‘Better Call Saul’ Season 2, Episode 9: ‘Nailed’

The past few episodes have been slow burns leading up to this action packed installment of “Better Call Saul.” I have said before that I really am enjoying the pacing of the show, and with “Nailed,” the payoff made for an excellent hour of television.

The cold open shows us once again the delivery driver who is transporting transactions for Hector Salamanca, driving through the desert. And we see a trap being set up —  and finally see what that hose/nail invention Mike has been working on is really for. He uses them to be dragged across the road and puncture the tires of the vehicle. Yes, Mike’s watching the comings and goings of Salamanca’s operation has come to bear fruit: A trunk full of cash — about a quarter of a million dollars.

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut - Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC
Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut – Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 9 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC

Then we see Chuck about to head to the hearing that will decide on Mesa Verde getting approval for a new branch with Howard. What was pretty interesting, when they arrive at the courthouse, was seeing the panic Chuck goes through as he walks through the metal detector from his point of view. The white noise becomes louder, and it is pretty spot on to what it is like having a panic attack. Chuck is clearly not comfortable.

Chuck becomes even more uncomfortable (and becomes sort of unhinged) when Jimmy’s plan from last episode works: The address switch made Chuck and Howard look foolish before their peers and clients, and it sits terribly with Chuck. He keeps insisting he was correct, that everyone else is wrong. He even tells Mesa Verde’s president he is wrong, to which he says he should know the address to his own damn property. As this is happening, the white noise creeps back over the sound as Chuck is panicking. He has been embarrassed, and as we see he certainly does not like being wrong in front of others. Especially when he sold Mesa Verde on HH&M’s eye for detail. Mesa Verde does not get the approval, and will have to wait six weeks for another hearing.

Which leads Chuck to come to the (correct) conclusion that Jimmy did this to him.

- Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony Pictures Television/ AMC
– Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony Pictures Television/ AMC

We then see Jimmy and Kim cleaning up and painting their new shared office. Kim gets the call from her friend Paige at Mesa Verde telling her they will be going with her. She gets a call after that from Chuck saying he wants to hand over the case files to her. This sets up what is one of the best written confrontations I have seen on both this show and “Breaking Bad.”

As Chuck’s place (with the locks having been replaced), Jimmy is confronted by his brother in front of Kim. Chuck is rambling, angry and 100 percent correct in what Jimmy has done to him. Right down to the 24 hour copy place. “He sabotaged me!” Chuck yells, explaining Jimmy has been doing this stuff all the way back to high school. What was brilliant was how they made Chuck look like the bad guy here; a raving lunatic in a Space Blanket making all sorts of accusations. He keeps yelling “I did not make a mistake!” over and over, as if even if Jimmy hadn’t actually done this, it feels like Chuck wouldn’t have accepted his making a mistake anyway.

Chuck is imploring Kim to believe him, Chuck cannot be wrong in his mind. Kim asks the one question Chuck needs to prove Jimmy has done this: Where is the evidence? Chuck doesn’t have any, which as a lawyer he should no would not hold up in a court of law. Kim actually comes to Jimmy’s defense in this scene, saying “you’re the one who made him this way” by constantly standing in Jimmy’s way and keeping Jimmy down all these years.

And to an extent, she’s right. Jimmy might not have gone to the lengths he has in New Mexico if Chuck had been more supportive, and not keeping him down at HH&M. Chuck has made his contributions what will eventually lead to the creation of Saul Goodman. But we see when Kim and Jimmy leave, even Kim knows what Jimmy did to his brother, and is not happy about it either.

Then we have Mike, who is enjoying the new money he has come into. But he gets a call from Nacho, who wants to meet with him. Nacho knows Mike (at this point) will not kill, and that MO meets with what happened to the deliver guy who was bound and gagged with duct tape.

Nacho wants to knows if the guy was in on the theft. Mike assures him he did it alone. “You guys aren’t as smart as you think you are,” he tells Nacho. He also lets Nacho know he was purposely trying to get the cops to look in Hector’s direction. Something that Nacho surely does not want to happen. Mike assures him he is no longer interested in Hector (though knowing how in “Breaking Bad” that Gus hates Hector with a passion, I’m guessing this is far from over with Mike).

- Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 8 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony Pictures Television/ AMC
– Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony Pictures Television/ AMC

Then we come to the end of the episode, when Kim warns Jimmy that to go up against his brother like this, he better make sure there are no loose ends. And she is right, because when Jimmy thinks of the one that could place him in an incriminating situation, he heads to the copy shop and sees Chuck’s assistant Ernesto there talking with the night employee. Once he leaves, Jimmy sneaks in to bribe the guy into silence, and to erase the security camera’s footage of him making the bribe.  Lance, the guy who works the night shift, agrees to the bribe.

So then we have Chuck arrive (sporting the Space Blanket in the car), and he goes in to question Lance. As Lance has changed his story now, Chuck becomes even more unhinged — almost rabid in grilling the guy. He yells at him, yells at the customers who want Lance to help them with a machine as Ernesto keeps suggesting that Chuck and he should probably leave. All the while, Jimmy is watching from the shadows across the street.

As the white noise becomes louder and louder — almost overwhelmingly so — Chuck passes out and hits his head on a counter. It is a nasty looking fall too. Jimmy sees this and is muttering they need to call an ambulance. Then the episode ends. Will Jimmy rush over to help his brother? We will have to wait until next week.

Thoughts:

  • “Everyone makes mistakes,” Howard says as he is trying to calm Chuck after the hearing. “This was no mistake,” Chuck replies.
  • Mike’s stalking the Salamanca operation sure has paid off. He can even afford to buy the house a round at a local watering hole.
  • Mike taking delight in Hector freaking out about the theft as he is still staking out the Salamanca business was good.
  • Jimmy’s filming part of the commercial at that elementary school was a fun scene. Especially when one of the faculty becomes start struck in hearing Rupert Holmes went to the school and that is what Jimmy’s “documentary” is about.
  • People have to “ground” themselves before entering Chuck’s house, which is touching a weird metal thing near his door.
  • Again, even though Chuck is correct, when it is said out loud, Jimmy’s plan does sound really weird and unlikely.
  • The Salamancas cleaned up the robbery before the police arrived, keeping it out of both the police and media’s attention.
  • “Hector’s already forgotten about you,” Nacho says. Mike responds “I haven’t forgotten about him.”
  • Part of me thinks Chuck knows Lance has spoken to Jimmy once the kid asks him if he is a cop. Chuck’s legal threat didn’t even phase the guy.
  • Again, how they filmed Chuck’s freakouts were incredible. It was both horrifying and gave some sympathy to the character.
  • With one more episode to go, I really don’t know which direction it will take. I am excited to see it though.