Exciting and tragic, this episode offers fun heist elements for most of its runtime, while telling a tragic story of man now known as Gene Takovic.
- Answers on the "Gene" timeline
- Beautiful B&W direction from veteran Michelle MacLauren
- Tragic story for Gene
- Felt a little unnecessary
- Underutilized Carol Burnett
NOTE: This review contains spoilers for Better Call Saul season 6 episode 10, "Nippy." You can read previous recaps for Better Call Saul season 6 right here.
We’ve been sitting on pins and needles for some time now waiting to see what’s going on within the "sequel" part of Better Call Saul: Cinnabon Gene (Bob Odenkirk) from Omaha. The last we saw the quiet, broken mall employee, someone recognized him as Saul Goodman. He was about to call the Vacuum Cleaner Salesman to disappear again, but decided at the last minute to handle things himself. In this latest episode of Better Call Saul, we finally got to see how. The answer? The Slippin’ Jimmy way.
After the past three episodes, it's hard to top what may have been the greatest three hours this show has seen. It is nice though to catch up with Gene’s story and there’s something poetic about a story of a man who spent his days reminiscing about the Goodman days, trying to walk away from the addiction of being Slippin’ Jimmy.
We start with Marion (Carol Burnett), an elderly woman who loves canned goods, hates sharp Wisconsin cheese from writer Thomas Schnauz’s dairy farm (don’t think we didn’t notice) and craves her independence. She gets suckered into a con from the one and only Slippin’ Jimmy, aka Gene Takovic, helping her home (after cutting the lines to her scooter) in order to get close to the man who identified him. The man, Jeffy (Pat Healy), comes home to see Gene making nice with poor oblivious Marion. The legendary Burnett doesn’t get much else to do this episode, which was disappointing.
Once alone, Jeffy threatens Gene, saying that whatever he’s playing, he can destroy him with one phone call. Gene calls his bluff, saying if he was going to turn him in or extort him for money, he’d have done it already. Believing Jeffy wants to "part of the game," Gene offers to do a single con with him, as long as they end things from there. Jeffy accepts. So Gene goes home and takes out something we haven’t seen in a while: the ring of Marko. He’s about to do something not good.
Gene sets his plan in motion. He slowly befriends the security staff of Nick (Nathaniel Augustson) and Frank (Jim O’Heir) with free Cinnabons and sports talk. It becomes such a regular thing that he eventually no longer needs to knock at the door, they just let him in. During his visits, Frank indulges in the warm gooey cinnamon treat for a little over three minutes without ever looking at the security monitors, as Gene purposefully clocks each and every time.
The next phase involves fully mapping out the department store, measuring each step to the each group of valuable merchandise. He then creates a replica of the store in a vacant field with Jeffy and his buddy, with Jeffy running laps to ensure he can collect three of each valuable piece of merchandise in three minutes.
When Jeffy starts to express doubts, Gene persuades him to carry on with stories about the notorious Walter White, plus the threat of Jeffy’s buddy volunteering instead. Jeffy decides he’s in.
The day of the heist, the department store receives an unexpected "delivery." From the box to the help line phone number, everything is meticulously planned, as Gene convinces the department store manager, Kathy (Kelsey Scott), to allow them to leave the giant box overnight. Little does Cathy know Jeffy’s in there.
As soon as the mall closes and the stores are emptied, Gene, as he’s done every night, pays Frank and Nick a visit. Nick departs with his free Cinnabon and Frank begins his three minute late nigh snack. Gene gives Jeffy the go ahead. All goes according to plan until Jeffy slips and knocks his head on the department store floor, lying unconscious.
Frank is on his final bite and about to turn his head and catch Jeffy, so like any good Saul Goodman plan, Gene has to improvise. Taking advantage of the trust Frank has instilled in him to divert his attention by fake crying and saying his life doesn't matter. Even if some of it may be truthful, Gene is playing things up hard. It works; Jeffy manages to get up, get the merch and get out of plain sight.
The next day, the mall opens. Jeffy sneaks out of the bathroom after staying all night and leaves freely. They rendezvous at Jeffy’s place and Jeffy and his friend are celebrating. However, Gene reminds them this is a one-time thing and if they ever cross him again, he can use the mutually self-destructive strategy of ratting them out for the robbery. He gets their assurance that they’ll never bring up that he’s Saul Goodman.
Marion comes home. She explains to Gene that Jeffy has had issues in the past in Albuquerque thanks to bad influences. She believes Gene to be a good influence, but Gene knows better and feels the remorse.
The next day, Gene goes back to his normal work. At lunch, he goes to check out the department store he just knocked off. No one suspects a thing. He ends up stopping at a very Saul Goodman type shirt. He reminisces before literally hanging up the shirt and tie and walking away.
New episodes of Better Call Saul air on Mondays at 9 pm ET/PT on AMC in the US and Tuesdays on Netflix in the UK.
Mike is a proud, sarcastic nerd with a penchant for comic books, comic book movies, and movies in general, and occasional delusions of grandeur. He's also a UC Berkeley graduate who decided to go into writing over pre-med because he figured he'd ultimately save more lives by not being a doctor. He's a Slytherin and a Pisces, so he's very emotionally sensitive, yet also evil, but can be defeated by exploiting his insecurities. His goal is to live one hell of a unique life, and it's been working so far! His proudest moments are being retweeted by James Gunn and Ryan Reynolds in the same week, and getting 999,999 points on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland.
You can find Mike's writing around the web at publications like The Nerds of Color, What to Watch, Spoiler Free Reviews, and That's It LA.
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