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In the episode Breathe, Jimmy goes on a job interview for a sales position in a copier/printer store. He did a spectacular job at selling himself and ends up being offered the position on the spot.

After being offered employment, Jimmy immediately has a change of heart and decides he doesn’t want it. My question isn’t why he had the change of heart, and didn’t want the job; my question is why he was so berating to the owners?

He had so much disdain he even made a comment along the lines of; “you guys sicken me”. He was definitely lashing out at them, but why?

Why did Jimmy degrade them so profoundly?

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    In other words Jimmy is a self deprecating masochist, who does so by making others look, how he feels. – Darth Locke Aug 16 '18 at 16:38
  • @ Darth Locke: I agree with what you wrote; however, why that level of disparagement to the owners. It didn’t appear to me that his berating of the owners was intentional sabotage. Are you saying that you feel the owners reminded him of Chuck at that moment, and he lashed out at them as surrogate Chucks? – jayjay123 Aug 16 '18 at 16:55
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Jimmy is a conflicted man. Out of universe, we know that he's being set up to become Saul Goodman. In universe, Jimmy isn't actively aware of that yet.

In short, Jimmy has a habit of doing what he thinks is right, and putting his own personal benefit secondary to the quality of his advice.


We've seen him make counterintuitive decisions before. The most prominent example is his employment at Davis & Main. Jimmy was well aware that he was taking actions which endangered an otherwise steady employment, but he took them anyway.

There are two events here that showcase Jimmy's personality:

  • When he's new to Davis & Main, there's a switch with a "do not flick" sign taped to it. It is taped in a way that the switch cannot be flicked by accident. Even though he doesn't know what it does, Jimmy removed the sign and flicks the switch.
  • Jimmy needs Cliff to sign off on the ad that he makes. Jimmy is incredibly underwhelmed by the very vanilla ad that Davis & Main usually approves. He decides to add some showmanship to it. Jimmy specifically avoids talking to Cliff and airing the ad without permission.

Keep in mind here that Jimmy genuinely thought the ad would be a good ad. If it actually was a good ad, there's no reason to think Cliff would block it. Yet Jimmy purposely goes around Cliff. He felt like he didn't need Cliff's approval on principle (since Jimmy was the one who made the case to begin with), and therefore specifically avoided going through the motions with Cliff, who up until then had been nothing but agreeable.
Similarly, Jimmy flicks the switch because he's interested in flicking it. He doesn't quite care about the impact of flicking it, he just wants to see it being flicked.

Jimmy does not regret leaving Davis & Main, because they didn't allow Jimmy to do what he wants to do. Jimmy follows his gut, and puts his desires above his success. This is both his redeeming quality and his downfall.


The job interview showcases the same behavior. The interview goes swimmingly. Jimmy leaves, and then reconsiders. He walks back in, gives an even more convincing (and more pushy) pitch, and the interviewers give him what he wants.

Jimmy's critique was valid. The interviewers let themselves be played way too easily. They got distracted and never bothered to actually question why he's no longer a lawyer.

The only reason it's weird is because Jimmy ends up willfully taking a stance (without any provocation) that seems to disadvantage Jimmy (which is exactly what he did with Davis & Main).

Jimmy follows his gut, and puts his desires above his success. In this case, he wanted to explain why the interviewers did a bad job, more than he wanted the job itself.

Think back (or look forward) to Saul Goodman. He's confident, and he constantly tells people what they're doing wrong and how they should be doing it instead. In the end, Jimmy's suggestions improve things, but he initially comes across as an arrogant asshole before he is proven to be correct.
Jimmy is approaching the job interview like a lawyer. He's telling the blunt and honest truth, with the genuine intention to improve their interviewing selection process, even if it ends up risking his own benefit (employment).

  • Nice answer! :) – Darth Locke Aug 20 '18 at 13:59
  • @Flater: Thank you, everything from this point in you answer on I didn’t think about and it makes perfect sense. "Jimmy follows his gut, and puts his desires above his success. In this case, he wanted to explain why the interviewers did a bad job, more than he wanted the job itself......." – jayjay123 Aug 21 '18 at 15:34
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After being offered employment, Jimmy immediately has a change of heart and decides he doesn’t want it. My question isn’t why he had the change of heart, and didn’t want the job; my question is why he was so berating to the owners?

I'm combining my comments for an answer.

The "why" matters:

I know you stated that you didn't want to know "why" he did it, but IMO one has to know why in order to better answer your real question, because it is a layered scene that ties everything that has accumulated in the previous seasons together.

EW Interview with Bob Odenkirk (Warning Episode 4.05 spoilers in EW link)

And there’s that little Band-Aid box that has the coins that he found in season 2 of Better Call Saul when he had a flashback to his youth and his dad’s store. He told the story of his father and how he perceived his dad as a person who was taken advantage of too easily and he really despised his father for that, which makes him feel bad. I think that has to do with that Neff episode [“Breathe”] when he went to the copy shop and he called them losers because they believed his sales pitch. It made him angry because in his mind, it was such a bald-faced show that he was putting on and how they could not see that just pissed him off. He just couldn’t take it, and I think he’s really talking to his dad there and saying, “You’re a sucker, and I couldn’t stand to be around you.”

