Better Call Saul is a series that has a lot going on.
Each lead character has their own independent storylines, and that’s part of what makes Better Call Saul feel so alive -- no one is dependent on the lead character.
It gives everyone a sense of independence, and the series shows us that even when they aren’t interacting, these characters' lives and stories move forward.
Sometimes the pacing of these storylines can be a bit funky, (for example, here in Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 4, “Namaste,” Mike’s storyline was a blip and Nacho was completely absent).
Overall, though, I like the way Better Call Saul handles its characters' arcs because ultimately when these storylines collide it’s almost always through a character choice, and not just a thematic or plot tie.
Nacho chose to ask Saul to help Krazy-8. Kim chose to ask Saul for his help with the Mr. Acker problem.
I have a case in Tucumcari, and there's something I want to discuss with you.Kim (to Saul)
What makes “Namaste” a particularly great example of the benefit of this type of storytelling is that the audience has seen the sides of Saul that Kim hasn’t.
I’m not sure Kim would be so keen on working with Saul if she knew Saul was taking advantage of his client’s and smashing bowling balls into the cars of people he has a grudge against.
That makes this collision of their storylines more exciting because while Kim believes Jimmy is still able to be reigned in, we know that Saul is stretching further and further away from any integrity.
How will this joint venture between Saul and Kim shake out? Will it go as Kim hopes or did she just unleash the beast?
Two sweetest words in the English language. Mis-trial.Saul
Kim’s motivations to help Mr. Acker are very interesting. She may genuinely be trying to help him, but as with every character in “Namaste,” there are deeper emotions that are driving these decisions.
I can’t help but feel that part of what’s driving her is the desire to prove Mr. Acker wrong about her, but also to stick it to Mesa Verde.
Whether Kim realizes it or not, she has a grudge against them, especially after they turned down her proposal that would have saved Mr. Acker’s home.
Kim’s version of justice is very different than Saul’s though, and we know that because we saw how Saul handled his issues with Howard.
Howard offered Jimmy a job at HHM, and despite whether or not this offer was initially fueled by guilt (another hidden motivation!), it seems Howard has truly given this decision thought and that he wants Jimmy to work with him.
We should have hired you.Howard
I like Howard. I think he’s been through quite a bit more than we realize, and I think he’s really trying to do what’s best for everyone by offering Jimmy a job.
Jimmy/Saul doesn’t see it that way, though.
Whether it’s the fact that the offer took way too long to come, that Jimmy’s placed Chuck’s death completely on Howard, or that Jimmy thinks that Howard’s pitying him (or all three), Jimmy’s grudge against HHM is much too strong.
So bowling balls rain down on Howard’s car.
It gives these storylines a thematic tie as well, as we see how Saul handles these types of issues.
Kim probably isn’t a fan of this kind of justice. Kim has turned to a man she doesn’t fully understand, and I think it’s likely that this venture may be the beginning of their downfall.
Mike and Gus have separated for the time being, but their individual stories go on as well.
Mike hates himself, and he’s doling out his own sense of justice by making himself suffer.
Gus, on the other hand, is just doing business and dodging Hank and the DEA.
I’m really enjoying the use of Hank so far. The writers have done a great job of developing his character on Better Call Saul quickly and not depending on viewers' knowledge of Breaking Bad to carry him.
On “Namaste,” after they miss their big arrest, Hank is visibly disappointed in the results of the operation, but he turns to his squad and celebrates.
It tells the audience that at least part of his big, brash personality is for show, and while Hank won’t fully get over the need to act macho until the Breaking Bad timeline, being shown that he’s more than that facade on Better Call Saul does a great service to his character and the show.
I love the editing during the chase scene, cutting back and forth from the manhunt to poor Lyle scrubbing the fryers.
The score of this episode is also fantastic, creating tension where it needed to and providing intrigue and energy during Saul’s bowling ball attack.
“Namaste” is another good entry in Better Call Saul Season 5. Jimmy is disappearing into Saul Goodman, as he’s now not just working with criminals but straight up taking advantage of them.
It’s not as fun to watch as I thought it would be, but that’s the point. Saul Goodman is a tragedy, and “Namaste” reminds us why with Howard’s job offer.
Jimmy has a past that he just can’t let go of, and those pains, those grudges, whether he knows it or not, are fueling Saul Goodman and all his decisions.
You twerps even know who I am? I am Saul Goodman.Saul
Eventually, that past is going to fade, and Saul will be fueled by what we seem him fueled by in Breaking Bad, which is mostly greed, but it’s becoming more evident that the reason that motivation takes over is because it’s all Jimmy McGill is going to have left.
What do you think Saul will do? Did Kim make a mistake asking for his help? And watch Better Call Saul online to get caught up with all of the latest Saul happenings!
Tommy Czerpak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.