Better Call Saul came back for its second outing and oh boy did it take a massive step forward. This was already a damn good show, yet they managed to take it up a notch for this second season, it firmly stepped out from the lofty shadow cast upon it.
There will be spoilers for season 2 of Better Call Saul, so don’t read on if you don’t want to know the goings on of Jimmy McGill.
I have already pretty much given the game away; Better Call Saul is an excellent piece of television, to the extent that it has almost moved away from me considering it an origins story. Of course I realise that this is not the case, because it is clearly an origins story, however after season 1 it has very much stamped its name as an individual.
It is interesting to see the differences between season 1 and season 2, one of the major ones is that they have moved away from some of the more cartoony aspects of the show and moved firmly into the drama category. Prior to the first season I didn’t think that Better Call Saul would work as a proper drama, I was totally wrong.
Bob Odenkirk was once again outstanding as Jimmy, it doesn’t matter how many things he does which are deplorable, it is near impossible to be annoyed at or root against Jimmy. A big credit must be given to the writers; however the acting from Odenkirk is top notch. Throughout the season you start to get these little nods to his future life as Saul Goodman; from the commercial, to the filming a man sitting in pie or his colourful taste in suits. It’s a very well performed slow turn, he’s morphing from Jimmy to Saul but it isn’t happening in an instant like a poorer written and performed show would do, it is done in a much savvier manner.
Speaking of McGill’s…wow Chuck’s a bastard isn’t he? Fuck me. Season 1 ends with the revelation that Chuck didn’t want Jimmy at his firm and had been sabotaging him, and then season 2 ends with Chuck pretending to go mad(der) only to get a taped confession from Jimmy, for the only purpose of fucking him once again.
The development of the background story to Chuck’s pure resentment towards Jimmy was greater delved into in this season, it wasn’t solely his ducking and diving lifestyle he disproved of. He stole from their father which led to him losing his business and ending up penniless, when their mother died she called for Jimmy not Chuck and even Chuck’s wife was enamoured when meeting Jimmy. It must be tough for Chuck, being the by the books good guy his whole life, only for his totally opposite to be more loved by his parents and everyone he meets. Chuck’s resentment for Jimmy is based on his jealousy at how likeable his brother is and how bland he is.
The saddest thing of all in the relationship between Jimmy and Chuck, is that Jimmy despite all the mean things he does to Chuck (altering documents) still deep down loves his brother and would do anything for him (blowing his cover at the copy shop), he looks up to Chuck, he’s his role model. Chuck on the other hand has done nothing for Jimmy since he bettered himself but continually tries to hold him down and fuck him at every possible avenue.
It’s why although Jimmy does loads of illegal things and sabotaged his brothers relationship with Mesa Verde (which to be fair Chuck went out his way to fuck Kim out of, just to fuck Jimmy) he is so much more likeable than Chuck, who couldn’t be anymore law abiding, and the reason for that is that one is good hearted and the other is a vindictive bastard. It’s why Chuck is one of the best antagonists currently on television, you hate him despite the fact that he hasn’t really done anything wrong.
Mike’s story kicked along nicely as he got further involved with the cartels. It’s interesting how they’ve used Mike’s story as an interesting little side story to Jimmy’s. They interact to an extent, however we are currently being told two very different stories, to do with two characters who are strong enough to carry a story arc on their own.
Obviously you can’t talk Mike and not talk his final scene in the season, the ‘Don’t’ message. So who sent it? Does Nacho have some sort of crazy time travel machine which allows him to somehow get up to Mike’s car without anyone realising? Certainly not. Or is it that this is the introduction of Gus Fring? Yes, that is clearly what it is, and beautifully executed too.
Mike’s story is also where most of the ex-Breaking Bad characters are being introduced and once again it is handled very well. Yes we’ve had Tuco, but this season we also got Hector and the twins as well. Hector in particular is a big part of Breaking Bad and we know he has major beef with Gus, it will be very interesting to see how this develops going forward.
Mike is such a cool guy, a total badass who nobody can take advantage of because not only is he smart but he has skills too, well…not exactly nobody. His daughter in law is a total bitch, clearly making up stories and complaints about her houses because she fancies moving to a nicer neighbourhood. The problem being that Mike knows that she is taking a loan of him, however accepts the fact so that he can do best by his granddaughter.
Better Call Saul is a truly wonderfully produced piece of television, you can point to things such as the acting and the writing, however even things such as the way the show is filmed is light-years in front of some other TV shows. In particular a lot of the stuff around Chuck’s ‘condition’ really gives you the feeling of dismay and struggle he is having. I loved the sniper scene in the last episode, as well as Chuck’s trip to the CAT scan.
The show in my opinion has moved more towards being a proper drama, it can be very funny, however it isn’t what you’d describe as a comedy. Being able to go from serious to humorous effortlessly is another sign of a very well put together TV show (feel like I’m saying it a lot).
Despite being centred on lawyers I am pleasantly surprised to see that Better Call Saul hasn’t went down the show about lawyers route, rather taking the less tapped into show about the lives of lawyers. It means we don’t get bogged down with courtroom goings on and legal jargon, they’ve really made the show about the transformation of Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman and how the people in his life affected and pushed him towards that change.
It may have been in the shadow of the behemoth the was Breaking Bad, it has more than stepped out of that shadow and turned a bloody light on. It has already in my opinion became one of the best shows currently on TV and I’m more than looking forward to see where the two cliff hangers will lead in season 3. Can’t help but say ‘Gimme more Jimmy!’
So what did you think of Better Call Saul season 2? Do you think that Chuck is Satan himself, sent to Earth to sabotage the legal career of the bright young prospect Jimmy McGill? Are you wondering why I didn’t mention Kim at all in this review (it just sort of happened, but she’s great)? Is it possible that the message wasn’t from someone connected to Gus Fring and was rather a note leftover from when Mike went dogging? Well leave a message and share those thoughts!