"Bagman" is the eighth episode of the fifth season of Better Call Saul and the forty-eighth episode of the series altogether.

Summary

Teaser

At a cartel stash house in Mexico stocked with luxury cars and a vault, two men clean a car whose seats are covered in blood. The Cousins arrive and silently fill two bags with $7 million in hard cash, required for Lalo's bail. After they depart, the manager of the stash house calls someone and informs them about the Cousins' visit.

Act I

Lalo is amused after reading a newspaper report on the arson of the Los Pollos Hermanos in Los Lunas. He gives Jimmy directions to the site of his rendezvous with the Cousins. Jimmy tries to get out of the assignment by suggesting that the Cousins can come directly to Albuquerque or that Nacho can pick it up. Lalo refuses, assuring Jimmy that he is "the guy for this". When Jimmy is still reluctant, Lalo says that he will find someone else. Jimmy is about to leave, but turns around at the door and demands $100,000 as commission. Lalo agrees.

Kim returns home and is surprised to see Jimmy taking a bath in the evening. He tells her that he is preparing for an early morning trip the next day. After coming out of the bath, he tells Kim about his assignment in the desert. Kim is distraught and expresses her strong disapproval, even offering to go with him to the meet. After some coaxing and cajoling, Jimmy is able to convince her to let him take the trip.

Act II

A nervous Jimmy stands near the well designated as the meeting spot, practicing his prepared Spanish dialogues, as well as straightening his tie and cleaning a spot off his shoe using his water bottle. After some time, the Cousins arrive. Jimmy tells them that he is the abogado (lawyer) sent by Lalo. The Cousins maintain their characteristic reticence and silently place the duffel bags in Jimmy's hands. Without saying a single word, they return to their car and leave.

Jimmy carries the bags to the trunk of his Suzuki and checks the contents. On his return journey, an SUV starts to trail him. Soon he is surrounded by a convoy of vehicles and is forced to stop. Armed men exit the vehicles and Jimmy surrenders. The leader of the mercenaries snatches Jimmy's keys and checks the trunk for the bags. He orders his men to kill Jimmy, but just before one of the men pulls the trigger, he is shot dead by an invisible sniper. A fierce gunfight ensues as Jimmy drops on the ground and crawls behind his car for cover, while the mercenaries get picked off one by one by the sniper. One of the mercenaries escapes. The sniper approaches from his hideout and is revealed to be Mike.

Act III

As they are driving home in Jimmy's car, Mike tries to console a traumatized Jimmy by saying that he should be happy that he's alive. Suddenly, the engine sputters to a halt. After further inspection, Mike concludes that the alternator was shot. They collect all the essentials from the car and wreck it by pushing it in a nearby ravine. They leave the road to avoid the surviving mercenary, traveling through the open desert. Jimmy carries the heavy, money-filled duffel bags.

When they stop at a spot to rest, Jimmy suggests digging a hole to hide the bags for later retrieval. Mike disagrees, but Jimmy attempts to dig anyway with his license plate. Just then, Mike spots the surviving mercenary's car in the distance. He orders Jimmy to stop digging since the reflective license plate might attract his attention. After the car leaves, Mike states the mercenary is doing a grid search for them, suggesting he must have found Jimmy's wrecked car.

As the sun starts to set, Mike builds a campsite. Jimmy suggests continuing the journey through the night, which will be cooler than during the day. Mike tells him that if he does so, he will probably break his leg by falling into a hole made by a prairie dog. Jimmy laments to Mike that Kim will probably be worried at his absence, saying she is probably thinking that his dead body is lying in some ditch, inadvertently revealing that she knows about Jimmy's criminal dealings. Mike is concerned that she might inform the police or spill the secret to friends, but Jimmy vouches for her. Mike then covers himself in a space blanket to protect himself from the cold. He offers Jimmy one, but he refuses.

Act IV

Kim visits Lalo in jail, demanding that he divulge the location of Jimmy's assignment. Lalo is irritated to hear that Kim knows about the trip, and is amused upon hearing that she's Jimmy's wife. He tells her that there is no point in her knowing that information since Jimmy has the survival skills of a cucaracha (cockroach), suggesting that she wait a day to see whether he is still alive. Lalo leaves the meeting abruptly, refusing to help Kim and ignoring her pleas.

Meanwhile, Jimmy and Mike continue their arduous walk. Mike advises Jimmy to use his Davis & Main travel mug to collect his own urine since the water supply is very low. Later, Mike refuses to give Jimmy more than a bottle cap full of water, again suggesting to drink the urine if he is very thirsty.

