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"Nippy" is the tenth episode of the sixth season of Better Call Saul and the sixtieth episode of the series altogether.

Summary[]

Teaser[]

In 2010, an elderly woman named Marion rides her mobility scooter around a supermarket in Omaha, shopping for groceries. On her way home, her scooter becomes stuck in the snow. She attracts the attention of "Gene Takavic", who is stapling posters around the neighborhood looking for a lost dog named Nippy. He offers to help Marion, during which he cuts the control wire of her scooter to ensure that he manually wheels her all the way home.

Act I[]

Jeff, the cab driver who accosted Gene at the mall, arrives home to find Marion, his mother, conversing with Gene in their kitchen. He is forced to sit awkwardly at the table as Gene effortlessly charms Marion, who tells her son that he will be staying over for dinner. Later that night, as they are taking out the trash, Jeff confronts Gene about appearing at his house. Gene explains why Jeff hasn't attempted to blackmail or report him: because Jeff wants in on "the game"—the criminal lifestyle. Gene offers an opportunity to play the game for real; Jeff agrees to it.

Gene returns to his apartment and mixes himself a drink, listening to the police radio scanner. After a few moments of rumination, he takes out his hidden shoebox and retrieves Marco's pinky ring. Upon putting it on for the first time in months, Gene appears to gain newfound confidence as he turns off the radio.

Act II[]

The following night, after closing the Cinnabon, Gene ventures up to the mall's security office carrying a Cinnabon bag. There, he is greeted by Nick Evans, a distrustful security guard who recognizes him from an earlier incident involving a shoplifter. Gene is allowed inside and meets Frank Danielsen, an overweight guard who mans a surveillance station. Gene presents two cinnamon rolls to the guards in purported gratitude for aiding him following his fainting spell. While Nick leaves for a periodic patrol, Frank talks to Gene about college football while eating his treat, facing away from the bank of security video monitors. Gene uses his watch as a timer to measure how long it takes for Frank to eat.

Over the course of several weeks, Gene engages in this new routine: after closing the Cinnabon every evening, he takes a pair of cinnamon rolls up to Nick and Frank, gradually developing a rapport with both of them; he keeps up with developments in college football in order to engross Frank in conversation. As time goes on, he finds that it takes about three minutes for Frank to finish his cinnamon roll. Meanwhile, Gene visits the mall's upscale department store and counts the paces between certain racks of items. After leaving, he jots down his measurements in a small notebook.

The data Gene collects allows him to set up a grid in a remote field, composed of sticks and tape, where he has Jeff run to certain points within a three-minute window. The plan is for Jeff to shoplift a few pieces of expensive clothing from various parts of the store after-hours, with Gene monitoring his progress through the surveillance monitors. By only taking a few items from lots of areas, it will go unnoticed until inventory time, months away. Although recorded on the security videos, those tapes are overwritten every 72 hours, erasing the evidence. Jeff expresses doubt that the plan will work, thinking that it is crazy. Gene comments that what really seemed crazy was a broke 50-year-old chemistry teacher entering his office and becoming a multi-millionaire within a year. He persuades Jeff to stick to the plan.

Act III[]

Kathy, the manager of the department store, asks for a scuff mark in one of the aisles to be repolished as she is closing the store for the evening. She is notified that someone is making an unannounced delivery at the loading dock. There she finds Jeff's friend Buddy, disguised as a delivery driver, with a large wooden crate apparently containing an industrial sprayer. Having not asked for such a delivery, Kathy asks to talk to his supervisor. The number he gives her goes to a burner phone belonging to Gene, who plays the role of the driver's dispatcher while working in the kitchen of the Cinnabon. He persuades Kathy to allow the crate to stay at the loading dock overnight and it'll be picked up in the morning.

Later, after closing the Cinnabon, Gene again takes food up to Nick and Frank. Once he is alone with Frank he sends a text message to Jeff, who is hiding inside the crate. Following his training, Jeff runs through the department store, retrieves three of certain items, and deposits them inside the crate; Gene watches him through the security monitors while talking to Frank. However, on the last leg of his run, Jeff slips on the newly polished floor and knocks himself unconscious. Gene struggles to keep his composure in front of Frank when he sees this.

Desperate to keep Frank from turning around and catching an unconscious Jeff on the monitors, Gene feigns an emotional breakdown in which he states that he is alone in the world and that no one will mourn him after he dies. He mentions that his parents and his brother are dead and that he has no wife, children or friends. The sob story distracts Frank long enough for Jeff to awaken and put the remaining stolen items into the crate, then run into a men's room to hide. With the heist concluded, Gene leaves the security office and collects himself.

Act IV[]

The following morning, Kathy opens up the department store; neither she nor the other employees or customers are the wiser to the night's events. Jeff emerges from hiding in the men's room and is briefly approached by Kathy as he pretends to browse for clothes. He overhears a store worker informing her that the "delivery man" has returned to pick up the crate. A smirk emerges on Jeff's face as he leaves the store, realizing that he has gotten away with the theft.

