- This article is about the tenth episode of the first season of Better Call Saul. For the character, see Marco Pasternak.
"Marco" is the tenth and final episode of the first season of Better Call Saul and the tenth episode of the series altogether. Jimmy seizes an opportunity to reconnect with an old friend; Chuck adjusts to a new way of life.
Flashback to Cicero, shortly after Chuck McGill has helped secure his brother's release from jail ("Nacho"): Jimmy stops by a local bar to say farewell to Marco Pasternak, his best friend and partner in crime. He tells Marco that he’s moving to Albuquerque to work in the mailroom at Chuck’s law firm. Marco bemoans Jimmy’s decision, arguing that the move is a waste of Slippin’ Jimmy’s talents – but Jimmy’s mind is made up, and he leaves.
In the present, Jimmy pays Howard Hamlin a visit to officially hand over the Sandpiper Crossing case to HHM. With a zen-like calm, he also gives Hamlin a list detailing the errands that he’d been performing daily for Chuck. Hamlin marvels at Jimmy’s dedication to his brother, and reminds Jimmy that he always had a soft spot for him: “Remember? I used to call you Charlie Hustle.” Jimmy wanly replies, “I remember.” In the HHM parking garage, Jimmy apologizes to Kim for yelling at her when she advised him to take Hamlin’s deal. She gives him a hug, complimenting him on how maturely he’s handling the situation with Chuck.
At the Bingo hall, Jimmy calls numbers for a good-humored crowd. He’s trying to preside over the festivities as usual, but the growing brittleness of his smile gives him away. The pain of Chuck’s betrayal is finally hitting Jimmy. He soldiers on with stifled rage until his cheerful façade finally cracks. With the perplexed Bingo patrons’ rapt attention, he launches into a story about his attempt at a “Chicago Sunroof” -- when his ex-wife’s lover stopped by the bar he used to hang out in in his BMW, Jimmy decided to play a prank on his car as he was away. A "Chicago Sunroof," as Jimmy explains, is when a person defecates through the sunroof of someone else's car. What Jimmy didn't realise because of the black tinted windows is that the man's children were sitting in the backseat of the car. That led to trumped up charges of indecent exposure, the same charges that Chuck had to fly to Illinois to clear. “I’ve been paying for it ever since,” Jimmy bitterly rues before ending the game unceremoniously and striding out the door.
A taxi pulls into frame, revealing Jimmy as he arrives at his hometown bar in Cicero. He finds his old pal Marco dozing at the bar -- the same place the two said their goodbyes years earlier. The two haven’t seen each other since Jimmy moved to Albuquerque, but Marco is thrilled to see him. Jimmy comments that he had been in town before for his mother's funeral two years earlier, but didn't have the time to check on his friend. Marco seems to be disappointed that Jimmy was in Cicero and did not visit him. After some more conversation, they eventually fall back into old patterns and scam an obnoxious businessman at the bar by concocting an elaborate story to sell him a “rare” half dollar coin for a very high price and it works. Laughing and celebrating their reunion, Jimmy and Marco buy a round for the house.
Off this high, the pair spend the next several days gleefully pulling one successful scam after another. After a week-long binge, Jimmy wakes in Marco’s apartment to a disappointed waitress who was under the impression that she had gone home the night before with Kevin Costner. Ever the rascal, Jimmy tries to charm her as she and her friend flee the scene. As he gets dressed, his cell phone falls out of his pocket, prompting Jimmy to check his voicemail for the first time since his arrival. He has message after message from current and potential clients inquiring about Jimmy’s elder law services. Jimmy finally tells Marco that he’s a lawyer and it’s time for him to go back to Albuquerque. Marco is amazed that Slippin’ Jimmy is a lawyer -- it’s the ultimate way to scam folks out of their money. Jimmy explains that he’s not ripping anybody off: he’s building a legitimate practice with clients who depend on him. Marco is unable to talk Jimmy into staying in Chicago for the long-term, but he reveals that he still has the last Rolex watch from their infamous scam("Hero") and convinces Jimmy to pull one last con with him.
That night, they repeat the Rolex watch scam. Marco is waiting in the alley when he hears the signal -- Jimmy and their victim howling in the middle of the night. As Jimmy and the victim approach, they find Marco unconscious, just like planned. Jimmy pokes him with a stick, but this time around, Marco does not respond. Jimmy realizes that Marco is really unconscious and tries to call for an ambulance as the victim runs off with Marco's money. Marco then wakes up suffering from a heart attack. “This was the greatest week of my life,” a smiling Marco tells Jimmy before passing away. Jimmy is devastated.
Outside Marco’s funeral, Jimmy twists a strangely familiar pinkie ring around his finger. It belonged to Marco, and was given to him by his friend’s mother. Jimmy takes a call from Kim, who informs him that the ballooning size of the Sandpiper Crossing case has led HHM to team up with another firm, Davis and Main. She tells him the partners at Davis and Main know all about Jimmy, and the firm is willing to offer him a partner-track position -- contingent upon a meeting with him later that week. Knowing that she must have pulled some strings to make this happen, an appreciative Jimmy thanks Kim.
