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"Mabel" is the first episode of the third season of Better Call Saul and the twenty-first episode of the series altogether.

Summary[]

Teaser[]

In 2010 in Omaha, "Gene" carries on with his job at the local Cinnabon. During a lunch break, he sees a shoplifter hide inside a photo booth. Gene reluctantly points out the shoplifter's location to the pursuing police officers, resulting in an arrest. However, as the shoplifter is led away, Gene is overcome with emotion and shouts at him to say nothing and hire a lawyer. When he returns to work, Gene faints.

Act I[]

BCS 3x01 04

In 2002, following Jimmy's confession to forging the Mesa Verde documents, Chuck hides the tape recorder in a desk drawer while Jimmy phones Howard. When he returns, Jimmy helps Chuck remove the foil covering the walls in his living room. Jimmy finds an old copy of The Adventures of Mabel—a book Chuck read to him when they were young—and the two brothers briefly reminisce about their childhood. However, Chuck cuts the nostalgia short and tells Jimmy that he will neither forgive nor forget what he has done. "You will pay," Chuck states firmly.

Jimmy returns to Wexler McGill to give Kim an update on Chuck, and remarks that he had briefly forgotten what it felt like to have his brother not hate him. Meanwhile, Chuck invites Howard to his house and plays him the tape of Jimmy's confession. While Howard is livid, he reminds Chuck that the tape cannot be legally used as evidence against Jimmy, nor can it be used to win Mesa Verde back to HHM. Chuck implies that he has something else in mind.

Act II[]

After finding the mysterious message on his windshield in the desert, Mike understands that his hit on Hector has been compromised and he himself is most likely in danger. His first intuition is that someone has placed a tracking device on his vehicle and tries to find it with a surface inspection of his station wagon. Not easily able to spot it, he stops in a junkyard and begins to meticulously disassemble the vehicle. After hours of unsuccessful searching, and with the junkyard about to close, Mike has an epiphany: he takes apart the wagon's gas cap and finds a tracking device inside. At home, he finds and examines another device hidden in his Chrysler sedan, recording its ID number.

Act III[]

BCS 3x01 08

At WM, Captain Bauer shows up and angrily confronts Jimmy about fraudulently gaining access to his airbase to shoot his TV commercial. After momentarily cracking, Jimmy defiantly refuses Bauer's demand to take it off the air and raises the possibility that Bauer himself may be punished for letting Jimmy onto the base in the first place. Bauer warns Jimmy that smart little guys like him, who do not play straight, always end up paying. Before leaving WM, he yells in the waiting area: "A lawyer you can trust, my ass!"

Mike works his regular night shift at the parking booth until he is convinced that he is not being watched. Quietly closing down the booth, he removes the bugged fuel cap from his car and hides it in one of the overpass pylons before driving off into the night.

Act IV[]

At a railway switchyard, Mike meets up with Caldera, who is upset about being called late at night. Mike requests a tracking device and monitor identical to the one used to bug his vehicle. Caldera agrees, but warns Mike he will need time and extra money for this job. He also reminds Mike to keep to "business hours" when contacting him.

BCS 3x01 09

At Mesa Verde, Kim presents the updated paperwork to Paige, who is impressed on the quality of her work. After hearing Paige's disgust at Chuck's "incompetence" and arrogance, however, a conflicted Kim asks to hang onto the corrected documents for one more night. Visibly struggling with her professional ethics, Kim obsesses over a single punctuation mark on her final report to Mesa Verde, reluctant to submit it and profit from Jimmy's fraud.

Act V[]

During a visit to Chuck's house, Ernesto brings new batteries for Chuck's tape recorder. Feigning not to be able to change the batteries due to his EHS condition, he asks Ernesto to do so. When he finishes changing the batteries, the recorder plays back a small section of Jimmy's confession—it seems that the play button had accidentally been left on. The passage is sufficiently explicit for Ernesto to grasp the gravity of what he has just heard. Chuck pressures Ernesto to never tell anyone else on the pretext of confidentiality. Stunned, Ernesto reluctantly resumes unloading Chuck's groceries. Chuck seems pleased to have managed what appears to be the first step in his gambit against Jimmy.

