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Review: ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 2 Episode 9, ‘Nailed,’ Can’t Escape the Truth

Review: 'Better Call Saul' Season 2 Episode 9, 'Nailed,' Can't Escape the Truth

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 2 Episode 8, ‘Fifi,’ Readies for Disaster

Case Summary

Going to the local courthouse is even more of an ordeal for Chuck than it is for the rest of us, but it’s worth it for him to attend a Mesa Verde hearing that will cement HH&M’s ownership of the client. Unfortunately, thanks to Jimmy’s tinkering last week, Chuck’s paperwork is all screwed up, and not only is he humiliated in the hearing, but Mesa Verde fires them and picks Kim as their new representation. It all went exactly according to Jimmy’s plan… A plan that Chuck immediately deduces. Because it sounds so farfetched coming out of Chuck’s mouth, it’s easy to understand why Kim tells Chuck that she thinks he simply made a mistake. But afterwards, it’s quite clear that she knows Chuck is right, and that she’s trying to cover for him.

While not openly acknowledging that she knows, she encourages Jimmy to make sure “every I is dotted” in his cover-up, which sends Jimmy back to the copy shop to bribe the copy guy into forgetting he was ever there, before Chuck is able to interrogate him. The copy guy stays strong even under the most brutal cross-examination, and Chuck becomes highly agitated, especially under the electric glare of the copy store lights and machines… and passes out, whacking his head on the way down. Jimmy watches across the street, unable to rush to his brother’s side.

Opening Credits Extreme Close-Up

Matchbook in the urinal. Yep, same as Episode 9 last year.

The Least Legal Move

Last week, we weren’t sure what laws, exactly, Jimmy broke by meddling with that paperwork. This week, in true Kim fashion, she lays out just a few of the crimes that Jimmy committed: forgery, fraud, breaking and entering…

Oh, and Mike hijacked a truck, assaulted a man and stole the cartel’s money. That also happened.

What’s Up With Mike?

Glad you asked! So, after easily weeks of surveillance, tracking the Salamanca organization, Mike puts his fancy new nail hose to use, blowing out the tires on the Regalo Helado truck (Spanish translation, btw: “frozen treats”) and stealing the hundreds of thousands of dollars that was hidden in one of the tires. It’s a good moment for Mike, except that he was hoping the theft would also clue the cops onto Hector Salamanca — something that did not happen because the Salamancas covered it up with bullets. In theory, Mike got away with it, except that Nacho correctly interpreted the fact that the driver lived as a sign that Mike was involved. So Nacho knows what Mike did, and it’s not in his best interests to tell anyone about it, but the element of danger remains.

Remembering What Hasn’t Happened Yet (The “Breaking Bad” Tie-In)

We only get a little bit of time with the Salamancas today, but it’s enough to remember that the Mike we currently know stands in sharp contrast to the guy who, by the time Walter White enters the scene, is all too comfortable with killing. Finding out exactly why that changed is easily one of the show’s most compelling mysteries.

Oh, That’s Right. It’s a Period Piece

Our grandchildren, when watching this show, will need this explained to them: Once upon a time, in order to duplicate a file, you had to go to a special facility and put the pages into a machine that would then create a paper version. Not only that, but these facilities were so essential to our various industries that they would stay open all night long.

I actually do get a bit nostalgic at times for the dwindling vitality of Kinko’s and the like. But I’m also quite happy living in a world where I don’t ever need to fax things.

On The Journey From Jimmy to Saul

Here’s the biggest thing: In the midst of all this, Jimmy’s still finishing his TV commercial, stealing a shot in front of an elementary school with conman charm. If I believe in anything, I believe that next week, we’re going to see Jimmy’s fancy new commercial. That ad, given the glimpses we’ve gotten of its production, will not err on the side of subtlety. Going out on a bit more of a limb: It’ll be an advertisement that would make Saul Goodman himself proud — and it’ll be the final straw for Kim.

Cocktail Hour

The closest we got to boozing it up this week was singing the Pina Colada song. By the way, that’s a really weird song, when you read the lyrics. Rupert Holmes, you’re weird.

Best Quote

“No one ever accused you of being lazy. Every other sin in the book, yes, but not that.”

“I know he’s not perfect I know he cuts corners but you’re the one who made him this way… You never believed in him. You never wanted him to succeed.”

We’re highlighting two lines from yet another one of “Saul’s” explosive Chuck and Jimmy showdowns (with Kim as a bonus player), because they serve as echoes of each other. The first is the lynchpin of Chuck’s argument, and the line that, if we were Kim, would have convinced us that Chuck was right on the money. (Well, that and the fact that for Jimmy, this was “some sort of twisted romantic gesture.”) It’s an insult buried in an compliment. When Kim stands by Jimmy, proving just how well she knows this man and the forces which have shaped him, it’s a compliment buried in an insult.

The most heartbreaking thing about this scene in general is that until Kim starts punching Jimmy, you think he might just get away with it, and you want him to, because of the way Kim defended him. For someone seemingly so reserved, Kim feels things so deeply, and when that passion comes out it’s captivating.

READ MORE: Why ‘Better Call Saul’ is One of the Most Feminist Shows on Television

“It’s From a Movie!”

It’s 2003, Jimmy. Sure, Johnny Carson isn’t the most obscure of figures, but he’s been off “The Tonight Show” for over 10 years. Don’t be so surprised that Lance the copy guy doesn’t remember who Carnac the Magnificent was.

In Conclusion, Your Honor

The sound of Chuck’s head colliding with the counter was like a smack across the face, one that will linger in our memories, one that has us scared that “Better Call Saul’s” body count just ticked up from three to four.

And losing Chuck wouldn’t be the most shocking move this show could pull, but it’d still affect us deeply. One of the most interesting facets of Chuck is the combination of his intense pride and his buried jealousy over how Jimmy has the one thing he doesn’t: Charisma. Both of these traits became more developed and defined over this current season, helping us unravel a man who, at the beginning of Season 1, was a complete and utter mystery. (Is it next week yet?????)

Right now, the only real issue I had with the episode was that the Mike storyline and the Jimmy storyline could have taken place in different cities — heck, different planets — and it wouldn’t have made a difference. But I’m willing to trust that next week brings it all back together, while also setting the stage for the already confirmed Season 3. “Saul” has earned that.

Grade: A-

More video from “Better Call Saul” Season 2…

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