Better Call Saul S030E8 Recap: 'Slip'

Ever since what may have arguably been an absolute peak for the show with "Chicanery", Better Call Saul has seemingly developed a bit of a focus problem. That's not really much of a surprise; after all, that courtroom scene where Chuck's world collapses on itself and Jimmy (more or less) saves his license was the apex of much of hat the show had been building towards for two and a half seasons. Of course, the show has put itself in a position where there's much more story to tell than just Jimmy and Chuck's relationships, but I'd be lying if I said that it hasn't been a bit of a slog.

The big question in this second half of the series has been where do we go from here? Jimmy's descent into Saul-dom has been and will be a slow process. Nacho's meticulously planning his uncle's murder. Chuck's trying to get better. Kim's figuring her own stuff out and Mike's been more or less putzing around. The world of Better Call Saul has expanded to include a lot more elements from that of Breaking Bad. That's cool, and it seems like, one way or another it's all building to something pretty big and exciting. The problem is that Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have not yet connected the dots, which makes a lot of what we see in recent episodes, including tonight's "Slip", feel like filler.

Probably the biggest development from the episode is that Mike and Gus make a handshake deal about working together so that Mike can launder his money through Los Pollos Hermanos. It's the final scene, but it's otherwise not expanded upon. Gus shares concerns about how the Salamancas might feel about this partnership, so you can probably see where it's going, but that's all the episode gives us. The cold open in the episode is pretty much the only other time we see Mike, as he uncovers some Salamanca bodies in the desert and reports them to the police.

Speaking of the Salamancas, a fairly large chunk of "Slip" is devoted to Nacho setting up his uncle's takedown, filling the dud pills and replacing them in the store. It actually leads to a great tense scene where Nacho has to do all this while the AC in the taco shop is off. It gives Nacho some much needed screen time as we try and justify his actions, and while I'm more inclined to be sympathetic towards him now, as I've said in the past, I think the time he was off screen earlier in the season didn't really serve his character.

The bigger chunk of stuff in the episode involves Jimmy and Kim, however. While Chuck is seemingly moving on with his life and trying to get over his illness, Jimmy is kind of still reeling from the fallout of losing his license for a year. He continues to struggle to sell his ad time and has to stage an accident to get the twins at the music store to agree to pay for the rest, actually throwing out his back in the process. Then he identifies an opportunity while doing community service, making $700 from a drug dealer by threatening the supervisor with a lawsuit. It's part of Jimmy's continued slip (episode title pun certainly intended) towards darkness. First he's screwing small business owners, then community service supervisors, all while doing exactly the kind of things Saul Goodman would be doing.

Meanwhile, Kim looks like she might be taking too much on her plate, as Mesa Verde offers her a new client, and she takes it after seen the condition that Jimmy is in, and after a confrontation with Hamlin. She aptly justifies her and Jimmy's actions to Howard, stating that it wasn't right for him to hide Chuck's condition in the first place, but Howard won't have any of it and tears up a check that Kim makes out to him to pay him back for her tuition, even after he gifted it to her. She even remembers the exact figure, which tells you how much it's weighing on her. At the same time that Jimmy is sort of having fun being Slippin' Jimmy once again, a dichotomy that will certainly continue to drive a wedge between the two characters.

It's what we've been predicting all along. While I'll continue to argue that Jimmy's path isn't entirely his fault, he's moving in a direction where he's basically becoming deplorable, while everyone around him attempts to redeem themselves and get square. Kim is trying to pay back Hamlin, Chuck is even on a path to redemption, as he admits to his doctor in a powerful scene that he may have a catalyst in the Jimmy situation after all.

"Slip" has some powerful stuff. Chuck's scene, Nacho replacing the pills, Jimmy's antics, Kim's fight with Howard, and even a beautifully mesmerizing scene with Mike to open the show. Hell, we haven't even talked about the flashback which brought back to us Mel Rodriguez's Marco, in another great scene where he and a younger Jimmy revisit his parents' shop, and explain how the money Chuck claims he stole from his parents' shop was really just a few rare coins that his dad would never have kept for himself, a scene that contrasts a relatively innocent Jimmy that had a more or less noble reason for doing things the way he did, versus a Jimmy stuck in a terrible place that's starting to take pride in the bad things that he's doing.

But all of this is just a collection of parts. Good parts, but seemingly missing a whole. Don't get me wrong, Better Call Saul is still a captivating and entertaining show, but something's been missing, and I'd bet that something is a bit of a direction. And for that, "Slip" gets 7.5 Ritchie Blackmore-signed guitars out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • A subtly great moment in the episode: The receptionist pulling out a magazine the moment Kim goes back to her office, only to have to hide it again as she comes out.
  • Jimmy was definitely trying to play Blackmore's "Smoke on the Water" riff, but do you think the fact that he was playing it out of key was an on-purpose choice to avoid paying a royalty? Because that would be great.
  • "You guys have liability insurance, right?"