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Recap / Better Call Saul S 3 E 9 Fall

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And he expects nothing in return for his generous gift!

"I can’t be partners with someone whose judgment I don’t trust."
Howard Hamlin

Jimmy arranges store-bought cookies on a plate in his car before knocking on the door of an old friend: Mrs. Landry at Sandpiper Crossing. Bonding over "homemade" cookies, Jimmy asks about the progress of the class action lawsuit. Irene replies that she turned over legal counsel to Erin Brill at Davis & Main, and she advised them to wait for a larger settlement; Jimmy is at a loss for words when he sees the current settlement amount. Before Jimmy can persuade her to act, Irene's friends show up to take her to chair yoga. Jimmy runs the numbers in his head: if Irene settles now, he stands to gain over a million dollars!

Mike walks into Madrigal's Houston office for a meeting with Lydia over the money laundering deal he made with Gus. Her plan is to put Mike on the payroll as a "logistics consultant" (later, she agrees that Mike's suggestion of security consultant fits better), where he'll receive a clean $10,000 per week. Against Mike's concerns about an audit discovering his "employment," Lydia assures him that both she and him are both on the books; Mike is the only person for whom Gus has asked for this type of arrangement, so the taxmen have no reason to assume cartel money laundering. When Mike notes the danger she puts herself in for a "drug dealer," Lydia amusedly states that he doesn't know Gus Fring.

At HHM, Howard and Chuck meet with two representatives from their insurance provider, who want to double their malpractice premiums in light of Chuck's condition becoming public knowledge. When Howard and Chuck protest, they agree to a compromise of a "rider": only Chuck's insurance premiums will go up, provided he be supervised by a co-counsel on any future cases he takes on. Chuck, taking insult over the insinuation of having to be "babysat," threatens to litigate them, to Howard's obvious discomfort. After the meeting, Howard turns off the lights and brings out the liquor as Chuck slumps over. Howard brings up an offer he's received from a law professor at the University of New Mexico Law School. The colleague is interested in having Chuck give guest lectures to 1L students, hopefully in preparation for a permanent position. Howard suggests that, perhaps Chuck should retire and become partner emeritus at HHM, while focusing on his legacy. When Chuck balks, Howard doesn't let it go: "What if it's not a suggestion?" Chuck quickly turns on all the lights to prove that he's capable, but Howard firmly states that he won't have a partner with dubious judgement. Chuck storms out of the conference room.

Kim meets with her new client, Billy Gatwood, in his oil field near the Texas-New Mexico border. Kim offers to alleviate his tax woes by having him pay damages to the landowners of the border territories. When Billy reminds Kim that she has to make the deal before his quarterly taxes are due in two weeks, Kim assures him that it won't be a problem. Kim discovers her car is stuck in the dust on the oil field. She panics when her car rolls towards an oil well after she pushes it out of the hole. She manages to get in and slam the brakes, but she only has a moment to compose herself before getting back to work and recording her meeting notes.

Jimmy catches Howard in the parking lot of HHM and asks him to settle the Sandpiper suit, claiming that drawing the case out will only put more money in HHM and Davis and Main's pockets. "You're like Gollum," Howard sneers before contemptuously offering Jimmy a dollar. Howard warns him against getting involved, as any legal efforts to force a settlement will jeopardize Jimmy's payday.

Gus and Hector gather, along with their henchmen, at a remote location to wait for Juan Bolsa's call. Hector stares daggers at Gus when the phone finally rings. Juan delivers a message from "[their] friend by the pool" that the consolidated transport method (i.e. Los Pollos Hermanos trucks) has been very successful and that, with no other changes to the status quo, they would be the cartel's sole product transportation from here on out. Hector takes the news poorly; he smashes the phone before his heart problems flare up. To Nacho's disappointment, the pills appear to do their job, and Hector curses Gus, Bolsa and Eladio before leaving.

Jimmy dresses up in a jogging uniform to pursue the noblest of pastimes: mall-walking. He stumbles across Sandpiper's mall-walker group, managing to get Irene alone with him. Despite being "out of the game," he's wearing stylish, high-tech sneakers and just so happens to have an extra pair with him. After rummaging through a trunk-full of running shoes, he gifts them to Irene. The only catch? She can't tell anyone he gave them to her.

The seeds planted, Jimmy proceeds with his real plan: smearing Irene as selfishly holding out on settling with Sandpiper, the shoes being proof that she doesn't need the money. He enlightens Irene's friends at Sandpiper by telling them that, with her being the class representative, neither Jimmy nor anyone else can get them the settlement money; he assures them that of course, she only has their best interests at heart. Soon enough, Irene has been alienated from her mall-walking group.

