Better Call Saul season 3, episode 9 recap: “Fall”


As Better Call Saul” sets up for the season 3 finale, we see Jimmy, Kim, and Nacho all face their own “Fall” moments, living up to the title of the episode.

The thing about both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul  is that both shows rely on the method of the “slow burn.” It’s a season long build up to the final few episodes. We’ve seen it done brilliantly across networks, such as with FX’s “Justified” and HBO’s Game of Thrones.

But Saul has got the slow burn down to an absolute art. This season has been as good as any individual season of any show in the modern “golden age” of Television that we’re currently in. And unless the finale is a huge disappointment, I think we’ll be citing this season as one of the best runs of a TV show for years to come. 

Let’s start with Kim, who is a large part of this episode as she deals with Gatwood Oil and their accidental drinking of Texas’ milkshakes. There is quite a bit of foreshadowing with her first scene of the episode. Outside forces cause Kim to get stuck, and when she tries to free herself, she almost has a bad accident.

Of course, I’m talking about her car getting stuck in the sand, and almost rolling into an oil derrick before she dives into the car to stop it. But you could apply that same scenario to her final, heart-stopping scene in the episode. Jimmy’s situation (and her lack of faith in him to be able to make it work) leads her to take on more work to try and free the financial burden for themselves. She pulls all-nighter after all-nighter, and it finally caught up with her.

What will this accident do to her relationship with Jimmy, though? Kim will be ok, she’ll still be an excellent lawyer, and will probably get everything taken care of. (Although she might not be able to meet the deadline to save Gatwood Oil from extra taxes.) But will she harbor resentment toward Jimmy that he was able to get paid without doing anything while she is working harder than anyone else on the show?

Speaking of Jimmy, this was the first time his antics and hustling have targeted an innocent, non-jackass person. For the longest time, we as viewers (along with Kim) have given Jimmy a pass on his hustles because the people he was targeting were not nice folks. Even a few episodes ago, when Jimmy “fell” in order to squeeze money out of the Sklar Brothers, we gave him a pass because those two were jerking him around.

But this week…Jimmy went after the sweetest lil old lady this side of the Mississippi. Irene, one of his former clients, welcomed Jimmy into her home and he softened her up with cat cookies and walking sneakers and then fed her to the wolves. He set her up to be ostracized and bullied by her friends, maybe doing irreparable damage to her relationships. And it’s not like she can just go out and make new friends, either. Jimmy very well may have ruined her remaining days by being selfish and setting her up, just so he could get his Sandpiper settlement money.

Just a few weeks ago I wrote about how Jimmy McGill was dying and would be reborn into Saul Goodman. We may have witnessed Jimmy going into hospice care this week because what he did to poor Irene is unforgivable.

Next up, we get Nacho facing his own fall. There have been several conversations on the show between Nacho and other people in his circle about how his father isn’t in the game and is a good man. He doesn’t approve of Nacho’s involvement with the Salamanca’s and is not aware that his son has started working for them again.

Nacho, knowing that his father’s life is in danger now that Hector still hasn’t died from the poisoned pills, goes to see his dad and tells him about the upcoming crisis. Nacho goes into the moment knowing full well that it might end his relationship with his dad, but he has to tell him so that his dad doesn’t respond poorly. Hector is in a bad mood after being told he must continue to work with Gus for drug running into the states. And just as Nacho predicted, his father kicks him out of the house. But maybe he was able to save his life by showing just how important it is for Nacho’s dad to do what Hector says.

And if we’re going to talk about falling, how far has Chuck McGill fallen in the eyes of…well…everyone that matters to him. His ex-wife, Howard, his law firm…they all think he’s crazy. And he’s doing a damn good job of trying to pretend that he isn’t anymore, but as we’ve seen, he still has adverse reactions to electricity. Howard does a piss poor job of trying to convince Chuck to go into academia before finally revealing the truth; Hamlin, Hamlin, Mcgill cannot afford to pay for Chuck’s increased insurance liability costs, and they are going to force him out. Of course, he counters by saying he is going to sue everyone involved, from the insurance company to Howard himself.

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As discussed previously, it’s hard to feel sympathy for Chuck. His current situation was brought on by his actions towards his brother, a back and forth in pettiness that stretches back to grade school. And yet, knowing that Chuck isn’t well mentally has made him more sympathetic in the eyes of the viewer, even if Jimmy has shown that Chuck is 100% dead to him.

Finally, there is the scene between Mike and Irene from Madrigal. As we know from “Breaking Bad” she is crucial to Gus’ operation when it comes to supplies and distribution. And Mike, always the skeptic, takes some convincing to actually use his real name and information to launder his money. But Irene is able to convince him, and even fuels the mythos around Gustavo with her statement that he isn’t just a drug dealer. “If that’s all you think he is, then you don’t know Gustavo Fring.”

“Fall” was a heartbreaking episode, as we see relationships get torn apart, and people get used to other’s gains. The season finale (and possibly series finale, since AMC hasn’t renewed the show yet) is shaping up to be a great one. And if it is the final episode in the series, we will leave with a much deeper understanding of what created Saul Goodman, and how tragic the future Omaha Cinnabon manager’s story really is.