[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 2, “Carrot and Stick.” For our recap of Episode 1, click here.]
The title of Better Call Saul Season 6, Episode 2, refers to how Jimmy and Kim continue to develop their plan to sabotage Harold Hamlin’s career, this time bringing in the once-familiar faces of Betsy and Craig Kellerman.
You might remember this vindictive pair from Season 1, when Jimmy McGill represented them as Craig faced charges over his illicit bookkeeping for Bernalillo County — since then, Craig’s done some time, and he and Betsy are attempting to rebuild with a new business preparing tax returns for people who don’t spend enough time looking over the fine print to make sure that they’re not being ripped off (something we’ll get back to in a bit).
Meanwhile, the situation with Nacho has… escalated. Over the course of this episode, the following things happen:
• Gus has Mike swap out the safe in Nacho’s home with a new one, containing (nearly) everything the original safe did, plus a bank statement scrawled with the phone number for the hotel at which Nacho is currently hiding.
• Don Eladio and his own men, drilling open said safe, find the statement and thus have an idea of where Nacho is.
• Nacho, after waiting long enough, stops trusting Tyrus’s voice on the phone and sneaks out of his hotel room to discover that he’s being observed — by Gus’s people.
• Gus figures out that Lalo survived his planned attack, and that if Eladio’s men get to Nacho before him, Nacho might talk and reveal Gus’s involvement in trying to kill Lalo.
That’s… a lot, and that’s all before people start shooting guns.
The Least Legal Move
So let’s focus in here on how Nacho just barely survived the invasion of Eladio’s guys at the Motel Cotillo, killing at least one man before finally escaping. (Murder = still usually the worst crime, even if this was technically self-defense.) Once again, Nacho proves that he has the brains to survive longer than most in this game, successfully figuring out that not only was he being watched, but who had hired the watching.
The opening sequence makes it clear that Gus wanted to set Nacho up as the key conspirator against Lalo, but with Nacho still on the run — and now looking directly to Gus for answers — the question becomes if Gus will be able to protect him, or if he even wants to do so.
Achievements in Cinematography
There are maybe fancier shots in the episode, but the early sequence of Jimmy rehearsing his latest scheme monologue pulls out so elegantly to reveal Kim in the foreground that it’s worth admiring. Especially because it gives us a truly rare treat — the sight of Kim dropping her perennially straight face to just flat-out enjoy Jimmy’s over-the-top Irish accent. Kim’s probably kissed Jimmy more times than she’s smiled at his jokes, a detente which seems to play into their overall vibe as a couple, but it’s still just too charming to see them enjoy each other’s company.
It’s always a treat when the Bad/Saul-iverse brings back some blasts from the past, and not only was it fun to see Julie Ann Emery and Jeremy Shamos return as the forever-shifty Kellermans, but Mythic Quest breakout Jessie Ennis returned to Albuquerque as Erin Brill, the junior lawyer at Cliff’s firm who the Kellermans call “a glorified intern.”
The Kellermans should just consider themselves lucky that it was Erin, and not Jo, who they were talking to.