In Jeff's garage, he and Buddy open the crate and marvel at their loot, exhilarated by the successful caper. Gene cuts the celebration short by blackmailing them, warning them of the legal penalties for each state and federal offense they've just committed and threatening to turn them in if they betray him. He insists to Jeff that they are not friends and warns both men against coming near him or the mall again. When Marion comes by the garage on her scooter, the trio pretend to be looking at the engine bay of an old car to avoid suspicion. Inviting Gene inside, she tells him that Jeff fell in with a bad crowd when they lived in Albuquerque and that Gene is a good influence on her son. Prompted by her questioning, Gene tells her that the fictitious Nippy was found by a family living nearby.

Gene continues working at the Cinnabon, this time working with more enthusiasm than before. Browsing the department store during his lunch break, he comes across a flamboyant shirt and tie, and poses with the items in the mirror. A pained look comes over Gene's face, and he chooses to put the clothing back on the rack and walk away.

Trivia[]

BCS 610 Promo Poster

Episode Poster

  • This is the first episode of the series where Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, and Michael Mando are not credited. In fact, Bob Odenkirk is the only series regular appearing in the credits as well as in the episode.
  • The title of this episode breaks the Season 6 pattern of the "X and Y" structure.
    • The breaking of this pattern could be a nod to Kim and Jimmy's relationship. The "X and Y" is Kim and Jimmy, and since Kim left Jimmy, this pattern of two breaks, like their relationship, leaving only one.
    • It could also be due to the episode occurring only in the Gene timeline of the show rather than in the present timeline.
  • "Nippy" is a reference to Gene's supposed lost dog that he used as an excuse to meet Jeff's mother, Marion.
  • This episode takes place entirely in Omaha, Nebraska, the only episode of either Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul to take place entirely outside of Albuquerque, primary setting of both shows. However, all scenes were still filmed in Albuquerque.
  • This is the only episode of the post-Breaking Bad timeline not to feature any flashbacks to the events of Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad.
  • The opening credits sequence has been changed due to the entire episode occurring in the Gene timeline of the show rather than in the present.
    • This episode is the first to feature Jimmy as Gene in more than just flashforwards in the episode teaser.
    • This episode is the only one to be entirely in black and white. Until then, only the teasers of the first episode of seasons 1 to 5, taking place after Breaking Bad, had been in black and white.
      • Filming in B&W also helps mask that, despite the winter setting and presence of snow (likely a mix of practical effects and CGI) all trees are still in full leaf, revealing that this episode was filmed in Albuquerque no later than late summer/early fall of 2021.
  • Gene's discussions of University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football with Frank help date the episode, and the overall Gene timeline, to October 2010. Frank mentions Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, the freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez, and specific details about actual historic games. They also mention the upcoming move to join the Big Ten Conference (announced in June 2010 but set to go into effect in 2011) and upcoming renovations to Memorial Stadium (announced on October 8, 2010).
    • Gene first speaks to Frank on Sunday, October 17, 2010. Frank asks him if he saw the game "last night", where Nebraska lost to Texas (on October 16). He also mentions that next week's game will be an away game against Oklahoma State (October 23, 2010), and the recent injury to Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. Subsequent conversations between Gene and Frank suggest at least one additional Nebraska football game, so the earliest possible date for the department store heist would be October 31, though it could be one or two weeks later.
    • In addition, in one scene when Gene is reading a newspaper, the event displayed on the Sports page is from October 14, 2010 specifically.
    • In Season 4 episode "Quite a Ride", Saul asked Francesca Liddy to confirm that she will be in place on November 12 at 3 p.m. to receive a phone call that Jimmy must receive on a specific pay phone. November 12, 1960 is Jimmy's birthday, which would make him 50 years old in 2010.
  • Gene mentions Walter White to Jeff while discussing how successful Jeff can be in the criminal lifestyle. He also mentions to Frank that he has a dead brother and dead parents as well as no wife and no kids.
  • It's revealed that when Gene told Ed Galbraith that he would fix it himself, he intended to help Jeff and his friend commit a crime and then use it to blackmail him into silence through "mutually assured destruction."
  • The lines from the teasers from "Plan and Execution" and "Fun and Games" are shown to correspond to the events of this episode.
  • Gene posing with the shirt and tie in the department store could symbolise his acting as "Saul Goodman".
    • Hanging the items back up could represent him fully giving up his old persona and past.
  • Much like "Plan and Execution" and "Fun and Games", this episode ends with a brief teaser.
  • Over the course of the 6 seasons, the opening title credits has progressively lost colour and became more deteriorated throughout each season, with Season 6 completely losing colour. In this episode the intro completely deteriorates, first with the music being slower and out of tune, and then it stopping altogether to display a plain VHS blue screen with white captions for the series title & creator credits. Intros for succeeding episodes will continue to play on this blue screen format.
    • This probably symbolizes the fact that the tape has deteriorated over time with too many viewings by Jimmy, who lives in regret of his past life as Saul Goodman.
    • This also could symbolize how Jimmy's morals have slowly deteriorated over the course of the series.
    • It could also symbolize that with the prequel timeline of Better Call Saul now over, there's nothing in the past to continue viewing, and Jimmy can no longer relive his past as Saul Goodman, instead having to suffer the consequences for his actions throughout the franchise.
  • At the butcher's stand of the supermarket, Marion is offered a sample of "Extra-sharp Wisconsin cheddar". The package says that this cheese comes from the Schnauz farms, an easter-egg related to Thomas Schnauz.
  • Nippy the dog
    The episode is the fifth to not use the traditional end credit theme composed by Dave Porter, opting to use another dramatic piece of music to accompany the ending.
  • If the phone number of Gene's Nippy poster (+1 402-342-9288) is called, an automated message from Gene will play and he lists off information about Nippy to anyone who may had found him. A recording of the entire message can be found here.
  • When Gene blackmails Jeff and his friend in Jeff's garage, he demands that they both say "we're done". This is a reference to when he tries to cut ties with Walter White in "Live Free or Die" and Walter replies with "We're done when I say we're done".
    • Additionally, when Gene says "So, if I go down, you go down", it could also be a reference to when Walter White tells Clovis "If I go down, we all go down" when talking about destroying the RV in "Sunset".
    • The robbery is designed so that none of the victims will be aware they were robbed. And when - or if - they eventually realize it, it will be too late to identify the robbers or even know when or where they operated; just like the heist Jesse, Walter and Mike set up in "Dead Freight".


