Better Call Saul season 3 episode 6 review: Off Brand
The review contains spoilers.
“It’s just a name”, Jimmy proclaims after showing Kim his new commercial advertising commercials, where he introduces himself as Saul Goodman, and we finally get to see the origins of the name. And yes, while we have heard the name before in the show, it seems like this marks the beginning of Jimmy actually adopting that persona. And Kim definitely seems a little unnerved by it. The little ad at the end of the episode seems to serve for the comedic effect, and most of the episode does seem to take on a lighter tone compared to its predecessor from last week.
While last week’s breathtaking installment focused solely on the court hearing between the McGill brothers, this time we are back to the other storylines, namely ones involving Don Hector and the cartel, and things seem to be moving forward in those, too.
An unlikely hero of the episode this time is Michael Mando’s Nacho, who, we find, despite being a ruthless criminal, cares deeply for his father, who works at an upholstery materials firm. So when Don Hector asks Nacho to incorporate his father’s company to the drug business, Nacho is faced with a big choice: loyalty to his father, or loyalty to Hector. While Nacho has mostly been on the sidelines throughout the entire run of the series, it appears that the situation is soon to change. I can’t shake off the feeling that Nacho will have a big part to play in Hector eventually ending up in a wheelchair.
The episode remembers to fill its Breaking Bad cameo quota, and does it with excess, too. The cold open scene reintroduces Krazy-8 to us, way before he was a drug dealing criminal we saw in the pilot of Breaking Bad. Here, he appears as a humble young man, attempting to make small talk with Nacho before getting dragged back in and beaten by him on Hector’s order.
Lydia is also someone that makes a cameo this week, and also someone I least expected to ever see on Better Call Saul. While only having two lines (“Well”, and “Okay then”), it is rather unexpected to see Gus’ supplier of methylamine. But it fits, and there’s no doubt she will appear in the future episodes, too.
The third cameo is not one of a long-forgotten character, but rather a musical one. As Gus sets up the commercial laundry place where, we know, he will end up creating his underground meth lab, we can hear the song that played during a scene in season 3 in Breaking Bad, as we watched Los Pollos Hermanos load drugs into their trucks. With all these cameos, it’s easy to accuse the show of fan-service, but at the same time, I can’t say I mind it in the slightest.
Mike only gets one scene this time, and it’s almost a heartwarming one. It’s nice to see him not getting into any shady business for a week and spending some time with his daughter. There is something off about the fact that he can’t remember the story about building a garage, though. Is Mike’s memory going to get him into trouble at some point?
We also see Chuck trying to adjust to his life post-hearing and the revelation that his condition may indeed be mental and not physical. There’s something almost sad seeing him test his limits by walking into a street filled with electricity and lights – it reminds us that while the hearing was a big win for Jimmy, Chuck suffers from it, and the narrative doesn’t allow us to forget that easily.
Overall, this installment is a little weaker after last week’s episode, but it is by no means weak – it is filled with cameos, references and plot development, and only moves the story of Jimmy becoming Saul forward – and how!
Image credit: AMC