Every action has an equal and opposite reaction and in the case of Gloves Off, the latest episode of Better Call Saul, the reaction extends further that just the actions you take. Jimmy’s irresponsibility and stupidity for airing a commercial on behalf of Davis and Main has negative implications to himself and to the one person he confides in: Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). His lying to her not only effects their relationship with one another, their careers are on the line, with two separate law firms taking strict action with whom were involved with the commercial. Kim, though innocent of producing the commercial, is guilty by proxy for knowing about it and failing to report it to her superiors at HHM.
Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) is skating on thin ice, being allowed a second chance to continue working at Davis and Main, however, every move he makes is under scrutiny. When learning that Kim is moved to a basement office to complete her work with clients, Jimmy marches to Chuck (Michael McKean) to persuade him to reverse her punishment.
Chuck and Jimmy’s relationship is a whole other article in and of itself with it’s complexities, but somewhere in Jimmy’s ever shrinking heart is a place of compassion and respect for his older brother. Jimmy could have easily walked right into his brother’s home with his cell phone in his pocket instead he just angrily throws his phone in the mailbox as normal. Jimmy has an intent of going to see Chuck but immediately flips that switch to ‘caring younger brother’ as Chuck shivers at night.
For Jimmy to turn into the criminal lawyer he’ll become in Breaking Bad, at this point in time, he still has redeeming qualities. When Chuck awakes, both men get into a shouting match that is one of the better scenes in the episode after Mike’s rouse to antagonize Tuco (Raymond Cruz). Jimmy tries to bargain for Kim’s career for his own, extorting Chuck to make a deal. “I will not roll around in the mud with you,” Chuck states to Jimmy, which is quite hypocritical to say the least. Chuck is no stranger to immorality with the revelation that he was responsible for Jimmy’s rejection at HHM.
Though his actions weren’t illegal, his actions were morally gray as his contempt in Jimmy’s career choice unmasked its ugly face in the finale of last year. Their shouting match speaks higher volumes for both individuals than before: Jimmy’s sacrificial agreement may be against the law but he was willing to lose his career for the betterment of the person he loves; Chuck’s refusal may have been the right choice yet is hypocritical in his phrasing.
Thinking maybe Nacho (Michael Mando) hired Mike (Jonathan Banks) to silence Daniel, the baseball card guy, the true intentions of Mike’s services comes to fruition in the form of a hit on his partner, Tuco Salamanca. Tuco’s presence in the series premier was one that felt nearly like an act of God, a force that isn’t reckoned with. His return to the show shows just how much power and clout he holds when in the presence of Nacho. Nacho has been the one we’ve gotten used to seeing as being the one in charge but when Tuco returns we instantly remember Nacho is nothing compared to Tuco’s omnipotence.
Mike’s decision to imprison Tuco rather than killing him doesn’t showcase his empathy toward Nacho but, rather, his rationality, seeing the whole picture; he understands how the cartel works and the mindset they’ll have when it comes to investigating: shoot first, ask questions later.
His silence at the top of the show when asked why he settled for such a small amount to not kill Tuco, speaks volumes more on Nacho’s rationality and mindset moreso than Mike’s. Nacho, for the time being, has been an imposing figure for those we’ve seen dealt with him, namely the IT guy whose inexperience nearly jails him. We’ve seen Nacho make dumb decisions as well, namely the burglary of the baseball cards. His question to Mike shows he acts on his emotions without the thought of any implications it may have; in other words, he’s amateur.