Witness (Better Call Saul)

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"Witness"
Better Call Saul episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 2
Directed byVince Gilligan
Written byThomas Schnauz
Original air dateApril 17, 2017 (2017-04-17)
Running time49 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Mabel"
Next →
"Sunk Costs"
Better Call Saul (season 3)
List of Better Call Saul episodes

"Witness" is the second episode of the third season of the AMC television series Better Call Saul, the spinoff series of Breaking Bad. The episode aired on April 17, 2017 on AMC in the United States. Outside of the United States, the episode premiered on streaming service Netflix in several countries.

Plot[edit]

Opening[edit]

At dusk, Chuck converses with David, his recently hired private investigator, who is playing solitaire. After turning off the lamp, Chuck looks out the window of his house.

Main story[edit]

Mike observes the two individuals he followed from his house give the tracking device from his car to a courier. He follows the courier throughout the night as he makes pick ups at dead drops and in the morning, the knapsack-carrying courier pulls into a restaurant—Los Pollos Hermanos. After the courier leaves, Mike's readout for the tracker taken from his car shows that it is stationary.

Francesca Liddy, a former clerk at New Mexico's Motor Vehicle Division, appears at the Wexler-McGill firm for a job interview. Jimmy asks unorthodox questions and is eager to have her start immediately as their new receptionist since he has a new commercial airing in a few minutes and needs her to field incoming calls. Kim insists on a more thorough hiring process, but in the end, they hire Francesca. After the ad airs, Jimmy coaches Francesca through the first two calls come in, one of which is from Mike. Jimmy agrees to meet with Mike the next morning.

Mike tasks Jimmy with entering Los Pollos Hermanos to observe the courier when he comes inside. When the courier dispenses with his trash and leaves with his knapsack, Jimmy reaches into the trash bin to see if the courier stashed anything. He is suddenly greeted by Gus Fring, who asks Jimmy if he needs help. Jimmy pretends he lost his watch and Gus helps him find it. Jimmy tells Mike that he saw nothing suspicious in the restaurant, much to Mike's frustration. As they drive away, Gus is outside cleaning litter, and looks up knowingly, seemingly aware that Mike and Jimmy were surveilling the restaurant.

Mike continues his stakeout and notices a black Escalade driven by Victor pull up to the back of the building. After Victor drives away, Mike follows him, with his reader indicating that the tracking device he's been following is in Victor's car. Mike's pursuit leads him to a remote stretch of road, where he finds a ringing cell phone placed atop his gas cap. He picks up the phone and answers the call.

Ernesto breaks his promise to Chuck and tells Kim he heard Jimmy's taped confession. Kim has Jimmy hand her a $20 bill so if necessary she can later claim she was his legal counsel, and their conversation is protected by attorney–client privilege. She tells Jimmy she knows about his confession to doctoring the Mesa Verde files. Jimmy assures Kim it's his word against Chuck's, but Kim stuns Jimmy by revealing that Chuck taped his confession. Kim consults her law school Criminal Procedure course professor, and decides that Chuck can't use the confession in court and won't use it to win back Mesa Verde as an HHM client. Not sure of Chuck's plan, Kim suggests Jimmy wait for Chuck to make the first move, but Jimmy angrily drives away.

Several days later, Howard parks several blocks away from Chuck's house and sneaks through several yards to be let in to Chuck's house through the back door without being seen. Chuck reveals he intentionally allowed Ernesto to hear the tape, knowing he wouldn't keep it secret from Kim and Jimmy. Chuck predicts Jimmy will break into his house to destroy the tape, enabling him to have Jimmy arrested for burglary and theft. To everyone's shock, an enraged Jimmy shows up at Chuck's house, kicks in the door and expresses his anger that Chuck played to his concern for Chuck's health to trick Jimmy into confessing. Jimmy pries open Chuck's desk drawer, finds the tape, and destroys it. He threatens to burn Chuck's house down to find any copies. Howard and David make their presence known and declare themselves witnesses to Jimmy's actions, enabling Chuck to report him to the police.

Production[edit]

After much speculation about his character's return, Giancarlo Esposito reprised his role as Gus Fring

The episode was directed by series creator Vince Gilligan and was written by executive producer Thomas Schnauz, who previously wrote the season 2 episode "Fifi".

This episode features the return of three Breaking Bad cast members: Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring), Tina Parker (Saul's secretary Francesca Liddy), and Jeremiah Bitsui (Gus's henchman Victor).[1] In a Q&A with AMC, Esposito expressed excitement on his return into the Breaking Bad world saying "I'm extremely excited. I'm over the moon. I love this family of filmmakers a great deal. I know Better Call Saul is a little bit of a different show than Breaking Bad was and I love the success it's had. It has such wonderful talent in the show. Bob Odenkirk is just stellar. Obviously the opportunity to tell some of the backstory of Gus and how he rose to power and how he came to be is always something I've wanted to explore in a very subtle way in the right venue." He also distinguished the show's version of Gus from the original show describing his character as "a little fresher, a little less jaded. The time period alone takes us to a time where his look may be little bit different. I wanted him to be little more hopeful, a little more energetic, maybe not as definitive in some of his actions because he's a Gus that we've never met before."[2]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

Upon airing, the episode received 1.46 million American viewers, and an 18–49 rating of 0.5.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

The episode received critical acclaim, with some praising the return of Breaking Bad antagonist Gus Fring. On Rotten Tomatoes, the episode holds a 100% rating with an average score of 9.09/10, based on 11 reviews. The site's consensus reads, '"Witness" marks the long-awaited arrival of a fan favorite character—and ends on an explosive note that leaves viewers clamoring for more.'[4]

The episode received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations including Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for Gilligan, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Jonathan Banks, Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour), and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Snierson, Dan (April 17, 2017). "Better Call Saul creators on the return of multiple Breaking Bad characters". Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  2. ^ Bryant, Adam (January 20, 2017). "Better Call Saul Q&A – Giancarlo Esposito (Gustavo Fring)". AMC.com. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  3. ^ Welch, Alex (April 18, 2017). "Monday cable ratings: 'Better Call Saul' hits series low, 'Bates Motel' holds steady". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  4. ^ "Witness". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  5. ^ "Better Call Saul". 69th Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners. Emmys.com. Retrieved July 14, 2017.

External links[edit]