“Better Call Saul 4” Premiere: The Beginning of the End of Jimmie

Bob Odenkirk in "Better Call Saul"

The season premiere for Better Call Saul Season 4 marks the official descent of Jimmie into Saul.

The season kicks off with the Cinnabon Gene opening sequence that frames the series. The sequence shows a post Breaking Bad Jimmie in his new identity as manager of Cinnabon Gene in Omaha. His fake identity is put to the test when the receptionist asks for his social security number in an anxious scene after he is rushed to the hospital. The stress continues into the next scene when the taxi driver gives him a knowing, threatening stare. The sequence reminds us how bad things are going to get for Jimmie and how stressful life is when you have to constantly worry about your true identity being revealed.

Opening the season in this way makes it even more painful to watch Jimmie’s descent into Saul Goodman, the corrupt man that secures this fate for himself. It seems that it will be his brother’s death which escalates this descent.

There were several other moments of foreshadowing throughout the episode. The scene where Kim tries to comfort Jimmie with a drink, which she ends up drinking alone before fading out of the scene seems to be suggesting their future separation.

Things also seem to be heating up for the rest of the Breaking Bad cast. Mike receives a cheque for $10,000 and consequently decides to up his game and take his ‘fake’ job seriously. He even signs a birthday card, even though he is meant to be assuming the identity of another man.

There is no word from Hector, other than a warning that even though he is in the hospital, his territory stays the same. Nacho is careful to cover the evidence for the pill swap and Gus seems like he is on to him.

The real crux of the episode was the final scene where Howard admits that he thinks Chuck’s death was a suicide for which he assumes responsibility for. Jimmie’s reaction is shockingly heartless and he shows no remorse whatsoever when he finds out that it was a result of the insurance rise for which he secretly caused. Instead, he seems genuinely cheerful that Howard has taken responsibility and tells him that it is his “cross to bear”.

Is Jimmie genuinely happy that he has caused his brother’s suicide and gotten away with it? The ending seemed deliberately confusing. One theory is that he is so traumatized by his brother’s death that he has suppressed the grieving part of him and has lapsed into the pitiless Saul as a defense mechanism.

Overall, the season premiere got off to a strong start and we look forward to seeing what will happen next as morally ambiguous Jimmie definitively descends into the morally corrupt Saul Goodman.