Better Call Saul Season 6 Returns To Gene With 'Nippy'

When we last saw Gene Takovic, the new identity of Saul Goodman aka Jimmy McGill, his cover had been blown. "Gene" is in hiding in Omaha, Nebraska, and working as a Cinnabon manager in a mall, but as bad luck would have it, someone from Albuquerque — a cab driver named Jeff — recognized him as Saul Goodman. That's very bad for Jimmy/Saul/Gene, since no one is supposed to know where he is. 

At first, Jimmy (for the sake of clarity, let's call him Jimmy for the rest of this recap, or else things are going to get ridiculous) looked like he was ready to start all over again with a new extraction courtesy of the mysterious vacuum salesman (played by the late Robert Forster). But then, Jimmy had second thoughts. He decided he would take care of things himself.

But what did that even mean?

The game

Season 6 was the first (and obviously, only) season of "Better Call Saul" to not open with Jimmy-as-Gene, working in black and white in Omaha. Now, with only four episodes left, the show returns to that black and white timeline. I'll confess that I assumed Jimmy was going to turn to someone for help, or at least flee town, after his cover was blown. But that's not his plan at all. Instead, he decides to track down Jeff (who was previously played by Don Harvey but is now played by Pat Healy). And he does — starting first with Jeff's mother Marion, played by Carol Burnett(!!). Marion uses a scooter to get around, and Jimmy rigs it so first she gets stuck in the snow coming home from the market and then makes sure her scooter won't even start. 

And wouldn't ya know! Just as these scooter malfunctions were happening, "Gene" just happened to be nearby, nailing posters to trees. The posters are for his missing dog, Nippy. Of course, there is no Nippy, and this is all a ruse to get inside Marion's home. Soon, Jeff shows up and things get tense. Jimmy is able to take Jeff aside, and he tells Jeff that he knows what he's looking for: "the game." In other words, Jeff could rat Jimmy out and collect reward money on Saul Goodman. But what Jeff really wants to do is get in on that sweet, sweet criminal life style. And Jimmy says he can help make that happen. But it's going to require one of those trademark complicated Jimmy McGill plans — the type that unfolds in great montage sequences. 

A late night treat

Jimmy's elaborate plan involves heading to the mall's security area late at night as the mall is closing. Everyone is gone — except for the security guards. There's one security guard, in particular, named Frank (played by Jim O'Heir) with whom Jimmy strikes up a rapport — by bribing Frank with some fresh Cinnabons. While Frank chows down on the delicious treat, his back is turned to the mall's security camera monitors. Jimmy times how long it takes Frank to finish a bun — and then comes back, again and again and again. Each time, the same thing happens: Frank munches away at his Cinnabon and rambles on about the Huskers while Jimmy pretends to be listening, timing the meal each time. 

And every time, he clocks Frank's consumption time at around three minutes. With this window in mind, Jimmy trains Jeff on how to rob a department store in the mall. The plan involves Jeff running around for three minutes while Frank has his back to all those monitors. Frank will hustle from one spot to the next, picking up various goods — and to remember them all, Jimmy comes up with an incredibly annoying rhyming game that starts off with, "One, Armani suits and run! Two, Air Jordan shoes for you!" and continues from there. 

Jeff is doubtful of the plan but goes along with it. To get Jeff into the mall, Jimmy sets up a fake trucking company that accidentally delivers a huge package to the mall loading dock. The mall manager is unhappy about this, but Jimmy sweet-talks her over the phone to let the box stay in the loading dock overnight (he spins some ridiculous tale about the truck that dropped the box off needing to go pick up mackerel at the airport). Then, when everyone is gone, and Frank is eating away, Jeff slips out of the crate and runs around the mall, loading up on merch. 

Things don't go entirely according to plan, thought — a specific area of the floor has just been waxed, and Jeff slips and falls right on his back and is down for the count for a long, long time. And any minute, Frank is going to turn around and spot him on the camera. What's Jimmy going to do? 

'My brother is dead'

After the horrors of the previous weeks, this episode of "Better Call Saul" is relatively light and fun — it's basically a heist movie packed into an hour-ish of TV. The tension is still there, especially when Jeff is sprinting around the mall. But the horrifying dread has relaxed, at least a little. But the darkness can't stay away forever — too much has happened. 

In order to keep Frank from turning to the monitors, Jimmy suddenly breaks down, fake-crying and acting bereft. He's faking it just to distract Frank — at least at first. But while he's trying to spin an on-the-spot sob story, Jimmy says "I have no one, no family," and then says: "My brother is dead." Here, Bob Odenkirk does incredible work letting a sudden realization flood into his eyes. His brother is dead. When is the last time he even thought of Chuck? Jimmy continues, real emotion in his voice: "I have no wife, no kids, no friends." It's all true. Kim, his wife, is gone. He has no one now. He works at his miserable job and then returns to his miserable home, and looks miserable all the while. That's not a life. That's not even an existence. It is a routine; a programmed bit of performance theater meant only to delay the inevitable. 

In the end, Jeff is able to recover and escape. Back at Jeff's house, Jeff, one of Jeff's buddies who helped with the heist, and Jimmy go back to Jeff's place. Jeff and his pal are elated at their score, but then Jimmy lets the other shoe drop: he now has the goods on these guys; he has proof of their theft. And if they don't leave him alone, he'll ruin them. Jeff seems genuinely hurt by this, assuming he and Jimmy were friends now. But that's not what Jimmy wants. He wants Jeff to leave him alone and never cross his path again. Jeff, shaken, agrees. 


  • After the dust has settled, Jimmy wanders through the department store. Perhaps he wants to admire his handiwork. Whatever the reason, he spots some garish, Saul Goodman-like shirts and ties and holds them up, remembering his past. And then he leaves.
  • Look, I know the show is building toward something here, but I already miss Kim.
  • While trying to convince Jeff of the plan, Jimmy brings up Walter White. Not by nameof course. But he mentions him, and I'm pretty sure that marks the first time the character has ever been mentioned on this show? Correct me if I'm wrong!
  • Jimmy digs out his old Saul Goodman pinky ring when he decides to come up with the Jeff heist scheme. 
  • How often was Jimmy meeting with Frank the security guard and giving him a Cinnabon? Was it literally every single night? Perhaps once a week, or month? I'm assuming if it was every single night, Frank would start to get suspicious. 
  • On that same topic, I'd love to know how man Cinnabons Jim O'Heir ate while filming this episode. 
  • Michelle MacLaren remains one of the best directors in the medium of TV. And gosh, no one does split-screen montages these days as well as this show.
  • I am off next week, so there will be no recap. However, I'll be back the following week with a double recap of episodes 11 and 12. And then there will be only one episode left. And then I might scream.