Breathe (Better Call Saul)

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"Breathe"
Better Call Saul episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 2
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by Thomas Schnauz
Original air dateAugust 13, 2018 (2018-08-13)
Running time46 minutes
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
 Previous
"Smoke"
Next 
"Something Beautiful"
Better Call Saul (season 4)
List of episodes

"Breathe" is the second episode of the fourth season of the AMC television series Better Call Saul , a spin-off series of Breaking Bad . The episode aired on August 13, 2018, on AMC in the United States. Outside of the United States, the episode premiered on streaming service Netflix in several countries.

Contents

Plot

Jimmy McGill looks for a job while serving the suspension of his law license. He interviews for a sales position at Neff Copiers and notices a collection of Hummel figurines in their office. The owners show apprehension about his recent exit from the law and say they will get back to him after interviewing other candidates. He starts to leave but turns back and makes an aggressive case to be hired on the spot. The owners are impressed and offer him the job. He then refuses, contemptuous at how easily they fell for his con.

Lydia Rodarte-Quayle meets with Mike Ehrmantraut to discuss his recent security audit, reminding him that his contracted consulting work for Madrigal was only meant to be a paper transaction to launder the money he stole. Mike says the audits provide a plausible cover story if anyone questions the payments. When Lydia complains to Gus Fring, he tacitly approves of Mike's actions.

Howard Hamlin meets with Kim Wexler and Rebecca Bois to discuss Chuck McGill's estate. The bequests include a sealed letter from Chuck and US$5,000 for Jimmy, which Kim recognizes as a tactic that prevents Jimmy from challenging the will. After Rebecca leaves, Kim furiously accuses Howard of treating Jimmy poorly to ease his own guilt about Chuck's death. That evening, Kim holds off on giving the documents to Jimmy. Suspecting from his previous knowledge [lower-alpha 1] that a Neff Hummel is worth thousands of dollars, Jimmy searches online to confirm his hunch, then calls Mike.

Gus learns that Hector Salamanca is comatose and arranges for Dr. Bruckner, a skilled physician from Johns Hopkins to oversee his recovery. She speaks fluent Spanish and explains Hector's course of treatment to Leonel and Marco Salamanca. Tyrus Kitt brings Gus a copy of Hector's medical file, and Gus realizes that Nacho Varga tried to kill Hector.

Nacho and Arturo arrive at the Los Pollos Hermanos chicken farm to pick up their share of the next drug shipment. Arturo strongarms Gus's men for an extra kilo as he saw Nacho do on a previous occasion. [lower-alpha 2] As they leave, Arturo brags about his success, but Gus ambushes them and suffocates Arturo with a plastic bag. He then tells Nacho that he knows Nacho switched Hector's medication but has not told the Salamancas, so Nacho is now under his control.

Production

The episode's centerpiece, Kim's confrontation with Howard over how he has treated Jimmy in the wake of Chuck's death, was written by the series' executive producer Thomas Schnauz. The producers considered how both Howard and Kim had been reacting to Jimmy, with Howard feeling guilt for ousting Chuck from HHM and believing it led to Chuck's suicide, and Kim aware that something was causing Jimmy to feel emotionally hurt, but neither aware of Jimmy's role in Chuck's ouster. This led the producers to consider the situation between the characters from Kim's point of view, rather than Jimmy's. When coupled with Howard's past treatment of Kim, they believed the interplay between Howard and Kim would result in a powerfully emotional scene. [1]

One scene in "Breathe" shows Mike watching his granddaughter Kaylee on a playground swing. This shot was added as an Easter egg, as it is similar to a scene in the Breaking Bad episode "Say My Name", which was Mike's final appearance. [2] In "Say My Name", Mike is watching Kaylee swing in a park when he learns that the DEA is about to arrest him, and he is forced to flee without saying goodbye. Both "Say My Name" and "Breathe" were written by Thomas Schnauz.

Reception

"Breathe" received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, it garnered a 94% rating with an average score of 8.4/10 based on 17 reviews. The site consensus reads, "Better Call Saul's exceptional ensemble continues its excellent character work in 'Breathe'." [3] Matt Fowler of IGN gave "Breathe" a positive review, with an 8.8 out of 10 rating and wrote that the episode "was a sublime example of how an excellently-crafted, extended scene, featuring impeccable character beats, can easily outshine the grit and grime of TV's natural tendency to wow us with shocking violence." [4]

Ratings

"Breathe" was watched by 1.55 million viewers in the United States on its original air date. [5]

Notes

  1. As seen in "Alpine Shepherd Boy".
  2. As seen in "Off Brand".

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References

  1. McLevy, Alex (August 13, 2018). "Better Call Saul's co-creator sheds some light on tonight's explosive confrontation". The A.V. Club . Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  2. "Better Call Saul Easter Egg: Season 4, Episode 2". AMC. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  3. "Breathe". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  4. Fowler, Matt (August 13, 2018). "Better Call Saul: "Breathe" Review". IGN. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  5. Welch, Alex (August 14, 2018). "Monday cable ratings: 'WWE Raw' ticks up, 'Better Call Saul' dips". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on August 15, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2018.