[For Better Call Saul “Klick” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Klick. Jimmy must make a hard choice; Mike takes control of matters, and Hamlin delivers shocking news.

The season finale of Better Call Saul, “Klick” revolves around the theme of blockage, specifically passive resistance. Mike and Jimmy both find themselves soundly blocked from achieving their goals by a behind the scenes mastermind. The irony is that both believe themselves to be just such masterminds. Little do they know what ominous obstacles they’re up against. The symbols are all there for us to pick up along the way as the story progresses, locked doors, red tape, and Nacho’s big built-up bod standing right smack in the way. But the whole machination behind their impasse isn’t clear for these characters until the very end and even then it’s clearer for us as the audience than for Jimmy and Mike. In the end Mike does find out there’s an additional echelon to the cartel in the way of his mission but he doesn’t know anything about it yet. We can at least make an educated guess. At the end of Jimmy’s story he’s about to find out Chuck’s diabolical secret is even darker than his own. Meanwhile, as the audience, we know exactly what’s coming and only wish we could warn Jimmy.

The episode opens on Jimmy and Chuck in their mother’s hospital room. She’s near death in front of them on the bed. Jimmy insists they get something to eat after sitting there for three days. He leaves, saying he’ll get Chuck a sandwich too and be right back. As soon as he exits Chuck starts crying which awakens their mother who coughs, asks for Jimmy and then won’t hear Chuck saying it’s him, Chuck. She dies. A nurse comes in and feels her pulse then says she’s sorry to Chuck. Their mother had a DNR, a do not resuscitate. Then Jimmy gets back with a plastic bag of sandwiches to find out she’s gone. He asks Chuck if she woke up or said anything and he says, “No”.

Then we’re back to the scene at Kinkos. Jimmy enters from his hiding spot on the sidewalk across the street and insists they call 911. Chuck wakes up just enough to see Jimmy and next thing we know he’s in the hospital telling them to turn off the lights above his examination table. Chuck screams at them not to give him an EKG or cat scan explaining that he has a “condition” that makes him sensitive to electricity. The doctor who wants to have Chuck committed so she can run the necessary tests but Jimmy suggest a temporary guardianship instead. That way the doctor can find out what’s wrong without committing Chuck to an institution. Jimmy goes into Chuck’s hospital room to tell him about this but Chuck won’t even speak to him and demands Ernesto come in. He uses Ernie to point out that now he knows Jimmy was there at the Kinkos but Ernesto gives Jimmy an alibi and claims that, actually, he called Jimmy to bring him there. This, of course, infuriates Chuck. When Jimmy tells him about the temporary guardianship Chuck says, “You finally got me where you want me,” like the true paranoid he is. Meanwhile he’s the actual family Svengali. Even Ernie’s like. “He’s out to get you Jimmy,” and seems ready to quit his assistant job and return to the mailroom rather than work with Chuck anymore. His own assistant prefers his brother but that’s partly because Ernie and Jimmy worked the mailroom together in the days of yore.

Next we see Nacho and a buddy, with a gagged, tied up guy in the back of their van driving through the desert. Mike is, of course, tailing them in his car. Then we see him doing target practice out in the desert with an advisor, that same guy who wanted to sell him guns at the hotel room earlier in the season. He gets ammo and as they’re saying goodbye the guy rubs Mike’s prints off the practice gun he used and says, “No offense,” but it’s impossible to offend Mike anyway. Then Mike’s pointing his rifle at a faraway target in the desert as he focuses the rifle eye-site we see he’s pointing it at the place where Nacho and his buddy have parked the red van, near an old broken-down shed. Mike loads and cocks the rifle. We see Hector, the cousins, Nacho and the guy that was just tied up in the back of the van. The cousins shoot that guy and he falls into a ditch. Then they walk back over the Hector and Nacho, returning into the shed while the other guy shovels dirt into the ditch. Mike has the site focused where Hector was but Nacho stands right in the way the whole time. He would have had to shoot Nacho in order to hit Hector. Then a horn’s blaring and it’s Mike’s own car nearby in the brush. Someone came along and propped a branch against the horn and left a note that says only “Don’t” on the windshield. We’re thinking it was someone associated with Nacho given that he was standing in Hector’s way. Our guess? Gus Fring but you can come to your own conclusions after watching, looking for clues in the episode titles, and then watching again.

Chuck tries to reason with the doctor who insists on testing him to see what made him faint at the Kinko’s. The cat scan machine sends Chuck even deeper into crazy town. Meanwhile Jimmy sits in the waiting room where Kim joins him with food and comforting words. Jimmy’s ad comes on the hospital TV. It’s fun and distinctive with a catchy hook of “Gimme Jimmy,” and then the classic line, “because moxie’s in such short supply these days” and no better word describes Jimmy – the king of moxie. The doctor comes out then and tells them there’s nothing physically wrong Chuck and it was probably just a panic attack. However, she adds, there was a complication. Chuck’s in a catatonic state now. He won’t move or speak, playacting as a vegetable basically. But he’s out of it by morning when he wakes up next to a sleeping Jimmy in the chair beside his bed. Jimmy takes him home and wants to make Chuck comfortable with tea or whatever he needs but Chuck’s feeling vulnerable and cranky. He just wants to be alone so Jimmy leaves. Then Chuck enters his garage, lantern in hand, and we see all his old electrical devices are stored in there but Chuck’s clearly looking for something in particular.

Meanwhile Jimmy’s got a full waiting room at his new office, all due to his commercial and therefore mostly composed of elderly peeps. Howard then calls ‘freaking out because he just got a letter saying Chuck quit/retired from HHM. So, Jimmy rushes to Chuck’s place and bangs on the door but Chuck won’t talk to him. So, Jimmy has to resort to insistent-repetitive-infinite knocking. Finally Chuck opens the door. Once inside Jimmy finds Chuck in a room wallpapered entirely in mylar and aluminum foil, all attached with duct tape, of course. He calls it a “proper Faraday cage” and tells Jimmy not to patronize him. He’s not crazy. They sit down and Jimmy tells him not to quit the law. The law needs Chuck. Chuck needs the law. Besides how can he retire before he gets Jimmy disbarred? Chuck says he has to quit because he made a mistake and thus is clearly losing it and the worst part is that he then blamed Jimmy for the whole thing. Chuck blames the electricity for wearing down on his faculties and brain. He’s falling apart. Jimmy feels bad for Chuck and says what if he told him he didn’t make a mistake. He admits that he sabotaged Chuck, just as he’d said. Jimmy says now Chuck can relax, his brain is at 100%. It wasn’t really about Chuck at all anyway, Jimmy explains. It was for Kim. He didn’t think it would turn Chuck insane just to imagine having made a mistake. Chuck asks him if he realizes he just confessed to a felony. Jimmy says at least he made Chuck feel better and it’s his word against Chuck’s anyway. Then, it turns out he was recording the whole conversation, of course. When he was in his garage fill of electronics it was to locate that recorder. This whole plan finally played all the way out for Chuck, a man who simply can’t abide ever being wrong about anything – ever.

