Alpine Shepherd Boy
|"Alpine Shepherd Boy"|
|Better Call Saul episode|
|Directed by||Nicole Kassell|
|Written by||Bradley Paul|
|Original air date||March 2, 2015|
|Running time||44 minutes|
"Alpine Shepherd Boy" (originally titled "Jello") is the fifth episode of the first season of the AMC television series Better Call Saul, the spinoff series of Breaking Bad. The episode aired on March 2, 2015.
Two police officers arrive at Chuck McGill's house after his neighbor calls 911 to report the stolen newspaper. Chuck refuses to open the door for the officers due to his electromagnetic hypersensitivity. One officer walks around to the basement door, where he finds that the breaker lines have been cut and several empty cans of camping fuel for Chuck's stove and lanterns. Combined with Chuck's ramblings, the two officers mistakenly deduce that Chuck is a drug user, kick down the front door, and taser him.
Meanwhile, Jimmy approaches wealthy tycoon Big Ricky Sipes, who offers $1 million in cash to help him secede from the United States. Jimmy's excitement at the windfall quickly dissipates when he notices the eccentric mogul has printed his own currency, and Jimmy can't take a single "dollar" to the bank. Jimmy visits another prospective client, an inventor named Roland Jaycocks, who asks to help him patent "Tony the Toilet Buddy," a training toilet that spouts what are supposed to be encouraging phrases to kids as they use it, but which instead end up unwittingly sounding like sexual innuendos. When Jimmy points this out, an incensed Roland chases Jimmy out of his house. Finally, Jimmy visits Mrs. Strauss, an elderly woman who collects porcelain Hummel figurines of which one is an alpine shepherd boy. He assists her with estate planning, which mostly consists of allocating various Hummels to different friends and relatives. Mrs. Strauss finds Jimmy's moxie quite charming, and pays his full fee upfront.
That evening, Jimmy entertains Kim Wexler with tales of his eventful day. Now that he has two wills and a living trust under his belt, she suggests that he could have a promising future in elder law. Jimmy considers, but is interrupted when Kim takes a call from Hamlin saying that Chuck is in the hospital. There, Jimmy and Kim explain Chuck's condition to a skeptical doctor who proves that Chuck's electromagnetic hypersensitivity may not be genuine by flipping a switch under the hospital bed. She recommends Chuck be committed to a mental institution, but Jimmy initially decides to take him home. However, Hamlin shows up and tells Jimmy that he has convinced the DA to make sure that Chuck is not committed. Jimmy is infuriated by Hamlin's greed, knowing that if Chuck were to be committed, Jimmy would become his legal guardian and thus have the authority to request and receive Chuck's severance payment from Hamlin's firm. Although he threatens to have Chuck committed just to scare Hamlin, he still ultimately decides to take him home.
At Chuck's house, the two brothers discuss Jimmy's recent exploits, and Chuck encourages him to pursue elder law. After mimicking Andy Griffith's appearance in Matlock, Jimmy promotes his new specialization at a nursing home by printing a slogan on the bottom of Jello containers: "Need a will? Call McGill." Exiting the parking lot, Jimmy gives Mike his business card that has the same slogan printed on it. After his shift, Mike parks outside a woman's house; she comes out and gets in her car, stares at Mike uncomfortably, and they both drive away. At his home, Mike is visited by several police officers. He tells the detective, "Long way from home, aren't you?", to which the detective replies, "You and me both."
"Alpine Shepherd Boy" is the first Better Call Saul episode not to be written or directed by someone who wrote or directed for Breaking Bad. It was directed by Nicole Kassell and written by Bradley Paul. The episode was originally titled "Jello" as the showrunners intended each episode title to end in the letter "o" but were unable to obtain permission to use the trademarked gelatin brand name "Jell-O".
Upon airing, the episode received 2.71 million American viewers, and an 18-49 rating of 1.2.
The episode received generally positive reception from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, based on 18 reviews, it received a 94% approval rating with an average score of 6.8 out of 10. The site's consensus reads, "With 'Alpine Shepherd Boy', Better Call Saul continues to forge its own identity, while establishing its characters and their journeys in surprising ways. IGN gave the episode a 9.0 rating. The Telegraph rated the episode 4 out of 5 stars.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (June 19, 2014). "'Better Call Saul' Renewed for Second Season by AMC; First Season Pushed Back to 2015". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- Bowman, Donna (March 2, 2015). "Better Call Saul: "Alpine Shepherd Boy"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- Gilligan, Vince (March 2, 2015). Insider Podcast [105 Better Call Saul] (podcast). Albuquerque: iTunes. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
- Bibel, Sara (March 3, 2015). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Love & Hip Hop' Wins Night, 'WWE Raw', 'Better Call Saul', 'Vanderpump Rules', 'The Fosters' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- "Alpine Sheperd Boy". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- Cornet, Roth (March 2, 2015). "Better Call Saul: "Alpine Shepherd Boy" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- Power, Ed (March 3, 2015). "Better Call Saul: Alpine Shepherd Boy, episode five, review: 'Jimmy slips away'". The Telegraph. Retrieved March 3, 2015.