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TV Review: Better Call Saul - Season Two - Episode 9

04.11.2016
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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 9: Nailed

PLOT: Mike (Jonathan Banks) takes his feud with Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) to a dangerous new level. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s (Bob Odenkirk) Mesa Verde fraud has dire consequences for Chuck (Michael McKean).

REVIEW: To me, this penultimate episode of Better Call Saul’s second season is one of the best Vince Gilligan and company have ever produced - comparing favorably to some of the very best installments of Breaking Bad. Written and directed by series show runner Peter Gould, from the opening with Mike ripping off Hector to the final image of a possibly dead Chuck lying on the floor of a twenty-four hour copy shop, from start-to-finish it’s a nail-biter.

What’s really intriguing about Better Call Saul is how invested we - as viewers - have gotten into the entire cast, not just Breaking Bad favorites like Mike and Jimmy. In fact, both men are so early-along their own paths that they barely resemble the men they become within a few years, making this less of a spin-off and more of a drama on its own accord.

A few days ago, Odenkirk appeared on an Emmy panel discussing the second season, saying that he felt this was Rhea Seehorn’s showcase and he was right. As in other episodes, she proves to be the most wildly unpredictable character, and her acting when Chuck reveals to her the truth behind Jimmy’s forging of the Mesa Verde documents is masterful. While Chuck’s talking the camera lingers on her, and we know she 100% believes exactly what she’s being told. But, most intriguingly she doesn’t seem to care and immediately takes Jimmy’s side. She knows that while his methods were amoral, his actions have put her on the map professionally and she’s not about to flush this opportunity down the toilet. She’s so vicious with Chuck that we can see part of her wants some HHM payback of her own, but then - in the car with Jimmy - she punches him repeatedly in the shoulder conveying the conflict she feels. She loves him for helping her, but she despises his methods and the fact that he put her in such a morally gray area. Of the entire cast, Seehorn’s Kim has become my favorite - even more than old Slippin’ Jimmy, which says something.

Meanwhile, Mike’s still far from the cold-blooded gunman he is by the time Breaking Bad rolls around - going out of his way to spare Salamanca’s truck driver. In the end though, his actions are for naught with Michael Mando’s Nacho teaching him a valuable lesson by explaining to him that by sparring the truck driver he got an innocent bystander killed. By the end of this episode, Mike’s starting to see that in order to play with the cartel, he has to play by their rules and can’t try to take the moral high-ground. This position is untenable.

So now, Jimmy, Kim and Mike are all willing to get their hands dirty if it means winning. The one hold-out is Chuck, who holds on to his ethics but loses his dignity in trying to reign-in Jimmy and possibly his life. When the episode ends Chuck’s in bad-shape, having taken a rough fall, with it possible he’s either broken his neck, sustained brain-damage, or on the upside just a concussion - but I have a feeling he’s in big trouble. If this was his last scene, McKean went out on a high-note, with his frantic questioning of the bribed copy guy showing just how out of his element he is with Jimmy.

Breaking Bad Crossover: Not too much this week - although it’s possible I missed something. Anyone?

Source: JoBlo.com

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8:53PM on 04/12/2016

Fantastic episode

Terrific writing and acting in this one. The scene with Kim, Jimmy, and Chuck is great. The way Kim sticks by Jimmy even though she knows he's guilty, but I still love that she stands up to Chuck for his treatment of Jimmy. Kim is the ultimate tragedy of this Saul and Breaking Bad universe, she's a great woman who undeniably loved Jimmy and is a terrific character for the show that it's sad to think about what ultimately brings her down. Maybe Chris is right about a theory he made a few weeks
Terrific writing and acting in this one. The scene with Kim, Jimmy, and Chuck is great. The way Kim sticks by Jimmy even though she knows he's guilty, but I still love that she stands up to Chuck for his treatment of Jimmy. Kim is the ultimate tragedy of this Saul and Breaking Bad universe, she's a great woman who undeniably loved Jimmy and is a terrific character for the show that it's sad to think about what ultimately brings her down. Maybe Chris is right about a theory he made a few weeks back saying it's the smoking that brings her down. Maybe that's where Walter makes his appearance on the show, she's got some form of cancer and during a treatment she crosses paths with him when he first learns of his diagnosis. Just a thought...

Whatever it is, it'll be a downer for sure and the moment that ultimately pushes Jimmy over the edge to full Saul-dom. If Chuck is dead and this was it for McKean what a go it was for him and I hope it would lean to some nomination because he was great as Chuck. I can't wait for the finale.

Breaking Bad crossover - The bar Mike is in when he buys everyone a drink is I believe the one he punches Walter in and after reading Bumbray's explanation the moment he realizes that his actions cost someone their life reminds me of his Half Measures speech he gave Walter when it came to Jesse back in Season 3 of BB. He should've taken a full measure and taken out the driver along with the money, but instead he took the half measure and took the money letting someone die in the process.
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5:00PM on 04/12/2016
Excellent episode. The scene between Jimmy, Kim and Chuck was brilliant.
Excellent episode. The scene between Jimmy, Kim and Chuck was brilliant.
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7:26AM on 04/12/2016

Best episode yet

I love the parallel to how Mike and Jimmy and that they were both so methodical with their plans, but still missed that one small thing.
I love the parallel to how Mike and Jimmy and that they were both so methodical with their plans, but still missed that one small thing.
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6:29AM on 04/12/2016
This is probably the best episode this show has produced yet. I agree, this was a nail biter from beginning to end. I do think that you may have discounted Kim's actual speech. I firmly believe that she believes what she said to Chuck. I think that she firmly believes that Chuck has driven Jimmy to the point he's found himself in. I think she recognized what Chuck as done to Jimmy and, as much as she hates how Jimmy does what he does, she hates Chuck's actions as well. I am rather surprised
This is probably the best episode this show has produced yet. I agree, this was a nail biter from beginning to end. I do think that you may have discounted Kim's actual speech. I firmly believe that she believes what she said to Chuck. I think that she firmly believes that Chuck has driven Jimmy to the point he's found himself in. I think she recognized what Chuck as done to Jimmy and, as much as she hates how Jimmy does what he does, she hates Chuck's actions as well. I am rather surprised that Kim has stood by Jimmy's actions. I understand what she wants to do and that she deserves and wants Mesa Verde, but Kim also been very vocal about her opposition to Jimmy's methods. So, I have to wonder just how much she stands by that opposition. She clearly is somewhat morally flexible and I wonder just how far that will go. I do hope that Chuck pulls through, whatever has happened, but I have a feeling this may be where Chuck bows out. It would be sad to see him go, but with next week being the season finale and it seeming like Jimmy and Kim are moving into the next chapter of their careers, I have a feeling that this may be where the door closes for Chuck and possibly even HHM. We're already heading into season 3 and there's plenty of ground to cover. I don't see the show going longer than Breaking Bad, so it seems like a good point in the series to move on.
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3:50AM on 04/12/2016

I live this show... So sad there's only one to go

Gonna be a long wait til Season 3, but this was awesome. There was a fair amount of exposition in Season 2, but the pay-offs are more than worth it.
Gonna be a long wait til Season 3, but this was awesome. There was a fair amount of exposition in Season 2, but the pay-offs are more than worth it.
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3:50AM on 04/12/2016
Another fantastic episode and that ending...wow. Things are about to get very bad for everyone involved.
Another fantastic episode and that ending...wow. Things are about to get very bad for everyone involved.
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