At the end of episode 502, Saul felt he had no choice but to obey Nacho’s command to get into the back of the car, abandoning his barely-eaten ice cream cone on the sidewalk. Better Call Saul episode 503 opens with a close-up of the first ant to arrive at the ice cream cone, followed quickly by several of his cousins. We see what’s left of the ill-fated dessert later in the episode. After the opening sequence, we see Saul riding in the back of the car with a very concerned look on his face. He notices a gun between the front seats and that the door locks have been disabled. He’s clearly searching his memory for what he’s done to bring him to this predicament; it never occurs to him they want Saul Goodman, not Jimmy McGill.
Lalo Decides He Better Call Saul
They arrive at their destination, a garage that they enter and quickly close the door. Saul is acting more and more like Jimmy, nervously waiting for someone to say something. Lalo takes his time, working on a car engine and singing to himself.Our hearts are pounding right along with Jimmy’s, wondering what Lalo wants with him.
Finally it becomes clear why he’s there; Lalo has combined his worry that Krazy-8 will snitch with his desire to make trouble for Gus Fring. He needs a lawyer to get a message to Krazy-8 and Lalo thinks Saul is The Guy For This. We’re not sure if Nacho recommended Saul based on their interaction in season 1, or maybe Lalo heard about Saul’s new practice from one of the potential clients who received cell phones or business cards in episode 501. Saul is not really sure he wants to get involved, but Lalo meets the exorbitant price he names. Jimmy can’t help himself; earning that much money for one day’s work gives him a kick.
Mike is Not the Guy to be Victimized
Mike is in a bar, already drunk. He gives the bartender his car keys so he can have another drink. To make sure we remember what’s eating at him, he asks the bartender to take down the photo of the Sydney Opera House tacked on the wall behind the bar. It reminds Mike of Werner, who told him the story of how his father worked on the building project, which was an engineering feat of its time period. Whether or not that was a tall tale, its presence is too much for Mike in his fragile emotional state. Later, Mike walks home, and on the way, some thugs try to shake him down. He shows them he’s a little more fit than they thought by dropping one to the ground and nearly tearing his arm off, then challenging the others, who don’t accept, and Mike walks away.
Meanwhile, Back at Home
Jimmy parks his car at home, and we see Kim up on the balcony drinking a beer. She’s celebrating the fact that her day tomorrow does not include any work for Mesa Verde, only pro bono clients. The two make small talk but don’t share details. Jimmy says Saul Goodman had his best day financially, and Kim says, “Good for Saul,” then goes inside to prep for the next day.
We see Nacho relaxing at home, in the company of two women who both seem high on drugs. Then Mr. Varga arrives. Nacho invites him in and awkwardly introduces him to Amber, who excuses herself to go find something to eat. Nacho’s father thinks the place is so big and new, but he doesn’t seem impressed in a positive way. He says someone named Gutierrez wants to buy his shop, but he offered more than it’s worth. He claims he was saving the shop for Nacho, who clearly thinks running it is a lot of work for a small paycheck. Nacho says the offer is a good opportunity, but his father sees through it, asking if it was Nacho behind the offer, trying to get him to leave town on the run from the cartel. Nacho denies it, but Dad’s not buying it. He challenges Nacho to go to the police, but insists he is not the guy to run away, then he walks out.
Kim’s Work Day Doesn’t Go as Planned
The judge doesn’t rule in Kim’s client’s favor in her first case, and then her boss calls to tell her she needs to change her plans and take care of an issue for Mesa Verde.
Kim meets Paige and several other Mesa Verde staff in a barren lot that contains one house surrounded by a wooden fence. Kim goes to speak to Mr. Acker, the one hold-out who doesn’t want to vacate his house so the bank can build a call center on this land. Mr. Acker says Kim is one of those people who gives some money to charity and volunteers at a soup kitchen once a year and thinks that makes up for all of the bad things they do. Kim gives him what-for and walks away. Paige says Kim did a “great job,” clearly believing Kim was the Gal for This.
