We’re back with another Better Call Saul! Honestly, I’m not sure how you top last week’s banger. After hours of buildup, we finally witnessed Jimmy’s transformation into the sleazy (but lovable) lawyer Saul Goodman via a time jump that cleverly brought us to the Breaking Bad era.
Kim Wexler is gone — not really. I imagine Rhea Seehorn will return at some point in time, either in the flash forward time period to mingle/reunite with Gene, or in some random, mysterious way none of us are expecting. This is probably what will happen because none of my theories have worked out thus far.
Anyways, let’s get to Season 6, Episode 10, titled “Nippy.”
What Happened in Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 10
(Apologies in advance for flipping back and forth between Gene and Saul. I’m not sure what to call the man at this point.)
Our episode begins with — gasp! — a black and white flash forward where an elderly woman named Marion (played by Carol Burnett) bustles about a grocery store on her scooter. After sampling some meat, she rolls outside and gets her scooter stuck in the snow. “That wasn’t like this before,” she says.
We then see a man — Gene — stapling “Missing Dog” flyers to a nearby tree. He tells the tale of how his pup, Nippy, leaped out of his car and went missing. This draws sympathy from Marion, who promises to keep an eye out — if she could keep going. “Maybe just a little push,” Gene says. He then slides her over the snow hump and eventually (after the scooter stalls) all the way to her house. What’re you doing, Gene?
Roll credits. (Which abruptly ends as though the recording on the VHS just stopped. Neat.)
We see a Taxi roll up to a house and — ah! — it’s Jeff! Saul’s biggest fan, or the man who picked him up in Season 4 and wouldn’t leave him alone in Season 5. At the time, Gene got spooked and called Ed Galbraith for help, but then resolved to “fix it myself.” I guess this is his plan.
Jeff enters the house and looks rather shocked to see Saul Goodman-as-Gene sipping wine with his mom, Marion. “He’s not an axe murderer,” Marion says, ordering her son to sit down.
“So your mom tells me you’re a cab driver,” Saul exclaims. “Have you ever driven anyone famous?”
“Sammy Hager,” Marion exclaims.
Gene pulls some food out of the oven, more or less relaying his intentions.
Later, Jeff confronts Saul in the backyard. “Dude, what the fuck,” he snaps hilariously.
“I know, it’s awkward,” Saul says, “but you don’t have to call me dad.” I love this show.
Jeff says he only needs to make one phone call to make Saul go away, but Saul believes Jeff isn’t in it for the money — he wants in the game. “The cars, the clothes, the cash, the ladies … I can make it happen.”
“You,” Jeff says, puzzled.
“Saul Goodman,” Saul replies. “Here’s the deal: I’ll show you the game and then we’re done.”
Jeff agrees and we cut to Saul back at his house. He flips on the police scanner, waiting for anything about him to appear on the waves. Nothing. He pulls out a box full of passports and grabs Marco’s ring — i.e., the pinky ring of the deceased scam artist Marco Pasternak that was given to his friend and partner in crime Jimmy McGill by his mother.
Back at the Cinnabon, Gene goes about his usual duties before bidding adieu to his coworkers. He walks through an empty mall, nods at the sweeper operator, dumps some trash, then heads for security. He knocks on the door and Nick appears, looking rather disgruntled about the events that transpired a while back — you know, when Gene told a thief to get a lawyer. But, you know, Cinnabon.
Gene heads inside and holy God it’s Jerry from Parks and Recreation as Frank, the man who watches the mall surveillance cameras. Gene gives them the grub. Nick takes his to go, but Frank dives in. “Don’t tell my wife,” he says.
We catch Gene looking at the cameras, then fondling his watch (he sets his timer). Frank flies through his cinnamon roll, expertly chopping that snack to bits. After concluding his meal, he spins around to check the monitors and Gene stops his watch timer.
Lalo Schifrin’s “Jim On the Move” plays over the soundtrack and we see Gene (presumably the next day, or shortly thereafter) go through the same routine. He makes some food, says goodbye to his coworkers, nods at the sweeper operator, dumps the trash, and meets up with Frank.
“Gene, Gene, the Cinnabon machine,” Frank declares.
I love the way Gene deflects the conversation about the previous night’s game, which he clearly didn’t watch — “I thought, this is gonna be a long one!” The montage continues, showing Gene going through the same routine for nights on end. His presence is so anticipated that Frank buzzes him in before he can even knock.
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We cut to Gene in a clothes store checking out some suits. He’s just browsing, he tells the employee. But we see he’s doing more than that — Gene is counting steps between various items in the store whilst checking price tags. Another cut and we’re in the middle of a snow lot where Gene has marked out the measurements for Jeff to practice. Gene shouts orders — “Four! Cashmere sweaters out the door!” — but then stops. “You have to be precise,” Gene says.
See, they only have three minutes before Frank spies Jeff on camera. He has to be efficient. If done right, he can walk away with some expensive Armani suits and the store won’t even know they were taken. And when they figure it out, the security tapes will already be erased. Child’s play, right? (I love Jeff’s line, “Why do I gotta run like an asshole?”)
“This whole thing seems crazy,” Jeff says.
