‘Better Call Saul’ Truth And Lies: Nothing Good Happens In The Desert

AMC

Better Call Saul is a show with range. Some characters like
Jimmy/Saul lie constantly, others like Mike tell the truth to a
fault. With that in mind, our coverage this season will be
structured as a collection of true and false statements about each
episode. Welcome to Better Call Saul Truth And Lies.

TRUTH — Nothing good happens in the desert

When did you realize things were going to go bad for Jimmy?

Actually, wait. I should be more specific about this. A
reasonable argument could be made that things have been going bad
in one way or another, in the singular as well as cumulative
fashion, from the day we met him. Probably before, too. His whole
life has been murky shortcuts and questionable decisions lined up
one after the other. No, we need to really laser in here. We need
to focus. Let’s try it again: When did you realize things were
going to go bad for Jimmy in his quest to pick up Lalo’s $7
million in bail?

Was it when the Jeep pulled out behind him? That was really the
last moment where you could have thought it might be okay, in the
seconds before the ambush. But you’re smart. You probably caught
on before that.

Maybe it was when he wasted the water to clean off his shoes.
That was pretty brutal foreshadowing. I saw him do that and I was
like, “Welp, he’s definitely running out of water now.” I
didn’t leap all the way to “and he’ll have to gulp his own
urine,” but that’s why Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould make this
show and I just make jokes about all of it.

Was it even earlier than that, maybe when he kept insisting to
Kim that everything would be okay? Or when he almost walked out on
the whole thing before doubling back to do it for a $100k fee that
Lalo agreed to very quickly? Those were pretty solid tipoffs. It
was all in front of us for so much of the episode.

But I’ll tell you when I realized it, and I say this not to
toot my own horn as much as to make an important point: I knew as
soon as Lalo said the drop would happen in the desert. Nothing good
happens in the desert. Ever. Especially on Better Call Saul and
Breaking Bad, but also in general. If someone says to you “Hey,
let’s meet way out in the desert,” you should say no, because
one or both of you is going to die or face a harrowing near-death
experience. Same goes for the woods. Nothing good ever happens in
the woods, either. Or the ocean. “Hey, let’s you and me get on
a boat and head out to sea for the day.” Nope. No, sir. I’ve
seen movies and television shows. I know how this ends. You are
going to shoot me and fling me overboard, on purpose or by
accident. Absolutely not. Zero chance. Same applies to cornfields
and any building with gargoyles on it. Not gonna catch me
sleeping.

The point here is that you should stay inside. In your house.
Even when there’s not a pandemic. Just to be safe.

LIE — It is a good thing that Kim met Lalo AMCAMC

It says a lot about this show that two of its main characters
spent the entire episode dodging bandits and trying to walk 30
miles through the desert and it ended on a cliffhanger where
they’re still out there sweating and sunburned and dehydrated but
I came out of the episode infinitely more worried about the fate of
Kim Wexler, a person who has access to air conditioning and bottled
water. Part of that is the future knowledge we have from Breaking
Bad. Neither Jimmy nor Mike are going to die in that desert. They
both have a lot to do still. So much. They’ll be fine. Fine-ish.
Alive, at least.

A bigger part is the thing I’ve mentioned almost every week in
these posts, how not knowing Kim’s future gave us a glimmer of
hope on a show where everyone else is careening toward doom. And it
looked good for her as recently as two episodes ago, when she was
yelling at Jimmy for sandbagging her at the Mesa Verde meeting and
it seemed to all logical parties that the big break-up imminent,
the one that separates her and Jimmy and keeps her safe and sends
him diving head-first into the darker parts of his soul. The one I
had naively assumed was coming because, come on, they’re not
going to kill of Kim, right? Right???!!!

But then she up and proposed marriage and demanded Jimmy tell
her everything — everything — even if it meant being a courier
for $7 million of drug cash, figuring that their marital status
would keep her safe because she could never be forced to testify
against him. What she didn’t see coming, though, was Lalo, who
cares not for spousal privilege and testimony as much as he cares
about applying force to sensitive areas and acquiring the kind of
information that allows him to do that. She’s in trouble now.
Real trouble. Lalo knows she’s Jimmy’s — Saul’s, I know,
this is still weird — wife, which means he now has leverage over
his attorney.

I physically cringed when Mike said she’s in the game now, but
she is, to a small degree, the same way Nacho’s dad is in the
game. She’s the tiniest kind of player in the game, but so are
pawns, and pawns are the first pieces to go. I do not like this. I
do not like this at all. Kim has dipped her toe into the Breaking
Bad universe now and that doesn’t turn out great for anyone,
historically. A big part of me hopes Kim and Nacho fall in love and
move to Bora Bora. I’m handling this great, thanks for
asking.

