Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 8, “Bagman” is one of Vince Gilligan’s finest works, as Saul finds himself in a precarious, dangerous position.
This recap of Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 8, “Bagman” contains spoilers and information of how it ended.
Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 8, “Bagman” is one of those chapters where you wait with bated breath — a slight movement has you on tenterhooks; every line means something. Episode 8 is directed with the utmost attention and care and it deserves all the plaudits it gets.
As we established in the last episode, Lalo wants Saul to get his bail money and in “Bagman” he provides Saul with the instructions of where to get the money from — “Near a well in at the border”. Saul initially backs out, but then decides the journey to simply pick up a bag of money is worth $100k.
As with many characters in Breaking Bad, the chase is just too juicy.
Of course, due to their new agreement, Saul has to tell Kim about his new errand. This is one of the first scenes in a long time where Kim does not leave the audience guessing how she is feeling. There are no passive-aggressive responses, no subtle body language; she’s genuinely scared for Saul and tries to persuade him not to go through with it.
We’ve waited for a moment like this for a while — where Kim is genuinely scared of what Saul is doing.
And Saul heads to the well in the desert on the border. As he waits for Lalo’s cousins to drop off the money, he uses his water to clean the mud off his shoes. The irony and stupidity of this moment are cripplingly significant for the rest of the episode but also highlights how Vince Gilligan makes the smallest of moments wholly symbolic.
At first, Saul picking up two big bags of money equal to 7 million dollars looks rather simple, but then he is surrounded by the cartel, who tells him to get out of the car and as they are about to shoot him square in the head, they are ambushed and killed as Saul sneaks behind a car, shaken by the violence.
It comes as no surprise that Mike was the man killing the men that surrounded Saul but it is still a grand moment as he stands over the lawyer and tells him to breathe because he is in shock. Mike grabs the money and gets into Saul’s car. On the car journey, Mike tells Saul that he’s alive and that he should focus on that. But the journey goes from complicated to more complicated as Saul’s car breaks down, and in case the cartel return, they have to push the car off a small cliff edge.
Mike and Saul have to walk through the desert to get home, and they have to do it off-road, as the men who stopped Saul are now searching for them.
With survival instincts fully flowing, Mike suggests they camp for the night. Mike suddenly becomes alarmed that Saul’s wife knows about the pick up for Lalo and suggests she will call the cops. This scene is important because Mike tells Saul that Kim is now in the game, and I don’t think Saul realizes what he’s put himself in for.
Unfortunately, Kim takes it further than calling the cops; worried that her husband is dead, Kim meets Lalo pretending to be part of his legal team. She promises Lalo that he will get his money if he tells her where Saul Goodman is. Lalo laughs at her, mocks her in some moments and explains that he will not tell Kim the location of where Saul picked up the money before walking off.
Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 8, “Bagman” closes dramatically; Mike and Saul continue to walk through the desert, becoming more and more dehydrated — they are desperately running out of water. Saul is making mistakes, dragging the money bags on the floor which creates a hole and money starts flying out. He then makes the schoolboy error of spiking himself with a cactus — cleaning his shoes with that freshwater seems nonsense now. At this point, Saul is hysterical, claiming he is giving up and that he may as well die. Mike shows a rare moment of emotion, claiming he does what he does for his people, and that when he dies, at least they will be well looked after. Mike demands that Saul gets up.
But it gets worse as the car looking for them returns and Mike looks defeated, but calmly says they have to lay low and wait. But Saul has a moment of inspiration, picking up the reflective cover and money bags and walking into the open road to get their attention — he asks Mike to get his rifle ready. As the car storms towards Saul, Mike uses his marksmanship to snipe the driver. This was an incredible scene where Saul looks towards the camera as the car flips behind him.
Saul, who has suddenly realised he wants to live, drinks some of his own urine and he and Mike continue walking.
Better Call Saul Season 5, Episode 8, “Bagman” is a Vince Gilligan masterclass.
- Lalo laughs at a news report of one of Gus’s restaurants suffering from an arson attack.
- Before pushing the car off the small cliff, Saul wants his coffee flask first that says “world’s best lawyer”.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.