Airtime: Mondays at 10PM on AMC
Episode: Season 2, Episode 9 (S02E09)
Tweetable Takeaway: The consequences of both Mike and Jimmy’s actions come to head as #BetterCallSaul heads to a finale
This is hands down one of the most intense episodes of BETTER CALL SAUL ever! The culmination of Mike’s actions and the ramifications of what Jimmy has done to Chuck come boiling to a head. The real question is what kind of long-term consequences do these momentary victories hold for these two?
Mike might be the most intriguing character on the show right now. He’s methodical, a genius for planning, and lives by a code of honor that is rare for someone in his line of work. He’s not someone you want to cross in any way, because he’ll surely get you back. We saw Mike making the spike strip with his granddaughter in the last episode, but now we get to see it in action. All of his watching, staking out Hector, pays off. He knows the routine of the Popsicle truck inside and out, and he takes this knowledge and uses it to get back at Hector in a big way.
The piece of road Mike uses is secluded, and allows him the time to take out the trucks tires, and methodically look for what he’s after. Once he has the drop on the driver, he is able to hog tie him, and then use a Sawzall to cut through all of the tires on the truck until he finds what’s hidden inside of them. Mike takes $250,000 from Hector, and leaves without a trace. Back at his stake out spot, he watches Hector lose his mind after finding out what’s happened.
Mike’s pleased with himself, and we see him almost revel in the high of having pulled it off when he buys everyone at the bar a round of drinks. There’s something that bothers him though, he wants the recognition for what he’s done. He searches the newspapers, but doesn’t find any trace of a story about the Popsicle truck. It doesn’t take long for Nacho to put together who may have pulled this off, and he calls a meeting with Mike.
This episode gives us two instances of great deduction, one by Nacho and one by Chuck. Nacho figures out Mike is behind the heist, because he’s the only person he knows that would do this sort of thing without killing the driver. It’s the business of how Mike handled the job with Tuco that solidifies the idea in Nacho’s mind. If he wouldn’t kill Tuco, he wouldn’t kill the driver. He just doesn’t understand how Mike could pull it off on his own, without being tipped off by someone inside. Nacho isn’t really upset, he just needs to know what happened so the evidence doesn’t hinge back to his relationship with Mike and incriminate him in any way. He tells Mike that Hector had forgotten about him the minute the Tuco transaction was over, but Mike tells Nacho he hadn’t forgotten about Hector.
Chuck on the other hand is ready to do a victory lap with Mesa Verde at a preliminary hearing, but things go terribly wrong. Jimmy doctored all those documents in the last episode, and we actually see him wait for Howard to pick Chuck up for the hearing, and then sneak back into Chuck’s house to replace the forged documents with the real ones again. It’s too late for Chuck though. He’s botched the entire filing request before the New Mexico State Banking Board. It makes Chuck look incapable to his clients, the board, and it also doesn’t help that he insistently tells everyone they are wrong and the fake address is the correct one. Jimmy’s devious plan works, and soon Mesa Verde calls Kim to hire her as their representation.
Chuck is no slouch though, and he figures the entire thing out. It’s like watching Perry Mason or Columbo deduce the entire thing. Jimmy knows something is up immediately since Chuck has had the locks changed and Jimmy’s key no longer works. Chuck presents the evidence to both Kim and Jimmy when they come over to pick up all of the Mesa Verde files. He lays it out, step by step, how the whole thing went down. It was a simple case of sabotage, and Jimmy did it all for love. Chuck’s professional reputation is ruined, and you can sense Kim believes Chuck, but there’s no physical evidence to back up Chuck’s accusations.
Kim delivers one of the most heart felt and damning accusations Chuck has probably ever had leveled at him. If Jimmy is this way, it is because Chuck has made him this way. Jimmy looks up to Chuck and has only ever wanted his acceptance and love, and Chuck has always been unable to give him any of it. He could never even muster up a morsel of encouragement even though Jimmy has taken care of him. She feels sorry for Jimmy, and sorry for Chuck, but is also mad at Jimmy since she knows what he’s done.
There’s a part of Kim that can slide into Jimmy’s world a little too easily as we’ve seen when the two of them have worked a con together. She may be mad at Jimmy, but in a casual off hand way she almost instructs him to go cover his tracks. Kim tells him Chuck is a hell of a lawyer, and would make a tough adversary. He’d be able to find the smallest crack in a defense, so anyone who went up against him would want to have all of their bases covered. Jimmy immediately leaves to pay off the guy at the all night copy store to say he wasn’t there, and to destroy the surveillance tapes. When Chuck comes to confront the copy guy, who’s now changed his story, Chuck loses it. It’s all too much, the electricity, the stress, he passes out and smashes his head against the corner of a table while Jimmy watches from the shadows across the street. It’s excruciating to watch, and it’s hard not to feel that Chuck may actually be dead.
- Jimmy shoots a commercial with his filmmaking students gorilla style to get a great shot, but when they get caught on school grounds, Jimmy pulls off a whopper of a lie to keep them out of trouble.
- Even though Mike pulled off his heist without killing anyone, a Good Samaritan who stopped to help the bound driver was killed so there’d be not witnesses.
- What are the ramifications for Mike and Jimmy’s actions? Will Hector find out? Is Chuck dead?
For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates. Twitter: @OfSoundnVision
Jeff Iblings | Contributor