TRUTH — If you have to get stuck in the desert with someone for a
long time, Mike Ehrmantraut is a great partner AMC

How excited were you when you realized it was Mike out there
with his sniper rifle and old man bucket hat saving Jimmy’s
jimmies in the ambush? I was very excited. I was sure it was going
to be the Cousins. Which would have been fine. I do kind of love
those silent goons. But it was better that it was Mike, for me if
not for Mike, who went from torn up about being Fring’s
button-man to mowing down bandits at ranges long and close in a
desert massacre. Mike is way in now, if he wasn’t way in before.
His speech to Jimmy near the end solidified it, the whole thing
about knowing why he’s doing it and the people he cares about.
This is the Breaking Bad version of Mike we’re seeing. He’s
still Mike — he’s always Mike — but he’s even more
emotionally checked out than before, which is really saying
something because… [gestures toward everything Mike has said and
done to this point].

It was good it was Mike at the ambush, too, because Mike is very
much a dude you want to be stranded within that situation. Mike
knows things, things that will keep you alive in nature. How to rig
up a tarp to get water from nothing, how to fix cars, how to avoid
breaking your leg in a hole, etc. You need that, especially if
you’re a guy like Jimmy whose idea of roughing it is a motel that
doesn’t have free HBO. He wouldn’t have lasted six hours out
there. He would have chugged his water and started a fire and
passed out from dehydration and been hunted down by the last bandit
and buried in a shallow grave. Mike is almost like Bear Grylls if a
Bear Grylls communicated only through grunts and eye rolls. He is
Jimmy’s only hope right now.

It is worth noting here that Gus sent Mike to protect Jimmy and
Lalo’s bail money, which means:

  • Gus knew the whole plan even though Lalo said he wasn’t
    involving Nacho
  • If Nacho didn’t tell Gus, how did Gus know?
  • How is Jimmy going to explain how he got home, because he
    can’t exactly say Mike helped him

And so on. Lots to consider here, provided they make it out of
the desert before the end of the season.

LIE — If you have to get stuck in the desert with someone for a
long time, Mike Ehrmantraut is a great partner AMC

He’s also very gruff and silent and demanding. You’re not
going to have sparkling conversations about the issues of the day.
You’re not going to invent fun little games to pass the time.
You’re going to walk, all the time, in the blistering heat.
He’s going to make you carry the heavy bags of money. The kindest
gesture he’ll offer you is a foil blanket to keep warm at night,
which is nice unless your older brother wore them compulsively
because of a deteriorating mental conditioner that left deep wounds
in you that have not yet healed over. Mike will not make you feel
better about any of this but he sure might keep you alive. That’s
the deal.

Here’s a fun exercise: Spend some time today really thinking
about what person you’d like to be stranded with in a desert like
this. Real or fictional is fine. I think Matthew McConaughey would
be a fun one, although I don’t know if you’d just die in the
middle of one of his monologues. It’s a tough mix to find:
outdoorsy enough to survive the elements, personable enough to make
it bearable. There’s a very limited number of people who check
both of those boxes. You really need to think about it. There’s a
pretty obvious answer right in front of you. Want me to tell you?
Okay, I’ll tell you.

The answer is JUST DON’T GO INTO THE DESERT IN THE FIRST
PLACE. Jesus Christ. It’s like you didn’t even read the opening
section. Come on.

LIE — The Cousins talk too much AMC

Love these guys. Not a single word spoken in the entire episode.
Just perfectly synchronized menacing movement in matching shiny
suits and matching shinier shirts. Add them to the ever-growing
list of characters I would watch an entire episode or limited
series about. What are they up to when they’re not on cartel
business? Do they share an apartment? I have this image in my head
of two twin beds in one bedroom, of them both waking up at the
exact same time and flinging the covers off with the exact same
motion to reveal they’re wearing the same pajamas. They go to the
bathroom to brush their teeth in their adjoining sinks and then hop
in their showers, both in the same bathroom, separated by three
feet of tile and a bathmat. I can see this in my head right now,
crystal clear. I see them eating cereal and the motion of their
spoons is perfectly coordinated. It’s all right there.

I bet one day one of them got mixed up getting dressed and put
on the wrong color shiny shirt and it threw them into a
minutes-long existential crisis.

TRUTH — If you are chugging your own pee out of a water jug, some
part of your day has gone very wrong AMC

But that’s none of my business.

Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News 2
‘Better Call Saul’ Truth And Lies: Nothing Good Happens In The Desert