Warning: Better Call Saul spoilers ahead
For five episodes, AMC’s Better Call Saulwas a good show. At episode six, it became a great show. While there have been some really solid moments and certainly quite a bit of promise since the series pilot, the show has ironically struggled to get out from under the shadow of the very thing that made it worth tuning in for from day-one: the unparalleled excellence of Breaking Bad. It had a couple of the faces, the familiar locations and the pitch-black sense of humor of its predecessor — the show for which it acts as a prequel — but what it didn’t have was the sense of dread and danger and the feeling that something monumental was on the line for its characters. Breaking Bad laid out the stakes almost immediately and it made for riveting television up until the very last second, while Better Call Saul has sort of meandered. Well, it had meandered, until Monday night.
Granted, to truly appreciate the transcendent power of “Five-0,” which at least one critic has already dubbed “TV’s best hour since Breaking Bad‘s ‘Ozymandias’,” you need to actually understand every word I just wrote. Meaning, you have to have seen Breaking Bad. Because what the latest episode of Better Call Saul did was fill-in the backstory of one of that show’s most revered characters: no-nonsense fixer Mike Ehrmantraut. And in doing so it gave him more depth than any of us could have imagined and gave the man behind the character, Jonathan Banks, a chance to deliver a performance that’s probably going to win him an Emmy. If you never thought hard-ass Mike could make you cry, the last ten minutes of “Five-0” will disabuse you of that faster than you can say, “No more half-measures.” Not only did Monday’s revelations give his relationship with his granddaughter in Breaking Bad heartbreaking new depth, they helped to make it clear why Mike was so protective of Jesse as it became clear that Walt’s corruption was an all-encompassing entity that would destroy anything in its orbit.
At the center of the episode is the question of who killed Mike’s son, Matt, and two of the Philadelphia cops he used to work with, Hoffman and Fensky. In one of the only scenes in which Mike and Jimmy appear onscreen together, Mike has called Jimmy and asked him to come be his legal counsel as a couple of Philly detectives question him about the murders. The real reason Mike called, though, is that he wants Jimmy’s help in picking the pocket of one of the cops; he wants the small pad the detective has been been furiously taking notes on. So Jimmy spills coffee on the guy, Mike pretends to clean him up and pulls the pad. Outside, we see him flip through it and examine all the information they have on him, since it’s clear that they believe he killed Hoffman and Fensky a few months after the killing of his own son.
If you were curious what exactly was on the pad the same way Mike was, somebody at Reddit has you covered. Below is a transcription of the details of the deaths of Fensky and Hoffman as were written on the notepad swiped by Mike. It’s strictly for the most rabid fans of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, but I would hope at this point that that would be everyone.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.