REVIEW: Better Call Saul – “Slip”

The following is a recap and review of the eighth episode of the third season of Better Call Saul, available on AMC in the U. S. and on Netflix internationally. Expect story spoilers. 

In the eighth episode of the third season — Slip — Nacho’s mission begins, and Jimmy (played by Bob Odenkirk) starts to slip (hence the title). Slip was written by Heather Marion and directed by Adam Bernstein.

In the episode-opening teaser, we get to see a flashback back to the days when Jimmy and Marco (played by Mel Rodriguez) would do activities together. They break into the old McGill family store to find Jimmy’s old coin collection, which he had kept inside the ceiling. They plan to use a rare coin for their coin scam.

Why are coins so special to Jimmy? Because they remind him of how his father was so desperate to return a special coin to a customer, even though Jimmy thought they should just keep it. The coins he kept were collected for good luck. Jimmy tells Marco that his father was too good — too soft — to prosper, he didn’t know how to do what he had to do.

Jimmy isn’t too soft, though, and when his clients at the music store try to weasel their way out of the deal they made with Jimmy, then Jimmy orchestrates a fall inside the store and gets his crew to film it. This is Slippin’ Jimmy in his element.

Kim is still showing clear signs of over-exhaustion, as, in a conversation with a now injured Jimmy, she realizes she cannot tell what day it is. It all runs together for her. It’s a little thing that Jimmy doesn’t even think anything of, but Kim isn’t doing too well, which is problematic as her Mesa Verde clients want her to take on another job for a friend of theirs.

Meanwhile, Chuck has decided to attack his mental illness head-on, and treat it as such, which he previously did not want to. Chuck thinks a speedy recovery is possible, but his Doctor is not ready to support that notion.

The most touching moment of the episode comes when Chuck is pressed to answer what made him contact the Doctor, and he notes that now that he realizes his illness may not be, as he puts it, ‘real’ then he regrets what he has done. What that means is not immediately recognizable, but he has pushed people away from him for far too long, and this may be a watershed moment in his treatment.

Although he shows vast improvement over the course of his scenes, he is eventually knocked back into an unsatisfactory state when Howard Hamlin informs him of the recent developments with his malpractice insurance, a problem that Jimmy created for him.

Meanwhile, Nacho has been hard at work preparing for his big pill exchange mission. The major problem for Nacho is that he doesn’t just need to switch the pills, he also has to get the fake pills back before anyone else is able to put two and two together. He needs to cover his tracks. One false move and Nacho and his family are toast.

Watching Nacho actually pull it off is thrilling. It’s a tense scene and seeing Mando shake with the pills in his hand while he is basically bathed in sweat is really effective. This is a prequel and seeing a character influence Hector’s health may not be as thrilling as it might’ve been without knowing what happens, but they manage to make this one of the tensest and most anxiety-induced scenes this season.

This is an episode that teaches Jimmy that he gets more enjoyment out of scheming and scamming than doing what he is ‘supposed’ to be doing. Slippin’ Jimmy is back and back at it. The episode also, in its very last moments, advances the relationship between Gus Fring and Mike so that their relationship in Breaking Bad makes sense. Meanwhile, Kim and Chuck are still in trouble, while Nacho is halfway through his mission to liberate his family from Hector Salamanca.

A-

This episode originally aired June 5th, 2017, and it is being reviewed now to be ready for the season four premiere.

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen

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