“Better Call Saul.” A TV Review

Season 1, Episode 3.  “Nacho”

Reviewed by: Mark Salcido

BETTER CALL SAUL premiered on AMC on February 8, 2015.

Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the show is a spin-off, prequel, and sequel to “Breaking Bad” which was created by Gilligan.

Set in 2002, “Better Call Saul” is about small-time lawyer, James McGill, well portrayed by Bob Odenkirk, seven years before his appearance on Breaking Bad–though events during and after the original series are also explored.

Before I get started on this review of episode 3, you might be wondering, “where the reviews for episode 1 and 2” might be found? Well my mouse clicking friend, there is no review for those episodes. It’s not because I’m lazy, it is because if you are reading this article, you are already watching the show and do not need to be told to do so. And if you have 1423600761166not jump on this very stable and very worthy band wagon, what the hell are you doing? Go watch it…now on to the review.

Since the shows premise is to tell us the early years of Jimmy McGill who would later be known as Saul Goodman, it’s not afraid to let us go even further back. We find a more coherent Chuck (Jimmy’s brother) as he is called on once again to help Jimmy out of a jam that may follow him for the rest of the life. This scene reversals what we have known so far of the brother’s relationship. Chuck, the prodigal lawyer son and Jimmy, the fuck up. As we jump back to the present, Jimmy is much better off, but not far from finding himself in another jam.

On last week’s episode, Nacho, a man with ties to the criminal underworld, presented a proposition for Jimmy that might be too good to pass. Find out whether or not the Kettlemans (Jimmy’s missed opportunity clients) did indeed steal the money they embezzled and if so, where is it?  better-call-saul-episode-103-post-jimmy-odenkirk-9801Jimmy walks that fine line of “concerned citizen” and “opportunist” when he calls his friend Kim (a lawyer at his brother’s firm HHM played by Rhea Seehorn).

Jimmy makes an anonymous call to warn the Kettlemans and things are set in motion that may blow up in his face. When the Kettlemans disappear, Jimmy is pursued by the police when a detained Nacho calls him his lawyer. Once the two are alone, Nacho blames Jimmy for the Kettlemans’ disappearance, believing that Jimmy is working with another crew and that Nacho is to be the fall guy. Jimmy races against the clock to find the Kettlemans when Nacho presents him two options; get Nacho out of jail or Jimmy won’t see tomorrow.

Jimmy continues his parking sticker debate with parking lot guard Mike (Jonathan Banks)better-call-saul-episode-103-post-jimmy-odenkirk-9801 to a point where Jimmy says “fuck it” and dashes out of the parking lot without paying the fee or getting the right amount of stickers.

When Jimmy makes it to the Kettlemans’ home to view the crime scene, he is able to deduce that maybe the family staged the kidnapping and is hiding.

Though Jimmy may try his hardest to convince Kim as well as the detectives working the case, they don’t buy it. With his theory in hand, Jimmy hurries back to tell Nacho only to be stopped by an already annoyed Mike. A small physical confrontation, started by Jimmy, ends with Jimmy at the other end of arm twist that would make any man submit.

The detectives use the assault in hopes that Jimmy will finally help make the disappearance case stick to Nacho.

Before Jimmybetter.call_.saul_.thm_1 can be taken away to booking, he yells out his findings, making sure Nacho can hear it in the hopes of saving his ass. Mike eventually decides to have the charges dropped.

Jimmy, shocked by Mike’s help and asks, ‘why”? Mike reveals a bit of his past by telling Jimmy of a similar case he had as a detective. Same results, and the people where closer to home than anyone suspected.

Jimmy finds a camping decal placed on one of the Kettlemans’ vehicles and makes the trek through a desert trail behind their home.  He stumbles upon the Kettlemans; gleefully singing camp songs.

Jimmy makes a phone call to Kim and confronts the Kettlemans only to have a struggle ensue when Jimmy grabs one of their camping bags and rips it open, revealing the embezzled money.

This episode leads you to believe that this would be a Nacho heavy episode but it’s easily stolen by Mike and the beginnings of his relationship with Jimmy. As Mike becomes a more of a crucial character in this show’s universe, I only hope more of his past and badassism becomes revealed.

Kim’s history with Jimmy is sprinkled a tidbit in an early conversation with the line “You’re calling me to talk dirty again, are you?” Along with a bit of comfortable back and forward with the two, you can bet there was definitely “something” there between the two.

Everyone here, expect for Mike, thinks they’re pulling one over each other only to show that maybe, they aren’t as bright as they might think. Nacho driving his own vehicle on the night in question, Jimmy trying a ridiculous muffled voice when he calls the Kettlemans, and even the Kettlmans themselves trying to hide their crooked ways.

Plots have become thickened and more characters have been brought in to keep the tires spinning on this enjoyable ride of “Better Call Saul.”

The score, writing and direction is awesome as it gets you more into the life of a good lawyer turned sleazy andI highly recommend you tune in for next week’s episode called “Hero”.

“Better Call Saul” airs Monday nights at 10pm on AMC.

 

 

 

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