Better Call Saul season 5 episode 4 review: Howard makes Saul an enticing offer

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television /

Howard tries to build a bridge, Kim continues to grow weary of working for Mesa Verde, and Saul goes bowling in Better Call Saul’s “Namaste.”

Sewing the seeds of tension is frequently the name of the game in Better Call Saul, and last night’s episode “Namaste” was no exception. We took a break from the dealings of Nacho and the Salamancas to switch gears and take a closer look at Jimmy and Kim, both of whom are now actively on the path to self-destruction, whether they know it or not.

“Namaste” was also the first episode of the fifth season to feature Patrick Fabian’s Howard Hamlin in a big way, and additionally, it served as Hank and Gomez’s second (and perhaps final?) appearance this season.

The episode opens with one of the show’s infamous montage sequences — and any fan knows to get excited when the audio fades away and the music kicks in, because good things are sure to follow. This time it was Jimmy perusing a secondhand store, testing the weight of the various objects for a reason not yet clear to the viewer. Eventually, he leaves with a bag full of bowling balls, ammo to close out the episode an hour later.

Although we don’t know it until later on, one of the following scenes holds the key to Jimmy’s odd purchase: He finally goes out to lunch with Howard. When we last checked in on Howard, he didn’t seem to be in a great place. He was still reeling over Chuck’s suicide, and although he attempted to apologize to Jimmy, he was unable to get the closure he wanted, and Kim snapped at him as a result. For a while it looked like Howard was really spiraling. He appeared to be losing sleep and neglecting to take care of himself, but “Namaste” shows us a different side to post-Chuck Howard: the zen, peaceful one.

Ever since it was revealed that Chuck was the reason Jimmy couldn’t rise the ranks at HHM, Howard has become more and more of a sympathetic character. In “Namaste,” we see him finally extend the olive branch that’s been several seasons in the making: He invites “Saul” to come work at HHM.

A few years ago, getting an invite to HHM would’ve been all Jimmy ever wanted, but in Jimmy’s eyes now, the proposal is somewhat of a cruel joke. Although he manages to get out a fairly civil decline, Jimmy’s rage and anger toward Howard manifests in a different way at the end of the episode, when he hurls the three afformentioned bowling balls over Howard’s fence, destroying his NAMAST3mobile.

It’s a move that’s incredibly childish but also incredibly revealing: Jimmy promptly buried all his feelings after Chuck’s death, and as a result, the grief and hurt has been leaking out at random intervals ever since. Whether it’s hatred actually aimed at Howard or residual hurt from his late brother, Jimmy isn’t as well adjusted as he led everyone in his life to belive.

Also not handling things very well is Kim, who has begun to self-sabotage her successful career working for Mesa Verde. In last week’s episode, we saw her take a massive blow to her confidence after a failed attempt to persuade Everett Acker to take the money Mesa Verde was offering him to vacate the build site for a new bank branch.

Although Kim suggests in a meeting that they chose a different site, she’s quickly shot down, and we can see the cracks in both her willingness to work for Mesa Verde and her boss’ faith in her. With the high road no longer an option, Kim turns to the other route: Jimmy. Enlisting his help, she gets Saul to offer his services as a lawyer so that Acker will take legal action against Mesa Verde, and possibly stall or divert the buidling of the new bank.

While it may, in a roundabout way, be the “right” thing to do, it’s also an attempt on Kim’s part to end her career at Mesa Verde. Whether she’s aware of it or not, getting Jimmy involved will never end well, especially given his track record with getting involved in her work life in the past. Looking forward, 5×06 is titled “Wexler v McGill,” which could see the fruition of the legal battle being established here — with Saul representing Acker and Kim representing Mesa Verde.

For an episode called “Namaste,” it contained one of this season’s most remarkably tense moments, which took place as Gomez and Hank investigated the drop sites that Krazy-8 mentioned in last week’s episode. Their steakout is intercut with scenes of Gus waiting in silence at Los Pollos Hermanos and overseeing one of his underlings as he attempts to clean the fryer. While it sounds mundane, the editing is (yet again) pitch-perfect, and the result is fist-clenching tension while watching everyday actions, which seems to be Better Call Saul‘s speciality.

The bust is a success, and while they may have picked up three dealers and nearly a million in cash, Hank doesn’t seem to think that’s the whole of it — which could put Domingo, Nacho, and even Lalo in hot water down the road. However, 5×04 was the last confirmed appearance of Gomez and Hank, so whether or not they’ll make a surprise reappearnace to follow up on this plotline remains to be seen.

Although “Namaste” may not have moved as fast as the other episodes this season in terms of plot, the time focused on Howard and Jimmy’s relationship was well spent, and helps to continue building mounting tensions that are sure to come to an explosive head as we get to the back-half of season five.

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What did you think of “Namaste”? Who’s your favorite Better Call Saul character? Sound off in the comments below.