Thoughts on: Better Call Saul (Season 2)

If any character were to get their own spinoff from televisual superhit Breaking Bad it was always going to be Saul Goodman. But despite an exciting premise, I for one was left a little concerned about the future of the show by the end of the first season. Happily, season two improves on the first in every way.

Narrative

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The series begins with Jimmy taking a more leisurely approach to life

Season one of BCS ends with Jimmy/Saul vowing to stop trying to do what’s supposed to be right and to start doing what’s right for him. Such a premise might have you believe that season two will show Jimmy at his cunning and conniving worse – or best, depending on which way you look at it.

That’s not exactly how things go down, though, as complications with his brother, Chuck (Michael McKean), and further entanglement with longtime ‘friend’ Kim Wexler (Rhea Seahorn) mean Jimmy has to once again reconsider what road he wants to go down. The result is a moral mess that comes to a head with a cliffhanger finale truly worthy of the Breaking Bad name.

From a technical standpoint the flow the show is still a bit slow. But compared to season one it’s an improvement, and certainly isn’t bogged down by any of snail-paced issues that came before.

Direction

BCS continues to have a lighter tone than Breaking Bad, as it naturally would with a presence like Saul/Jimmy. However, creator Vince Gilligan ensures that there are plenty of darker moments to keep the suspense ticking over – whether it’s the local cartel watching over Mike (Jonathan Banks) and his granddaughter or the revelation of how a young Jimmy played a part in his father’s bankruptcy. Compounded with the knowledge that something biblical needs to go down for Jimmy McGill to fully transform into Saul Goodman, there are certainly no problems when it comes to amping up the tension.

Characters

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As with Breaking Bad, Jonathan Banks provides one of the shows most compelling characters

Of course, we know Bob Odenkirk is great as Slippin’ Jimmy; it’s now gotten to a point where it’s near impossible to imagine anyone else in the role. But season two gives the chance for some more peripheral characters to shine, too. We get to see more of Mike (which is never a bad thing) and perhaps crucially, a lot more of Kim. We also get a couple more BB cameos who may or may not turn into mainstay characters. It’s ultimately a perfect mix of character development, spot on acting and small hits of nostalgia that come together to form a solid, very watchable whole.

In a few words…

If season one left you doubting that lightning strikes twice, season two will firmly remove that doubt entirely.

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