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"Magic Man" is the first episode of the fifth season of Better Call Saul and the forty-first episode of the series altogether.

Summary

Teaser

In Omaha, following his release from the hospital, a terrified "Gene" drives home, packs some luggage, retrieves a business card and a cache of diamonds from his shoe box, and switches the license plates on his car. He then drives out-of-state, listening to the police radio frequency through a CB scanner throughout the journey. Gene has breakfast at a diner, but has trouble interacting with a server when he is taken aback by a story in the newspaper. Outside the diner, he phones the Cinnabon to take a few days off work. Gene drives back home and spends that time listening to the scanner and peering outside.

When Gene returns to work at the Cinnabon, he is accosted by two men on his lunch break, one of them being Gene's cab driver from the night of his collapse, who introduces himself as Jeff. Jeff reveals that he has recognized Gene, having lived in Albuquerque when Saul Goodman was a local celebrity. Gene initially feigns ignorance, but gives in when Jeff pressures him into saying his "Better Call Saul" catchphrase after nervously noticing some nearby cops. Jeff tells Gene that if he ever needs a ride, he should just call the cab company and ask for him before leaving with his friend.

Gene goes to a payphone and contacts Ed Galbraith, the "disappearer" who originally brought him to Omaha to begin a new life. Ed quickly recognizes Gene, who asks for Ed to extract him again. Ed warns that will be very difficult and will require double the original fee. Gene initially agrees and Ed sets the pickup at 7:00 am on Thursday at the same spot that he first dropped Gene off. After a moment of consideration, Gene suddenly changes his mind and tells Ed that he will instead "fix it myself" before hanging up and walking away.

Act I

In 2004, shortly after the reinstatement of his law license, Jimmy is signing the DBA allowing him to practice under his new name. Outside the licensing room, Jimmy explains to an anxious Kim that, rather than practice law nobly as he misled the bar committee into believing, he plans to take the criminals who know him from his illicit drop phone business and use them as his new client base. Kim, upset by this turn of events, reluctantly agrees to accept Jimmy's new plan. Jimmy returns to the licensing office to sign the final piece of paperwork as "Jimmy 'Saul Goodman' McGill".

BCS 501 05

Meanwhile, at El Michoacano, Lalo struggles to figure out who Werner Ziegler and "Michael" are and what they have to do with Gus's mysterious construction project. He learns from Nacho and Krazy-8 of a rumor that a competing drug gang has been "stepping on" the Salamanca family's business. Lalo decides to investigate with Nacho in tow, driving to a Salamanca hideout where packets of the cocaine from Gus's chicken farm are being kept for distribution. Lalo inspects each packet and determines that some of them are not cartel product.

BCS 501 08

In celebration of his reinstatement, Kim gives Jimmy a new briefcase -- erroneously inscribed with his real initials -- and a thermos reading "World's 2nd Best Lawyer." Jimmy contemplates throwing a promotional event selling his remaining drop phones and considers offering a 50% discount for non-violent offenders. Kim is concerned that what Jimmy is planning will encourage his clients to continue their criminal behavior and will reflect badly on Jimmy himself. He tells her that he can't go back to being regarded as "Chuck McGill's loser brother" and insists that his new identity as Saul will give him a fresh start.

Act II

BCS 501 09

Lalo drives to the chicken farm to have a sit-down with Gus and Juan Bolsa over the altered cocaine. Gus falsely admits that he secretly replaced some of the cartel's cocaine with methamphetamine after Werner stumbled upon Gus's drug business and stole the product. When Lalo demands to know what "construction project" Werner was working on, Gus shows him and Bolsa a massive structure being built by Werner's men for an industrial chiller. Lalo is introduced to Mike, who is supervising the crew. With Lalo seemingly mollified, Bolsa tells Gus that Eladio is not pleased with the breach and warns him not to keep secrets from the cartel again.

Act III

Outside the chicken farm, Bolsa confronts Lalo for spying on Gus's operation and murdering the TravelWire employee. Lalo replies that he is simply looking after the interests of his uncle Hector, who believes that Gus is holding a grudge against the cartel after Hector executed his "boyfriend." Bolsa insists that Gus is solely concerned with business, to which Lalo expresses skepticism due to an unspecified past incident in Santiago. Bolsa says that Gus will never be "one of us" but that he's a good earner who keeps Eladio happy, which is all that matters. Lalo tells Bolsa that he has no further issues with Gus.

