Better Call Saul "Pimento" Review: That Origin Story Moment

Better Call Saul S01E09: "Pimento"

Boy oh boy do I love this show; I feel like Better Call Saul and I are psychically linked like Cheech and Chong in The Corsican Brothers. In my review of last week's "RICO," I pondered whether the show has an actual plot, because we don't have any concrete storylines to follow now that the Kettlemans' case is over, Nacho's gone quiet, and Mike is off doing odd jobs instead of flexin' for Jimmy. I speculated that working the Sandpiper case with Chuck would go bad, and that Chuck was the reason Jimmy wasn't hired by HHM way back when. And I suggested that things going sour with Chuck and HHM might be the catalyst that sends Jimmy off to fulfill his destiny as Saul Goodman. "Pimento" covered all that and then some, yet still managed to be powerful and surprising.

History has trained us to look for throughlines and follow a TV show's story from one event to the next, but it's quite clear that Better Call Saul's is only about Jimmy and how Jimmy, well, Jimmys. And because we know who he'll eventually become, we're left to figure how he ultimately makes it from Point Jimmy to Point Saul. I know I'm repeating myself, but it blows my mind that a series where the ending is (mostly) laid out already can still be so compelling. "Pimento" took a major step toward printing Jimmy's face on a book of matches, and it happened just as I had feared. Chuck!

After last week's flashbacks revealed that Chuck was both astonished and not totally thrilled to learn that Jimmy had earned his law degree, we suspected that he might be the barrier that prevented Jimmy from joining HHM as an attorney instead of a mailroom employee. It certainly seemed plausible that Chuck had asked Howard to be the bad guy and the face of refusal, all while attributing Jimmy's rejection to the firm's collective of "partners" with lines like "the partners decided" and "the partners voted." "Pimento" proved that was indeed the case, as Chuck called Howard the night before their big Sandpiper case meeting and instructed Howard not to hire Jimmy. The reasons were simple and brutal: Chuck didn't think Jimmy was good enough.

Waiting for Jimmy to drop the bombshell that he knew Chuck had called Howard—which became clear when Jimmy plugged in his phone and took a long look at it—weighed on me like a suit lined with a hundred space blankets. I felt a moment of paralyzation and fear as Jimmy acted like everything was normal, and complete empathy for Jimmy when Chuck refused to believe that he could change and convinced himself that all the hard work Jimmy had done was simply a mirage for a major fuck-up coming down the road. In an interesting turn, Chuck became the villain and relaxed our opinion of Howard, since most of Howard's hostile actions toward Jimmy were masterminded by Chuck.

The whole experience caused Jimmy to peel away from Chuck, and for what? Will he take the case himself? If he does that, he'll be drowning in paperwork for years while his clients die off one by one. Does he take the deal with HHM and hope the money comes through in a few years? Well, one thing we know about Saul Goodman is that he doesn't seem like the type of guy to have $4 million (20 percent of the assumed $20 million settlement, as agreed to with HHM, although I am not a lawyer so I don't know how accurate that is) squirreled away, so who knows? And most importantly, will Jimmy take his brother's words ("You're not a real lawyer") to heart and venture down the path that leads to the intersection of Slippin' Jimmy Ave. and S'all Good Man St.?

But let's not forget about Mike, who also enjoyed some really great moments in "Pimento." That bit where he was in the parking lot with those two other potential bodyguards? Standard operating procedure. Negotiating the deal between Nacho and that twerp? Classic Mike. But the character is so badass and Jonathan Banks was so dominating in those scenes that they became instant highlights in Mike's greatest hits, right up there with the time he infiltrated that facility with a bouquet of Mylar balloons on Breaking Bad. And while the legal mumbo-jumbo of Saul's story is way more interesting than legal mumbo-jumbo should be, Mike's arc adds an enticing whiff of violence and crime that will likely become more prevalent on Better Call Saul once Jimmy stops talking about spoliation and starts dealing with explosionation.

