Better Call Saul Season 2: Gimme Jimmy! More Shades of Breaking Bad & Chuck’s Anger Boils Over [Review]

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From AMC and showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould comes the Breaking Bad prequel series Better Call Saul. Starring Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Michael McKeen, Rhea Seahorn, Michael Mando and Patrick Fabian, the series just concluded it’s second season. Season three is set to debut in 2017.

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill - Better Call Saul _ Season 2, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Ursula Coyote/Sony Pictures Television/ AMC

He wasn’t always Saul Goodman, ace attorney for chemist-turned-meth dealer Walter White. Six years before he begins to represent Albuquerque’s most notorious criminal, Goodman is Jimmy McGill, a small-time attorney hustling to make a name for himself. He’s a forceful champion for his low-income clients, an underdog whose morals and ambitions often clash. Jimmy works with private eye Mike Ehrmantraut, a former Philadelphia cop and recent transplant to the Southwest. Mike has a specialized skill set — he’s a “fixer” of sticky situations — that Jimmy soon learns to appreciate.

More Breaking Bad characters, more emotional distress and WAY WAY WAY more betrayal. Utter, heart breaking betrayal. By the end of season one, Jimmy had decided to return to a life of shenanigans. He realized that his true calling was to be a swindler – an opportunist. It was what he was and is still, very good at. I love the little moments he had this season where he ropes in Kim to his scams and they wind up swindling these arrogant bluetooth suit and tie wearing boneheads.

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I didn’t expect so much of season 2 to really dive into Kim’s story but Gilligan and Gould obviously saw more opportunity to explore that character, especially since she’s the unknown element to this overall tale. We know what happens to Jimmy eventually – and Mike for that matter. But we don’t know what the hell happens to Kim. So they really banked on her being an intriguing character this season and I think it worked for the most part. When we dealt with her work issues and how they were impacted because of her relationship with Jimmy, it was fantastic and by the end – brilliant drama. But it wasn’t Mike buying a sniper rifle and taunting Mexican Drug Lords level drama.

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Jonathan Banks once again owns this series… I feel like whenever we hit his storylines on this show, we wind up loving them a little bit more than everything else. That’s because they usually get violent and they usually feel more like Breaking Bad.. Out of all the characters on this show right now – Mike seems like the one who is the most “Breaking Bad” out of them all so far. His storyline in season 2 has him meeting not one, not two, but FOUR characters from Breaking Bad… All of them – bad news. Each and every moment – incredibly suspenseful. Banks may not have a magical stand-alone episode like he did in season one when his “origin” was revealed, but we’re seeing how he came to eventually be a major “fixer” in the criminal underworld in these 10 episodes. PS: That note in the finale? Anyone want to bet against it being Gus’ people? Didn’t think so.

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The big question – when is Jimmy going to finally name himself Saul Goodman? I won’t reveal that here – but I am surprised slightly at how carefully the writers are handling that detail. In this season, we pretty much get there… Jimmy begins wearing those crazy colorful suits (that montage of him trying those suckers on? awesome) and he decides to start his own practice. Odenkirk is acting his ass off on this show and I believe that this season could very well earn him the Emmy he missed out on in 2015.

Chuck…. Jimmy’s tinfoil cloak wearing brother… If you didn’t like Chuck in season one, you’ll hate him even more in season 2. That being said, the source of Chuck’s spite towards his brother is finally revealed and although it’s hard to cheer for Jimmy’s older brother, it’s impossible to not feel sad for him as well. There’s a wonderful flashback dinner scene with Chuck, his wife and Jimmy where we finally understand what’s going on. I can’t believe I didn’t get it earlier – it’s so blatantly obvious but I missed it in season one. To make matters worse and more complicated for that matter, Chuck winds up on a crusade during season two to finally ruin Jimmy’s career once and for all.

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Even as far as Chuck takes it – Jimmy still loves his big brother so even though they are right in the middle of a brutal fight, when Chuck has an episode, Jimmy is right there to help him – even if it costs him everything. This all comes to a shocking conclusion by the end of season 2 and the developments for what is on the horizon in a third season are mind-boggling. Gilligan and Gould have truly done a masterful job at making sure Better Call Saul stands on it’s own while incorporating even more Breaking Bad elements than ever before into the mix. I’m not sure I liked season 2 more than the first, because it had such a different vibe to it, more of an ensemble piece than before — but it’s just as captivating regardless.

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