Better Call Saul Television

Better Call Saul Recap: Episode 2×06 (”Bali Ha’i”)

image

Episode 2×06: In which Slippin’ Kimmy comes out to play and Mike gets some unwanted visitors.

Episode 2×06: “Bali Ha’i” (written by Gennifer Hutchison; directed by Michael Slovis)

“Bali Ha’i” is another season 2 episode that is relatively light on Jimmy McGill, although it starts and ends with him. In the teaser, we see Jimmy at his corporate apartment in the wee hours of the morning. Unable to sleep, he tries watching some TV but there’s nothing on except infomercials and C-SPAN. Jimmy is flipping channels when he sees one commercial that piques his interest, but for all the wrong reasons: Davis and Main has remade his Sandpiper commercial in its usual boring style (a la their mesothelioma commercial), and Jimmy is devastated.

image

There’s no sleep coming for Jimmy and he decides to play a variety of indoor sports with those decorative wicker balls. He tries soccer, basketball, bowling, etc. but he remains restless. Jimmy decides to leave his fancy new place and go “back home,” which for Jimmy means the nail salon (and honestly, how sad is that?) He’s finally able to fall asleep once he’s back in his old home/office, sprawled out on the pullout couch bed.

image

Kim is alone at home, too, and she looks just as restless as Jimmy. She’s slowly getting herself ready for work but she’s distracted and we soon learn that she’s waiting for Jimmy to call and sing show tunes into her answering machine (which he’s been doing every morning for a week). Kim and Jimmy haven’t fully made up yet but it’s obvious from the way Kim’s face changes as she listens to Jimmy sing “Bali Ha’i” that she’s on the verge of taking him back.

image

After his rendition of the South Pacific tune, Jimmy finishes up his message, which he keeps light and breezy, but there is an underlying desperation when he tells her to call him any time. He hangs up just before Mrs. Nguyen busts into his office, not expecting him to be there. I absolutely love Mrs. Nguyen and the way she so blatantly dislikes Jimmy. She immediately stars giving him shit, asking if he got fired already. Jimmy snaps back with some smartass comment about how he wishes he’d been fired, and Mrs. Nguyen is not amused.

image

She’s not having any of Jimmy’s crap and tells him, quite rightly, that there are plenty of people who work hard and don’t have near as much as he does. She basically calls him an entitled crybaby and tries to kick him out of the salon, but he’s paid up and legally allowed to be there, much to her dismay. Jimmy extorts some free coffee out of her with the promise of getting out of her hair sooner and she obliges him, but his “World’s 2nd Best Lawyer” mug still won’t fit in that Mercedes cup-holder.

Apparently, Kim’s little chat with Chuck in episode 2×05 made a difference, because she’s out of the doc review basement of Hell and back in her old office, although she’s yet to unpack. Howard comes around telling her that the Mesa Verde clients, Paige and Kevin, have arrives, and as they walk together towards the conference room it’s clear that it was definitely not Howard’s choice to give Kim another shot. He is, in a word, pissed. He looks like he could literally kill someone and he doesn’t say a word to her the entire time, even when she swears to him that she didn’t say anything to Chuck to try to get out of doc review.

But as they round the corner towards the conference room, Hamlin turns on that million-dollar smile and we can see exactly how fake it is. Hamlin has always struck me as insincere because he’s just too put together. There’s not a hair out of place or a loose thread, and that perfectly straight, white smile is always plastered on his face. He’s always got a friendly anecdote or some clichéd words of wisdom. But here we see him make the physical transformation from the real Hamlin, who is stone cold and nursing his bruised ego, into “Howard Hamlin, senior partner and all-around great guy.”

image
image

I had a visceral reaction to that smile the first time I watched it; I couldn’t help but groan and roll my eyes and yell “UGH” way louder than I should have considering it was about 10:30pm EST. But that’s just what Hamlin does to me 99% of the time. It’s not Chuck-level hatred, but I’m not gonna lie—it’s getting there.

