Previously, on Better Call Saul: “Nacho”
After discovering those damn, wily Kettlemans (Jeremy Shamos and Julie Ann Emery) in the woods, Craig and Betsy try to hammer into Jimmy’s brain that they are completely innocent and the missing money is rightfully theirs. Apparently, this family are firm believers in telling a lie long enough that it eventually becomes truth. Betsy even has the gall to bribe Jimmy with a couple stacks of cash to keep quiet about their location. Clearly, she is the more cunning of the two and has that dark streak in her that would justify killing McGill and burying him under a random tree in the sticks if she were inclined. No amount of money or potential threat on his life could make Jimmy compromise, especially after Betsy Kettleman stated matter-of-factly that he’s a lawyer for criminals.
Apparently, that stinging encounter gave James the motivation and confidence he was lacking to right his proverbial ship and go after the two things he especially wants: more clients and to mess with Howard Hamlin’s head. In channeling that grifter he tried to bury so deep, the first signs of life are seen in Jimmy. This is his Anakin Moment; what is so disarmingly charismatic about Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy/Saul is we know this guy has been and can be a real jerk, but it’s too much fun to watch this small-time lawyer get under the skin of some real power players.
Once more, Nacho played a minor role in this episode, but it was a concentrated effort. Michael Mando again only delivers a few lines with an intense calm, essentially assuring Jimmy there will be consequences for ratting him out. What little time Nacho was detained in jail was what Jimmy needed to turn the tables on their frayed business accord. McGill isn’t the same sniveling litigator Nacho threatened in his tiny office; that ol’ Jimmy swagger has returned but tempered with McGill’s legal and cunning knowledge of the system. Like another of the other associates he’ll eventually acquaint himself with, Nacho isn’t a man who likes to be upstaged and no doubt will put Jimmy through the ringer while they remain frenemies.
As for his other supporting cast in Chuck (McKean) and Kim (Seehorn), the two appear to be genuinely excited and supportive in James’ newfound determination. However, given his disconcerting past and the number of times he’s mucked things up, their eyes shine apprehension while they flash a cursory smile. McGill is in a better place mentally than he’s been since the start of Saul, but how much will his old antics cost him in the end? The ball is in his court now; a good deal of people know him from his “heroic” efforts. The question now is can he temper his old habits before they potentially ruin not only his reputation but also those he cares for.
Another excellent episode of a series that is quickly becoming a modern classic; Better Call Saul’s next episode, “Alpine Shepherd Boy”, will air Monday, March 2nd, at 10 PM, on AMC.
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael Mando, Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian
Director: Colin Bucksey