Better Call Saul: “Bali Ha’i” Season 2 Episode 6 Review

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Jimmy doesn’t appear in “Bali Ha’i” until the last 15 minutes. With the last two episodes advancing Kim and Mike’s stories  while keeping Jimmy’s in the background, this one smartly just allowed those two characters to get the big moments their arc have been waiting for.

Mike’s side of the episode was obviously the most exciting. Better Call Saul showed us it meant business last week when Hector Salamanca found Mike in a diner and lightly threatened him. Knowing what the Salamanca family is capable of from Breaking Bad helps build the tension, but the show doesn’t quite rely on it. The first time someone is sent to Mike’s house, it’s hardly a serious threat. Hector thinks it’ll be much easier to strong arm this man. The second time, Mike once again gets to prove just how awesome he is. Yet he’s still shaking at the end of his encounter. Finally, while playing with his granddaughter by the local pool, we see those horrifying twins just staring him down from a nearby rooftop. Their horrific accompanying score from Breaking Bad returns and we know Hector has brought out the big guns. These are the twins who show up on this show’s predecessor only after Tuco is killed.

At this point, Mike is afraid. He doesn’t have the security of Gus surrounding him yet. The Salamancas could do him some damage. But he still stands tall even when he meets Hector to give into his demands. He gets $50,000 out of the deal instead of $5,000. Mike still wins even when he loses. He even works to build trust with Nacho after, giving him half because he didn’t come through on their deal. He admits defeat admirably, something the show fittingly rewards him for. Mike has always been honorable, but watching him play those cards to get where he ends up in Breaking Bad is great entertainment.

Kim, meanwhile, goes down a bit more reckless path. Even if Chuck has forgiven her, Howard is still holding a bit of a grudge. But when she over-performs at a case she was likely to lose, she catches the attention of a rival firm. Kim getting a better job thanks to Jimmy’s antics seems a bit too good to be true, until you remember that Kim has earned this. But will she undo that? Drinking heavily on her lunch and spending a few hours conning another would-be “investor” with Jimmy, Kim may be counting her chickens. And her final words to Jimmy in the episode were a bit foreboding.

The final moments were a fitting statement about Jimmy. The cup Kim gave him that read “World’s 2nd Best Lawyer” never fit his cupholder. So what does he do? Break the cupholder. It’s a clever moment that symbolically defines its main character. This being an episode that barely advanced his story, it may be more foreshadowing than an actual statement about where Jimmy is right now. But it’s a great moment that caps off one of the best episodes of the season so far. “Bali Ha’i” understands its characters and pushes them in exciting directions. As we head closer to the end of the season, it’ll be fascinating to see how their arcs unfold. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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