Mike finds himself face to face with his first unwanted visitor of the episode when he pulls up to his house and sees Arturo, one of Hector Salamanca’s henchmen, sitting on his front steps. Mike knows that Hector knows who he is, so he isn’t entirely surprised by this little visit, but he’s not pleased either.

image

Arturo tells Mike that Hector needs an answer and Mike says that no, he is not going to tell the police that Tuco’s gun was his. Arturo leaves but Mike knows this isn’t the last he’s going to hear about this Tuco problem, and when he heads inside, he unloads his shopping bags. He’s bought a welcome mat, some carbon paper, and a ream of printer paper. He’s up to something, and when he puts the welcome mat out in front of his house, it makes me laugh because there is no person on this Earth less welcoming than Mike Ehrmantraut.

We finally get to see Kim Wexler in action in the courtroom. She’s all alone, arguing against Rick Schweikart and an associate who are trying to get the judge to grant them access to the medical records of the Sandpiper residents. Kim fights valiantly for her clients’ privacy but it’s clear that the judge will likely grant Schweikart & Cokely’s motion. During Kim’s argument, Schweikart is watching her with great interest, and when they are finished he follows her out into the hallway and starts buttering her up.

image

Schweikart compliments her on her work and tells her that she was arguing an unwinnable position, which is why her boss didn’t bother showing up to court. He asks her to lunch (and I cringe a little bit because I really hope he isn’t planning on putting the moves on her) but luckily their lunch is mostly business. Of course, there’s a little day drinking thrown in on Schweikart’s part but, hey, I don’t judge, and Moscow Mules are delicious.

image

It becomes apparent very quickly that Schweikart has looked into Kim. He knows her background with HHM: that she started in the mailroom and worked there for 6 years while the firm put her through law school, and that she has not fully repaid her tuition debt to the company. He tells her a story that speaks to Kim’s recent experiences with Hamlin—and the story is a bit too perfect a fit for it to have occurred to Schweikart organically. It makes me think that he has some insider at HHM who gave him the dirt on Kim, including the fact that she’s been on Hamlin’s shit list of late. Or maybe HHM has a well-known history of treating its employees like shit. Neither would surprise me. Either way, Schweikart offers Kim a partner-track position, which would include S&C taking care of her financial debt to HHM.

This, above all else, is what makes the idea of leaving HHM a real possibility for Kim. Up until now, she may have wanted to leave, but she contractually couldn’t because she is indebted to them. She was trapped there by her finances and totally at the mercy of HHM and whatever cruel punishments Howard decided to dole out. But this offer from Schweikart & Cokely would truly free her from her obligations to HHM. It’s shocking to Kim because, for the first time, the idea of leaving HHM for another firm is not only a real possibility, but is an opportunity that is sitting right in front of her, offering her an afternoon cocktail.

Mike pulls up to his place at night and he’s already in detective mode. He knows that Hector Salamanca isn’t finished with him. When he lifts up the welcome mat we learn the trick he had up his sleeve: he put a layer of carbon paper over the printer paper under the mat to catch the footprints of any potential home invaders. There are two sets of footprints on the mat and when Mike goes inside, he knows he’s not alone. He searches the house in the dark, silently, with his gun drawn, and when he figures out where the intruders are, he turns on the TV and waits. There is an infomercial for the Quick Chop on (RIP Billy Mays) and two men emerge from a room only to be quickly taken down by Mike.

One of the two men is Arturo, who tells Mike that he’s only there to deliver a message: take the $5K and tell the cops the gun is his. Arturo tells Mike that they were just there to scare him and Mike, being Mike, says:

image

I love badass grandpa Mike Ehrmantraut so much, but he soon goes from being the badass we all know—the one who can handle anything and anyone and not even blink—to a more vulnerable, frightened Mike Ehrmantraut. At the sink, after he’s cleaned up the blood on his hand and his gun, one of his hands begins to shake and he stills it with the other. Mike Ehrmantraut is afraid. He doesn’t have the connections or the muscle that the Salamancas have. He’s out there all alone and he knows that, as things stand right now, he’s in a fight he can’t win.

