“I was always told the America was the land of opportunity.”
What if James M. McGill was always Saul Goodman? In the first three episodes of Better Call Saul it looks like becoming Saul was going to be a slow process that was going to take at least until the end of the season to see come to fruition, but it’s became quite clear after the opening of episode four that Jimmy has always been Saul, he has just never unleashed his full potential.
The episode begins with another glimpse of Jimmy’s past. He is walking out of a bar with a stranger he had just met, but had become buddies with that night. When the guy asks Jimmy what his name is, he jokingly say’s “Saul. Saul Goodman” While walking down and alley they find a wallet stuffed with money and the owner passed out not far from it. He’s a large rich guy who appears to be drunk and is rude to Jimmy and his new friend. They decide to steal the money and the expensive watch on the large man’s wrist. Jimmy’s new friend knows the watch is a Rolex and lets Jimmy keep the money and gives him a couple more hundred for the watch. The guy runs off thinking he has conned Jimmy. It isn’t until the rich guy stands up behind Jimmy and they give each other a high five that the audience realizes that Jimmy has never been a sucker, he has always been Slippin’ Jimmy.
While last weeks episode centered on Nacho’s arrest and finding the Kettleman’s, this week focused on rebranding, bribes, and more cons. When the episode goes back to the present, Jimmy is in the woods with the Kettleman’s. He has just discovered that they are attempting to run away with the money they stole. They try to bribe him, but he really wants them to be his client. That’s Mrs. Kettleman tells him that he is the kind of lawyer only guilty people hire, which as any Breaking Bad fan will know is Saul’s bread and butter. He ends up taking the bribe and using it to buy a new wardrobe and billboard to advertise his business. Completely copying Howard Hamlin’s (Patrick Fabian) look and his company logo. Jimmy is out for blood and wants to start a war with his brother’s old firm. With the Kettlemans safe and sound, Nacho has been released from custody, but is still gunning for Jimmy after he tipped off the Kettlemans.
After last week’s thrilling episode dealing with the alleged kidnapping of the Kettlemans, it was a good change of pace to see a more complex episode dealing with the majority of major characters introduced this season. Gilligan and Gould have created plenty of interesting characters that received the spotlight in this episode including Betsy Kettleman (Julie Ann Emery) and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). It’s clear to see that Betsy is the real brains behind their operation and her husband is just doing what she says. The relationship between Jimmy and Kim is beyond complex. We know they have a romantic history, but how serious was the relationship? It obviously ended on good terms if they are still close. Are they this generations Jerry and Elaine? Only time will tell. Clearly Gilligan has a knack for writing strong female characters.
One of the biggest mysteries of the series so far has been Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) and his illness. Is he scared of light? Electricity? He makes Jimmy ground himself before entering the house and uses a reflected blanket to protect himself when stealing the neighbor’s paper. Chuck has helped Jimmy start his life over, but without him in full health it looks like Jimmy is slipping back to old tendencies (no pun intended). He did pull off perhaps the biggest con of his career when he ‘saved’ a worker from falling off a billboard.
Overall, ‘Hero’ was an interesting episode filled with a lot of great moments. The incredibly talented Bob Odenkirk keeps proving with each new episode that he was meant to star in his own series. It’s clear to see that Nacho is going to continue to be a problem for Jimmy, but it looks like he has shifted his focus from saving his own skin to taking down Hamlin. It’s intriguing to see how Gilligan and Gould will combine all of Jimmy’s problems towards the end of the season. This show is consistently keeping me guessing and I never want it to end.
‘Hero’ Rating 9.5/10
Al Mannarino is the managing editor for Pop-Break. He is also host of the News Over Brews Podcast, Loot Care Unboxed, Backstage Break, and the producer of Behind the Brews. He graduated Rowan University with a degree in Radio/TV/Film & History and is currently a Promotions Assistant for Clear Channel Media + Entertainment. When he isn’t writing he is either trying to build his own TARDIS or taking a nap. Follow him on Twitter: @almannarino