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Better Call Saul “Gloves Off” Review

Published on March 8th, 2016 | Updated on March 8th, 2016 | By FanFest

Spoilers
ahead…

One of the things I enjoy
the most about Better
Call Saul
is how it’s not
trying to
be Breaking Bad. The transformation of Jimmy into Saul is
completely
different than
the transformation of Walter into Heisenberg. Obviously the two
shows share
a universe but it’s clear that
Saul also wants to exist on
its own. This doesn’t mean that the
show can’t borrow from
Breaking
Bad
when it needs to, and the cold open to “Gloves Off”
was a perfect
example of when
borrowing from Breaking Bad story methods is more then
okay. Some
of my favorite episodes of
Breaking Bad involved seeing the
ending in the opening scene, it
helped build intrigue and gave a
sense of time
displacement. Think all the way back to season two when
episodes would open with
the chaos
around the White family pool and the guys in hazmat suits. Who among
you
didn’t want to know what the hell
was going on or when the story was going
run even with what was happening in
the cold openings? This week
watching Mike
hobble into his home and apply some frozen carrots to his
hamburger looking face
gave the
clear impression that whoever he was supposed to be taking out for
Nacho
didn’t go willingly, but was also a
callback to some of those
great Breaking Bad
episodes.

Before we get into Mike, whose

story I thought was the center piece of “Gloves Off”, lets talk about Jimmy
a
bit. This episode went out
of its way to eliminate any suspense to what was
going to happen to Jimmy
and his job. After the cold open we
find him in a
meeting with Cliff and a couple of other suits showing his
commercial and trying
to explain
his actions. Almost immediately we learn Jimmy can keep his job, and
I was
disappointed that that answer was
given so quickly. I wouldn’t have
minded if they drew it out a little
across the episode, but that’s a
minor
complaint.


Better Call Saul _
Season 2, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony
Pictures Television/

AMC

There’s just something about Jimmy when he talks that

makes me feel that he’s so
full of crap, that he’s almost grasping at straws.
The Saul character had
some of that character trait too
but at least when he was
talking nonsense he sort of believed it. Jimmy just
comes across insincere. This

isn’t seen so much with him talking to Cliff and the suits, although it’s

there, but it’s more
apparent when he goes to visit Kim who is freshly banished
to the basement
for her knowledge of Jimmy’s
actions. Giving his “there’s no
way they can do this to you” speech Jimmy
just comes across as disingenuous.
One
gets the feeling that since Kim didn’t get fired, Jimmy really doesn’t
feel
like he’s in that much
trouble. Yes it sucks for her to be a basement dweller
but hey she still has
a job. His empty promises of
going to the top to get this
fixed results in Kim threatening him that if he
does the two of them are over.

Which surprised Jimmy who asks, “we’re not over”, sounding sincere for the

first time. I worry about
Kim. She keeps giving Jimmy chances and sticking her
neck out on the line,
it’s only a matter of time before
there’s a bigger pay
off to her actions. At some point she is going to need
to understand that the
only
person Jimmy cares about is Jimmy.

But then again maybe that isn’t

entirely fair because I do believe
that Jimmy does care for Kim in his own effed
up way. He just doesn’t know
how to get out of his own way.
With Saul Goodman
we saw someone who was willing to get dirty when need be
and stayed away from
people
who could possibly bring him down. I think that’s a lesson he learned
while
being Jimmy. Years of experience
of bringing people down opened his eyes
to spotting those who were trouble.
Takes one to know
one.

While Jimmy’s
story this week may have been a little lack
luster, I did enjoy his interactions

with Chuck. Initially wanting to storm the house and by passing the no

technology rules only to turn
around and fill the mailbox with his tech goods.
Jimmy is still a slave to
Chuck despite how crappy he’s
been treated in the
past. And while Chuck was burying himself under tin foil
blankets we got a
glimpse of
a Jimmy who actually cares for the well being of his brother. Granted
once
he wakes up Jimmy goes into full
let’s make a deal mode and begs Chuck to
ask him to resign. Something he
knows full well Chuck won’t do
because of it
being illegal. I believe Jimmy does want to stop being a
lawyer if only to stop

disappointing his older brother, and in some way he needs his approval to
quit.
Did anyone else get the
hint that Chuck was trying to preform a jedi mind trick
on Jimmy here? Like
I’m not going to to tell you not
to be a lawyer. Sounds a
little like these aren’t the droids you’re
looking for.

– Better Call Saul _
Season 2, Episode 4 –
Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony
Pictures Television/
AMC

While all the stuff concerning
Jimmy was interesting there
is
little debate that this episode belongs to Mike. Nacho needs Tuco gone, and

thinks Mike is just the guy to do
it. In fact Mike thinks he’s just the guy to
do it as well as he goes
looking to buy the perfect sniper
rifle. The guns
presented to him don’t spark the passion of killing, and
Mike walks away empty
handed. I
also would like to add that fifty thousand for offing a guy seems a
little
light. I don’t know it just
doesn’t seem like a whole lot of money for
killing another person. As a
complete side note where do all
these secret arms
dealers materialize from? Are they just hanging by dark
alleys in hopes of
soliciting a
hit man. Doesn’t seem to be a large market.

One more side
note.
Knowing what we do of Tuco and how
he’s crazier than a bag of cats (yep
an Avengers quote in a
Better Call Saul piece) did
anyone
else’s perspective of the opening scene change. As an audience we
know that
Mike doesn’t kill
Tuco because Tuco exists in Breaking Bad. Once Nacho
tells Mike of
his assignment we know he’s
destined to fail which is strange
because Mike hardly ever fails. That got
me thinking. What if Better
Call
Saul
wasn’t a Breaking Bad prequel but the story of how
Mike and
Jimmy are trying to
change the future. Some how the two of them get thrust back
in time and try
and course correct everything so
that Walter White doesn’t
become Heisenberg. I know it seems like some real
Dr. Who stuff and is highly

improvable, but you have to admit it would be a pretty cool turn of

events.

Getting back on
focus… Mike, who still needs to keep his nose
clean after killing the cops
who murdered his son, decides
there are better ways
to get rid of someone, and convinces Nacho that it’s
in his best interest to
think
of these other methods. The “killing your partner…that bell you don’t

unring” line stood not only as a
foreshadow to Breaking Bad but helped
build a foundation of the type
of career Mike wants to have.
There are lines of
loyalty that shouldn’t be crossed, and we know Mike is a
man of principal. He
does
take quite the pay cut though as getting someone arrested only pays twenty-

five thousand. Some how this seems
more reasonable.


Better Call Saul _
Season 2, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony
Pictures Television/

AMC

The defenseless old guy routine was fun to watch as
Mike
scuffed up Tuco’s car and
forced an altercation between the two. Better
Call Saul
gives us
the opportunity to see characters
like Mike and Tuco
interact and the scene is not a let down at all. Mike
takes a pretty solid
beating for
a man his age but gets his point across. Tuco can’t help himself
and gets
played by Mike almost
effortlessly. With Tuco out of the way this
should pave the way for the
reign of Nacho. I’m curious to see
if he hires Mike
out as his muscle. It also reminds us that the beaten and
bloodied Mike from the
start
of the episode was the winner. Mike doesn’t lose people.

“Gloves

Off” was a fantastic episode of
Better Call Saul and it’s mostly
because of the performance of
Jonathan Banks who totally gets the
character of
Mike. Jimmy kind of took a back seat this week as there was
little suspense to
his outcome,
but Mike earned his PBR and frozen carrots. Rest up buddy you
deserve it.

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