"Pimento" leaves Better Call Saul teetering on the edge as we head into next week's Season 1 finale. Now that Jimmy knows the truth, what will he do? Obviously he can't go full Saul right this second, but he can take the first step and backslide away from the hard work and dedication that the legal profession ignored. If lawyers wearing suits that cost as much as Jimmy makes in a month want to play that game, Jimmy will play that game.


BETTER READ THESE NOTES

– Mike talks on the phone the same way I do. "Yeah. Yup. Okay. Got it." *Hangs up*

– Haha @ the big guy who ran away after Mike beat up that idiot. That whole scene was fantastic. Better Call Saul is reaching Justified levels in terms of creating great throwaway scumbags.

– That was Tom Schnauz playing the guy who needed Mike's protection. Oh, and he also wrote and directed this episode. No big deal. (UPDATE: I was wrong! The man who played the nerdy guy was Mark Proksch.)

– "Hail Satan!" It was so nice to hear Bob Odenkirk say "Hail Satan" again.

What did you think of "Pimento"? What do you think next week's finale has in store for us?


Comments (90)
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Apr 13, 2015
You get an Emmy! YOU get an Emmy! EVERYONE gets an Emmy!!!
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Apr 05, 2015
It was cool seeing, Steven Ogg as the goon with all the guns. He's the actor who plays Trevor Phillips, in "Grand Theft Auto V" .
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Apr 04, 2015
Next week is the finale? :-(
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Apr 02, 2015
I'd go offer my work for the other side :D
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Apr 01, 2015
Home run!
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Apr 01, 2015
I f'n love this show. That is all.
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Apr 01, 2015
What a great show. I did see Chuck as being the blocker but his outburst still caught me by surprise. I don't remember Saul ever mentioning his brother during BB, be interesting to watch BB just to see Saul's interaction.
My guess is Season 1 ends with Jimmy deciding to assume his alter ego. Looking forward to S2 already. Really impressed with how they've handled this prequel. Of course should I have ever questioned Vince Gilligan...???!!!
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Apr 01, 2015
Great show I loved the reveal at the end that the real protagonist is Chuck ,family members always makes great baddies GOT for instance. I am not sure what Jimmy will do now if he takes the deal he fall more under control from his brother if he doesn't then he lose a lot if not already. Loved Mike's back story the Bodyguard interview was hilarious and you can see shy he wound up Walter so much in Breaking Bad because he so difficult to read. Will Kim leave the Law firm to help Jimmy or will she do nothing.
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Apr 01, 2015
That was absolutely heartbreaking! This show is beyond fantastic! Emmys all around!!!!
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Apr 01, 2015
Well as a lawyer I sort of turned askance at the common fund thing and how much is left in that after first to clients then expenses then first chair on down to junior associate its after that I think his share comes from. But then also given we are not actually that far from the events of Breaking Bad (yes I know this is six years before but Mike's granddaughter is not that much older than she is now) I could totally see Jimmy or Saul wasting it away or that the case just isn't done yet before he has to leave to work at a Cinnabon in North Dakota and had the crap scared out of him.

But hey was the stenographer Saul's secretary?
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Apr 13, 2015
I thought the same thing about the stenographer, but I'm not sure.
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Apr 01, 2015
Rewatched the pilot and it's almost a completely different episode now after the big Chuck reveal.

Oh and one thing that pops now — Saul grabs the old commercials tape out of the closet after the Nebraskan weatherman says the weather outside is going to be real slippery. Hah!
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Apr 01, 2015
couple of more generic thought, not episode specific.

1. How can Chuck stand the summers in Abq without air conditioning.


2. Did Mike not retire with a full pension? I assume his son, being a police officer, had a good life insurance policy, plus being murdered would mean it pays double, right? Mike's daughter in law (forget her name) should not be so hard up for money.
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Apr 01, 2015
So Chuck really believed that he had no choice but to cock-block Jimmy to save the Law? He may have a point. Because we all know what will happen if you give a monkey a machine gun...

