Warning: This recap for the “Fifi" episode of Better Call Saul contains spoilers.
In which Jimmy’s cut-and-paste project and Mike’s spiked garden hose creation promise to cause all kinds of ruckus in the final two episodes of Season 2.
The Ice Cream Truck
At a U.S. border weigh station in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, we follow a Regalo Helado delivery truck, as it makes its way through the border station investigation. The driver’s ID and paperwork are checked, the truck itself is checked out by agents who tap its walls and check underneath it with mirrors, and tubs and boxes of ice cream are removed and sent through an x-ray scanner. Finally, the driver reloads the frozen treats, snags a popsicle for himself, and is back on the road.
But in the middle of nowhere, he pulls the truck off the highway, gets out, and walks into a field. He stops at a rock, lifts it up, and grabs a gun that’s been left in a hole, and replaces the rock. And then he jams his new empty popsicle stick into the ground, which is already littered with another couple dozen sticks.
Later, Mike is spending another night surveilling Tio’s ice cream shop hangout, where the Regalo Helado truck makes a stop. Just as the lights go out at El Griego Guinador, and Mike is ready to leave, he spots Tio and Arturo arriving, and the shop owner unlocks the door to let them in. The former cop realizes this is an important development, and follows Tio and Arturo the next day, as they go to a garage, and Tio drives his car inside. Shortly after, the Regalo Helado truck arrives and pulls inside the garage, too, and Mike hears the sound of power tools while Tio stands outside the garage, smoking a cigarette.
Ice cream… fried chicken… just as Gustavo Fring found buckets of thick fried chicken batter to be a great place to smuggle drugs to and fro, maybe Tio has the same idea with buckets of ice cream? Is El Griego Guinador Tio’s Los Pollos Hermanos?
At the Dog House
For once, and probably temporarily, Jimmy isn’t in the doghouse with Kim… he’s at the Dog House — that ABQ hot dog eatery that is also a favorite of Jesse Pinkman — with Kim, where they’re celebrating their new joint legal venture. Not partners; two solo practitioners under the same roof, sharing operational expenses. That’s a clear distinction, one Kim points out when she hands her resignation letter to Howard.
Jimmy had advised her to try to lockdown any clients she might have a chance of taking with her in her solo venture, namely Mesa Verde, before she told Howard she was vamoosing, but she once again pointed out to her boyfriend that that is not her way of doing things. Which she might regret the next day, when she leaves Howard’s office, post-resignation, and he immediately instructs his secretary to get Kevin from Mesa Verde on the phone.
The resignation goes much better than Kim expected. Not only does Howard forgive her law school loan debt to HHM — “our gift to you,” he says — but he tells her he envies her fresh start, and shares that he once had aspirations “to make a difference” in the world, until his dad talked him into adding “another ‘H’ in the logo.” Still, when Kim hears about Howard’s plan to talk to Kevin, she sprints to her office and calls Paige, her Mesa Verde connection, to confirm their upcoming lunch plans, and to share her solo practice jump.
Mesa Verde… Mesa Azul
Kim’s meeting with Kevin and Paige nets her a double thumbs up from Paige; she sways Kevin by pointing out that his company would be her solo practice’s only client, and when she meets Jimmy to check out a potential office space, she giddily tells him she nabbed Mesa Verde’s business. She and JM decide to take the space, where their offices will be side-by-side in a building that used to host to a dental practice.
But their celebration is short lived. Howard visits Chuck to tell him they’ve almost certainly lost Mesa Verde’s millions of dollars in business to Kim, who’s left HHM to open an office with Jimmy. Chuck’s surprised, and when Howard asks the older McGill brother to download his knowledge of Mesa Verde-specific banking practices so he can try to woo Kevin back to HHM, Chuck says he’s going to go with Howard to the meeting instead.
