Season Three, Episode Seven — “Expenses”
By Brandy Dykhuizen. An accidental viewing of anything within the Madea franchise can tell you that portraying multiple characters in one film doesn’t automatically place you at the apex of talent. However, seamlessly dancing back and forth between both sides of a Janus-faced conman is an entirely different matter. Especially when the character’s longest con might be convincing himself that he can play it straight.
This week’s beautiful open saw Jimmy with a toe in both of his worlds juxtaposed against an orderly back-and-forth flow of freeway traffic. As he straddled court-mandated community service and his commercial hustle, the aerial shots of a busy divided highway reminded us that if just one vehicle were to jump the barrier and head into oncoming traffic, an entire side would be rendered useless. You simply can’t go backwards and forwards at the same time.
Mike had an uncharacteristically similar struggle this week. Once again, Mike’s done with the Salamanca drama – until, once again, he’s not. He just can’t let this business go, but why? It’s obviously not the money – we see he has loads of it squirreled away in a secret stash under his closet.
Is he so driven to make amends for his past as a dirty cop that he needs to take down the biggest bad guy he can find? His encounter with Nacho was almost paternal, appealing to him to “be smart” about replacing Hector’s pills. Mike also has a foot in both worlds, though unfortunately for him, it’s only the truly rotten one in which he’s able to be the hero.
Even straight-and-narrow Kim has let the pressure compromise her integrity. (I think I gasped out loud a little when she sniped at Paige over Mesa Verde’s numbers.) Whatever internal struggles she may have that allow her to represent Jimmy and “tear down a sick man,” she’s never let those improprieties bubble to the surface.
The Kimbot is slowly powering down, and is running out of time to figure out how to reprogram herself. While she had to remind Jimmy that devising cons at their favorite watering hole was merely a bar game, her concern seemed all too brief.
Astoundingly good at solving puzzles to the letter of the law, Kim may lack the intuition to read the writing on the wall before it’s too late. We only have three more episodes to see whose better sides make it out of this season alive.
“I weep for the future.” – Saul laments kids these days’ ignorance of Richie Blackmore.
“It’s TV! How can there not be a profit?” – Saul.
“As far as I’m concerned, all we did was tear down a sick man.” – Kim.
“We can make it zero.” – Jimmy.
BEST MOMENT: Jimmy’s parking lot transformations into Saul. He doesn’t need a phone booth. Just some West Ones® and a quick whore bath next to his open trunk. Jimmy’s harried physical transformations set up the deeper ego shift on the horizon. He’s trying to stay true to himself as Jimmy by temporarily compartmentalizing his shady side into a goofy character to make ends meet. For a man whose expenses are piling, he sure is adding a hefty toll.
EPISODE’S MVP: Bob Odenkirk effortlessly expanded the overlap of the Jimmy/Saul Venn diagram in “Expenses”. That final smirk as he walked out of the insurance office all but sealed the deal. Jimmy’s never been above crocodile tears, but even Chuck would tell you that his manipulations are generally towards a somewhat noble end. Enter Saul, whose cry tactics were employed solely to make his brother suffer as a salve to his bad day.
– Is that a pair of shit-stained underwear Jimmy is trying to bag while taking calls?
– Oh, man; the Sklar Brothers sure are unsettling.
– What is it about Pryce’s voice that makes him so thoroughly unlikable?
– Naturally, Mike has a secret panel in his closet in which he keeps his money.
– Kim’s fancy 90’s lawyer phone has a timer!
– What is it exactly about Anita’s husband’s disappearance in Gila Nat’l Park that motivates Mike to tackle another Salamanca issue?
– I get the sinking feeling that Mike’s interest in Anita will not end well for her.
8 out of 10
Next: “Slip”, in one week
Before: “Off Brand”, here.