Better Call Saul Review: Mike in the Middle of Intensifying Rivalries

Better Call Saul, Season 3, Episode 4, “Sabrosito”

Things are getting bitter this episode and Mike is the middle of it all.

Hector’s distribution lines have been compromised (tanks to Mike and some red shoes) so he lashes out at Gus.

Jimmy and Chuck are diving further at odds, and there’s Mike posing as a repairman to fix a door, torture Chuck with a cordless drill and to take some surveillance photos inside the house when Chuck is chased upstairs.

Gus gets most of the spotlight this episode even when he’s not there. The flashback where Hector pays his respects to the cartel chief lays the groundwork for just how bad the blood is between Gus and Hector.

Hector is proud of his ice cream truck delivery method and his small bag of rolled up cash. It impresses Don Eladio until Gus’ men show up with three large, neat stacks of shrink-wrapped cash that makes Hector’s haul look like loose change by comparison. The don isn’t subtle about rubbing Hector’s nose in the fact that he’s not as neat or productive as Gus, who’s so good he doesn’t even have to pay his respects in person any more.

When we get to the present day, Hector and his goons (hey, Nacho!) intimidate the entire Los Pollos Hermanos location waiting for Gus to show up. Hector is upset about his distribution lines getting interrupted and he is going to muscle Gus into picking up the slack. Hector has earned a “don” title himself and has that weight to throw around, despite Gus’ protests to the contrary.

The standoff also shows how deeply Gus cares about everything he makes. Despite the chicken joint being a front for a more lucrative operation, Gus truly cares about his employees and customers. When business resumes the next day, Gus rewards his employees with overtime bonuses, and gives a stirring speech about how those thugs extorted money from him back in Mexico, but in America that isn’t going to happen.

Gus tries to pay Mike for his services rendered, but Mike refuses. That causes Gus to personally visit Mike, offer him a job and to pique Mike’s interest by saying that a bullet to the head would be too humane an end for Hector.

There was just a smattering of Jimmy this week. He takes the diversion program even though he knows it will trigger a bar hearing – in fact he’s planning on it. Kim is along for the ride, and the situation is reminiscent of the time Jimmy and Kim conned their way into a dinner and expensive drinks from a potential “investor.” Straight-laced Kim is again getting a charge out of being part of one of Jimmy’s games.

At the end of the hearing, and the most insincere apology in the history of mankind, Kim is able to goad Chuck into spilling that he does have a copy of Jimmy’s confession tape, and he plans on playing it at the bar hearing, which is exactly what Jimmy expects him to do, and where Jimmy plans to crush Chuck’s reputation once and for all.

The plot is moving along quickly by Better Call Saul standards, and it’s keeping things interesting. There were fewer wordless scenes of Mike doing someone’s dirty work than ever before. The introduction of Gus into the mix is a boon for the series, as well as a bit of service for Breaking Bad fans.

Craig Wack

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