Hey guys, Pete here. This will be my
Better Call Saul season 5 episode 1 recap and review. I’ve been a huge fan of
Better Call Saul and the Breaking Bad universe that it exists in and have been
excited for the final two seasons and I’m gonna finally make videos about them.
episode 1 which is titled Magic Man delivered a really strong table setting
opening to the season and I can’t wait to see where things go.
Spoiler warning if you haven’t seen the season 5 premiere yet this video isn’t
for you. hit the subscribe button and click the bell for notifications since I
will be doing Better Call Saul videos weekly during the season, but then go
watch the episode before you come back here to watch this video. alright
episode 1 was written by showrunner Peter Gould and directed by Bronwyn
Hughes who helmed the Breaking Bad episode where Walter blew up Tuco’s
office way back when. we have begun every season with a Gene teaser and season 5
delivers the longest one we’ve ever had it picks up right after gene got out of
the cab following his trip to the hospital. he was spooked by the driver
who had an Albuquerque Isotopes air freshener hanging from his rearview
mirror and also seemed to be checking him out. he goes home to plan his next
move and we learned that he’s in possession of a lot of diamonds. we don’t
know when or how he came to have them but he keeps them in the same band-aid
tin that he kept his rare coins that he lifted from his father’s store in. this
explains why he had the shoe box hidden inside the wall that we saw him removed=
during the season 4 episode 5 “quite a ride” flash-forward to the Breaking Bad
timeline. the diamonds represent Gene’s last resort if things go sideways in
Omaha and it’ll be interesting to see how he comes across them in the current
timeline. he plays it safe for a while staying away from work and listening to
a police scanner. calling in to ask the other employees if there’s been anyone
around the store looking for him. eventually he goes back to work only to
be approached by Jeff the driver when he’s on his lunch break, but it certainly
isn’t clear what Jeff wants besides having him admit that he is Saul Goodman.
before he had to leave Albuquerque we know that his face was everywhere saul
goodman’s face was everywhere through his ads and TV commercials and that made
him sort of a celebrity and we can only imagine that his face would have been
plastered on the news after Walter White’s death. Jeff doesn’t do
anything in the moment that is a direct threat though but being identified is
enough to send Gene into panic mode. he calls Ed the disappearer again this
time asking for an adapter for a Hoover max extract pressure Pro model 60
instead of a filter. it’s fantastic to see Robert Forster one last time and Ed
seems to know who he is and lets him know right away that it’ll be difficult
and the price would be double this time. it’s been out there that Forster would
be reprising his role one last time in this episode having shot the scene while
they were filming El Camino and the most likely theory was that gene would
contact him for an extraction. the twist turns out to be that in the end Gene
calls it off saying, “I’m going to fix it myself.”
in the moment it was a big surprise with not much to indicate why he changed his
mind or what fixing it himself might mean. there’s a lot to unpack here so
I’ll visit the black-and-white dreary world of Gene Takavic after we get
through the rest of the recap. the cartel side of the story is largely
disconnected from Jimmy’s transformation into Saul at the moment since we know
how Gus and Mike’s tales conclude for my money Nacho’s journey has been the most
interesting thread to think about. we don’t really get a lot of actual Nacho
stuff here though. at the beginning of season 5 he finds himself under Gus’s
control while continuing to operate in the Salamanca family business. one of the
best new additions in season four was the arrival of Eduardo aka Lalo
Salamanca from Mexico and why I love this character is because he’s a little
more dynamic than the other Salamancas and he adds some unpredictability into
Nacho’s seemingly tragic arc. he pushes things along with a menacing edge under
the capable and even personable facade. he starts out asking about Werner and
Mike as Nacho and Krazy-8 are handling their collections and winds up finding
out that there are complaints coming in about the quality of their product. this
leads to a trip to a street-level dealing spot where Lalo quickly
discovers that some of the drugs are of a lesser quality and that’s not
something he can let stand. he gets a meeting with Gus and Juan Bolsa to
discuss the situation and we learned the whole thing is a maneuver by Gus to
cover up what Lalo learned about Werner at the end of season 4. the cover story
is that the German was building a chicken chilling facility for the legit
side of the business while building that he found out about the drug business and
stole two kilos of the cartel’s meth leaving Gus with no choice but to replace
it with product he bought locally. Bolsa seems more interested with getting back
to making money and he’s willing to accept the apology and remorse from Mr.