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Apr 01, 2015
Nice!
Chimp with a machine gun

Have you guys noticed the sci-fi quoting through the show? This week Saul/Jimmy calls his lady friend a "pod person" (he or she mentioned some other sci-fi movie in an earlier ep) and at the Sandpiper old peoples home when they tried to bar him he says "are you making Soylent Green back there" that's least 3 sci fi references I can remember and I am sure there is more along with his laser tag fixation in Breaking Bad, Saul has a thing for sci-fi. Please let me know if you spot more
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Apr 01, 2015
I think she called Saul about The Thing with Kurt Russell (old school John Carpenter rocks)
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Apr 01, 2015
I'm actually angry that i could not like this a 1000 time.... props to the clever joke
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Apr 01, 2015
LOL!! Or a tank:)
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Mar 31, 2015
Flawless show. I am seriously and delightfully surprised that I was wrong about it.
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Mar 31, 2015
Jonathan Banks is awesome !

I guess he is doing all these odd jobs for his grand daughter. One more episode and it is the end of season one. BSC is a great show ! Perhaps just like BB, we will get a bigger audience in season two.
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Apr 01, 2015
Reminds me of Breaking Bad where the DEA interrogate him
"So we follow the money and we find this little girl has a bank account full of the money and my partner is like .. Bingo we got the kingpin... and I'm like whoah, wait a second, lets not be too hasty, we should have a look at this girl's grandfather.."
[Mike sits silently saying nothing]
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Mar 31, 2015
I had no idea that Chuck was the guy pulling the HHM strings....but I'm a little slow sometimes....lol Probably good when watching TV nowadays. But that scene with Chuck and Jimmy was so sad, I totally teared up. I mean here's big brother, who Jimmy obviously looks up to, calling him a chimp with a machine gun, WTF Chuck?
This is one hell of a show and quite a nice surprise....I didn't have high hopes for this show but I have to admit, Vince Gilligan has done it again. :D
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Mar 31, 2015
I'm getting bored... with saying how good this show is every episode. It'll definitely make my 2020 best of the last 5 years!
Anyway, we all knew Chuck's betrayal was coming, and that perhaps made Saul's realization all the more painful to watch. That's definitely something he won't forget and I'm curious to see what he'll do, bring on the finale!
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Mar 31, 2015
Lots of great fans here who know the score; forgive my going off-track, but I need "BR BA" clarity! Last I thought we had seen of Mike was the shoot-em-up in Mexico, but amctv.com/shows/breaking-bad/cast/mike says he returned and Walter shot him? I thought I never missed an episode... AMC must be right, of course, but can you please offer confirming thoughts?
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Mar 31, 2015
Confirmed. Season 5 Episode 7 - "Say my Name"
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Mar 31, 2015
That's right, Walt wanted the names of Mike's guys in jail so he could have them killed. Mike wanted to protect them, so Walt killed him
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Apr 01, 2015

.

Thank you most kindly, Athanatos173 and _Kevin_K_; I remember after the "Gus" storyline had ended, I was hoping for Jonathan Banks' hospitalized character to return, and was sad to note his absence. I was hooked on the show, and made sure to catch every episode. I'm flabbergasted over having missed not only any episode, but the one I would have been thrilled to view. Me in complete denial over this one!

.