Nacho heads home and sits at the kitchen table with a glass of milk, waiting for his father to walk in. Mr. Varga is pleasantly surprised, but Nacho cuts to the chase - as his plan to quickly eliminate Hector failed, Nacho has no choice but to tell his father that he's working for the Salamancas "again." With despair in his eyes, Nacho begs his papa to let Hector take over his shop, as he is certain this will all blow over in a couple of weeks. In response, Mr. Varga tells him to get out of his house. Nacho respectfully puts his glass in the sink and walks out.

Howard unexpectedly receives a letter from Chuck as he makes preparations for his partner's retirement party. His face falls when he realizes it's about a lawsuit for breach of contract: Chuck is willing to sue his own firm to prevent his retirement. He goes to confront Chuck, who nonchalantly lets him in to see his kitchen lit up and full of working appliances. Despite Howard's anger, Chuck feels no shame about taking this last step towards being "back to normal". After all, Chuck is well aware that the payout for his share is more than the firm can afford. "You think I'm trouble now, as your partner," Chuck smirks, "imagine me as your enemy." He ignores Howard storming off, but switches to a wooden spoon when the electric mixer becomes too much for him to hold.

Late one night at Sandpiper's bingo hall, Jimmy prepares his next scam: injecting magnetic paint into bingo balls. When hosting bingo the next day, he sees Irene getting blown off by all her friends. Jimmy hands over a card prepared "just for her" and gets ready to add the doctored balls, only hesitating for a second when he sees Irene sadly sitting alone. Sure enough, the numbers on Irene's card are all the magnetized balls, and she quickly gets a bingo. Unfortunately, she breaks down in tears when her friends only roll their eyes rather than applaud. When Jimmy goes to comfort her, he floats the idea that the issue with her friends might be the settlement. He advises her to listen to her heart.

Jimmy triumphantly returns to Wexler-McGill with a bottle of Zafiro Añejo, unaware that Kim is running late to a Gatwood Oil meeting. As he tries to tell her that their money troubles are over, she brushes him off on her way out the door — leaving Francesca with him to sulkily down tequila. Kim drives while rehearsing her pitch, only to suddenly come to an abrupt stop when her car's airbag bursts out. She fell asleep at the wheel: her arm broke when her car crashed into a ditch, sending her law papers flying everywhere. Kim can only stumble out of the wreckage and look around, dazed.

This episode contains examples of:

