Better Call Saul, ‘Alpine Shepard Boy’ Plot Summary:
Coming off the successful completion of his billboard stunt, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) has gotten the attention of the local press and has finally started receiving leads on potential clients. Meanwhile his brother Chuck deals with his worsening condition and the fallout of stealing his neighbor’s newspaper.
Leave it to Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould to take a seemingly normal situation and have it escalate into a full on fiasco. When Chuck stole his neighbor’s newspaper at the end of ‘Hero’ it seemed like an entertaining way for Chuck to find out about Jimmy’s latest con and to provide the audience with a better prospective of Chuck’s condition. If we learned anything from Breaking Bad even the most mundane of scenes could become something way more important later on. The neighbor ends up calling the police on Chuck. They check around the house and see all the cans of lighter fluid along with all the wires being removed from the circuit breaker they think that Chuck is a tweaker and precede to break down the door. It was a very quite opening that turned into a rather exciting one.
Most of the episode dealt with Jimmy visiting potential clients for the first time after the billboard incident. The first client was a rich cowboy who wanted to secede from the United States. Jimmy was all for it until the man tried to pay him in fake currency. The next client was an inventor who wanted to get a patent for his latest creation. The invention itself is a toilet that is supposed to provide positive reinforcement for children learning to potty train, but it was essentially a voice box from a sex toy strapped to a toilet. This scene was one of the funniest moments of the series thus far and showed off Odenkirk’s flawless comedic timing.
The episode title ‘Alpine Shepard Boy’ derived from the following scene where Jimmy is helping an elderly woman with her will. Out of his seven prospects he was only able to get elderly clients looking to set up their will or trust. Kim gives Jimmy the idea to maybe switch his focus to elder law. Jimmy takes her advice and beings to market himself to the elderly. It seems that Jimmy wants to become a hotshot lawyer, but he will do anything in the meantime to make money. If has to cater to the elderly, then he will go all out to make sure that he is the man they go to.
Jimmy eventually finds out that Chuck has been admitted to the hospital after the police broke down his door and shot him with a Taser gun. Chuck finally explains the full extent to his ‘condition,’ but the doctor quickly proves that his allergy to electricity is all in his head. Jimmy now has to make the decision to either let his brother live his life in his current state or take him in for psychological evaluation. The last scene was possibly the most interesting aspect of the episode. Jimmy passes by the tollbooth after visiting the courthouse and gives Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) his new business card. Then we see Mike outside of a woman’s house. She pulls out of her driveway and passes Mike and they make eye contact. The next scene has Mike sitting in his house when someone knocks on the door. It’s his former coworkers when he was a police officer in Philadelphia. Mike was one of the most interesting aspects of Breaking Bad, and it looks like they finally getting around to explain some of his backstory. Now that he has Jimmy’s card will he use him to get out of trouble? Is this how there partnership begins?
Overall, ‘Alpine Shepard Boy’ was more of a calm before the storm sort of episode that featured Jimmy starting to get some work as a lawyer, learning that Chuck might be unstable, and learning that Mike is in Albuquerque for a reason. The episode featured a lot of laughs and a pretty emotional scene in the hospital between Chuck and Jimmy. While this episode wasn’t very exciting, it seems that Mike’s past coming back into play might kick start the second half of this season.
‘Alpine Shepard Boy’ Rating: 8/10
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