Better Call Saul Recap and Reviews – Season 2, Episodes 3-6

Season 2, Episode 3: “Amarillo”

better call saul amarillo

Recap

Jimmy heads to Texas to sell the services of David and Main to one resident of the Sandpiper Crossing, and cons his way into 24 new contracts when he “happens” to catch a group on a broken down Sandpiper bus. Chuck, per usual, questions Jimmy’s methods and asks whether solicitation was involved. Jimmy decides to go down another route to get clients into the Sandpiper Crossing class-action lawsuit: a TV ad. Jimmy films and releases the ad before he gets the full go ahead from Cliff Main, and it mostly seems like he does it to impress Kim. The ad works, but the plan backfires, and he is asked to see all the senior partners of the firm the next day.

Meanwhile, Mike’s daughter-in-law begins to hear gunshots that aren’t there. Mike then looks for “next-level” work from the sketchy vet. He winds up with a job from Nacho to take someone out.

Easter Eggs and other References

  • The mailer that Jimmy sent out to all the Sandpiper residents was Canary Yellow, his signature color.
  • Friend of Hush Comics, Nick Fury, was in this episode! He is one of the lawyers sitting in the back in the fist scene after the open. Congrats!
  • Jimmy’s suits are gray now; a note of how drab it is to work at Davis and Main. It certainly feels that way for the audience, too. In the scene when Jimmy decides to run the ad without permission, his tie is red.
  • The same two college students who helped Jimmy with the billboard stunt in Season 1 make the ad. Mrs. Strauss reappears, along with her Alpine Shepherd Boy.
  • The empty vases in Jimmy’s corporate apartment are a metaphor for how empty he feels there.
  • The movie Jimmy and Kim are watching is Rock Hudson’s Ice Station Zebra. In Breaking Bad, Ice Station Zebra Associates happens to be the name of the fraudulent company Saul launders his money through. The company name appears at the bottom of his ads. And in a few episodes down the line (Bali Ha’i), the check that Kim and Jimmy con out of a man to invest in their start up is made out to Ice Station Zebra Associates.

Quotes

In Ice Station Zebra, someone says, “We are going down and fast.” Same for Jimmy and Kim.

When Jimmy’s ad works he says, “Bingo,” a possible reference to how he got started in the Sandpiper lawsuit to begin with.

“Whatever happened to showmanship?” – Jimmy on the first Davis and Main ad, but really what Jimmy thinks about being a lawyer.

“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. McGill!” – Mrs. Strauss coming down the stairs to film the ad. It also happens to be one of the most famous lines in movie history, from Sunset Blvd.

Other thoughts

  • Howard is showing how much he relies on Chuck’s discretion when Chuck is in the room. Howard doesn’t make any decision without Chuck’s approval.
  • Kim begins to pull away from Jimmy, especially when she thinks he does not practice law the correct way.
  • This episode was a slow draw. It was a lot of set up for the fallout between Jimmy and Davis and Main. Otherwise, it was the first filler episode of the season. It is rare when this universe does a filler episode; usually everything means something.

Hush Comics gives “Amarillo” a B- for giving some great Easter eggs, but for not moving the story along as quickly as we had hoped.


Season 2, Episode 4: “Gloves Off”

better call saul gloves off

Recap

In Jimmy’s world, his ad doesn’t go over well. He is able to keep his job, but it causes Kim to be put in document review. Jimmy confronts Chuck about being the puppet master of HHM. In a rare move, Jimmy admits he was wrong for putting Kim in a bad position, and for once, Chuck says all the right things about Jimmy’s character.

The real meat of the story was in Mike’s world. It was the best part of the episode, and made “Gloves Off” one of the standouts of the season. Mike is hired by Nacho to kill Tuco Salamanca. Nacho’s motive is to have insurance in case Tuco finds out about any side business Nacho has. He tells a creepy story about Tuco murdering a former associate, leaving a piece of his skull lodged in Nacho’s shoulder. Mike goes to buy an illegal gun, but then decides against murder. Instead, he chooses to force Tuco to be arrested by causing a fight that catches Tuco in the act of beating Mike to a bloody pulp, possessing Mike’s wallet, and possession of a firearm. Mike is then paid $25,000.