Kim has finally unpacked her office and she’s about to take lunch when her coworker (and, possibly, her very own babysitter) Julie comes in to deliver some Sandpiper paperwork. Howard wants it done ASAP—as in, she has to order in lunch if she wants to eat and it needs to be done in a little over an hour. But it’s cool, because Julie got the fancy salad place approved by accounting! Instead of doing her master’s bidding, Kim grabs her purse and walks out.

Mike is sitting poolside at Stacey and Kaylee’s hotel, in full Pop-Pop mode and enjoying a lovely day with his granddaughter, but when he looks up he sees that they are not alone. There are two men on a nearby rooftop, staring him down, and one of them makes a finger gun, which he points directly at little Kaylee.

image

These men should be familiar to Breaking Bad fans. They are The Cousins (aka Marco and Leonel Salamanca), nephews of Hector Salamanca and future would-be-assassins of one DEA Agent Hank Schrader [RIP Hank. Miss ya, buddy.] The Cousins are always terrifying, but never more so then when making finger guns at a small child in a swimming pool. And now we see Mike more rattled than we’ve ever seen him before. There is true fear in his eyes—not for himself, but for his family. He rushes Kaylee out of the pool to get her to safety.

image

Kim is playing hooky from work, having a liquid lunch at the bar at Forque (where she went with Schweikart). She’s partaking in the Moscow Mule this time, sitting alone and wallowing in her own indecision as she looks at Schweikart’s business card.

image

Kim has her phone out and it she looks like she might actually be about to call when the bartender interrupts her and tells her that a man at the bar has bought her next drink. This is the same man she’s just seen outside, kissing his wife goodbye. Kim looks at Married Douche and sizes him up a little, and for a second I’m wondering exactly how many Moscow Mules she has had and exactly how twisted up inside she is about her job situation to be contemplating hooking up with this scumbag. She finishes her drink and takes Married Douche up on his offer, and as he sidles up next to her to chat her up, I see it—that look on Kim’s face that says that she has no intention of getting picked up by this guy. It’s this look, in case you were wondering:

image

She humors him, and when he introduces himself as Dale, she tells him her name is Giselle. Slippin’ Kimmy has come out to play and poor Dale doesn’t stand a chance.

Jimmy is in his office with Erin and Omar, hard at work on Sandpiper. Now, I adore Erin, but she’s a bit of a close talker and she’s hovering over Jimmy and double-checking all the information he’s giving her and it’s really driving him nuts.

image

Now, I’ve seen some fans saying that Erin is a crazy stalker who has an obsessive crush on Jimmy and… just… no. I’m sorry, but no. I challenge anyone to watch her face in this scene and show me anything that isn’t thinly veiled disgust and annoyance. Like, please stop saying that Erin Brill has a crush on Jimmy because no. She doesn’t even like Jimmy at all as a person. Jimmy is a splinter in Erin’s ass. She’s not going out of her way to annoy him because he doesn’t “like like her back” (which is something I actually read on the internet with my own two eyes). If she’s purposefully trying to annoy him here, which she might be, it’s because she finds him insufferable and can’t do anything about it because he’s above her in the pecking order. Moving on.

Kim calls Jimmy and he tells Erin and Omar it’s his grandma and leaves the room. It’s Kim, calling from the bar, and she tells him she’s “got a live one on the hook.” Dale is the mark, and she wants Jimmy to leave work in the middle of the day, drive from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, and run a scam with her. It’s a complete role reversal from what we saw in the season premiere, when Jimmy showed Kim his ways and pulled her into a scam. Now Slippin’ Kimmy has taken her own initiative and she’s calling Jimmy to invite him to the party. It’s a foregone conclusion that he leaves work immediately to go meet her.

And the Saint Claire siblings are reunited and it feels so good. Good ol’ Viktor with a K shows up to have drinks with sis Giselle, and poor Dale is just along for the ride. Kim and Jimmy are so effortless together as they lay it out that Viktor has just had a successful meeting for his new dotcom venture—an online dating site. Viktor already has more investors than he can handle, though. Poor Dale is out of luck… or is he?

image

It’s time for Mike to settle his business with Hector Salamanca once and for all. The threat against Kaylee has pushed him to the edge and he goes to a meet with the Salamancas at a sweet shop in the middle of the night. He’s greeted by Nacho, who checks him for a wire and tells Hector that he’s got a gun. Hector doesn’t care about the gun. They probably all have at least one gun on them. He’s more concerned that they aren’t being recorded, and they aren’t, so he tells Mike to come and have a sit down.