Season three is certain to bring many exciting new events. So, we’ll all just have to cling to the edge of Jimmy’s cliff until then. We do have some predictions, though. First we think that Jimmy’s comment about Chuck getting him disbarred will quickly become reality and that will be the impetus for his shift into Saul Goodman. Second we believe Gus will show up in Mike’s life within the first few episodes of season three, if not the season premiere. And lastly, fetchland also wants to see Saul and Mike work together more in season three. They were on parallel paths for almost the entire second season but it would be much more fun to see these two natural born enemies actually in cahoots. We can’t wait for whatever comes and look forward to reading many fun analyses, predictions and theories between now and the next season.

–Katherine Recap

[For Better Call Saul “Nailed” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
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.

–Katherine Recap

[For Better Call Saul “Fifi” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Fifi. Mike aims to settle the score with an enemy; an unexpected opportunity presents itself to Jimmy.

“Fifi” is all about reverence for the old guard. This theme runs through each storyline and ultimately colors the decisions and actions of several characters. Hector represents the old guard of drug gangs and Mike continues to follow him with a watchful eye; taking notes and preparing for a coming onslaught. Jimmy draws upon the old guard to compose a TV commercial for his new firm starring an Air Force veteran from WWII. Of course, because it’s Jimmy he’s not actually from that particular old guard but the guy is old and wears the outfit, so it counts. But the best example of old guard in “Fifi” rests with Chuck. He spouts off about how “boring” and old school his lawyering ways are at HHM but spins it to such effect that he wins the day and serves as hero to Howard. Like many heroes, this sacrifice puts him into physical distress. He represents the old guard of working man, wearing himself down to a bloody nub of nothingness for the sake of his company.

The episode opens with a single continuous shot at the Mexican border. In a suspenseful build of skilled camera work we see trucks crossing into Mexico as they’re dog-searched, lasered with green-lit wands, and inspected by uniformed guards. The camera specifically follows a Regalo Helgado ice cream truck as border guards pull cartons out of the back, check the driver’s ID, and laser all the surfaces. They Xray items from the truck, hand the driver his paperwork, and tell him “OK” so he can drive off with minimal fuss. Later at the side of the road the driver parks and walks into a field where he lifts a rock and removes a gun from underneath. Then Mr. Ragalo Helgado driver pokes his just-finished popsicle stick in some land nearby. It juts out of the dirt next to many twins of the same popsicle stick, like skinny little gravestones with the name of Hector’s ice cream shop written on them.

Then we see Kim and Jimmy at a hot dog place. They strategize how to get Mesa Verde to stay with Kim after she leaves HHM. Jimmy suggests she put the resignation letter on Howard’s desk that very night and then call Mesa Verde first thing in the morning before Howard even gets into the office. Kim says she appreciates the advice but wants to do it her way. In the next scene she gives Howard her resignation and then as she leaves his office hears him calling Mesa Verde. So, they get her call second after she races at top flight speed down the hall to her office. Then at Kim’s lunch with Mesa Verde’s Paige and Kevin she wins them over so that, though the deal isn’t sealed in writing, it seems a sure thing. Afterward she meets Jimmy at an office space that was previously for two dentists. Kim tells Jimmy it looks like she’s got Mesa Verde and after celebrating with high fives, they decide to sign the lease on the dentists office for their location.

Mike remains on stakeout outside of Hector’s ice cream shop just as he was in the last episode. He sees the Regelo Helgado truck pull up, deliver goods, and then leave right before Hector arrives in his signature old school red car and then enters the now-closed shop. Mike takes notes in his notebook. Later he follows Hector’s car and parks nearby as it goes into a carport to be followed soon after by that same Regalo Helgado ice cream truck. Hector waits outside as the garage doors come down. Mike watches with binoculars and is putting together a significant connection as he hears the sound of a drill coming from inside the garage.

Howard comes to Chuck’s house and says they’re losing Mesa Verde to Kim, who left HHM. Howard explains that she’s opening a new firm with Jimmy and Chuck calls Jimmy Svengali, putting a rather sinister namesake on the sweetest brother a guy could ever have. Howard’s big concern, though, is losing Mesa Verde and he needs Chuck’s expertise in banking law. So, Chuck buckles down and says he’s up to the task and will act “normal” for the meeting with Mesa Verde. Lights will stay on. People will keep their phones. He’ll take off his aluminum foil blanket. And, in fact, Chuck shows up and does a smashing job getting Mesa Verde’s attention and holding it. Though he refuses to badmouth Kim, he tells his “old guard story” and points out how they’re a big bank and thus need more resources that only a big firm can give them. He seals the deal for HHM. As Kevin and Paige leave, though, Chuck passes out in Howard’s arms. Luckily the clients don’t see this part and the handshake’s already happened.

Next we see Jimmy on air force base tarmac pushing an elderly veteran around an old fighter plane B29 called “Fifi”. With him are the two film students from UNM who made his controversial ad for Davis & Main. It turns out the old guy dressed as a veteran isn’t really a hero but actually just an old client of Jimmy’s who never paid and thus owes him a favor. Jimmy “directs” the guy while the kids film and Jimmy says things like, “Imagine a bald eagle swooping into frame” and “Red white and blue courses through your veins”. Then Ernesto (Chuck’s assistant) calls and tells Jimmy his brother’s not doing well.

Later that night Jimmy relieves Ernesto of his duty. He sits near sleeping Chuck and sees the boxes of Mesa Verde files piled up nearby. Jimmy flips through some of the files, pulls some out, and heads to Kinkos for old guard document adjustment action. At Kinkos Jimmy makes changes to the documents old school style, Xacto knife, glue stick, and precision copying. It’s hard to tell exactly what he’s doing but one thing’s certain, he changes several crucial addresses. Once back at Chuck’s Jimmy replaces the files he took so that no changes will ever be noticed. Then he falls asleep in the chair next to Chuck. The next afternoon Chuck finally wakes up none the wiser.

In Kim and Jimmy’s final scene of the episode, she tells him she lost Mesa Verde to HHM because of Chuck. Kim asks if he wants to pull out of their deal to share location and costs now that a sizable chunk of income just went flying out the window. He’s totally Jimmy in response, supportive and helpful. “There will be other Mesa Verdes,” he says and he means it. Given what he just spent the night doing at Kinkos, maybe one of them might actually even be Mesa Verde.

Then in Mike’s last scenes of the episode he and Kaley work on a project in his kitchen. The old guard theme arises again when Mike explains to her that he doesn’t have to wear protective eyewear “because grownups get to be stupid,” as he puts goggles on her to teach her how to use a drill. Mike’s helping Kaley put holes in a hose. When Kaley’s mother comes to pick her up Mike tells her he’s making a homemade sprinkler for flowers in the backyard. That night we see Mike sticking nails into the hose holes, so turns out it’s not a sprinkler after all. In fact, it could be some sort of spike strip maybe. Spike strips are also known as traffic spikes and are used for tire deflation, often on unsuspecting vehicles. But no matter what his hose contraption is, Mike’s clearly preparing for a battle and seems to have Hector in his gun sight.

This episode served as a suspense builder in ever storyline so that we’re left wondering what’s going to happen next on all accounts. What does Mike have planned for Hector and his ice cream intrigue? How will Jimmy’s Kinkos caper affect the Mesa Verde case? When can we see Jimmy’s new commercial? And will Chuck ever stop acting like a baked couch potato? We can’t wait for these answers but we’re willing to wait a bit longer, of course, to see the imminent arrival of Saul to the story.