BCS 501 10

After nightfall, Jimmy sells off his remaining drop phones from inside a circus tent, with Huell acting as his bouncer. The city's criminals, misfits, and disreputable characters come out in droves to purchase the phones, creating a carnival-like atmosphere. Jimmy, donning a brightly-colored suit, takes the opportunity to offer his reinstated legal services to these customers, and eventually sells out his drop phone supply. When the crowd begins to leave, Jimmy regains their attention by offering his 50% discount. Huell congratulates Jimmy on a job well done, but Jimmy tells him they're just getting started.

Act IV

BCS 501 11

Werner's terrified men are transported by truck to the middle of the desert, where they are to take several vehicles to various distant airports and take flights home. Before he hands out the plane tickets, Mike warns the men that there will be consequences if any of them divulges the details of their work for Gus. Kai tells Mike that Werner was "soft" and that his killing had to be done, which prompts Mike to punch him in the face and knock him to the ground. Casper tells Mike that Werner was "worth fifty of you", which emotionally impacts Mike.

Back at the chicken farm, Gus explains to Mike that construction of the excavation will not continue as long as Lalo is north of the border. He further says that Werner's wife has been told that he has been killed in a construction accident and has been compensated, and that Mike will continue to be paid a retainer. Mike, disgusted at the whole situation, tells Gus to keep his retainer and leaves.

Act V

BCS 501 12

ADA Oakley is walking through the courthouse when he is ambushed by Joey's film crew, who are posing as TV reporters who are confronting him over a case he has heard nothing about. Jimmy enters the scene as the fictitious defendant's attorney, confronting a confused Oakley and making a speech before the camera. The stunt attracts more potential business from people at the courthouse.

Meanwhile, Kim, working in her public defender capacity, tries to convince a stubborn client named Bobby to take a five-month plea deal and avoid trial for fencing stolen mini-fridges. Jimmy appears and, upon hearing about the situation, proposes a scheme to make Bobby take the deal by posing as an antagonistic prosecutor. Kim is unnerved at the idea of scamming her client and orders Jimmy to leave. However, when Bobby and his pregnant wife ask what the argument was about, Kim finds herself going along with the ruse, telling them that Jimmy was a prosecutor who took the plea deal off the table. Bobby suddenly becomes desperate to take the deal, prompting Kim to flee to a stairwell to compose herself over what she has done.

Trivia

  • The episode concluded with a memorial dedication of the episode to Robert Forster who posthumously reprises his role as Ed Galbraith "the Disappearer." The dedication reads "Dedicated to our friend Robert Forster."
    • Forster, who previously appeared in Breaking Bad and El Camino, died of brain cancer on the same day that El Camino came out.
    • As the flashforwards take place after El Camino, this is currently his final chronological appearance in the Breaking Bad universe.
    • In an interview[1], Peter Gould revealed that the original script for this episode called for a simple audio appearance by Robert Forster. Melissa Bernstein proposed to have him appear in the episode and Vince Gilligan agreed to shoot Robert’s half of the phone call during the filming of El Camino.
  • An Apple Arcade commercial featuring the exact same cover of "Welcome to My World" as seen in the cold open played during the original AMC broadcast.
  • Jimmy's legal name after signing the paperwork is revealed to officially be Jimmy "Saul Goodman" McGill.
  • A possible reference to Ed's strict rules is made when, after confirming the pickup time and location, Ed confirms with Saul that he "knows the rest," the rest presumably being Ed's rules which Saul had previously mentioned to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
    • Another rule introduced in "Magic Man" appears to be that repeat clients must pay double the original fee for Ed's services. As the fee has been previously stated to be $125,000, this means Gene would've had to pay $250,000 to get Ed's help. Gene states that he has that much money.
    • Jesse also was forced to pay $250,000 for Ed's services, though in his case it was Ed forcing Jesse to pay for both the pickup where Jesse actually used Ed's services and the previously aborted pickup where he didn't. ("El Camino")
  • When Saul calls Ed, he states that he needs an adaptor rather than a dust filter for the vacuum which has previously been stated and shown to be the passphrase. Despite this, Ed still appears to be satisfied with the password, possibly because he recognizes Saul's voice as that of a previous client.

