In the Better Call Saul recap, Jimmy puts one over on his brother Chuck but at what cost and Mike finds some satisfaction going after Hector Salamanca…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
There may not be a better or more wonderfully dysfunctional family on all of television than the brothers McGill on Better Call Saul.
Through the first season of the show, Jimmy McGill moved heaven and earth to appease his older sibling Chuck, who single handedly rescued him from a certain jail sentence and in exchange, he did everything possible to change from a low-level criminal to an attorney just like his big brother. Whether Chuck saw it or not, Jimmy was emulating him as best he could while still holding onto more than a few of his less that moral tendencies.
In the end, Chuck betrayed Jimmy far more than anything Jimmy could ever do in return.
All Jimmy wanted was his brother’s approval and acceptance but instead he found out that the knife that was stabbing him in the back for all those years had Chuck’s fingerprints on it. So the latest fracas between the two brothers was the ultimate reversal of fortune as Jimmy made Chuck look like the buffoon as he waffled and got flustered while trying to explain how a clerical error ultimately cost his clients millions of dollars.
Sure, Jimmy had to “color outside the lines” to get at his brother but it’s the only way he’s ever known and from the look of things, he didn’t exactly have the role model he was hoping for when Chuck was revealed as saboteur to prevent him from ever working at HHM.
Of course deep down all Jimmy has ever wanted was someone to fight for him and believe in him the way he always did for his big brother. It looks like he finally found that person in Kim, who loves him in spite of his flaws and accepts him just the way he is.
For now anyways.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of Better Call Saul titled ‘Nailed’…
The Numbers Game
Following his triumphant return to the boardroom to steal Mesa Verde away from Kim Wexler, Chuck McGill is ready to do his victory lap with a filing in front of the New Mexico Banking Commission, where he will help his new clients secure a location for their expansion into Arizona. It’s a fairly routine bit of lawyering, but Chuck is all smiles even sitting under the bright glare of florescent lights as he presents his case like he’s talking to some old friends over dinner.
It all goes quite well until one of the commissioners is alerted to an error on the application — it appears the original documentation included an address at 1261 but the new information submitted by Chuck McGill read 1216. To make matters worse, Chuck is adamant about his paperwork and even argues with his client while trying to get his point across that he had the right address. Cooler heads prevail and Chuck begins to argue the case again, but it’s already too late.
This clerical error results in the paperwork being tossed and a new application has to be submitted. And for Mesa Verde it’s a disaster because it will take at least six weeks to get back in front of the commission before they can open the doors on their new Arizona bank. Clearly, Kevin and Paige from Mesa Verde are flummoxed and furious after the first day with their new law firm while Chuck is enraged that a simple juxtaposition of numbers makes him look like an incompetent idiot.
Howard does his best to talk Chuck off the ledge as he stomps around his house angry at the idea that he could possibly make such a boneheaded mistake. But then it all dawns on him — Chuck remembers the previous week when he was passed out and nearly comatose after a day filled with electronics and lights at HHM that left him hiding under a space blanket while his little brother Jimmy sent his assistant home so he could take care of him instead. Chuck knows deep down there’s no way he made this mistake — so it must be Jimmy
If You Like Pina Coladas
For a show built on having a lot of humor, this week’s episode was fairly joyless outside of one aside where Jimmy puts the finishing touches on his new commercial.
After “fudging” some information to get some video by an old World War II bomber, this week, Jimmy takes his guerilla filmmakers to a grade school where he’ll shoot the second half of his commercial that will be so glorious and so American that a bald eagle might squeeze out a few tears.
Unfortunately, Jimmy gets busted by the school principal, who wants him off the property because no one can shoot there without written permission.
But of course Jimmy got permission — from Annette down at the superintendant’s office — because this isn’t a commercial. In fact, it’s a documentary about the life and times of Rupert Holmes and he just so happened to go to this elementary school in Albuquerque.
Never mind the fact that Rupert Holmes is British but everybody knows that Pina Colada song and after Jimmy sings a few chords, he’s got the people in charge convinced that he’s legitimately supposed to be there. Well, legit enough that the principal goes to call the superintendant and that gives Jimmy plenty of time to look regal in front of a beautiful waiving flag that just screams America.
Does anybody else really want to see this commercial already?
An Innocent Man
Mike finally strikes at Hector Salamanca this week by taking out one of his transport trucks — remember the ice cream trucks that weren’t carrying all ice cream from a week ago? Mike meticulously stalks the truck, sets up a trap on the road with his garden hose filled with nails and then strikes at the exact right moment to pull the trigger and watch the tires pop as the vehicle goes careening off the road. Mike is careful to never speak and wear a black ski mask over completely black clothing to give the driver less than nothing to remember when he’s describing this to his boss.
Mike digs into the tires and eventually finds $250,000 in cash and in his mind he’s thinking a job well done and revenge is mine.
But just stealing the money isn’t enough for Mike because really he wants to punish Hector as much as he quietly wants his own revenge. So Mike goes to his favorite diner the next day looking for word in the newspaper about a truck crash and an investigation into drug running across the border but there’s not a single story about it.
Before he can wonder why the police aren’t crawling up Hector’s ass, Mike gets a call from Nacho asking to meet.
