"Mijo" is the second episode of the first season of Better Call Saul and the second episode of the series altogether. As his troubles escalate to a boiling point, Jimmy finds himself in dire straits. An act of carelessness puts Chuck at risk.
Tuco Salamanca is preparing salsa in his kitchen when his grandmother returns home, followed by the two skateboarding brothers who are scamming her. The brothers, irate, begin to adamantly state the seriousness of the injury caused by the grandmother's "hit and run." They begin to argue loudly and insult Tuco's grandmother, which agitates him. After sending her upstairs, Tuco beats both brothers unconscious with a cane.
Soon after, while Tuco is cleaning up the resulting bloodstains on his carpet, Jimmy McGill knocks on the front door. Tuco goes to the door, takes Jimmy hostage at gunpoint and drags him inside. Under interrogation, Jimmy reveals himself to an attorney representing his two clients, who called him after being hit by a car and the driver just leaving the scene. He insists that he did not target Tuco's grandmother. Jimmy notices a bloodstain on the carpet, which would likely mean the twins are either hurt or dead. Using this as an advantage, he guesses that Tuco has only hurt the twins because Tuco is a "reasonable" and "just" man. Jimmy attempts to barter with Tuco to save himself and the two brothers. Tuco agrees with Jimmy, and brings Jimmy to the garage where the twins are held to unbind them. Just as Tuco is about free them, one of the brothers immediately outs Jimmy's role in the scam.
Tuco kidnaps Jimmy and the twins and takes them out into the desert. Jimmy, tied up and tape-gagged, is grabbed by Tuco, who removes the tape from his mouth and begins question him further. Jimmy finally cops to the entire ordeal — how he put the twins up to the scam as a way to get back at Craig Kettleman and Betsy Kettleman, who may have stolen over $1.5 million dollars while embezzling funds at work. When Tuco threatens to sever Jimmy's fingers with wire cutters, Jimmy desperately tries to claim that he is an FBI agent. This time Tuco is on board because he thinks if the FBI is after him, he must really be the criminal mastermind worthy of a Federal investigation. Tuco's second-hand man Nacho quickly sees through this façade, and threatens Jimmy to tell the truth or else the death sentence is back in board. Jimmy admits that he is a lawyer who intended to scam Mr. and Mrs. Kettleman, and how he was just trying to find a way to climb up from the pit that has become his life before Tuco rescues Jimmy. Tuco unties Jimmy and frees him because of the fact that he told the truth and the only reason the twins were there in the first place was because of him.
A message still has to be sent, and Tuco moves to kill the brothers in revenge for calling his grandmother a "bizznatch". Jimmy manages to convince Tuco to spare their lives, and talks him down to merely breaking one leg on each of the brothers to make an exact example of them. After Tuco shakes hands with Jimmy and accepts him, he gets his two henchmen to grab the two brothers. While Jimmy winces, Tuco breaks one leg on each brother, including the one Cal claimed was "broken" earlier. Afterwards, Jimmy drives the two brothers to the hospital and drops them off, insisting (over their protests) that he talked their sentence down from a death sentence to six months on probation.
Later that night, Jimmy goes on a date with a woman in a bar to drown his sorrows in alcohol. Jimmy, traumatized from witnessing Tuco breaking one leg of the brothers, is distracted by staff members breaking breadsticks, which is a familiar sound with what he just witnessed in the desert. Jimmy excuses himself and vomits in the bathroom.
When he arrives at Chuck's house, Jimmy forgets to ground himself and takes his cell phone inside, which makes Chuck panic and throws Jimmy's cell phone into the yard. When Jimmy wakes up, he discovers that his cell phone is missing, and his keys. Chuck confronts Jimmy after seeing the brothers' hospital bills. The hospital bill for the twin brothers and their broken legs has exhausted all of Jimmy's funds. Jimmy reassures Chuck that he isn't going back to being "Slippin' Jimmy" - in other words, he is not scamming people on this occasion. The only choice is to go back to the public defender’s office and make little money per case again.
