Four Letter Nerd

Better Call Saul Season 2, Episode 6 Review: Bali Hai

Season One of “Better Call Saul” was the origin story of Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill. Yes, I know the whole damn series is an origin story. But season one laid the foundation for where Jimmy comes from (his con act in Cicero, his relationship with Chuck, his early days as a lawyer, how he met Mike). Season Two, on the other hand, is all about the square pegs failing to fit in round holes.

It’s Jimmy trying to be a respectable lawyer, but finding that everything about it, from the bed he sleeps in to the drink holder in his car just don’t fit who he is. But what Season 2 is showing us is that it’s not like Jimmy became Saul because he had no other options. He’s living the dream of every aspiring lawyer. He’s an associate at a major firm working a high profile case with a company car and a nice place to live. But Jimmy will reject all of that because he just doesn’t fit who he is.

Another interesting element about Season 2 is how non-Jimmy centric it has been, especially the last few episodes. Everything in season one worked off Jimmy McGill. Now, Mike and Kim have been the dominant characters the last three weeks with their own questions of where they fit in.

Because it’s not just Jimmy whose taking crowbars to drink holders in his life that he’s trying to force himself into that round hole. Maybe Kim wants the same things Jimmy wants, or maybe she just wants to work at another law firm. But her place that seemed so certain at HHM all these years may not be where she fits after all.

And much like Jimmy, the end result for Mike is a forgone conclusion. But because we know where Mike is going, we know how much the quiet life of a parking attendant who just wants to spend time with his granddaughter doesn’t fit who he is either.

So let’s start our discussion following our favorite square pegs with a restless night of sleep for Jimmy McGill.

At Home?

At the home of Jimmy McGill, he just can’t get any sleep. He watches TV, he plays games with the basket of wooden balls Kim noticed in episode 3, and he sees the Sandpiper commercial Davis and Main decided to go with.

Now here are a couple of observations about this ad:

  1. It’s made with the same style (or lack thereof) as that terrible ad Jimmy was shown before he went rogue and made his own commercial.
  2. It’s being show in the middle of the night. What perspective client for this case involving senior citizens would even be up right now?
  3. If Jimmy new this ad existed, he sure didn’t show it. Has someone else taken over the outreach portion of the Sandpiper case?

Eventually, Jimmy drives to his old office at the nail saloon (is he still paying rent for it or was it already paid up for this month?) and finds a wonderful night’s rest on the pull out bed in his office.

Jimmy Sleeps

Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) getting a peaceful night’s sleep in his old office behind the nail saloon.

Once again, Jimmy is largely absent from most of the episode. But when he reemerges, he once again has “Erin the Babysitter” looking over his shoulder literally fact checking everything he is doing. How much longer will Jimmy put up with this? But Jimmy gets a call, one he hasn’t received in a while from a good friend wanting to get back into the con game.

Kim’s Rebellion

Last week, Chuck passive aggressively implied that Kim’s legal career depends on her dumping her relationship with Jimmy. But here she is, waiting by the phone for him to call. She doesn’t answer, but does stick around to listen to Jimmy sing a number from the musical “South Pacific” (and it sounds like this has been going on for awhile now).

Kim by the phone

Kim (Rhea Seehorn) waiting by the phone for Jimmy’s call.

And nothing else that happens in this episode encourages Kim to get away from Jimmy. Chuck did keep his word and get her back in an upstairs office. But she’s yet to unpack, clearly mulling over whether she still wants to deal with Howard’s brand of discipline every time she breaths incorrectly.

And to add more doubts to her place at HHM, one of Howard’s assistants shows up with an assignment right has Kim is headed to lunch that “must be completed right now!!!” I’m not even sure if Howard wants to keep Kim at this point because all his actions the last three weeks are straight from the lawschool textbook for “How to get an associate to quit your law firm.” But not only does Howard seem to be testing the loyalty of/downright pushing Kim out at HHM, she now has an offer from another firm. Rick Schweikart, the lead attorney for the firm representing Sandpiper, wants to Kim to come on board at Schweikart and Cokley.

Kim's Offer

Rick (Dennis Boutsikaris) offering a job to Kim.

Kim is so insulted by the lunchtime assignment that she ignores it, going to a bar and mulling over the offer from Schweikart and Cokley. But as she considers her options, a “gentlemen” named Dale sends a drink her way, and Gezelle makes her second appearance of the season!!!

Viktor with a K is back!!!!

