‘Better Call Saul’: After Being Recruited by Lalo, Saul Has No Chance of Going Back to Just Being Jimmy McGill
Better Call Saul has always been more than just a Breaking Bad spinoff, but many of the themes are very similar to the original. One of these is watching the main protagonist gradually, heartbreakingly transform into the worst versions of themselves. For Walter White, that meant leaving behind the mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher and becoming the ruthless meth manufacturer Heisenberg. For Jimmy McGill, it means fully embracing the “criminal” in criminal lawyer and becoming the Saul Goodman we love to loathe.
Knowing the ending has made Better Call Saul an even more fascinating journey. All along, Breaking Bad fans have been waiting to find out: When does Jimmy fully become Saul? It’s true that there’s no exact moment to pinpoint when Jimmy makes the switch.
However, after the events of Season 5, Episode 3, there’s no going back to just being Jimmy McGill anymore.
[Spoiler Alert: Spoilers ahead for Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 3 “The Guy for This”]
Jimmy gets picked up for a pivotal meeting with Lalo
We could have predicted Jimmy was going to meet Lalo the moment Nacho pulled up in the car at the end of Episode 2. With Krazy-8 in jail after being caught at a drug bust, which was indirectly caused by Jimmy’s ill-advised 50% off sale, it was only a matter of time before the Salamancas reached out for legal representation to help fix the situation. And Jimmy had associations with Tuco and Nacho before.
When Jimmy first meets Lalo, he tries to be flattering about Tuco, who everyone knows is a complete loose cannon. “Your cousin makes quite an impression, you know, and he has a huge heart and a serious passion for justice,” Jimmy says when first meeting Lalo. “He’s got a temper, huh?” Lalo replies, laughing.
But even though Lalo knows his cousin isn’t rational, his loyalty lies with family, always. And like Nacho, Jimmy is going to get caught in the Salamanca web and not be able to get out.
He becomes hopelessly entangled with the Salamanca family
“The Guy for This” fully cements Saul as an associate of the Salamanca family and makes him an integral player in their strategy. Lalo is in Albuquerque to ensure his family’s position in the drug trade after Hector’s stroke. He’s working on taking down Gus Fring, who he doesn’t trust, and keeping Krazy-8 from saying anything stupid when he’s in jail. Lalo decides to accomplish both through Saul.
Breaking Bad introduced us to Krazy-8 and described him as a DEA informant. No one knew how or why he snitched on the Salamancas — until now. It turns out Krazy-8 didn’t turn on his former employers, but rather Lalo told Krazy-8 exactly what to say to the DEA as part of his ploy to cut out Fring.
Lalo and Nacho explain to Jimmy that Krazy-8 is sitting in prison and they want him to talk. “We need our friend to tell the cops some things. Some important things,” Lalo says to Jimmy. “We want him to say exactly what we tell him. No more, no less.”
Relieved that his “job” seems relatively easy, Jimmy accepts Lalo’s proposition and delivers the script to Krazy-8 in jail. This move ushers in the long-awaited appearance of Agents Schrader and Gomez, who were key characters in Breaking Bad.
Jimmy questions his involvement with the Salamancas — but it’s too late
Following Lalo’s orders, Krazy-8 gives Schrader and Gomez the location of three dead drops with the promise that they won’t “pass him around” to other law enforcement to give more information. They agree to keep his identity as an informant quiet.
Jimmy reports back to Lalo that Krazy-8 is now considered a confidential informant for the DEA. “What do you mean, like a rat?” Lalo asks. “No, he’s not a rat,” Jimmy clarifies. “Well, he’s a rat, he’s your rat.”
He continues: “The deal is, you might hear at some point that Domingo (Krazy-8) is a snitch. You gotta know, he’s not.”
Next, Jimmy tries to say he’s done working with Lalo, giving a lame excuse about having a busy schedule. But Lalo denies his request to quit and speeds off. Jimmy says to Nacho, “Who exactly did I just set up?”
“You don’t want to know,” Nacho replies.
Nacho tells Jimmy his fate is sealed
Jimmy insists he doesn’t want to be in the middle of their drug drama. “It’s not about what you want,” Nacho says. “When you’re in, you’re in.”
Remember, Nacho has been wanting to disassociate from the Salamancas for a while now and even had fake passports made up for himself and his father. But so far, he’s stuck working for them and knows all too well that Jimmy can’t escape now either.
As the episode title suggests, Jimmy really is the guy for this. And after becoming a key player in the Salamanca family’s feud with Gus Fring, there’s no going back to just being Jimmy McGill.
It’s time for Jimmy to step into the Saul Goodman shoes we know Jimmy was inevitably going to fill.