–Katherine Recap

[For Better Call Saul “Inflatable” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Inflatable. Mike and Jimmy work together to keep the peace when Mike’s hand is forced and his frustration shows.

Once again Kim steals the show in the episode “Inflatable” and wins our hearts all over again. Mainly we’re happy because she teaches us an important lesson. One of the greatest challenges in life can be balancing independence and asking for help when we need it. It can be tough but Kim forges a new path for herself and manages to create this balance in the process. Of course, Jimmy’s going places too… but we knew that already from the show title. It’s not called “Better Call Jimmy McGill at David & Main,” after all. But Jimmy is our hero and we weren’t sure what role Kim really played until now. She’s Yoda. Kim’s a sage and Zen Master too; teaching every last one of us how to go after what we really want. A tubular windsock gets more airtime than Mike in this one but we’re still left with a sense of dread from the few onscreen minutes he has.

It begins as child Jimmy flips through a Playboy magazine at the back of his father’s deli while a customer cons his dad. Jimmy tries to warn his father but the man won’t hear of it. When his father goes to the back room, the grifter buys two cartons of Kools from Jimmy with the money his dad just forked over for his “sick child.” The grifter tells Jimmy, “There are wolves and sheep in this world. Figure out which one you’re gonna be”. After he leaves Jimmy opens the cash register and pockets eight dollars – not a sheep.

Then we’re taken to modern day Jimmy representing Mike at the courthouse. Jimmy amends Mike’s former statement that it was Tuco’s gun used in his assault. The DA asks how the gun could’ve had only Tuco’s prints on it and Jimmy defends the silent Mike with lots of creative possibilities. Then the DA asks Mike if he was threatened or paid off and the duo take their leave. Afterward Jimmy tells Mike he did the right thing because Tuco’s nuts. Jimmy doesn’t even want to charge him for it but Mike’s annoyed rather than grateful and demands Jimmy bill him then makes him take a different elevator.

Jimmy dictates a resignation letter for Davis & Main to his assistant, Omar. But then Omar explains that he’ll have to give the bonus money back if he quits or is fired for cause before a full year at D&M. So, Jimmy promptly retracts his resignation. He drives to Albuquerque and on the way becomes entranced by a tubular windsock man dancing in the wind outside a car dealership. The colorful nylon guy makes Jimmy smile and he’s inspired by it. Then we see a glorious montage of colorful Jimmy letting his freak flag fly in an attempt to get fired without cause. The best of his antics is playing bagpipe at the office to “blow off steam and deal with stress”. This serves as the last straw for Clifford Main and thus Jimmy is finally let go (but not for cause) so he can keep his bonus.

Then we see Kim composing her resignation letter to HHM when Jimmy interrupts. He makes her an alternative offer, Wexler McGill – their own firm. With his bonus Jimmy can offer her the same deal as S&C but also make her a partner the very next day rather than in two years. It’s a gamble, yes but she’s gambling on herself and they both know that’s a good bet. Kim asks if he’s going to play it straight as a lawyer if they do this and at first Jimmy says yes but then he says he’s gotta do it as himself, colorful. She asks why he wants her and Jimmy says he needs her. Then Kim says he’s got her, just not as a law partner.

Next we see Kaylee’s mom showing Mike the new house she wants in a great neighborhood with good schools. It’s nice but she’s worried that it’s a lot of money. Mike tells her that he’ll cover “whatever the cost” so she thanks him with a hug he can’t return because he’s Mike and made of ancient redwood. Then we see Mike pull up across from the ice cream shop where he met with Hector, Tuco’s uncle. He’s far enough away to not be seen but can watch the comings and goings of the place from his stakeout position. The wheels turn inside Mike as he sits in the silent, dark car; watching the juice place and giving us no indication of his plan.

Then Kim eases through her final interview at S&C where they asking about how she ended up here. “I guess I just wanted something more,” she says. Afterward on the roof Kim has a smoke and looks at the card Jimmy mocked up for their firm together, Wexler McGill with cutout ‘W’ and ‘M’. She rips apart the big M and W straight down the middle and looks at the two pieces separated. Then Kim goes to Jimmy’s “office” and tells him she’s decided not to take the job at S&C. He’s right that they should start a solo practice. Kim has a proposal, though; separate firms under one roof. They aren’t partners but rather solo practitioners… together; not Wexler McGill, but Wexler and McGill. They can support each other but also each have their own firm and cases, all under one roof. Jimmy says he doesn’t know what to say. Kim replies, “Say yes”.

So, Kim has thus found a way to make it all work with them out on their own and Jimmy has us excited to see his imminent shenanigans. The real tension and dread now lies with Mike. As always, he’s got a plan and we’ve got no idea what it is other than that it clearly involves Hector and likely getting vengeance along with a lot of money. All three of these characters are breaking new ground, Mike for his granddaughter, and the dynamic duo in pursuit of their independent lawyerly dreams. It feels like Saul Goodman’s creation lies imminent and probably arises out of the criminal world we know he’s soon destined to join. Given the parallels between Mike and Jimmy, it’s likely Mike’s the keymaster that locks this connection between Jimmy and criminality into place. So, the real mystery lies in what role Kim will play. But yes, we’re also wondering what the heck Mike’s got planned for Hector.

–Katherine Recap

[For Better Call Saul “Bali Ha’i” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Bali Ha’i. Jimmy finds comfort in familiarity; Kim receives a life-changing proposal.

“Bali Ha’i” is a song about finally getting to that perfect place you dreamed about. This episode of the same title revolves around the idea that even that same perfect place can be pretty damn uncomfortable if you don’t feel like you fit in there. The show opens on Jimmy up late at night when he sees the new Davis & Main ad seeking Sandpiper clients. It’s a boring all text ad with a robotic voice and nothing interesting to say. Jimmy seems glum and uncomfortable in his fancy condo. He shoots free throws with all the stupid, wicker balls and baskets the condo provided as decoration. Then Jimmy tries to sleep, examines the takeout containers in his fridge, packs a bag and drives to the nail salon where he’s finally able to sleep on the pullout couch in his back office. It may not be the most comfortable bed but at least Jimmy feels like he belongs there.

The next morning Jimmy leaves a singing message on Kim’s home landline “Bali Ha’i” so we know where the episode title arises. He ends his song saying this concludes his weeklong tour of South Pacific and next he’ll explore The Carpenters catalog. If Kim wants him to stop leaving these messages, Jimmy reminds her, all she has to do is call him back. Kim clearly enjoys the message and even went back after she was ready to leave so that she’d be sure to hear it before going to work. At the office it turns out she’s back on full blown lawyering duty with the Mesa Verde case, although Howard is definitely not pleased about it. In fact, he seems to have an entire plunger up his ass that prevents Howard from engaging in any semblance of warmth or even normalcy with Kim. Next we see her fight in court with articulate grace and style for her Sandpiper clients. It’s a battle Kim can’t possibly win, given the law, but her opposing counsel is impressed with her gusto and asks her out to lunch where he offers her a position at his fancypants firm, S&C. He assures Kim that she’d be on a partner track and even offers to pay off the law school debt she owes HHM. She’d be a free bird.

