This Better Call Saul review conatins spoilers.
Better Call Saul Season 2 Episode 3
The tendency towards self-destruction lurks deep in Jimmy McGill. When Jimmy sets his mind to it, he can be a caring friend, intuitive lawyer, hell, even a decent director, as we saw here tonight. But the pull towards the dark side is always too great for Jimmy; put in a room with a switch that begs not to be flipped, Jimmy will flip it every time.
In the past, Jimmy’s slimey nature only put his relationships in harms way. Slippin’ Jimmy’s antics would only affect his reputation with his brother or his budding romance with Kim, but now that Jimmy is no longer self-employed, representing the reputable law firm Davis & Main, Jimmy has a career at risk of being ruined. With a stylish company car, one of those cushy corporate apartments with the bowl of balls, and more importantly, a real thing happening with Kim, it’s no time for Slippin’ Jimmy to rear his head.
However, when Jimmy is in scam mode, like say, donning a white cowboy get-up and armadillo bolo tie while soliciting a bus full of Sand Piper residents, the show is at its best. These creative cons concocted by the writing staff prove that the Breaking Bad team is still hard at work, just thinking on a smaller, less violent scale with their step-ups and schemes.
Jimmy gets the personal information of the whole bus and earns the praise of his colleagues back at the office, well, everyone except Chuck. Knowing Jimmy’s nature, Chuck questions how Jimmy signed up so many residents, but Jimmy easily talks himself out it. Sure, you can see Chuck’s annoyance that he couldn’t catch Jimmy behaving badly, but it’s made even better when you can hear him virtually cooking in his space blanket-lined sport coat. Chuck maybe can’t convince the rest of the table that Jimmy’s up to no good, but his suggestion is enough to persuade Kim, and once Jimmy realizes that Kim is noticeably distant at the idea of him breaking the law yet again, Jimmy recoils. He decides he’ll find another way to get the signatures, and he lands on a future Saul Goodman calling card.
Yep, Jimmy decides to create a commercial specifically targeted at seniors. Dealing with some snotty film students and season one’s Mrs. Strauss, Jimmy creates a tear jerker of an ad. The only problem? He doesn’t clear the creation of the commercial with his boss. Jimmy even has a chance to show Cliff a cut of the final product before he sends it to the TV station, but consciously chooses against it. Unsurprisingly, Jimmy’s ad is a hit, but more obvious still, Cliff becomes livid that Jimmy acted without his approval. Clearly Kim is only warming up to Jimmy because he’s on the straight and narrow, so naturally he hides the fact that Cliff is pissed, but that’s only setting up another time bomb to explode in Jimmy’s face.
Jimmy’s moral disintegration isn’t the only thing on the menu this season, because we also need to find out how Mike goes from a tough guy only taking body-guarding gigs to becoming a fixer for a drug kingpin. His clear motivation is his granddaughter Kaylee, but also money to help Kaylee’s Mom move out of her dangerous neighborhood. Stacey tells Mike that she’s been hearing gunshots by her home, then shows Mike the physical evidence, but there’s a problem in her story. Stacey tells Mike that she heard the gun shot hit her home at 2:13 am, the issue is that Mike was staked out in front of her house at the time and saw no evidence of foul-play. Regardless, Mike goes back to that seedy Vet to put his feelers out for work and eventually takes a mystery job for none other than Nacho. Something tells me that Mike’s work is about to get messier, but I can’t help but wonder what is really happening with Stacey.
The highlighting of the weakness of will is what makes Better Call Saul compelling, but it’s unfortunate to know that these two characters will ultimately keep putting themselves in these situations until they meet their post-Breaking Bad fates. It’s a repetitive point that is made in these reviews, but it’s an unavoidable one. There’s no will-they-wont-they clean up their act with Jimmy and Mike; we know they won’t, and it only gets worse from here.