'Better Call Saul' recap: Threaten Mike's family? Not a good idea

Threatening to harm the family of ex-cop Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) proves costly for a Mexican drug kingpin on “Nailed,” Episode 209 of AMC’s “Better Call Saul.”

Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis) from the Juarez cartel wanted to shorten the prison sentence of his nephew Tuco (Raymond Cruz) after he viciously assaulted Mike. Accordingly, Hector pressured Mike into telling the district attorney that a gun found at the scene didn’t belong to Tuco.

By lying to the authorities, Mike protected his granddaughter Kaylee (Abigail Zoe Lewis) and daughter-in-law Stacey (Kerry Condon) from Hector’s wrath.

Now it’s payback time for Mike, who targets one of Hector’s trucks as it transports drug money from Mexico to Albuquerque.

Wearing a ski mask and hiding behind a billboard, Mike disables the truck by pulling a spike strip across the roadway. Then he ties up the driver and cuts open a tire containing $250,000 in cash.

Furious about the robbery is cartel lieutenant Nacho Varga (Michael Mando), whose fate is intertwined with Mike’s because they conspired to put Tuco behind bars. If the driver identifies Mike, Nacho warns, “that’s bad for both of us.”

“He saw a guy with a ski mask,” Mike says. “That’s it.”

And why, Mike asks, didn’t the crime receive media coverage?

The cartel cleaned up the scene, Nacho explains, after the driver was freed by a Good Samaritan. This kindly motorist was then shot in the face by Hector and buried in the desert, meaning Mike has the murder of an innocent civilian on his conscience.

In other developments, lawyer Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) appears before a regulatory board to help Mesa Verde Bank and Trust expand into Arizona.

What Chuck doesn't know, however, is that the bank’s building permit applications were sabotaged by his brother Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk).

This results in a six-week setback, much to the chagrin of Mesa Verde executive Kevin Wachtell (Rex Linn) and lead counsel Paige Novick (Cara Pifko). They promptly fire Chuck and hire Jimmy’s attorney girlfriend, Kimberly Wexler (Rhea Seehorn).

Before long, Chuck realizes why the paperwork was in error. Jimmy must have altered the documents at a copy shop while Chuck was sweating and delirious on his sofa with a debilitating case of electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

“He did this for you,” Chuck tells Kim, alleging that Jimmy doctored the applications “as some twisted romantic gesture.”

“If what you’re saying is true,” Kim calmly tells Chuck, “Jimmy could be charged with forgery, fraud, falsifying evidence, even breaking and entering.” There’s a simpler explanation, she suggests.

“You’re working by lantern light, squinting over 10-point type for hour after hour,” Kim says to Chuck. “You made a mistake. And instead of facing up to it, you accused your brother of plotting against you.”

Kim knows Chuck is telling the truth, of course, for she angrily punches Jimmy’s arm when they’re alone in his car.

“Your brother is one smart lawyer,” Kim says to Jimmy that evening in bed. “He’d make quite an adversary. The kind of adversary who’d find even the smallest crack in your defense.”

Jimmy realizes that Chuck will likely visit the copy shop and ask questions. In fact, Chuck’s assistant, Ernesto (Brandon K. Hampton), has already spoken with Lance (Elisha Yaffe), an employee on the graveyard shift.

“This is just a thing between brothers,” Jimmy says to Lance, offering him a substantial bribe to keep quiet.

When Chuck arrives at the copy shop shortly after, the fluorescent lights and electronic equipment take their toll. He collapses and is knocked unconscious when his head hits a counter.

“Call 911,” Jimmy mutters as he watches nervously from across the street. “Call 911!”

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