Then we see Mike arriving home to one of Hector’s guys awaiting him on the porch. He says Hector needs an answer and Mike says it’s “respectfully no” then goes inside. Mike sets up a welcome mat at the front door with carbon and plain white sheets of paper underneath so that anyone entering would leave tracks. Then he returns to the porch to place it on the stoop. That night we see him returning home from work. Mike lifts the welcome mat and sees from the paper and carbon paper underneath that two men entered his house, so he goes in with gun raised and ready. As Mike methodically checks each corner of each room the tension builds, especially given that he doesn’t turn on any lights. Then Mike realizes they’re hiding in the bathroom and sets them up so that when they come out he’s waiting and ready to cold cock them before they see him. He asks what the message is from Hector and they say they were just supposed to scare him. Mike says they’re going to have to work a little harder if they want to scare him next time.

Then we see Mike playing with his granddaughter who’s in the pool but he sees the Salamanca cousins (reprising their roles from Breaking Bad ) the intimidating doublemint mutes. They’re on Mike stakeout from a nearby roof and then when he sees them, one points gun fingers at Kaley. Mike’s face twitches with furled internal fury. In his next scene Mike drives up to a closed Mexicano juice place where Nacho checks him for a wire and then allow him in with a gun. Inside Hector, Tuco’s uncle (bell ringer from Breaking Bad,) waits for him in skull steel-toed boots. Hector says Mike goes to the DA the next day and says Tuco’s gun was his or he gets killed and that’s that. Mike says his price is $50K and he’s not negotiating. After painful silence, guns pointed at Mike, and a comment about the size of his balls, Hector agrees to this. Later that night Nacho brings Mike the $50K and as he’s leaving Mike gives him half the money. Nacho’s like “What the?…” but Mike says he was only able to keep half the deal they made, “Your problem will be out much sooner now because of this,” thus, Nacho deserves half the payout. Honor among thieves strikes again.

Meanwhile Kim ponders the offer from S&C and all we can wonder is why she’s waiting so long to call them about this amazing offer. What is there to think about? She goes to the same bar where she and Jimmy scammed the stockbroker and a man tries to pick her up. She tells this guy, Dale, that her name’s Giselle and takes the drink he offers. Then Kim/Giselle calls Jimmy, who’s under Erin’s watchful schoolmarm gaze at Davis & Main, going over details of the Sandpiper case. When he gets Kim’s call saying she’s found them a new mark Jimmy can’t get in his car to Albuquerque fast enough. It turns out Dale’s an engineer while Jimmy and Kim are “dot.com entrepreneurs” who just happen to be striking it big time right at that moment. They score a big check from the guy that they’ll never cash but serves it’s purpose as an aphrodisiac for them once again. In the morning after their lovefest, Kim tells Jimmy about the job offer at S&C. Like us, he can’t fathom why she doesn’t jump at the chance. What’s not to love? is the refrain. Just as it is with Jimmy’s situation. On the surface everything is perfect; fancy condo, Mercedes, nice office, big paycheck… and yet it’s unsatisfying. Why? Then Jimmy gets in his Mercedes and finally makes that bright yellow, travel coffee mug Kim gave him fit. He takes a crowbar and yanks out the cupholder’s plastic face leaving a nice big spot for his yellow mug that says “World’s 2nd Best Lawyer”.

The theme of not fitting in and dealing with discomfort resonates throughout every scene of the episode. Even Mike experiences it. His first encounter has the surprise he feels when it turns out Kaylee isn’t thrilled about her living arrangements, “But you have a pool!” he can’t imagine how she could be unhappy under that circumstance. Perhaps it’s because this is a guy who can seem comfortable standing his ground with a cadre of drug dealers pointing guns at him. Who wouldn’t love a pool? Indeed, it’s the same sort of question Jimmy and Kim struggle with. Why isn’t the offer from S&C more thrilling to her? It’s everything she’s been wanting… or is it? This episode explores the idea of that other side to “success” where the thrill of chasing the elusive dream has worn off and we’re left with everyday life. Yes, it’s like on “Bali Ha’i” but when that’s the new normal, so what? Perhaps then it’s time to start seeking something else. Something more. But what? Tune in next week to find out.

–Katherine Recap

[For Better Call Saul “Rebecca” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Rebecca. Jimmy chafes under his restrictive work environment; Kim tries to dig herself out.

Any opportunity to see a new, different perspective is a gift to those jaded, worn out crannies etched into our brains. So, we’re lucky ducks as we watch this Better Call Saul episode “Rebecca” to have a chance to see Jimmy through another point of view – Chuck’s. It’s not current-storyline-Chuck at first but the Chuck of yore. He’s happily married to the Rebecca of the episode title and fairly functional with a mere whiff of his issues to come. That former Chuck was so different from the Chuck we now know that seeing him interact with former Jimmy, who hasn’t changed nearly as much, carves a new pathway in our grey matter. We start to see Jimmy through Chuck’s eyes a bit with this episode, thus, and Kim does a bit as well. Interestingly, it doesn’t really change how we see Jimmy so much as it deepens our understanding of Chuck and allows us to empathize more with his character.

In the first scene former Chuck screws in a light bulb and has a full head of hair, so we know we’re in another time, if not another world. Turns out in Chuck’s case his former life was basically a different world compared to Chuck’s current storyline. Back then he and his sweet wife, Rebecca, cook and talk about work while awaiting a dinner visit from Jimmy, whom Rebecca’s never met before. She’s “an accomplished violinist,” great cook, and a kind and gracious host. This was when Jimmy just started working in the law firm mail room, so many years ago. He’s his usual charming Jimmy with both of them and says Chuck’s a lucky man to have found Rebecca. Then Jimmy tells some lawyer jokes he’s recently learned in the mailroom and Rebecca cheerfully joins in while Chuck grows progressively enraged and then seeks to cut Jimmy’s visit short. Later that night in bed Rebecca says she doesn’t know what Chuck was worried about – Jimmy’s great. Then Chuck tries to tell his own lawyer joke but it falls flat and lifeless, just like his life’s about to when Rebecca subsequently leaves him.

In the next scene we’re back to our regular storyline as uptight, newbie associate, Erin comes by Jimmy’s office to teach him the “house style” which is mostly about formatting and grammar his legal briefs. Jimmy, of course, takes his first opportunity to skip out on her and go see Kim who’s in the dungeon working until midnight. He proposes that Kim’s best ticket out of imprisonment is to sue her own firm. Kim’s unwilling and also refuses to believe it’s Chuck who’s behind her punishment. She thinks it’s all Howard. So, then Jimmy says he’ll quit Davis & Main because that’ll get her out of the dungeon. Kim says no thanks. She’ll dig herself out of this on here own. Jimmy’s not her knight in shining armor and she won’t let him even try.

Jimmy comes into the office the next morning and apologizes to Erin with a long convoluted lie about a lower gastroesophageal sphincter condition. But it doesn’t matter, Jimmy’s got a perma-babysitter named Erin and she’s crammed right up into his lower sphincter from now on, condition or not. She drives Jimmy to the courthouse and prevents him from “finessing” the clerk for a better court date explaining that she’s “protecting” him. Thus Jimmy gets a much later court date, messing with his strategy for the case, and zipping him tightly into his cranky pants.

Then Kim calls all of her networking contacts trying to land a new client for the firm and thus escape the dungeon. But one by one they lead to nowheresville until Kim’s back in her document dungeon after wasting an entire lunch hour on surreptitious cell calls and dashed hopes. Mike, on the other hand, realized his hopes thanks to those dastardly deeds of the last episode. His granddaughter now stays at a nice new place thanks to his recent influx of cash. She even has a pool.

