Better Call Saul slowed it down this week, but still continued to develop it’s cast of characters. The plot is clearing the way for trouble for Jimmy, and we got to see a lot of antics from the “fledgling” lawyer. Our review of “Hero”:
5 Dollar Newspaper: The best scene by far was the final scene. Knowing that Jimmy is scheming by lying about the newspaper being gone, Chuck takes his space blanket and goes to steal his neighbor’s paper. It was excellent to do his point of view only, the magnetism around him clearly affecting him. The sun is bright, there are power cords everywhere, and Chuck is obviously in distress. He gets the paper, puts 5 dollars under a rock and runs back home. The cut to the neighbor watching him from her window in dead silence relieves the tension of what Chuck is feeling to the actuality that man wearing a space blanket just took his neighbor’s paper and paid 5 dollars for it.
Slippin’ Jimmy at work in Cicero: Jimmy might have been Slippin’ Jimmy on the ice as a kid in Cicero, but we got a good look at him in the 90’s working his hustle as an adult. The idea that he scammed people by “robbing” a guy who was too high/drunk to think of their money and Rolex is just down and dirty. The touch of showing us the Cicero Merchant tells us that this happened before the opening scene from last week with Jimmy in the Chicago jailhouse. When Jimmy says that all this gig is good for is beer money, we can see that he is thinking of wanting more in life. The acting was so great here. It was like the inception of acting: Bob Odenkirk acting Jimmy McGill who was acting as Saul Goodman.
Betsy Kettleman is a bitch: She had the audacity to say to Jimmy that he is the kind of lawyer that guilty people hire. Hello?! She is guilty. But the genius of this is that this is the catalyst for the rest of the episode. Even thought the Kettleman’s don’t hire Jimmy, he takes their money. It could be out of pride, it could be out of greed. Either way, Jimmy sees it as opportunity to prove he is just as good as HHM.
Nacho is nacho man: Nacho Varga is freed after the Kettleman’s are found camping. Jimmy may have said he is an innocent man to the family, but Nacho and Jimmy’s confrontation reassures us that Nacho isn’t innocent. He still has it out for Jimmy, despite Jimmy’s suggestion that the good Samaritan helped Nacho by warning the family. Also, I now know that AJAX or Formula 409 will clean blood out of my van.
Jimmy working his angle to himself: Jimmy calculates the money he was given by the Kettleman’s and justifies the origin while he figures out what to do with the money. It is brilliant that he does this out loud. It continues that character trait while letting us know that he is still hustler.
Kim is growing: Thus far, we have known very little about Kim. We barely even get her name. But this time, we saw some sparkle in her eye. She calls Jimmy for a date (to The Thing), calls him a free spirit in response to his billboard sign, approaches him about the Cease and Desist letter, and smiles when she knows that Jimmy scammed the town about the billboard accident. I like her.
The Billboard fight: Jimmy using the same look as Harry Hamlin is so over the top it is funny. His hair is ridiculous. But it’s even more ridiculous that Hamlin copyrighted a color, “Hamlindigo Blue.” Yeah, it is yikes.
Slippin’ Jimmy at work in Albuquerque: Ok the whole thing of having someone film the billboard man falling off was hilarious. Jimmy works the camera by showing the best side of his face, says things like “scrimped and saved” to garner sympathy, and says he is the little guy. Playing hero on top of it all was scintillating.
Dialogue: I say it every week, but there are just so many good lines. From Jimmy, “You assume that criminals are going to be smarter than they are. I don’t know. It kind of breaks my heart a little” to Mike, “You clearly have a journalistic impulse. A real go-getter, you know that?” to the UNM film student, and “Yeah, this is right up there with that” to the Kettleman’s when they say that Craig working over time is just like slavery. And from Chuck when questioning why kids would steal his paper, “If there is one thing kids love its local print journalism.”
Long scenes: While I do appreciate the “quietness” of this show, many of the scenes felt very long. There was a payoff to each long scene (the alley scene, the billboard scene, the Kettleman camping scene) all felt like they took a really long time.
Intro: The intro shows Saul Goodman’s drawer of burner phones, including the infamous Hello Kitty cell phone that is eventually given to Jesse Pinkman. It was a nice touch.
Orange: The orange shirt and tie that Jimmy looks at in the tailor’s store is a nod to the fact that in Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman wears unbelievably bright shirt colors with bright ties.
The Hated Hero: Everyone may love a hero, but our hero is in trouble. Kim tells Jimmy, “This won’t end well for you.” She is talking about keeping the billboard to be a rip-off of HHM. But Jimmy has done a lot that won’t end well for him. Nacho still has it out for him. The Kettleman’s know he knows, and that is a loose end as far as I’m concerned. Harry Hamlin will figure out anyway to take Jimmy out of his business. And Chuck knows that Jimmy is hustling. No one seems to be happy with Jimmy except for Kim. And I agree, this won’t end well for him.
Chuck vs. Jimmy: It is clear that Chuck and Jimmy don’t see eye on most things. Chuck probably lords over Jimmy because Jimmy is the irresponsible one. Jimmy lies to Chuck and tries to sway things into a positive light to keep the relationship from becoming more like a parent and child. I don’t see them winding up close.
S’all Good, Man: This is the first time in the series (other than the series premiere flash forward) we hear the name Saul Goodman. Jimmy tells his victim in Cicero that his name is Saul Goodman, or S’all Good, Man.
Bible Verses: Jimmy counts his money and says, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” This is Matthew 16:18.
Jimmy’s (and Harry’s) Suit Specs: The suit is Super 100 Tazmanian Wool cloth, single breasted, arm holes high and trim through the middle. It is navy with pinstripes. The shirt is the finest sea cotton with a white club collar and French cuffs with Mother of Pearl buttons (not that plastic crap). The tie is a light blue knit.
Jimmy McGill, Tony Curtis look-a-like: I love the reference to Tony Curtis in Spartacus. Jimmy wants his hair to be curled like Curtis’, perhaps not just for looks, but because he too feels like Spartacus himself.
Jimmy McGill, Attorney at Law Billboard: The billboard number, (505) 842-5662 is disconnected. Sad days. But the billboard was located at 807 Mountain Road Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87102, off the 224B exit and right by Albuquerque High School.
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Mike, we now know “The billboard number is NOT disconnected. You may get a busy signal when you call but keep trying and you will get Saul. I guess he has not yet got call waiting.” Thanks for the knowledge!
7 New Messages: Jimmy finally got some messages on his machine! After working his voodoo on the machine, we find out he has 7 messages. Yippee!
The Albuquerque Journal: The newspaper that Jimmy graced the cover of was published June 20th, 2002. The paper cites Robert Williams as the man who fell off the billboard stand and the author of the piece was Maynard Catmull-Gonzalez.
Music from the Episode:
When Slippin’ Jimmy aka Saul Goodman and his buddy in Cicero, IL smoke pot after their hustle, they are listening to “Listen” by Chicago.
As Jimmy calculates his new found fortune and talks about how he got it, Herbie Mann’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” plays.
Hush Comics gives “Hero” a B+ for continuing to grow into it’s own, great use of comedy, pushing the plot forward, but feeling a little long.
All images belong to AMC and are credited to Ursula Coyote and Lewis Jacobs.