The following is a review of the ninth episode of the second season of Better Call Saul, available on AMC in the U.S. and on Netflix in Europe. Expect spoilers.
In the ninth episode of this season of Better Call Saul (“Nailed”), Mike uses his homemade spike strip, Chuck gets ready for a victory lap, and Jimmy covers his tracks. Nailed was written and directed by Better Call Saul co-creator Peter Gould.
First off, while I always preface these reviews by stating that you should expect spoilers, I really need you to understand how delicate this episode is. You should not read any reviews before you’ve seen the episode. What happens here might change everything, so go watch the episode before you read the review.
Nailed was a pretty perfect episode of Better Call Saul. It all started with an excellent episode opener/teaser. We all knew that Mike was going to use his spike strip, but we didn’t necessarily know it would happen already in the opener, and we definitely didn’t know whether Mike was going to use it on the truck or on Hector’s car.
And what happened again? Another Mike half-measure. Mike wanted the cops to get on the Salamancas, and he was going to get proper compensation via the truck money. But Mike should have known what could happen. It is a great reminder, though, that Mike hasn’t exactly become the character he is in Breaking Bad yet.
And Hector hasn’t either. But maybe that isn’t the guy Mike should worry about. As Nacho confronted Mike at the end of Nailed, I did start to wonder if Nacho’s knowledge would force Mike’s hand. But that’s a problem for another episode to tackle. Right now, Mike just has to live with himself knowing that he caused the death of the so-called ‘good samaritan’. But while this B-story was very exciting, it definitely wasn’t as captivating as what happened to the McGills.
“No one ever accused you of being lazy. Every other sin in the book, but not that one. ” – Chuck McGill.
The scene that this quote hints at might be the very best we’ve ever seen on this show. The camera and lighting work in this show is second to no other show, but this was much more of an acting showcase as Rhea Seehorn went toe to toe with Michael McKean and Bob Odenkirk. It was one of those magic scenes. One of the scenes that makes you remember that television has never been better than it is right now. This truly is the golden age of television.
It was so odd seeing Kim and Jimmy meet with Chuck after they had just found out that Chuck had changed the lock to his house. It all felt very staged. Especially when we saw how Chuck was sitting in the middle of his living room. Chuck knew everything. And Chuck was ready to grill Jimmy in front of Kim. Chuck wasn’t holding back, and it was written all over Kim’s face. Kim knew the truth, but she was not about to out Jimmy in front of his brother. Kim was stoic, and Kim answered back.
Rhea Seehorn was magnificent in this scene. Chuck couldn’t make a mistake like Jimmy had made others think, and it was driving Chuck crazy. This wasn’t about Jimmy going out of his way to ruin the case for HHM. Chuck was upset that Jimmy had embarrassed him. But you cannot deny how satisfying it was to see and hear how Kim defended our protagonist.
“I know he’s not perfect, and I know he cuts corners. But you’re the one who made him this way. He idolizes you, he accepts you, he takes care of you. And all he ever wanted was your love and support. But all you’ve ever done is judge him. You never believed in him, you never wanted him to succeed. And, you know what? I feel sorry for him. And I feel sorry for you.” – Kim Wexler.
But now we have to talk about that other scene. Jimmy had covered his tracks nicely, but probably didn’t realize how mad he had made his brother. Chuck didn’t bring his foil blanket with him, and as ‘Lance’ kept denying everything you just knew something would go wrong.
Chuck fell and hit his head – to put it plainly. It wasn’t quite a cracking sound, but more of a thud, I think. But I was screaming “No!” right when it happened. I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We, the audience, were almost as helpless as Jimmy was.
Even though I’ve realized that Chuck isn’t entirely wrong about Jimmy, it is a fact that a lot of viewers have been furious with him over the last year. But Chuck didn’t deserve this. Now, I don’t think he died in that scene – but I don’t think we’ll ever see him as a lawyer again. Better Call Saul got its very own Ted Beneke-scene, if you’ve never seen Breaking Bad, then look it up.
This was a heartbreaking episode on multiple fronts, and for all of the main characters. It was one of the most captivating and enthralling episodes of television I’ve seen in years. I definitely believe that Nailed is the best episode of Better Call Saul yet.
– I’m Jeffrey Rex