Meanwhile Kim continues making endless secretive calls to the tune of “My Way” en Español then returns to her dreaded work deep into each night in the dungeon. Finally after an infinite stream of nothingness she gets her phone call of freedom and brings in a potentially big ticket bank client to check out the firm – Mesa Verde. They come in the next day and all goes well with the firm’s presentation so they land Mesa Verde officially as the client. But then when Kim talks to Howard as they watch the Mesa Verde people drive away, it turns out he’s keeping Kim in document review. She’s not free. It was tons of arduous anguish for nothing. Maybe Jimmy was right and it was all about Chuck. That would mean she needs a white knight after all… but she’s still flaming mad at Jimmy. So, now Kim’s heartbroken twice over.

Next we see Howard visiting Chuck to tell him Kim brought in Mesa Verde. Chuck says he assumes this means she’s out of the doghouse and Howard says, “We’ll see,” raising question of who;s actually pulling the strings. Afterward we see Chuck at the office before dawn, lantern in tow. He works at his desk encased in a crinkly foil blanket. Then a light turns on in another office and he goes to see who it is and finds Kim still working from the night before. Chuck asks her to make him coffee and then says, “make two cups,” so she’ll join him. Kim asks if she has a future at the firm and he says Howard blames her for the mess Jimmy made. Chuck then tells Kim a long story about his father. The point of which is to tell her that Jimmy pilfered $14K out of his father’s store over the course of many years. Chuck basically blames their father’s subsequent death on Jimmy because of this. He explains that Jimmy just can’t help himself and doesn’t even realize his actions hurt people incrementally. Then as he’s leaving the office, Chuck says he’ll talk to Howard and see if he can get Kim out of doc review where her talent’s being wasted. He’s so impressed with how she brought in Mesa Verde. So, it turns out Kim gets rescued from the dungeon but the bad news is that now Chuck is her knight.

As the episode wraps Mike gets an apology from Tuco’s uncle, who says he wishes his nephew knew to have respect for his elders. Mike accepts the uncle’s apology but, of course, there are conditions attached. The uncle wants Mike to say the gun was his so that Tuco’s can sustain a lesser charge and spend fewer years in prison. He offers Mike five grand for his trouble, tells him to think about it, and then leaves the diner.

So, we’re left with two rather ominous endings, the enmeshment Kim will inevitably now sustain with Chuck since she owes him a huge favor and he’s a giant needy baby. And then there’s Mike, still battered and now also enmeshed in his own nasty pairing. But his matchup is a bad bad dude, much worse than Chuck, but still a quite parallel pairing to Kim’s. Jimmy, on the other hand, will be just fine. Sure, he’s got his cranky pants on but nobody can keep Jimmy down for long. Not even his “Pixie Ninja” Erin because Jimmy stays cheerful and creative even when times are tough and assigns cute, accurate names to even the most annoying, infiltrating nemesis. That’s why we love him.

–Katherine Recap

[For Better Call Saul “Gloves Off” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Gloves Off. Mike considers a lucrative proposal that may bring about dire circumstances.

“Gloves Off” is appropriately titled not just because there’s a bare knuckled beatdown in a parking lot but also because Jimmy finally starts to get real with Chuck and in his face tells him to fight, “Come on, get down in the dirt with me!” he yells. But this one’s more about Mike’s battle than Jimmy’s and thus the episode begins and ends with Mike.

He gets home late at night with a split open, puffed out eye – like Rocky at the end of the big fight. Mike clutches a pair of keychain-sized silver and diamond studded boxing gloves, settling into his armchair with a bag of crinkle cut carrots pressed against his busted eye. Fact is, the episode title also can simply be taken literally. Mike got those gloves off someone and his whole story for this episode revolves around that seemingly small fact. It’s one of those episodes that starts at the end and then circles back – for emphasis.

In the next scene we see Jimmy’s homemade ad playing for the head partners at Davis & Main and they’re upset for lots of reasons; he used his own voice, they have their tighty whiteys all in bunches, etc. Jimmy apologizes for his exuberance but reminds them of all the phonecalls they’re now getting for the case. It’s a boon for them! Why can’t they see that? Well, they’re busy picking those wedgies… for one. Davis & Main’s namesakes don”t see the bright side and tell him to stop “selling” and that exuberance is no excuse. They worry that Jimmy “can’t fit in” and warn him to expect a lot more scrutiny going forward. He calls Kim and leaves a voicemail but she doesn’t get the message because she’s busy getting grilled by Chuck and Howard, who clearly suffer from their own paroxysms of undies up the wazoo.

Next we see Nacho explaining to Mike exactly how he’d like see his partner, Tuco, killed and Mike gives feedback. He points out that killing your partner is a bell you can’t unring. Nacho then explains the circumstances that make it either “him or me” with his partner; namely that Tuco’s on drugs again. This makes him unpredictable, violent, and paranoid – not exactly the ideal drug dealing business partner… Then Nacho tells Mike he’ll pay $50K and that ends the conversation.

Then Jimmy finds out Kim’s being punished and was put in document review for not telling the office what Jimmy did. He’s outraged on her behalf. Jimmy visits Chuck, who’s wiped out from all the well poisoning he’s been doing at the office and so, lies on his couch with the shades drawn nestled under an aluminum foil blanket. Next we see Mike buying a gun in a hotel room from a guy with a suitcase and a lot of know-how. It’s clear from the interaction that Mike knows his way around hardcore guns and ammo but he ends up deciding not to buy a gun after all.

Then Chuck wakes up surprised to see Jimmy still by his side but he’s not there with good tidings. Jimmy confronts Chuck about what they did to Kim; saying that Howard is Chuck’s puppet and not to punish Kim for what he did. Jimmy tells him Kim didn’t know about the commercial until after it had already aired. Chuck is, of course, an asshole about it and says Kim should have known better because she knows Jimmy and thus should expect him to do the wrong thing. Now it’s time for Jimmy to get feisty. He makes Chuck an offer; he’ll stop practicing law completely if Chuck just puts Kim back into her former position at the firm and all’s forgiven for her sake. It’s a tempting deal for Chuck but he says he can’t because it’s essentially extortion and he’s all about rules. In fact, Chuck’s drowning in all the rules he lives by. The rules he worships have replaced any semblance of actual life Chuck might have had. So, this was Jimmy’s “Gloves Off” moment with Chuck, the rule-breaker extraordinaire, but the fight ends in a draw. Nobody wins. We get the impression, though, that the gloves are gonna stay off between these brothers.

Next Mike tells Nacho the big news – he’s not gonna do the job, not even for $50K. Mike tells him this isn’t the best move for his situation. Nacho needs Tuco off the action and out of the way but that doesn’t have to mean dead. He can get him off the streets without killing him and taking that risk. Nacho says he can’t snitch on Tuco, it would ruin his business. Mike says he can help him do it without Nacho having to go to the police or prison. We see Mike’s plan in action next.

