Better Call Saul “Alpine Shepherd Boy”

Better Call Saul S1E5: “Alpine Shepherd Boy”

This week’s episode, titled “Alpine Shepherd Boy”, slows down the pace of Better Call Saul. While previous episodes hopped from here to there, we’re dealing with two things throughout this episode. Firstly, where does Jimmy’s career go from here and secondly, where does Chuck’s life go from here? Let’s start with the first.

To Jimmy’s credit, last episodes scheme with the billboard to attract attention worked out swimmingly. By the end of his consultations, I imagine he wish the rest of the plan went just as swimmingly. He may not have even had a plan. As Jimmy finds out, when you pull a cheesy scheme such as the one he did, you may attract a lot of clientele and from different walks of life for sure but you’re probably not getting the most serious cases. People who are serious and need an attorney are unlikely to be swayed by a flashy lawyer. The people you’ll likely get are ones who want to give you a chance to help them with their chance. Case in point, Jimmy’s first client, rich businessman Ricky Sipes. What does he want from Jimmy? Nothing too outlandish, he only wants to secede from the United States. Jimmy, like us all, is in it for the money so he hears Ricky out and even thinks he made it big when Rick offers him a retainer of one million dollars, but its money from his hypothetical free nation. Well that was nice while it lasted.

Any better luck on the second client, Roland Jaycocks? Not really. Roland thinks he’s got the next big thing in Tony the Toilet. The speaker that makes any toilet a training toilet and shouts what Roland thinks are positive reinforcement statements. Jimmy points out the obvious to anyone that is watching this show that this thing is filled with sexual innuendos and would probably work better as some fetish toilet. Jimmy is promptly kicked off the property, strike two.

Third up is the elderly Mrs. Strauss with a normal request, to help her with her will. They quickly hit it off and Jimmy’s face lights up when she pays him, in real money mind you. After some down time with Kim, she suggests that Jimmy might be best off specializing and he took quickly to Mrs. Strauss so elder law might be something he’d be good at. Jimmy heeds her advice and starts specializing, going around to retirement homes, making his name known in the community and even advertising through Jell-O cups. New Jimmy, new logo, Need a will? Call McGill!

The second of our big focuses in the episode is Chuck. That neighbor that Chuck stole the newspaper from is back, and witnessed Chuck do it so she calls the police. This presents a problem for Chuck as letting the cops in involves letting in a smorgasbord of electronic devices and while asking Jimmy to remove his electronic devices before coming in is alright, asking the same of law enforcement will just make it look like something is wrong with you. Chuck asks regardless that they remove their devices and the cops take suspicion, a quick look through the window shows the circuit breakers have been cut rather dangerously and they assume he’s a junkie. That’s all the probable cause they need to bust the door down. Chuck’s last request before they do so, absolutely no tazers. He is then taken down by guess what, a tazer.

Jimmy rushes down to the hospital when he finds out that Chuck is there and nearly gets kicked out turning off all the electrical objects in Chuck’s hospital room before explaining to anyone about Chuck’s condition. Jimmy finds out that he has the power, if he so desires to get Chuck committed for mental evaluation but cares too much about his brother to do. More importantly we learn that his condition is more mental than anything as the doctor turns on the electronic bed sensor as Chuck explains his condition to see if it’s real or in his head, turns out he didn’t notice. Jimmy takes Chuck home and smartly deduces that Chuck’s condition is a negative reaction to him, whenever Jimmy acts out in a Slippin’ Jimmy fashion, Chuck’s condition gets worse. Chuck denies it and neither brother wants to get into it. Jimmy mentions he has specialized in elder law and Chucks seems immediately relieved that Jimmy is on to a normal lawyer path and even takes off his space blanket after hearing this. Jimmy has to at least be somewhat right about his role in Chuck’s condition. The question now is can Jimmy be a lawyer that plays it by the book or will he regress to Slippin’ Jimmy, and how will it affect his relationship with his brother.

Other Thoughts:

Better Call Saul, up to this point has been great with montages. A short concise way of showing a lot of information to make a point. Perhaps the pace of the episode could have benefited from one here on Jimmy’s unsuccessful consultation tour. I don’t think we needed half the episode to show that Jimmy was attracting the wrong clientele from his scam.

The episode actually ends with Mike, relaxing at home, Mike is interrupted by police at his door as he proclaims they are a long way from home. Most likely fellow police officers from his days back on the force in Philadelphia. We’ll probably get more about this next time.

The episode names for season one are as follows: Uno, Mijo, Nacho, Hero, Alpine Shepherd Boy, Five-O, Bingo, RICO, Pimento, and Marco. What gives with Alpine Shepherd Boy? If you’re like me and am extremely bothered these all end in the letter “O” except this episode, or just plain curious, this episode was originally called “Jell-O” but they couldn’t get permission from the Jell-O Company to use the name for the episode title.

Quote of the Day: Everything Tony the Toilet said.

A narrowly focused episode of Better Call Saul has some good moments but lingers in spots which could have been done quicker while still getting the point across.

Grade B-

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