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Mar 31, 2015
This show is next level
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Mar 31, 2015
Heartbreaking for sure. Give that man an Emmy.
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Mar 31, 2015
I can't believe how good this show is. Bob Odenkirk has been so damn good, and Jonathan Banks is killing it too.
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Apr 01, 2015
Great lines by Banks; "You're a criminal".."Not saying that makes you good or bad, but you took something that doesn't belong to you and you sold it, That makes you a Criminal"..Now you have to decide what kind of criminal you'll be...
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Apr 22, 2015
strong stuff. that guy is so wise, i want cards with his quotes to send to people :D
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Mar 31, 2015
I agree it's stellar , i am completely in awe of hoe good it is!
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Mar 31, 2015
So will Jimmy take the deal or walk away from all of it?
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Mar 31, 2015
Yeah, another really great episode all-around. Thoroughly enjoyed every aspcet of it.
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Mar 31, 2015
I suspected it was Chuck's fault as soon as the meeting was over, cuz I instantly thought about the cellphone and the call Chuck made and thought "hot damn, Chuck called them and told them not to take Jimmy". Chuck is pretty f*cked up. Jimmy takes care of him amidst his crazy and this is how you repay him? Foul.
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Mar 31, 2015
Although Chuck’s betrayal was expected, “Pimento” was an unexpectedly heart wrenching episode!!!
Less is more and the story spoke for itself! Jimmy and Mike are on the right path of being transformed to Saul and Mike the fixer – respectively. Man… and the narrative is so fascinating, so compelling!
It was yet another solid episode, powerfully acted and masterfully edited and shot!
And there’s more, next week there’s more to that story! Damn!!! This show is unique!
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Mar 31, 2015
From were I stand, Chuck is a miserable, petty and jealous person. Sleepin' Jimmy is the only version of his brother he can stand, for Sleepin' Jimmy is no threat to his system of values.

Jimmy is a good person and a "good criminal" as Mike said.
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Mar 31, 2015
I love the irony of a "good criminal." It's true though.
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Mar 31, 2015
loll... the biggest irony of all is that, although he's a "good criminal" he totally sucks at being one... lolll
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Mar 31, 2015
At least Mike's strong-arm job wasn't taking care of Jimmy.

It's been clear from the beginning that Howard doesn't like Jimmy much. However it has also been clear that the loathing that he shows toward Jimmy is engineered by Chuck. But I was surprised that it was simple jealousy that drove Chuck to such extreme behaviour.

It's not going to be 4 million. It was 20% of the total lawyer fee. Most of the 20 million goes to the clients.

Why DID the big guy run off?
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Mar 31, 2015
"It's not going to be 4 million. It was 20% of the total lawyer fee. Most of the 20 million goes to the clients."

Yes, plus 20k up front. If I were Saul I'd just have tried to shop the case around to other big firms, I'm sure it'd have interested someone.
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Mar 31, 2015
That is what I thought. Why not just go to another Big firm. It makes me feel as if the place only has 1 big firm. Well now he is probably too hurt by his brother to even care about the case. Poor elderly residents.
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Mar 31, 2015
The big guy is a big coward evidently! Despite what many gun-toters think, guns do not make them tough. Mike was proof of that. Not only was he a lot older than those guys but a lot smaller as well and, more important, a lot smarter.
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Mar 31, 2015
"Despite what many gun-toters think, guns do not make them tough."

Yeah, guns are only useful when you are not at throat-smashing distance. That's what many tv/movie characters don't get.
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Mar 31, 2015
Yeah, but Mike was no threat to him. And since Mike was obviously very tough, sticking around would have an easy 750.
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Mar 31, 2015
True he would have made a bigger paycheck, but I think he was scared of Mike regardless of the size difference.
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Mar 31, 2015
When the episode ended, all I could say was.."daaamn". Yeah, that was a good episode. I could definitely understand Jimmy wanting to change his name just so that he's no longer associated with his brother Chuck in any way.
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Mar 31, 2015
The camo pants dude played Trevor in GTA 5, he's from Calgary of all places.
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Mar 31, 2015
Agree 100% with Tim on this one, save that I don't think I would say it's reached Justified levels of dialogue, because the tones of the two shows are too different to adequately compare them and the wittiness and sarcasm works a lot better in Justified because it sticks out more clearly (it could be because it's hard to separate what we know Jimmy will become, and Mike, to what he is now, and Saul was all about sass-talk and wit).

