In the ‘Better Call Saul’ recap, Jimmy tries to make ends meet, Mike searches for answers and Nacho makes his move against Hector Salamanca…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The one thing Jimmy McGill never wanted to be was a sucker.
He learned that lesson early on when growing up with his mother and father while they ran their convenience store in Illinois.
In a flashback scene to kick off ‘Better Call Saul’, Jimmy and his grifter pal Marco break into the ruins of mom and pop McGill’s old shop to find his coin collection so they can run a scam that will earn them a few hundred bucks. While gathering his hidden collection from a panel on the ceiling, Jimmy explains why he kept his coins there in the first place.
It turns out the first valuable coin he found came from a customer who came into the store one day. He paid for his items and left but Jimmy noticed one of the coins was a rare quarter. Rather than take the coin, Jimmy’s father proceeded to run outside to try and find the man to give it back to him.
Jimmy knew at that moment that his father was a pushover and that’s why he decided to take advantage of him at every turn until the day he passed away. Jimmy socked away every single valuable coin he saw in that register as long as his parents’ store was open because the path for doing what’s right for yourself and what’s right for others rarely ever crossover.
While his parents lived and died by the golden rule — do unto others as you would have them do unto you — Jimmy learned a valuable lesson that he’s kept close to his heart ever since and it’s what will likely lead him to the transformation into Saul Goodman.
Do unto others before they can do unto you.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Better Call Saul’ titled ‘Slip’….
Making Ends Meet
Jimmy’s endeavor to produce cheap commercials for local businesses to help earn back the money he spent on ads for his now non-existent law firm has hit a considerable wall. Things have gotten so bad that Jimmy even offered to shoot a commercial for free for a local music shop on the condition that after business picked up, they would then invest in his elite package with seven commercials for the low, low price of $6500.
Unfortunately the twin brothers have done some research including a call to the local TV station to find out each spot the commercial runs would only cost them $450, which is far below the cost of what Saul Goodman Productions is charging. An argument ensues but in the end the brothers refuse to hire Jimmy’s rag-tag student film crew to shoot another commercial.
That forces “Slippin” Jimmy to come out of retirement courtesy of a well placed drumstick before he goes crashing to the ground. When he asks if the brothers have liability insurance, it’s clear that he’s going to get his elite package whether they like it or not.
Two days later, Kim is at the office and she finds Jimmy alone playing his new Richie Blackmore signed guitar while resting his back on the floor. He hands over the money he made to pay for the next six weeks they will share in the office together while insisting that she continue to charge him like usual even if she’s making enough money to cover them both.
Jimmy’s going to find a way to pay for himself even if it’s not by the most legal means necessary.
The search for more cash continues as Jimmy goes back to his community service job picking up trash underneath the New Mexico freeways when he hears one of his fellow inmates plea with the boss to let him go because his kid is sick and at the hospital. The supervisor tells him to leave but it will cost him the hours he would have received for the day, which means this guy won’t make his mandated community service by the end of the week.
So rather than visit his sick kid, the guy puts his head down in disgust and continues to pick up trash. That’s when Jimmy strikes again.
Knowing that the guy who wants to see his sick kid has some disposable cash because his occupation rhymes with mug mealer, Jimmy offers to get him out of this community service for the day with his hours still in tact for the low price of $700. The guy agrees and Jimmy goes to work.
First things first, Jimmy lays down on the ground until the supervisor asks him what exactly he’s doing. Jimmy responds that he’s injured his back and now he’s planning on filing a lawsuit against the supervisor not only for himself but also for the guy who wanted to go see his sick kid and now he’s been inflicted with irreparable emotional harm as a result.
The mere threat of the lawsuit gets the supervisor to concede — Jimmy gets to lay on the ground to rest his back, the mug mealer gets to go see his sick kid and he pays $700 for the trouble. Jimmy may not be able to practice law right now but he’s going to use his legal skills to pay the bills.
The way things are going this year-long suspension is going to be the real catalyst that sees Jimmy complete his transformation into Saul Goodman.
The Big Payback
At lunch, Kim converses with her clients at Mesa Verde bank when her old pal Howard Hamlin walks into the same restaurant before walking over to say hello at the table. Of course, Howard — condescending as ever — paints Kim as his protégé who has finally taken flight from out of the nest thanks to him plucking her out of the mail room and putting her through law school. In the moment, Kim just smiles and nods while her blood is secretly simmering in her veins.
After Howard walks away, Kim decides to pay a visit to his table where she hands over a check for $14,000 to pay him back for law school because she no longer wants to be in debt to him. When lunch is over, Howard confronts Kim in front of the valet stand, rips up her check and erupts about how she torpedoed his law firm in court by exposing Chuck’s mental illness.
