AMC’s Better Call Saul
5×02: “50% Off”
Directed by Norberto Barba
Written by Alison Tatlock

* For a recap & review of the premiere, “Magic Man” – click here
* For a recap & review of 5×03, “The Guy For This” – click here
Father Son Holy Gore - Better Call Saul - Michael Mando as Nacho VargaJimmy / Saul’s recent 50% off deal has encouraged new potential clients to go out and do crazy shit because it’s “like almost half off” for them to get legal help when they inevitably get pinched. Because the criminal mind doesn’t always work like the mind of a law-abiding citizen. A couple guys figure it’s fine to go out and commit a bunch of stupid crimes on a drug bender. After the police catch up with them they’ve got one of Saul’s cards to get him on the phone. All the lawyer’s done is feed into criminality and encourage destructive behaviour. He hasn’t made the world a better, safer, or more just place. But who cares when you’re making money?

A nasty surprise is waiting for Nacho when he wakes in bed to see men with flashlights. Tyrus and Victor are there to take him for a ride with Gus. They stop at a restaurant where Nacho’s father is playing cards with a few people. They’re using this as intimidation, pushing Nacho into helping with Lalo. He’s already been trying to gather info, but it’s nothing Gus doesn’t already know. Fring charges Nacho with getting closer to Lalo: “Find a way.”
Father Son Holy Gore - Better Call Saul - Hector and Lalo SalamancaBefore Kim can head off for work in the morning she’s dragged to a house viewing by Jimmy. It’s a big place, and he wants to think ahead to the future when they might buy themselves a sprawling mansion. While there, Jimmy lies more about his 50% off deal, claiming he only told a couple responsible clients— unaware a couple of the many clients he told did, in fact, go out and do something stupid simply because of his discount. Meanwhile, Kim tells him she doesn’t want to run game on her clients like he does.

At the nursing home, Lalo mulls over his problems with Gus while talking to Hector. He wonders what it is the chicken man is building. He also knows the only reason the cartel keeps Fring around is because the guy makes money for the bosses. Are the Salamancas potentially going to mess up the cash flow? That’d put Gus in jeopardy. At home, Mike is taking a break from work, evidently nursing a nasty hangover when he receives a call from his daughter-in-law looking for a last minute babysitter. Even in his worst state, he’d take any chance to be with his granddaughter. When they work together on the treehouse outside, things go haywire. Mike gets mad at his granddaughter when she starts asking too many questions about her dead dad, upsetting grandpa.

Those 50% off dudes wind up at the drug spot where we saw Lalo and Nacho recently, picking up more party favours for their continuing shitshow. The woman inside sends the drugs down the drainpipe, but for some reason nothing comes out the other end. This starts an argument between her and the junkies, causing lots of commotion, and that alerts Krazy-8. Not long after Krazy gets there the cops arrive, too. It’s the best time for all the drug baggies to come falling out at his feet. Things are looking bad for Lalo. Then Nacho turns this into an opportunity, sneaking back to the apartment from the roof to get the stash, impressing Salamanca with his “badass,” if not crazy, balls. He slips out just before the Narco team busts through the door.
Father Son Holy Gore - Better Call Saul - Lalo SalamancaAt the courthouse, Jimmy runs into Howard for the first time as Saul. He has to answer all the usual questions. Howard invites him to lunch to talk about something before Mr. Goodman must run off to try sweet talking someone new— he’s in a constant flow of sweet talk, some of it working and some of it not. His wheeling and dealing doesn’t sit well with everybody who practises the law. His concern for “turnover” isn’t regarded well by those who genuinely care about justice.

Lalo and Nacho sit down together for a meal, as the former begins talking to the latter more like a friend than before, like an equal. He asks about how Nacho knows Krazy-8 and if the guy has ever done prison time. He wants to be sure there aren’t any leaks on their ship, so to speak. Nacho assures he’ll “keep his mouth shut,” yet he is worried for what may happen to his friend.

Jimmy finds himself in a broken down elevator with the ADA he’s trying to wheel. He uses this time to annoy the shit out of her. This, and their proximity while stuck together, convinces the ADA to start making a deal with the greasy lawyer. They get comfy and start working on as many deals as they can while waiting for somebody to get them out. After a while, the power comes back and they can leave. A perfectly curious coincidence. Or is it? Nah. Jimmy makes his own luck.
And today is his big intro to the cartel, after Nacho pulls up to see him on the street.
Father Son Holy Gore - Better Call Saul - Jimmy Outside the CourtroomYet another stellar episode. Great follow-up to the premiere, especially with the stakes starting to get higher for everybody in the series. Should be interesting to see where Jimmy’s latest predicament takes him.

“The Guy For This” is next time.

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