Anyway, fantastic show. I can't believe I worried about what the show might be like before it aired, and thought I might not bother watching it. Phew! I think next week we'll see Jimmy take the deal, cut all ties with family/friends, and while heading down the path to be his own man he'll inadvertently begin to fulfill Chuck's prophecy of knowing what he truly is. The question is, was he always really that way, or was he made that way by Chuck and the gang.
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Mar 31, 2015
Great article, as always! reviewing last episode i can see that they already left signals of all of this and its a really awesome...
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Mar 31, 2015
The moment Mike said he didn't have a gun and the jackass started giving him grief about it I knew Mike was going to kick his ass and disarm him.

How does one do "homework" on a criminal organization to get such specific information that you know the guy you're meeting with is doing the deal behind his boss's back?

I hope we get to see him meet Gus, but if they don't show that at least show the buildup to it where he's supposed to meet some boss at Los Pollos Hermanos like Walt did, or someone says he's to meet the "chicken guy". Maybe he deals with Tyrus or another recognizable lieutenant for awhile until they say their boss wants to meet him.
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Mar 31, 2015
Maybe the veterinarian had the low-down on Nacho and passed it on to Mike.
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Mar 31, 2015
It's certainly possible, but then it further begs the question about how the vet is so plugged into the criminal underworld. Mob doctors exist, but are there also mob veterinarians? Do they patch up your pooches bullet and stabs wounds no questions asked and without reporting it to the police? I'm sure disgraced vets can fall into work as a makeshift doctor for criminals, but this one is still a practicing veterinarian and presumably fully licenses. It's one thing to patch up the odd thug for a bunch of cash from time to time, it's quite another to know the details of their criminal organization.
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Mar 31, 2015
I'm assuming vets are not obligated to report gunshot wounds, as they are not doctors. Also, they are probably more low-profile.
Anyway this vet seems well-plugged into the underworld, since he's the one giving jobs to Mike.
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Mar 31, 2015
Frankly, I have no idea and was just making a guess in my post about the vet. However, Mike has the law enforcement connection. If he knew the name of the client in advance, I imagine it would be easy for him to find out the background information.
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Mar 31, 2015
Chuck's betrayal, though no big surprise, really just confirms that Chuck is no better than Jimmy. In fact, he lacks Jimmy's honor. Jimmy is a goof and likes to flirt with disaster in a sense, but he is totally devoted to the right people--his family, his friends, and his clients. I felt bad for Kim knowing the truth and not having the heart to tell it to Jimmy, but she should have told him. That's what friends are for!
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Mar 31, 2015
Fantastic episode... and I could have sworn that was the same parking garage where Walter had rigged Gus's car, and watched to see the plan fail. If so, that's a great, understated callback to Breaking Bad. This show is incredible, shame the finale is next week already.
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Apr 01, 2015
yup was thinking the same thing about the parking garage,
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Mar 31, 2015
Isn't it funny how Chuck was literally in the shadows all this time and only when he came out into the light we found out what kind of person he really is lol!
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Mar 31, 2015
I wonder if he'll be able to go back to work now that he has come out to Jimmy.
His illness was probably due to stress of being deceitful to his brother.
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Mar 31, 2015
Am I the only one who feels sorry for Jimmy?