  • All for Nothing:
    • Zig-zagged. Don Eladio wants Gus' trucks to continue shipping drugs over the border. So on appearance, Nacho might well be trying to kill Hector for nothing — although given Hector's reaction to this, he may insist on using Nacho's father just because. As seen in the next episode, he does indeed.
    • At least one shot of ibuprofen is insufficient to kill Hector, as he survived taking the pills Nacho switched in. But he is definitely living on borrowed time.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Kim seems to be favoring her right arm as if it's broken from impact. While this is perfectly possible, the most likely injury she would receive in a head-on crash is a broken left collar bone, from her seatbelt stopping her from hitting the wheel.
  • Artistic License – Pharmacology: Ibuprofen is bad for someone with a heart condition, but isn't a straight-up poison; while it is harder to link it back to Nacho, it is also hard to predict when they'll kill the person. Hector is tough enough to survive an attack even with the wrong medication, especially if he thinks he is taking the correct one, leading to a placebo effect.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Gus has taken actions that resulted in Hector forcing him to use Los Pollos Hermanos trucks to move the Salamancas' drugs. Eladio has found out and has decided that a single transportation system works better and tells them to keep doing it, making Hector's supply chain permanently dependent on Gus. Based on Hector's anger at this, it's likely what Gus was planning from the start.
    • Jimmy, making it look like Irene is living the high life and forcing her to accept the settlement.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Sandpiper Crossing and its residents make a return.
    • Lydia Rodarte-Quayle and Madrigal Electromotive also return for the second time this season, this time arranging the hiring of Mike to work for Gus.
  • Broken Pedestal: For three seasons (and God knows how much offscreen time), we've seen Howard going along with every one of Chuck's schemes, comply with every whim, make every accommodation and full support at all times, even if sometimes begrudgingly so. It is clear, however, that he's been uncomfortable with Chuck's illness (and obsession with screwing up Jimmy) for quite awhile now, and it has finally reached a tipping point now that the well-being of HHM is in jeopardy.
  • Butt-Monkey: Absolutely nothing goes well for Howard in this episode. He ends up getting raked over the coals by his insurance carrier concerning Chuck's malpractice, Jimmy goes behind his back to ensure the Sandpiper case is settled, and then Chuck threatens to destroy HHM through cash-out or lawsuit, all at nearly the same time.
  • Call-Back:
    • Chuck cashing out his share of HHM all at once would render it insolvent. This weakness in the firm was introduced when Jimmy tried to get Howard to buy Chuck out.
    • Kim's car crash is presented in the same way as her power nap: a camera cut between her falling asleep and her suddenly waking up.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Hector is not happy at being told by Don Eladio that Los Pollos Hermanos trucks will now take over drug transportation permanently – everyone involved can go and fuck themselves. And because it's in Spanish, the show can use it without the usual dead sound, while using dashes in the subtitles.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: With the preceding episode, "Slip".
  • The Dog Bites Back: Howard is finally done putting up with Chuck's nonsense.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Chuck relies on this to justify his anger at Howard pushing him out of the firm, since Chuck mentored Howard through law school. It wears thin, though, as Howard knows that Chuck is not above displaying childish pettiness while pretending that he's above such things.
  • Fell Asleep Driving: After working herself too hard, Kim nods off while driving and drifts across two lanes into a guardrail.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • As Kim goes to leave the first Gatwood Oil meeting, one of her car's wheels spins out. She considers asking Gatwood to help her with it, then characteristically does by herself. This almost ends in disaster, as the car rolls away towards an oil pump. The same trait comes back on her later, as having cut back on sleep to work on both the Mesa Verde and Gatwood cases, she blacks out while driving and crashes.
    • Back in "Expenses", before Kim arrives to a meeting with Mesa Verde, she sets her phone alarm to get a quick five-minute nap in her car. The moment she starts her nap, there's a Smash Cut to the alarm waking her. Her car crash in this episode is portrayed with the same style of cut.
  • Get Out!: Nacho's father tells him to leave when he tries to convince him to let Hector run his business.
  • Has Two Thumbs and...: Jimmy does this while he is trying to tell Kim and Francesca about the news on the Sandpiper case.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Jimmy is one for once, accusing Howard of screwing over the clients and then doing just that with Irene.
    • Two seasons ago, Chuck wouldn't even consider cashing out his share of HHM, since it would require liquidating the firm, leave cases and clients unrepresented, and put over 100 employees out of work. Fast-forward, and now he's got no problem with threatening to tear down HHM when faced himself with the prospect of being forcibly retired.
  • I Have No Son!:
    • Nacho's father is not impressed at finding out that Nacho is working for Hector Salamanca.
    • Also present is the 'I have no brother' variant, between Jimmy and Chuck – or as Jimmy now likes to call him, 'who?'.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Oh Howard, you should have known better than to ask your assistant to find a venue for Chuck's retirement party, upon being handed a message from Chuck sent with the instructions to read it immediately. His face drops five seconds later while reading it, and we then smash cut to him confronting Chuck over his threat to sue.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Although Jimmy had malicious reasons for tipping off the insurance company, the insurance company has reason to be concerned that Chuck's mental condition creates a serious risk of a costly malpractice suit. HHM is lucky that Mesa Verde has not taken them to court over the Rosella Drive fiasco.
