Better Call Saul “Slip”

Better Call Saul S3E8 “Slip”

After taking Memorial Day weekend off, we’re back with more Better Call Saul, and we’re heading down the homestretch of season three here as we wrap up the eighth episode. Bye weeks can be a bit tricky but “Slip” (rather ironically) stands up on its feet and reorients the viewers with where we are, mostly continuing story lines from last episode, “Expenses”. “Slip” is an appropriate name for the episode as we see a lot of characters “slip” out of character or their usual way of doing things. In “Slip”, we see Jimmy turn some quick cash by going full on Slippin’ Jimmy, Kim goes back on her word, Howard shows some emotion, Chuck finally admits he may be wrong about something, Nacho shows some anxiety, and Mike actually asks for help. That’s a lot of out of the ordinary for our cast so let’s take a closer look at what went down.

The cold open gives us a pleasant surprise with the return of Jimmy’s best friend from his Cicero days, Marco. The flashback seems to be after Jimmy’s parents have passed away because the two friends return to Jimmy’s dad’s corner store and it’s completely abandoned and they have to navigate their way by flashlight. In news that would surprise no one, Jimmy and Marco stopped by the shop to retrieve something for a scam of theirs, a coin. Jimmy locates his coin from his coin collection in the band aid box and the two reminisce about Jimmy’s parents. We get some real insight as to why Jimmy is the way that he is here. Marco, while still a scammer, saw the good in people and thinks that Jimmy’s dad was a great man who cared for the community. Jimmy sees it much differently. Jimmy views his dad as a pushover. The coin they came for was given to Jimmy’s dad as payment and Jimmy, who was quite the coin expert, told his father that the coin was worth some money. Instead of keeping it, Jimmy’s father ran down the street to look for the guy to return it to him. From that point on, Jimmy would keep his mouth shut and start collecting rare coins and in a more broad scale, wouldn’t let people push him over like they did to his father. As the two are about to leave, Jimmy heads back and decides to take the entire coin collection. No direct plot advancement here, but a great cold open to give us some more insight on Jimmy.

We’ve got a packed episode so we’ll just head down the character list and start with Chuck. Chuck has actually taken some big steps, as you recall from a couple episodes ago, Chuck called Dr. Cruz looking for help. He’s definitely made some strides by the time we see him this episode, he’s feeling less pain every time he goes outside and Dr. Cruz is surprised at the results that Chuck has been tracking himself. Chuck is dreaming big, wanting to get back in court, and even host a large party in his house. It’s a humanizing moment for him but he still has that air of superiority to him, you can see it when Dr. Cruz tells him to enjoy the results but curb his expectations as this could be a long process. Chuck quickly says that he might just be fast to recover and better than a normal patient. Same old Chuck, but it’s good to see him admit the condition is mental and take steps to fix it at least.

Later on, Chuck gives himself a huge test by buying his own groceries. Once again, the directing done to show Chuck’s condition is fabulous and the cut at the end almost makes you think he breaks down, not being able to handle the electricity any longer. It is revealed, he made it home safe and sound though and he finds Howard waiting outside his home. Howard has a nice moment of surprise and happiness when he sees Chuck returning from the grocery store, that’s a huge step for Chuck. This feel good moment can’t last long though because Howard came to talk about some unpleasant news. Chuck’s malpractice insurance has gone up, just like Jimmy planned. We don’t get to see the conversation but you know Chuck isn’t going to take this lightly. He’ll definitely figure out quickly that this was his brother’s work and it’ll only add more fuel to the fire to get back to normal life.

Kim finds herself having lunch with Kevin and Paige, talking about Mesa Verde’s ongoing expansion into Utah and Kevin having a new potential client for Kim when none other than Howard walks into the same restaurant, eating lunch with his own clients. The two take turns interrupting each other’s business lunch and Kim slips Howard a nice big check. After their clients have gone home, Kim and Howard get into a bit of a verbal confrontation where we learn that Kim’s check is to pay back her law school debt to Howard. Howard isn’t having any of it and is mad at Kim for damaging the reputation of HHM during Jimmy’s bar hearing. Ever since that, Howard has been dining with clients, trying to assure them that everything is fine, despite what they may have heard about Chuck’s breakdown. Kim likewise, isn’t having any of it and tells Howard that this is what he gets for hiding Chuck’s condition for so long and then proceeds to drive away. Great scene to show us some of the broader fallout from the events of “Chicanery”.

Checking in with Jimmy, we find him back at the music store. Much like Jimmy expected, the free commercial was a hit and business is booming. Holding his end of the bargain, Jimmy expects the shop owners to do the same and pay for the remaining slots and new commercials. One of the owners calls him out on the fishiness of the whole thing and brings up the fair point that they don’t need seven different commercials. Jimmy tries his hardest to sway their minds but it’s not happening so he reaches back into his playbook from the Slippin’ Jimmy days. He carefully places a drum stick onto the floor and tells his camera guy to roll the tape. Jimmy makes a half assed last ditch effort to get the music guys to pay for the commercials but it’s no use. Jimmy walks away and executes plan B, the good old fashioned slip and fall. Jimmy goes crashing to the floor after slipping on the drum stick and is able to make the best of the situation, he’s quite the expert at this stuff after all. Jimmy secures rent money from the shop owners and convinces them to throw in that signed guitar he was eyeing last episode. What people will do to avoid a lawsuit.