Fring but Lalo is not convinced. he asks about the construction job, which Gus
anticipated he would, he takes him to a new facility where he has mic in the
remaining Germans put on a show to try to convince Lalo that this is what
Werner was working on. Lalo wants to talk to Mike which guts allows to happen but
on the way out Lalo makes it clear that he knows it’s a setup by mentioning the
south wall that Werner mentioned on the phone. remember there was more to the
conversation between Lalo and Werner that Mike didn’t hear and it didn’t come
off like Werner was on the run for his life after getting caught stealing from
his boss. there’s also a side conversation here between Lalo and Bolsa
where he lays out the reasons again that he doesn’t trust Gus which if they
weren’t already obvious we also get some confirmation that the Salamanca’s
believed that Max was Gus’s boyfriend even if the show has never stated that
explicitly that’s a theory that’s been out there and it certainly seems to be
hinted at but they never really come out and say it but this means that the
Salamanca’s will always suspect that Gus is looking for revenge but Bolsa makes
it clear that Don Eladio values Gus’s ability to make money he values it
enough they keep him around even if he doesn’t trust him completely Lalo also
mentions Santiago when they’re talking and it means that we might learn more
about Gus’s origins in Chile. Mike Ehrmantraut is in the place where you’d
expect him to be after killing Werner he was as close to a friend as anyone has
been to Mike in this story and on some level Mike seems to be blaming himself
for letting things get to the point that he had to kill him. we see this come out
as he’s sending the Germans home he ends up punching Kai in the face which is
something that he’s probably wanted to do several times over in their
interactions together you could say that Kai had this coming he does it after Kai
says that it had to be done you know Werner had to be killed he says he was a
good man but he was soft then there’s this nice comparison here in that
Casper another one of the German workers tells him that Werner was worth fifty of
you and two that Mike doesn’t say anything in his lack of a response he
shows us that he believes Casper’s right Mike’s part of the episode ends in a
meeting with Gus after the Germans are confirmed to be out of the country the
super lab project will have to be shut down while Lalo is in the States and
Mike feels like this means his work with Gus should be done at least for right
now Gus tells them he’s gonna continue to pay him and he think of it as a
retainer while Mike teeters on losing his shit in the face of hearing that
Werners wife has been compensated there’s a real tension between the two
men and only Gus’s power keeps Mike in line ultimately he walks away saying he
doesn’t want the money but we know that’s not how the story ends
it’ll be interesting to see how their relationship develops to get to where it
is where we see them in Breaking Bad and I’m guessing that Lalo and nacho and
their stories will play a big part in that process Jimmy and Kim’s story picks
up right where we left it at the end of season 4 as well
after being reinstated as a lawyer he’s filling out the paperwork to practice
under the name Saul Goodman the surprising thing here is that his
reasoning for doing this kind of makes sense he’s built up a pretty big
clientele selling burner phones the people who buy the burner phones buy
them because they’re criminals in general and they know the guy who sells
them as Saul Goodman criminals are useful to him because they need lawyers
and how would they know to call him if he’s named Jimmy McGill but it only
makes sense if we completely ignore what we know about Jimmy from season four
where he spent most of his time unable to process what happened with Chuck we
know that he’s deeply damaged and to this point he’s only looked at that in
his using it to his advantage to fool the members of the bar into thinking he
was remorseful Kim hasn’t been able to find her footing after being duped by
Jimmy’s speech herself and now he’s off to the races to get his new practice up
and running he gives her a chance he asked is there an angle that he’s
missing and she opts to just let him go ahead with this plan later she tries to
reason with him because she wants to believe that there is a better Jimmy
inside there underneath that can return and that ultimately he’d be selling
himself short to practice under the new name and just going after these
characters who he knows they’re guilty his former customers for the burner
phone he shuts this argument down by saying
that Jimmy McGill would always be associated with being Chuck McGill’s
loser brother the name Jimmy McGill is burnt by becoming Saul Goodman he gets a
fresh start and besides he likes it this whole scene with Kim and Jimmy is so
expertly crafted from the dialog to the performances and when he tells her that
this is why this works I go too far and you pull me back it just hangs in the
room over them we can’t help but root for these two even though we gotta
believe that things won’t work out in the end we can understand how Jimmy
thinks this is his best possible plan and we can see how that makes it hard
for Kim to get through to him and talk sense into him from there we get our
montage since the Magic Man montage we see Saul he’s set up in a tent to
offload his remaining disposable phones he uses them as a way to advertise his
services he has them set up with his number on the speed dial and we watch
him explain how he might be able to help several people based on what crimes he
thinks that they are most likely to be involved in Huell is there as security and
to back up his claims of being an effective lawyer and it’s classic Saul
and it’s fun but it’s also kind of sad because we know this process is the
beginning of the end for Jimmy and that the end probably involves something
tragic happening to Kim throughout this whole episode because
Jimmy isn’t really in touch with why he’s doing what he’s doing we sort of
