This amazing episode opens with the scene that had fans worried based on a shot that was shown in the teaser for Better Call Saul 508. We saw the white back seat of a car covered with blood. We never do find out whose blood it is, but it seems this is where cars that are involved in cartel business go to get cleaned up. But that’s not all that’s going on in this building. A car pulls up outside and out step Leonel and Marco Salamanca, dressed in identical suits, each carrying some kind of package. They walk through a room where there are many men sitting at tables counting a whole lot of money. Well, it looks like a lot of money until we see what’s in the locked room behind it. The Cousins are admitted to a storage room — a money storage room. Metal shelves stacked high with money line the walls of this room.
Next we see Lalo in the room where residents of the jail meet with their attorneys. Saul is waiting while Lalo peruses the newspaper, laughing at the news story about how the police have determined that the fire at the Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant was caused by arson. Saul wants to know what’s funny and Lalo tells him he wouldn’t understand. A close-up reading of the text of the story confirms that this was an outlying branch of the restaurant (which was confirmed on last week’s episode of the BCS Insider Podcast) — fans need not worry about Lyle and his crew, or about Gus’ office, the restaurant that burned was not the one where Lyle works. It was one Gus considered more expendable, though burning it down still hurt. Presumably he was insured.
This scene is an absolutely pivotal scene for Jimmy/Saul. Lalo explains how Saul is to go about picking up the cash for Lalo’s bail, and Jimmy realizes this sounds like it could be very dangerous. He says he won’t do it, but he’s available for any legal needs Lalo might have. He’s on his way out the door when Saul and his love of money names an exorbitant fee for this errand: $100,000. Lalo says “Done,” and Jimmy takes a few more steps along the transformation into Saul Goodman.
But first, Jimmy has to tell Kim. This episode came with a warning for brief nudity, and it turns out it’s not a sex scene. Kim comes home to find Jimmy taking an evening shower, in preparation for an early morning the next day. We get a peek at his naked backside through the bathroom door as he dries off. Kim does not respond as a typical newlywed might do, but instead sits on the bed while Jimmy tells her he’s got steaks marinating. Jimmy sees food as a way to try and smooth things over with Kim. It doesn’t look like these steaks are enough in this case.
After giving her the cliff notes version of the plan, he assures her, “It’s safe.”
Kim proposes going with him, but he says no, it has to be him alone. Kim is very clear about how she feels: “I don’t like this. I don’t want you to do it.”
Jimmy hugs her. “I swear, I’ll be fine.” But when we see his face, he looks a little worried.
Saul’s meeting with the Salamanca Cousins is very brief. They are their usual loquacious selves, stepping out of the car in unison, each removing a bag from the trunk and dropping them at Saul’s feet. Despite having practiced his Espagñol, the Cousins leave without responding in any language.
The bags are clearly very heavy and Saul has a harder time lifting them than Leonel and Marco did. Once they’re in the trunk of his Esteem, he opens them to take a look at the cash. This is quite a bit more money than the Kettlemans had in season one, more cash than Jimmy has ever seen before, and it clearly has an impact on him.
The next scene reveals a couple of sub texts that become apparent as it plays out: someone who is not on the side of the Salamancas was aware of what was going on and planned a heist in order to steal the money. And also, this was anticipated and Mike was sent to keep an eye on things.
Back on the road, we’re realizing that this was too easy, but Saul is singing an awkward version of 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, substituting money for beer and not achieving the correct rhythm or rhyme. A Jeep pulls out and drives behind him, standing out on an otherwise completely deserted desert road. Then two other cars drive up from the other direction and Saul and the $7 million are trapped. Big guys with big guns get out. They were clearly prepared for more than one unarmed attorney. One of the goons takes Saul’s keys, gets the bags out of his trunk, opens them, and then tells one of the other goons to kill Saul. The guy walks up and points his gun at Saul’s head, which we see from Jimmy’s perspective. Before he can shoot, he’s shot instead, and Jimmy’s shirt is splattered his with blood.
A big gunfight ensures between a distant unseen shooter and the gang of bandits. Whoever is shooting from afar has good aim, taking out almost all of the bad guys while Jimmy cowers on the ground. Eventually, the one survivor drives off in the Bronco, leaving the rest dead or almost dead and the bags of money lying in the road. Mike drives up, walks over, and kills the one that’s still living, but since we’re seeing things from Jimmy’s perspective, we don’t see Mike immediately and are not sure if he’s friend or foe. Mike checks on Jimmy and says he’s in shock. Mike starts to take the money back to his car but he sees it’s leaking fluid — it must have been hit by a stray bullet. Jimmy’s car has bullet holes in the hood but it starts. Mike loads the bags in Jimmy’s trunk.
