TV Review: Better Call Saul: Season 1, Episode 3: Nacho (SPOILERS)

This recap/review of BETTER CALL SAUL is written with the expectation that everyone who reads this and comments below will have seen the episode already. Thus, if you’ve yet to see the episode in question, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. SPOILERS!

EPISODE: Season 1, Episode 3: Nacho

PLOT: Jimmy’s well-intentioned tip-off to the Kettlemans’ regarding Nacho’s planned robbery has disastrous consequences.

REVIEW: I know it’s only the third episode, but I think the consensus by this point is that BETTER CALL SAUL is entirely successful in a way no spin-off (save FRASIER) has ever been before. It just keeps getting better and better, and episode three was – not surprisingly – the best yet. Similar to what used to happen on BREAKING BAD, our hero (in this case Jimmy) has a crisis of conscience and tries to do the right thing, with dire consequences for all.

But first, the episode started off with a terrific teaser, flashing back to way before Jimmy ever was a lawyer, with him a long-haired kid accused of something bad enough that he’s in danger of being labeled a sex offender, with him forced to beg his estranged brother Chuck for help. This gives us some nice insight into Jimmy’s indebtedness to his ill brother, with him doing all he can to make sure he’s provided for during his illness and explaining his loyalty. Despite being into his fifties, its amazing how young the makeup crew is able to make Bob Odenkirk look when needed (although McKean’s seventies toupee is a bit obvious).

The meat of the episode centers around Jimmy’s wheeling and dealing to try and get Nacho off when he’s arrested for kidnapping the Kettleman’s, who’ve disappeared. Jimmy’s intentions were good, wanting to save them from injury with the unpredictable Nacho certain to take the money they’ve embezzled. His good intentions get him sent right up the creek, with them skipping town, which makes Nacho think he snitched – which he kinda did.

So now, Jimmy’s got to get Nacho off lest he sign his own death warrant. So far, Jimmy’s still trying to do the right thing, but he’s getting deeper and deeper with Nacho (and by extension his associates – like Tucco and potentially Gus Fring). It’s a slippery slope, but his descent is very noirish so-far, in a way being a victim of circumstance, although his own inherent dishonesty got him started on the path and will likely allow him to flourish. Whatever the case it’s absolutely absorbing.

One interesting part of the episode focuses on Jimmy’s relationship with Kim (Rhea Seehorn), with whom he seems to have an off-again, on-again relationship, with Kim being part of his brother’s law-firm and involved with the Kettleman case, which puts her on a collision course with Jimmy’s scheme. She seems all too aware of Jimmy’s darker dealings and even accepting of this, and it’ll be interesting to see how this relationship develops as he “breaks bad.”

The last act is especially interesting, with Mike being asked to help the cops intimidate Jimmy, only to totally back off once he realizes who Jimmy works for (although Jimmy thinks he somehow sympathizes with him). In the end, clever Jimmy manages to find both the Kettlemans and their missing millions, leaving us on a cliffhanger. Will Jimmy pocket some of the cash? We’ll see next week, and hell – I can’t wait!

BREAKING BAD crossover: While there are likely a bunch of easter eggs, for the most part this is a fairly independent episode, although fans of Mike (Jonathan Banks) will appreciate how bad a move it was for Jimmy to screw Mike at the toll-booth, making things infinitely worse by calling him old man. Whoops! We also get another “when I was back on the job in Philly…” story.


About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.