Who Wins And Loses When Better Call Saul Has A Slip?
As Slippin' Jimmy returns to triumph over a small business and a government bully, how do the characters rank?
In what mostly feels like a table-setting episode as we draw ever closer to the Season 3 finale, "Slip" does allow its characters some movement...but in what directions? Let's count down the players from who had the best week to who had the worst (and is facing down some even worser weeks to come).
Mike & Gus
After locating and calling in a female dead body buried in the desert (...k?), Mike heads into his sub-floorboard savings account to pull out a couple of bundles before heading over to Los Pollos Hermanos to discuss the future with Gus. Mike -- in his usual oblique way -- indicates that he can't dispose of this money legally, and would hate for it not to reach his family should something happen to him, so he would like to know if Gus might help him launder it for him. Gus says there's a way: "One with a degree more difficulty, but one I may be able to arrange." Mike sighs and asks whether 20% to Gus would "overcome" it, but Gus solemnly replies, "I would not take money from your family."
I continue to have the utmost respect for Gus's business acumen, I have to say! This is a guy who understands that long-term relationships are more important than short-term gain.
Since reaching out to Dr. Cruz in the last episode, following his humiliation at the Bar Association hearing, Chuck has apparently been meeting with her regularly and things are going great!
At a home visit with Dr. Cruz, Chuck excitedly shows her a log he's been keeping of his "allergic" symptoms and how the
placebomedication she's apparently prescribed him has really helped dull the intensity of his reactions to electromagnetic exposure from 8s and 7s down to 3s. He even makes it through a trip to the supermarket all by himself! Chuck's sure this means he's on the road to recovery and that, any minute now, he'll be able to do all the things he hasn't been able to since the onset of his disease: go back to arguing cases in court; reconnect the electricity in his house; throw a party! Dr. Cruz cautions him not to push himself too hard or expect results too quickly; and when Howard is waiting for Chuck upon his return from the grocery store, the bad news he's about to deliver regarding Chuck's malpractice insurance will probably lead to another relapse of his completely physical, definitely not psychological affliction.
On the verge of seeing to fruition the plan he enacted when he offered the music store-owning Sklar brothers a free TV commercial, there's a problem: No Glasses Sklar called the TV station and found out (a) Jimmy doesn't even work for them ("I never said I work for the station" - Jimmy); and (b) a commercial only costs $450. Jimmy argues that his rate includes the cost of the production of a TV spot, but when No Glasses suggests that they'll just use the original spot and buy more airtime, Jimmy has to tell him that they can't: the original ad belongs to him, not to them. Negotiations quickly fall apart, but of course Jimmy has a (literal) fallback plan, and tells his camera operator not to put the camera away but to keep it on Jimmy as he walks back over to the Sklars...
...to make one final appeal for their original deal. It's a non-starter...
...until Jimmy has a TERRIBLE ACCIDENT that gets caught on camera! What are the odds! "You guys have liability insurance, right?"
They don't, but they have enough sense to buy Jimmy off by knuckling under to their original deal and throwing in an autographed guitar. Jimmy hands Kim cash enough to cover his expenses for the next six weeks and shakes off her suggestion that he take a break, resume his community service hours after his back injury has healed, and let her carry them both for a while. He refuses, in what turns out to be a fateful decision. When one of his fellow community servers tries to leave early to see his child in the hospital -- a claim Jimmy can tell is complete bullshit -- Jimmy offers to get the guy out of there for the day for the low, low price of $700. (When he cries poor, Jimmy informs him that he has a couple grand in his sock right now.) Jimmy then lies down in the grit and, when the jerk supervisor comes over to hassle him, lawyers the shit out of the situation by attacking the waiver he signed -- which indemnifies the city, not this guy as an individual -- and that even if the lawsuit Jimmy is threatening him with is baseless and ends up losing, it will cost the guy his livelihood and future to fight it. The guy relents, and excuses Jimmy's grateful new client, too.
In the cold open scene, we saw Jimmy and Rico breaking into Jimmy's parents' former store, now long since closed and fallen to ruin, to retrieve Jimmy's coin collection from the drop ceiling so that they can use an Indian head penny in a short con; while Rico speaks warmly of Jimmy's parents and what a shame it was that they couldn't keep the store, Jimmy contemptuously describes his father as being too soft-hearted and honest to do what it took to stay in business. This seems to be the moment Jimmy realizes he could be stand to be less soft-hearted, and give up his senior citizen clientele for a class of person who might need Jimmy to do stuff for them that's a little more unsavory than writing up their wills, but who will pay for his services in cash, and immediately.
The AC mysteriously breaks at El Michoacano so it's kind of hot, but otherwise, things are going okay!
Wellllllll, it seems Nacho is the one who broke the AC in order to get Hector to take his jacket off, because he's not only filled a bunch of pill capsules with ground-up ibuprofen; he's also been practicing his reverse pickpocketing skills.
AND PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. But now: he has to wait.
It's been a rough few weeks for Howard since the hearing, as word of Chuck's breakdown on the stand -- and the years of mental illness that preceded it -- has apparently gone around Albuquerque, requiring Howard to do damage control with all HHM's clients; he's in the midst of doing it, in fact, when he runs into Kim having lunch with Paige and Kevin and comes over to say hi/take credit for what a great lawyer she is. And since he is evidently the one to get the call about Chuck's malpractice insurance, his headaches aren't going to end anytime soon.
I'm happy for Kim that she has at least enough fuck-you money to be able to shame Howard at the restaurant by writing him a personal cheque, on the spot, for the amount she still owes HHM for paying her law school tuition -- even if she suspects he'll tear it up out of spite (which he does, after berating Kim for putting him in the position of having to defend covering up Chuck's illness all this time). She then returns to her table to address Kevin's suggestion that she take on as a client a friend of his named Gatwood...
...and we watch Paige -- who, in the last episode, already seemed to be having concerns about Kim's level of overwork -- tense and relax as Kim says she'll talk to Mr. Gatwood and recommend a colleague who would be a good fit for his needs. But after talking to the back-injured Jimmy about his plans for the immediate future, she comes back out to the front desk, takes back the box of documents from Gatwood Oil, and tells Francesca to cancel the courier that was coming to pick it up; Kim thinks she can help Mr. Gatwood after all -- this despite the fact that Kim is still just stopping at home to pick up new clothes and already losing track of what day it is. It seems very likely that an exhausted Kim is on pace to make a huge error, and require Jimmy to bail her out with the biggest slip of his career.