NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Better Call Saul” are present in this review
After a very strong season premiere laid out the pieces for what to expect in Season Three last week, Better Call Saul started to build upon the big conflicts that will inevitably push both Jimmy and Mike to shocking new challenges in this week’s episode. “Witness” heavily entailed Mike going down the rabbit hole to figure out who the mysterious party spying on him is, while Jimmy also gets a startling revelation that changes his world forever, leading to another consistently riveting episode overall.
There’s a lot of buildup to who and what Mike discovers on the other end of that tap, and it turns out, I was right on the money about where it leads. After tailing the mysterious folks that are spying on him for quite a while, leading to plenty of ceremony for what’s to come, Mike finds that the trail ends at none other than Los Pollos Hermanos, the iconic fast food restaurant that Breaking Bad fans will definitely recognize!
Yes, at last, undercover drug kingpin, Gus Fring is being brought into Better Call Saul, even if he’s merely presented as a tantalizing tease for later at this point. Gus is quite intelligent too, since he seems to be anticipating Mike’s otherwise undetectable surveillance methods, leading Mike to a pretty clear dead end. Breaking Bad fans obviously know Fring’s secret, but for now, even Mike is oblivious to the true nature behind the kindly manager of Los Pollos Hermanos, mistaking Fring’s errand boy for the true perpetrator of what’s going on with that tap in his gas canister.
Mike even gets Jimmy in on the job of figuring out what the spies watching him are up to. This results in a sequence of Jimmy having to try and blend in within Los Pollos Hermanos, creating a funny contrast between how good Jimmy is at bullshitting people, yet how obviously conspicuous he is as a counterspy. Fring even seems to recognize that Jimmy is a plant, especially after Jimmy amusingly loses his watch band in the garbage can, or so he claims. Naturally, Mike doesn’t find out anything, and the job is a bust. In fact, it’s sort of disappointing, even if it is expected. Fring is an elusive and devious quarry, but since Breaking Bad fans especially already know this, a lot of these scenes sadly came off as a bit of a waste of time, which is the sole noticeable weakness in an otherwise predictably great episode of Better Call Saul.
Fortunately, the developments with Jimmy helped to compensate for some of the drawn-out and less fulfilling bits with Mike. Jimmy and Kim hire a new assistant on the spot, who thankfully turns out to be a fairly effective addition to Jimmy’s office, while also serving as some decent comic relief, as Jimmy tries to teach her how to woo clients for him. Jimmy’s professional life seems to be going better than ever for now, but when Ernesto comes to Kim with news of what happened with Chuck, it’s not long before Kim learns about Chuck’s taping of Jimmy, and Jimmy learns about it almost immediately afterward.
This cleverly develops from an otherwise cryptic intro sequence to the episode, whereupon Chuck meets with a mysterious man at his house, and suspiciously peeks outside, looking for someone. After Howard makes an especially secretive trip to Chuck’s place, it comes out that Chuck is hiring private eyes to try and wait for Jimmy to come swipe the tape. Chuck intentionally manipulating Ernesto to tell Jimmy about the tape was a pretty interesting twist, as was Chuck predicting that Jimmy will come for the tape at night, only to have Jimmy instead charge into the house in broad daylight, enraged at Chuck. Jimmy even goes as far as invading Chuck’s secret drawer and destroying the tape in front of him. It turns out that this was also Chuck’s plan all along though, as the episode ends with Jimmy having created two witnesses to Jimmy’s crimes of trespassing, invasion of privacy and destruction of property, with Chuck keeping both men in the dark so that they couldn’t be considered tainted witnesses. The tape may be useless evidence, but Jimmy going to destroy it is what will allow him to be prosecuted. It’s quite devious!
Things ending on this note certainly seem to spell trouble for Jimmy as soon as next week, and Mike appears to be a in similarly precarious position, as he eventually follows Fring’s trail to a cellphone that’s conspicuously waiting for him in the middle of the road. Better Call Saul is still in the process of taking both of these characters to new realms of darkness, but so far, Season Three is continuing to remain riveting in that respect. “Witness” managed to take Jimmy down in a pretty surprising way, while finding a slightly sluggish, but no less memorable way to re-introduce one of the most beloved Breaking Bad villains into this show. Fring’s highlight moments for the season are clearly still way ahead of him, but so far, it doesn’t look like the character has lost any of his imposing touch, even several years before he ever met Walter White!
- Jimmy being outed as a surprisingly poor spy
- Gus Fring's fun, imposing re-appearance
- Chuck's brilliant ploy against Jimmy
- Some boring stretches with Mike's tracking