Compared to its parent show, Better Call Saul has been relatively light on the action. But Better Call Saul is not Breaking Bad and it shouldn’t try to be. The stakes are a lot lower in watching a scummy lawyer become an even scummier lawyer, but there is plenty of entertainment to be found. This is perhaps the first episode of the spin-off series where things actually go Jimmy’s way, but judging off the ending, that peace will be short-lived.
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Slippin’ Jimmy Opens the Show
I love the way the show plays with time. The flashback that opens “Hero” has a nice thematic resonance with the rest of the episode, but it doesn’t add a lot of new information. We do see Jimmy in another time (and hairstyle) pull off a money-making scheme with an unexpected partner and the first use of the Saul Goodman name, if not persona.
Those Kooky Kettlemans
After the flashback, we pick up right where “Nacho” ended, with the Kettlemans still desperate to not be discovered. When it becomes clear that is not an option, they take the only logical course of action. They compare their stolen million to working overtime and slavery … so yeah. But as utterly ridiculous and morally questionable as the Kettlemans are, even they recognize Jimmy is a “guilty people” lawyer. They refuse to hire him, but they do offer him a heavy chunk of their stolen cash to keep quiet about it. Jimmy, of course, takes it. Though I wonder, if they hadn’t insulted him, would Jimmy have taken it and been so set on what he does next?
Extreme Makeover: Lawyer Edition
Jimmy has a momentary hiccup in his plans with Nacho. He ends up calming him down; at the very least, he gets rid of him, but I doubt this is the last we’ll see of him. Once Nacho is gone, Jimmy has a full makeover, essentially becoming Hamlin. It all culminates in a garish billboard. A garish billboard that Kim calls a declaration of war as she delivers Hamlin’s cease and desist order. While Hamlin does have an easily punch-able face, how can you not hate a man who named a color after himself? It is hard not to side with Kim at this point. This seems like a terrible idea and very petty…
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Jimmy’s “Save the Cat” Moment
…Until Jimmy’s full plan is revealed. It’s still petty but also brilliant in its own scummy way. After Hamlin gets the billboard ordered down, Jimmy tries to find a journalist to cover his story. When he is unsuccessful, he is forced to turn to the University of New Mexico, but that just turns out to be a small part of his plan. On camera, Jimmy sadly tells how Hamlin’s firm is crushing him, the little guy, as his billboard is taken down. This is interrupted when the worker falls from the billboard and screams for help.
As he dangles dangerously above, Jimmy leaps into heroic action, saving the proverbial cat from the tree. Well, if the cat was a low wage worker and the tree was a billboard and if the low wage worker was actually Jimmy’s partner in crime. The whole thing turns out to be a publicity stunt and scam, the whole ordeal being planned by the two of them. Hamlin sees right through it, but he seems to be the only one as the press and public eat the story right up.
Chuck Risks His Life and Space Blanket for a Newspaper
Yet with all his success, Jimmy still doesn’t want to come clean to Chuck. He takes the paper detailing his “rescue” and tells Chuck it wasn’t there. But while Chuck might have some — let’s be nice and call them quirks, he isn’t an idiot. Realizing Jimmy is lying, he “dangerously” ventures outside to steal his neighbor’s paper — and they say print is dead. Once Chuck sees Jimmy’s heroic front page story, he is not at all happy.
Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 10pm on AMC.
(Image courtesy of AMC)