At one point, unable to bear the heavy load of the bags, Jimmy starts to drag them instead of carrying. After some time, one of the bags tears open and bills fall out. As Jimmy attempts to collect them, he steps on a cactus and injures his foot. He lies down and says he cannot take it anymore. Mike tells him that he should remember the reason behind doing all this. When Jimmy asks Mike what his motivation is, he says he has people who are not involved in the game but depend on him for survival - referring to Stacey and Kaylee.

Mike spots the surviving mercenary driving on the horizon and orders Jimmy to stay down, but Jimmy is moved by Mike's pep talk. He wraps himself with Mike's remaining space blanket so that the mercenary will spot him, ordering Mike to prepare his sniper rifle. Jimmy carries the bags toward the nearby road as bait for Mike's target. The mercenary spots Jimmy and drives toward him full speed. Mike takes an initial shot but misses, then takes a second shot that successfully hits the mercenary as he was about to run Jimmy over. The car flips over and crashes, Mike approaches the car to gather supplies, but the mercenary's water jar was busted in the crash. Thirsty and frustrated, Jimmy takes his D&M bottle and gulps a good amount of his urine. Mike and Jimmy continue their trip down the road.

Trivia

  • The episode title refers to Kim Wexler's comment about Jimmy not being a bagman for the cartel, a job he takes on by retrieving Lalo Salamanca's bail money.
  • This episode is the highest rated of the show on IMDB, along with Bad Choice Road. Both have an outstanding score of 9.8/10.
  • This episode marks the final time Jimmy uses his 1998 Suzuki Esteem, which he had been using since the start of Better Call Saul.
  • This episode marks the first time Jimmy is directly and purposefully responsible for someone's death, luring out Tiburón so that Mike Ehrmantraut can kill him.
  • Mike uses the M40A1 rifle he bought from Lawson in "Klick" to kill Hector Salamanca.
  • Mike covering himself with a space blanket to protect from the cold and later Jimmy using it as bait nods to how Chuck McGill also used to wrap a space blanket around himself, but to protect from electromagnetic fields.
    • Despite the cold, Jimmy refuses to cover himself with the survival blanket, probably because of the symbol of Chuck's illness that it represents.
  • Mike is seen removing the Esteem's gas cap and placing it in his bag next to a tracking device monitor, suggesting that he found Jimmy by placing one of Gus' previously seen tracking devices on Jimmy's car.
  • A tarantula can be spotted in this episode, likely referencing the one that Drew Sharp will pick up five years in the future in the Breaking Bad episode "Dead Freight".
  • In the teaser, Marco Salamanca drops a stack of money while he loads one of the duffel bags full of cash. A similar act of clumsiness would cost him his life in the Breaking Bad episode "One Minute", as he dropped a hollow point bullet during a gunfight with Hank Schrader that was eventually used by Hank to fatally shoot him in the head.
  • $7,100,000 in $100 bills would weigh 150 lbs, meaning each bag weighed 75 lbs.
  • During production of the scene where Jimmy and Mike wait under a tree, a dog wandered onto set and sat between Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks. After it came onto set a second time, Odenkirk was given permission by the Navajo Nation to take the dog. It was later discovered to be pregnant and gave birth to a litter of eight (with Rhea Seehorn acting as a midwife). The dog was eventually adopted and given the name "Lucky" by Patrick Fabian, who also took in one of the puppies.
  • The Mexican stash house where the Cousins collected bail money was shot at Flat 12 Gallery, a Dallas, Texas-based collector car dealer. Among the cars depicted in the garage is a one-off replica of a fictional "Banshee" sports car from Grand Theft Auto V, originally built as a promotional prize for a 2013 GameStop contest and acquired by Flat 12 Gallery later in December 2018.

Production

Credits

Co-Starring

  • Christopher M. Campos as Falling Mercenary
  • Orion Carrington as Correctional Officer
  • Giancarlo Beltran as Playful Scrubber
  • Tony Sedillo as Stash House Scrubber
  • Alvin Hysong as Stash House Boss

Uncredited

  • TBA

Featured Music

  • "I Got The..." by Labi Siffre

Memorable Quotes

"Jimmy, you are an attorney, not a bagman. No amount of money is worth this."
―Kim to Jimmy


"I have people waiting for me. They don't know what I do. They never will. They're protected. But I do what I do so they can have a better life. And if I live or if I die, it really doesn't make a difference to me as long as they have what they need. So when it is my time to go, I will go knowing I did everything I could for them."
―Mike to Jimmy


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