Easter Eggs

  • The boxing glove necklace Mike holds in the cold open can be seen around Tuco’s neck in the final scene. Mike took a token of his crime, a theme that is common in this world.
  • Mike tells Nacho that “Killing your partner. That’s a bell you don’t unring.” Not only was Mike killed by his partner, but using the phrase “a bell you don’t unring” seems to be speaking of Hector Salamanca. It certainly seems that Mike will be the reason Tio is the way he is.
  • Here is another two-fer. Mike tells Nacho that a dead Tuco draws Salamancas like “flies.” We get a bug reference AND a true statement. No matter what happens to a Salamanca, the others aren’t far behind.
  • Lawson, the arms dealer who sells Walt his Thirty-Eight Snub and M60, is the man who attempts to sell Mike a sniper rifle in the hotel room. Since Saul is the one to refer Walt to Lawson, it seems as though this isn’t the last we have seen of him.
  • There is a picture in the hotel room that Mike points a gun to. That picture looks eerily like the same place Mike is killed.
  • El Michoacano is a real restaurant. It is located here!
  • Nacho tells a story about Tuco killing a man. He reveals that happened in 1996. That means Nacho has been in the biz for at least seven years, and probably longer, meaning he is older than we originally thought.
  • When Mike hits Tuco’s car, Tuco calls Mike “Mr. Magoo.” Similarly, when Walt is driving and hits another car to prevent Hank from discovering the Laundromat, Hank calls Walt “Mr. Magoo.”
  • The appearance of Krazy-8! Complete with a Tampico Furniture polo shirt and van.

Quotes

“Our image, our reputation. It is something we have been building for years.” Cliff Davis to Jimmy. It just so happens we are watching how Saul Goodman’s reputation and image has been built.

“So we’re not done now?” – Jimmy to Kim after she is put in document review.

“That’s your problem, Jimmy. Thinking the ends justify the means. And you are forever shocked when it blows up in your face.” – Chuck to Jimmy

“No more Jimmy McGill Esq. Poof. Like he never even existed.” – Jimmy on quitting the law, but also how we know him – or don’t know him – in Breaking Bad.

Other thoughts

What is Mike’s code about killing? When we meet him in Breaking Bad, he is definitely A-OK with killing people. All of the people he killed were for Gus. Does Gus do something for Mike that keeps him indebted forever? Perhaps in this moment, Mike does not kill because it would remind him too much of what he did for his son.

Tuco likes his bills straight. He also happens to like drugs a little too much.

Hush Comics gives “Gloves Off” an A- for bringing the suspense, the comedy, and a wealth of Easter eggs.


Season 2, Episode 5: “Rebecca”

better call saul rebecca

Recap

We finally get our first look at Chuck’s ex-wife, Rebecca. The flashback shows a time when Chuck could be around electricity. Jimmy comes to Chuck’s home for the first time and is able to charm Rebecca in a way that Chuck isn’t able to. Chuck can’t even remember the name of Rebecca’s music student. When Jimmy leaves for the night, Chuck tries to tell a lawyer joke, something Rebecca and Jimmy had bonded over, but it fell on deaf ears.

For Jimmy, Erin, the second-year Associate who is saccharine and exacting, is now babysitting him. The dynamic between the two opposites is hard to watch and one of the less appealing storylines of the season. Jimmy also runs into the DDA and they converse about Jimmy’s new gig. They both leave the conversation feeling jealous of the other one.

Kim tries to get out of her bad deal, not by suing HHM as Jimmy suggests, but by landing the firm a new a lucrative client. She is successful with getting well-known bank, Mesa Verde, on retainer with HHM, but Howard refuses to let her back in her old position. Kim and Chuck have a conversation about how Jimmy used to pilfer money from their father’s corner store. He tell Kim that Jimmy isn’t a bad person, and then promises to get her out of document review.

Mike has put Stacey and Kaylee up in a swanky hotel. Later, when he is having breakfast at his usual diner, Hector Salamanca sits with Mike. Hector apologizes to Mike for Tuco’s actions. He then tells Mike that if Mike tells the police the gun was his in order to reduce Tuco’s sentence, Mike will make 5,000 dollars.

Easter Eggs

  • When Chuck and Rebecca are talking about her disinterested student, Chuck tells Rebecca “it is your reputation, too.” The theme of reputation is coming up fairly often. The only person who is actually building the reputation they want to have in this season is Jimmy.
  • When Jimmy and Erin drive up to the court and Jimmy sees Mike’s battered face, he references Fight Club and he sings the Rocky theme song.
  • We get a reappearance of court clerk who is easily bribed. Jimmy tries to swoon her with a TY Beanie Baby.
  • Everything at HHM is sickening blue. Even Ernesto’s car is blue. Everyone’s clothes are blue. Everything is BLUE!
  • Additionally, Kaylee and Stacey are staying at The Hotel Blue.
  • When Kim is alone after she finds out she will be kept in doc review, she is standing next to the flag whipping in the wind.
  • Hectors leaves the diner, the shot shows a bell in the foreground. Nothing in this show is on accident.

