Better Call Saul: “Gloves Off”
“Gloves Off” is an episode in which characters discover the consequences of not doing what is expected of them. Jimmy gets some heat for his actions from last week’s episode, “Amarillo”, Mike goes off the beaten path to help Nacho using a method that Nacho probably would have never thought of in a million years and even Kim faces heat for not keeping her superiors updated on what the highly subject to change Jimmy is up too. Let’s take a closer look.
Last we saw of Jimmy, the picture looked as bleak as a success could be. His Colorado Springs Sandpiper commercial worked like magic as he got over two hundred new clients as a result from the commercial but Jimmy’s decision to go rogue and not tell Cliff before he aired it left him in some hot water. Cliff told Jimmy that he is expected in his office before hours to explain himself and to find out his fate. This is where we pick things up in “Gloves Off” for Jimmy as he finds himself at Cliff’s office being berated by Cliff and the other partners at the firm.
We as an audience are presented most of the story through Jimmy’s eyes. We get so much screen time with Jimmy that maybe sometimes we get lost in the fact that the law world does not revolve around him. Jimmy has a tendency to get extremely focused when he wants to get something done and forget about whatever else is going on around him. He keeps trying to defend himself in front of the Davis and Main partners by saying but look at the results, we got so many more clients that we never would have got otherwise. I just want to help us win the Sandpiper case. While we all admire Jimmy’s tenacity and work ethic, we are reminded, and he learns that the world does not revolve around him. In his obsession with the goal of getting more clients and helping his firm win the Sandpiper case, he forgets that he works at a big law firm. His ways are extremely well suited for being a solo practitioner but being a part of a team is something that he struggles with. Cliff tells him that Sandpiper is not a make or break case for Davis and Main, there are and will be other cases for the firm and even if it was the only case that the firm was interested in, the firm is still a team and Jimmy did not play his part by undermining authority and calling his own shot running the commercial without letting the boss know. Cliff is a good guy though and he is the one in a two to one vote in favor of firing him. Cliff’s one vote is enough to keep him along but this counts as both strike one and strike two for Jimmy, he may not be long for this job.
Jimmy isn’t the only lawyer having a bad time out of this though. Kim’s role in the commercial starts and ends with seeing the commercial, no knowledge that Jimmy did not run the commercial by his boss. Never the less this leaves her in a bad situation at work as Howard and Chuck make her feel their wrath. Down to document review she goes and her relationship with Jimmy now stands on rocky waters. She got a demotion in season one and it really served as a way of advancing Jimmy’s story. It happens again and while it would be nice to get some more time with Kim to see how her demotions affect her, I can’t complain too much about it because we get another brilliant personal scene between the McGill brothers. Jimmy goes over to Chuck’s house to give him a piece of his mind in regards to demoting Kim but he finds his brother looking ill all wrapped up in his space blanket. Jimmy immediately forgets about trying to reason with Chuck and directs all his attention to caring for his brother. It’s wonderful to see that at their roots, they do love each other but it ends right there and it’s also sad because their differences look irreconcilable. Once Chuck is all right in the morning they get their argument rolling and Jimmy notes that if Chuck really wants him out of the law, he’s got a perfect opportunity to extort him. Jimmy will quit the law if Chuck gets Kim out of the dog house. Jimmy is unlikely to ever change to become more like Chuck so his only option is to make Chuck “roll around in the mud” with him, bring Chuck down to his level. The thing is, Chuck is just as steadfast in his ways. He refuses to extort Jimmy out of the law thinking he’ll just tank his career all by himself. Chuck makes a sly remark saying Jimmy’s going to be late even if he leaves right now and with that, this chapter of Chuck vs Jimmy comes to a halt.
There’s something to be said for bringing tenseness to a situation in which we already know that it can’t end a certain way. Mike’s scene with Tuco does this brilliantly, making the moment quite tense and fun to watch even though we know Tuco, despite Nacho’s wishes, can’t actually die here. In the future I have little doubt that Mike would just jump on the nuclear option and kill Tuco but much like Jimmy, Mike is also on an adventure of character transformation. At this point Mike doesn’t want to get his hands dirty so he puts his cleverness to work. Mike’s plan of bumping Tuco’s car, pissing him off, flashing his wallet and refusing to compensate him, anger him to the point of hitting him works to perfection, even timing the whole thing perfectly beforehand so that the cops show up right on time to see it all unfold. Mike takes a nasty black eye and half of the original money Nacho offered and Tuco is out of the picture for now.
Other than the fact that Mike set up Tuco, he also commit another crime himself, that glove chain he has in the beginning actually belongs to Tuco, he must have swiped it during the fight, Mike’s a sly one.
A dead Tuco may draw Salamanca’s like flies but won’t an imprisoned Tuco do the same? Wouldn’t surprise me if this gets traced back to Mike
Jimmy will obviously be under a lot of scrutiny from here on out at work but he didn’t really work in this episode. Looking forward to see what Jimmy has to deal with back at the office.
Quote of the Day. Mike trying to get Tuco to punch him one more time, with the cops now present. “Is that all you got?” Mike got him hook line and sinker.
Jimmy’s actions have widespread effects that go beyond him. Jimmy and Chuck still refuse to budge an inch and Mike gets ride of Nacho’s Tuco problem but may have given himself a Tuco problem in the process.