Title: Better Call Saul, Season 5 Episode 3 – “The Guy For This”
Release Date: March 2nd, 2020
Genre: Crime Drama
Better Call Saul has had a slow but dramatically effective start so far this season, with its opening two episodes exploring the aftermath of Season Four and the budding rivalry between Gus and Lalo. But, as this third episode shows, things are beginning to spice up considerably.
Finally, we see the two storylines from the first two episodes – Jimmy’s descent into corruption and Lalo and Gus’s drug antics – coalesce. Lalo decides to hire Jimmy based on Nacho’s recommendation. One of his underlings, Krazy-8, got arrested by the police last episode for drug crimes, and Lalo wants the conman lawyer to make sure he says precisely what Lalo wants and, thereby, stopping him from spilling the beans on his drug operations. The interactions between him and Jimmy are interesting in that it shows a strong contrast between the two characters. Lalo is only concerned about the secrecy of his drug doings, and it’s implied that he’d do anything to maintain it, even at the expense of his employees. Jimmy, on the other hand, conman he may be, shows empathy, and feels a responsibility towards the young man as his client. But there’s a sense of regret evident in Jimmy that he may have gotten himself involved in something far bigger and more dangerous than him – leaving us excited as to what the consequences of his entanglement will be in future Better Call Saul.
But let’s be real here – the best thing about this episode was the reintroduction of Hank Schrader and his DEA partner, Steven Gomez. While definitely having his fair share of drama, Hank has always added some much-needed comic relief to Breaking Bad, and he does that in spades here. BB fans will relish in the familiar banter he shares with Gomez, with a quick reference to Marie Schrader thrown in to boot. Anyway, after mocking Jimmy’s ‘Saul Goodman’ moniker, and after some persuasion on Jimmy’s side, Hank agrees to keep Krazy-8 under his protection so long as he spills the beans on the dead drops.
But it isn’t just Jimmy McGill who is struggling with questions of moral value in Better Call Saul – Kim Wexler’s arc of inner self-reflection also continues. Mesa Verde coerces Wexler into giving up her ‘pro bono clients’ in exchange for getting an old man, Mr. Ackers, to move out of his home in the New Mexico desert. The company wants to build a call center in its place, and Kim, resourceful as she is, is deemed just the woman for the job. However, Mr. Ackers (played by Barry Corbin, famous for such roles as ‘Whitey’ from One Tree Hill or Sheriff Fenton Washburn from Dallas) proves a tough customer and refuses to leave it, viewing Wexler as another dishonest lawyer out for her selfish ends.
The scene where Kim returns to Acker’s house in the evening and shares her harrowing childhood story in an honest attempt to show him she’s not just another conwoman is quite touching and adds some extra depth to Kim that we haven’t seen before. Knowing where she came from makes who she now makes even more sense. But alas, even this attempt at a human connection, has Ackers rebuff her offers, and Kim is left defeated. By the end of the episode, we get the feeling that Kim is just ‘over it’ and is unsatisfied with her life.
Where the brooding old Mike is concerned, not much happens in this episode. The hitman is still understandably affected by his killing of Werner late last season and spends his time drinking quietly in the bar. Disturbed by the image of the Sydney Opera House that reminds him of the man, he orders the bartender to take it down before taking it to the streets. Not much happens Mike-wise this episode, but he does effortlessly take down a thug trying to take his money. He may be a heartbroken man, but he’s still a badass, and Better Call Saul has never failed when it comes to showing this.
Nacho is continuing to act as Gus’s snitch, seemingly unbeknownst to Lalo. But the more compelling scene in the episode is when he discusses his life with his father (who, you may recall, Gus threatened to kill in the last episode if Nacho didn’t go along with his demands). Nacho unsuccessfully attempts to coerce his dad into packing up his restaurant business and leaving town. Nacho’s father sees through it straight away, and adamantly declares he’ll stay. He is disappointed with the choices his son has made, but the relationship between Nacho and his father is effective in making Nacho a very three-dimensional character. He isn’t just another faceless criminal underling – Nacho truly cares about his family, and although he goes through dishonest means to persuade his dad to leave town, you can tell his heart is in the right place. That way, he probably hopes, his father will be beyond Gus’s reach no matter what happens.
So, episode three of Better Call Saul Season 5 really amps up the season’s plot and brings Jimmy/Saul back into the drug ring plot while fleshing out the characters of Kim and Nacho. The way things are going, one can feel that the whole season is calmly prepping towards an eventful season finale, one brick at a time. All in all, it’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
Verdict: This episode fleshes out the characters even more, and brings Jimmy and Lalo together for the first time while reintroducing the lovable Hank Schrader. Things are heating up – but we’re still waiting for some kind of the boiling point.
- Great to see Hank Schrader return once more.
- Exciting to see Jimmy get in deeper with the Salamanca family situation.
- Great fleshing out of characters Kim Wexler and Nacho Vargas
- Mike's part in the episode felt pointless
- Things are still moving slowly