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Alpine Shepherd Boy

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"Alpine Shepherd Boy" is the fifth episode of the first season of Better Call Saul and the fifth episode of the series altogether. Alarming news disrupts Jimmy's efforts at drumming up new business, forcing him to make an extremely difficult choice.

Summary

Teaser

Better Call Saul - Alpine Shepherd Boy - 1

The two policemen mistakenly take Chuck as a tweaker

Two cops arrive at Chuck McGill's household after his neighbor called the police after witnessing Chuck running outside and stealing the newspaper. Chuck refuses to open the door for the police officers due to his Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and one officer walks around to the basement door, finding that the breaker lines have been cut and there are cans of oil on the floor and the two officers deduce that Chuck is a tweaker with his explanation of his condition adding on to that. Chuck continues to warn the officers to no avail as they kick down the front door and taser him.

Act I

Better Call Saul - Alpine Shepherd Boy - 2

The impressive ranch's saloon

Meanwhile, thanks to the billboard stunt, Jimmy has gotten a lot of new potential business. He first approaches an impressive ranch house to visit a prospective client, Big Ricky Sipes. The wealthy tycoon offers Jimmy $1 million in cash to help him declare his property a sovereign state and secede from the United States. Jimmy's excitement at the windfall quickly dissipates when he looks at his payment and sees Big Ricky's jovial face grinning back at him -- the eccentric mogul has printed his own currency, and Jimmy can't take a single dollar of it to the bank. Strike one.

Not letting the first appointment's failure get him down, Jimmy visits another prospective client, an inventor named Roland Jaycocks. Roland asks Jimmy to help him patent "Tony the Toilet Buddy," a training toilet that spouts encouraging phrases to kids as they do their business, although Roland's apparently oblivious to the fact that all the phrases it says come out sounding more like sexual innuendos. When Jimmy points this out and suggests marketing the device to fetishists, an incensed Roland chases Jimmy out of his house. Strike two.

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Finally, Jimmy visits Mrs. Strauss, an elderly woman who collects porcelain Hummel figurines. He assists her with estate planning, which mostly consists of allocating various Hummels to different friends and relatives. Mrs. Strauss finds Jimmy's moxie quite charming, and pays his full fee upfront. Finally, his hard work has paid off, though not in the spectacular fashion Jimmy had wished.

Better Call Saul - Alpine Shepherd Boy - 5

At the nail salon that evening, Jimmy entertains Kim Wexler with tales of his eventful day, even imitating "Tony the Toilet Buddy" while attempting to give her a pedicure. Now that he has two wills and a living trust under his belt, she suggests that he could have a genuine future in elder law. Jimmy considers, but their conversation is interrupted when Kim takes a worrisome call from Hamlin: Something's up with Chuck.

Act II

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Chuck wakes up in a hospital bed and panics at the sight of the fluorescent lights above his head. Jimmy shows up and begins to turn off the various electronics in the room, prompting Dr. Cruz to call a security guard on him until he explains Chuck's condition to her and she hears him out. Dr. Cruz suggests Jimmy committing Chuck for psychiatric evaluation as she believes the condition may be mental rather than physical. This is rebuffed by Chuck himself, who has come to and protests the diagnosis. Dr. Cruz activates Chuck's hospital bed without Chuck's knowledge to prove to Jimmy that the condition is mental, as he would have panicked if he was really allergic to electronics. Dr. Cruz pleads for Jimmy to commit Chuck as his condition could make him a danger to himself and those around him. Hamlin shows up at the hospital concerned for Chuck's well-being, but he and Jimmy square off as Jimmy realizes Hamlin is simply concerned that by declaring Chuck incompetent, Jimmy can cash in on Chuck's partnership at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill. In a fit of anger, Jimmy vows to have Howard's "cash cow" committed, although he tells Kim once they are alone that he only did that to make Hamlin sweat, and he intends on taking his brother home.

