Season One, Episode Three
This is the episode of Better Call Saul that I’ve been waiting for! While the pilot did a lot of setting up and the second episode established exactly where Jimmy was at in his life, “Nacho” finally puts things into gear and it runs with it. As you remember, we left off last episode with Nacho’s proposal for Jimmy to point in the direction where the stolen money is and he’ll get 10 percent. Jimmy is trying to keep his conscious clean and not take the offer, though he did just complete a botched plan to scam Mrs. Kettleman. During a late night at the nail salon, Jimmy calls Kim, an attorney for Hamlin Hamlin & McGill. Was it a booty call? Probably, but through his possibly drunken rant he slips that the Kettleman family are probably in danger. After that call, he drives to a phone booth and calls the Kettlemans that they’re being targeted.
The following day, it’s reported that the Kettlemans have been kidnapped and Nacho has been brought in to the police station for questioning when his car was spotted on the street the night they went missing. This is where Better Call Saul really struts its stuff. Sure, in long-term story arcs there are little surprises that can be thrown our way since this is a prequel, but when the show concentrates on specific situations, such as this, then it can be incredibly exciting. Nacho calls in Jimmy as his lawyer and flat out tells him that he didn’t take the family. Jimmy believes him but how is he going to convince the police? Also, if Nacho gets the blame for this, Jimmy’s dead. Even though we know that’s not going to happen, it’s still an added urgency to hype up the situation.
My favorite part of the episode was after Jimmy thought of the idea that the Kettlemans kidnapped themselves and are hiding. It makes perfect sense, but the cops don’t believe him. Jimmy believes that his call spooked the family, and if they really are guilty then they’re going to have every reason to stage a kidnapping so they can get away without anyone suspecting them near. Jimmy looked like he dug himself a hole with his altercation with Mike, but when Mike backs him up I couldn’t help myself but to fist pump. Mike and Saul baby! Oh, and Mike’s little advice to Jimmy from when he was on the force in Philly was call Jimmy needed to find the family in the woods, hiding out in a tent.
Jimmy has a fake sense of confidence to him. When he has to, he lawyers up and acts confident with charm as he throws his hands in the air and pleads his case. But inside, Jimmy’s a broken guy who’s just trying to make a pretty dime to survive another day. His work as a public defender hasn’t gone the way he anticipated. His relationship with his brother is lukewarm at best as they rarely see eye to eye on anything. No one is taking him seriously except for maybe Nacho, but he’s a dangerous guy that Jimmy doesn’t want to mess around with. In the end, Jimmy discovers a bag full of cash in the Kettleman tent. What’s he to do now? Turn them in? Make a settlement? Give the tip to Nacho? Exactly how pure is Jimmy and how long will it take for him to go over to the dark side?