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Better Call Saul, Episode 104: Hero

Carl Nadig

“It’s good for making beer money, that’s about all.”

Taking a slower pace than previous episodes, “Hero” focused more on character development than shock factors, where the show’s central character played his own antagonist.

The episode used a smart, story-driven script that included revelations into Jimmy’s history instead of leaning on gruesome scenes. The newest revealing scene about James M. McGill was a flashback to the lawyer’s younger days in Cook County.

In the flashback, Jimmy and an acquaintance perform a scam on a bar hopper using a fake Rolex. The scam appears elaborate, and probably requires a veteran con artist to successfully pull off. And even though it succeeds, the young Jimmy appears dissatisfied with the scam – almost as if he believes the night’s catch is chump change compared to what he believes his shrewd talents should be earning him.

“I love watching you work,” his accomplices says.

“It’s good for making beer money, that’s about all,” Jimmy replies.

In Jimmy’s ambitious mind, there are bigger fish to catch.

With these ambitions, it’s not surprising that viewers learn Jimmy accepts the bribe from the Kettlemens’ before turning them over to the police. After all, it’s a checkmate move that eliminates another competitor in Vince Gilligan’s world of con artists.

With the ample sum of money invested into his tiny law firm, Jimmy stages a fake rescue by “saving” a billboard worker hanging from a safety line. Jimmy is on his way to catching bigger fish.

But while the stunt is enough publicity to get Jimmy 7 heavenly phone calls waiting for him on his office’s answering machine, but the moral ramifications are more devilish: it’s an stepping stone heading one step closer towards becoming Saul Goodman.

It’s not the “good work” that Chuck advised him to focus on. Instead, it’s the opposite of what Chuck’s views stand for as a lawyer. At the episode’s conclusion, it’s understandable for Jimmy’s older brother to enclose himself with his space blanket in embarrassment.

Perhaps the upcoming episode, “Alpine Shepard Boy,” will expand further on Chuck’s agitation with Jimmy’s regression into his criminal past.

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