Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Better Call Saul Season 2, Ep. 3 – “Amarillo.”
“What’s this? There’s been another murder in Cabot Cove?” — Jimmy
Last season of Better Call Saul saw Jimmy and Mike’s paths crossing for the first time. We know that they will cross again, but for now their stories are progressing independent of each other. But while these plots are wholly separate, the dilemmas at the center of them are mirror images.
Last week Mike asked Jimmy if he was still morally flexible. The answer to the query was a resounding yes and that yes is the anchor that keeps these two storylines balanced even as they move further away from each other narratively.
Jimmy is still struggling to play his part of the stand-up lawyer. This week he managed to avoid manufacturing evidence but he did skate awfully close to solicitation in search of new plaintiffs. Granted, before Chuck’s prying the other partners were more than willing to accept Jimmy’s success as presented. But the question was raised and Jimmy was left to explain himself, not only to the participating lawyers, but also to Kim.
Left to find a new, slightly more legal, way to find new clients Jimmy had the inspired idea to create a commercial. But even when he’s playing by the rules he can’t help but test the boundaries. He created a compelling commercial, but rather than wait around for approval he ran the commercial on his own. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.
But no matter how it may look to Chuck or Kim or anyone else, Jimmy doesn’t break these rules just for the sake of breaking them. He operates by his own moral code. In his view, its better that these elderly people get justice even if a few corners have to be cut. He’s doing his job to the best of his abilities, bar association be damned.
Similarly, Mike continues to take on dangerous, legally questionable jobs in order to provide for his granddaughter and daughter-in-law. His actions may seem extreme, but according to his moral code, the means justify the end. His family’s safety is his utmost concern so when Stacy claimed to be hearing gunshots nightly, obviously Mike wasn’t going to let it slide. Yes, she was making up the danger, but whatever her true reasons are for wanting to move, Mike is compelled to oblige.
But is he willing to kill someone for pay? That’s the cliffhanger we were left with. Nacho approached Mike with a job, get rid of someone causing him trouble. The Mike we’ve seen already isn’t above such measures for an employer, but this may be the first instance where he holds that decision against his moral code and makes the uneasy call.
Maybe it’s not all that moral to kill someone just so a single mother and her daughter can afford a new house. Maybe it’s not that selfless to skirt legality and ignore authority in order to help some old people who don’t even know they need helping, especially when that help benefits Jimmy as much, if not more, than any client. The point is, for Mike and Jimmy it makes sense. They have constructed these codes and they continue to work within them.
The journey now is to watch those codes expand.
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