The sixth episode of Better Call Saul, “Bali Ha’i” was a noticeable and pleasant return to a faster pace. Actions taken by characters were nearly on par with this season’s “Gloves Off” in terms of plot development. Spoilers ahead!
As I always seem to be designating each episode of Saul as belonging to a certain character, I’ll give this week to Mike. Once again, Jonathan Banks conveys so much through so little dialogue. This week, he attempted to ward off a string of henchmen sent by Hector Salamanca; after he refuses to say, “Yes, Tuco’s gun belonged to me,” they break into his home. But Mike — always the tactician — is on top of it.
Mike previously rigged his house’s welcome mat with a pad designed to track footprints. When he stumbles on the break-in, he takes out his gun and scopes out the house. What a smart and excellent move, using the remote to turn on the TV from a hidden spot! He beats the guys up and kicks them out. Again, Mike is not quick to murder in this series. Not yet at least.
The threat is averted only until Hector sends in the big guns. Two guns, that is; his nephews, the twin brothers/hit men from Breaking Bad, also called “the Cousins.” The show has expertly used Mike’s daughter-in-law and grand daughter, Stacey and Kaylee, to explain what’s at stake for him and this scene was no exception. While Mike watches Kaylee going for a swim, the Cousins perch themselves on a nearby roof and aim pretend guns first at Mike, then at her. This terrifies him.
What follows is an intense negotiation. Through his persistent straight-talking and an excellent poker face, Mike gets Hector to give him $50,000 dollars to say the gun was his. Did I mention the gun? Well, Mike is so confident in this scene that he reaches for his gun and threatens to shoot Hector right then and there if he doesn’t get any money. I don’t think Mike is incredibly strapped for cash, but I do think he wanted to send the Salamancas a message: “do not f**k with me.” It’s intense and very well-acted.
It starts out all wrong: Chuck got her out of doc review at HHM, but now Howard seems to completely despise her. Then, as part of the Sandpiper case, she is forced to make a case to a judge — against the rival firm — with no support at all. The tone starts to change when Rick Schweikart from said rival firm (Schweikart & Coakley) approaches her post-trial.
He relates to her poor treatment by her firm, saying that he went through nearly the same situation years ago. He then not only compliments her skills as a lawyer, but offers her a full-time job at Schweikart & Coakley AND offers to pay off her law school loans! Rhea Seehorn finally sold me on liking Kim in this episode, because she finally acted like an emotion-driven human being and decided to stand up for herself and take this new job. It’s intriguing that Kim is switching to the side of HHM’s rivals in the Sandpiper case.
As for her personal life, Kim has some fun too. She lets a guy buy her some drinks at a bar, then when asked her name, responds that it’s “Giselle.” This was her name during her and Jimmy’s last con against a stuck-up stockbroker. From this moment on, we know her intentions with this man, but we also can glean that Kim is done being stepped on by her superiors. It’s taken her this long, but it’s refreshing to see her join Jimmy in the mindset of, “screw you, authority!”
Speaking of Jimmy, once again, he’s not the episode’s focus! I’m taking points away from “Bali Ha’i,” because it’s getting kind of weird to have the main character of our show take a back seat for two episodes in a row. That said, there’s still some stuff to chew on here.
When the episode opens, we see that Jimmy is starting to get restless with the stability given to him by Davis & Maine. He even takes it out of the nice company house he occupies, deciding he’d rather sleep in his old, fold-out nail salon room! He makes several references to how badly he wants to get fired, which you just know is going to happen imminently. It’s likely going to happen because he makes it so. It’s hard to watch this guy throw away the best job he’s ever had, but it’s also enticing to see him on the road to finding out what he really wants to do in life. Maybe it’s crime? (It’s definitely crime.)
Jimmy gets to take a breather from his job to join Kim — now “Giselle” — in her scam. It’s nice to see these two working it out, celebrating another successful con and hooking up. Their feud had gone on for long enough.
Kim’s new job offer likely reminds Jimmy how much he truly hates his own, so he takes out his frustration on his company car this time. His “World’s 2nd Best Lawyer” coffee has never quite fit in the vehicle’s cup holders, so he grabs a crowbar from the trunk and breaks them to the right size. This is hopefully the start of a greater focus on Jimmy for the remaining three episodes in the reason.
This isn’t because Mike and Kim are not interesting. They are! We just need to see McGill moving forward as consistently as those other characters. All in all, despite said flaw, this was still a great episode.
Some other great moments:
- Jimmy playing basketball with his decorative tumbleweeds around the house. Weird and silly.
- Jimmy’s half-assed excuse to Aaron while he answers the phone, “Sorry, it’s my Grandma. She’s … old.”
- Billy Mays on the TV in Mike’s house. Now that’s a throwback.
- Mike giving Nacho $25,000 dollars to apologize for taking action that will allow Tuco to get released from prison much faster. How honorable of him!