Better Call Saul: Season 3 Episode 4 review: Sabrosito
This review contains spoilers.
For a Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul has always had its own style. A little more controlled than its predecessor, less hectic, but nonetheless very exciting in its own way. Of course that is to be expected when one show is focused mainly on the drug trade and the other on law, but sometimes these lines can blur, as is the case in Sabrosito.
Sabrosito has a distinct Breaking Bad-esque quality. With the introduction of Gustavo Fring the show has found an avenue for reintroducing some familiar themes, and faces. This week we are treated to first appearances by Juan Bolsa, and more memorably Don Eladio, in his natural poolside habitat. The cold open is not as explosive as we have come to expect from scenes at this location, but it serves as a good example of Fring and Salamanca’s less than amicable relationship. And for the first half of the episode, this relationship takes center stage.
After Mike’s actions in last week’s episode, Hector Salamanca’s
ice cream shop drug front is raided by the police, prompting Hector to take matters into his own hands. The scene at Los Pollos Hermanos harkens back to many memorable Breaking Bad moments, and what makes it so tense is that we know how unpredictable these characters are. We have been conditioned to expect the unexpected, and the show uses this to great effect.
At this point, it is clear that the war between Salamanca and Fring will play a major roll this season. Last week saw Gus take the first strike, but the two of them did not interact directly. However, this week these two juggernauts meet head on. It is interesting how their meeting highlights how they are basically polar opposites of each other. Hector is at his most abrasive, openly smoking his cigar in Gus’ office with his feet propped up onto his desk, while Gus is the picture of composure, as we have come to expect from him. Hector seems to get his way after ordering Gus to act as his ‘mule’, but this is Gus after all. His smile after scoring the 3-pointer in the bin says enough.
We know that their relationship culminates in one explosive moment, but even though it is early, it is already great to watch the fuse burn. And considering the state that Salamanca is in during Breaking Bad, other explosive moments are bound to come.
Mike has a more quiet week this time, and after last week he seems to have enough of ice cream for a while. He does, however, take center stage in the funniest scene of the episode. Posing as a repairman he uses his power tools to get rid off Chuck, so he can take pictures for Jimmy. Chuck has been awful for so long now that it was very refreshing to see how little he has to say when confronted with someone as stoic as Mike. And apparently Jonathan Banks has great comedic timing on the power drill, who knew?
Sabrosito features little of Jimmy and Kim, but what we do see is significant. The episode provides some clear signs that Kim is starting to slip, which is fitting for an episode that is reminiscent of Breaking Bad. First she poses as Chuck’s assistant in order to find out which company is scheduled to repair his door, thereby aiding Jimmy in his ploy to get some photographs. And secondly she somehow manages to gain some useful information from Chuck after the hearing, when he admits that the tape Jimmy destroyed was actually a copy. How this will come into play remains to be seen, but the two of them clearly have a plan.
The final shot is very telling here. Jimmy and Kim are walking side by side, with the door post in the middle acting as a line separating the two. Kim is walking on the right side, but as they walk through the door she crosses this line and joins Jimmy. The symbolism is clear. Kim has always supported Jimmy, but until now she had always adhered to the rules. This could very well be the moment that Kim crosses over from ‘the right side’ into camp Slippin’ Jimmy. So far Jimmy’s actions have caused more trouble than gain, so in the long run this is likely to be a step in the wrong direction for her. However, the two of them work so well that even the prospect of them somehow coming out of this with a win is exciting.
A lot of this episode feels like it is setting up major storylines for the rest of the season, with the war between Fring and Salamanca on the one hand and the war between Jimmy and Chuck on the other. Such an episode is not easy to pull off since it depends so much on what comes next, but Better Call Saul does it effortlessly. Sabrosito is exciting and satisfying as it stands, and serves as a promising sign of what is to come.
Image credits: AMC