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TV Review: Better Call Saul - Season Two - Episode 8

04.05.2016

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 8: Fifi

PLOT: Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) takes desperate measures to secure a lucrative client for Kim (Rhea Seehorn).

REVIEW: One thing Better Call Saul, like Breaking Bad before it, has become known for is its excellent lineup of directors. Add Canadian helmer Larysa Kondracki (THE WHISTLEBLOWER) to that list, with the teaser for this week’s episode ranking among the best in either series. It’s set-up as a tracking shot that follows a normal work-day in customs at the border, as a Popsicle truck works its way through and gets the A-OK from the agents, before we follow it to the middle of the desert. There the driver finds a stashed gun and menacingly leaves a Popsicle stick in the stand along side many others, signifying this is some well-worn smuggling route, likely tied to the Salamanca’s.

Now while this might seem like the intro to a cartel-heavy episode, once that bit of business is over it circles back to what’s been the primary focus of the season - getting Kim and Jimmy in business together. The scene where she finally hands Howard (Patrick Fabian) her notice is beautifully acted by both of them, with him being both gracious and condescending, while she later rushes to make sure she still has Mesa Verde on her side.

This half of the episode once again proves what a savvy wheeler-dealer Kim is in her own right, even more charming than Jimmy himself, with her just about able to land her big fish, before having it snatched away at the last moment. Here we learn something important - that HHM is in financial trouble. It’s bad enough that Howard seems panic-stricken at the thought of Mesa Verde walking out, and Chuck (Michael McKean) has to come in and save the day with his golden tongue. While talking-up one-time protege Kim’s brilliance, Chuck is able to scare the client into signing-on with him, something we see later Jimmy, once again feeling betrayed by Chuck, is going to make them regret.

It’s especially interesting that while everyone has grown to love Jimmy, as he inches further into Saul Goodman territory our sympathies are starting to turn against him - obviously by the show-runners design. Messing with Chuck’s Mesa Verde papers while he’s ill is dirty pool, and his actions may wind-up spelling the ruin for HHM, and possibly his relationship with Jim too if she finds out - or would it? As unpredictably as the whole cast had become, the wildest card of them all is Kim. While initially seeming like the Yin to Jimmy’s Yang, the upstanding side to his sleazy side, now that they’re semi-partners we’re not quite so sure. Either way, Seehorn’s performance has been a revelation this season, and her (along with Michael McKean) deserve major Emmy love.

But getting back to the drug run, what was the point? That’s where Mike (Jonathan Banks) comes in. When last we saw him he was staking out Hector’s (Mark Margolis) business, and now it looks like he’s going to mess with one of his shipments, turning an ordinary garden hose into a road shark (with the help of his grand-daughter). While we don’t see exactly what he has planned, the sly smile on his face by the end is obviously due to more than the clever Hawksian dialogue of HIS GIRL FRIDAY (Mike clearly loves his TCM).

In every way season two of Better Call Saul has been a gem, and while it’s sad there’s only two episodes to go before the season wraps-up, it’s been a great ride. Like everyone says, this has become one of the best TV spinoffs of all time, and heck - if it takes a dozen shows like Baywatch Nights or Joey to get one Better Call Saul, it’s worth it.

Breaking Bad Crossover: While Jimmy's behavior was straight out of Saul's playbook in this episode, one image I couldn't get out of my head is that in the opening bumper. It shows Jimmy/Saul's discarded tie with a tarantula crawling over it - which seems quite foreboding in a Breaking Bad kind of way. Otherwise I didn't notice anything, but was Hector's truck driver in the opening also someone from BB? Let me know in the talkbacks.

Source: JoBlo.com

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