[For Better Call Saul “Nailed” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Nailed. Chuck’s capabilities are questioned; Jimmy faces a sudden personal dilemma.
In last week’s episode of Better Call Saul Mike and Jimmy cooked up their own brands of old school revenge. So, naturally it follows that this week we see their vengeful machinations in action. It feels good for a while, just like the real thing, but then some consequences kick in and it’s more like everybody’s getting “Nailed” not just their targets. That’s called backlash, baby, and it’s smeared all over this episode and passed out cold on the floor of the downtown Albuquerque Kinkos.
The episode opens with the familiar Regalo Helado truck zooming across a glorious southwestern prairie road at high speed straight into Mike’s trap. Laid in wait, his spike strip seizes the truck and stops it immediately. Then Mike ventures out from behind a billboard with a black ski cap covering his face. He ties up the driver, duct tapes his mouth, and drills into the truck’s wheels until finally finding a hidden stash of cash inside one. Mike puts the cash bundles into his car trunk and drives away, leaving the driver hogtied but alive.
Next we see Chuck struggling to enter the New Mexico Banking Board office through a metal detector. He gets past his anxiety eventually and ventures inside where we see him finally conduct the business of the Mesa Verde proposed bank expansion. While they’re presenting the case several board members whisper and point to items on the documents. As a result their chairman has to halt the Mesa Verde presentation. It seems there are two different addresses on the affidavits. Chuck keeps insisting it’s the 2016 address, the one he remembers from filing the documents. But the clients insist it’s 2061, the actual address. Then Chuck has to ask for an adjournment so they can amend the filing to fix the address discrepancy but the soonest the board can revisit it is six weeks. Mesa Verde is thus, understandably, pissed at Chuck. Now we know what Jimmy’s Kinkos cut-and-paste adventure was all about. Back at his house, safely draped like a baked potato, Chuck rants like a loon while Howard tries to calm his unrelenting partner. Chuck may be an angry paranoid wacko but he’s also right about one thing; this isn’t a mistake.
Then Hector’s inside the ice cream shop and we see him through Mike’s binoculars. He’s apparently just found out about his truck’s stolen bundles of cash and Mike smiles at Hector’s rather unpleasant reaction. This is the first time we’ve seen Mike happy outside of a Kaley visit. He flirts with a waitress and even buys a round for the house at a local bar. Mike feels like a hero and isn’t his usual miserable stone-faced self anymore.
Then Kim and Jimmy renovate their offices, removing dentist chairs and painting walls. In the middle of painting Kim gets a surprising call from Paige and she’s got Mesa Verde back. Jimmy does a spectacular job pretending to be surprised and he’s classic supportive Jimmy, reminding her to breathe and savor the moment. After a follow up call from Ernie, Chuck’s assistant, the duo head over to pick up the Mesa Verde files at his house. Once there Chuck confronts Jimmy about sabotaging him with the Mesa Verde addresses. Chuck has an uncanny sense of what Jimmy did and relays it in front of Kim so she knows the “true nature” of his brother. Of course, Jimmy denies it. Then Chuck says Kim knows it’s true and has to disclose this to her client. So, Kim asks Chuck for his evidence but he doesn’t have any other than knowing Jimmy. Kim says she thinks it’s much more likely Chuck just made a simple mistake. Anybody could have made it. She points out the ways Chuck isn’t a good brother to Jimmy instead. Of course, Kim knows Chuck is right but she also knows he’s no better and she’s already chosen to be on Jimmy’s team. Once in the car with the files packed in Kim punches Jimmy a few times just to show him she knows the real truth of the matter.
Mike gets an urgent call from Nacho asking to meet right away. Nacho thinks it Mike who hit their truck and got away with Hector’s quarter million in cash bundles. He knows this because nobody else would leave the guy alive, Nacho says. He’s worried Hector’s questioning of the driver will reveal it was Mike and then eventually their connection might be exposed. So, Mike says there’s no way that’ll happen because he never spoke and hid his face the whole time during the robbery. Then Mike asks Nacho how the theft didn’t make the papers and Nacho says a good samaritan came by soon after the robbery, untied the driver and called for help. So, the cops never even knew about the situation. The cartel cleaned it all up fast. Hector then thanked the good samaritan by shooting him in the face. Mike doesn’t take this news well. An innocent good samaritan was killed as a result of his robbery. Thus we see his temporarily cheerful demeanor fall away and sadsack Mike’s back in town.
Next Jimmy and Kim are settling into bed together for the night when she refuses to talk about the Mesa Verde/Chuck situation. However, Kim does hint around to Jimmy that because Chuck was able to deduce Jimmy’s actions so easily he’d better make sure he covered his tracks completely. If anything can be found out about what he did, Chuck is certain to sniff it out. So, Jimmy drives out to Kinkos for damage control. In a scene parallel to Mike with Nacho, Jimmy pays the guy who works the Kinkos graveyard shift to “forget his face” when Chuck shows up later to ask about him. Then Jimmy pays graveyard shift guy two hundred more to erase the tapes that will prove he was there. Afterward Jimmy waits outside until Chuck inevitably arrives at the Kinkos. Jimmy cheers graveyard guy on from outside as he sticks to his deal to say he never saw Jimmy. Chuck’s getting more and more agitated under the bright lights and with the copiers running. He gets dizzy and dazed. The guy won’t budge about not seeing Jimmy even though Chuck knows he’s lying. He starts mentally spinning and then passes out. Chuck hits his head on the counter before landing on the Kinkos floor and is thus the only character in this episode to get double-nailed. Next in the last shot we hear Jimmy, watching from outside the shop, murmur, “Call 911. Call 911,” as the graveyard shift guy and Ernie reach down and try to help Chuck.
That’s the thing about revenge, it perpetuates the cycle. Sure, it feels great but that’s only temporary unlike the hurt it causes, which leads to the next bit of backlash… and then the next. “Nailed” focuses squarely on that backlash. Mike’s lucky to have Nacho for his buffer and informant while Jimmy has Kim as informant and paid buffer, graveyard shift guy. We’ve got luck on our side too with the finale just around the corner. Hopefully the final episode will reveal Jimmy’s long-awaited and painstakingly crafted commercial. It’s likely we’ll also see Kim take charge of Mesa Verde with aplomb. We also expect that Mike will surprise us with the kind of strategic initiative only a traumatized sociopath genius obsessed with his granddaughter could possibly concoct. We can’t wait.