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Better Call Saul – S2E4 – Gloves Off
John and Chris are back for a second year of obsessive chat centered on the story, the characters, the craft, and the philosophical ins and outs of AMC’s Better Call Saul.
“Gloves Off” begins as a battered Mike returns home, throws a stack of money on the table, and applies a bag of frozen vegetables to his bruised and swollen face. Some kind of deal has gone down, and gone down badly. The last piece of the puzzle falls into place when Mike pulls a familiar charm from his pocket: a pair of bejeweled boxing gloves that we’ve previously seen hanging around the neck of Tuco Salamanca, during his reign of terror on Breaking Bad. Suddenly it becomes clear who the “guy” was that Nacho needed to go away last week.
As the story unfolds, we see that Mike indeed took the job from Nacho, but that after considering the rifle selection offered by genial arms dealer Lawson (another face from Breaking Bad), he has opted to go the non-lethal route, ensnaring Tuco in a situation that will get him arrested on charges seemingly unrelated to his business with Nacho, thereby clearing Nacho of any suspicion of murdering or, worse, informing on his psychotic partner. The plan works but Mike is left to ponder why he took a pay cut in order to avoid taking the life of a loathsome monster like Tuco.
Meanwhile, Jimmy is still dealing with the fallout of his unauthorized tv spot. The partners at Davis & Main are unimpressed and he would be fired if Clifford Main didn’t believe in second chances. But Jimmy will be facing more scrutiny from here on out, both from his employers and from Kim, who faces the worst of it when her foreknowledge of Jimmy’s commercial scheme is seen as a major lapse in judgement by Howard and Chuck. Kim is banished to the cornfields and determined to work her way back to her boss’s good graces. She expects Jimmy to do the same.
But Jimmy has other plans, and approaches Chuck to argue for Kim’s reputation and bargain for her status at the firm. The brothers argue in their usual fashion. In the end Chuck refuses to take Jimmy’s deal, which would entail the younger McGill quitting the law forever in exchange for a reprieve for Kim.