‘Better Call Saul’ Season 1 Episode 1 Recap: Top 5 Highlights

better call saul, pilot summary, synopsis

(AMC)

Better Call Saul premiered tonight on AMC with its pilot titled “Uno.”

According to AMC:

The story is set six years before Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) meets Walter White. When we meet him, the man who will become Saul is known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer searching for his destiny and hustling to make ends meet. Working alongside and often against Jimmy is fixer Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), a beloved character first introduced in Breaking Bad. The new series will track Jimmy’s transformation into a man who puts the criminal in “criminal attorney.”

1. The Beginning is in Black & White

In the beginning of the episode, we are inside a Cinnabon bakery in a mall. At the counter is McGill, working the cinnamon roll dough. A strange man in a leather jacket nearby is apparently eyeing McGill. McGill is nervous, but the man walks right past him. Something is up.

Later, we are taken to McGill’s home where he is drinking a cocktail alone. He’s watching late night television. He looks outside his window and sees it is snowing and draws his blinds. He goes and withdraws a VHS from a shoebox hidden in his closet and puts it into the player. It’s a “Saul Goodman” commercial reel.

The intro music then plays.


2. He has an Opportunity to get a Big Case

We are now inside a New Mexico courtroom. Everybody is waiting in silence. A courtroom police officer gets up and goes to a restroom. Jimmy is in there talking to himself and rehearsing his lawyering for the trial. Jimmy then rushes into the courtroom and addresses the jury with, “Oh to be nineteen again”, speaking about his three defendants. He is defending them against a criminal trespass charge of mortuary.

He does a great closing argument speech.

The prosecutor then gets up and puts in a VHS tape of a video camera recording of the boys breaking into the mortuary they are accused of illegally entering. The video is incredibly damning and shows the boys destroying the property and having sex with a chopped off head.

Jimmy then goes to complain that his check for defending them from the state was insufficient, only $700.

His cell phone rings. It’s another potential client who he cons into meeting him a cafe since he doesn’t have an office. He then tries to leave the courthouse parking lot and Mike Ehrmantraut is the parking lot attendant.

Jimmy then goes and meets with the couple that wants him to represent them. They are accused of a high profile crime of stealing 11.6 million from the county treasury.

Jimmy then receives $26,000 from a law firm. He tears it up.


3. He is Up to Something

Jimmy is then driving around town, talking on the phone, when he hits a skateboarder. A fellow skateboarder with him then threatens to call the police. Jimmy then asks them, “What can I do to make it right?” The skateboarders want $500. Jimmy then calls them out for scamming him and they skateboarders run away.

Jimmy then visits a mani/pedi place, which also happens to have his office in the back which holds the boiler, too. He checks his messages to see if the couple accused of stealing from the treasury have called. Nothing yet.

Later, Jimmy visits a big law firm called Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill. He knows the lawyers at the firm and we find out that Chuck, Jimmy’s brother, owns 1/3 of the firm. Jimmy says that Chuck wants to withdraw from the law firm and doesn’t want the measly pay off checks of $27,000 that keep Chuck on the payroll. He claims Chuck wants to cashout fully. Chuck is apparently very ill, possibly terminally, and can’t visit the firm himself, but his other partners say they need to hear this from Chuck himself.

Howard Hamlin becomes the chief adversary to Jimmy here.

Jimmy then goes downstairs in a parking garage to smoke a cigarette with a woman who works in the firm that he had a meeting with. Something conspiratorial is going on. Jimmy tries to persuade her but she cuts him and says, “You know I can’t…”


4. Chuck Won’t Cash Out & Thinks He’s Going to Get Better

That night Jimmy visits Chuck, who lives in a house without electricity or running water so everything is done by candlelight and water comes from a cooler. Chuck lives in the dark because he believes the electricity makes him sick. He has some sort of cancer.

Jimmy tells Chuck he needs to cash out. Chuck defends that he can’t cash out otherwise the firm will have to liquidate. Jimmy says that both of them are broke.

Jimmy and his brother argue and Jimmy claims that Chuck’s partner, Howard, is making a fool out of him.

Chuck then tells Jimmy that he can’t use his name to be a public defender because “Gillman” is associated with Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill and that it’s not professionally courteous. It was Howard’s idea that Jimmy change his professional last night.

Jimmy promises vengeance against Howard.


5. Saul Goes to Find the Skateboarders

Saul then goes to the skateboarders who tried to hustle him originally gives them a proposition. He says it will be very profitable.

He then tells the skateboarders a story about a boy from Cicero. It ends up being about him and his old nickname called “Slipping Jimmy.” He then explains how he used to hustle with false injury lawsuits, too.

He then brings the skateboarders to a house and shows them a car. He wants them to hustle its driver, Betsy Kettleman.

Betsy Kettleman is the wife of the man accused of stealing from the treasury.

Part 2 airs tomorrow! Come back to Heavy.com for a summary for that, too.