Kim finally fires back by justifying everything she did for the sake of winning the case and if the clients at Hamlin-Hamlin-McGill have a problem with Chuck’s issues being hidden from them then Howard has no one to blame but himself. Kim has been a strong character since the beginning but she always had an underlying timidity when it came to Howard Hamlin.
Clearly she’s shucked persona while throwing Howard’s own misdeeds back in his face.
Meanwhile, Chuck is trying to deal with his illness by working with Dr. Lara Cruz, the same physician who treated him in the hospital after he was tased by the police after they believed he was a drug addict squatting in his own home. Even back then, Dr. Cruz tried to convince Jimmy that his brother’s illness was psychological rather than physical, but he just couldn’t take it upon himself to have Chuck committed.
Now Chuck is convinced that the electromagnetic hypersensitivity disorder he’s dealt with for years is all in his own head, but he’s going to need help to get past it. Dr. Cruz warns him that this recovery could take years rather than days or moths but Chuck seems ready to tackle his worst fears that all involve electricity.
Chuck even manages to make a trip to the grocery store, albeit a rather painful one as he hears the fluorescent lights buzzing and hissing overtop of his head and inside all of the doors inside the building. But Chuck soldiers through, gets his groceries and makes it all the way back home where he runs into Howard, who has been waiting at home for him.
Howard is proud to see Chuck up and around, but he’s got some bad news to share with him about his malpractice insurance. Remember last week, Jimmy “accidentally” let it slip that Chuck was dealing with a serious mental illness that caused him to make mistakes on a client’s file that cost him in court. Obviously the insurance company felt that was egregious enough to change the policy for Hamlin-Hamlin-McGill.
Perhaps this is the time when Chuck is forced out of his own law firm because he’s no longer an asset but rather a liability. Could Jimmy’s revelation in court lead to his brother being ousted all together? It certainly seems possible.
It’s time for Nacho to put his plan in action to replace Hector Salamanca’s nitroglycerine pills with the ones he made from the capsules obtained from the squat cobbler along with some crushed up Ibuprofen. Of course, Nacho’s endeavor to take out Hector all comes from his desire to keep his father out of the line of fire now that his boss wants to use his dad’s car upholstery business as a front to transport drugs across the border.
Nacho goes through pain staking preparation to do the switch where he will swipe Hector’s pill bottle, put in the placebo medication and then put it back all while his boss is none the wiser.
Thanks to a busted air conditioner — courtesy of Nacho — Don Hector is forced to remove his coat in the restaurant where they conduct business, which allows Nacho the opening to make the swap.
Without much being said, it’s an incredibly intense scene shot beautifully by director Adam Bernstein that shows the beads of sweat trickling down Nacho’s face as he makes the switch on the pills, all while fearing Hector’s reprisal if he’s caught. Now that Nacho has replaced the medication, he only has to worry about switching it back once Hector falls ill.
Considering Nacho is nowhere to be found in ‘Breaking Bad’, it’s tough to imagine things end much better for him than Hector’s future spent ringing that damn bell in a wheelchair.
As for Mike, he spends the majority of this episode hunting down the body of the good Samaritan who was murdered by Hector Salamanca after he hijacked the truck containing all the cash being transported from Mexico into the United States. Last week, Mike helped Nacho obtain the pills so that he could make the switch on Hector but he needed a favor in return.
It appears, Nacho told Mike where he could find the body and thanks to a metal detector and a lot of patience, he discovered where Hector’s men had buried the poor soul who just stopped to help a man he found bound and gagged on the side of the road. Mike reports the body to the police with an anonymous tip before returning home to count the money he had left over from the heist on Hector’s truck.
Mike realizes that right now if he gets eliminated — by Hector or anybody else for that matter — his daughter-in-law Stacy and his granddaughter Kaylee would never see a dime of this money. Considering it’s been obtained through a hijacking and the money itself is dirty, Mike knows his family would reap no benefit if he died tomorrow.
So Mike calls on a friend to help him launder the money so it could go to Stacy and Kaylee in the event of his unfortunate passing.
Enter Gus Fring.
Mike visits Gus and asks him to launder the money as a one time favor through his stores, but the secretive drug trafficker declines. Gus explains that if Hector got wind of their working together, it would be very bad for the both of them. Instead, Gus offers Mike an alternative plan that will clean all the money he has stashed away in a closet without ever directly connecting him to Los Pollos Hermanos.
Gus and Mike shake hands on the deal and this is definitely the beginning of a very successful partnership that will last for years to come. At least until they meet Walter Harwell White.
Two episodes remaining this season as ‘Better Call Saul’ returns next Monday night at 10pm ET on AMC.