Previously on Better Call Saul, ‘‘Amarillo’
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Michael McKean, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando, Ed Begley Jr., Jim Beaver, Max Arciniega | Writer: Gordon Smith | Director: Adam Bernstein
Jimmy takes major tongue lashings from the partners of Davis & Main and HHM because of his untamed initiative. His efforts technically may have been successful, but McGill’s disregard of protocol has cost Kim Wexler her valued status under Howard Hamlin. Elsewhere, Mike contemplates accepting work from Nacho. Cash strapped, Ehrmantraut takes the job and changes the plan, resulting in a far more effective – yet bloody – outcome.
BRIDGES NEARLY BURNT
Jimmy done did it now.
“Gloves Off” begins with the partners of Davis & Main conferring with McGill about his commercial that was unseen and unsanctioned by the bosses. The cracks are starting to show in Jimmy’s teflon persona as he actually attempts to place blame for his unchecked enthusiasm as client outreach lead on Clifford Main (Ed Begley Jr.) himself. Naturally, McGill’s display in front of the very people who sign his checks upsets them even further. Jimmy might as well have swung his massive cajones right there in the room! A sense of dread finally struck McGill’s addled mind while Davis emphatically mentioned how their reputations – along with everyone at HHM – will suffer due to his indifference for authority.
It’s apparent that Jimmy can’t see beyond his own ambition, no matter his supposedly “good” intentions. All it took was a few hundred dollars to potentially sully the prominence of two esteemed law firms, and most regrettable of all, ruin any avenue of promotion and partnership for Kim (Rhea Seehorn). For all his blustery cocksuredness, McGill has essentially lost all favor with Hamlin and more importantly, Wexler. Now reassigned to the stockroom, Kim is stripped of appointment and given menial tasks because of her association with Jimmy. Identified more like a can of worms than golden boy, no one wants any part of McGill’s shenanigans… especially the one he loves.
Odenkirk and Michael McKean engage in yet another showdown between siblings that almost resulted in Jimmy getting the upper hand over Chuck, for only a moment. What began as legitimate concern for Charles’ mental health hastily escalated in a yelling match about the older McGill’s hawkish involvement in the Sandpiper case. Charles is motivated to the point of suffering waves of electromagnetism to appraise James and his burgeoning clout. Wouldn’t anyone be extremely concerned if a younger brother who can’t hold a 9-to-5 is suddenly given the power to potentially affect legal precedent?
Since the start of the second season, Jimmy has slowly developed a persecution complex once his brother jumped back in the fray. In this episode, it all came to a head: Jimmy vowed he’d leave the practice if Chuck admitted he wanted him gone… and restored Kim to her former standing in HHM. Chuck nearly chomped at the bit but knows if he accepted Jimmy’s offer, Charles would be no better than his disreputable brother. Unfortunately for Jimmy, everyone has started to wise up on his bullshit.
BETTER TO TAKE A BEATING THAN A BULLET
As seen in the final moments of “Amarillo”, Mike meets Nacho (Michael Mando) in an undisclosed location (because criminal hijinks) to discuss a possible hit. Turns out the target is our favorite meth-snorting miscreant Tuco Salamanca. Oh sure! This’ll end well.
Always calm and collected, Ehrmantraut attempts to assuage Ignacio from choosing a path that may result in a far more perilous outcome than he realizes. Nacho rebuts Mike’s suggestions by recalling a time when Tuco managed to blow a friendly associate’s face off with a sawed-off shotgun. To really drive his point across, Nacho shows the scar from bits of skull that embedded in his skin. Basically, Tuco is a bad guy and when he’s high as a kite, no one is safe.
Raymond Cruz reprises the unforgettable and intense Tuco Salamanca, collecting the weekly take from his earners while exuding a stare only an equally heinous relative could love. Cruz may only be in “Gloves Off” for a little under ten minutes but it was more than enough time to unleash raw terror (thanks to Mike pushing all the right buttons). Given what’s known about Tuco’s future, his incarceration may be short-lived if it ever happens. It certainly won’t be the last time Ehrmantraut and Salamanca will meet.
SPOILERS FROM THE FUTURE!
In case you missed it, there were actually three cameos from Breaking Bad alums in “Gloves Off”. Tuco aside, the first was Lawson the gun merchant played by Jim Beaver. His all-business appearance was a softball compared to the real hidden gem. Did you see him? The jittery delivery boy who was being eyed by Tuco? None other than Domingo “Krazy-8” Molina (Max Arciniega). You know, he of the Tampico Furniture Molinas and the initial partner in Walter and Jesse’s extracurricular activities. In Bad’s first season, Krazy-8 had the honor (of sorts) of being Walt’s first victim in what would become a prolific list of casualties.
Now that Jimmy is on everyone’s last nerve, he now finds himself being supervised at every turn in next week’s episode “Rebecca”, airing Monday at 10/9c on AMC!
What did you think of “Gloves Off”? Leave your comments below or at our Better Call Saul post on Facebook!
Better Call Saul S2E4
We all knew Jimmy’s antics were going to bite him on the ass sooner or later. Perhaps he’ll finally know how many others truly rely on him staying on the straight and narrow. Yeah right, and I’m going to vote for Cruz… Sadly, Chuck – in spite of his own faults – appears to have the right bead on little brother. Viewers including myself have fallen for this new uh, old James McGill regardless of his supremely conniving nature in Breaking Bad. You know how if you tell a lie long enough, you eventually believe it as truth? That’s the current hardship Jimmy is experiencing. He believes he’s a good guy yet everyone knows better.
Once more, Jonathan Banks takes the lead with his portrayal of Ehrmantraut and holds command in every scene. What’s especially admirable of Bank’s depiction of Mike is his ability to draw out every ounce of tension with his fellow actors. Think of your favorite Mike Moments (trademarked!) from Saul and Breaking Bad and you’ll likely recall how Aaron Paul, Giancarlo Esposito and definitely Bryan Cranston were all the better for Bank’s crudity and terseness.