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Better Call Saul – Nacho & Hero – Review: "S'all Good, Man"

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Episode 3 and 4 of Better Call Saul continue where the first two left off, still attempting to find a balance between Breaking Bad call-backs and new material; dark undertones and fantastic moments of comedy. Again, the biggest issue for me is the struggle to find a singular tone. No series has to be any one thing, of course, but Saul still seems to be enduring some growing pains. “Nacho” and “Hero” were both solid episodes, though by the end, not a whole lot has happened – for a comedy series, sure, that’s not a bad thing. But is Better Call Saul a comedy? What are you guys calling it?

Episode 3 is the most the series has ever felt like a procedural, with a mostly episodic case and bits of goofy and redundant clue following and case solving. What set it apart were the great character moments; Nacho and Saul’s interaction was particularly awesome. Nacho is seen again in episode 4, and it’s clear things aren’t over between these two… so is Saul getting ready to go full-on Breaking Bad? Is it meant to? Or should it just continue to embrace its goofiness? Odenkirk has proven time and time again he’s a fantastically gifted comic actor. Some of the gags felt a little over the top and predictable, like Jimmy/Saul hiring a guy to stage a fake rescue so he could keep his billboard that rips off Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill’s logo. It’s all amusing, but truthfully I was a bit bored by the end of episode 4. I thought 2 was the strongest of the bunch so far, and most of that was due to the incredible and Bad-esque desert scene with Tuco.

The truth is that Breaking Bad bored me for a while, too. Maybe bored is a bad word, I really did enjoy the episodes but I eventually stopped watching. I picked up against years later and watched all of the seasons rapidly, and by the time the final episode aired it had become one of my favorite TV dramas ever. But it did start out slow, like Saul has. I don’t intend to stop watching Saul, it has the benefit of the doubt because I know it can be great. The lead character is interesting as hell and consistently funny. I like to see his slimy side come out and I wonder how fully dark they’ll ever let it get when the show relies so much on comedy and lighter gags.

A major plot that can pick up at any time and immediately raise my interest is Saul’s partnership with Mike. It finally advances a bit in “Nacho” as Mike offers Jimmy/Saul a bit of his background and helps him figure out where the Kettlemans are. The more we see of Mike, the better. But again, overreliance on Breaking Bad shouldn’t be the only thing making this show great.

The new characters have gotten a bit more prominent, especially Kim the mystery blonde from earlier. She and Jimmy/Saul work together a lot in episode 3, though she doesn’t play much of a significant part in “Hero”. A flashback to Chuck visiting his brother in jail years ago brings a new layer to their already interesting relationship – and after he runs outside to steal a newspaper that Jimmy/Saul has hid from him, I’m definitely left wondering what’s coming next. Chuck and Nacho certainly show promise as new characters, but we still haven’t seen much of them. And both hint at much darker stories than I expected from Saul when it was touted as a comedy.

What did you think of the most recent two episodes? There was a lot to love, and again I think the biggest issue is just an identity crisis. Does it matter to you if Saul keeps toeing the line? Do you consider it a comedy or drama? Let us know your thoughts and feel free to follow me on Twitter for more on Better Call Saul and all my SpoilerTV work.

Episode 5 airs Monday at 10 EST on AMC.

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