Better Call Saul really re-establishes itself as probably the best show on television with it’s new episode, Dedicado a Max. In this episode, Kim (Rhea Seehorn) and Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) begin to execute their plan to delay Mesa Verde evicting Mr. Acker from his house and making a call centre on his lot.
However, they experience some trouble from Kim’s boss, Kevin, who stubbornly wants to keep the eviction going, prompting a big reaction from Kim. Meanwhile, Mike (Jonathan Banks) wakes up in a unknown location, which is actually run by Gus (Giancarlo Esposito), and is treated for his stab wound. After a while of attempting to escape, Gus finally approaches Mike with a proposition.
A real strength of this episode is just how lighthearted and funny it is. This has been a real strength running all of the way through Better Call Saul, especially in comparison to Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad was all about drug-dealing, death, murder, gangsters and was ultimately a very dark and depressing (although brilliant) show, while Better Call Saul is more about the trials and tribulations of working in the law. Even the darkness the show has had in the past (like Chuck’s death, for example) has always been less cynical than Breaking Bad.
It is really lighthearted and funny to see Kim and Jimmy’s escapades in this episode. A particular highlight was seeing Kim impersonate her boss, with Jimmy next to her, doing an impression of her. It was wonderful to see Seehorn play more with comedy, as often she is the straight man in contrast to Odenkirk. But this episode, both of them really get to play with comedy, and it was very entertaining.
Also, both Seehorn and Odenkirk have fantastic, undeniable chemistry that is really wonderful to see. They are very fun and playful together, and the two of them bring out the best in each other. Their chemistry is also very important to the show as it makes Kim’s journey to the more criminal side in the past few episodes all that more believable and interesting.
Jimmy and Kim’s story-line in the past few episodes has also been really interesting. Kim’s journey to the more criminal side is very interesting, and could be the reason why she is never featured in Breaking Bad. Is she in prison? Or does this make the two of them inevitably split up? Kim’s story-line over the past 4 seasons has been a very slow-building and subtle one, and that makes her transformation to the dark side all the more believable, interesting and ultimately, quite cathartic.
The montage sequence in this episode is also very impressive. This montage takes place while Kim and Jimmy are executing their various delays on Mesa Verde’s production of the Acker’s house. The montage, cross-cutting from Acker’s house to the lawyer house, is edited and directed in a very thrillingly, pacey and punchy way that is undercut with a wonderful, lively piece of music. The use of the montage was common feature of Breaking Bad (who can forget the fantastic Crystal Blue Persuasion montage, as well as the Gliding Over All prison killing scene), and Better Call Saul does love them as well. They are so important as it makes the episode more pacey and punchy, which also contributes to making the episode more lighthearted and fun.
Apart from the Kim and Jimmy story-line, the episode also gives great development to Mike. Mike has always been one of the most fascinating characters from both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. This episode establishes the link between him and Gus, which was an key element of Breaking Bad, and answers the question as to why they work with each other in the future.
This episode also re-establishes the back-story about Gus in how his business partner, Max was killed by Hector, which set off his criminal career, and made him want revenge on the Salamancas. This is really interesting for the show to re-address, as this back-story always made the villain more sympathetic and three-dimensional.
Dedicado a Max is another fascinating episode to the Better Call Saul canon. Probably the best episode of season 5 so far, this series shows no sign of slowing down. It does what a great episode does by telling a singular story but also setting up many future episodes. We’ll see if they keep up this run of great episodes in the future.