Airtime: Mondays at 10PM on AMC
Tweetable Takeaway: Jimmy is back in business after an excursion into his true nature on #BetterCallSaul.
The most interesting aspect of the first season of BETTER CALL SAUL was watching Jimmy try his hardest to always do the right thing, only to have it continually blow up in his face. This guy just can’t catch a break, but at the very end of the season when his break arrives, what does he do? He rejects it. The season 2 premiere shows us just exactly how that goes for him.
One of the things I loved about the series premiere a year ago, was the forward look into what Saul had become after setting up his own low grade witness protection program as a Cinnabon manager. Here’s a high-energy guy, stuck in the lowest of energy situations, keeping his head down, trying to go unnoticed, and whose only clear enjoyment in life anymore is drinking and watching his old Saul Goodman commercials on VHS. Well, we get another glimpse of the future Saul, again in black and white, in the opening of tonight’s episode.
This opening shows us what it’s like to live under the shadow of constant fear of being found out. We follow him shut down the Cinnabon store, and haul the trash out to the mall’s trash facility only to have the door close on him and lock him in. He has two options, he can either go out the emergency exit and set off an alarm that will notify police, or he can wait until someone comes to dump trash and opens the door back up. He’s so afraid of being caught, that he sits and waits almost 2 ½ hours until someone opens the door back up. We find a part of him still yearns for the past when after he’s left we see “S.G. was here” carved into the wall.
Maybe this is what Saul is like when he stays on the straight and narrow, a dull grey little man, in a dull black and white world. This is not the character we’ve grown to love in Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul. Need I remind anyone of the Chicago Sunroof incident? Last season we watched Jimmy struggle over and over against his true nature, and it appeared to be a Sisyphean endeavor. Has he really put it all behind him to become his true self?
The answer is a complicated yes, and again maybe no. We actually get to see his meeting with the law firm Davis and Main, and though it all seems straight forward, it appears he’s only doing it for the girl. He asks Kim if he takes the job will they have a shot together, only to be told it has nothing to do with the job. So he rejects it, gives up lawyering, and decides to take it easy by the pool and let life take him where it will. There’s even a great scene at the nail salon where he’s scolded that the cucumber water is for customers only, so he flips his tie over his shoulder and drinks it straight from the spigot. He won’t follow anyone else’s rules anymore.
When Kim confronts Jimmy about walking away from the opportunity of a lifetime, he shows her his true nature. He drags her along as he cons some investment jerk in the bar. At first she’s standoffish, but it isn’t long before she’s pulled into the exhilaration of it all. They leave the poor sap on the receiving end of a night’s worth of $50 tequila shots. The adrenaline of it all pushes Kim and Jimmy together, and they end up spending the night together. There’s a hilarious scene in the morning regarding him using her toothbrush, which shows these two are actually really good together.
After the con, he tells her “What if we could do that every day?” The thought excites her, but she’s realistic, “It would be great, but we can’t.” The problem is that she goes back to the lawyer world while he goes back to lazing about. He’s got the grifting bug all over again and wants her to come help him with an easy mark he’s spotted. After leaving her several messages, he gets it. If he wants Kim, he needs to be the man she wants him to be.
Jimmy abandons his own nature again, only this time instead of doing it for his brother Chuck out of duty, he does it for Kim out of love. He decides to take the job with Davis and Main, and damn are they excited to have him. Jimmy gets his own office, has more amenities than he would know what to do with, but there’s one thing which nags him while he sits behind his new desk. It’s a taped sign over a light switch that says “Always leave on, do not turn off!” Jimmy being Jimmy has to see what happens when he disobeys. The fact that nothing noticeably happens after the switch is flipped makes me think Jimmy will easily delve back into Saul territory without any qualms about it, or fear of it ruining the new life he’s created. Although I’m willing to bet he’s wrong about that.
- We also get a glimpse of what Mike and Nacho are up to these days. Mike has been acting as a bodyguard for the same nerdy pill seller Daniel, who now has a huge, flashy bright yellow Hummer with flames on the sides and spinning hubcaps. Mike warns him about his choices, but Daniel shuns the advice and meets Nacho alone. It isn’t long before Daniel’s house is trashed, his money is gone, and the cops are involved.
- We don’t get a glimpse of Chuck or how he’s doing, but I’m guessing he’ll be back in the show again real soon.
- I think Daniel’s mess with Nacho will somehow end up involving both Mike and Jimmy as the show progresses.
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
Jeff Iblings | Contributor