In the “Better Call Saul” recap, Saul gets a new client named Lalo Salamanca and comes face to face with Hank Schrader for the first time while Kim battles her own conscience again…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Jimmy McGill never lived on the right side of the law but he wasn’t exactly a full-fledged criminal either.
Unfortunately the sins of the past come back to haunt Jimmy just after getting his practice up and running as “Saul Goodman” following an encounter with his old friend Nacho Varga, who he dealt with extensively during the first season of the show.
The first two episodes of “Better Call Saul” saw Jimmy find success in his new business as he signed up clients and began rattling through a load of cases as he looked to up his reputation as Albuquerque’s newest freedom fighter. Just when he was about to enjoy a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone to celebrate a job well done, Jimmy comes face to face with a new client, who will eventually lead him to his first encounter with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
Meanwhile, Kim Wexler has been teetering on the line between corporate lawyer and an attorney for the indigent for the past couple of seasons and her conscience has been getting the better of her for a while now. In the new episode, Kim is forced to forgo her pro-bono cases in favor of toeing the company line for Mesa Verde yet again and she’s not exactly happy with the business practices she’s forced to employ.
Finally, Mike Ehrmantraut is struggling in the wake of his exit as Gus Fring’s enforcer and you begin to wonder how much longer he can go before finally breaking bad.
With that said, let’s get to our recap for the latest episode of “Better Call Saul” titled “The Guy For This”…
After being picked up by Nacho Varga to close out last week’s episode of “Better Call Saul,” Jimmy McGill aka Saul Goodman is riding in the backseat of a car not knowing if he’s being driven to his own assassination. With an eye on the gun lodged in the seat in front of him and the back doors having no locks on the inside, Saul can’t help but wonder if he’s chowed down on his last mint chocolate chip ice cream cone.
When Nacho finally arrives with Saul in tow, he’s introduced for the first time to Lalo Salamanca, who has ordered this meeting in order to deal with his dealer Krazy-8 being picked up and arrested at one of their stash houses.
Knowing that Saul was always morally flexible in his law practice even when he was still known as Jimmy McGill, Lalo believes he’s found the perfect attorney to reach out to Krazy-8, pass along a scripted response for what he’s supposed to tell the cops and then get out of jail without implicating anybody in the Salamanca family.
Saul does his best to slip free of Lalo’s grasp but after realizing he’s dealing with Tuco Salamanca’s cousin — the hot tempered drug dealer who wanted to behead him back in season one — he’s quick to understand there’s no easy escape. Instead, Saul offers him an inflated price for his services but even that doesn’t get Lalo to blink.
Lalo hands over a wad of cash along with instructions before sending Saul off to meet with his latest client in jail.
When Saul arrives, Krazy-8 has no idea that this is his new lawyer but he soon finds out that getting out of jail will come with a script — courtesy of his boss — that he needs to memorize.
The next day, Krazy-8 meets the DEA agents assigned to deal with his case — and that means the return of Hank Schrader and Steve Gomez. Following their untimely and brutal deaths in “Breaking Bad” it was nice to see Hank and Steve teamed up once again as they fought against the growing meth problem plaguing Albuquerque. Just like they did when chasing the mythical Heisenberg, Hank and Gomey are trying to turn Krazy-8 into an informant in order to offer him a deal to get out of trouble.
When Saul arrives, the carefully orchestrated strategy from Lalo starts to come into play.
Saul eventually negotiates a deal with Hank and Gomey to have Krazy-8 feed them information about a series of drops where drugs are exchanged for cash with the promise that this will lead to significant arrests. In exchange, Krazy-8 will be released from jail but he will be a registered confidential informant, who works directly for Hank and Gomey. If Krazy-8 gets arrested, he calls into Hank and Gomey and they get him out of trouble in exchange for additional information that keeps them climbing up the hierarchy of this particular criminal organization.
Hank agrees to the terms — as long as Krazy-8 provides worthwhile information.
Saul got the job done but at what cost exactly considering his good work will only sink him in even deeper with Lalo Salamanca, who is quietly waging a war against his old family rival Gus Fring.
While Saul’s day turns bad in a hurry after he’s dragged away by Nacho Varga, Kim Wexler believes she’s in for a much better experience as she focuses on her pro-bono cases with several scheduled court appearances that will take her away from Mesa Verde for at least a few hours.
Sadly, Kim’s plan goes awry after one of her cases is ordered to go to trial following a judge shooting down her plea to dismiss the case. Kim is then interrupted by one of her associates telling her that Kevin from Mesa Verde is steaming mad and he wants her to deal with an ongoing problem at the site where the bank is building a new call center.
She does her best to blow off the request but when Kim gets a call from her boss, she’s forced to jump into action.
It seems the site where Mesa Verde is building this call center is a plot of land they purchased, which required numerous home owners to get booted from their houses. There was one remaining home owner named Mr. Acker, who refused to leave despite the terms of his contract saying that he could lease this land for 100 years unless the company bought him out for fair prices based on the market value along with an additional $5,000 payment.
