Television

Better Call Saul: Season 2, Episode 8 - "Fifi"

Sean Fennell

Jimmy makes a bold move that promises to come back to haunt both his friends and enemies.


Better Call Saul

Airtime: Mondays, 10pm
Cast: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathon Banks, Rhea Seehorn
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 8 - "Fifi"
Network: AMC
Air Date: 2016-04-04
Amazon

During last week's excellent and foundation-shifting episode of Better Call Saul Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk), when first formulating his plan to join forces with Kim (Rhea Seehorn), admits that he cannot be the totally above-board lawman that he knows she wants him to be. Instead, he said he must stop trying to do things for others and let his own, albeit questionable, moral compass guide him into the future. The "others" he was referring to are, at least, most prominently, Chuck (Michael McKean) and Kim. These two forces of pain and love have been so influential in Jimmy's life and, despite wishing to become fully his own man, they continue to push and pull his narrative arc as we enter the final stretch of season two.

It's clear as we enter episode eight, entitled "Fifi", that Kim intends to follow through on the plan she devised at the end of last week's installment. After first shooting down Jimmy's plan for a Wexler-McGill firm, she agrees to share a building and expenses but not the nameplate on the door.

Immediately, Jimmy hatches a very Jimmy-like plan for how she should go about quitting HHM, which predictably includes some shady dealings and an attempt to pull the Mesa Verde account out from under Hamlin (Patrick Fabian). When Kim quickly shoots this down, we get our first look at how their joint business venture will play out in the future and why Kim was reticent to join forces in the first place. Nothing Jimmy suggests is technically illegal, but it’s enough to make Kim’s stomach churn and that’s enough reason for her.

Despite following all the rules, Kim still believes, after a good lunch pitch which compares her new solo practice to a tailored suit. that she has won the client fair and square. That is, until Chuck, who is aghast to hear that Jimmy has convinced Kim to leave HHM, chooses to momentarily forget his electricity allergy and deliver a truly conniving bit of salesmanship that eventually wins Mesa Verde back to HHM.

Here lies another example, of which there are more even in this episode alone, of Kim being tossed around at the expense of a sibling rivalry that seems to get nastier by the day. Of course, Chuck cares about the Mesa Verde account, but his immediate interest in coming to the meeting, along with his allowance of all electric devices and lights to be on during, seems to hinge almost entirely on him finding out Jimmy’s involved. We know from a few weeks ago that Chuck respects Kim immensely as a lawyer and as a person, but the moment he gets the opportunity to do anything to pop the bubble that’s Jimmy's happy existence, he can't help himself.

Jimmy, ever suspicious, especially when it comes to his brother, seems to know that Chuck may have more motive than simple client retention. In part to play the brave knight to Kim, as well as get back at Chuck, Jimmy sets in motion a plan that will surely have ramifications for the season two finale. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what laws Jimmy is breaking as he fudges the addresses on the Mesa Verde account pages, but what he hopes to accomplish seems to be to show Mesa Verde exactly what Kim said they’d be missing if they went with HHM: attention to detail.

It's a pretty good plan, performed with excellent execution, and it seems like it'll be difficult, if not impossible, for HHM to ever find out the truth, but that's not what really matters in this case. When Kim agreed to leave HHM she did so with the express wish to keep her and Jimmy's law practices completely separate. With this act of trickery, Jimmy isn't only sabotaging Chuck’s lawyering, but his already tentative agreement with Kim. Sure, they can buy the dentist-turned-law office with two different offices, but if he’s going to continue to meddle in Kim’s affairs, the two different names on the doors will be more symbolic than truth. Jimmy, once again acting out of love and good intentions may just have sowed the seed of what will one day bring his relationship with Kim, both romantic and professional, to a tumultuous end.

While we may be able to conjure up an end to the plan Jimmy has set in motion, the same cannot be said of Mike (Jonathan Banks) and his attempt to get even with the Salamanca gang. As was the case last week, Mike spends a good deal of his time staking out Salamanca’s various places of business in an attempt to learn more about the family's comings and goings. Per usual, Mike’s a man a few words, so his exact intentions remain a mystery, but his little arts and craft project with his daughter makes it seem as though the execution of said plan is eminent.

There are only two more episodes remaining in this season of Better Call Saul, so this week, as is often the case with a middle-to-late episode of any "prestige drama", the eyes of the writers seemed pinned on wrapping up the season. Whatever happens with Jimmy and Chuck and Kim and those tampered files will come to head before the season’s over, and it’s my guess things will not end well for Jimmy.

In addition, Mike and Hector (Mark Margolis) seem destined to have it out in some way before the credits roll on season two. This week's focus was nudging those two stories -- which are, for now, totally separate from one another -- toward some endpoint. Some have complained about the lethargy of this season as opposed to the first, and I’ll admit even this episode had its drawn-out sequences, but if the show can pull together these stories effectively, it promises to be an ending rife with consequence for both sides of Better Call Saul.

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