As a public defender, Jimmy defends client after client while taking home $700 each time he does it. This degrades Jimmy, losing case after case when the prosecutor isn't willing to budge, but eventually Jimmy wins one and it seems to send his confidence soaring.
After a couple days in court, Jimmy returns to his office and sees that he still has no messages. Jimmy is ready to fall asleep on his couch bed and just forget this day ever happened. However, Mrs. Nguyen, manageress of the beauty salon tells him that a client has arrived. The client turns out to be Nacho. Nacho comes up with an idea — Craig Kettleman stole $1.5 million from a treasury and now Nacho wants to rob him blind. Jimmy just can’t get on board with the idea of stealing from somebody even if it’s somebody who is already guilty of theft. Nacho explains that he likes to steal from thieves because they don't the option of going to the police to report the loss without admitting to theft themselves. Jimmy looks intrigued, but he can’t pull the trigger. Jimmy insists that he is a lawyer, not a criminal. Nacho disregards this, and writes his number on one of Jimmy's matchbooks, to remind Jimmy that if he tells anyone about their conversation, he will be killed. He exits the nail salon as the episode ends.
- This is the second part of the two-episode premiere, in which the first episode aired on February 8, 2015 and this episode on February 9, 2015.
- This episode is in reference to Tuco Salamanca, in which his grandmother calls him "mijo" which means "my son."
- Miriam Colon, who plays Tuco's grandmother, is also known for her portrayal of the mother of Tony and Gina Montana in the 80's crime drama Scarface.
- In the opening teaser, Tuco is seen cooking dinner. This is a reference to how Tuco cooked burritoes for his uncle Hector "Tio" Salamanca, Walt and Jesse ("Grilled").
- When No-Doze spoke out of turn, Tuco gets angry at him and tells him to "stop helping." This is in reference to when No-Doze spoke out of turn ("A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal").
- This episode has some startling implications for Breaking Bad, for instance in Saul's introductory episode ("Better Call Saul"), when Saul is freaking out during Walt and Jesse's attempt to intimdate him. What at first seems like Saul simply fearing for his life is actually now Jimmy afraid that Tuco's men have decided to finally kill him. How do we know this? He says that whatever they think he did, Ignacio was the real one to blame. "Ignacio" is Nacho Varga's real name.
- Vince Gilligan has confirmed that the desert, in which Jimmy negotiates with Tuco, is the same spot where Walter White gives his "Say My Name"-speech ("Say My Name").
References to other media
- Jimmy makes many references to other media during the series, in this episode, he makes references to:
- All That Jazz (1979)
- Saul Goodman's Cadillac is shown driving on a road, with close-ups on the "LWYRUP" license plate.
- "Biznatch ... "
- ―Tuco, in anger at Cal and Lars's insulting of his grandmother
- "Wow. You got a mouth on you."
- ―Tuco, to Jimmy after hearing his explaination.
- Skateboarder: "You – you are – you are the worst lawyer – the worst lawyer ever!"
- Jimmy: "Hey, I just talked you down from a death sentence to six months' probation. I'm the best lawyer ever."
- —Jimmy Jimmy driving the two brothers to the hospital.
- "It's showtime, folks!"
- ―Jimmy's pep talk to himself after returning to PD
- "Doesn't matter. Judge has got to see your mother. Well, do you know anybody who looks like her? No, an uncle won't do it!"
- ―Jimmy discussing strategy with a client on the phone
- Jimmy: "Welcome, welcome. My office is being painted. Excuse the temporary - uh, quarters. "
- Nacho: "Wow. Cozy."
- —Jimmy and Nacho when the latter looks him up to seek out the Kettlemans
- "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Esquivel
- "Concerto for Strings in G 'Alla Rustica' 1. Presto" by Vivaldi (version created for Better Call Saul)