See after this truck was hijacked, Nacho started thinking about likely culprits but one big thing stuck out in his mind — why was the driver left alive? A rival cartel or drug running operation would have killed the driver without blinking but who would be motivated enough to unveil this elaborate plan and then leave a living witness?
Mike cops to the crime but promises Nacho that the driver could never ID him and this was just his little taste of revenge after Hector made him eat shit a few weeks back. Nacho isn’t sure why Mike would take such a chance considering he was no longer on Hector’s radar after they finished their business over his nephew Tuco and his arrest.
Nacho: “You wanted to put the cops onto Hector? Why? You are nothing to him. He forgot all about you.
Mike: “I haven’t forgotten him.”
Mike’s thirst for vengeance wasn’t just finished with the money, however, because he also wanted the cops to find out about this operation and put an end to Hector Salamanca once and for all. Unfortunately what Mike couldn’t anticipate was a good Samaritan coming along and discovering the wrecked truck along with the driver, who had been bound and gagged and left on the side of the road.
A call was made to Hector and his men came out to clean up the truck, pick up the driver and execute the citizen who tried to do a good deed and help someone. Now Mike has accidentally caused a completely innocent person to get killed all for the sake of his grudge against Hector.
Mike has been all about half measures this season but Hector Salamanca is one loose end he’s going to tie up before this is all said and done. Something tells me Hector won’t be vertical much longer.
As Jimmy and Kim begin remodeling the dentist office and converting it into a law practice, a call comes in that changes everything. Kim finds out that Mesa Verde have left HHM and want to put her on retainer as their sole legal representation going forward. On top of it all, HHM isn’t even fighting to keep them as a client and Kim is invited over to Chuck’s to pick up all his paperwork.
Jimmy decides to go along for the ride to help Kim carry the boxes and to gloat a little but when he arrives and tries to unlock the door it seems Chuck has changed the locks.
Inside, Kim and Jimmy go to retrieve the paperwork but Chuck isn’t going to let them go without unburdening himself from a strong belief that he has about that Mesa Verde address that ultimately cost him the account.
Chuck lays out in great detail how Jimmy waited until he was nearly comatose, took all the forms, copied and pasted them with the new address and then returned them to the boxes from whence they came. Chuck was made to look like a fool and then that morning Jimmy returned to the scene of the crime and swapped out all the paperwork to put the originals back in place. It was just enough to cost Chuck a huge client without leaving a shred of evidence behind.
It’s a compelling argument — especially because it’s all true — but Kim stops Chuck dead in his tracks and instead turns the accusation back on him.
“I know he’s not perfect. And I know he cuts corners but you’re the one who made him this way. He idolizes you. He accepts you. He takes care of you. And all he ever wanted was your love and support and all you’ve ever done is judge him. You never believed in him. You never wanted him to succeed. And you know what? I feel sorry for him and I feel sorry for you.”
The new dynamic duo leaves and Jimmy is floating on air — until he gets in the car and Kim punches him in the arm repeatedly because she knows that every single word Chuck uttered from his mouth was true.
At home later that night, Kim is preparing for her first day as the new Mesa Verde attorney and she’s not in the mood to talk about what Jimmy did or the repercussions that go along with it. Jimmy wants to justify it all by believing that what he did was for the good — that Chuck and HHM stole Mesa Verde away from her and he just righted that wrong.
Before he can celebrate too much, Kim reminds him that while he may have beaten his brother in the battle, the war is far from over.
“The kind of adversary who’d find even the smallest crack in your defense. Going against him you’d really want to make sure you’ve got all your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed. Nothing for him to find.”
~ Kim on Chuck
Without saying a word, Jimmy gets up from bed and heads to the 24-hour print shop where he copied and pasted his heart out a few nights ago. He spots Chuck’s assistant Ernie talking to the counter clerk and after he leaves, Jimmy knows he’s got to make a quick move if he wants to cut Chuck off at the pass.
Jimmy makes a deal with the clerk — he’ll forget that he was ever there and even erase the security footage in exchange for a few hundred dollars. The clerk agrees and Jimmy quickly trots back over to the other side of the street waiting for his brother to arrive so he can enjoy his own personal victory lap when Chuck is defeated once again.
When Chuck goes into the store he shows the clerk a photo of Jimmy asking for him to confirm what he just told Ernie earlier but this time around his memory is blank. The clerk doesn’t remember anything about Jimmy and now says he was mistaken about spotting him earlier. Chuck goes from flustered to enraged and as the lights around his head start to buzz and pop, he becomes disoriented all while trying to argue that this clerk is trying to put one over on him — just like Jimmy.
A moment later, Chuck passes out and smacks his head on the side of the counter before crashing to the ground. Jimmy watches in horror across the street because all he wants to do is call for help but doing that would expose that he was involved in this situation in the first place.
So Jimmy has to watch from a few feet away as Chuck lays motionless in a heap waiting for help to arrive. Jimmy wanted to get over on his brother but never wanted to hurt him.
His victory lap has now ended with a fiery crash. And Chuck McGill is the victim.
The season finale of Better Call Saul airs next Monday night at 10pm ET on AMC.