BETTER CALL SAUL REVIEW: “Cobbler”

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Airtime: Mondays at 10PM on AMC
Episode: Season 2, Episode 2 (S02E02)

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Tweetable Takeaway: You’ll never look at pie the same again after this week’s @BetterCallSaul


Warning: This review may contain spoilers.

This week’s episode of features a glimpse into what makes Jimmy tick, as well as a whole new way to look at pie. It’s a wonderful episode, and it includes the return of Chuck.

The thing about Chuck is that he’s been torpedoing any chance of Jimmy making something of himself as a lawyer for a long time. He’s the closest person to Jimmy, and yet he’s the one doing the most harm to him both professionally and emotionally. It’s hard to look at this situation fairly since, perhaps, the entire audience of Better Call Saul has become enamored with Jimmy despite the fact we know what he turns into by the time Walter White shows up. The hard truth is maybe Chuck is right about Jimmy?

I want to believe there’s something better out there for him than the black and white existence we see him toiling through at the beginning of every season, but what if there’s not? What if Jimmy is predestined to become Saul Goodman? Is that a possibility, or is it more likely that Chuck’s worry and behind the scenes maneuvers to undermine Jimmy are the reason he becomes Saul? Despite Chuck’s good intentions, isn’t it really Chuck’s own fault for turning Jimmy into the shyster lawyer we all love in Breaking Bad? These are the things I think about while watching Better Call Saul. Is it nature or nurture that creates Saul Goodman?

This show has an amazing ability to take a character and turn your expectations for them on its ear. Chuck was a big sweetheart until the truth came out and we saw him for what he really is. The same twist has been applied to Howard. Throughout the majority of the first season he came off as a first rate asshole, but the truth is so much different than appearance. He’s actually a super nice guy who cares for and respects Jimmy, but was put into an awkward position by Chuck. It’s refreshing to see Howard break the news to Chuck about Jimmy’s new position at Davis and Main, and though Chuck says he’s happy for him, we can see in his expressions he doesn’t really feel this way. It’s a nice touch that Chuck plays piano before the news is broken to him, and then can’t find the music anymore after Howard leaves.

There’s an important scene that sets everything up and really tells us about Jimmy. It takes place when he hears his boss Cliff play guitar from across the office, and he wanders in to see for himself. Jimmy tells Cliff about something interesting he’s found in the Sandpiper case files, and it could really be a major find. Cliff tells him they’re glad to have Jimmy on the team, and also relates that he plays guitar to let off a little steam. He then says he hopes Jimmy has a way to let off steam himself, and by the end of the episode it’ll become clear how Jimmy lets off steam.

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In the middle of a big meeting between HHM and Davis and Main regarding the Sandpiper case, right when Jimmy catches everyone up to speed, Chuck makes a dramatic appearance. He arrives at the meeting under the guise of sitting in, but he’s truly just there to psychologically ice Jimmy out. He’s messing with Jimmy and it works. Jimmy is unable to keep his train of thought, he falters. It’s exactly the kind of thing Chuck hopes for, but Kim is Jimmy’s rock, and after a reassuring squeeze on his leg the confidence comes back, and Jimmy nails it.

It’s clear this interaction with Chuck really riles him up. This is their first meeting since the backstabbing revelation. It’s awkward and tense up until the point Jimmy’s cell phone goes off and Chuck flinches and beats a hasty retreat. On the other end is Mike, and he offers Jimmy a chance to let off a little steam.

Mike spends the entire episode trying to clean up the mess Daniel the pill seller made by involving the police in the robbery of his house. Mike doesn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart, but to protect himself from being implicated in Daniels crime. Mike handles Nacho as easily as we’ve seen him handle damn near everything since he first showed up in Breaking Bad. He just needs Jimmy to handle the police as only a lawyer can.

Jimmy is a maestro when it comes to off the cuff bullshitting, and he plays the two detectives like a fine instrument after sending Daniel out of the room. “Squat Cobbler” will change how you look at pie going forward, that’s for certain. I haven’t laughed so hard watching television in a long time. Jimmy can sell the outlandish like he’s preaching the gospel truth, and it appears these little dalliances outside of the ethical standards expected of a lawyer are going to be how Jimmy lets off steam. I imagine it’s also what will get him in trouble as the season progresses.

More thoughts:

    • Kim and Jimmy talk about the future. What starts out as a conversation about what kind of house Jimmy wants, soon turns into a “we” conversation about their future. It’s a natural progression in the conversation, and hints things are serious between these two. He really does lean on her to keep him on the straight and narrow.

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  • Mike showing up at Nacho’s father’s business shows Nacho how easy he can be found, how vulnerable he is, and that he’s no match for Mike. As always, Mike cleans up the mess Daniel made.
  • When Jimmy asks Chuck why he came to the meeting, Chuck tells him it’s “to bear witness”. Chuck is still trying to undermine Jimmy.
  • When Kim finds out about the “Squat Cobbler” at first she thinks it’s funny, but things get serious when she finds out Jimmy made a video of it to fake evidence that gets Daniel off the hook. She’s sorely disappointed, and makes it clear she doesn’t want to, and can’t hear about anything like this again.

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For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates. Twitter: @OfSoundnVision

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