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‘Better Call Saul’ Recap: “Off Brand”

Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Spoiler Alert: This recap contains spoilers for season 3 episode 6 of Better Call Saul

It was only a matter of time before the name Saul Goodman would finally be introduced. Two and a half seasons in and we finally know how Jimmy created his iconic identity. This episode legitimately felt like the next chapter for Better Call Saul. Chuck (Michael McKean) still played a part in the episode but he also felt like he was starting a new storyline that may involve Jimmy. Add to that another surprising appearance from a Breaking Bad alum and it’s safe to say that Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould are taking this season in a new direction.

We open on an underutilized character this season: Nacho (Michael Mando). He’s starting to have second thoughts about working with Don Hector (Mark Margolis) especially after he’s forced to brutally beat Krazy-8 for coming up short in his stack. Hector wants to use Nacho’s father’s sewing operation as a front for his drug route. Nacho is very displeased with Hector’s dominance over him and his general unpleasant demeanor. Hector revives word that his Nephew Tuco (remember him?) was involved in a prison stabbing. He has a panic attack and while taking his medication drops one of his pills to the ground. This show and Breaking Bad both use the camera to provide visual clues like focusing on the pill to show that it may be needed in the fuutre. Nacho picks up the pill and, knowing that Hector is in a wheelchair by the beginning of Breaking Bad, it’s not a stretch to say that Nacho will play a part in Hector’s ultimate fate. Meanwhile Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) is scoping out a laundromat that will come to prominence in Breaking Bad as Walter White’s and Jesse Pinkman’s meth lab when they work for Gus in seasons three and four. Lydia, also a major player in Breaking Bad, played by Lydia Fraser, the timeline of her being there making complete sense, is there with Gus who agrees with Lydia that this place will suit their needs.

Michael Mando as Nacho in ‘Better Call Saul’. Photo courtesy of AMC.

Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) only gets a one-year suspension from practicing law. Jimmy celebrates the verdict with Kim (Rhea Seehorn), but is interrupted by Chuck’s ex-wife, Rebecca (Ann Cusack), who begs Jimmy to help Chuck as he locked himself in his house and is not answering the door. Jimmy refuses, as he considers Chuck dead to him, and Rebecca coldly tells Jimmy that Chuck was right about him. Chuck, meanwhile, goes outside in his space blanket and walks through the streets of Albuquerque to call his doctor and request an appointment with him. Jimmy, in a classic Better Call Saul montage, says goodbye to all his elder clients but encounters a problem: he still needs to fill his commercial time slots and he can’t advertise his law practice for a year. So Jimmy brings his colorful film crew to different spots in order to make a commercial that, with help from a legal loophole, would allow Jimmy to sell the slots with the new commercial. The endearing film crew looks like college film students; I’m sure the writers have been through what these kids are working with in real life.

Later in the night, Jimmy shows Kim his new commercial where he plays an overly excited character named Saul Goodman; Kim even comments to Jimmy, “That guy has a lot of energy,” and the episode ends.

Every storyline is at an interesting place at the moment. If the show keeps with the pace it has established in these last three episodes then we are in for the best season this show has ever done.

Episode Grade: A

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