- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 24 February 2016
- Written by LAUREN ROSSI | STAFF WRITER
In a parallel manner to the way Season One opened up, Better Call Saul returned Monday night and began again with a flash forward of Saul Goodman as Gene, the manager of a Cinnabon in Omaha. Portrayed in black and white, we follow him through mundane cleaning tasks as “Funny How Time Slips Away” by Billy Walker echoes in the background. Gene closes the shop and heads out with the garbage, but somehow manages to get locked in the dumpster room. Rather than opening the emergency door and setting off the alarm and police, Gene waits in the room for hours until someone lets him out, passing the time by carving a note amidst all the other graffiti smeared on the walls—“S.G was here.”
I’m a huge fan of the way the show moves back and forth in time, and I found the scene of him opting to be trapped rather than refusing to face the police or questions by opening the door to be really powerful. It is one of the rare moments when you get a glimpse of how he is in the future and the impact that his days working with criminals like Walter White has had on him. He doesn’t even want to risk a fleeing encounter with law enforcement and chance being discovered for who he truly is. However, the message left behind on the wall referencing his persona of Saul Goodman shows that he still misses the life he had to leave, and still yearns to go back to that time.
While Season One focused on why Jimmy McGill transformed into the criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, who made his debut in Breaking Bad, Season Two appears to be answering the question as to how he gets to this point. Now that he is free from his older brother Chuck’s control, Jimmy has the opportunity to set out and act the way he wants to; he is no longer held back by his desire to please Chuck. It is the newfound control and freedom that sends Jimmy on some form of a mid-life crisis so to speak, where he contemplates giving up on being a lawyer altogether and instead working as a con-man.
The episode also divulges into Jimmy’s relationship with Kim as it shows signs of evolving into something more. Kim pushes Jimmy to accept a position with the law-firm Davis and Main and to think realistically about things, while Jimmy chooses to show her the benefits of his gift of gab and how it has its perks, such as conning a stockbroker into buying them expensive liquor and food in exchange for possible financial information down the road from their supposedly large inheritance. I found the actors, Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn, to really shine in this scene in the way they interact with one another and build on the charade with each line and knowing glance they share.
I was also pleased with the return of Mike, the grumpy ticket booth attendant and intense private investigator/muscle behind sketchy activities taking place. While his character is a near polar opposite to that of Jimmy, I can’t help but hope that their relationship becomes stronger in this season, and that they begin to get involved with one another more like how it was in Breaking Bad. However, I did enjoy seeing the interaction between Mike and his client Daniel, who is so naïve to the type of people he’s dealing with, and his stupid banter in the show makes it clear that his future is quickly going downhill and that he is not exactly cut out for being a drug dealer.
At the end of the episode, we see Jimmy get everything he wanted—a job, a company car, his own office, an assistant—but he still can’t settle down and refrain from bending the rules a bit. As he walks across a clearly labeled switch informing people to not turn it off, Jimmy can’t help but flip the switch for a brief moment and see what happens. But everything around him continues to be the same, and no earth shattering catastrophe happens, so he flips it back into place. Connecting to the title of the premiere, “The Switch,” I’m anxious to see what’s in store for Jimmy McGill, and can’t help but hope that we get to see his transition into Saul Goodman in this upcoming season.
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