'Better Call Saul' season 3, episode 8 traces Jimmy’s scamming back to predictable beginnings


The eighth episode of Better Call Saul's third season, "Slip," opens with a flashback to Jimmy and his childhood buddy, Marco. You'll recall the ever-charismatic Marco from the show's season one finale, when he died of a heart attack after Jimmy returned home to relive the former glory of his Slippin' Jimmy days. Clearly, it didn't go well.

In "Slip," Marco and Jimmy are rummaging through Jimmy's father's store, which has since gone out of business, when Jimmy finds his old collection of vintage coins. It provides another moment for Jimmy to pick apart his do-good father: This time, it's how a customer left a valuable, vintage penny at the store and he wanted to make sure it was returned to him instead of pocketing its value for himself. From Jimmy's perspective, this compassionate nature is what destroyed his father's business. Every little act of decency — listening to a sob story from someone in town, offering to help a person in need — added up. "He was never gonna do what he had to do," he explains to Marco.

Present-day Jimmy, meanwhile, is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his cherished shared office with Kim, despite seemingly insurmountable odds and financial troubles. Even when Jimmy gets a win — the guitar store airs one of his commercials and more customers show up — he still gets screwed over. Now, the owners want to provide their own commercials for the local radio and cut out the middle man, Saul Goodman Productions.

Michele K. Short/AMC

But again, Jimmy's innate self-preservation kicks in and he cleverly gets his Saul Goodman Productions cameraman to film him tripping over a misplaced drumstick (and yes, of course he put it there himself). Now Jimmy's evolved from an aspiring commercial-selling businessman to something more law-adjacent: suing people, or at least presenting the threat of doing so. The financial woes are temporarily shelved; he can pay for the next six weeks of office rent with Kim. But more importantly, Jimmy's got the first inklings of how he can make money with his lawyering skills, while technically not breaking his one-year suspension from practicing law.

It's best encapsulated at the end of "Slip," when Jimmy helps a lowly drug dealer get out of work to see his daughter in the hospital. Essentially, it amounts to threatening legal action against the supervisor — who, admittedly, has a thirst for power and is a huge piece of shit — and convincing him he'd be wasting more money trying to make his case rather than letting the guy make bail to see his kid. "That was some Jedi mind shit right there," the thankful dealer tells him, giving Jimmy $700.

That right there is the lawyer the criminal underbelly of Albuquerque, New Mexico, can rely on. Now, Jimmy isn't just Saul Goodman, the commercial-producing salesman. He's Saul Goodman, the shady — albeit reliable — off-the-books lawyer. How much longer till we should expect a name change?

The third season of Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 10 p.m. Eastern on AMC.

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