But Kim doesn’t think she accomplished anything. She takes a call from Steph, the associate, who goes over details of the pro bono cases she handled in Kim’s stead, but she’s disappointed about how one of the cases was handled, because Steph didn’t try all three phone numbers when the client didn’t show up at court. Kim clearly cares enough about these clients to know some details about their lives and where to find them. She decides to try a similar approach with Mr. Acker and goes back to see him, arriving after the sun has set. She has gone to a real estate office and has brought printouts of several properties that she thinks would suit him. Says she’ll help him move and pay for it out of her own pocket. She goes over the features of each one and tells him he’ll own the house and land forever once he moves. She starts to talk about her childhood — they never owned a house and her mom always stayed only one step ahead of the landlord. Kim remembers several times when she had to hastily throw her stuff in a cardboard box and go outside when it was so cold her toes turned blue. But Acker still doesn’t think she’s being genuine. “You’ll say anything to get what you want, won’t you?” he says, and closes the door.
The Long-Awaited Appearance of Hank and Steve
Jimmy meets Krazy-8 and explains the plan. Then he goes outside and waits. Hank and Gomez show up to interrogate Krazy-8. Hank is ranting to Steve about Marie making him take expired food to the trash at midnight on the day it expires. Clearly, Marie’s mental health issues are a life-long problem for her. Hank is suspicious that Domingo didn’t talk for 2 nights and now wants to spill, but it seems they’re convinced by Saul’s act of showing up mid-interrogation, outraged that they were talking to his client without him present. Krazy-8 plays along, saying he wants to talk. Hank has some fun with Saul’s name, but they clearly swallow the story Domingo tells them and plan to act on it. Hank says it better lead to arrests or Krazy-8 will get the full charge.
Jimmy and Nacho meet Lalo out at a dirt track where Lalo is having fun with the car we saw him working on earlier. “I replaced the carburetor, and she’s running like a race horse,” he says, after which he inquires about Jimmy’s foreign car which is clearly inferior to Lalo’s racing machine. We’re left wondering if we’ll be treated to a car chase scene in a future episode. They report on the meeting with the DEA agents. Lalo seems concerned that the Feds are involved, but he seems satisfied with how things transpired. Jimmy tries to tell Lalo he won’t be available in the future, but Lalo says, “You’ll make time.” Nacho tells Jimmy the hard truth he’s come to learn himself recently: “It’s not about what you want. When you’re in, you’re in.”
Jimmy arrives back outside the courthouse to see his melted ice cream and cone are covered with ants.
Hints of What’s To Come after Better Call Saul 503
Nacho explains the details of what Krazy-8 told the DEA. If they move the money, Lalo will know someone talked. But half a million dollars is a lot to lose. Gus says leave the money in the dead drops. We’ll learn what happens with the money next week as the chess game between Lalo and Gus continues.
The final scene is a bookend to the one earlier in Better Call Saul episode 503. This time, Kim arrives home and parks, and Jimmy is drinking out on the balcony. She joins him and lights a cigarette, which they share along with some beers. But there is silence; neither of them wants to share the details of their day. Jimmy starts playing with a beer bottle, starting to drop it and catching it before it falls. Kim is not in a playful mood, and just hauls off and throws a bottle into the parking lot. Jimmy throws one, too, and they end up throwing the whole 6-pack. Then they run inside when a neighbor comes out to see what’s going on.
Better Call Saul 503 and next week’s episode are really almost two parts of a longer story. We’ll see the operation with the money in the dead drops play out, and find out how Lalo’s plan to show the cartel that Gus isn’t a reliable money-maker works out. We’ll see how Kim’s situation with Mr. Acker plays out. We’ll see the consequences of Mike’s encounter with the street thugs. We’ll find out why Howard wants to take Jimmy out to lunch. And we’ll get to see Steve Gomez and Hank Schrader again.
What was your favorite moment in Better Call Saul 503? Let me know in the comments below.