Title: Better Call Saul: “Off Brand”
Air Date: May 15st, 2017
Genre: Drama, Crime-Thriller
I will always appreciate how, more often than not, Better Call Saul starts out with a unique camera perspective, as it always reminds me just how the show provided the viewer with a unique perspective on its morally gray characters and situations.
While I’m sure we haven’t felt the full fallout from the trial quite yet, “Off Brand” certainly gave us peeks into what is to come as a result of it. From Jimmy’s situations with his clients to his conversation with Rebecca, one thing is clear, Jimmy is done helping Chuck.
Things really hit home in regards to that even before his conversation with Rebecca, as you can see the look of despondent betrayal on Jimmy’s face when Kim is going over everything he has done for his brother over the past couple of years. Overlaying that entire speech with Rebecca’s attempt to visit Chuck and seeing him huddled in the corner simultaneously managed to garner sympathy for the narcissistic EHS sufferer.
After figuring out that Jimmy is suspended for a year from practicing law and a pep talk and some fine alcohol by Hammond, we are also treated to an interesting sight, Chuck attempting to rehabilitate himself. While most mental illnesses or sicknesses like drug and alcohol abuse focus around weaning yourself off of something, it’s fascinating to see Chuck attempt to push through and normalize the pain.
As always, the scenes depicting Charles struggles with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity are shot brilliantly. Every light seems brighter, neon-like, and every sound is magnified tenfold to tinnitus like levels and emphasizes how painful things must be living with them.
My favorite parts of this episode didn’t focus on the main group of people but instead revolved around Nacho. Tuco’s companion has always been an interesting character to me, similar to Mike and Gus, because of how calm and collected he usually act, yet just how intimidating he truly is.
If Better Call Saul has outlined one thing better than Breaking Bad about his character it’s his motivations, morals, and backstory. Nacho was willing to let one of his men pay him back next week until Salamanca spoke up. Then in the next scene, he is so distraught he gets his finger caught in the sewing machine. Nothing was more impactful than his reaction to Hector’s statement of wanting to use his father as a front like Gus is using Los Pollos Hermanos.
“My father is a simple man, he is not in business.” It’s evident that despite all the wrong he commits, he wants a simple life for those he cares about, and was on display earlier in the season when Mike visited the shop.
Since his return, it has been in question as to what leads Hector Salamanca to not only be in a wheelchair but to be mute. It’s made apparent that he is sick but “Off Brand” gives a subtly hint that Nacho may have something to do with putting him in a wheelchair, so as to save his father from “the business.”
Last but not least is the return to one of the most fun side plots in all of Better Call Saul, Jimmy’s commercial/production adventures. Not only have these goofy tv spots introduced interesting side characters like the camera bros and makeup artist, they were what slowly helped plant the seeds for Jimmy’s transformation. It’s been a question ever since the show now as to how the hell Saul Goodman even comes to exist, and it’s amazing that it comes as a result of something that’s been right in front of us the entire time.
Despite not much going on action-wise, this was another great episode that lays the groundwork for future episodes and reinforces things that happen in Breaking Bad, one of Better Call Saul’s greatest strength. Simply seeing the laundry mat and a small conversation with Lydia have me hooked to know what happens next week, even if I know what happens in the next series.
Did you catch last night’s episode of Better Call Saul? If so, what did you think? What scene or scenes did you like the most? What are your predictions for the rest season 3? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to check back each week for the lead-up and coverage of the shows next episode immediately after it airs on AMC at 10 PM EST.
- Groundwork for Future Episodes
- Nacho's Plot
- Saul Goodman Productions
- Not much action