Act III

Jimmy and Chuck return from the hospital. As Jimmy helps his fragile brother to the couch, he catches sight of the Journal on the floor -- still open to the article about the billboard stunt. He shows the paper to Chuck, and points out that Chuck's symptoms always seem to worsen when he thinks Jimmy has been up to no good. Chuck denies this, but Jimmy continues to plead his case: The billboard was just a bit of razzmatazz to get the ball rolling, and now he's ready to embrace the straight-and-narrow, even thinking of specializing in elder law. Chuck remains skeptical, but Jimmy vows sincerely that the stunt was a one-time thing. "We'll see," responds a cynical Chuck.

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Alone in his office, Jimmy painstakingly studies an episode of Matlock and carefully makes note of all the details in Andy Griffith's classic white suit. Soon after, a newly-coifed Jimmy waltzes into a retirement home, dressed in a linen ensemble. He works the room, shaking hands and charming potential clients as they snack on cups of gelatin that have his new slogan printed on the bottom: "Need a Will, Call McGill!"

Act IV

After another busy day at the courthouse, Jimmy pulls up to Mike Ehrmantraut's booth. For once, he has all the requisite parking stickers. He tells Mike cheerfully about his new venture into elder law, and offers him a large-print business card -- just in case he knows any elders. As Jimmy drives off, Mike stays in his booth. Night dissolves into morning, and Mike finishes his shift. After eating breakfast alone at Loyola's Diner, he drives to a suburban neighborhood and parks across the street from a modest house. From inside his car, he watches as a woman exits the house, headed to work. As she drives by Mike, she slows, and he makes no effort to conceal himself. The two lock eyes, but neither says a word. The woman drives off, and so does Mike -- in the opposite direction.

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At his house, Mike receives an unexpected visit from a pair of detectives. "A long way from home, aren't you?" Mike remarks to them. "You and me both," one of the detectives replies.

Credits

Main Cast

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

Uncredited

  • Adrian Gurule as SMQ Parking Staff at Shift Change
  • Rafael Torrez as Pedestrian

Official photos

Trivia

  • The episode was originally titled "Jell-O," but the writers were forced to changed the name because Kraft Foods would not permit the use of their trademark.
    • This is the only episode title in Season 1 that does not end with an "o" sound. It was this episode which inspired the naming scheme for all of the others in this season.
  • The restaurant where Mike has breakfast in this episode is the same restaurant he frequents during the run of Breaking Bad.
  • The retirement home Saul visits to gain elderly clients is the same one Hector "Tio" Salamanca will stay in after his nephew's death ("Caballo Sin Nombre").
  • Saul's client pays with a mix of old- and new-style twenty-dollar bills. The new-style bills were released in late 2003 so she should not have any at this point.
1x05 BCSTitleSequence

Title Sequence

  • Saul Goodman's bus stop bench advertisement from the Breaking Bad episode "Better Call Saul" is shown.

Memorable Quotes

Roland Jaycox: "You're completely disgusting, you know that?!"
Jimmy: "Hey, buddy, you're the one with the sex toilet."
Roland Jaycox: "Get off my property!"
Jimmy: "Hey, you know what? I hope you do make a fortune, 'cause Chandler's gonna need it to help pay for his therapy!"
— Roland Jaycox and Jimmy about the "Tony the Toilet Buddy".

Jimmy: "Heeeeey, there he is. The man in the booth, John Wilkes Booth, Booth Tarkington. Whatchu readin' there? The Complete Annotated Book of Rules for Parking Validation?"
Mike: "No, the rules for parking validation are actually pretty simple. Most people get it on the first try."
Jimmy: "Well, you’ll be pleased to know I have the requisite stickers."
Mike: "Well, be still my heart."
Jimmy: "Aaand... you can have this, as well. [hands over business card] I’m doing elder law now. "Need a will? Call McGill." So, give me a call if you, uh — uh, if, uh, you happen to know any elders."
—Jimmy and Mike.

Featured Music

TBA

Notes


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