Tuco counts an underling’s money sitting next to Nacho, who double checks the count. Then we notice those same silver and diamond studded boxing gloves from the first scene with battered Mike. They hang from a necklace around Tuco’s neck. He’s quite stern-faced and scary with excruciating pauses and dead eyes. Meanwhile across the street Mike calls from a payphone to report a fight with an armed gang member going on at the restaurant where Tuco and Nacho are. Mike then drives over to the restaurant, swiping Tuco’s car as he pulls into the parking lot. Tuco confronts Mike but he says he didn’t hit it but then apologizes when Nacho says he saw him hit Tuco’s car as well. Mike gets his order and leaves but Tuco isn’t having it. He follows Mike outside and demands restitution in cash. Mike says no and then Tuco swipes Mike’s keys and demands his wallet. Mike delays but eventually hands it over. A siren blares nearby and Nacho drives off. Mike grabs Tuco’s boxing glove charms and won’t let go so that Tuco keeps beating him and beating him until he’s pummeled, bloody and smashed, passing out on the ground as the cop car approaches.

In the last scene of “Gloves Off” it’s late at night and Mike tells Nacho Tuco’s gonna be in prison for a five to ten stretch because he had police witnessing the beating, Mike’s wallet in his pocket, and a gun tucked into his belt. Nacho says he doesn’t understand as he hands Mike $25K. Why go through all this pain when killing Tuco would have been doing the world a favor and also made sure Tuco could never come after Mike? He would have made twice the money with a tenth of the hassle. Again Nacho asks Mike why. But Mike never answers that question. It’s one of his policies. He simply drives away.

It’s easy to forget the brilliant strategies Mike concocts or that he’s basically just a guy who wants to look out for his granddaughter’s best interest because he’s such a hardened tough guy in so many ways. This episode reminds us of both these aspects in Mike’s character. He’s super tough and can take a serious beating without complaint. At the same time he’s like a chess player, always several moves ahead of the people surrounding him in the boxing ring. Thing is that Mike doesn’t keep score the same way everyone else at the boxing match does. He’s only got his eye on one prize, a better life for little Kaylee. The picture she drew sits on his freezer door to remind us of this in the first scene when Mike reaches inside for the bag of carrots to quell the bloody ferocity on his face.

–Katherine Recap

[For Better Call Saul “Amarillo” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Amarillo. Jimmy’s client outreach efforts succeed and he exhibits new heights of showmanship.

“Amarillo” revolves around the theme doing whatever it takes to get the job done. The thing about Jimmy McGill is that he’s a go getter and doing whatever it takes is just his way. It’s what’s best and worst about him, all wrapped up in a folksy, suited Bob Odenkirk package. At one point in the episode Jimmy says, “teamwork makes the dream work,” and he means it. Trouble is that Jimmy isn’t really a team player. He plays that classic I’d rather ask forgiveness than permission game that peeps play when they’re certain they’re right. And maybe Jimmy is right; it certainly seems so thus far. But he’s not ingratiating himself with the team and in fact is breaking every one of their rules moments after hearing them. So, although we’re rooting for Jimmy we’re also in a waiting game for when this elastic band he’s stretching snaps back at him and hopeful that Kim doesn’t get smacked too because she’s frequently standing right in the line of fire, next to Jimmy.

The episode opens in Texas where Jimmy wears a cowboy hat and visits with a group of Sandpiper residents in their shuttle bus. He’s collecting clients for the Sandpiper class action by explaining that they may have been overcharged with that folksy Jimmy charm and storytelling ease. He gets the whole shuttle bus to sign on to the suit with a contract. In fact, using this method Jimmy signs over two hundred new clients in only three weeks, a fact we find out at his meeting in the next scene. It’s a conference room with all the lawyers around the table. Chuck is there and criticizing Jimmy for what he says appears to be the forbidden act, soliciting clients.

Jimmy explains that he didn’t knock on any doors, which is true. But when he reaches out for some footsie under the table Kim pulls her foot away. So, then he adds that he won’t go about it this way anymore and follows her speedily up the stairs when the meeting ends. She asks him what happened actually. He says he means it when he said he’ll find another way to get clients. Then Kim reminds him that she put herself on the line for him to get this job. He has to do it the right way. Tsk Tsk, bro.

Next we see Mike with his granddaughter and giving money to his daughter-in-law. She seems antsy and worried and eventually tells him she hears gunshots at night. When she called the cops they took a long time to come so when they arrived there was nothing to see anymore. Mike offers to stay the night but she says no. Later that evening he’s parked outside her house, on a stakeout but nothing happens. Mike waits out there the whole night. Right when he gets to work and lets out his first tollbooth yawn his daughter-in-law calls. She shows him a notch broken into the side of her house’s stucco and says she heard shots at 2:13 AM. He ask if it’s possible she dreamed it but she insists no. So, then Mike says that’s it, They’ll just have to move her and Caylee out of there.

Meanwhile Jimmy’s telling Clifford Main that instead of decent direct mail responses (like 10-12%) they often get either none or only 2-3% for their Sandpiper mailings. Jimmy says he suspects the staff at Sandpiper is probably throwing them away. But if they did a TV ad that ran during “Murder She Wrote” they’d definitely reach Sandpiper residents. Jimmy gets a couple of young filmmakers to go through what the ad will cover – a “production meeting”. He wants a grandma rocking in a chair, shivering and clutching a tattered shawl. She’s cold, hungry and friendless. It’s gotta be heartbreaking and shot in black and white, he explains.

Later Kim visits Jimmy at his fancy new apartment to watch his TV commercial and she says it look professional and will work. She also says, though, that she can’t believe Davis & Main went for this. Then we see a flash of Jimmy looking sketchy at the office, checking to see if anyone’s listening and then calling a Colorado TV station’s ad sales department. It’s looking like Jimmy didn’t get the permission he should have after all. His assistant is in on the scheme and helps set up the rerouting of phone lines so that anything from the ad goes straight to his office. At air time of “Murder She Wrote” the phones start ringing and the new clients are rolling in. Then we see Jimmy and Kim watching a movie together late at night. Clifford Main calls Jimmy and yells at him about running the commercial without checking with him first. He’s pissed and insists that they all see the ad first thing in the morning. Kim is none the wiser and Jimmy just hopes the fact that he pulled in all the new clients will make him easy to forgive.

Next Mike goes to the veterinarian who hands out assassin jobs looking for work and he’s told that if he wants next level pay he’s gotta do next level work AKA killin’. Determined to stop his assassinating ways, Mike leaves with merely a bodyguard job. Next we see Mike sleeping and awakened by the vet calling with a next level pay job. He drives out to meet the client and it turns out to be Nacho, who tells Mike there’s a guy he needs to go away.

So, in the end we see that Mike also does whatever it takes to get the job done; whether that means staying up all night to watch his granddaughter’s house or taking an assassin job to move her to a better neighborhood. They are so parallel in this way, Mike and Jimmy. Yet there’s an interesting opposition at hand too because Mike’s trying to go straight in a world that keeps pulling him into corruption. Meanwhile Jimmy perpetuates sketchy stunts in a world (Davis & Main) that wants him to play it straight and safe. One character is like a photo negative of the other. They each have an antagonist working against the very thing they want, Jimmy has Chuck and Mike – Nacho but they are also opposites. Chuck wants to see Jimmy fail and even works as a sort of saboteur against Jimmy at work. While Nacho keeps Mike working and seeks him out for more dastardly deeds. This leaves us with the question; what will bring the parallel lives of those polar opposites, Jimmy and Mike together again?

