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In Better Call Saul’s “Nippy,” The Future Is Now: Review

Season 6, Episode 10, returns us to a very grey present day

Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 10 Recap
Better Call Saul (AMC)
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    [Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Better Call Saul, Season 6 Episode 10, “Nippy.”]

    In its fourth-to-last episode, “Nippy,” Better Call Saul executed its most abrupt pivot yet. From just the title, we knew something different was in store, as a totally different naming scheme was in play (Saul does switch up its approach to episode titles from season to season, but within each season they typically remain consistent). But after seeing Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) in all his sleazy glory at the end of the previous episode, “Fun and Games,” it was clear that whatever was going to come next would be a departure from the past.

    However, this episode, written by Alison Tatlock and directed by Michelle MacLaren, catapulted us viewers a lot further forward than we might have expected. Rather than deliver the long-awaited return of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, or in fact touch on any events that might have been covered during the time period in which Breaking Bad is set, “Nippy” instead picked up with our old friend Gene Takovic, living his black and white and very, very grey life in Omaha.

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    Given that Season 6, up until now, hasn’t checked in with Jimmy/Saul’s post-Breaking Bad identity, you’d be forgiven for forgetting exactly what’s going on here, but a quick reminder if you don’t have time to watch AMC’s recap: Gene was doing fine, hiding behind his new identity and living his quiet life, when he happened to have a mild medical incident that put him in the hospital. Needing a ride from the hospital back to the mall where he works, he took a cab — but the cab driver happened to be a former Albuquerque resident named Jeff (Don Harvey), who recognized him as Saul Goodman and later confronted him at the mall.

    Gene was prepared to run, even putting in a call to Best Quality Vacuum Ed (Robert Forster) to set up an extraction… until he changed his mind, and decided to handle the problem of Jeff himself. That was where things with Gene were left in the Saul Season 5 premiere, “Magic Man,” but from the first black-and-white shot of “Nippy,” it becomes clear that we’re about to find out what happens next. Though what that is takes its time to unveil itself, as we watch an elderly yet feisty woman named Marion (Carol Burnett, making her promised guest star appearance) do her grocery shopping.

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    When Marion’s scooter has some trouble on the street, who should be there to help her but Gene, who uses his well-established cunning to surreptitiously disable the scooter — a maneuver that lands him in Marion’s kitchen, having a fine old time just as Marion’s son Jeff (now played by Pat Healy, due to Harvey’s commitment to We Own This City) happens to return home.

    Sometimes Saul glories in the details of an operation like this, but “Nippy” skips over the painstaking surveillance and research that Gene must have done to manipulate his way into Jeff’s home — likely because a far more interesting con is on the horizon. Gene, you see, has an offer to make Jeff, a chance at a big score that will rake in some serious cash but more importantly let Jeff feel like a part of “the game.” And so Jeff, along with the friend who was present when Jeff had his original confrontation with Gene (Max Bickelhaup) sign up to pull a wee bit of grand larceny at the Cottonwood Mall department store.

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