The call from Jimmy’s “grandma, she’s old” is Kim, who doesn’t have to ask him twice to drop everything he’s doing and meet her at the restaurant where she’s got Dale on the hook. Now, Gezelle and Viktor clearly have a type they seek out when playing the con game. And Dale fits that type: a brash womanizer who doesn’t wait five minutes between sending one woman away before buying a drink for a new one. The con is convincing Dale that Viktor and Gezelle are just one investor away from starting eharmony (or maybe Ashley Madison, not sure the nature of this made up internet  hook-up site) and they convince Dale to pony up $10,000 for the cause. Now Kim and Jimmy are back together, spending the night at her place while Kim looks at that check their handiwork produced.

But while Jimmy, that square peg clearly doesn’t fit with the honest legal game of Davis and Main, it doesn’t appear like he’s going to give it up anytime soon. That cupholder in his car that won’t hold his coffee mug gets the crowbar treatment, with Jimmy grabbing one from out of his trunk and removing it so that “2nd best lawyer”  mug will fit. Saul is coming. But for now, Jimmy is going to try and force this Davis and Main thing to work.

Mike and the Salamancas

At the end of last week’s episode, Mike found himself in a difficult predicament. With Tuco facing 8 to 10 years, Uncle Hector paid Mike a visit and told him to claim the gun found at the scene was his, lessening Tuco’s sentence, or else.

Mike’s initial answer this week was no. And knowing there was going to be retribution for that decision, Mike laid down some carbon paper underneath a welcome mat so he would know if someone was paying him a visit.

Carbon Footprints

The footprints under Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) welcome mat.

One pair of visitors does come calling and Mike snuffs them out, taking their guns and sending them home, saying “try harder next time.” Well, try harder they did. The Salamanca cousins (the creepy assassin twins from Breaking Bad) come calling next. And they appear on a rooftop while Mike watches his granddaughter swim. Why, that’s not creepy at all.

The whole “we won’t just hurt you, we’ll hurt your granddaughter too” message is received by Mike as he meets with the Salamancas and agrees to say the gun was his, lessening Tuco’s charges. But he wants $50,000 to do the job. Damn impressive job by Mike here getting a ruthless drug dealer like Hector to agree to those terms. Nacho comes by later with the cash, warning Mike of the dangerous game he is involved with now. Mike seems to understand, but also gives Nacho half of the $50,000 because “your problem is coming back sooner than expected.”

Observations

-Exemplary work tonight with the retro commercials. A Chia Pet ad and Billy Mays both in one episode!!!

-I found it interesting how the two firms involved on both sides of the Sandpiper case are handling their respective arguments. For a medical release request hearing, Schweikart and Cokley send at least one partner (don’t know who the other guy is) while HHM send just an associate. Now Kim does a great job making the case, but I wonder how seriously the two firms (HHM and Davis and Main) are still taking the Sandpiper Case.

-Did anybody else catch Kaylee (Mike’s granddaugther) wanting to return “home.” What has mom told her, if anything, about their current and future living situation?

-So my observation about Nacho possibly rising ahead of Tuco in the drug dealing business a few weeks ago was off since Tuco figures to be back fairly soon and his entire family is too firmly entrenched in the business to let that happen.

Breaking Bad References

-Another obvious one this week, with the Salamanca cousins, Leonel and Marco, appearing and threatening Mike and his family. They spent much of season 3 trying to kill Walt after he killed their cousin Tuco.

From Breaking Bad, the Cousins (Daniel and Lewis Moncada) await for Walt in his bedroom while he’s taking a shower.

-The $10,000 check from Dale was made out to “Ice Station Zebra Associates.” That’s the fake company Saul uses in Breaking Bad to help himself and his clients launder money.

Ice Station Marine Associates

The birth of a fake company on the check held by Kim at the end of “Bali Hai.”

Questions

-Will Kim accept the offer from Schweikart and Cokley? Or does she stay loyal to HHM, the company that put her through law school in the first place?

-Will Chuck reappear next week and reaffirm his interest in keeping Kim as an associate at HHM?

-How many Salamaca’s will appear in the season’s remaining four episodes? And will any of them uncover the plan Nacho and Mike hatched to get Tuco in prison?

-How will Jimmy and Kim’s respective firms respond to their recent abandoning of responsibilities this week?

-How regular are these Viktor and Gezelle cons going to become?

Next week’s episode is titled “Inflatable.” I wonder if Jimmy (along with those colorful suits he’s sporting in the promos for next week) will acquire that large Statue of Liberty inflatable next week.

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Jeff Merrick

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