With lights on, elevators running, and cell phones rife in the HHM offices, Chuck goes in, and he and Howard play up the firm’s connections and Chuck’s expertise and decades of experience in dealing with the tricky-to-maneuver compliance issues Mesa Verde will have to address to expand its business. “The needs of Mesa Verde are too big to handle alone,” Chuck tells Kevin and Paige, and while never denigrating Kim’s skills — she trained with HHM, after all — Kevin flips back to Hamlin, Hamlin and McGill.
Kim finds out from Paige that she won’t get the bank’s business after all, and she considers postponing the office space lease when she shares the news with Jimmy. He talks her into signing on; sharing expenses is one of the reasons they decided to do this, he tells her, and he’s confident she’ll replace Mesa Verde in no time. They sign the lease, but Jimmy is angry, and sees Chuck’s efforts to save his firm’s client as another personal attack against Jimmy.
Fudge Talbot, (Not) Real American Hero
Jimmy reunites with his young filmmaker pals for what appears to be another commercial shoot. He’s scammed his way onto a military base, where wheelchair-enabled war hero Major Theodore “Fudge” Talbot wants to get a peek at a B-29 Superfortress plane. Fudge is neither a war hero, nor in need of a wheelchair, however. He’s an old client of Jimmy’s, one who couldn’t pony up payment when Jimmy defended him on public masturbation charges. That’s why he’s posing as a war vet in front of FiFi, the B-29, while the wheelchair serves as the dolly Jimmy’s often requested the filmmakers use.
While on the shoot, Jimmy gets a call from HHM employee Ernie, who tells him Chuck is in a bad state. Jimmy guesses, and Ernie confirms, the episode comes after a Chuck visit to the HHM offices — he had collapsed earlier the second Kevin and Paige left HHM — and Jimmy shows up at Chuck’s house that night to relieve Ernie on Chucksitting duties.
With Ernie gone and Chuck passed out like a giant baked potato in his space blanket, Jimmy spots boxes of Mesa Verde files and starts to go through them. He selects certain pages and makes a pile, marking the spots where he took them from with Post-Its. Then, with Chuck still asleep, he takes the documents to a copy shop and uses his old mailroom skills to cut, paste, and photocopy new (presumably incorrect) addresses into Mesa Verde documents. He takes the pages back to Chuck’s and places them at the Post-It spots, with Chuck none the wiser that Jimmy has decided to be the wolf in a situation where he sees Kim as Chuck’s sheep. Jimmy settles into a chair near Chuck with a smirk on his face.
The next afternoon, Chuck awakens, and Jimmy confronts him about Mesa Verde. Chuck tells him he didn’t steal the business from Kim; he was simply trying to retain a client for his own firm. He doesn’t want to fight, he tells Jimmy. He thanks him for staying with him overnight, and tells him, “I know we have our issues, but if things were reversed, I hope you know that I would do the same for you.”
The Garden Hose
Mike is hanging out with Kaylee, and they’ve got a craft project happening. Kaylee is using her newly-learned fraction skills to help her Pop Pop measure increments on a garden hose, while Mike drills holes into the hose at the spots she marked. Mike finishes the project himself after Stacey picks up Kaylee. He washes the hose thoroughly (removing fingerprints?), and then, while wearing gloves (again, avoiding fingerprints?), he puts long nails into the holes he and Kaylee drilled in the hose. A spiky hose with fingerprints carefully wiped away… dunno what Mike plans to do with it, but it’s going to be something really good, by which we mean really bad.
— He vouched for Jimmy once, with Davis & Main, but Howard almost certainly won’t be doing that again. When Kim tells him she’s leaving to set up shop with Jimmy, in one office, but with two separate practices sharing expenses, he tells her, “Smart, on several counts.”
— The tune playing during Jimmy’s cut-and-paste project: Little Barrie’s “Why Don’t You Do It.”
Let’s hear your feedback, Saul fans. With just two episodes remaining in Season 2: What is Mike going to do with that prickly garden hose? Is Kim going to find out what Jimmy did with Chuck’s Mesa Verde files? Who will the Mesa Verde files caper blow back on more: Chuck or Jimmy? And Tio is totally running a drug biz with that ice cream truck, right?
Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on AMC.