‘Better Call Saul’ Continues to Stun in Season 2 Premiere (TV REVIEW)

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Bob Odenkirk is a gift from the television Gods. Bow down, because we’re not worthy. Of course, he’s not the only one creating the sheer magic that goes into AMC’s Better Call Saul, but he’s damn instrumental. Season two’s Spring premiere was a reminder that in Vince Gilligan’s universe even the most mundane of moments can be compelling. We’re so close to Saul it’s intoxicating, but the importance of how he got there is what will continue to captivate us. Post-Saul Jimmy is back in the Cinnabon, still looking miserable, still wallowing in his seemingly endless circumstances. The monotony of his routine finds him locked in a mall trash room, and he finds himself at a new crossroads. Rather than open the emergency door, he decides to wait until someone comes to his rescue, literally squatting in indecision. This inability to choose the correct path is both noteworthy and upsetting to his character as a whole. Eventually he’s rescued, leaving behind his dignity and a tiny reminder of who he used to be, “SG WAS HERE”. We soon find Jimmy exactly where we left him at the end of season two- standing in the parking lot of the courthouse wondering whether or not he’s happy with all the decisions that led to this moment. In true Gilligan (and Gould) fashion, we get the inside perspective on what led to his choices. Written and directed by the same genius who brought us last season’s ‘Pimento’ (Thomas Schnauz) Jimmy takes in this moment where all of his dreams and desires are about to come true when he realizes he doesn’t want any of it. His affections for Kim remain unwavering, and after a quick question about the potential of a relationship, he bails, landing us right back into the lap of ‘Slippin’ Jimmy jamming to ‘Smoke on the Water’.

Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn as Jimmy and Kim.
Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn as Jimmy and Kim.

Mike on the other hand has continued down his path of the ex-dirty cop quite nicely. However, when his current employer shows up in a gaudy Hummer he makes the wise decision to back off. Mike isn’t stupid, it’s what has kept him in the game for as long as it has. He’ll work for an imbecile as long as his rules are followed; Mike will calculate his every move to remain safe from his demons. His intention to keep himself safe turns out to be the smart move as his employer is soon visited by drug dealer Nacho’s goons. Yes, this was a nice little tidbit that will surely come back to haunt the oblivious IT drug supplier, but more importantly we need to speculate as to what was in Mike’s lunch bag. (It was definitely a pimento sandwich.)

"Get in, loser. We're going drug dealing."
“Get in, loser. We’re going drug dealing.”

It turns out that scamming is the one thing that can get Kim back into Jimmy’s arms. She finds him lounging in a pool with a comically pleasing floating crab dip and bagged up call phone, and after explaining his reticence in joining up with a big law firm, Jimmy finagles Kim into a con with him. It’s perfect because the two of them have a casual chemistry that comes out only when they’re alone. In that moment they have this shared secret that unites them against a common enemy: Douchebag investment banker Ken “Wins”.

Jimmy reveals his slippery side to Kim.
Jimmy reveals his slippery side to Kim.

Though the triumph in their easy persuasion of Ken to pay their extravagant bar tab, earned by an evening of drinking a tequila that should be familiar to Breaking Bad fans, is quite satisfying, it pales in the glory of Kens’ immediate future. Turns out Ken is the same douchebag that unwittingly pissed off Walter White in season one of Breaking Bad. Tired and terrified of this new chapter in his life, Walt sees Ken drive into a gas station completely oblivious to the world around him. In an act of defiance against his odds, Walt casually uses science to blow Ken’s little red sports car to oblivion. Whoops. After Kim and Jimmy’s celebration sex we see a glimpse at what their life was like together. It’s a quietly truthful moment that is resolved by reality when Kim gets dressed for her workday. Jimmy has nowhere to be, something Kim would never allow herself to experience. These contrasting moments are integral to Jimmy’s life choices. Even after taking a stand, he finds himself being pulled right back into a rut he can’t climb out of. The end of the episode finds Jimmy buying back in the rouse. He accepts the position at Davis & Main law firm, attempting to get comfortable, and it’s here that we see Jimmy’s inability to fall in line, flipping a switch he’s forbidden to touch and feeling quite smug with his tiny victory. The contrast between the first scene and the last is brilliant and boundlessly important. Each episode we’re one step closer to Jimmy’s ascension towards Saul Goodman, and these small instances are exactly what’s going to put him there. BCS is constantly transfixed on the moment as it relates to a whole, operating on both emotional and markedly logical levels, making for quite literally the perfect television experience.

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