Better Call Saul: “Nacho” Season 1 Episode 3 Review

Photo Credit:

The third episode of Better Call Saul continued to feel like a one-man show. It’s still early, but it is cause for concern that the writers have relied almost entirely on Saul to carry these first three episodes.

This entry dealt directly with Nacho’s promise to steal the Kettleman’s money and Jimmy’s promise not to rat him out. After Jimmy anonymously warns the Kettlemans, the entire family disappears due to suspected kidnapping. The police bring in Nacho, as his van was seen outside the family’s house two night in a row before they disappeared.

Of course, when Jimmy goes to talk to his “client,” Nacho denies everything. The writing in this scene makes it clear he’s innocent, but it does little to develop Nacho as a character. He’s a pretty one-note villain so far, lacking the insanity of Tuco or the horrifyingly quiet presence of Breaking Bad‘s Gus. Nacho seems like he’s middle of the food chain material, which makes sense narratively for the series. But the scripts and Michael Mando’s performance have done little to separate him from the basic goon we’d run into in the world that has been developed.

In trying to figure out this mystery, Jimmy consults his f*ck-buddy Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), another lawyer for his brother’s firm. Kim gets a lot of screentime in “Nacho,” but not much is done with it. Compared to Jimmy, she’s strong and to-the-point. Actually, Seehorn appears to be doing her best Carrie Mathison impression. Time will tell if that’s a compliment or not. But I want to see more of Kim. As the only female main cast member on the series, she has a big void to fill. Let’s just hope the writers have bigger plans for her than the character that will at first disagree with Jimmy only to later agree with him.

But the character that ends up getting Jimmy out of this mess is Mike, your favorite assassin from Breaking Bad. How he was written into the story felt a little clunky, though. It was a stretch to believe Mike would go so quickly from pinning Jimmy to the ground to giving him the perfect advice on how to find the Kettlemans. Jonathan Banks was on-point of course, but I wouldn’t mind fast forwarding to when the show evolves the status quo to Jimmy and Mike working side-by-side (or with Gus, squee!).

The episode ends with Jimmy finding the Kettlemans right where Mike said he would, as close to home as possible without actually being home. Camping in the middle of the desert, Jimmy interrupts the family sing-along with a hilarious “Here’s Johnny!” We’ll have to wait until next week to see how they return to society, if at all.

Still, as great as Bob Odenkirk is, I can’t help but hope the weight comes off his shoulders a little pertaining to this series’ success. I know it’s only been three episodes, but think about how instantly likable characters that weren’t Walt were on Breaking Bad. Skyler seemed to be fighting a battle alone for her husband’s life. Jesse had a rough family life and a big heart. Hank had drive to bring down the new mystery cook in town. Marie was a kleptomaniac. All that was in the first season of Breaking Bad, which was only seven episodes. There’s obviously still time for Better Call Saul to get on this in its first season, but sooner would be better. Jimmy McGill likely won’t be able to become Saul Goodman all on his own. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *