BETTER CALL SAUL Review: “Off Brand”


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Jimmy and Kim find out the verdict of Jimmy’s disbarment hearing on . Chuck is an emotional wreck in the aftermath, but will he finally get the help he needs? Nacho finds working for Hector has lost its appeal, but what can he do to get out of his situation?

Last week’s wonderful episode showed Kim and Jimmy as the capable lawyers they are. Not only were they able to cast doubt on Chuck’s assertions, but they made both Howard and Chuck look foolish. It by no means changes the fact that Jimmy broke the law by kicking down his brother’s door, but it makes all of the other areas of contention Chuck brought up seem trivial, even though they were based in fact. Slipping Jimmy was definitely in full effect when he proved Chuck’s electromagnetic sensitivity is all in his head. After Chuck made an ass of himself on the stand, it’s safe to say their relationship is definitely over. If it weren’t clear enough already, Jimmy reiterates as much to Rebecca when she comes to him for help with Chuck. He doesn’t care anymore, and no longer considers Chuck his brother.

What a harsh end to the brotherly struggles of Chuck and Jimmy. These two could never quite find a way to get along, and though neither of them is innocent, it’s clear this schism may push them both in bad directions. For most of the episode it felt like the possibility of Chuck committing suicide was a real worry. I’m guessing he wouldn’t open the door for Rebecca because he was embarrassed by both his mental problem as well as for the outburst in the courtroom. It’s only after Howard appears on his doorstep that Chuck finally opens up the door, and when he does, he has very little to say. Chuck merely listens to Howard, and drinks the gift 35-year-old scotch. It’s a good thing Howard gives him the speech about looking forward and putting the past behind him, because it seems to be the impetus of Chuck’s decision to finally leave his home and try to get help. Will he find a way to get over his mental illness and become a better person? I hope so, because we already know what Jimmy makes of himself.

The decision of the court is that Jimmy will have his license to practice the law suspended for one year. It could have been worse, so in a way he and Kim won. The problem is now Jimmy has to call all of his and let them know he’s taking a “sabbatical” from the law for the next twelve months. He also has to stop running his commercials, but still has $4,000 worth of airtime he has to figure out what to do with. He can’t sell the time to someone else per his contract, but that doesn’t mean he can’t give it away. Once again the film school kids show up to help him shoot a commercial to sell the rest of his airtime. Saul Goodman makes an appearance as Jimmy’s alter ego in the ad, and soon he’s hiring himself out as a television ad company. This will allow him to cover his loses on his commercial airtime, but the real question is what happens to his practice?

If it were up to Kim, she’d let Francesca go and break their lease to find a smaller office for her practice. It doesn’t make sense for them to keep their receptionist and their huge space for only Kim’s needs, but Jimmy won’t hear anything of it. To lose this space seems to be an admission of defeat, and he convinces her to keep it as long as Jimmy can continue to pay his half of the expenses. Kim is doing an amazing with her solo practice, and there’s a real potential for Jimmy to screw things up for her since she’s tied her wagon to him. Hopefully Saul Goodman doesn’t rear his ugly head and make her the next victim in Jimmy’s life. Kim’s a strong woman, and I believe she’d extricate herself from the situation if it ever came to that, but the heart is a tricky thing.

Nacho is back, and it seems working for Hector has begun to lose its luster. He’s going through the motions collecting the rents, but one of his men is short. Nacho’s the type of person who would let it go and allow the man to come up with the money he’s short the next week, but after a sarcastic comment from Hector about how he handles business, Nacho beats the man in the back of the restaurant. Nacho is so preoccupied with the weight of his secret life working for Hector that he sews into his own hand at his father’s upholstery business. When he shows up at the Los Pollos Hermanos warehouse to grab Hector’s cut of the drugs, he grabs an extra kilo because Hector demands it as a disrespectful gesture to Gus, and has a gun put in his face by Gus’s men. Gus allows him to take it, but Nacho is at the end of his rope. The last straw is Hector demanding Nacho use his father’s business to smuggle drugs for Hector. It’s too far, and Nacho tries to talk his way out of it, but Hector demands it. Nacho is in a tough situation, and he really can’t refuse Hector, but he may have found a way out. Hector has a fit after finding out Tuco killed someone in prison, and has to take a medication to calm the reaction this news gives him. He drops one of his pills. Nacho takes it after he leaves. Will Nacho find a way to poison or attempt to kill Hector to escape the situation he’s in, and if so, is Nacho the reason Hector is in the wheelchair in Breaking Bad?

More thoughts:

  • Gus inspects the industrial warehouse where he builds the super lab for Walt and Jesse in Breaking Bad. Lydia is with him, which must mean he’s looking for a way out of being supplied by the Cartel, and having to run drugs for Hector.
  • Jimmy’s appearance as Saul Goodman in the commercial shows his livelier more confidant alter ego emerge from the shadows for the first time. It’s still half-baked, but how long before Jimmy becomes Saul Goodman full time?
  • Chuck ventures into the city and uses a pay phone to call a doctor. Is he really ready to face the fact his ailment is all in his head?
  • Mike goes to group therapy with his daughter in law, where she volunteers him to help build a playground. Is this going to be the playground where Jesse eventually kills a couple of guys in Breaking Bad?


Season 3, Episode 6 (S03E06)
Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 10PM on AMC

Read all of our reviews of Better Call Saul here.
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For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates.
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @OfSoundnVision
Keep up with all of Jeff’s reviews here.

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