Better Call Saul is off to an incredible start. Within a very short time, the show has continued to justify its existence as a spin-off by taking the Alexander Payne like moments of Breaking Bad and amplifying them to greater heights. The show has that familiar cinematic camera style indebted to its predecessor, but we’re seeing a different, more suburban side of New Mexico in Better Call Saul.
The distinctive supporting characters showcased in this episode, like the diverse prospective clients of Jimmy, were so peculiar yet true to life. All of the interactions are hysterical, with Bob Odenkirk doing incredible reaction work. Just watch his face as he deals with that red-blooded buffoon printing his own money, trying to secede from the nation, and the weirdo with the sexual talking toilet meant for his kid; it’s sprouting off phrases like “Oh yeah, that’s the way. You’re so big!” The scenes had me laughing, and honestly, this was the kind of thing I envisioned in my head when the show was pitched: a lawyer specializing in odd balls. Jimmy watching Matlock episodes in attempts to win over the elderly, now that just sounds like the Saul Goodman I know.
As I said before, Better Call Saul is covering different walks of life that we didn’t get much interaction with on Breaking Bad, even the mentally ill. As suspected, we learn from a doctor (TV Vet Clea Duvall) that Chuck’s illness is completely made up. Due to his esteem and respect for his brother’s mind, Jimmy refuses to let Chuck to be committed, even though it would allow Jimmy to have leverage over the deceptively nice Hamlin. However, Jimmy’s reasoning goes deeper. Somehow, Jimmy believes that Chuck’s illness acting up is correlated to Jimmy acting up in his old Slippin’ Jimmy ways. Perhaps against good judgment, it seems like Jimmy is going to handle Chuck’s psychological state on his own, imagining himslef being responsible.
More than anything, I was overjoyed to get to spend more time with Mike this week. I didn’t realize it until watching his scenes tonight, but I always really appreciated the glimpses into Mike’s life on Breaking Bad. But here we learn very little about him, save for details of his past as a cop, as well as his granddaughter. Curiously, we never learned anything else about Mike’s family, but tonight, and this is just speculation, we’re introduced to a daughter or daughter-in-law in a quietly interesting and tense intersection. The cliffhanger and scenes from next week suggest that Mike will be getting even more of the limelight, and I welcome that prospect.
The balance of comedy and the drama in this show is just a fantastic. It seamlessly zips from cute scenes like Jimmy painting Kim’s toenails to long takes of a stoic, lonely man. When watching this series and knowing where Jimmy ends up, it’s hard to tell if Jimmy’s story is a rise or a fall. Just like the show that came before it, Jimmy is a protagonist motivated by family, but the circumstances are entirely different. Jimmy just wants to be a good ethical person for the sake of his brother, but we know that isn’t quite how he ends up. Sure, his life seems more luxurious when we meet Saul in Breaking Bad, but there’s no mention of any McGills, including a Jimmy. Somehow, things can’t get go well for Chuck, and if Jimmy’s theories are correct, he’ll end up directly responsible.
The Best of the Rest
- Cops bust into Chuck’s home because they suspect him of being a tweaker. I hear they have a lot of those in the ABQ.
- The set design for Ricky Sipes’ house instantly had me giggling. A television show about a secessionist isn’t a half bad idea.
- Jimmy wishes the sex toilet inventor some luck, telling him that his son is going to need all of the money to help with therapy.
- Jimmy helps an old woman create a will, delegating where her precious moments figurines will go upon death with very precise stipulations.
- The Matlock suit and the Jell-O get them every time, baby.
- Are you excited about Mike getting more involved? When do you think Nacho will reemerge as a threat? I’d love to hear some theories in the comment section!