"Hero" is the fourth episode of the first season of Better Call Saul and the fourth episode of the series altogether. Jimmy devises a bold plan to obtain new clients, but he must face the consequences when his relationships become strained.
In a flashback, Jimmy McGill (under the alias "Saul Goodman") and Stevie come across an unconscious man in an alleyway. Jimmy pokes the man with a stick and the man wakes up, flipping the two of them off and continuously taunting them by calling them "buttholes". Frustrated with the guy's rudeness, Stevie takes the money from his wallet and Jimmy steals his Rolex watch but Stevie offers a trade of the money from the man's wallet in exchange for the more valuable Rolex and eventually offers him an additional $580 to bring the total to $1,580. It is later revealed that it was all a scam set up by Jimmy and the man found in the alley was actually Jimmy's longtime friend, Marco (they had been extorting money from other crooks who had been trading cash for the Rolex watches).
In the present, the Kettlemans are pleading with Jimmy not to expose them, offering $30,000 as a bribe, which Jimmy initially refuses. Jimmy retorts with the option of them hiring him as their lawyer, which is in turn refused by the Kettlemans, who claim that Jimmy is the kind of lawyer guilty people would hire. They refer back to the cash bribe.
The next day Jimmy thanks Mike for his assistance in solving the Kettleman's dissapearance. As Nacho is released from police custody, he discreetly accuses Jimmy of warning the Kettlemans before they went into hiding and warns him that he will face "consequences". Jimmy rebuts by implying that he warned the family for the children's sake, and that any trouble Nacho got into he brought upon himself, since he let himself get identified by a neighbor.
Back at his residence at the salon, it is revealed that Jimmy took the Kettlemans' bribe as a "retainer." Jimmy calculates the fees which he can use to claim the money with, claiming premium rates, travel fees, storage, and other assorted expenses to cover $29,000 of the $30,000 given to him by the Kettlemans. Staring at the remaining $1000, Jimmy begins formulating an idea.
The next day, Jimmy purchases a new wardrobe from a local tailor, gets a makeover from his landlady at the nail Salon and posts a billboard advertisement which shares obvious and deliberate similarities with HHM, presumably out of spite. When Kim confronts Jimmy over the imitation and presents him a cease-and-desist order at Howard's behest, Jimmy at first playfully tries to shrug it off as a business ploy, then a brand, until he angrily confesses to Kim that Howard "fired the first shot" by attempting to force Jimmy to cease using his name for business. He points out to Kim that Howard is not appreciating her talent properly, and that she deserves better than working as Howard's glorified assistant. Kim warns Jimmy that Howard is preparing an injunction against him, and that this is a fight Jimmy will not be able to win.
Act IIIIn court, Jimmy and Howard argue in a judge's chambers: Jimmy claims to be operating under "fair use", while Howard is firm in his assessment that Jimmy is clearly violating HHM's trademarks. Unfortunately for Jimmy, the judge agrees with Howard, ordering Jimmy to take down the billboard within 48 hours. However, Jimmy has been banking on this ruling, and begins calling all the local news outlets in an attempt to cover his predicament as a human interest story.
When the media fails to show interest in his story, Jimmy organizes a video plea, calling for sympathy to his situation. He hires several students from the University of New Mexico to film a speech in front of the billboard, portraying himself as "the little guy" being persecuted by Big Business. During filming, however, the worker who is removing the advertisement slips and falls, held on only by his harness. Jimmy hurries to the man's rescue and pulls him to safety while the public watches and records. It is revealed that the accident was staged by Jimmy and the worker as a publicity stunt. Howard and Kim, watching the news, see through the ruse instantly. Due to his newfound popularity, Jimmy receives numerous new consultations.
As Jimmy visits Chuck, he brings him his newspapers as usual but hides the Albuquerque Journal that had reported the "rescue" to keep Chuck from seeing it. Chuck, still beeing oblivious to Jimmy's stunt, congratulates him on his success. Chuck notices the Albuquerque Journal missing, which Jimmy dismisses. After Jimmy leaves, a suspicious Chuck painstakingly hurries to his neighbor's house and collects their copy of the newspaper, leaving $5 as compensation. Back at home, Chuck reads about Jimmy's heroic rescue.