Back in Albuquerque: Chuck meticulously instructs Ernesto, the HHM employee tasked with bringing over the supplies Jimmy used to deliver, on the mistakes made during his most recent grocery run. Jimmy parks his car outside Chuck’s house, but doesn’t make a move to go inside. Chuck catches sight of Jimmy's Esteem, but is unable to gather enough courage to open the front door and call out to him. After exchanging hellos with his old mailroom buddy Ernesto, Jimmy drives off – wounds still too raw to make amends with his brother.
It’s a new day, and Mike Ehrmantraut is back to manning his parking booth. He idly contemplates a crossword puzzle while on the phone with the veterinarian. Mike agrees to take on another underworld job and jots down the latest clandestine address. A car approaches the lot, and Mike raises an eyebrow as Jimmy, deep in thought, passes by without acknowledging him. Jimmy parks and climbs out of his car, stopping to check his hair one last time in his side mirror. He walks toward the courthouse, psyching himself up for his meeting with Davis and Main -- but as he approaches the building, Jimmy pauses. He closes his eyes and fiddles with Marco’s pinkie ring. For a moment, he stands in the middle of the parking lot, deliberating.
Back in his Esteem, Jimmy drives back to Mike’s booth. True to form, he is without proper validation, but Mike raises the gate arm and offers to let him through for free, surprised that Jimmy didn't stay in the courthouse not even for 3 minutes. Perturbed, Jimmy finally asks the question that’s eating away at him: when they were working to take down the Kettlemans ("Bingo"), they managed to collect the family's $1.6 million stolen from taxes and they had all of the money in cash right in front of them. No one knew about the money's existence but the two of them, they could've split the money between them and be on their ways. Instead, they decided to take the money back where it belonged. Why didn't Mike take the money for himself? Mike reminds Jimmy that it was he who asserted that returning the cash was “the right thing” to do, but Jimmy shakes his head. He needs to know what Mike’s thought process was. Mike’s answer is simple: he was hired to do a specific job, and he was going to complete that job. Jimmy considers, then replies with conviction: he knows what stopped him, and it will never stop him again.
With that, Jimmy drives off. As he speeds away, he begins to hum Marco’s go-to anthem “Smoke on the Water," revealing a small, triumphant smile on his face.
- In this episode, there are several references to Breaking Bad:
- The scene where a woman finds out Jimmy/Saul isn't Kevin Costner. This is a reference to a dialogue Saul had in the episode "Abiquiú," where Saul brings up that he once convinced a woman he was Kevin Costner in an attempt to persuade Walter White that using a laser tag as money laundering makes sense because you can make any story work.
- At the bingo hall, Jimmy/Saul says "B, as in Belize… Beautiful place, so I've heard." This is an reference to Saul's dialogue in the episode "Buried," suggesting that Walter could "send Hank Schrader to Belize," with this being a metaphor to kill Hank.
- Jimmy/Saul also mentions Georgia O'Keefe at the bingo hall. Jesse Pinkman and Jane Margolis visit a Georgia O'Keefe-museum in Breaking Bad.
- Marco's ring, which Jimmy/Saul obtains in this episode, is the ring Saul wears during Breaking Bad.
- "Polk Salad AnnieTony Joe White" by Tony Joe White
- "Mercy, Mercy, MercyThe Buckinghams" by The Buckinghams
- "Coming Right Back" by Soul Patrol
- "Yes I Am" by Marc Ferrari & Michael McGregor
- "Stack of Blues" by Julie Sutton
- "Caught In The Wrong Direction" by Stedapol C.C. Watt
- "Banzai Pipeline" by Henry Mancini
- "Piano Sonata No. 2 In B-Flat Minor, op 35" by Chopin
- "Season of the Witch" by Donovan (performed by Stephen Stills & Al Kooper) as Jimmy pulls up to the bar in Cicero.
- "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple (hummed by Marco Pasternak before his fatal heart attack during the watch scam and during the closing moments when Jimmy McGill decides to stop letting the right thing get in his way.)
- "The Funeral March (third movement of Piano Sonata No. 2)" by Frédéric Chopin played on an organ during Marco's funeral.
- "One Last Grift" by Dave Porter
- "Jimmy's Choice" by Dave Porter
- Waitress: "Hey! You are not Kevin Costner!"
- Jimmy: "I was last night."
- —Jimmy Costner.
- Jimmy: "Help me out here. Did I dream it, or did I have $1,600,000 on my desk in cash? When I close my eyes, I can still see it. It's burned into my retinas like I was staring into the sun. No one on God's green earth knew we had it. We could have split it 50/50. We could have gone home with $800,000 each, tax-free. [...]"
- Mike: "You want to know why I didn't take that money? Is that what you're asking?"
- Jimmy: "Yeah, that's what I'm asking."
- Mike: "Me, personally—I was hired to do a job. I did it. That's as far as it goes."
- Jimmy: "Yeah. Well, I know what stopped me. And you know what? It's never stopping me again."
- —Jimmy and Mike.