At his house, Mike begins his own move against the owner of the tracking devices. Having obtained his replacement tracking device from Caldera, Mike switches the original device from the Chrysler with his own, and then proceeds to drain the original's battery by wiring it to a transistor radio. After depleting the battery, he waits at a window that looks out to his car. Eventually, someone arrives to replace the drained tracker with a fresh one, unwittingly giving Mike the means to follow them. After arming himself and removing the gas cap containing the newly planted tracker from his car, Mike drives into the night and begins his pursuit.

Official Photos[]

Trivia[]

  • In the Gene flash-forward, Gene can be seen using a "Kansas City Royals" lunchbox. Kim also wears a Kansas City Royals T-shirt throughout the series, prominently in the episode "Something Unforgivable".
  • Jimmy's elderly female client, when listing flowers, includes Lily of the Valley, the plant that Walt used to poison Brock in Breaking Bad.
  • A shot of Mike removing the tracker on his car and leaving it at his workplace before going for a drive directly mirrors a similar shot of Gus doing the same in Season 4 of Breaking Bad.
  • Another scene directly mirroring Breaking Bad is when "Gene" faints in the teaser, similar to Walter White fainting in "Pilot".
  • The episode is dedicated to Eric Justen. He worked as a re-recording mixer on all seasons of Breaking Bad and passed away on August 11, 2016, just two weeks shy of his 44th birthday. Along with frequent collaborator Jeffrey Perkins and Darryl L. Frank, he shared three consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Sound Mixing for the show’s final three seasons. They and others also earned Cinema Audio Society Award nominations for those same seasons of the show, and Justen was part of the team that won the 2014 Motion Picture Sound Editors Award for Best Sound Editing – Short Form Sound Effects and Foley in Television.
  • In Better Call Saul Insider Podcast, Vince Gilligan confessed that he "did not have a lot of fun directing" the first two episodes of season 3, because "it was very, very hard (...) directing two episodes back to back". The last time he did that was in Season 4 of Breaking Bad ("End Times", "Face Off") and he was "10% younger" and "that 10% make a great difference". However, he is very proud of these two episodes.
  • The Adventures of Mabel is a book that Vince's mother, Gail Gilligan, read to his brother Patrick and him when they were children. Gail is retired now but worked as a reading teacher and loves that book.
  • The massive statues in the Mesa Verde lobby were built for the series.
  • The building used for Mesa Verde had been previously used in a scene of Breaking Bad, when Skyler plays the "dumb blonde" so that Ted Beneke escapes criminal liability for tax evasion. ("Bug")

Production[]

Credits[]

Featured Music[]

  • "Sugar Town" by Nancy Sinatra (Played during the "Gene" montage at the beginning of the episode.)
  • "Can't Leave the Night" by BadBadNotGood
  • "Memory" by Morrie Morrison Orchestra
  • "Hurry Sundown" by Little Richard
  • "Alfonso Muskedunder" by Todd Terje
  • "Gas Cap Parasite" by Dave Porter (when Mike prepares to follow the man who's been tracking him)

Memorable Quotes[]

"Say nothing, you understand? Get a lawyer-get a lawyer!"
―Gene shouting at the shoplifter.

"Jimmy, don't think I'll ever forget what happened here today. And you WILL pay."
―Chuck cutting short of nostalgia for his brother.

Kim: "Are you mad?"
Jimmy: "I'm not mad, I'm just thinking about things. For 10 minutes today Chuck didn't hate me. I forgot what that felt like."
―Kim and Jimmy in their offices.

"I don't even know where to begin. But yes, I believe you. Your brother is one world-class son of a bitch. No offense."
―Howard, reacting to hearing the tape of Jimmy's confession.

Howard: "Chuck, if that tape is useless in a court of law, and no help in the court of public opinion, what's the point? Because I can't think of a single use for it."
Chuck: "I can."
―Howard and Chuck discussing Jimmy's confession.

Jimmy: "I'm a lawyer, and this is what I do all day, every day, so how about this: I won't fly jet planes, you stay out of court. Does that sound good?"
Bauer: "You know, guys like you... you think you're so damn smart. And you think you don't have to play straight with anybody. The wheel is gonna turn. It always does."
―Jimmy and Bauer arguing about the TV commercial.

""A lawyer you can trust", my ass!"
―Bauer yelling at Jimmy's other clients.


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