Production

Credits

Featured Music

  • "Music Ain't a Bad Life" by Chuck Glaser (Gene talks to dinner waitress)
  • "Welcome to My World" by Jim Reeves (Montage of Gene working at Cinnabon)
  • "El Contrabandista" by Xocoyotzin Herrera (Lalo asks Nacho what is going on with their drug business)
  • "Let's Go Together" by Dschinn (A drug dealer collects his product via drain pipe)
  • "Cake'n Up (De Gott'em)" by Demrick (People line up to speak with Saul)
  • "Born to Win" by Age Of Menace (People line up to speak with Saul)
  • "All That Is Yours" by Raphael Lake, Ben Fisher & Royal Baggs (People line up to speak with Saul)
  • "The Sidewinder" by Lee Morgan (Saul giving his customers his lawyer sales pitch)
  • "Hillbilly Huggin" by Aaron Benward, Brian McComas
  • "La Panorama" by Raphael Lake, Aaron Levy & Wesley Smith

Memorable Quotes

Gene: "Yeah, I need an adapter for a Hoover Max Extract® Pressure Pro™ Model 60."
Ed: "Aha. We've delivered to you before, haven't we?"
Gene: "Yeah, I'm in Omaha, Nebraska."
Ed: "Mr. Takavic. That will be a very difficult part to obtain. And I wanna warn you it's gonna be more expensive than the original."
Gene: "How expensive?"
Ed: "Double the price. And we are still in a cash on delivery situation. Uh, will that be a problem?"
Gene: "No, no, it's fine."
Ed: "How hot are you?"
Gene: "I got made."
Ed: "You got made. Any official involvement?"
Gene: "No. Not yet."
Ed: "Pickup is going to be in the same place you were dropped off. Do you remember where that is?"
Gene: "Yeah, I do."
Ed: "Alright Mr. Takavic. Thursday. 7:00am. Same spot. You know the rest, am I right?"
Ed Galbraith and Gene make plans for Gene to disappear again

Ed: "Mr. Takavic? Still there?"
Gene: "I've changed my mind."
Ed: "Changed your mind?"
Gene: "Yeah."
Ed: "To be clear, you are not going forward with this?"
Gene: "I'm gonna fix it myself."
―Gene decides to do things his own way

Kim: "You're gonna call yourself, Saul Goodman?"
Jimmy: "I'm already calling myself Saul Goodman! We've talked about this, that scammers would buy my phones. Sure as shooting, sooner or later, every last one of them is gonna find themselves in the back of a squad car. How do I get them to call Jimmy McGill? I don't! I stay Saul Goodman, they call the guy they already know. I thought I was wasting a year of my life! It wasn't a waste, it was for this! This is it!"
Kim: "When did you decide..."
Jimmy: "Just now! Just back there, just... BOOM! It just hit me! This is the way. Kim, it's gonna work!"
Kim: "I..."
Jimmy: "I know. All of a sudden, I got it all figured out, but I–I do! This is right! So, I'll get this done, and then we can talk about it, okay? [pause] I mean... unless... Is–Is there something that I'm not seeing here? If you want me to slow my roll, I can come back, and do this another day."
Kim: "[pause] If this is how you're really feeling..."
Jimmy: "It is."
Kim: "I say, "Sure.""
Jimmy: "Great! Five minutes max!"
―Jimmy explaining to Kim why he decided to practice under the name Saul Goodman

Mike: "You're gonna pay me to do nothing?"
Gus: "Call it a retainer."
Mike: "Even after Ziegler?"
Gus: "Yes."
Mike: "What happened in Frankfurt?"
Gus: "The attorneys spent a full day with his wife. She accepted the facts as presented. As per your suggestion, a construction accident. The funeral was yesterday, and of course, she has been compensated."
Mike: "Compensated?"
Gus: "I... would choose my next words...very carefully if I were you."
Mike: "[beat] You keep your goddamn retainer."
―Mike ends his partnership with Gus over Werner's murder.

Huell: "Well done, magic man."
Jimmy: "We're just gettin' started."
―Huell congratulates Saul following communication operation

Videos

Note

  1. Better Call Saul boss Peter Gould explains the return of Breaking Bad favourite Ed the Disappearer
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