We see Jimmy use the lawsuit threat much more explicitly in his final scene. Jimmy’s back at it with community service, picking up gross trash from the sides of interstates, Jimmy decides to help a drug dealer get to his meet when he sees he can extort the situation to get some rest, keep his hours, and make some money off the drug dealer. Jimmy tells his jerk supervisor that if he doesn’t let him rest and let the drug dealer go meet his sick kid at the hospital (nice fake story there) he will sue him. The supervisor cites the waiver as his defense but the waiver only protects the city from being sued, not the supervisors. Jimmy verbally beats this supervisor into a corner until he has no choice but to relent. Jimmy gets seven hundred bucks, rest for his back, and finally gets those hours counted. Way to go Jimmy.

Brief screen time for Mike in this episode but we do learn what the one thing he wanted from Nacho was. Mike asked for the location of the good Samaritan’s body and Nacho obliges. Mike returns to the scene of the crime, the same spot where he deployed his spike strip against the Salamanca’s. With metal detector and shovel in hand, Mike spends the better part of a day digging holes looking for the guy who died because Mike couldn’t kill the Salamanca driver and he eventually does find him. Mike heads over to the closest gas station and calls the cops anonymously to report the location of the body. He heads back home and decides to take care of some unfinished business. Mike decides he needs to find some way to launder the rest of the 200 grand he has from the Salamanca’s so his family can have it if something were to happen to him. Mike drives on over to everyone’s favorite chicken shop and explains his situation to Gus Fring. Gus says he can help him but calls for a different plan that Mike proposed, “a degree more difficult” Gus says. The two shake hands and come to agreement. That’s actually our end scene but we still have one more plot line to discuss.

Saving the best for last, we turn our attention to Nacho. Nacho is hard at work, late at night at his father’s upholstery shop, crushing ibuprofen into the empty capsules that Pryce supplied him with. That seems to be the easy part as Nacho spends the better part of the night practicing on how he’s going to reverse pickpocket the dud pills into Hector’s jacket. He fails at it all night and by the time his father comes to work in the morning, you’re left seriously wondering if Nacho is going to be able to pull this off.

The next night, Nacho heads over to Hector’s taco shop and climbs the roof and breaks the air conditioning, a great plan as we’ll see the following day. In what can only be described as the tensest moment in Better Call Saul to date, Nacho puts his plan into motion. It’s money count day and Nacho is doing his usual job, all the while waiting for Hector to take his jacket off. With the air conditioning broke, it doesn’t take long for that to happen and everyone’s sweating. As soon as Hector takes his jacket off, Nacho pretends to see a suspicious looking bill and Hector calls him over to take a look at it himself. Nacho “accidentally” drops Hector’s pills from his jacket while also dropping the money, giving him an excuse to go pick it up. Nacho heads back to his seat and nervously switches the real pills with his duds, then comes the do or die moment. Nacho asks Hector if he wants more coffee to which he says yes. As he heads to the coffee maker, Nacho slips the duds into Hector’s jacket as the viewers let out a huge sigh of relief. Nacho may not have hit that shot in practice, but he did make it when it counted. I can’t wait to see how this plays out from here.

Other Thoughts

I know it wasn’t the primary reason to do so, but great call by Nacho to turn off the air conditioning because it covered up his nervous sweating. That sweat would have definitely raised suspicion if the air conditioning was on.

I’d keep an eye on the chef at Hector’s restaurant. The order window gave him a clear look at Hector, and if he was looking at the right time, Nacho’s plan.

We finally have a date for the show! Kim’s check is dated March 4 2003, so there you have it.

Kim was initially going to refer that new client from Kevin to another firm but she seemed skeptical about Jimmy continuing to keep making his own end of the rent so she decides to take the client herself.

That band aid box from the cold open can also be seen in the first Gene scene in “Uno”, among Gene’s memento box. This show is always great with continuity.

Jimmy can still pull off Slippin’ Jimmy as we saw in this episode but he isn’t twenty something anymore. That fall hurt and his back is hurting for the remainder of the episode.

I love how his camera crew played along with the slip and fall. They know he’s a scammer but they’re loyal because he’s never scammed then. They make a nice team.

Quote of the day comes from Jimmy, telling the drug dealer how it is. “I don’t judge, we all have to make a living. It just so happens your way of doing it rhymes with Mug Mealer”. Always a fun time when you bring out the rhymes.

“Slip” delivers us the most intense moment of the show up to this point and advances other plot lines as season three races towards its conclusion.

Grade A-

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