He tried very hard to follow a good path (knowing how he ends up of course in BB), only to end up in that direction because his own brother basically looked down on him and felt because his path was not as hard as his that he didnt deserve it. Had Jimmy basically disowning him as a brother at the end and that is quite sad. Especially after all the looking after Jimmy did for him while mentally ill, and even preventing him from getting sent away for mental help when at the hospital.
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Mar 31, 2015
Everyone out there with a sibling that thinks they are better than us feels sorry for him and I am hoping to see Jimmy take his brother down, but frankly I think that Jimmy is too classy for that. Imagine, a monkey with a machine gun?? Chuck was lucky that Jimmy didn't kill him right there! No, Jimmy had class enough to bring Chuck supplies, something I would not have done, I think I would have taken the supplies Chuck had! Anyway, all those "real" lawyers who love him so much will soon tire of taking care of him, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
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Mar 31, 2015
No, you are not the only one who feels sorry for Jimmy. I am getting to the point that I dread watching the show because of those feelings.
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Mar 31, 2015
I'm not a lawyer either but I don't think it's correct with the money. Even assuming they would get the 20 million settlement, the firm doesn't get that. That's the money the clients would get and the firm gets some percentage of that. At least that's what I learned watching The Good Wife.
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Mar 31, 2015
The firm would get 33.3% of the settlement. So Jimmy would get about 1.3 million.
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Mar 31, 2015
Where did you get this figure? Doesn't that depend on the trial?
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Mar 31, 2015
I wonder if we'll ever see who the other Hamlin is. Hamlin, Hamlin, McGill.

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Mar 31, 2015
It might be an old family firm so the Hamlin and the McGill we se are actually the children of the guys who gave the names to the firm. Hamlin and Hamlin might be for example the father and uncle of the Hamlin we have met, and Mcgill might be the father (or uncle) of Jimmy and Chuck. Right? That could be possible or is that not how it works? Perhaps even longer back? The only thing that would not make sense is if Jimmys father was a succesful lawyer why would Jimmy be a small time criminal, as we have seen from flashbacks.
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Apr 01, 2015
Maybe. Seems like to me if they were to create a family lineage in the firm then at one point it would have had to been located in Cicero.
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Mar 31, 2015
Great seeing Mike take down those two other guys. Especially loved the fact that the person selling the illegal product was such an inexperienced, nervous guy. Someone you don't really expect.
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Apr 01, 2015
why were the meeting in the middle of nowhere, was the mall closed. Nobody gets shot at the mall
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Mar 31, 2015
Kinda like an early Walter White.
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Mar 31, 2015
Very nicely done. Walt would've avoided early drug-related snafus if Mike had been onboard earlier as criminal consultant. Contrast how admired Mike is immediately by the drug guy for his professionalism while Chuck can't get past his own bigotry to recognise the same professional skills in his own brother.What a dick, he should go back on the road with The Tap...
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Mar 31, 2015
Guy with guns was the cliff claven of armed guards
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Mar 31, 2015
The guy that Mike beat up was Trevor from GTA V right? The voice was identical... and the looks too
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Mar 31, 2015
Yup! Just came here to comment that. It WAS him. Checked the credits: Steven Ogg. AWESOME! He could come up again, but sadly I doubt it.
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Mar 31, 2015
Totally was!
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Mar 31, 2015
Chuck's betrayal I had suspected for awhile now. But it impresses me how they managed to sell me all the way to the end on the idea that maybe that wasn't the case.
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Mar 31, 2015
Finally. Another episode with Nacho in it. It felt as if they decided he never should have been a regular. I like the guy; good to see him. But what's most important is that the story is great and drives who's in the episode.
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Mar 31, 2015
He is a great actor. Just google Vaas in Far Cry if you want to see him at his best.
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Mar 31, 2015
Isn't he also Vic from Orphan black?
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Mar 31, 2015
Yeah, I'm assuming they eventually have big plans for him and that's why he's a regular. I figured he was great when I found out he was on Orphan Black.
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Mar 31, 2015
That wasn't Tom Schnauz. It was Mark Proksch, or 'Nate' from the last couple of season on The Office. He played the warehouse worker who became more of Dwight's side-kick.
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Mar 31, 2015
Yeah, this was the first thing I was going to point out. Not Schnauz. Apparently, all white, balding guys with glasses look the same, hehe.
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Mar 31, 2015
Tim isn't renowned for doing much research on the things he writes, although at least he was right in saying the guys name who directed the episode, so we at least know that he paid attention during the end of the opening credits of the episode, but just refused to pay attention to the list of guest stars in the middle of the opening credits.
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