NOTE: This episode aired last week, though our regular television reviewer was indisposed at the time of airing
NOTE 2: Full spoilers for this episode of Better Call Saul are present in this review
Better Call Saul continues to move along on a very strong note. “Nacho” continues to beautifully establish the tragic tale of Jimmy McGill, with his future demons now appearing to creep ever closer, demonstrating the futility behind Jimmy doing the right thing.
The episode begins with an interesting tease, detailing some unknown crime as a flashback starts things off with Jimmy incarcerated, and having to beg Chuck, then a functional attorney, for help. Jimmy has apparently done something so bad that it could permanently ruin his life, including placing him on a sex offender registry, but we never really figure out what it was that he did. That no doubt comes later.
Flash forward to the present, and Jimmy’s conscience is nibbling at him after he puts Nacho on the trail of ripping off the wealthy family he nosed into before, the Kettlemans. After breaking a few calls, Jimmy eventually leaves an anonymous tip, at first attempting to disguise his voice, before simply blurting out that the Kettlemans are in danger and that they need to flee before hanging up. It was undeniably amusing to watch, even though it put Jimmy’s ass on the line with Nacho.
… Or it would, had Nacho not been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping the family. Jimmy now finds himself in even bigger trouble, as he must cover up his involvement with Nacho, while also trying to find a way to get Nacho out of jail, avoiding Jimmy being targeted for Nacho’s incarceration. It’s certainly a lot of problems that have added up for our lead anti-hero pretty quickly.
Like Walter White from Breaking Bad, trouble just seems to find Jimmy, no matter what he seems to do. The way that the episode explores Jimmy hitting a moral brick wall and immediately being faced with no right answer, was absolutely superb. It also spurred the episode to begin laying the foundation for Jimmy having to tap into his latent smooth-talking talent, lest it cost him his life otherwise. With both Nacho and the police, Jimmy was left to try and slither out of an impossible situation, and it was very enjoyable to watch, particularly as Bob Odenkirk continues to just own this character, even in his feeble, unrefined prequel state.
This also led to Jimmy deducing that the Kettlemans kidnapped themselves, given the evidence, and that means that Nacho has to be innocent. Nacho’s sloppiness is what got him arrested, not any actual crime, and that allows Jimmy to get the man off.
It also leads to Jimmy’s first real positive interaction with Mike, still a surly parking attendant that loves to give Jimmy a hard time. Nonetheless, Jimmy learns of Mike’s history as a cop this episode, when Mike easily overpowers him after Jimmy picks a fight. Mike decides to drop any charges against Jimmy however, when he believes Jimmy’s story about the Kettlemans. He relays a story about a former case, which leads to Jimmy discovering the Kettlemans’ campsite, barely anywhere from their apparently ransacked house.
This was a well-executed moment, not completely extinguishing the initial animosity between Jimmy and Mike, but also not pretending that they hated each other right up to the events of Breaking Bad. That wouldn’t flow terribly well with the narrative of these two shows. It’s another great Breaking Bad nod that’s done with just the right amount of care, and it will be interesting to see where Jimmy and Mike go from here.
The episode concludes with Jimmy discovering the Kettlemans and once again having to talk his way out of an apparently ugly situation. After a struggle however, a bag is ripped open, and, surprise, the family did indeed steal millions of dollars. The episode ends immediately after the bills all tumble from the broken bag.
“Nacho” was yet another excellent episode of Better Call Saul that continues to demonstrate the incredible wit and intelligence behind this spin-off. It continued to push everything forward on a great note, and helped nudge Jimmy a little further to his future as Saul Goodman, without feeling like it was rushing things. It’s more of the same from the first two episodes, but that means more of the same outstanding content, and that’s certainly not a bad proposition!
- Saul's smooth-talking still gradually coming forth
- The foundation is laid for Jimmy and Mike's friendship
- The resolution with the Kettlemans was awesome