TV: Better Call Saul, Season 2
The Breaking Bad spin-off finally comes into its own, in its second instalment. Eventually defining its own identity as a programme in its own right, and not just a spin-off of it awards winning, Netflix-defining predecessor. The second season is a crucial point in the shows independence away for Breaking Bad, as the show occupies a familiar world but opens up entirely new themes.
Season two finds Jimmy McGill a.k.a Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkrik) with the choice of staying within the law or trying more unethical was to make more money, as we are jumped right back into the Sandpiper case of law firm culture, Chuck and Jimmy’s relationship has become even more frosty while his romantic relationship with Kim (Rhea Seehorn) has also changed. We see Mike become an entrenched ally and are invited to watch the stillness and quiet of Jimmy’s alone time, which neatly ties it all together for the audience.
Gilligan and Gould use of clever writing, inventive direction and nuanced performances, hones their ability to display many of the same qualities that made Breaking Bad so great. From its unpredictability and occasional bouts of mania and menace, to the calm neo-noir scenes of disarming quirkiness, we are always drawn in. Despite at times falling back into its sleepy trap that seemed to plague the first season, season two picks up the pace and urgency it was lacking.
Annoyingly and frustratingly for the audience, the season is being realised in weekly episodes, as opposed to one big chunk for us all to binge continuously on, as we have the privilege of doing with House of Cards. However this also adds to the suspense and excitement of watching each episode, not to over indulge ourselves in one day, we are forced to follow the pace of each episode and appreciate it in due course.
Better Call Saul is a contest for Jimmy’s soul, a inner battle of good and evil or the devil and god that rages inside all of us. Is it enough to be successful and content, or do we all need to tap into our thrilling wild reckless side. It’s evident that Jimmy can be a good man, despite often breaking the law, however is he a good person? Watching Jimmy’s development is like watching a car crash, as we know that he is going down the self-destructive, self-fulfilling path, of being a dodgy criminal lawyer.