–Katherine Recap

[For Better Call Saul “Cobbler” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Cobbler. Mike brokers a deal in order to keep a potentially messy situation intact.

“Cobbler” is all about human connection. So, it’s a funny irony that it begins with the most isolated character imaginable, Jimmy’s brother, Chuck. He’s playing piano by metronome. When Chuck makes a mistake he whacks his face with a clenched fist, then tries again. It suddenly comes together that Hey, maybe Chuck isn’t a particularly happy person and that his fake allergy to electromagnetic stuff isn’t even his biggest problem. Chuck’s real issue seems to lie in his contempt for Jimmy and (apparently) himself. This all becomes even more apparent when Howard from the office comes to the door with groceries, newspapers, and ice for Chuck. He says they miss Chuck at work and he replies that he’s thinking of coming into the office soon. Chuck asks after Jimmy then and Howard tells him he’s working at Davis & Main. This surprises Chuck, who has no appreciation for Jimmy’s abilities. Howard says Kim pushed for it and he “didn’t stand in the way” a few times just to make sure Chuck hears it. “Partner track?” Chuck asks and Howard says yes it seems so. Chuck semi pretends to be happy for Jimmy but it’s evident he hates this whole conversation. Afterward Howard leaves, Chuck sits back down at the piano but doesn’t play. Instead he just stares at the still ticking metronome. Perhaps he’s wondering what the hell is wrong with me that I can’t be happy for my brother?… but probably not.

Next we see Kim in an empty conference room. She changes the seating arrangements so she sits next to Jimmy in their meeting, then plays footsie with him throughout. After the meeting the pair smoke in the parking lot and flirt/talk about how he should buy a place halfway between there (Santa Fe) and Albuquerque, where Davis & Main is. Then Jimmy says he has to go pick up his new company car. Kim admits she’s totally jealous but gives him a congrats gift anyway, a bright yellow mug that says “World’s 2nd Best Lawyer” and he thanks her. Then Jimmy asks if he’ll see her tonight and they kiss. It’s hard not to notice the yellow of the mug matches his old beat up lemon of a car as it’s carted off to the junkyard. The yellow also matches the blouse of the nail salon owner. She owns the place where Jimmy had his office at the back behind the beaded curtain. All things bright yellow are emblems of Jimmy’s past. He tries to fit the mug into his new company car but it doesn’t fit the holder, “Must be metric,” Jimmy mumbles and tosses it to the floor. The symbolism of Kim possibly being tossed away along with his “past life stuff” looms in this moment. It’s sad to imagine them parting because she’s a case of someone who’s definitely happy for Jimmy, unlike his brother. Kim wants what’s best for him. Question is, does Jimmy?

Speaking of bright yellow symbolic objects, the next scene begins with Pryce driving into Mike’s parking garage in his bright yellow Hummer. Mike asks what he’s doing at the station and Pryce explains he wants his baseball cards and to talk to the police as a crime victim. Mike explains that because Pryce is a criminal it’s not a good idea for him to willingly talk to the police. Mike explains that the police likely know he’s a drug dealer and are planning to nail him with a “fishing trip” today. Fishing trip means questions that lull Pryce into divulging more than he should. Pryce stubbornly refuses saying that he must have his cards back, they mean everything to him and once belonged to his Dad, etc. Then Mike sighs his deep and penetrating Mike sigh, “I’ll find your cards,” he says. Pryce just has to pay Mike and he’ll get the cards back. It’ll cost but not as much as that trip into the police station would have – that would have taken Pryce’s freedom at the very least.

Next we see Jimmy at Davis & Main where he hears Clifford Main playing guitar and then talks to him about something he found in the initial Sandpiper agreements. It involved an optional plan that was in the residents’ contracts and turns out to seem mandatory. Jimmy often has these insights into evidence and it’s a defining characteristic of a great lawyer, thus we see the seeds of Jimmy’s future success.

Meanhwile Mike is at a body shop where Cheech or Chong runs the front counter. Nacho works as the interpreter while Mike pretends he wants to change his car interior to alligator leather. Then we find out that Cheech (or Chong) is Nacho’s father. He leaves Nacho alone with Mike and then Nacho’s like How’d you find me? You threatening my family? etc. Mike explains that they’re in a heap of trouble because of idiot Pryce and his baseball cards. He tells Nacho to give him the baseball cards along with $10K so that Nacho nets $60K and he won’t tell Tuco (the gang leader) about Nacho’s little side business. It’s a simple enough blackmail with the unspoken sale of the horrendous yellow Hummer included as a silent joke. Then in the next scene with Nacho we see Pryce hand over the keys to his yellow hummer to him in exchange for the baseball cards. Mike seals the deal taking the envelope of $10K from Nacho. It seems like a clean break until Pryce’s cell rings and he tells Mike it’s “the police again”.

The next scene returns to Chuck as he dons an aluminum foil-lined suit jacket and then enters a conference room where Jimmy’s talking about Sandpiper. Jimmy falters a bit at first at the sight of Chuck but then Kim puts her hand on his knee and he’s strong again. Chuck gets douchey with Jimmy in the hall after but Jimmy’s cell rings to divert his attention. Turns out it’s Mike asking if Jimmy’s still “morally flexible” and then we see the two story lines connect. Jimmy goes to the station and represents Pryce as he sits down with the police, who do indeed pretend to care about his stolen baseball cards at first. Pryce explains that he hired a private detective and found the cards on his own so they can go back to doing their important police work and forget about his signed Mickey Mantle.

Pryce leaves the room for a bit and Jimmy confronts them saying they’ve really got nothing on Pryce just because they found his little secret stash hideaway. Jimmy tells them the hiding spot housed “art videos” AKA fetish porn but not porn really because there was no sex. The cops ask about what was on the videos and Jimmy says Pryce doing “Squat Cobbler” which is a fetish where men sit in pie and squish it around with their buttocks while in costume, though technically Pryce does “crybaby squats” because he cries while he does it. Yes, the world is a rich tapestry, Jimmy explains and after he leaves the befuddled cops he makes Pryce create a real video of “Squat Cobbler” to give to the police for evidence. Unfortunately, that happens off camera.

In the next scene Jimmy and Kim eat pie in bed and laugh about his story. When Jimmy tells her about the video she stops laughing. Kim points out that it amounts to fabricating evidence that exonerated his client and therefore could jeopardize his job at Davis & Main. It was just a favor for a friend, a pro bono case, and not even about work really, he explains. But she pushes it and wants to know what the point is. He’s playing with fire taking chances like this with his career. Then Kim says she can’t hear about this kind of thing again and he says she won’t. Thus a wall goes up between Kim and Jimmy even as they continue to enjoy the pie that sits shared on their laps. The very mischievous element to Jimmy’s personality that brought them closer in the last episode now creates a barrier. Why is connecting with people so hard on this show? That’s the one question where maybe Chuck is the best character to answer.

–Katherine Recap

[For Better Call Saul> “Switch” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

AMC Summary:
Switch. Jimmy and Kim’s relationship takes a new turn. Mike feels it’s best to sever his affiliation with an unrestrained associate.

