In the latest Better Call Saul recap, Jimmy’s determined to get his business off the ground even if it means recalling those days when he was a less than scrupulous businessman….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
If there’s one thing clear through four episodes of ‘Better Call Saul’, it’s the fact that Jimmy McGill is trying desperately not to fall back into life of crime that nearly landed him in prison just a few short years ago. The flashback last week showed Jimmy in some serious trouble that could have had him labeled as a sex offender for life, but thanks to his brother Chuck and some slick legal work, he got off without a mark on his record.
It seems Jimmy has been trying to walk the straight and narrow ever since, but just like Nacho noticed a couple of weeks back when he told the struggling lawyer that he was already in the game, he just didn’t know it yet — the man who will one day become Saul Goodman is actually a con artist at heart, but he’s trying real hard to be the shepherd despite a million clues telling him otherwise.
So this week’s episode titled ‘Hero’ kicks off with another look into the past of Slippin’ Jimmy McGill as he pulls off another classic grift while earning some good beer money along the way. After hanging out with the guy who really likes the “Lord of the Rings’ trilogy at a bar one night, Jimmy promises to find them a late night spot to continue having drinks. The shortcut to said spot leads them down an alley where Jimmy’s new pal spots a wallet on the ground and when he looks inside, there’s a thousand dollars in cash! A few feet away from there a man is passed out behind a dumpster.
Jimmy and friend attempt to wake him up, but when he (barely) regains consciousness, he just insults the pair rather than take their helping hand. After he passes back out, Jimmy spots the gold watch on his wrist and grabs it while his new pal has the wallet filled with money. The only problem is the friend knows that the ‘Rolex’ Jimmy took is worth a lot more money so he hands Jimmy the wallet and $500 of his own money in exchange for the watch. The guy slips Jimmy the cash and then runs away while yelling ‘sucker!’ at the top of his lungs.
Little did Frodo know that Jimmy was pulling the stunt with the passed out guy and they do this trick every so often when they need cash.
Fast forward to the last time we saw Jimmy McGill and he has the Kettleman family on lockdown after discovering their rouse a week ago. They are pleading with Jimmy to let them go, but he’s already informed their attorney that he found the family hiding out in the woods. So then Betsey Kettleman begs for Jimmy not to tell her about the money. You see a satchel full of cash pretty much convicts Craig of embezzlement not to mention the fact that now that they’ve been discovered, the authorities will undoubtedly assume they were trying to run.
Betsey hands Jimmy a stack of the stolen cash and offers him a payoff so they don’t have to confess. He wants no part of it, but instead comes up with an alternative plan. The Kettlemans will dump Howard Hamlin and his firm and hire him as a lawyer and this will be their retainer. Betsey drops a light on poor Jimmy that will likely define his law practice from this day all the way to the time when he gives it all up to become the best Cinnabon manager this side of Nebraska.
“You’re the kind of lawyer guilty people hire”
The wind has officially been let out of Jimmy’s sails.
The next day Jimmy heads back to the courthouse where he runs into Mike again and explains that his theory about the Kettleman family kidnapping themselves was true after all. Mike gives somewhere less than zero fucks about this story. Jimmy’s attempt to make a new friend falls flat and when he heads inside he now has to deal with a pissed off Nacho, who is just getting out of jail. Jimmy plies his craft to get Nacho released, but he’s not all that happy with his lawyer. It seems Nacho is convinced Jimmy is the one who made the call to the Kettlemans to warn them he was on the prowl.
Jimmy counters by telling his less than intelligent client that if he actually was the person who made the call, he just saved Nacho’s ass because the neighbor spotted his van and took down his plate numbers long before the Kettleman’s made a run for it. If Nacho actually did go through with his plan, he’d be in jail right now with no chance of getting out again any time soon. Instead, he’s a free man. Jimmy even passes along some free advice to clean his fucking van with all the blood stains and walk away from this caper with his freedom.
Back at the nail salon later that evening, it’s revealed that Jimmy ended up taking the Kettleman’s cash in exchange for a story where he found them in the woods but they were merely camping on a little family vacation and not running away from the law. To justify the payoff, Jimmy does some very creative accounting for all his ‘fees’ that add up to the $50,000 they gave him as hush money. He ends it all with saying that this will be the rock with which he builds his church.
The first stones in the Sacred House of Jimmy begins with a trip to the tailor where he is fitted for a custom made suit with very specific colors and combinations in mind. He then gets a new haircut from his lady friends at the salon he calls home and buys a large billboard in town to advertise his practice.
Of course Jimmy modeled his billboard and logo to look exactly like the one used by Howard Hamlin and his firm and the suit was so meticulously tailored because it’s the spitting image of the one Howard wears to work most days. Howard quickly files a cease and desist order, which Kim has to deliver to Jimmy the next night while he’s enjoying a massage and a foot treatment at the salon. He says he didn’t do this to get under Howard’s skin, but clearly he has other motives.
Jimmy fights the good fight, but a judge finally orders that the billboard be taken down within 48-hours because while he’s definitely allowed to advertise a practice in his own name, he can’t copy the Hamlindigo blue color or font that Howard uses for his company logo.
So Jimmy tries to call every local newspaper and TV outlet desperate for someone to tell his story about how a giant corporate law firm tried to squash the little guy just making his way in the world all by himself. No one’s biting and the lack of alternatives forces Jimmy to slip back into his old self for at least a day to pull off the ultimate coup on Howard and save his practice at the same time.
Jimmy hires a student film crew to video his appeal about Hamlin’s lawsuit while the billboard he paid for is being taken down in the background. Midway through the promo, the worker taking down the billboard slips and dangles from hundreds of feet in the air, hanging only by his safety cord. Jimmy quickly throws off his jacket and climbs dozens upon dozens of steps on a ladder until he reaches the worker and pulls him up to safety. Everybody cheers and Jimmy ends up on TV and in newspapers as the hero who saved the day.
Of course the billboard worker was a friend of Jimmy’s who he paid off to slip from the scaffold in the first place, but the scheme worked to perfection because when he returns to the office there are already seven new messages waiting for him with potential clients in need of an attorney. Jimmy feels victorious while Howard remains suspicious that this was all just some publicity stunt.
As happy as Jimmy is with his new spoils of war, which land him as the lead story on the local newspapers, he still has to explain this new found business success to his brother Chuck. Chuck is the one person who took a real chance on his brother all those years ago under the guise that ‘Slippin’ Jimmy’ was dead and buried. This news story proves that ‘Slippin’ Jimmy was merely hiding out until the right opportunity came along for him to make another appearance.
Jimmy tries to hide the paper from Chuck while feeding him a line about how he got his new clients, but as soon as he leaves, the crafty older McGill brother knows something is going on. So despite his electromagnetic sensitivity going into overload, Chuck wraps up in his space blanket and navigates out the front door where he grabs a neighbor’s paper and leaves them $5 in its place. He rushes back inside after experiencing sunlight for the first time in who knows how long and sure enough on the front page, there’s his brother Jimmy standing tall as a hero.
Slippin Jimmy is alive and well and practicing a shadier kind of law in Albuquerque, New Mexico.