overpass where he spends four hours collecting trash. But that isn’t all he is doing; he must also continue his pursuit of selling his ad space and producing commercials. I have to say, Jimmy is great at multi-tasking and his ability to take care of two important jobs at the same time makes me feel guilty for not being more productive. That being said, his actions have consequences and Jimmy is penalized for using his phone during community service; he’s only given credit for a fraction of the time he spent, meaning he still has a lot of work to do. Jimmy’s day has only just begun as he must now clean himself up, become Saul Goodman and start filming a commercial so that it can be aired later in the day. The business owner is absolutely terrible on camera, but Jimmy rushes through filming anyway before attempting to sell his remaining ad space; the business owner isn’t interested and Jimmy’s situation worsens from there.

This episode spends a significant amount of time with Nacho as he prepares to enact his plan to deal with Hector. He reunites with Pryce (Mark Proksch), the nerdy prescription drug supplier; Nacho offers Pryce a large amount of money to provide him with some empty pill capsules. We also see Mike as he works at a church playground after his daughter-in-law reeled him into a job; some of the churchgoers arrive to help Mike, including a character named Anita and played by the fantastic Tamara Tunie. Later, Mike is approached by Pryce, who wishes to rehire him as a bodyguard, but Mike just isn’t interested and tells him to stop the deal and get out. He attends a meeting at the church with Stacey, where Anita tells the story of her husband going missing while mountain hiking. This seems to have an effect on Mike, who strikes up a conversation with her after the meeting ends; I may be reading into it a little too much, but I think there is some romantic chemistry between the two. Regardless, Mike decides to join back up with Pryce and help him with the deal. Mike and Pryce arrive at the meet point and greet Nacho, but there is a clear disagreement about what happens next. Mike is ready to go through with the trade off, although he warns Nacho against taking action against Hector, but ultimately offers him some helpful advice. Throughout his run on “Breaking Bad,” Mike was always one of my favorites and the more I see of him, the more I love.

Mark Proksch as Pryce and Michael Mando as Nacho Varga. Photo credit: Michele K. Short/Sony Pictures Television/AMC)

Now, Jimmy’s luck just keeps getting worse. He meets up with his film team at a music store after a few hours of community service; unfortunately for Jimmy, the business owners are having are hard time justifying the price for the undesirable airtime. This puts Jimmy in a tricky spot as he will lose money if he doesn’t manage to sell the airspace, but he still decides to offer this initial spot for free in exchange for them considering to purchase the other spots; they agree to film the commercial, but Jimmy loses a significant amount of money in this agreement. One of the production crew members try to give Jimmy money, but he refuses, showing the fact that he still really is a great person. At the same time, Kim has a meeting with the Mesa Verde client to go over some things, but she really breaks down and acts unprofessionally; this is definitely related to her guilt from what she and Jimmy did to Chuck. Later, Kim and Jimmy go to the bar from last season where they adopt alter egos and pretend to scam patrons. This time around, Jimmy is visibly angry when a diner lashes out at a bartender for poor service. Tricking people is something Jimmy is quite good at and he shows this later in the episode.

There is another consequence of Jimmy’s actions that comes to fruition as he realizes that his malpractice insurance has been paid and will continue even though he won’t be practicing law for the next year. He pleads with his insurance agent to find a loophole, stating that his clients love him and would never sue him for malpractice, but the agent simply can’t do anything due to company policy. This is when Jimmy starts his trickery again as he breaks down in tears and describes all of his misfortune, including the situation with Chuck; he even explains that Chuck had a full-blown breakdown on the stand. This prompts the agent to pay special attention and she begins taking notes after realizing that Chuck receives his insurance coverage from this same company. Jimmy leaves the office, but it isn’t fully clear if he is truly upset or if he is playing the long game and this was all an act. Without a doubt, this is one of Bob Odenkirk’s strongest performances to date and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the episode that he submits for Emmy consideration. Odenkirk has really taken on this role and “Better Call Saul” has given him the opportunity to show off just how talented his is.

“Expenses” is painful in the sense that viewers are forced to witness the show’s heroes go through some real hardships as they face the consequences of their actions. Jimmy goes through hell while trying to prove Chuck wrong, while also keeping his relationship with Kim stable. Speaking of Kim, I am really worrying that this is the beginning of the end for her and I fear that she may not make it out of this season alive. With just 3 episodes left, it isn’t exactly clear what will happen, but this season showcases the fact that the tameness of the first season is gone and the grimness of the mothership series is taking center stage. “Better Call Saul” will take a week off, but will return on Monday, June 5 at 10 p.m. on AMC.

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Television

Jeffrey Kopp is the Editor-in-Chief of the Niner Times. He is a senior double majoring in Communication and Political Science. His interests include writing and keeping up with an excessive amount of television shows. He is also the go-to expert on all things “The Walking Dead." Reach him at editor@ninertimes.com or @JeffreyKopp97 on Twitter.

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  1. When Anita mentions her husband’s possible heart-attack as an explanation for his disappearance, Mike realizes Nacho’s plan regarding Hector, who has a heart problem. That is why he suddenly tells Pryce he is “in”.

Jeffrey Kopp is the Editor-in-Chief of the Niner Times. He is a senior double majoring in Communication and Political Science. His interests include writing and keeping up with an excessive amount of television shows. He is also the go-to expert on all things “The Walking Dead." Reach him at editor@ninertimes.com or @JeffreyKopp97 on Twitter.

Twitter