Breathe (Better Call Saul)
|Better Call Saul episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||Michelle MacLaren|
|Written by||Thomas Schnauz|
|Original air date||August 13, 2018|
|Running time||46 minutes|
"Breathe" is the second episode of the fourth season of the AMC television series Better Call Saul, the spinoff 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.
Jimmy is determined to find a job, but Kim advises him to take his time and not place too much pressure on himself. Jimmy interviews for a sales position at Neff Copiers, during which he notices a collection of Hummel figurines among their sales awards, one of which is a valuable Alpine Shepherd Boy. The owners seem dismissive of Jimmy after reviewing his employment history, and he gets ready to leave. He stops before reaching the door, and returns to give the owners his "hard sell" routine. Instantly persuaded, the owners decide to hire him on the spot, but Jimmy is upset that they fell so easily for his con. He refuses their offer and continues looking for a job.
Lydia arranges a meeting with Mike to inquire about his assessment of the Madrigal facility he inspected. She asserts that the contracted security consultant work for which he's being paid was only meant to be a paper transaction to facilitate laundering his stolen money. Mike insists he will continue his assessments because they provide a plausible explanation for the payments he's receiving. When Lydia complains to Gus, he tacitly approves of Mike's actions.
Howard, Kim and Rebecca meet to review the disposal of Chuck's estate. Chuck's bequests include a sealed letter and $5,000 for Jimmy - just enough to prevent him from successfully challenging the will. Kim is unaware of Jimmy's role in the events which led to Chuck's death and after Rebecca leaves, Kim furiously accuses Howard of treating Jimmy poorly ever since. When Jimmy returns home after a day of job hunting, Kim considers giving him Chuck's letter but decides to keep it from him. Later that evening, Jimmy checks on the value of the Alpine Shepherd Boy figurine he saw at Neff Copiers, then places a call to Mike.
Gus learns that Hector remains comatose, and likely will not recover unless he receives specialized care. Wanting to be the one that determines the terms of Hector's demise, Gus discreetly arranges to have Dr. Bruckner, a skilled physician from Johns Hopkins flown in to help with Hector's treatment. Dr. Bruckner speaks fluent Spanish and informs Leonel and Marco about her plan for Hector's care. Nacho and Arturo visit and are surprised to see Hector getting the best care possible. Prompted by Leonel and Marco, they follow Dr. Bruckner's advice to talk to Hector, assuming that hearing familiar voices will aid in his recovery. Tyrus later brings Hector's current medical charts to Gus, and Gus realizes there is no nitroglycerin in Hector's system, which means Nacho tried to kill Hector.
When Arturo and Nacho arrive at Los Pollos Hermanos to take possession of the next drug shipment intended for the Salamancas, Arturo strong arms his way into taking an extra kilo, as Nacho did on a previous occasion. Arturo brags about his success as they depart, but Gus ambushes them and kills Arturo by suffocating him with a plastic bag. He then informs Nacho that he knows what Nacho did to Hector, but the Salamancas do not. Gus tells Nacho that unless Nacho does what he demands, he will inform the Salamancas.
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 emotional 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.
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. 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's forced to flee without saying goodbye. Both "Say My Name" and "Breathe" were written by Thomas Schnauz.
"Breathe" received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, it garnered a 93% rating with an average score of 8.4/10 based on 15 reviews. The site consensus reads, "Better Call Saul's exceptional ensemble continues its excellent character work in 'Breathe'." 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."
"Breathe" was watched by 1.55 million viewers in the United States on its original air date.
- 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.
- "Better Call Saul Easter Egg: Season 4, Episode 2". AMC. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- "Breathe". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
- Fowler, Matt (August 13, 2018). "Better Call Saul: "Breathe" Review". IGN. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
- Welch, Alex (August 14, 2018). "Monday cable ratings: 'WWE Raw' ticks up, 'Better Call Saul' dips". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 14, 2018.