The fourth episode of Vince Gilligan’s “Better Call Saul,” “Hero,” is an entertaining stepping stone with the goal of building the show’s main character into the corrupt, money-grubbing lawyer we loved in “Breaking Bad.”
After tracking down the camping Kettlemans, Jimmy is bribed thousands of dollars to keep his mouth shut about Craig Kettleman’s embezzlement. Jimmy accepts the money, but insists it be considered a retainer for his services. This alludes back to “Breaking Bad” when he would insist on being paid a dollar each from Walt and Jesse, so he could legally say he was being paid for representing them. The scene with the Kettlemans is most entertaining due to Julia Emery’s performance as Betsy Kettleman. Emery’s character is so full of it with everything she tries to defend her husband’s illegal behavior, that it is straight-up comical.
Once Jimmy accepts the money, the show goes into the second third of the episode, which I call “Jimmy with money.” Jimmy spends the money on an expensive suit to mimic that of his lawyer adversary, Howard Hamlin. He then buys a billboard using the same color, font, and basic logo design as Hamlin’s law firm. After Hamlin files a cease and desist, Jimmy is forced to take down the billboard, but he still has one trick up his sleeve.
Jimmy hires a college publication to film his story about a small law firm being bullied into taking down his billboard due to a larger law firm. As the camera starts to roll, the man taking down the billboard falls, and holds on to his safety line for dear life. Jimmy rescues the man, and is deemed a hero. Afterwards, Jimmy receives several calls from clients wanting to be represented by him.
“Hero” is not only a funny episode, but a it does a great job of developing some of the new characters including Jimmy, his romantic interest Kim Weller, his enemy Howard Hamlin, and his brother Chuck McGill. Jimmy is furthering himself into a dark lifestyle. Kim is buying more into Jimmy’s ideals, and is distancing herself from Howard. Howard is seeing Jimmy as more of a threat, and is focusing on bringing down Jimmy rather than focusing on his own law firm, which will most certainly come back to bite him. Chuck’s insanity becomes more clear as we learn that he is uncomfortable with leaving the safety of his home.