Better Call Saul “Bali Ha’i” Analysis (S2E06)

I’m kind of glad I don’t watch the teasers/promos for the next episode because watching last week’s now, that boot is just too much info. Better to let me feel the impact of Hector’s return (which is great enough) in the “Rebecca” cliffhanger rather than cloud my mind with cousins anticipation immediately after. I agree with you Steve in that the Breaking Bad cameos are starting to have a snowball effect with every episode. I like that it’s being done naturally though and makes sense as it builds without feeling like it’s being done for pandering’s sake. The cousins standing on the far rooftop was absolutely creepy. I like that their familiar thematic score from season 3 worked as a cue to their reveal about a second before it was confirmed to be them because at first glance they were just distant silhouettes. It allowed the more attentive BrBa fans to feel their inevitable presence before confirming to the fans who may not remember the score but still suspect, that it is indeed them.

The cousins were always such a mythical entity in Breaking Bad and I love that surreal weirdness that they bring. The scene was very invasive and I had to remind myself that through the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen Breaking Bad, the score is played up because of that, especially since Mike is usually very careful and precautious. He doesn’t need to know who these guys are, but he’s caught way off guard and he knows that if they tracked him here, then they definitely come from a very high and dangerous place. Not something the usual mopes that tried to get the jump on him at his house would suggest (and yeah, that scene was slick). I think what’s great about the cousins’ introduction initially being a problem for Mike here is that now when we watch “I See You”, the scene with Leonel dying and Mike leaving the hospital inconspicuously will have such a more satisfying punch.

As for Kim, I’m really feeling for her this season. I just want her to escape the light that Howard sees her in, but despite how stone cold and nightmarish he was in that tracking shot, I still get it. This is growing to be just as nuanced as the Chuck/Jimmy conflict. It’s not so much that Howard has a problem with Kim and Jimmy having their connection, but she did strongly vouch for Jimmy to get involved in such a high position at Davis & Main and with the terrible results that are occurring from that, her judgement has every right to be questioned at this point. I mean he vouches for Jimmy too because of her so he is made out to be just as much of a fool.

Besides what I touched on last week in regards to Howard’s tough position between Chuck and Jimmy and how Kim can get mixed up in that, the shit that’s happening at Davis & Main because of Jimmy is just a colossal, concrete example of something that Kim is pretty much responsible for, even if she had every intention that it would turn out good. Chuck sees what Kim is going through so at least he can sympathize and chalk it up as further confirmation that his brother will always continue to disappoint the ones that give him these chances, but Howard will not be sharing that same investment. Man, that scene where she tries to explain herself and he continues to ignore her was so excruciating and unexpected. I imagine there was some good blooper reel material from that haha.

At this point, the Schweikart & Cokely proposition is a really interesting turn or option and I can’t wait to see what happens there but I still hope she could figure out her conflict within the confines of HHM and stay loyal because there’s just something still uncertain about the direction of taking up that offer. That and if she does, the door of HHM will most likely be closed behind her forever.

At first, Erin’s involvement with Jimmy seemed light, although tough in contrast to how sloppily Jimmy operates, but now she has upped her game by being almost Professor Umbridge-like with how joyfully strict she’s being towards him. I think it’s fair to say that Cliff and the partners are most likely trying to force Jimmy out rather than shapen him up or discipline him. Best case scenario is they will get some good work out of him, but otherwise he’ll just fail. I’m reminded of when Walt vouched for Jesse to Gus in season 3 and then Jesse ended up being a problem. At the rate Erin is going to keep Jimmy in line, I wouldn’t be surprised if he approached Cliff, the partners, and Erin on a street corner before Kim barrels them down with her Mitsubishi Eclipse. All joking aside, Kim and Jimmy are not in a favorable light right now to these higher-ups, no matter how justified one’s situation is over the other.

I liked how Kim acknowledged that Jimmy knew the right place for himself in the beginning of this season and I also think her calling Jimmy in order to scam another mark is very telling that although she is a law-abiding work horse, there’s still a hint of her that is playfully corruptible or irresponsible. It’s so complicated though. I’m kind of hoping for Howard and Kim to have their own “Pimento” moment between each other at the end of this season, because there’s something so present yet unspoken about all this that needs to be addressed.

Some notes:

– I liked in the beginning the slow camera rotation when Kim was brushing her teeth. It lets us reminisce on the season premiere when Jimmy was around, only to show here that he’s missing in this picture. Then her little raise of the finger on her tooth brush was a nice nod to show that she felt this too.

– I watched the inside extra for this episode and they said that Rhea Seehorn’s first exposure to Jimmy singing on the answering machine was what we got to see on screen. Neat way to get a natural reaction for Kim.

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