Here’s a brief refresher on Season one:

We love Jimmy McGill, a former scam artist who works hard to better himself and live a life of integrity. He wants to be like his brother, Chuck (Michael McKean), senior partner at a fancy law firm. Jimmy takes law classes online while working a day job as a mail clerk in his brother’s law firm. On his third attempt, he passes the bar exam. But Chuck, a “real lawyer” stricken with the not-real disease Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, continues to look down on Jimmy and treats him like a manservant. Chuck even prevents Jimmy from joining his law firm. Thus Jimmy goes out on his own and creates a big case serving the Sandpiper Elderly Home residents and eventually building a case that proves the home is embezzling from them. He offers the case to his brother’s firm and they take it on but still won’t hire Jimmy because of Chuck’s blockage. We know eventually Jimmy becomes a big time successful lawyer named Saul Goodman because of his character in the TV show Breaking Bad. We also know that eventually he becomes “Gene” the broken and balding manager of a mall Cinnabon.Better Call Saul serves as prequel to when Jimmy McGill became Saul, sort of the origin story, and yet also so much more than that.

The episode “Switch” is about two kinds of switches; changes we make in life and also a simple light switch which stands for something much bigger. Jimmy engages both kinds in this episode and he explains that he’s in a phase right now of “breaking the rules” because he thinks he’s followed rules for too long, ever since he came to Albuquerque for Chuck and lived basically as his manservant, anyway. We know before that Jimmy was a small time conman. So, it really serves as no surprise that this is behavior Jimmy may slip back into at times. Well, the time is now.

This first episode of season two opens on Gene (future Saul/Jimmy) closing the Cinnabon at the mall for the night. He carries the trash bags out to the dumpsters at 9:20PM and accidentally lets the door slip shut behind him, thus locking him in with only the dumpsters and emergency exit door to keep him company. The door’s sign declares that any attempt to open it will trigger an alarm that alerts the police. So, Gene plants himself on the lone milk crate and waits. At 11:45PM the janitor opens the door to bring in the rest of the mall trash and Jimmy finally exits. Then we see that he used a loose screw to carve, “SG was here,” into the wall. He leaves his mark but as Saul, the lawyer; not as Gene, manager of the mall Cinnabon.

In the next scene we pick up where last season left off with Jimmy coming to the courthouse to see the Davis & Main team for the Sandpiper trial. He pulls Kim aside and asks her if something happening between them is contingent on if he takes the job with Davis & Main. She says one thing has nothing to do with the other and he’s happy, says “great,” turns down the job offer, and then leaves them in the courthouse. So, we see what happened in that space of time before he talked to Mike about the $1.6 million in the toll booth at the ned of last season’s finale. Jimmy then drives to the nail salon and gleefully drinks the forbidden cucumber water – pouring it straight into his mouth – before heading to his office at the back to close it down for good.

Meanwhile Mike meets his client, Pryce, in a parking lot. Pryce shows up in a bright yellow Hummer with red flames painted all around and license plate that read “PLAYUH”. Mike says he won’t go to the meetup with Pryce in that vehicle because this business requires restraint and the Hummer is basically screaming. Pryce says he’s taking it anyway whether Mike comes or not. Maybe he doesn’t really need Mike for protection anyway. He says “that Nacho guy” comes alone, so why can’t he? Mike says he highly recommends Pryce take some sort of backup but then he goes without Mike anyway. At the meetup Nacho asks to look at the Hummer and Pryce tells him all about the amenities then leaves him in the Hummer while he counts the money. Once alone in the Hummer Nacho looks in the glove compartment at the registration and takes note of Pryce’s home address.

Next we see Jimmy floating in a pool next to some nachos and a phone in a ziploc (waterproof). Kim comes by and says, “So, this is what a mid-life crisis looks like,” and he tells her it’s “mid-life clarity,” and to get in the pool so he can explain why he turned down Davis & Main. She says if he really wants to talk she’ll be in the bar. So, he comes joins her to say he’s quitting law. Kim asks if something happened in Cicero and he says Cicero has nothing to do with it. It’s just his whole life since he came to Albuquerque for Chuck and then doing everything for Chuck. Chuck. Chuck. Chuck. She’s frustrated for his sake and says he’s a great lawyer, though. Jimmy says the things that make him a great lawyer can make him great at something else. So she asks what the plan is and he has no plan. Kim keeps trying to convince him to try the Davis & Main job. He says he’s sick of doing the “right thing” for all these years and it’s gotten him nowhere.

In order to illustrate what he means Jimmy approaches a braggadocio wall street douche at the bar and asks him if there’s a limit to how much a person is allowed to invest. The guy says no. Then Jimmy pretends to tell K that they can invest ALL the money they just inherited and make more money off it. The stock guy then interjects that sure they can invest all their $1.4 million inheritance but they should diversify. He offers to help them and be their advisor, claiming that he’s practically “a money printing machine” so they should talk to him a bit. They sit down with Mr. Douche, giving him the fake names Viktor and Giselle Saint Claire. To the tune of the song Golddigger they drink an entire bottle of tequila at $50 a shot and “sign on” with him as their “advisor” using the fake names then leaving him with the gargantuan bill. They giggle and run out of the bar then smooch by the side of the hotel pool and end up sleeping together at Kim’s house.

Next we see a police car drive up to Pryce’s house and enter. He was robbed, and Pryce’s really really upset about his baseball card collection being stolen. They were very special and rare. The police ask if anything else was stolen and Pryce mentions cash but won’t tell them how much. In fact, he’s downright evasive about the cash. The police are clearly suspicious about how messed up the robbers made his house, all his fancy stuff, and his weird vagueness about the cash, “clearly they were looking for something in particular,” one of the cops says and notes that the robbers left the TV and computer. Raised eyebrow alert. While Pryce prints out his inventory list of baseball cards in another room the police find a secret hiding spot behind his couch but there’s nothing back there. They put the couch back before he returns.

Then we see Jimmy back on his float at the hotel pool calling Kim on the phone in a ziploc and suggesting their next mark at the hotel. He leaves her a message and then gets thoughtful before calling Davis & Main. Next thing we know, Jimmy has flipped an internal switch of sorts. He’s starting the job at Davis & Main; suited up and shaking hands. His office is beautiful, his assistant, Omar, is helpful, and they’re even giving him a company car. Sitting in his new office chair Jimmy sees a sign on the light switch that says “Always leave ON!!! Never switch OFF!!!” so he tears the scotch tape aside and pulls the sign off. Then Jimmy turns the switch off and stands aside a moment before flipping it back to the “on” position and replacing the sign.

The switch could be seen as symbolic in various ways but the simple interpretation is that Jimmy has found a small way to break the rules and still have a luxe life for himself. Yes, the pool was relaxing and the con was fun but Jimmy knows all too well how the life of a con man can turn down a dark alley and bleed to death. He’s been in that alley. One thing Jimmy’s never done is take an opportunity like this Dean & Main job. It was smart for him to find out first that Kim would be with him regardless. Now he knows that AND he can have the cushy lifestyle too. The switch is just his little way of saying that even though he’s taken the “good guy” route after all, he can still break some rules and keep that mischievous part of himself alive. Sadly, it seems that the later incarnation of his character, Gene, had to resort to actual vandalism to do so. Why not just try that emergency door, Gene? Jimmy McGill would have. Saul would have. Perhaps we’ll have to wait for Gene’s spinoff show to find out.

–Katherine Recap