‘Better Call Saul’ Season 2, Episode 4: ‘Gloves Off’

Jimmy McGill is quickly learning that his actions have consequences, and the fallout doesn’t just affect him anymore. It is affecting someone he cares about. It is affecting his employers. And it is basically pissing everyone off at both Davis & Main and HH&M.

But before that, this episode begins with a cold open of Mike coming home, cracking a beer and it is soon revealed he has been beaten up pretty bad. He drops an envelope full of cash, and this points that he has done something to earn it, but we are not sure just yet if he has taken the path to where he ends up the man we see on “Breaking Bad.”

This is followed by a meeting with Jimmy and the board at Davis & Main — who are irate over his commercial. Not because it wasn’t effective — it was — but because he went over their heads, and they have been building a reputation for themselves for years. They dislike the commercial because, as they say, the Sandpiper case doesn’t pay the electric bills, and they have high paying clients who would not want to be associated with a law firm to looks and acts like it chases ambulances.

But Cliff, being the the nice guy he is, is giving Jimmy a second chance. No more hijinks like the commercial, no more going out on his own. This is a team operation, according to Cliff. The commercial was both strike one and two for Jimmy.

After this, Jimmy tries to contact Kim, but she is already getting yelled at by Howard — with Chuck sitting there, presumably with his Space Blanket under his suit and tie — for knowing about the commercial and not telling anyone. Kim went to bat for Jimmy, and so did Howard, and now the firm is embarrassed and Kim gets punished for Jimmy’s actions.

- Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony Pictures Television/ AMC
– Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony Pictures Television/ AMC

And her punishment: Being stuck in doc review in a basement. Jimmy is irate, but Kim tells him, not asking, that he leave it alone before he causes more damage. So Jimmy naturally storms to Chuck’s, where he is looking ill and needs another Space Blanket to feel better.

Mike meets with Nacho, who now tells him who he wants out of the picture: Tuco Salamanca. It turns out Nacho finds Tuco to be unhinged when he is on drugs. As anyone knows from “Breaking Bad,” this is a fair complaint. Nacho wants Mike to kill his boss.

“Killing your partner, that’s one bell you don’t un-ring,” Mike tells Nacho. But Mike has a plan. He thinks he can take Tuco out via being a sniper in the shadows and killing him that way. No driving up to the taco place, no one sees him and it will work. So Mike sets up a meeting with Jim Beaver (who sold Walt his guns in “Breaking Bad”) to find the right weapon.

It is hinted here that Mike may have been a sniper in Vietnam, because there is a lot of alluding to it in the conversation between him and Jim. But Mike decides he will not kill Tuco. He tells Nacho he has another plan to take Tuco out of the picture.

And that is by setting Tuco to be arrested for knocking the living snot out of him at the taco restaurant where Tuco collects his money. Mike pulls in, promptly dinging Tuco’s car, and proceeds to order food like nothing happened (he called the cops about a disturbance there shortly before this). And he does nothing but egg Tuco on to assault him. He plays it obnoxious, he lies to Tuco about how much money he has and wants to trade insurance information — hitting every angry, doped-up nerve in Tuco’s being at this moment. So Tuco grabs the wallet, and just starts brutally wailing on Mike, who grabs Tuco’s shirt so he can’t escape the oncoming cops.

The cops arrive to see a drugged up maniac pummeling an old man bloody. That was a hell of a lot of work for that $25,000 there Mike. But he did the job, Tuco is temporarily out of the picture (Mike thinks 5-10 years for the assault, seeing he had Mike’s wallet on him and the cops saw the beating with their own eyes). Since we don’t know too much about Tuco in “Breaking Bad,” and we do know he spent time in jail/prison, how long he gets locked up for this, if he does, is up in the air. Nacho does warn Mike that Tuco will be out looking for him after this. And we do know that he doesn’t kill Mike, and Mike doesn’t kill him.

- Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony Pictures Television/ AMC
– Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/ Sony Pictures Television/ AMC

In the morning after he storms his brother’s house, Jimmy and Chuck freak out at one another. Jimmy offers what Chuck really wants: He will leave the lawyer business all together, if he helps Kim and says he wants Jimmy to do that. Jimmy is egging him on to extortion, and he wants Chuck to say he is doing this. To not hide behind this or that or some legal loophole.

Say what you will about Jimmy’s actions, he knows he is a crook. Chuck is a crook who will never admit he is one. Chuck hides behind Howard, as Howard is the one who enforces his decisions, thus leaving Chuck with the “not my fault, it was Howard…” false excuses. Chuck thinks his hands are clean if he has others do his dirty work. Yet, everything is obviously Chuck’s call. And this brotherly fight is another puzzle piece that will eventually make Jimmy McGill the shady Saul Goodman, not just a criminal lawyer, but a criminal who happens to be a lawyer.


  • Making a drop to Tuco at the restaurant is another callback to “Breaking Bad” with the arrival of Domingo “Krazy-8” Molina. Poor “Krazy-8,” doomed to die in a basement at the hands of Walter White.
  • In the morning, Jimmy concludes Chuck’s illness is from leaving his house. “Going to the office takes a lot out of you,” he says.
  • Nacho knows how crazy Tuco is. “It’s him or me,” he tells Mike. Again, Tuco has a history of killing his henchmen in this world with very little provocation. And Nacho adds that Tuco once killed an associate because he was all paranoid on drugs.
  • The guy Tuco killed years before has part of his skull trapped under Nacho’s skin from the impact of the gun shot.
  • Chuck knows how dangerous Jimmy’s blending the law with the con is. And no matter what, he cannot stop this.


2 thoughts on “‘Better Call Saul’ Season 2, Episode 4: ‘Gloves Off’

  1. Richard Fitzwell March 8, 2016 — 12:16 pm

    Am I crazy? Or was one of the cops that pulled up to the Tuco taco stand scene Hank? Sounds like him too. Go back and watch and tell me I am not crazy. Is it too much to assume Hank might be just a regular ABQ beat cop at this point?


    1. Wow, I missed that. I don’t think it was Hank, but someone who purposely sounded and looked like him (the show does have weird Easter eggs like that in places). I think at some point Hank will have to be introduced, because with Tuco and Krazy-8 in the mix, the show is veering into his territory.


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