SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Nacho" episode of Better Call Saul contains storyline and character details.
In which Jimmy McGill gets out of one legal jam, only, years later, to find himself forming the criminal partnerships that will lead to the birth of Saul Goodman…
Backstory on the backstory
Keys, a phone, and a pen are being dropped into a box… Chuck's grounding exercise? Nope, but it is Chuck McGill himself, dropping those items into a jailhouse box as he goes to visit a client. Jimmy. Slippin' Jimmy — with way more hair and sporting an orange jail ensemble — who tells his big brother attorney he's "in a bit of a pickle." Jimmy's being flip, as usual, but Chuck reveals he's actually in serious trouble, facing real jail time. Jimmy finally acknowledges how badly he needs Chuck, and despite the fact that the two hadn't seen each other in five years and that Mama McGill is the one who asked Chuck to help, Chuck agrees to get Jimmy out of yet another situation.
But Chuck warns, "Everything you're doing, everything you're involved with, that's over!"
"Just tell me what to do," says an almost crying Jimmy. "Whatever it is, I'll do it. Say it. Please, Chuck! Help me."
Is this how Slippin' Jimmy ends up in Albuquerque? In the pilot, Chuck mentions Jimmy's friends in the mailroom at Chuck's law firm… does Chuck give Jimmy a job and encourage him to go to law school?
Back to the past
In Jimmy's ABQ present, he's worried about Nacho's plan to rob the Kettlemans, so he makes a call to Kim, his friend and Hamlin associate, to issue a subtle warning. When that doesn't go well, he drives to a pay phone and muffles his voice to issue a warning directly to the Kettlemans.
That goes a little too well: The Kettlemans disappear, and cops suspect the accused embezzler/county treasurer and his fam have been Kettleman-napped. Their main suspect: Nacho, whose van was spotted outside Casa Kettleman (while he was plotting his robbery of their ill-gotten cash). Nacho assumes Jimmy is the one who tipped them off, so Jimmy gets a warning of his own: Clear Nacho of the disappearance, or plan on a meeting with Nacho's associates.
Jimmy and Mike: The beginning of a beautiful friendship
After a brief bit of snooping inside the Kettleman house, Jimmy comes up with a theory: the Kettlemans kidnapped themselves. Or rather, they scrammed, having heeded his anonymous warning about getting robbed and wanting to dash with their cash. Detectives dismiss the idea as Jimmy's desperate attempt to clear client Nacho, but yet another parking validation run-in with Mike Ehrmantraut — who overhears Jimmy's Kettleman suggestion — boosts the future Saul Goodman's confidence in his theory.
Mike shares a story from his Philadelphia cop days in which a bookie on the lam hid out in his own neighborhood, thinking no one would suspect him of staying nearby. "It's human nature to stay close to home," Mike says. "And if this Kettleman figured out how to do it, that's what he did. Nobody wants to leave home."
Which sends Jimmy right to the Kettleman estate, and out to the wooded area behind their home. After hours of trudging along in the hot sun, sundown brings Jimmy an a-ha moment: He spots a tent, filled with the silhouettes of people singing "Bingo." Kettlemans.
"I found your dumbass clients," Jimmy says in a phone call to his friend/Kettleman attorney Kim. Then, just as the tent inhabitants are about to break into a round of "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt," Jimmy bursts in, yelling, "Heeere's Johnny!… Hey, Warren, hey Jo-Jo, sorry about that," he says to the Kettleman kiddies. "I'm your Uncle Jimmy."
Craig and Betsy know they're busted, and Betsy tries to convince Jimmy to let them skate. "Pack up your stuff, bury your scat, because we're heading back to civilization," Jimmy tells the campers.
He grabs one of the family's bags, Betsy grabs the other end, and their tug-of-war ends with the bag splitting, and loads of cash spilling out into the tent.
* Nacho's cell phone number: 505-242-6087. Call it. Want to reach Jimmy, or rather his British "assistant"? 505-842-5662.
* Jimmy, thanking Chuck for coming from Albuquerque to Chicago to bail him out of legal jam: "Only two things I know about Albuquerque: Bugs Bunny should have taken a left turn there, and give me a hundred tries, I'll never be able to spell it."
* Mama McGill… let's hope future flashbacks provide us with the opportunity to meet the woman who spawned Jimmy and Chuck.
* Among the many indignities Jimmy suffers in his job as a public defender: being forced to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney at inopportune times, including in the courthouse bathroom. "What'd you eat for lunch, the whole roast beast?" Jimmy asks him. "I'm busting my nut here every day for $700 a throw, inhaling your BM, which is straight from Satan's bunghole."
* Jimmy to the detectives who refuse to believe his Kettleman theory: "Hey, Cagney, Lacey, when you realize how wrong you are about all this, I'll take an Edible Arrangement as a sorry, heavy on the pineapple."
* Things we learned about Jimmy: He likes to make randy phone calls to Kim late at night.
* Things we learned about Mike: He seemed to be offended by the ABQ detectives' attempt to get him to help them coerce Jimmy into working against Nacho. Is this a clue about why former Philly cop Mike ended up in New Mexico?
Let's hear your predictions, Saul fans: Does Jimmy deliver the Kettlemans to the cops, or make a deal for a piece of their, as he called it, yummy cash?
Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on AMC.