Gloves Off (Better Call Saul)
"Gloves Off" is the fourth episode of the second season of the AMC television series Better Call Saul, the spinoff series of Breaking Bad. The episode aired on March 7, 2016 on AMC in the United States. Outside of the United States, the episode premiered on streaming service Netflix in several countries.
|Better Call Saul episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2|
|Directed by||Adam Bernstein|
|Written by||Gordon Smith|
|Original air date||March 7, 2016|
|Running time||43 minutes|
In a preview of events that take place later in the episode, Mike returns home to rest after having been in a fight. He tosses a stack of hundred-dollar bills onto his kitchen table, pulls a bag of frozen vegetables out of his freezer and presses it to his face. He sinks into a chair, his eye swollen shut and his face gruesomely beaten.
Despite Jimmy's assertion that his commercial to recruit clients for the Sandpiper Crossing lawsuit was a success, the partners at Davis & Main lambaste him for airing it without their consent. Even though the majority of the partners want to fire Jimmy for cause, Cliff decides to give him a second chance with the understanding that he'll be under a great deal more scrutiny going forward.
Jimmy leaves Kim an urgent voicemail requesting that she call him before speaking to Howard. Jimmy's too late, because Kim is already being grilled by Howard and Chuck at the HHM offices over her failure to warn them about Jimmy's ad. Not wanting to get Jimmy into even more trouble, she takes responsibility for not letting them know in advance that the commercial would air, explaining that she didn't think it was necessary. A furious Howard reprimands her, and she promises it won't happen again.
Later on Jimmy drives to Chuck's house and starts to enter, but realizes he forgot to remove his electronics, so he grudgingly turns back to Chuck's mailbox and empties his pockets. When Chuck doesn't answer, Jimmy uses his key to enter. He finds Chuck shivering on the couch, still dressed to leave for work but covered by a space blanket. Chuck refuses to go to the hospital, so Jimmy wraps him in a second space blanket, then sits to wait with him. The next morning, Jimmy condemns Chuck for allowing Howard to reprimand Kim, saying he believes Chuck could have come to Kim's defense but did not to because he doesn't want Jimmy to be a lawyer. Chuck refuses to intercede for Kim, telling Jimmy that he is "a chimp with a machine gun" because he causes harm to everyone around him, but cannot admit his own mistakes or wrongdoing. Jimmy offers to quit practicing law if Chuck will help Kim, but Chuck tells Jimmy he already made enough mistakes to get himself fired. Finding that Chuck cannot be persuaded, Jimmy storms out.
Nacho and Mike monitor a small Mexican restaurant. Nacho tells Mike he and Tuco meet at this location regularly to settle accounts with their dealers and it would be easy to kill Tuco as he enters or exits. Mike refuses to kill Tuco, asserting that it would attract retaliation by the Salamancas and the cartel. Instead, Mike plans to remove Tuco from an active role in the Salamanca drug business, which will satisfy Nacho's needs. Mike calls the police, fakes a minor accident in the restaurant parking lot which involves his car and Tuco's, and then goads Tuco into striking him repeatedly just as police arrive. Because Tuco was carrying a gun when he beat Mike, he is arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. Tuco is taken away in handcuffs and Nacho later pays Mike, but Mike declines to give a reason for going to such trouble to avoid killing Tuco.
Upon airing, the episode received 2.20 million American viewers, and an 18–49 rating of 0.9.
The episode received critical acclaim from critics. It holds a 100% positive rating with an average score of 8.76 out of 10 on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. The critics' consensus reads: "Gloves Off" finds Better Call Saul coming further into its own with an enthralling episode that highlights Jonathan Banks' contributions."