The desegregation of the men, specifically when he calls them "suckers", is reference calling back to Jimmy's childhood and how he perceived his father, in which viewers can deduce Jimmy's philosophy was to avoid becoming sucker himself and ultimately is at the forefront of the struggle between Jimmy and his older brother Chuck and drives the main plots for the two characters for the first three seasons.

From Chuck's viewpoint, Jimmy, also once known in Chicago as, "slippin Jimmy" is a failure and con artist, as Chuck saved Jimmy from jail and in which Jimmy returned the favor by moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico working in Chuck's and Howard's lawfirm (HHM) mailroom in an effort for Jimmy to clean up his life and do things "right" (referring to morality and the law), which Jimmy tries to do, up until a point, as it appears no matter how well-intended Jimmy is, Chuck constantly degrades and nitpicks at Jimmy while he acts as a smug martyr.

The two then have an ongoing rivalry, where Jimmy often seeks Chuck's praise or approval. Upon becoming a lawyer himself, Jimmy's success tends to be the cause of Chuck's electromagnetic allergy disorder, as it turns out to be psychosomatic.

It is then true that viewers often see Jimmy do things like this, when he feels guilty or insecure. He tends to be a likeable self-deprecating masochist, and instead of taking responsibility for his mishaps and failures, he instead tends to set other people up to make them look, the way he feels and sometimes this also works as "self sabotage". It's a way for him to absolve himself from the guilt. The situation is no different here, except that is deeply personal and because of the level at which he chooses to do this.

So back to your real question,

why he was so berating to the owners?

He is doing this to the degree he does, because of the events that transpired in the season 3 finale and possibly because of what Howard told him in the previous episode.

In the season three finale, Chuck tells Jimmy that Jimmy never mattered all that much to him and then succumbs to his psychosis by completely dismantling his house and ultimately shaking a lantern off a table that caused the whole place to go up in flames with Chuck inside! But to further this, one reason Chuck gets so upset is because Jimmy screwed over Chuck's insurance policy, which caused Howard to force Chuck to retire from their law firm. Howard also believes that Chuck commited suicide and intentionally sought to kill himself. He tells Jimmy shortly after Jimmy finds out about Chuck's death.

Further Unpacking the Scene:

Some proof of this may be evident by Jimmy's career field choice in this scene, as he decides to go for an interview at a Copy Machine Sales Company of all places, which is ironic, because of the events from the end of season 2; where Chuck, despite his electromagnetic disorder, goes to a 24 hour copying place (like Kinko's) that he believes Jimmy had previously been, trying to prove that Jimmy changed an address to help Kim secure "Mesa Verde" (Bank Client). Chuck gets extremely dizzy when confronting the employee and hits his head hard before collapsing onto the floor!

One also has to consider that Jimmy used to go through this very cycle with Chuck and now Chuck is not here. So to deal with this loss, which he is partially responsible for, Jimmy went to people whom he can symbolically identify himself and Chuck with simultaneously and reenacted the cycle with them.

Another reason that this is happening this way also has to do with where we are in the story. Season 4 is much closer and is overlapping with the Breaking Bad universe, and therefore the events in the season 3 finale give a bigger shift for the transition of Jimmy turning into Saul Goodman to occur. His personality in the second part of this scene is much closer to that persona in terms of becoming more manic.

  • @ Darth Locke, I “liked” what you wrote and appreciate the answer. I understand his complex relationship with Chuck and the mental toll it took on his psyche. Maybe I’m looking for an answer that just isn’t there. To summarize what you’re conveying, please correct me if I’m off, the events in the first 3 seasons, leading up to this episode, was building up inside of Jimmy. When he was in the aforementioned job interview, after getting the offer, all the stress Jimmy had built up came out at that moment. – jayjay123 Aug 17 '18 at 14:34
  • @ Darth Locke, I don’t think Jimmy’s personality in that scene is indicative of his persona in Breaking Bad. I don’t recall Saul ever being mean spirited, just for the sake of it, in Breaking Bad. He was conniving, but I can’t remember him being hateful for no apparent reason. – jayjay123 Aug 17 '18 at 14:35
  • @jayjay123 Well when you become a mob lawyer, how can one say his intentions are good when he does way more shady things then? But moreover I was referring to the "manic" aspect of his personality--the "over the topness" is what matters in this transition IMO. – Darth Locke Aug 17 '18 at 14:39
  • @jayjay123 Yes and no. It is in part about the stress of his whole life, because for whatever reason he doesn't want to be a "sucker" (but that in itself is a two-sided idea, because Jimmy can easily take advantage of others, but it also comes back to bite him. Even he tries to play by the rules, he can't "win" at life), but Chuck's death is what sent him over the edge--this argument he is having with this men is "a cycle" he used to have with Chuck. His brother is not here anymore so he went and took it out on someone else--people he could symbolize with both himself and Chuck simultaneously. – Darth Locke Aug 17 '18 at 14:42

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