AMC’s Better Call Saul
6×06: “Axe and Grind”
Directed by Giancarlo Esposito
Written by Ariel Levine
* For a recap & review of 6×05, click here.
* For a recap & review of 6×07, click here.
A flashback of young Kim Wexler, who was caught shoplifting. Her mom was ready to let the store’s manager call the cops but he only wanted to be sure she wouldn’t be back there doing the same thing again. Mom wanted to make young Kim pay for the broken merchandise, even if the manager was’t insisting on it. Of course Kim’s mom wasn’t actually angry, and she even stole something for her daughter, too. Seems like Kim’s been on two paths her whole life: trying to not be like mom yet also simultaneously being exactly like her mom. Her life’s been dominated by people encouraging the worst in her, from mom to Saul.
Howard’s paranoid about everything with Saul, waiting for the other shoe to drop. He doesn’t know how or when, or where, but it’ll drop. He informs his wife Cheryl vaguely about what’s going on. Later, he gets a report from his private investigator who’s been keeping a close watch on Saul’s comings and goings. Nothing too eventful to report about Saul, just regular ole shady lawyer shit, other than Saul going to a bank to make major withdrawals, which spikes the interest of Howard.
Saul’s with his weird vet friend, Dr. Caldera, to set more things in motion against Howard. Diabolical stuff here involving a special drug. While he and Kim are with the doc they find out Caldera wants to retire from his criminal business. They get a look at his “little black book,” which sends Jimmy’s mind going wild about possibilities. Great little reference to Best Quality Vacuum, the place Walter White used to disappear in Breaking Bad.
Clifford stops by court to see Kim, admiring her work in court. Afterwards they chat and he asks about how things are between Kim and Howard. For her part, Kim speaks very highly of Howard and what he’s done for her over the years. Clifford mentions a program that he thinks Kim might have interest in; a program that funds pro bono cases like ones Kim has been taking on lately. That evening, Kim goes to Saul’s office to tell him she’s been invited to Sante Fe by Clifford, coinciding with the day they’re plotting the next act against Howard aka “D–Day.” Saul has his film school friends helping him take photographs of a man impersonating Rand Casimiro, the mediator in Sandpiper’s case.
In Germany, Lalo’s in the forest wandering onto private property to talk to a man, Casper, chopping wood; Casper was one of the members on Werner’s crew. Casper makes a run for it immediately with his axe and Lalo follows behind with a gun. The cartel man tracks his prey into a barn, where the two men end up in a brutal struggle. Casper gains the upper hand quickly but it doesn’t take long for Lalo to gain it back, preparing to torture the man to find out what he needs to about the work Werner did for Fring.
Francesca isn’t totally thrilled with Saul and the way his business works. She isn’t even sure if everything they’re doing is legal. Mostly, Saul talks down to her and holds the job he gave her over her head. Then he makes Francesca call HHM about Sandpiper to find out more on the mediation and how to call in on the date necessary, as well as the passcode required to call into the meeting. Perfect! Poor Francesca. Everyone who comes into contact with Saul has their morals compromised, one way or another. Morally, and hygienically, Saul’s business is a MESS.
At the laundromat, Mike’s getting questioned Tyrus about why he took guys off his house. He says they were low on manpower and he hasn’t been home much in weeks, so there’s no need. Tyrus is paranoid, probably. Mike doesn’t seem too worried about any of it, going about his daily life and business the same as he has been while they’ve been locked down due to the trouble with Lalo. Somehow he continues to live a normal life outside of his criminal work, too, fitting in bits of happiness with his granddaughter whenever possible while he also keeps a close watch on her to make sure she’s safe; he doesn’t care about himself, he only cares about her. That’s why Mike can be part of such a horrific, morally ugly business yet remain such a strong, sympathetic character we want to see survive, even if we know what happens to him in Breaking Bad further down the timeline.
Saul and Kim go for a late-night pic, bringing only wine and setting down a blanket right outside HHM. They’re ready to embark on the big day, making the next move against Howard. The next day, Saul’s game to screw with Howard while Kim takes off for Sante Fe. He goes out to get a special bottle of Zafiro Anejo, the familiar tequila and the tequila that has sentimental value to Saul and Kim. He also happens to run into Casimiro, who’s got a busted arm in a sling, something they didn’t know when taking the photos. That throws a wrench into the plan. Saul calls Kim to tell her about Casimiro. He wants to “pull the plug and live to fight another day.” She’d rather drop her trip out to Sante Fe and fix things now. She wants this to go down today. It’s Kim now, not her mother, not Saul, who’s pushing for the con. Things have changed, but not for the better.