    • Howard is genuinely concerned that Chuck continuing to practice law could cause massive problems for the firm. When they thought it was a physical condition, they could spin it that Chuck was disabled but still a brilliant lawyer. Since the Bar hearing transcripts have made it a public record that Chuck's illness is a psychological condition, there is no good way of spinning the fact that one of their top lawyers is mentally ill, and his ability to provide competent legal counsel to his clients is questionable at best. Chuck retiring to a teaching position would be in the firm's best interest.
      • Chuck sees Howard's distrust of him as a betrayal. However, we've seen him being quite erratic at times, and his self-centered, belligerent — and at times, irrational — attitude, gives Howard plenty of reason not to trust Chuck's judgement.
      • Chuck is rightly hurt by Howard forcing him to retire and is fully within his legal rights to try to get his share of the firm's assets as severance. However, his skipping over several steps that could have prevented this, like simply threatening to sue, does nothing more than validate Howard's doubt in Chuck's decision-making.
    • HHM's refusal to let Kim take the Mesa Verde account when she left the firm was motivated by greed, but Chuck also made a valid point that a bank really needs a large firm to handle its legal business. Kim tries to do it all on her own and burns herself out when she takes on a second client.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Attempted. On seeing Chuck's combative attitude to the insurers, Howard suggests he start teaching law and take the position of partner emeritus.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Jimmy reaches a new low this time when it comes to turning the elderly Sandpiper clients on the class representative, Irene, who is nothing but a kind-hearted and trusting woman. He realizes what he's done and fixes his mistake in the next episode.
    • Chuck threatening to sue his own partner over the quite justified concerns Howard has about his unpredictable judgement and decision-making (like threatening a lawsuit against the insurance carrier for raising their malpractice premiums).
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on Howard's face when Chuck demands his share of HHM's assets can only be described as "horror".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Howard is trying to be polite toward Chuck about how his past actions are costing the firm since he is mentally ill and Howard enabled him when it was profitable. With Jimmy, however, he'll have none of that and rightfully call him a two-faced panhandler who just wants his money now instead of the best settlement for his clients.
  • Reverse Psychology: Howard attacks Jimmy's panhandling by taunting him with a handout opportunity, presenting a wad of cash and offering it to Jimmy.
  • Shaped Like Itself: A Logistics Consultant, which Lydia initially wants Mike to go on Madrigal's payroll as, consults on logistics. Mike decides that as an ex-cop, "security consultant" would be a better job title for him.
  • Sleepyhead: Kim has been handling the Mesa Verde account all by herself, but it has been clear for a while that she is barely handling the workload after Chuck's breakdown. When she takes on Gatwood Oil as a second client with a time-sensitive case, she pushes herself too hard and the exhaustion and lack of sleep cause her to black out while driving and crash her car. She needed to hire an associate or at least a paralegal to help her out before taking on more work.
  • Smash Cut: We follow Kim during her car crash from her perspective, so we see her driving and then cut immediately to her waking up to an airbag in her face after falling asleep at the wheel and hitting a guard rail.
  • Surprise Car Crash: Played with; Kim's car crash is sudden for both her and the audience, but not because of someone else coming from nowhere – she crashes into a guard rail without any other driver's involvement. For Kim, it was sudden because she fell asleep at the wheel. For the audience, a Smash Cut from Kim driving to the moment of impact leaves us just as unaware as Kim.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Jimmy's pursuit of the Sandpiper case and his interest in elder law was one of his most humanizing characteristics. Here, he manipulates the elderly Sandpiper residents into turning against one of their friends, eventually reducing the poor woman to tears, because she is standing in the way of a windfall Jimmy stands to gain from an early Sandpiper settlement so he can pay his bills on his own.
    • Chuck is poised to turn on Howard, someone he mentored from early on in his legal career and has been constantly supportive, because he can't accept the idea that he has become a liability to HHM and must abandon practicing law.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • Jimmy in a mall, is he going to slip there? No, he's doing some mall-walking to intercept the Sandpiper residents, to set up the Batman Gambit on Irene.
    • Chuck stating "Imagine me as your enemy..." then cutting to an incredulous Jimmy, sitting in a chair and imitating a bomb going off – are they about to get entangled in another legal battle? No, the scenes are actually separated by a few days' time. Chuck is threatening Howard by launching a lawsuit against HHM, and Jimmy is trying to work his charm on the Sandpiper residents, to convince them to accept the early settlement agreement.
  • Tranquil Fury: Nacho's father is obviously pissed that his son lied to him, is working for the Cartel again, and now Hector Salamanca intends to make him An Offer You Can't Refuse to use his business as a front. While Nacho is expecting him to fly into a rage, he barely raises his voice when he tells his son to "Get out of my house".
  • Wham Shot: Right as Kim trails off in the middle of rehearsing her case in the car, we hard cut to the aftermath of it crashing.
  • Wham Episode: Daaaaamn. Nacho's plan to kill Hector fails and he is forced to tell his father to give in to Hector's demands, leading his father to disown him. Thanks to Jimmy tipping off Chuck's malpractice insurer about his mental illness, the insurer seeks to double HHM's premiums. Chuck turns against Howard when he demands that Chuck go into retirement, and takes HHM to court in a breach of contract lawsuit the firm can't afford. Jimmy engages in a cruel scheme where he turns his elderly clients against one of their friends so that the woman will agree to an early Sandpiper settlement and earn him a hefty payday. And Kim, who has taken on an ungodly workload to keep her firm with Jimmy afloat, falls asleep at the wheel and has a car accident.
  • While You Were in Diapers: Howard's father's firm was a two-room office before Chuck helped him build it up, and Chuck tutored Howard himself through the bar exam.