This article contains spoilers for Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 5.
While Mike Ehrmantraut is clearly the premiere option in Albuquerque if you have a need for a private investigator, cleaner, or fixer, he’s not the only choice available to members of the ABQs underbelly. Now, those other choices might not provide the same quality that we’ve come to expect of Mike, and they certainly don’t have the ever-present, even if hypocritical, moral fiber either. However, if Mike is unavailable, you can still find questionable help from seedy guys like “Mr.X,” aka Sobchak.
Played by actor Steven Ogg (The Walking Dead, Westworld, Grand Theft Auto V), Sobchak appeared in the latest Better Call Saul episode, “Dedicado a Max” as Jimmy’s second call after Mike was busy recuperating in Mexico. Jimmy calls the man that refers to himself as “Mr. X” to help him dig up some dirt on Kim’s client Kevin Wachtell. When Jimmy questions the quality of Sobchak’s work, the self-proclaimed “P.I.” defends himself by revealing how he even broke into Kevin’s home to glean anything that he could. Kim obviously doesn’t like this revelation, and she likes Sohchak even less when he suggests kidnapping Kevin and taking him out to the desert to scare or beat information out of him. At that brilliant suggestion, Sobchak is immediately asked to leave by Jimmy.
If the character looked familiar, it’s not just because Ogg’s had screen time in some of television’s biggest shows. Sobchak actually appeared in Better Call Saul back in season one in the episode “Pimento.” Though he went unnamed in the episode, the credits revealed the character’s name, an homage to Vietnam Vet blowhard John Goodman played in The Big Lebowski. “Pimento” writer Thomas Schnauz had Goodman’s Walter Sobchak in mind when he was writing the part, and it’s easy to see why; Saul’s Sobchak is also a big-mouth who’s more talk than action.
In that episode, Caldera hires Sobchak, Mike, and another man to accompany Pryce on his very first drug deal. Waiting in a van in a parking garage for Pryce to arrive, Sobchak asks Mike what kind of gun he brought along for the job, but Mike tells the man he only brought a pimento cheese sandwich for lunch. When Pryce finally arrives, Sobchak tells Pryce that Mike will be dead weight on their job because he didn’t bring a weapon, but Mike calmly retorts that if he needs a gun, he’ll just take one Sobchak’s. Sobchak scoffs and begins taunting Mike, and when Mike calmly asserts himself one more time, Sobchak puts the gun to Mike’s head. Effortlessly, Mike disarms Sobchak, and when Sobchak tries to retaliate, Mike puts him down with a swift punch to the throat. After scaring off the other thug, Mike collects the full pay for all three men and accompanies Pryce on his deal.
So perhaps Jimmy was right to question “Mr. X” about the quality of his work, seeing how he was punked out so easily by Mike in the past. Apparently, that also makes Mr. X a lot like the character Ogg voiced in Grand Theft Auto V, Trevor Phillips, who also has a tendency to carry a lot of different weapons. Sobchak resembles that character so much, that many BCS fans mistakenly refer to the character as Trevor.
There was no reason to expect that Sobchak would pop back up so late after his first appearance in Better Call Saul, so now it wouldn’t be surprising if we see him again before the series is through. If Mike’s not around and you need a cocky cleaner, Mr. X may be your next best option. I guess it could be worse; you could find yourself hiring Todd.