Quotes

“You don’t save me. I save me.” – Kim to Jimmy about getting her job at HHM back.

“My brother is not a bad person. He has a good heart. It’s just, he can’t help himself. And everybody is left picking up the pieces.” – Chuck about Jimmy

Music

The song the young interns play is “22 Car Garage” by Skrilla Jones

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qxAwWWN92g

Kim’s recruiting music is “A Mi Manera” (In My Own Way) by the Gispy Kings

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mhkNyaUYtQ

Other thoughts

This episode was fairly slow. The most intriguing scene was the final scene between Hector and Mike. Kim and Jimmy’s relationship, Kim’s job situation, and Jimmy and Erin all seemed drawn out. It also was odd that the episode was titled “Rebecca” but only showed her for a small scene. At that, the only thing we can glean is that Rebecca appreciated Jimmy’s charisma and that Chuck was not the best partner to her.

Hush Comics gives “Rebecca” a C+. It’s slow pacing and introduction of yet another dull case put this one in the back of the pack.


Season 2, Episode 6: “Bali Ha’i”

better call saul Bali Ha'i

Recap

Jimmy starts to get restless in his corporate apartment, car, and life. In a sleepless night, he turns on the TV and he sees an ad that Davis and Main ran with the blue swirl in the background. Jimmy realizes that he wants to be back in his old life, especially since Davis and Main are kind of dicks. He is still on the outs with Kim, even calling her every morning to sing songs from South Pacific into her answering machine. Kim realizes, similarly to Jimmy, that she isn’t truly appreciated at HHM. She is approached by the defense council of the Sandpiper Crossing case, Richard Schweikart, to work for his firm, Schweikart and Cokely. The proposition seems more intriguing the worse she is treated, and she decides to skip work and go to an upscale bar instead. She finds a mark to swindle under her assumed name, Giselle. The thrill of conning someone brings she and Jimmy back together when they get the mark to pay them 10,000 dollars for a dot-com start up. Jimmy leaves for work, tries to put his coffee mug in his car, and decides to rip out the cup holder to fit the mug and Kim into his life.

In Mike’s life, he is being stalked by the Salamanca family and their cronies. Mike sets up a trap using a welcome mat, carbon copy, and printer paper. Thanks for the new idea, Mike! The Salamancas are forcing Mike to say Tuco’s gun was actually his. In one of the best scenes of the season, Mike searches his house for the intruders and lures them out by turning on his TV. Mike wins, of course. However, when he is at the hotel with Kaylee, the Salamanca cousins from Breaking Bad are watching Mike and Kaylee. They point at her and make a signal as if they would shoot her. Mike meets with Hector, Nacho, the Salamanca cousins, and one of the cronies at a restaurant to discuss the gun situation. Mike demands 50,000 dollars to lie and say the gun was his. Later, Nacho drops the money at Mike’s house, and Mike gives Nacho half for not holding up his end of the deal.

Easter Eggs

  • At the beginning of the episode, Jimmy still tries to make mug fit in car. He is also fighting with Kim at this point. At the end, Jimmy and Kim are getting along again, and Jimmy is able to force fit the mug into his car.
  • Jimmy’s song to Kim gives the episode its namesake – “Bali Ha’I” from South Pacific.
  • The check that the engineer writes to Kim and Jimmy is made out to “Ice Station Zebra Associates” based off the movie Kim and Jimmy watched in “Amarillo.” It is also the name of the fraudulent company Jimmy uses to launder his money through in Breaking Bad.
  • The restaurant Mike meets the gang at is El Griego Guinador (in the show) and is located here.
  • The Salamanca cousins have had those skull-tipped boots a long ass time.

Quotes

“We were just supposed to scare you, that’s all.”
“Try harder next time.” – One of the Salamanca cronies and Mike.

“You gonna cash that? I maybe know a guy who can help.” – Jimmy to Kim about the fraudulent check. Jimmy always seems to know a guy.

Music

Jimmy’s late night antics are accompanied by “Sleepwalk” by Junior Brown.

Jimmys car music: Henna Henna, The Bombay Royale

Last thoughts: Bali Ha’I was good for showing the reconciliation between Kim and Jimmy, and the beginning of Mike’s dealings with the Cartel. It spawned a lot of “what ifs?’ for predictions, but the episode didn’t give us any answers.

Hush Comics gives “Bali Ha’i” a B for creating a lot of questions, but not giving us anything more to go off of.

 

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