As Mike drives, Jimmy, still traumatized, inspects a bullet hole in the car door. Mike tries to put things in perspective: “Hey, you’re alive, focus on that. You’ll be okay.” We see Mike’s skill in single-handedly taking out almost the whole gang and also having stayed out of sight beforehand. But he admits he probably should have brought more guys.
But then they seem to have climbed out of the frying pan into the fire, the hot desert sun, because the car quits and they are forced to walk. Mike removes the license plates and they push the car into a ravine, but not before Jimmy retrieves his Best Lawyer Ever travel mug — which has a bullet hole in it. Mike says they have to get off the road because the guy who drove off in the Bronco will be back. Jimmy has to carry both of the money bags. Thankfully they have shoulder straps.
When they stop for a rest, Jimmy wants to bury the money and come back for it later. Mike says they won’t be able to find it again. Saul believes he will remember the landmarks. Mike points out that the ground is too hard and there’s no way he can dig a hole big enough. Jimmy tries to dig, using the license plate, but doesn’t get very far. They are interrupted as Mike spots the Bronco in the distance and they set off in the opposite direction through the desert.
That night, Jimmy is worried about what Kim will be thinking. Mike is not pleased to find Saul “told your girlfriend what you’re doing?”
Jimmy corrects him. Kim is his “wife.”
“Congratulations,” says Mike. He thinks she’ll call the cops or tell someone. Mike identifies the danger to Kim that Jimmy hasn’t yet understood: “She knows. . . she’s in the game now.” Jimmy says that’s not true, but Mike clearly disagrees. Mike wraps up in a space blanket and offers another one to Jimmy. The space blanket brings back bad memories of Chuck, and stubborn Jimmy decides he’d rather be cold than accept.
The episode that is otherwise completely focuses on Jimmy/Saul and Mike is interrupted briefly so we can see what Kim is up to. She’s visiting Lalo, pretending to be part of his legal team. She waits for the guard to walk away, and tells Lalo she knows who he really is, and she wants to know where he sent Saul Goodman. She promises not to alert the authorities — she’ll rescue Saul and Lalo will get his money. Kim explains that she is Saul’s wife and she can’t be legally forced to testify against him. “It’s as bullet-proof as attorney-client privilege.” Lalo is clearly surprised that Saul’s married. “Good for him.” He says Saul is a survivor, but refuses to tell “Mrs. Goodman” where Saul was headed. Kim is now definitely “in the game” despite the fact that she kept her maiden name, and thought she was marrying someone whose last name was McGill.
Saul is finding the money is heavier and heavier. He’s suffering from exhaustion, sun burn and extreme thirst. Mike suggests that he shouldn’t waste the liquid he’s clearly planning on eliminating the next morning, and later we see him carrying it in his water bottle. But he’s clearly not desperate enough to drink it yet. Mike has a canteen and managed to collect a bit of morning dew, but he says he doesn’t have enough to share.
Saul tries dragging the money bags, which Mike says won’t work. A little while later, Mike points out there is a trail of loose bills behind him. While Saul retrieves the money, Mike rearranges the contents of the bag so the license plate is directly inside the hole which has developed in the bottom of the duffel bag. Then Jimmy trips on a cactus and gets a big thorn in his foot. He’s at a breaking point and he’s giving up. Make tells him to drink some of the contents of his water bottle, get up and keep going.
We get an explanation of Mike’s motives, in case we didn’t already know: “I know why I’m out here. I know what it’s for.”
Saul wants details: “What’s it for?”
“I have people waiting for me. They don’t know what I do. You ask me how I keep going. I want to die knowing I did everything I could for them.” Then Mike sees a flash in the distance. It’s the Bronco. He tells Saul to lie low. “We’re gonna have to wait him out.”
But Jimmy wraps up in the space blanket, picks up the bags and starts walking. He wants the guy to see him, but he’s not on a suicide mission. He tells Mike to get his sniper rifle ready. Mike shoots, and the Bronco rolls over and over, coming to rest on its side. Saul sits down in the road, relieved. Mike approaches the wrecked Bronco, but the occupant is clearly dead. It seems the Bronco also contained a large jug of water, but the impact broke it and spilled the water.
The last shot is of Saul chugging the contents of his water bottle. Then they both walk off down the road. Mike steps over the space blanket, which then blows off. What will surely become an iconic shot in another excellent episode of Better Call Saul.