In my review of the first two episodes of Better Call Saul, I applauded the creators for working at a slow pace. I was also impressed with how they balanced the bottle story within the bigger overarching story. Episode three of this young show continues those trends as it digs deeper into Saul’s struggle with doing what is right.
“Nacho” starts up with Jimmy (Saul) trying to figure out how to get himself out of another pickle. He has information that his former potential clients, the Kettleman’s, are in danger. He doesn’t particularly care for these people but he still feels like he has to do something. He decides to leave an anonymous tip to the family. The next morning the family is gone and everyone is looking to Jimmy for the answer. When his “client” Nacho, is arrested Jimmy gets an earful of threats from Nacho himself. Nacho demands his freedom otherwise Jimmy will no longer be running his mouth. Jimmy gets right on it and follows the bread crumbs to the Kettleman’s, who kidnapped themselves and were hiding in a tent in the woods.
A simple enough plot for a new show. But what made it so compelling was watching Jimmy try to move his way between doing the right thing and doing the smart thing. This is the second time in three episodes that Jimmy felt responsible for other people’s lives. In the second episode he was granted his freedom by Nacho but as he was walking away he felt he couldn’t just leave the red headed twins to fend for themselves. He turned around and put his life at risk by asking for their freedom as well.
In this episode Jimmy was given some information that some people he isn’t a big fan of were in trouble. He meekly attempted to drop some hints to his blonde attorney friend, Kim, but in the end he couldn’t quite pull the trigger. After that he muttered to himself, “I’m no hero” with resignation. This spurned something inside of him to take action and he eventually made the phone call to the Kettleman’s with a dire warning.
The tricky part to understanding Jimmy’s reasoning behind his actions is that one could argue these people were in danger because of Jimmy himself. The twins were definitely his fault because he put them up to the gig guaranteeing them $2000. This led to Jimmy meeting Nacho which led to Nacho threatening the Kettleman’s.
This means that Jimmy’s motivation to help these people are driven by his own guilt. He can’t live with himself knowing harm came to these people because of his actions. At this point in the series, Jimmy still has a conscience. Perhaps this is his whole motivation to get into the business he gets into when he becomes Saul. He accepts that bad people exist but he knows that he can help prevent some of the unnecessary casualties. That and the money is pretty damn good.
We are watching the evolution of a man who wants to do good but is realizing he is really, really good at helping the bad. Jimmy might be no hero but perhaps Saul can be a hero, to those who you never would have thought needed it.
Better Call Saul, Season 1, Episode 3, “Nacho”: 8/10