Credits[]

Co-Starring

  • Matthew Menalo as Helpful Young Man
  • Jessie Anne Nerud as Barbara
  • Gabe Kessler as Will
  • Aidan Hamell as Lancaster's Customer
  • Tim Misuradze as Lancaster's Employee

Uncredited

  • TBA

Featured Music[]

  • ”Jim On The Move” by Lalo Schifrin (Gene's visits to the security office)

Memorable Quotes[]

"What do we have here? Extra-sharp Wisconsin cheddar. "Extra-sharp," hmm? Ohh. You can keep it, Wisconsin. Ugh."
Marion expressing disgust after trying Wisconsin cheddar cheese

"Don't worry, hon, he's not an ax murderer. If he was gonna chop me to bits he'd have done it already."
―Marion jokingly introducing her son Jeff to "Gene Takavic"

Jeff: "Dude, what the fuck?!"
Gene: "I know it's awkward, right? But you don't have to call me "dad." Yet."
Jeff: "I dunno what this is about... But all I have to do is pick up the phone and it's bye-bye, Saul Goodman."
Gene: "Yeah, but you haven't picked up the phone yet, have you? Or tried to strong-arm me for cash. And guess what? I know why. Because reward money, blackmail... That's not gonna tickle your pickle. I know what you really want."
Jeff: "Oh, yeah? What's that?"
Gene: "You want in the game."
Jeff: ""The game"? W-What... What game?"
Gene: "The game. The one you've been watching your entire life. You got your nose pressed up against the glass, peerin' in while the big boys play."
Jeff: "Man, speak English. What the hell are you talking about?"
Gene: "The game. It's right there... You can see it, but you can't touch it. The cars, the clothes, the cash. The ladies. It's about knowing all the angles, you know, putting it all on the line and winning big. But here you are, Jeffie. Standing outside with the suckers. Tryin' to pay off that cab, sweatin' the bills, gettin' older. It's so close, but, damn it, you just can't get in. Until now. I can make it happen."
Jeff: "You?"
Gene: "Saul Goodman. So, here's the deal. I will show you the game. And then we're done."
―Jeff and Gene's confrontation

Jeff: "I don't know..."
Gene: "What don't you know?"
Jeff: "Just, this whole thing, it seems crazy!"
Gene: "Is this too hot for you?! Ju— You know what, just say so! You know what? Screw it. "Crazy." I'll tell you what's crazy! Fifty-year-old high school chemistry teacher comes into my office. The guy is so broke, he can't pay his own mortgage. One year later, he's got a pile of cash as big as a Volkswagen. That's crazy."
―Gene referencing Walt in a conversation with Jeff

"I'm sorry about the lawyer thing, it just slipped out."
―Gene to Nick and Frank about the events during the "Mabel" teaser.

"You... You have a wife, right, Frank? (...) And she's waiting for you. Look at me. I got... I got no one. My parents are dead. My brother... My brother is dead. I, uh... I got no wife... No kids. No friends. If I died tonight... no one would care. What difference would it make? (...) If I died tonight, my landlord would pack up my stuff. It'd take him three hours. And Cinnabon would just hire a new manager. Gene who? Poof! I'd be gone. I'd be... a... a ghost. Less than a ghost. I'd be a... a sha... shadow. I'd just be... nothing. I mean, Frank... What's the point, Frank?"
―Gene distracting Frank by discussing his tragic backstory, partly based on real events.

"It's called mutually assured destruction so if I go down, you go down."
―Gene to Jeff and his friend Buddy.

"I am not your friend. And if you get greedy, and you decide to come back for more? Don't."
―Gene threatening Jeff into silence.


References[]


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