Better Call Saul, Season 3, Episode 6, “Off Brand”
If you had 26 as the number of episodes before we’d first see Saul Goodman in the flesh, then you just won your office pool.
The small screen debut of the show’s title character was the loudest noise in what was an otherwise quiet, catch-up episode, following the courtroom fireworks of a year ago.
We check in with Mike, who is returning to some state of domestic bliss. Attending group therapy meetings with his daughter-in-law, he’s happily getting roped into projects that will help his granddaughter.
We meet up with Nacho, who is starting to show that independent streak that led him to Walter White’s path. He’s collecting and enforcing for Don Hector, and not too happy the Don wants to get his father’s legitimate upholstery business involved in the drug trade. There’s also some Gus, who’s making a major purchase.
We even get an update from Chuck, who has gone into hiding following his embarrassing episode on the witness stand. He’s not exactly thrilled that Jimmy only got 12 months suspension, and he knows Howard well enough to know that the drink he came over for was far from celebratory. Chuck tries to overcome his aversion to electronics though sheer force of will, but when that doesn’t work, he bundles himself against the blizzard of electromagnetism, and seeks out a pay phone to find professional help.
Most of the episode is devoted to Jimmy trying to figure out what to do for the next year while his law license is suspended. Ever the practical one, Kim asks when they are going to let their secretary go and close the office. Jimmy will have none of it. His finally got that part of his life exactly the way he wants it, and he’s not going to let something like a year off the job change that.
Jimmy performs his due diligence by informing his entire Rolodex of contacts that he’s out of the law business for the next year. He nearly screws everything up by allowing one of his TV spots to run. He stops the ad in time, but it presents a greater problem. There are still a number of TV spots that he can’t sell.
Jimmy seems like the type who’s hawked a few tickets in his life, and he falls back onto an old scalper’s trick to solve his dilemma. In areas where ticket scalping is illegal, scalpers will sell something like a hat or a book of matches that just so happens to come with a free pair of tickets. Jimmy is on the hook for the air time, but he can run any commercial he wants.
So he hires his guerrilla film crew, and offers businesses one-day turnaround for their commercials, with the airing for free. A carpet store is interested but doesn’t bite, so Jimmy decides to make a commercial about making commercials.
Right as he’s up against the deadline, he realizes that he can’t go on as Jimmy, it will confuse people. But a quick trip into his crew’s makeup bag creates a solution.
The episode closes with Kim and Jimmy spending a quiet night at home. Jimmy’s spot worked, and he might have just found the solution to his income and TV problems. Kim asks to see the spot, and Jimmy shows her with a few caveats – it’s not his best work. On the screen is a goateed man in a hat and sunglasses who is talking in rapid fire about the benefits of getting your message on TV. The name of the company? Saul Goodman Productions.