Better Call Saul (Season 2) ★★★½

Two episodes in and it seems that Slippin’ Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) has everything: a beautiful new office and employment at Davis & Main, a car that is a single color, and the affections of Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). His life has taken a clear turn for the better after alerting HHM of the Sandpiper case.

better-call-saul-season-2His decision to accept employment at Davis & Main is informed by Kim’s reassurance that they will continue to see each other despite the distance to his new job. Kim motivates Jimmy and ensures that he achieves success in his career. He isn’t making career decisions on account of ensuring his own well-being: he values his relationship with Kim more so than his career. His relationship reiterates the fact that in all aspects of his life, Jimmy is led by his emotions and what he thinks is the right or fair thing to do.

Perhaps Kim acknowledges Jimmy’s loyalty and thinks that Jimmy is an admirable, romantic relationship partner for this reason, perhaps the attractiveness gap is perpetuated. Regardless, their relationship becomes strained as Jimmy commits forgery in order to support Kim’s career as a lawyer. Jimmy and Kim both experience self-discovery as the policies and work at their respective law firms turn out to be limiting of their abilities as lawyers.

As Kim begins to spend more time with Jimmy, she learns of how often he manipulates the law and downright breaks it in order to pursue developments on a case. After Pryce’s (Mark Proksch) house is robbed and the police discover an empty hiding place behind the sofa, Mike (Jonathan Banks) hires Jimmy to be Pryce’s lawyer. Jimmy spins an elaborate tale, explaining to the police that Pryce is a “squat cobbler”. He explains that the hiding place held fetish videos of Pryce sitting on pies and crying and his artistic client that bought the videos robbed Pryce’s house after a dispute. He tells Kim about defending Pryce as the two eat leftover pie that wasn’t needed for creating a video as evidence. Kim is disappointed in him for fabricating evidence and informs Jimmy that she doesn’t want to hear about his antics again, warning him of the repercussions he would face at Davis & Main if they heard about his acts. Gilligan‘s and Gould‘s Better Call Saul continues to insert moments of hilarity into every episode in an even more obscure manner than in Season 1.

The relationship between Chuck (Michael McKean) and Jimmy is muddled and complicated as brief vignettes of their earlier lives are shown in flashback at the start of a few episodes. It is implied that Chuck holds a great amount of jealousy of Jimmy: it seems Jimmy was the favorite of their parents, Chuck’s wife thought Jimmy was hilarious, as so forth. Chuck’s opposition of Jimmy leads Chuck to resist his phobia of electromagnetic waves so he can return to HHM and flaunt Jimmy’s efforts. Deep down, Chuck fears that Jimmy’s success is about to eclipse his. Nonetheless, Chuck’s discontent with Jimmy is not reciprocated- Jimmy continues to admire and care for his brother. Chuck knows this, and eventually uses Jimmy’s care against him.

While Season 1 delves into the back stories of characters reprising their roles from Breaking Bad, Season 2 lingers less on the past and more so on the sinuous and intricate relations formed between characters in the present. Mike is featured in Season 2, but in a lesser capacity than in Season 1. However, what makes his character differ from his scenes in Breaking Bad and even in Season 1 is the suggestion of vulnerability. With the promise that “Fring’s back” (rearrange the first letters of the episodes in this season) and the involvement of a non-paralyzed Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis), Season 3 looks to return to the realm of action as featured in Breaking Bad, but from a different perspective- that of characters experiencing the formative events that led them to become who they are in Breaking Bad.

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