TV Review: Better Call Saul - Season Two - Episode 1
This recap/review of Better Call Saul is written with the expectation that everyone who reads this and comments below will have seen the episode already. Thus, if you've yet to see the episode in question, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. SPOILERS!
EPISODE: Season 2, Episode 1: Switch
PLOT: Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) makes a bold move in a new direction, greatly affecting his relationship with Kim (Rhea Seehorn).
REVIEW: I think we can all agree that Better Call Saul has – in only one season – proven itself to be probably the best TV spinoff since Frasier. No one seemed to think much of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould's idea to spin Saul Goodman off into his own show. Mostly comic relief on Breaking Bad, the reason no one was sure Better Call Saul would work is because at that point, no one had met Jimmy McGill, Saul several years before he adopted his mouthpiece lawyer persona
In interviews, Gilligan has said that the transition to Saul was originally supposed to be quick but they fell in love with McGill during the writing, to the point that initially major characters, like Nacho (Michael Mando) got sidelined as McGill simply wasn't there yet. Thus season one became all about McGill's efforts to go straight despite his own instincts from his con-man past, Slippin' Jimmy. It took his brother's betrayal (the great Michael McKean) to seemingly set him on the path to becoming Saul, and that's where season two picks up.
When we last saw him, Jimmy had passed up a nice prospect in Santa Fe, and here we learn his ambition had been to slip back into his Slippin' Jimmy persona. Obviously, things don't quite pan out that way and despite some fun where Kim joins him in taking down an obnoxious mark, by the end of the episode he's working for Ed Begley Jr's law-firm in Santa Fe.
It'll be interesting to see from here how quickly Jimmy goes bad, but again it doesn't seem like it'll be a fast thing – not that you'll care as Jimmy's such a complicated, likeable character. His relationship with Kim is especially intriguing, although while they hooked up here it seems like it might have been a one-time fling for her, when she tries to hustle Jimmy out of her condo.
As for Mike (Jonathan Banks), he's mostly sidelined, although by ditching his security detail for obnoxious pharma-rep Daniel, he puts into play what's bound to be a major story-line, with him literally being like a lamb thrown to the wolves with Nacho. He's such a fool that it doesn't occur to him that Nacho's the one who ransacked his home looking for drugs, with him trying to convince the cops he's a victim, even though they're so quick they can figure out without much effort something is seriously foul. It's hard to feel bad for a guy who drives a Humvee with the licence plate “playuh”.
Overall, this was a perfect reintroduction to Better Call Saul, and like season one, it's very intriguing. While a starkly different show to the operatic Breaking Bad, in its own right Better Call Saul is turning into a major triumph and appointment viewing. I love it.
Breaking Bad Crossover: The episode's lengthy teaser continues our peak at Saul's post-WW existence as a manager at a Cinnabuns. The poor guys locks himself in a garbage room, but can't open the security door lest the cops come - a bad thing as he's still on the run. Interestingly, he writes "SG was here" on the wall, meaning he still identifies as Saul rather than Jimmy. Also - once Jimmy starts at the new firm his choice of desk is distinctly Saul-like.