The challenge that Better Call Saul came up against when it premiered was how it could create drama even though it’s destination has already been predetermined. We know that Jimmy McGill ultimately becomes Saul Goodman, who develops a reputation as the top “criminal” lawyer in all of Albuquerque and like all criminals, sees his reign come to an end.
Prequels don’t often have the luxury of surprising the audience, so no one is holding their breath hoping that Jimmy has a chance as a legitimate attorney or that he’ll make amends with his brother, Chuck. The question is if the show can keep people invested even if they know where things are going. Better Call Saul is in its third season now, so someone out there is paying attention to what’s happening. Personally, a lot of my interest was riding on whether or not Jimmy would get lucky with Kim. Score one for the guy who looks like Kevin Costner.
And while the pre-Breaking Bad escapes of Slippin’ Jimmy hint at greatness and occasionally even delivers it, there’s just not enough substance to make me forget that I’m watching a prequel. When I’m constantly reminded of what awaits these characters in the future, I find myself wishing that I was watching Breaking Bad instead.
Addictions are weird things. You work hard to rid of them and you are doing great for a period of time. And then something happens and it triggers your brain to fall back into old habits.
The trigger could be all kinds of things. Seeing an old friend, depression, a fight with a loved one, some guy cutting you off in traffic or hell, the smell of a freshly baked cookie.
The trigger doesn’t need to make sense. It’s like your brain is just finding any sort of excuse to get you back to the high of your addiction.
Jimmy isn’t addicted to drinking, smoking or drugs. He gets his high on conning people. And he is damn good at it.
Building a career is difficult. The work itself is probably pretty easy but building your name up to be trusted is hard.
Sure you can spend countless hours studying, working or volunteering. You can have the best skills, knowledge and work ethic. Generally that means absolutely nothing in the real world.
Someone out there has to give you a chance. They have to put their trust in you when you probably don’t deserve it. Call it luck or call it hard work paying off, but you can’t get anywhere without someone taking a chance on you.
For Mike, he forced someone to take a chance on him. For Jimmy, he pushed as far as he could before ultimately falling short. Again.
“I do all the talking. That’s the only way this works.” -Jimmy McGill
Last week I declared the episode “Five-O” as the reason Better Call Saul exists. Jonathan Banks was so captivating as Mike Ehrmantraut that I declared him the true star of the series. This week in the episode titled “Bingo”, Bob Odenkirk reminded me why the show is called Better Call Saul.
Spoilers after the jump.
The first episodes of Better Call Saul worked hard to distinguish itself from the shadow of Breaking Bad. The latest episode, “Alpine Shepherd Boy”, on the other hand, felt like it could have easily fit into Walter White’s story.
Although not a ground breaking episode, the cold opening, the slow pacing and the small-detailed character development of the episode really showcased what Vince Gilligan does best.
“You assume criminals are gonna be smarter than they are. Kinda breaks my heart a little.”
Jimmy McGill’s evolution to Saul Goodman continues to be nearly as transfixing as Walter White’s transformation into Heisenberg. While it might not be fair to compare the two men’s backstories, I can’t help but be impressed that Vince Gilligan and co have so much to say about a cheesy TV lawyer.
Through the first four episodes of the series the writers have created a fascinating look into a character that many people (including myself) believed to be one-dimensional. They are laying the groundwork to show us how Jimmy McGill became Saul Goodman and at the same time are creating a compelling world of crime and adventure that will be sure to entertain for quite a few seasons.
Enough about the series overall, let’s jump into episode four. Continue reading
In my review of the first two episodes of Better Call Saul, I applauded the creators for working at a slow pace. I was also impressed with how they balanced the bottle story within the bigger overarching story. Episode three of this young show continues those trends as it digs deeper into Saul’s struggle with doing what is right.