Kim does her best to talk this guy into accepting the deal along with an additional $18,000 payment for his troubles but Mr. Acker wants to hear none of it. Finally, Kim snaps and tells him that he signed a contract and like it or not, that will be enforced so he can either sign the deal, take his money and go or the sheriff will return the next day to escort him from the property.
Mesa Verde is happy with the result but Kim isn’t feeling very good about herself.
Later that night, she returns to see Mr. Acker — this time armed with a slew of potential houses he could afford with the settlement he’d receive for his current home. She then tells him a personal story about how she was forced to move from apartment to apartment growing up because her mother was only able to afford to stay one step ahead of their landlords. She knows how hard she would have fought to stay in an actual home if her mother could have afforded one but sadly Mr. Acker needs to let this one go.
Instead of signing off on her offer, Mr. Acker is convinced Kim would tell him anything to get him off the land.
Was Kim telling a true story about herself or what she perpetuating a lie that she learned from her boyfriend while playing a new role as “Slippin’ Kimmy”? We may never know but it’s clear Kim is struggling in her job as corporate attorney by day and vigilante lawyer by night and eventually only one of those two sides will win out.
Speaking of conflicted people at their jobs — Mike Ehrmantraut is still struggling to reconcile with his own conscience after killing Werner at the behest of his former boss, Gus Fring. Despite his best efforts to save Werner after the German architect was desperate to see his wife after missing her for months, Mike was forced to pull the trigger when he orchestrated an escape.
Despite Gus offering to keep him on retainer, Mike rebuffed his deal and walked away free and clear.
In the days since that last meeting with Gus, Mike has been drinking to kill the pain while lashing out at anyone and everyone close to him. He took out his frustrations on his granddaughter Kaylee and now he can barely stand to look at a photo of the Sydney Opera House thanks to memories of Werner still haunting him.
On his walk home an inebriated Mike gets attacked by a group of street thugs but even with one too many drinks in his system, the longtime fixer is still more than capable of snapping an arm to prove a point. It’s hard to tell where these emotional outbursts will lead Mike but we know he eventually ends up as Gus’ right hand man so it seems at some point he puts feelings behind him and decides to become a blunt instrument for Albuquerque’s secret drug kingpin.
Once You’re In, You’re In
Following his successful negotiation to get Krazy-8 released from jail under the agreement that he will now serve as a confidential informant for the DEA, Saul is summoned back for a second meeting with Lalo Salamanca.
Saul explains the deal he struck with DEA agents Hank Schrader and Steve Gomez. Krazy-8 gave them the information as required by Lalo, which are obviously drops belonging to Gus Fring, and in exchange he now has a direct line to the government. In other words whenever Lalo wants to drop dime on a competitor, he just has Krazy-8 phone in the information to the DEA and those people are taken out.
Lalo is impressed but as much as Saul wants this to be a one and done situation, he’s soon informed that he’s essentially on retainer as the new attorney for the Salamanca’s. Nacho has to tell Saul that no matter how much he wants out, once you’re in — you’re in.
Nacho knows that lesson all too well.
Earlier in the episode, he receives an angry visit from his father, who just got a substantial offer to buy him out of his business. It doesn’t take much for his father to figure out that Nacho was the one bankrolling this offer and he swore never to take his son’s dirty money — and he’s certainly not starting now.
Nacho thought getting his father out of town would be the best way to remove leverage against him after Gus Fring threatened his life after it appeared he was holding out on information regarding Lalo’s arrival in town.
Sadly, Nacho’s father won’t be leaving and after Saul Goodman did his job, Krazy-8 is now acting as an informant for the DEA, handing over information on Gus’ operation in this ongoing war between the cartel’s two top dealers in the southwest. Gus knows that he can’t blow this operation or Lalo will know that somebody is leaking information to the other side.
Instead, Gus angrily allows the drug busts to move forward as planned but he’s beginning to realize that Lalo Salamanca isn’t a brash, untethered psycho like his cousin Tuco or the blood-thirsty, violence seeking kingpin that is his uncle Hector. Lalo is a formidable enemy — one that Gus will have to seek to defeat through strategy and smarts rather than waiting for the latest Salamanca to screw up again.
As for Saul, he transforms back into Jimmy for a late night smoke session with his girlfriend after both return from an arduous day at work. Tension between these two is still thick but Jimmy helps Kim blow off some steam as they toss beer bottles down into the parking lot below as a sign of defiance after each of them were forced to do jobs neither were particular excited about.
Kim’s rebellion might lead her to a lower-paying job that ultimately satisfies her moral code. Jimmy’s end game will eventually take him to Omaha, Nebraska as a Cinnabon manager on the run from the law.
“Better Call Saul” returns with a brand new episode next Monday night at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.