Emmy episode analysis: Bob Odenkirk (‘Better Call Saul’) picks up garbage and cries over ‘Expenses’

Bob Odenkirk reaped his third consecutive Emmy nomination as Best Drama Actor for playing attorney Jimmy McGill in AMC’s “Better Call Saul.” He’s also competing for the third time as a producer on the series. The actor already has two prizes for Best Variety Series Writing (“Saturday Night Live” in 1989 and “The Ben Stiller Show” in 1993) and five additional bids (Variety Series Writing for “SNL” in 1990 and 1991 and “Mr. Show with Bob and David” in 1998 and 1999; Best Music and Lyrics for “Mr. Show” in 1998). He contends for the third season episode “Expenses.”

Jimmy picks up garbage on the side of the road per his community service agreement following a spat with his brother, Charles (Michael McKean). At the same time, he’s struggling to sell off his commercials. Dead broke, he gives what’s left of his money to his film crew and Kim (Rhea Seehorn). Desperate for cash, he tries to get a refund on his malpractice insurance, only to find out that because of his suspension, his premium will rise by 150%. Jimmy breaks down, pouring his heart out to the insurance agent before accidentally mentioning Charles’ mental illness to her.

He leaves, knowing the insurance company will go after his brother with the information. Can Odenkirk win for this episode? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

PROS

Odenkirk displays a wide range of emotions in this installment, from showing off his comedy chops, to trying to sell commercial spots, to shedding tears over his feud with Charles, to a big final reveal. If episodes still matter at the Emmys, he’s got a great submission.

With last year’s winner Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) out of the running, the field is wide open for a new champ. Odenkirk’s two previous nominations and his standing as an actor’s actor make him an overdue contender.

Known primarily for his comedy work, Odenkirk has proven himself a strong dramatic actor, beginning with “Breaking Bad” and culminating in “Better Call Saul.” He’s even got a role in Steven Spielberg‘s upcoming film “The Papers.” Emmy voters may feel inclined to reward his giant leap forward as a performer.

SEE 2017 Emmy nominations list: All the nominees

CONS

Despite numerous nominations, “Better Call Saul” has yet to win a single Emmy. Is it still living in “Breaking Bad’s” shadow?

Malek’s absence leaves this category without a clear frontrunner. Odenkirk could compete with multi-nominated yet Emmy-less Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) or Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) for the overdue vote, not to mention previous winners Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) and Anthony Hopkins (“Westworld”) and first-time contender Milo Venitmiglia (“This Is Us”). With so many viable candidates, can Odenkirk garner enough votes for the win?

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on September 17. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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