“Crazy,” Gene retorts, “I’ll tell you crazy.” He then recalls how a 50-year-old Chemistry teacher walked into his office dirt poor and ended up with a mountain of cash a year later.
This prompts Jeff’s friend to step up. “I’ll do it,” he says.
Jeff tosses his hat back in the ring, and Gene turns and says, in a very Walter White-like fashion, “Are you in or out?”
“I’m in,” Jeff replies and heads back to his starting position.
After the break, we see the manager going through her closing duties. She’s told there’s a delivery. Naturally, it’s Jeff’s buddy. “Two-stroke engine sprayer pumps,” she reads. “Does this store look like it uses sprayer pumps?” All business, she heads to the phone to call his boss.
Gene goes through his own closing cycle at the Cinnabon. Gets a phone call and pretends to be “Ricky’s” (Jeff’s friend) manager. Gene does his Saul thing and eventually gets Kathy, the suit manager, to hold the delivery in her docking bay overnight.
Gene grabs the goods and heads to Nick and Frank. Nick heads off to his child’s spelling bee and Gene regales Frank with his sports knowledge. The security guard digs in. Gene sends a message to Jeff, who is holed up in the box. He rolls out, heads into the suit store, and begins his run.
Armani suits are first. Air Jordans follow. “Three linen shirts for free,” he shouts, reciting Gene’s instructions. Jeff drops the goods off in the box, then heads back. Everything is going great. But we know better.
There’s no music in this scene, but every time Frank cuts his cinnamon roll, my heart rate goes up.
Then the shit hits the fan. Earlier, Kathy spotted a smudge on the floor and asked her employee to see to it that it was polished. I figured this was gonna come back somehow, like the carpet in Ted Beneke’s house. And, just like clockwork, as Jeff is running towards the finish line, he slips on that very spot and hits his head hard.
Gene chokes on his coffee. We get a great shot of Jeff lying still on the security cameras. Now what? Gene keeps looking at the camera, waiting for Jeff to get up. The man isn’t moving. Gene does the only thing he can do: he starts to weep and spins a sob story about how he is along. “If I die tonight, no one would care.”
Finally, Jeff gets to his feet and slowly collects the materials. He stumbles outside, clearly shaken by his fall, performs his duty, and runs out of frame.
Gene gets to his feet and heads outside where he collects himself just out of sight of the security cameras.
The next day, we see Jeff exit from the bathroom stall and head into the store. We hear an employee tell Kathy that Ricky is back for the box and that he brought flowers. Jeff smiles and exits out the front door.
We cut to Jeff and his buddy sorting through the merchandise. As they celebrate their victory, Saul cuts in and more or less tells them: “If I go down, you go down.”
“You don’t have to threaten me, we’re all friends here,” Jeff says.
“We’re not friends,” Saul says. “I need you to say it: we’re done. Say it.”
“We’re done,” both of the men say.
“Gene,” comes Marion’s voice from outside. “I see your car.” She opens the garage door and finds the three men checking out the car engine. She implores Gene to help her with the groceries. He agrees and the pair head inside where she tells him that “Jeffie” fell in with a bad crowd in Albuquerque. “Never been,” Saul says.
“Where’s my head,” Marion says suddenly. “I keep meaning to ask you about Nippy.”
Gene conjures another lie. Nippy is okay. “It was a happy ending,” he says.
Back at the Cinnabon, Gene takes a lunch break and heads straight for the suit store. He just can’t help himself. Those wild suits are just too alluring. Even so, he manages to walk away … for now.
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Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 10 Thoughts
Okay, so “Nippy” was a fun episode. Not earth-shattering, but interesting. I’m honestly surprised that we’re staying put in the future, as I expected some of this season to occur during the events of Breaking Bad. While I’m sure we’ll get a flashback (from the flash forward) at some point, I guess that wouldn’t really amount to much, would it? We’ve already seen Saul Goodman’s Breaking Bad era; and since Kim isn’t around during his dealings with Walt, there’s nothing more to learn from that time period.
I assume we got our last glimpse of Mike and Gus as well, right? Assuming they don’t appear in a flashback. Saul certainly keeps you guessing.
At this point, I’m not sure where we’re headed. Does Saul slowly return to his life of crime and consequently bring the heat? Is anyone, outside of the authorities, looking for him? Are we building towards a happy ending with Kim? Like, I want to believe there’s a happy ending for Saul, but that doesn’t really fit, does it?
Here’s a theory: what if Kim catches wind of his latest shenanigans, seeks him out, and is ultimately the one who sends him to jail? Like, she felt guilty about Howard, couldn’t live with herself, decided to turn herself into the authorities; and ultimately struck a plea bargain that involved capturing Jimmy? Or, what if she’s his lawyer when he’s eventually caught? Mind blown.
At this point, I still care about Jimmy McGill. Saul Goodman is an asshole, but we know why he is the way he is. While he certainly did really bad things, so many bad things happened to him that I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. If anyone deserves a second, nay third (fourth?) chance, it’s probably Jimmy.
But would he ever be able to give up Saul Goodman? Much like Walter White was addicted to his Heisenberg persona, Jimmy needs to somehow eradicate Saul … for good, man.
Just three more episodes to go! Man, I can’t wait to see where this thing goes.