NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Better Call Saul” are present in this review
After its ununusal decision to take a week off last week (possibly so there’s no break before Preacher inherits its timeslot at the end of the month), Better Call Saul returned with another overall excellent episode, as the show starts moving into high gear for Season Three’s climax in a couple of weeks. “Slip” continued to have Jimmy losing his grip on the honest path this week, while Mike also makes a big decision that sets up his future on Breaking Bad, and Nacho makes his big move against Hector.
There wasn’t a single story element that felt like it disappointed in this episode, which is quite commendable, since, “Slip” covered quite a lot of ground this week. Despite that though, the show became more gripping than ever, as Jimmy runs into his latest snag when trying to offload his ad time, leading to him using his old injury con from back in Season One to coerce some unhappy customers into buying up the rest of his unused air time. He even gets a pretty sweet guitar out of the deal! Once again, we shouldn’t root for Jimmy here, but the show finds a smart way to make his dishonest acts more about well-meaning desperation than genuine malice. There’s also definitely a pride component however too, since Jimmy would rather keep up his deal with Kim than admit that he can’t afford a building that he worked so hard to set up a law practice in. This is also nicely highlighted with another flashback to begin the episode, which gives us a welcome reunion with Mel Rodriguez’s late Marco, back in the height of Jimmy’s and Marco’s conning days.
Kim, meanwhile, continues to do her work with Mesa Verde, and has a rather tense encounter with Howard at a lunch. This brings out Kim’s own vindictive side, as she responds to a veiled jab by Howard by paying back her law school debt to Howard in front of his own clients, leading to something of a blow-up between the two in the parking area. Naturally, Howard isn’t too happy at what Kim’s defense with Chuck did to the reputation of HHM, but Kim stands by her convictions, saying that she did what she had to do to defend her client. It looks like the battle against the legacy of HHM is no longer just Jimmy’s, as Kim is becoming just as sucked into her own battle for the so-called integrity of the legal process, regardless of who it hurts. Kim’s character is also appropriately growing in influence here as well, as she finally agrees to take on an additional client beyond Mesa Verde.
On that note, Chuck is also becoming stronger and more aggressive when it comes to trying to defy his condition. Now receiving treatment for his electromagnetic sensitivity, Chuck is now well enough to go grocery shopping on his own, and is eager to get back into the courtroom to argue a case again. The doctor advises Chuck to keep his expectations in check, but after a quick reunion with Howard, it looks like Chuck is truly going to do whatever it takes to get back in the courtroom as soon as he can. Does this mean that Chuck will become a fully-powered attorney in the show’s potential (and likely) fourth season? That would certainly create a great new obstacle for Jimmy when his suspension is finally up!
As much as these interesting developments nicely elevated the episode on the legal end, the criminal end of Better Call Saul also didn’t disappoint, as some crucial foundations for the future events of Breaking Bad continue to fall into place. This is primarily displayed with two subplots between Mike and Nacho, as both of them make their own respective moves against the specter of Hector Salamanca. On Mike’s end, this is less of a direct strike, since Mike simply comes to realize that the ‘nest egg’ he put together for his struggling family is unusable and needs to be laundered, leading to him finally taking Fring up on his offer to become a fully paid-for fixer. Mike refers to their latest business arrangement as a, “One-time deal”, but if you’re a Breaking Bad fan, you already know that this won’t stick, and Mike will eventually become a full part of Fring’s operation. I imagine that by the end of the season, Mike will be a permanent part of Fring’s payroll, so hopefully, Season Three’s final two episodes provide an interesting showcase of how this comes to be.
This just leaves the remaining Nacho subplot, which is also very exciting to see for Breaking Bad fans. It’s looking increasingly evident that Nacho is the cause of Hector’s stroke-induced state from Breaking Bad, as he prepares to carry out the plan he formulated with Mike, by switching Hector’s medicine. This involves a tricky throw into Hector’s jacket that takes quite a few tries to get right, but after Nacho goes through with the operation, namely by busting the air conditioning and pretending he’s found a counterfeit bill, he manages to make the switch successfully. We have two episodes left to see how this may unfold for the Salamanca operation, but it’s nonetheless very exciting to see the series starting to close the gap with Breaking Bad, even though it’s still unfolding several years before Walter White begins his own criminal operation.
There really isn’t anything noteworthy to complain about in, “Slip”, which continues to represent Better Call Saul at its very best. After the previous season became a little too unfocused, it’s awesome to see the series returning to striking such a fine balance between Jimmy’s central story arc, and the criminal dealings that go on in the background, with Mike or Nacho. With Jimmy, Mike and Nacho all seemingly fully set on their tragic paths now, and even Kim deciding to fully make an enemy out of Howard, there’s plenty to look forward to in Season Three’s final two episodes over the next couple of weeks. AMC still has yet to officially renew Better Call Saul for a fourth season, but it really feels like the show is moving towards a big climax here, not just for the season, but possibly for the series as a whole. Better Call Saul isn’t at all likely to be suddenly cancelled without a proper pre-determined finale, mind you, considering its high ratings success and acclaim, though it nonetheless feels like a definite end is in sight now. As bittersweet as that is, the show should provide plenty of riveting drama over its next episodes, even if a likely fourth season could possibly be the show’s last.
- Jimmy's increasingly amoral legal threats
- Howard and Chuck becoming more provoked and dangerous
- Mike and Nacho continuing to lay a noticeable foundation for future Breaking Bad events