Sunday’s new episode of Better Call Saul, titled “Hero,” found Jimmy playing hardball with his brother’s law firm. With Hamlin Hamlin & McGill facing a new obstacle, how will the firm’s leadership proceed?
Jimmy came up with a clever Slippin’ Jimmy scheme in episode 4 when he tricked the media into thinking he’s become a local hero, thus bringing much-needed attention to his struggling law business, which purposely looks similar to Hamlin Hamlin & McGill. Howard, the head of the firm Jimmy’s been sparring with, was quick to realize that the entire occurrence was a setup in light of the firm requesting Jimmy change his practice’s name.
Hypable spoke to Howard Hamlin actor Patrick Fabian by phone on Tuesday morning to discuss the previous night’s episode. When we asked how Howard will proceed in light of this Slippin’ Jimmy scheme, Fabian told us that his character will continue to remain professional — a quality that’s already brought him far in life.
“It’s interesting because Howard’s got the power. He’s got the control. [Yet] he’s clearly been outplayed on this one. I don’t think Howard’s the kind of guy who retaliates in a type of way that gets his hands dirty or seem culpable,” the actor told us. “I don’t know if it’s going to be a short term payback or a long term payback. Seems to be you don’t get to the place that you are — as successful as Howard is — without having a little bit of patience and a little bit of foresight when it comes to things as paltry as revenge.”
Nonetheless, Howard has a growing issue on his hands because Jimmy is now snapping up some of his potential clients and stealing Hamlin Hamlin & McGill’s branding. “This has now come from amusement to more than annoyance. [Jimmy’s] crossed a line.”
Chuck and Kim’s place between Jimmy and Howard
Both Kim and Chuck are now stuck between Jimmy and Howard as the two lawyers battle over their differences. How will the Hamlin Hamlin & McGill employees influence what plays out?
Kim will continue to walk the line between the two men. “Divided loyalties don’t really build a strong foundation on your business,” Fabian said of Kim’s situation. “However, I think this also speaks volumes to how valuable Kim is to the agency. She’s clearly someone who’s been anointed by Howard, who is a righthand lawyer to him, and he assumes that she’s on his side. And I think her actions also speak to that as well. She’s clearly with the firm, she clearly seems to be letting Jimmy know — even with the Kettleman thing — she goes, ‘Look, I can’t cross those lines. I have obligations.’ She’s running interference for Jimmy’s ideas against Hamlin Hamlin and McGill.
“However, that smile at the end of [episode] 104, along with me sort of looking at her when she says, ‘Everybody loves a hero,’ that sets the table for what’s coming down the road,” the actor teased.
Chuck will also have to toe a line since Jimmy is family and Howard is still an important business partner. Or is he? “If Chuck is so important to Howard, why doesn’t Howard have a full time medical staff at Chuck’s house? Why doesn’t Howard have the entire office sort of moved there? Why aren’t there 18 doctors working 24 hours a day to fix this guy? Why has it been over a year? I think that also [suggests] Chuck is vulnerable, too, to Jimmy’s actions.
“It remains to be seen exactly how tight Howard and Chuck really are, or how valuable Chuck is to Howard,” Fabian warned us.
In light of this thought, we asked the actor if he’s suggesting that Howard doesn’t care much for Chuck. “We haven’t even established what’s wrong with Chuck, have we? We don’t know what medical professional opinions are on this, so Howard’s game — if there is a game — might just be to buy his time waiting to see the next sort of movement of the earth.”
Howard’s also not in a rush to change things up in regards to Chuck’s involvement with the firm. “The status quo seems to be working just fine,” Fabian said.
The Jimmy McGill billboard
One of the most memorable moments in the series came last night when Jimmy ordered the billboard. The huge advertisement was actually placed in Albuquerque, New Mexico off a busy and very real freeway.
Better Call Saul, and Fabian’s role in it, suddenly felt very real once he saw the billboard for himself. “All of a sudden a couple episodes into it you show up downtown, and there’s this giant billboard. And it’s clearly supposed to be you. And it’s one of those surreal moments where you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, we’re really making this thing,'” he said proudly.
We wanted to know what Albuquerque residents must’ve thought about the sign when they saw it themselves without knowing about what happens in Saul. Fabian shrugged the question off because the city is full of these cheesy law firm signs. “In Albuquerque of course there’s a lot of billboards that kind of look like that. There’s all these crazy lawyer billboards that are all trying to sort of out hustle one another,” he says. “Consequently, I think so many people just drove past not even thinking about it.”
Better Call Saul — and Jimmy’s sparring with Howard — continues this Monday, March 2 at 10 p.m. eastern/pacific on AMC.