Better Call Saul Review: “Off Brand” Births Saul Goodman

Better Call Saul Off Brand
Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Well, hello, Mr. Goodman, it’s nice to finally meet you.

After two and a half seasons, we finally got our introduction to Jimmy’s (Bob Odenkirk) other persona, Saul Goodman. It’s interesting to see the highly anticipated reveal come at a point where much came to light. Jimmy and Chuck (Michael McKean) finally had their big blowout in court where Jimmy was officially suspended as counsel for 12 months, which was a victory for Jimmy and Kim (Rhea Seehorn), but more importantly it revealed something about Chuck and his condition. Jimmy cleverly set up Chuck on the stand, proving that Chuck’s electrical sensitivity is a mental condition and not physical. Now that Jimmy has seemingly washed his hands of his brother for good and is restricted from being a lawyer for a year, it’s interesting to see how Saul Goodman will come into play before Jimmy inevitably adopts the persona for good.

It’s really pleasing to see Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould work in little inventive ways to keep these characters interesting and resisting temptations of big reveals. It could have been entirely possible to have Jimmy invent the Saul Goodman persona in the show’s first season, but one of this show’s strong points is to not let the audience feel cheated in any way.

Most of the other characters took the backseat this week. We only got a little glimpse of Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) this week, but the limited screen time did feature him checking out his future operations facility, which was a cool little moment.

We also got another dose of the brewing conflict between Hector (Mark Margolis) and Gus. Hector, who’s still jealous of Gus and his successful practices, plans to go beyond his own operation and establish a highly competitive business just like Gus. Hector plans to do this by means of using Nacho’s (Michael Mando) father as the face of the business. It was a nice touch telling this piece through Nacho’s perspective giving him a nice little emotional arc struggling with going against Hector and involving family in his work. Michael Mando knocked the performance out of the park here particularly.

“Off Brand” featured a good mix of all the stories this week as we got a huge moment for Jimmy while Chuck has to put the pieces of his life together again after the “loss” in court and while the situation between Hector and Gus gets increasingly tense.

Rating: 9 out of 10