Also present are the Cousins, looking menacing and wearing their signature skull boots. The previews for this episode showed the boots, which appeared in Breaking Bad, leading many fans to believe (correctly) that the Cousins would be making an appearance, but there was no way to be certain until they actually showed up. But here they are, in all their menacing, skull-boot-wearing glory, and they are joined by a battered Arturo, whose head is no doubt still feeling the effects of the butt of Mike’s gun.

image

Hector tells Mike that it’s time for him to tell the cops that the gun was his, and that now it’s past the time where they are willing to give Mike any money for the lie. Now his only choice is lie to the cops and take a gun charge or die, which isn’t much of a choice at all, but Mike doesn’t accept that. He insists on money—$50K now, instead of the originally offered $5K—and almost pulls a gun on Hector. In Spanish, Hector says what we’re all thinking: Mike’s got giant balls. He asks Mike, “How you manage to live so long with a mouth like that?” and I’m wondering how the hell Mike is actually pulling this off, because he is. Hector laughs and agrees to pay him $50K.

After the meet, Nacho volunteers to go to Mike’s house to deliver the $50K, which will give the two of them a chance to talk without any suspicion from the Salamancas. Mike gives Nacho $25K of his money because he didn’t hold up his end of their deal to get rid of Tuco; since he’s only going to jail for the battery charge, he’s going to be out fairly soon, which doesn’t solve Nacho’s original problem. Nacho takes the money and looks at Mike like he’s absorbing as much knowledge as he can from his crime dad. It appears that the idea of honor among thieves is something new and refreshing to Nacho.

It’s the morning after, and the Saint Claire siblings have ended up in the sack at Kim’s apartment again. Kim is holding a $10K check made out to “Ice Station Zebra Associates” (Saul’s Goodman’s future loan-out). Jimmy says that he expected him to be happier than she is, and even though she says she’s happy, it rings hollow. At this point, Kim is much like Jimmy has been all season. Ostensibly, she’s got everything: she’s out of doc review, back with Jimmy, and she’s got a great job offer on the table that will get her out of HHM once and for all. She just had a fun night of grifting with Jimmy, which is one of the only things that as brought her any sort of joy lately. She really should be happy, but she just isn’t.

image

Kim doesn’t know what she wants. For a long time, she thought she knew exactly what she wanted and worked hard to get it, but after all she’s been through at HHM, it’s not her dream job anymore. She’s been mistreated there and she doesn’t see a satisfying future with the company she thought she would stay with forever. It’s very unsettling for her, especially since she feels she owes them (both financially and on a more personal level). The Schweikart & Cokely gig seems like just what the doctor ordered, but it came out of nowhere and seems almost too good to be true. It’s all a lot to take and Kim’s head must be spinning, which is why she just wanted to be Giselle for a little while and blow off some steam.

Right now, Kim is very uncertain about her future. She’s envious of Jimmy, who she believes knows exactly what he wants, even though that isn’t actually true. Jimmy is just as uncertain as Kim is, but he lies to her and tells her that he’s totally happy in his current situation—“what’s not to love, right?” But it’s clear that both of them are just pretending to be happy with the way things are. They are both uncertain about what the future holds and what paths they should take, but they continue to play the domestic couple, dressing in their best and kissing each other goodbye on the way to their respective upper-middle-class, white-collar jobs. The episode ends with Jimmy taking a tire iron to his uncooperative cup-holder. He rips it completely out, and even though his mug fits now, it’s only because he destroyed part of the fancy company car.

Jimmy doesn’t have much control over his life at the moment. Kim is calling the shots in their relationship, and rightly so, because he screwed up and just got back into her good graces. His relationship with Chuck is a total mess and probably irreconcilable. He’s hanging on by a thread at a job he doesn’t even want. The only thing Jimmy can fix is that damn cup-holder, and even then he has to destroy it to make it work.

SaveSaveSaveSave

Leave Your Comment Here!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: