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"Gloves Off" is the fourth episode of the second season of Better Call Saul and the fourteenth episode of the series altogether.



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Late in the evening, Mike enters his house. Pained, he stiffly makes his way to the kitchen, pulling a bag of frozen vegetables out of the freezer and pressing it to his face. As he slumps into a chair, he lowers the bag: his eye is swollen shut and his face has been violently beaten. Mike reaches into his pocket and pulls out a silver necklace of a pair of boxing gloves.

Act I[]

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The morning following the broadcast of his Sandpiper commercial, Jimmy screens it for Cliff and two other partners at Davis & Main. Despite Jimmy's assertion that the commercial yielded a positive response, the partners 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 greater scrutiny going forward. Jimmy leaves Kim an urgent voicemail asking that she call him before speaking to Howard, unaware that she is already being grilled by him and Chuck about the commercial. Howard reprimands Kim for allowing HHM to be left in the dark in front of their co-counsel.

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Meanwhile, Mike and Nacho monitor a small Mexican restaurant, El Michoacano, where Tuco settles accounts with his drug dealers and would be an ideal place for him to die in a random shooting. Nacho is willing to take such a measure because Tuco is prone to erratic behavior while under the influence. To illustrate his point, Nacho recounts an incident where Tuco shot an associate point-blank in the face with a shotgun, leaving a skull fragment lodged in Nacho's left shoulder. With Tuco now using meth, Nacho worries that his side business might make him Tuco’s next victim. Mike points out flaws in Nacho’s plan and proposes an alternate scenario: a sniper hiding in the tree line across the street. He offers to do it for $50,000.

Act II[]

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That night, Jimmy goes to HHM looking for Kim and finds her office bare. Initially fearing his actions cost Kim her job, he instead finds that she's been sent to HHM's document review room - the "cornfield". Jimmy is outraged that she is being punished for his actions and offers to make things right with Howard. Kim forbids him from intervening; it would only make things worse and threatens to break up if he does. She buries herself back in her work as Jimmy exits, chastened.

At Chuck's house, Jimmy strides with determination toward the front door. He realizes that he forgot to remove his electronics and begrudgingly heads back to the mailbox. When Chuck doesn’t answer the door, Jimmy uses his key to enter the house. He finds Chuck shivering on the couch, still dressed for work and covered by a space blanket. He is suffering, but refuses to go to the hospital. Jimmy gets him water and tucks a space blanket around him, then settles into a nearby chair.

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Meanwhile, in a motel room, Mike meets with Lawson, an arms dealer who offers him a selection of long-range rifles. After Mike declines more ostentatious options, Lawson puts forward an M40A1 rifle - the same rifle used by Marine snipers since 1966. Mike picks it up with familiarity and looks through the scope. After some consideration, he tells the dealer that he’s changed his mind and won’t be making a purchase after all. Lawson respectfully declines Mike’s offer of cash for his time.

Act III[]

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The next morning, Jimmy confronts Chuck about Kim's punishment. Chuck initially insists that Howard is responsible for personnel decisions. When Jimmy persists, he says that Kim should have told HHM about the commercial. Jimmy replies that she didn't know that he hadn’t received permission, but Chuck maintains that the incident reflects poorly on her judgment: “She knows you, she should’ve known better.” Jimmy offers to quit the law for good if it will get Kim out of trouble. Since taking him up on that bargain would be considered extortion, Chuck refuses to take the bait. Meanwhile, at an abandoned warehouse, Mike meets with Nacho to advise against killing Tuco, predicting that the Cartel would eventually track Nacho down. Mike has a different proposition, and Nacho is ready to listen.

Act IV[]

The next day, Nacho and Tuco (wearing the silver boxing glove necklace) sit across a table at the restaurant from one of their dealers, Krazy-8. Tuco takes the wad of bills from Krazy-8 and counts, pausing to venomously glare at him for a simple errant bill being back-to-front. Nacho re-counts the money and Tuco stares pointedly at Krazy-8 for an uncomfortably long time, but eventually allows him to leave. As he does, Tuco snorts a hit of crystal meth. Mike uses a payphone to call the police, anonymously reporting that a man is threatening another man with a gun at the restaurant. He then gets into his car, drives across the street and pulls into the restaurant parking lot, deliberately nudging the front bumper of Tuco’s car. Tuco sees this and confronts Mike as he walks in and orders food. Mike denies hitting Tuco's car and leaves after paying for the food.

Tuco and Nacho follow Mike out into the parking lot and demand payment for the damage to Tuco’s car. Mike offers to swap insurance information, but Tuco declines; he wants cash. Mike claims to only have a few dollars on him, but Tuco calls out the lie, having seen the money in his wallet. Flashing his gun, he forces Mike to hand his wallet over. As Mike acquiesces, the sirens of police cars responding to his 9-1-1 call begin to wail in the distance. Nacho hops into his van and drives off with the drug money, but Mike grabs Tuco by his shirt so that he can’t escape. Mike effortlessly disarms Tuco, so Tuco starts punching him in the face. Tuco lands five punches before the police arrive and demand they stop fighting. Mike taunts Tuco so that he will continue the assault; Tuco laughs maniacally and promptly decks Mike, knocking him out cold.

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Some time later, Mike meets Nacho to collect his payment. He shares that Tuco faces roughly 5–10 years in jail for assault, armed robbery for being in possession of Mike's wallet, and possession of an illegal firearm. Nacho hands Mike $25,000 and asks why he didn’t just kill Tuco - he would have earned the full $50,000, spared himself a nasty beating and potentially being targeted by Tuco after he is released. Mike pockets the money and drives away without answering.

Official Photos[]




Featured Music[]

  • "Dejate LlevarMaster" by Source Music
  • "Muneca De Jalisco" by Liza Carbe and Jean-Pierre Durand
  • "El Querreque" by Martyn Laight / Carlin Music
  • "Weary Mike" by Dave Porter

Memorable Quotes[]

Chuck: "You have to admit that shows a lack of judgment on her [Kim's] part. She knows you. She should have known better."
Jimmy: "You are such an asshole."
Chuck: "Why? For pointing out that her one mistake was believing in you?"
Jimmy: "For Christ's sake, could we get some perspective here? It was a simple little commercial, it aired once, that's all. And can I remind you it worked – it worked like a dream?"
Chuck: "See, that's your problem, Jimmy. Thinking that the ends justify the means. And you're forever shocked when it all blows up in your face."
Jimmy: "What did I do that was so wrong?"
Chuck: "You broke the rules. [Jimmy scoffs] You turned Kim into your accessory. You embarrassed Howard who, God help him, inexplicably vouched for you with Cliff Main. You made Cliff and his partners look like schmucks. Shall I go on? How he hasn't fired you for this positively mystifies me. "Perspective." You want perspective? I'll give you mine. You're my brother, and I love you, but you're like an alcoholic who refuses to admit he's got a problem. Now someone's given you the keys to the school bus and I am not going to let you drive it off a cliff."
―Chuck trying to make Jimmy aware of the consequences of his actions, especially on his personal and professional environment.

Mike: "Someone comes in behind me, I'm blocked."
Nacho: "Who's gonna pull in behind you?"
Mike: "Well, I'm guessing someone who likes tacos."
―Mike and Nacho debating the planned hit on Tuco.

"You went a long way to not pull that trigger. Why?"
―Nacho to Mike.