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TV Review: Better Call Saul - Season Two - Episode 4

This recap/review of Better Call Saul is written with the expectation that everyone who reads this and comments below will have seen the episode already. Thus, if you've yet to see the episode in question, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. SPOILERS!

EPISODE: Season 2, Episode 4: Gloves Off

PLOT: Kim (Rhea Seehorn) pays the price for Jimmy's (Bob Odenkirk) scheming, while Mike (Jonathan Banks) treads dangerous ground with Nacho (Michael Mando)

 

REVIEW: As far as Better Call Saul and the evolution of both Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmantraut goes, this is an extremely important episode. For the first time in his career, Jimmy sees that his actions have huge collateral damage, while Mike - for his part - desperately tries to hold on to at least part of his former cop honor by turning down Nacho’s offer to kill Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz), taking a vicious beating as an alternative. As both are so conflicted, it’s clear neither of them has quite sunk to the level they’ll be at by the time they cross paths with Walter White, but they’re getting there.

At the end of last week’s episode, it seemed like Jimmy’s career at Davis & Main was pretty much cooked, but to his surprise Ed Begley Jr.’s Clifford isn’t quite ready to get rid of him - yet. Even still, he’s on thin ice, and to Jimmy’s detriment, he still can’t understand why the firm is mad at him, as he’s so sure the results of his cheesy ad justify his somewhat illicit means, proving that old Slippin’ Jimmy is still alive and well within him. In the end, Jimmy gets off with a slap on the wrist, but Kim finds herself massively demoted at work as she’s guilty by association. Jimmy being Jimmy, he thinks he can fix it by making a deal, leading to a climactic confrontation with his brother Chuck (Michael McKean) who point-blank refuses to sink to Jimmy’s level and make illegal bargains even if it would give him what he ultimately wants - which is Jimmy out of the legal game.

Of course, Chuck refusing to come down to Jimmy’s level will likely just spur him on to make an even greater mess of things, even though Kim’s still willing to forgive him. Jimmy’s actually stunned by the way she’s able to move on, but he’ll likely burn the olive branch she’s extended towards him, with it clear by the end of the episode he’s learned all the wrong lessons from his talk with Chuck. He’s simply not able to understand that there’s a principal more important than winning, and no matter what, his work with Davis & Main goes against his fundamental nature.

In the meantime, Mike finds himself at the beginning of his on-going relationship with the cartel. While he’s willing to help get Tuco out of the way, he still can’t bring himself to kill, and instead offers to take a vicious beating in order to have Tuco put out of the way in a legal way that doesn’t end with him in the ground. At the end of the episode, it’s clear Nacho’s impressed by Mike, but in his own way he seems to view Mike as something of a challenge, in that he wants to push Mike deeper into his world. To anyone who’s seen Breaking Bad, we all know that in a short amount of time Mike will be a remorseless killer - and while he’s on his way by the time the credits rolled tonight, he’s not there yet.

To me, this is probably the best episode of Better Call Saul since the finale last season, with the Mike and Jimmy story-lines having interesting parallels even if they played out separately. Both have taken huge steps down their inevitable paths tonight and the pace of the season is getting quicker and quicker - so it’ll be interesting to see where they’re at a few episodes from now.

Breaking Bad Crossover: Some pretty huge ones tonight. Most of the episode revolves around Mike looking for ways to eliminate Tuco, but another important crossover moment comes when he checks-in with Walter White's former gun dealer (Jim Beaver).

Source: JoBlo.com

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