Better call Nacho

Ripping off the county treasurer who’s already embezzled the money and can’t complain to the cops when someone steals it from him: I love it.

I thought the plot and humor of Episode 2 of “Better Call Saul” continued with the sluggish pace of Episode 1 until the final scene with the smart, cool and articulate crook Nacho and his plan for the no-sweat crime. Now there’s a character more interesting than a psychotic but strangely gullible drug kingpin, adolescence-arrested skateboarders from a teenage nerd movie and a predictably angelic aunt — maybe even more intriguing than the broadly lampooned loser-lawyer Saul himself. (Yes, he wins cases but he continues to dig his hole deeper and the parking validation gag is getting old).

By sluggish I mean the long wait through the blood-on-the-rug scene — after which Tuco suddenly turns from smart and ruthless at home to shallow and foolish in the desert — at least one too many broken breadsticks, at least one too many cups of machine coffee and inexplicable scenes with paranoid brother, Chuck.

Maybe it’s like a newspaper story: Too much background before the good quote, too much fascination with your own words — in this case the camera — are guaranteed to make readers’ eyelids droop.

Enter Nacho. For me, his belated arrival jolted the plot forward like a rear-end collision.

I still can’t guess whether his ingenious rip-off-the-corrupt politician idea will instruct Saul’s future MO or whether Saul will simply be a man trapped by debt to the drug guys. But I also don’t know yet whether Saul is a skillful sleazeball or simply a bumbler with a gift for gab.

I agree lawyer Saul’s desperately inventive persuasiveness on the brink of disaster is funny. We’ve seen it in the courthouse and the desert now. But it takes a long time to deliver and, at least to me, registers like an insider joke. Hopefully, Nacho will be his inspiration as well as his doom.

And why are Saul’s business cards matchbooks instead of the good old nail files politicians used to hand out? Of course, I don’t think you can hand out either in most courthouses or jails. And since when does a wordless nod of the head mean “Get the toolbox out of the back of the van so we can torture these guys?” Especially when you don’t know what the box contains? Pipe wrench or wirecutters?

Meanwhile, while we love the production benefits, will Albuquerque viewers eventually start to complain about stereotypes?

Until later, in Nacho we trust.

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