Five-O (Better Call Saul)
|Better Call Saul episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Adam Bernstein|
|Written by||Gordon Smith|
|Original air date||March 9, 2015|
|Running time||42 minutes|
The episode received acclaim from critics with Jonathan Banks' performance being singled out for praise.
In a flashback, Mike arrives by train at Albuquerque's Alvarado Transportation Center. After re-bandaging a fresh bullet wound in his shoulder, he meets his daughter-in-law Stacey and her daughter Kaylee. Stacey and Mike briefly discuss the death of Matt, Mike's son and Stacey's husband. Stacey questions whether Matt might have been involved in something illegal, based on his behavior during their final encounter, but Mike brushes off her concerns. After the meeting, he questions a cabdriver as to "how well" he knows the neighborhood, and is later seen having his shoulder wound treated by a local veterinarian, Dr. Caldera, who inquires as to whether Mike might be interested in any "work", which Mike declines.
Philadelphia police detectives Sanders and Abbasi attempt to question Mike, who requests a lawyer and gives them Jimmy's card. Mike asks Jimmy to "accidentally" spill his coffee on Abbasi so he can steal Abbasi's notebook and investigate how much the police know about him, but Jimmy declines. In the interrogation, the detectives explain they're investigating the death of Mike's son Matt, a rookie police officer who was ambushed and killed when responding to a shots-fired call. In addition, Matt's partners, Troy Hoffman and Jack Fenske, were shot and killed in a similar ambush six months later. The detectives know Hoffman and Fenske were dirty, and suspect Mike of killing them since he left Philadelphia shortly after their deaths. Jimmy moves to end the interrogation and spills his coffee on Abbasi. Mike pretends to help Abbasi clean his jacket and steals the notebook from his breast pocket.
At home, Mike discovers from the notebook that Stacey summoned the detectives to Albuquerque. She tells Mike that after she arrived in Albuquerque, she discovered several thousand dollars hidden in the lining of one of her suitcases. She decided to report it, hoping it would lead to the identification of Matt's killer. She suggests that she believes Matt might have been dirty, which angers Mike.
In a flashback to Philadelphia, Mike breaks into a police car parked outside a bar. He then enters the bar, and after a few drinks, confronts Fenske and Hoffman, telling them "I know it was you". A few hours later, Mike is the last customer at closing time, and announces to the bartender that he plans to move to Albuquerque. As he staggers home, Fenske and Hoffman drive up in their patrol car, offer him a ride, and help him into the back seat. They take his handgun and ask him what he meant when he talked to them earlier. Apparently still drunk, Mike tells them he knows they killed Matt. They drive to an abandoned factory, and Mike pulls from the backseat cushions the gun he'd hidden when he broke into the car earlier in the evening. Fenske and Hoffman plan to kill Mike and make it look like suicide, but Mike reveals that he's not really drunk. Fenske attempts to shoot him, but the gun Fenske took from Mike is empty. Mike shoots Fenske three times in the chest, and Hoffman tries to draw his pistol, but Mike's shot hits him in the head. Fenske draws his service pistol and fires twice, with one round hitting Mike in the left shoulder. Mike returns fire and hits Fenske in the neck. Fenske tries to crawl away, but Mike steps on his leg to prevent him from reaching his pistol. Fenske raises a hand as if to beg for his life, but Mike dispatches him with a shot to the head. Mike picks up his unloaded handgun and walks off, preparing to depart for Albuquerque.
In Albuquerque, Mike admits to Stacey that corruption was rampant in Matt's precinct, to include Mike himself. When Hoffman started accepting bribes from a gang he offered to cut Matt in. Matt asked for Mike's advice, and Mike suggested that not taking the money would mark him as a whistleblower, which could endanger him and his family, so it would be better to accept it. Mike admitted to Matt that he participated in the corruption, leaving Matt upset that the father he looked up to is a criminal. Matt ultimately accepted the money, but didn't spend any, yet Hoffman and Fenske murdered him anyway because his hesitation before accepting made them fear he'd turn them in later. Mike is tormented over corrupting Matt for nothing, saying in tears of anguish "I broke my boy!" Stacey asks who killed Hoffman and Fenske, and Mike says "You know what happened. The question is--can you live with it?"
The script was the first-ever television script written by Gordon Smith, who was previously a writer's assistant on Breaking Bad. It was directed by Adam Bernstein, who directed several episodes of Breaking Bad.
Upon airing, the episode received 2.57 million American viewers, and an 18-49 rating of 1.3.
The episode received near universal acclaim, with unanimous praise for Jonathan Banks' performance, which some critics considered award-worthy. On Rotten Tomatoes, based on 20 reviews, it received a 100% approval rating with an average score of 8.8 out of 10. The site's consensus reads, "In a departure from the existing Better Call Saul narrative, 'Five-O' provides essential backstory for Mike's character, delivered in a gripping, award-worthy performance by Jonathan Banks."
Roth Cornet of IGN gave it a score of 9.7 out of 10, praising the performance of Jonathan Banks, the episode's pacing and interwoven storylines, as well as the final scene of the episode. She concluded, "Better Call Saul continues to deliver some of the best of what television has to offer as both those familiar with Breaking Bad and new viewers alike were given a shattering look at Mike's tragic past." Tim Surette of TV.com also highly praised the performance of Banks, and wrote it is worthy of an Emmy, calling it "one of the best episodes to date of 2015's best new show to date".
"Five-O" received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Jonathan Banks was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and Gordon Smith was nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards. When Peter Dinklage won, he praised the other nominees, and singled out Banks by name.
- Friedman, Megan (March 11, 2015). "Behind Mike's Gut-Wrenching Backstory on Better Call Saul". Esquire. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
- 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.
- Hibberd, James (July 11, 2014). "'Better Call Saul': New photos, details from 'Breaking Bad' spin-off". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (March 10, 2015). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Monday Night RAW' Tops Night + 'Love & Hip-Hop', 'Better Call Saul', 'Black Ink Crew' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- "Five-0". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- Cornet, Roth (March 9, 2015). "Better Call Saul: "5-0" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- Surette, Tim (March 9, 2015). "Better Call Saul "Five-O" Review: Better Call the Emmys for Jonathan Banks". TV.com. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- Hipes, Patrick (July 16, 2015). "Emmy Nominations 2015 – Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
- "Emmys 2015 – Peter Dinklage Wins Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series". Television Academy. September 20, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2015.