- This is the first episode of Better Call Saul where the "Saul Goodman" alias is used.
- Just like the tune Marco hums is Deep Purple's Smoke On the Water, Jimmy's howls are a reference to another Deep Purple song, Hush.
- At the tailor's store, Jimmy checks out an orange shirt. In Breaking Bad he will often wear bright-colored shirts like the aforementioned one.
- The worker that performs the billboard publicity stunt appeared briefly during the episode "Mijo" as one of Jimmy's clients.
- The name shown on the Alley Guy's license is Henry Gondorff. This is the same name as the main character of the 1973 caper film The Sting (Gondorff was a once-great con-man hiding from the FBI).
- When Jimmy takes Chuck's daily groceries out of his trunk, the New York Times headline reads "Israel Acts To Seize Arab Land After Blast; Bush Delays Talk". Research of this headline indicates this edition was published on June 19, 2002, indicating the exact time frame this episode took place.
- "Smoke On the Water" by Deep Purple
- "Listen" by Chicago
- "Battle Hymn of the Republic (LP Version)" by Herbie Mann
- "Stick N Brush" by Kenny Werner
- "Ma Mamma Mia" by That's Amore
- "Samba Tropical" by APM Music Library
- "Tropical December" by Steve Rice
- "Unsquare Dance" by Dave Brubeck
- "Billboard Stunt" by Dave Porter
- "Magic Hands" by Dave Porter
References to other media
Jimmy makes many references to other media during the series. In this episode, he makes references to:
- Jimmy: "All right, well, uh You still got a little bit of maneuverability, all right? You you're outdoorsy, right? So you went on an impromptu camping trip. I don't know. It's something people do, apparently. Uh, you left the house a mess, and you kicked in your own front door because (Breathes deeply) It's a free country. Kim Wexler is very good. She'll make it work. "
- Betsy: "Yeah, what what about the money? Uh, well, if she knows about it, she'll tell, right? She'll have to tell. "
- Jimmy: "Well, like they say in Silicon Valley, it's not a bug, it's a feature!"
- —Jimmy attempting to reason with Craig and Betsy.
- Betsy: "I'm sorry. You're just..."
- Jimmy: "Just I'm what?"
- Betsy: "You're the kind of lawyer guilty people hire."
- —Betsy and Jimmy.
- Jimmy: "Not the loquacious sort, are you? "
- Mike: "We can't all be as blessed as you."
- —Jimmy and Mike the morning after discovering the Kettlemans' hideout.
- "You didn't need any help getting caught, okay? The neighbor ID'd you. You were sloppy. Any trouble you might have... that's on you. Not to mention the blood in your van. Here's a thought... Ajax, Formula 409! You have no idea the tap dance I had to give those cops to get you out of here. You gave them probable cause out the wazoo. Now, and whoever that somebody is who may have warned the Kettlemans got them out of there before you did anything even more stupid. You should be thanking this Good Samaritan. Because whoever he is, he did you a favor."
- ―Jimmy to Nacho about his arrestation.
- "Okay, um, I'm thinking hourly here. There were some special circumstances, so (Clicks tongue) Our elite-tier pricing would be $950 an hour. (Calculator clicking) Round it off to 20 hours. (Clicking continues) $19,000 Plus $1,000 for travel expenses. Consulting fees $1,500. And, uh, research... Five for filing fees. I ate on the road. And storage fees. (Sighs) Miscellaneous expenses. (Sighs) Upon this rock, I will build my church."
- ―Jimmy working out how to account for his bribe from the Kettlemans.
- Jimmy: "Whoa, whoa. Back up. Hamlindigo Blue?"
- Howard: "Yes. That is our trademarked name."
- Jimmy: "Holy crap. You seriously named a color "Hamlindigo"? That is... yikes."
- —Jimmy and Howard appearing before a judge.
- Joey: "Jesus, just you said $100 for one hour, not freaking 3. "
- Jimmy: "You clearly have a journalistic impulse. You're a real go-getter, you know that? "
- Joey: "Go get this."
- —Jimmy and Joey Dixon arguing over the video shoot.