This review contains SPOILERS for Better Call Saul episode 9, “Nailed,” so if you haven’t seen the episode yet, we suggest doing so before continuing. But, hey man, it’s your trip.
“I know he’s not perfect, and I know he cuts corners, but you’re the one who made him this way. He idolizes you, he accepts you, he takes cares of you, and all he ever wanted was your love and support, but all you’ve ever done is judge him. You never believed in him; you never wanted him to succeed. And you know what? I feel sorry for him. And I feel sorry for you.”
When Kim, in another nuanced, subtle performance from Rhea Seehorn, finally laid it all out for Chuck, she echoed everything I said way back in episode 2, where I wondered if Chuck was ultimately responsible for creating the man that will become Saul Goodman.
Jimmy has Saul in him, clearly–and watching the actual fallout of what he did to Chuck was really painful, it made Jimmy McGill as unlikable as he has been during the two seasons of the show–but with just some nurturing and support, Jimmy’s warm, loving traits could have made him a good man instead of the person he will become.
I had thought that moment, where Chuck had to face the reality of what kind of brother and human he has been, might be more explosive, but it was still satisfying to watch Chuck get “nailed” for what he has done. By the time Jimmy and Kim left, I wondered if we were seeing the end of Chuck, literally. I wondered if a man that can’t get over the grief of losing his wife, having just lost his integrity, his brother, and his false sense of worth, might just decide enough was enough and end it.
Then it may have happened anyway. With Jimmy fading into the actual shadows, watching his brother possibly die because of his actions, while no one was there to help him, Chuck may be gone. I hope not, Michael McKean is too good to wish him off the show, but that moment, along with talk about making Jimmy “this way,” all fed into a bigger future I’ve been struggling whether or not to share all season because I’m reluctant to make predictions, but feel is even more likely now:
I don’t think Kim will live to see Saul Goodman be born.
She is his anchor to this world, to being Jimmy McGill. Whether Chuck lives or dies and what that will do to Jimmy, it’s her presence in his life now, her support and love, that keeps him going. His attempts at being a better person weren’t done for himself, but for her. I don’t see Jimmy McGill, a flawed but ultimately good person, becoming Saul Goodman without a catastrophic event in his life making him that way. We’ve already seen what Rebecca’s death did to Chuck, that just might be Jimmy’s fate.
It’s doubtful, and very unlikely, Kim will die anytime soon, especially if the show’s creators want to slowly get to Saul Goodman, but I’m more confident than ever after tonight’s episode that is where the story is ultimately going. It would be one more tragedy in a show that is itself a tragedy: the fall of Jimmy McGill.
Speaking of the death of a character, this might have been the moment “Half-Measures” Mike realized he can’t be a halfway criminal, not in this world. It was one thing when his desire not to take a life resulted in him being punched in the face for 25k, but that got his granddaughter’s life threatened. That wasn’t enough (because somehow he didn’t realize taking 250,000 dollars from a violent drug dealer would end with someone being dead), but that innocent, good Samaritan’s blood is on his hands, fair or not, and that probably will be enough.
Now the easy choice would be to leave that world, but we saw how much he enjoyed living the high life (Mike flirted with someone!), so if he plans on being a criminal, he can’t try to do sorta be one. He’s in or out, and considering he’s going to explain that concept to Walter White one day we know he learned it the hard way. Now we are seeing that hard way.
Especially because that truck driver definitely saw his blue car.
Now just a couple of quick thoughts while I die of consumption:
–I don’t think Chuck was wearing a lined suit at that hearing, indicating he was feeling a little better because of work. It made that scene much sadder.
–Speaking of Chuck, he really is brilliant to have immediately figured out Jimmy’s ruse so quickly. But no one at HHM could catch the mistake?
–I have bad knees and it hurts to lift with them. Very insensitive of the show.
—Jonathan Banks is incredible and I should probably say it every week. I think he and Bob Odenkirk are so good, and we’ve known them as these characters for so long, that it’s easy to take them for granted, but we shouldn’t.
–That was a joke. I have bad knees, but generally that’s solid advice.
–This was the best episode in weeks. A lot happened, a lot moved forward, there was tension, even though it was quiet. That’s the sweet spot for Better Call Saul. Quiet, but interesting. Lately it had just been quiet, without a lot of movement forward. They were taking four episodes to do what they should have done in two. A lot happened here to further the story and characters.
Okay, what did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us below.