tracked the whole situation through Kim’s point of view with Jimmy when the
phones are gone we see he immediately changes his mind about the 50% discount
that we saw them talk about earlier he told her he wouldn’t do it never mind
that he was actually missing the point she was making about encouraging them to
commit crimes but he had come to the conclusion that was a bad idea and then
quickly reversed course here when he wanted to try to maximize his gains Kim
is fascinating because she’s a character who is exclusive to better call Saul
which means we don’t know how her story will end we also don’t know much about
her backstory or her history before she got to HHM either we know she mostly has
her shit together career-wise but there is also a slippin Kimmy side too she
can see this direction that Jimmy’s going is probably not gonna end well but
she also likes this part of his personality in some situations she’s not
a victim she’s a willing participant in the relationship and a willing
participant in the if there’s a good enough reason to do it
and that’s usually to help someone as we watch Kim try to wrap her head around
Jimmy’s decisions and trying to figure out what she should do we see the
contrast of where they’re at play out at the courthouse Bill Oakley the district
attorney that we’ve seen throughout the series and who’s always had interesting
interactions with Jimmy it’s a good character he finds himself in a
situation where he’s confronted by a newscaster which is actually just the
film students that saw hires to help him with his ad business there’s a set up
where she is talking and of course Saul is there to jump in at the right moment
he’s able to say I’m Saul Goodman and I believe that every man woman and child
deserves justice at a price they can afford so we see that the whole tense
situation was just sort of a warm-up where he’s going in front of his prior
customers more or less this is his big coming-out at the courthouse where he’s
going to set up this scenario that he can use to his advantage to get his name
out there and with that everything is kind of set up for his fall he is
officially Saul Goodman there’s still several years between now and the
beginning of where he shows up and Breaking Bad but for the most part other
than Kim still being in the picture the end is all but set up after the stunt we
see Saul he runs into Kim he’s got the bright shirt on he’s
dressed like Saul but he still seems like Jimmy until it comes up that Kim is
trying to get one of her pro bono clients to take a deal that is actually
in their best interest the kid doesn’t want to do it he likes the idea of
rolling the dice and going to trial Jimmy jumps in and offers to help saying
that he’ll pretend to be the DA and that they can easily trick this kid into
taking the deal but we see Kim get upset and she says with some anger I’m not
scamming my client but the kid Bobby he sees this and he wonders who it is
and she sees the opening and she goes ahead and scams him and she does it by
herself it works but this was something that she hadn’t planned to do she was
actually quite against it and this pro bono stuff has been important to her
this is how she balanced out the part of her job that she didn’t like by doing
something that made her feel better about herself Jimmy hasn’t been involved
with this and now that he has been we see that like other parts of his life
this is starting to go quickly downhill as well and we have to think that
crossing this line is something that will haunt Kim in one way or another if
it’s just in her mind and feeling bad about it or this could come out that she
just straight-up lied to this kid considering that Jimmy is going to be in
the public spotlight with his advertising we see her in the stairwell
and this is where the episode ends and it’s not like she’s in a situation where
she has to make this grand decision or she might break and turn to the dark
side or something like that to me it stands out as being kind of connected to
that beginning when we see Gene and how miserable his life look we know that
Gene is not happy living the life that he’s living in Omaha even though he got
away with it seeing Kim here struggling with the situation that she’s in it just
makes you wonder how her story ends and where she’s going to be at and how she’s
going to feel in relation to what we see with Jean and because this has been a
long video already I’m not gonna speculate too much we have a new episode
coming out tomorrow so I’ll be making another video so I’m gonna wrap things
up there there’s a lot of other cool details that I’d like to get to and
things about how the future of the season might go but I’ll go ahead and
add those to the episode recap tomorrow after episode 2 comes out in conclusion
it was a good table setting episode it’s the common way that they do it they
finish up whatever they left hanging at the end of the previous season and they
set the stage for the new season to come the nacho stuff is there Lalo is a good
addition we don’t see any Howard but I’m sure we’ll probably see him in episode 2
Kim seems to be the thing that steals the show here and that’s where my
emotional investment is since we don’t know how she’s going to end up
we know how Jimmy’s bad decisions are gonna leave him so it’s just a matter of
watching how we get from point A to point B but they’ve turned Kim into such
a likable and complex and enjoyable character that it’s just rough thinking
about the fact that she doesn’t seem to be around in the Breaking Bad timeline
so let me know what you guys thought about the episode let me know what you
think about this season that’s coming up what kind of stuff do you want to see
happen what are your favorite theories let me know all about that in the car
please subscribe to my channel if you’re not already as mentioned I will be
making videos throughout this entire season and through the final season when
that arrives next year that’s it for today I’ll see you tomorrow thanks for
watching I’ll talk to you soon