[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 10 of Better Call Saul, “Nippy.”]
Better Call Saul‘s preparing for its big conclusion, but after last week’s Breaking Bad timeline fast-forward, the series is taking an interlude with, “Nippy.”
For the first time since Season 5, viewers are brought back to Jimmy’s (Bob Odenkirk) life as Gene Takovic in Nebraska. As viewers will recall, the last time they saw Gene, he was calling Ed (Robert Forster), the man who helps people disappear, to inform him that he’d been made by a local cab driver.
Before Ed can offer any kind of assistance, Gene says he’ll fix it himself, and that’s what this episode is, him fixing the predicament he’s found himself in. Below, we’re breaking down all of the key moments and reveals so beware of spoilers ahead.
The installment opens in a grocery store where a woman named Marion (Carol Burnett) driving a motorized wheelchair collects items on shelves with a grabber rather than accepting help from patrons. When she makes it to the deli counter, she’s greeted by name, and she takes a cheese sample while making small talk before wheeling herself home. Running into some trouble getting over the snow bank in her motorized chair, she notices a man hanging posters for a missing dog named Nippy.
Of course, the man turns out to be Gene, who is setting up a scheme. At first, she denies his offer for help, before realizing it will be impossible to get onto the sidewalk without a push. Little does she know, this is what he planned to happen; as he bends down to push her chair, he also snips the wires that power it. Realizing something isn’t right, Marion looks at Gene and he turns back to push her the rest of the way home. But, what’s the importance of Marion? The episode soon reveals her identity after an interesting set of credits.
Credits Gone Wild
The credits for the opening of the episode begin with the wacky colors and visuals that are usually seen, but then abruptly turn to a blue screen as a click indicates the end of a tape. The title is revealed in plain white letters with credits to creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. But the sequence holds significance as the rest of the episode plays on because this installment truly is the end of Gene’s chapter as Saul.
Gene Cuts a Deal with Jeffy
As the episode picks back up following the opening title sequence, the action follows cab driver Jeff (Pat Healy) who arrives home to voices in the kitchen. It turns out that Marion is his mother and his shock to find Gene alongside her is evident on his face. When Marion asks “Jeffy” to come and join them at the table, noting that Gene helped her with her chair and groceries, the man obeys but is clearly tense.
Sitting through dinner together, Gene asks if Jeff ever had any famous passengers in his cab and Marion makes her son share stories. Once the men are sent to take the trash out, they have a private conversation during which Jeff threatens the former lawyer.
Gene defends that he hasn’t been turned in because Jeff wants in on “the game.” At first, the cabbie acts confused but ultimately agrees to stay quiet if Gene teaches him his grifting ways. Once the lesson is complete, Gene tells Jeff that they’re done. Later that night, Gene returns home and puts his police scanner on, pours himself a drink, and pulls out his little box of mementos, placing the pinky ring on his finger to get back in the Saul state of mind.
The next day, Gene works on closing up the Cinnabon shop, packing up a couple of cinnamon rolls, bidding his coworkers goodnight, and heading for the trash. Tossing the bag out, he returns for another bag he left in the hallway before knocking on the security office’s door. There, Gene meets two security guards: One is heading out on his nightly rounds outside and the other stays and watches the monitors.
Gene clarifies that he’s stopping by to thank them for calling the ambulance when he passed out at work and as a thank you, he’s brought them hot cinnamon rolls. As one of them takes theirs to go, the other, played by Parks and Recreation‘s Jim O’Heir, sits down to dig into the treat, offering Gene a cup of coffee and some conversation.
What the innocent security guard doesn’t realize is that Gene is timing his consumption of the treat as he clicks his stopwatch. Gene wants to see how long the guard is not looking at the security cameras. Realizing that he’s playing a long game, Jimmy continues this pattern of visits and treats, conditioning the security guards and collecting more data.
Gene also counts out how many steps it takes to get from one section of the mall’s department store to another as he marks a path for Jeff to follow. As he walks through the aisles, the suits catch Gene’s attention, reminding him of the old days. But he shakes the daydream and heads to the bathroom where he quickly draws out a map of the department store floor in a notebook.
Next, we see Gene directing Jeff and a friend (played by Max Bickelhaup) as they set up stakes and ropes in a snowy lot. The layout is there to help Jeff do practice runs as Gene coaches him. Gene tells him that he can’t pick up more than three of each item he’s looking to steal, that the goal is to get in and out before the three-minute window is up and by taking so little there won’t be any suspicion before the security tapes erase 72 hours after the planned heist. At first, Jeff is reluctant, but Gene and his friend convince him otherwise.
The night of the heist begins in the department store as the mall is closing up and the manager notices a scuff, asking one of her colleagues to make sure maintenance cleans it up. When another employee walks up to the manager, he informs her that there’s a delivery, and she tries to turn it away, but they won’t take the box back. Asking to speak with the mover’s manager, she rings and Gene picks up. Going by the name of Steve, he apologizes for the inconvenience but offers to drive from four hours away to pick up the box as the mover needs space in his truck for other transports.
Ultimately, the woman decides to let the box stay as long as the mover returns to pick the box up the next morning. Everything is going according to plan as Jeff crawls out of the box when the coast is clear and he’s told by Gene via text to “go.” Running around the store, he grabs the goods as discussed, bringing one load back to the box and heading out for more. As Gene sits in the security office, he can see how the progress is coming, but things take a bad turn when Jeff slips on the floor that’s just been cleaned and basically knocks himself out. All of the goods go flying in the air.
Realizing he needs to buy some time, Gene puts on a depression episode for the security guard, saying he has no one and nothing, pointing out that his parents and brother are dead and that no one would miss him. Ultimately, Jeff wakes and scrambles to pick up the things he dropped, returning to the box and packing it with the items. Letting the episode pass, Gene excuses himself and he lets out a big breath in the hallway, realizing that they got away with it.
In the Light of Day
The next morning, Jeff emerges from the department store’s bathroom where he hid overnight and hears that the delivery has been picked up. Back at Jeff’s house, Jeff, his friend, and Gene look over the spoils, and it is made clear that they’re not friends. Gene says there are no more lessons or handouts, noting that Jeff and his pal are guilty of crimes now and using his legal knowledge to implicate them in acts that could put them behind bars for years.
When Marion wheels up to the garage, the men have to hide the goods and she asks Gene to come into her house. She asks about Nippy, the dog he supposedly lost, and he tells her that the pet was found with a nearby family and that all is well.
Following the grift, Gene walks through the department store again, this time on his lunch break. As he looks at shirts and ties, he seems to long for the years he spent as Saul Goodman. But when he hangs the items back up, it seems to be final, like closing the chapter on a book. Is Saul gone for good? Only time will tell.
Better Call Saul, Season 6, Mondays, 9/8c, AMC and AMC+