Better Call Saul, Season 1, Episode 3 (Nacho).
No, we’re not watching The Shinning but rather the third episode of Better Call Saul. The first two episodes focused on interlinking the programme with its predecessor, but the third episode proves there doesn’t have to be an appearance of ex-Breaking Bad stars such as Tuco to really engage our attention. Sure, we get to see more of Mike in this episode, yet even then he’s there to escalate the plot rather than to pay tribute to Breaking Bad.
Nacho is the character who really begins to differentiate the spin-off from the original. Yet, Nacho the episode is where this differentiation begins.
An attorney from ‘Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill’ already gives the programme the charm which it so-desperately needs. The character dynamics between Kim, and Jimmy allows “PG-13 (at the worst)” humour wade into a rather serious topic. Jimmy knows that the Kettlemans are in danger due to Nacho, yet tries to find the most discreet route possible in saving the two. His intentions still rather work, but just not in the way he was expecting it.
Of course all fingers immediately point to Nacho when the Kettleman family seemingly disappear. We’re left in the position to question whether we trust this rather ambiguous character. There’s been an insight of humanity in Nacho before as we’ve seen him rescue Jimmy & co in the second episode – but that wasn’t enough to see whether we could really trust Nacho. The blood stains in the car and such are justified as the skaters blood, yet at any moment a plot-twist revealing Nacho was indeed responsible could have happened. However I’m so glad it didn’t.
Instead, the attention of the episode diverts from the threat of Nacho and focuses on the consequences of Jimmy’s warning. The family runs away in fear of being caught and it creates a very detective-like vibe as Jimmy desperately attempts to clear Nacho’s name. Due to being in early stages of the series, the audience don’t know what to expect from this programme. What direction will it take? The detective setting in attempting to support Nacho could easily become the overarching formula of the series – but instead the protagonist turning to illegal means takes over. After all, that is what helped spark our interest in Breaking Bad, right?
So whilst the episode has progressed the series as “something more” than just a spin-0ff, it still is merely in the beginning of what is to come. It isn’t until the ending where we see that Jimmy will still be tempted to be “in the game” and where the plot of the series will really pick up on. All that cash… how is one man meant to refuse?
Even so, Jimmy actually being corrupted into a life of crime hasn’t been truly revealed… at least not yet. His empty stare at the end after discovering all the money simply signifies that Jimmy wants more than to help aid the law. Money has always been his motivation, it has been in the beginning of the spin-off and it still is by the time we know him as Saul Goodman. The thing is he’s already informed the police that he discovered the location of where the Kettleman family are hiding, so how will he get away with teaming up with the Kettleman family? It’s evident by that stare that after finding that money, he won’t easily let it go.
The pacing of the episode was slow-paced and uneventful, but that’s alright. Clearly the actual plot of the series is still forming, all the little details are building up to what will cause Jimmy to turn to Saul Goodman. As for now, we can just enjoy the brilliant choice of cinematic techniques, sparky humour and the continuous tension. It’s easy to say that Better Call Saul is already becoming one of my favourite programmes.
+ Jimmy has such a difficult job, as he’s “Inhaling your B.M straight from Satan’s bung-hole”!
+ Kim: “I think we should invite Mr Mcgill to the house”, Police: “Why?”, Jimmy:“yeah Why?”. The exchange was simply beautiful.
+ It’s no wonder Jimmy cares so much about money, look at how much he was spending on payphone’s alone!