top of page

TV Review - AMC's Better Call Saul, Season 2

Make the call.

Season two of Better Call Saul is the second season of the legal crime drama series, Better Call Saul. It's directed by Thomas Schnouz, Terry McDonough, Scott Winat, Adam Bernstein, John Shiban, Michael Slovis, Colin Bucksey, Larysa Kondracki, Peter Gould, and Vince Gilligan, created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, produced by High Bridge Productions, Crystal Diner Productions, Gran Via Productions, and Sony Pictures Television Studios, and distributed by Sony Pictures Television. It stars Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks. This series acts as a prequel to Breaking Bad. This season was followed by a third.


"There's no reward at the end of this game." - Jimmy McGill

Plot


After a fallout with his brother, Jimmy McGill takes up an entirely new lifestyle. He gets employed at a prestigious law firm and things start trending in the right direction...but something feels off. As Jimmy navigates the difficulty of getting his life together, Mike Ehrmantraut continue to gets pulled into a dangerous world of cartels and gangs as new allies and enemies alike emerge.


The Sweet


I think the second season of Better Call Saul is the weakest season of both this show and Breaking Bad. It's not bad. It's still good. But it doesn't have the umph that Breaking Bad does and it doesn't have the excitement that the first season of BCS has.


The writing is still top-notch. The fall of Jimmy McGill begins here. We see him achieve everything he's ever wanted...and single-handedly destroy it. He gets a job at Davis & Main, but to be a real lawyer, he can't slice through the law. He is forced to be a good, proper lawyer, and that doesn't sit well with him, so that's really what this entire season is. The writers do a fantastic job of fleshing out that whole character arc for him and showing us the consequences in the back half of season two and the beginning of season three.


One thing that I really appreciate about Better Call Saul is its ability to make boring things interesting. Everything that has to do with the law here isn't that interesting. There's a whole plotline of Kim trying to get this bank to be her client. That shouldn't be interesting, but the writers get you invested in these characters and show you how much it means to them, which makes you feel the weight and importance of these choices and decisions that are made.


They also find a way to make it feel real. I'm not a lawyer. I don't know how law offices work. But I do know that She-Hulk doesn't portray them in an accurate way. I do know that The Firm doesn't portray them in an accurate way. Better Call Saul is very convincing. I don't know how much research Vince Gilligan did, but the way that the show portrays the law proceedings feels extremely realistic. That was an aspect that was present in the initial season, but the second season ups that ante.


It also does feel like we're building out the world of Breaking Bad a little bit more. We get some familiar faces in here. Dominoes are setup to be paid off in the future. You see the beginnings of a space where it would make sense for Walter White and Jesse Pinkman to enter. That's an aspect of prequels that I always love. I love seeing how everything fits into place, and you start to get that here.


Finally, I think the relationship between Jimmy and Chuck is executed fantastically here. They have this complex, layered love for each other. They both love each other, but they also can't stand each other. Chuck has this very rigid view of the world that causes him to still see Jimmy as this criminal and cheater. And, although Jimmy does cheat and use shortcuts, he clearly cares about his brother and only wants his respect and approval. But Chuck's unwillingness to do that constantly puts Jimmy in difficult situations where he makes the wrong choice and gets one step closer to becoming Saul Goodman. It's an incredible, superbly written relationship and is easily the best aspect of the season.


The Sour


Like I said, I think this is the weakest season of either Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul.


There are a few reasons for that, but I think the first is the lack of umph. Season two of Better Call Saul doesn't really have any standout moments. It doesn't have standout episodes. There are plenty of good moments and plenty of good episodes, but there aren't those hugely impactful, memorable episodes that Breaking Bad has. It feels inconsequential. It doesn't feel like a lot is happening. It can be very slow and very boring at times. It's still well-acted and well-written, but it just isn't as exciting as these shows usually are.


I think one thing that makes it feel more boring and inconsequential is the lack of connection between our two main plotlines. Throughout the season, we follow Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmantraut, and, while those two characters do interact and have moments together, neither story is actually connected. Jimmy obviously gets more screentime than Mike, so it can make Mike's story feel underdeveloped. He almost feels like a sidepiece, especially since he just doesn't connect at all to Jimmy. It's very, very frustrating.


I also think that this season, while being a necessary step in Jimmy's transformation into Saul, doesn't really move the story forward that much. Sure, a few things happen here and there, but overall, we don't end up in a much different spot. There's a lot of character development for Jimmy and Chuck and Mike and Kim, but the actual plot of the show feels like its running in place. And, once again, that makes for a very slow and very frustrating season.


Final Thoughts and Score


Season two of Better Call Saul is just as well-written and acted as every season before it, but a sluggishly slow plot make this the weakest season in the Breaking Bad universe.


I will still go Savory here. Age range is 13+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)


"Better Call Saul"


Fun Factor: 6.5/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Story: 7.5/10

Characters: 9.5/10

Quality: 8.5/10


Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould


Rated TV-MA for moderate bloody violence, language, disturbing themes and images, suggestive material, thematic elements


Premiered on February 15, 2016


Episode runtime: 50 minutes


Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler

Michael McKean as Chuck McGill

Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin

Michael Mando as Ignacio "Nacho" Varga

Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca

Ed Begley Jr. as Clifford Main

Kerry Condon as Stacey Ehrmantraut

Mark Proksch as Daniel "Pryce" Wormald

Rex Lynn as Kevin Wachtell

Cara Pfiko as Paige Novik

Brandon K. Hampton as Ernesto

Raymond Cruz as Tuco Salamanca

Comments


bottom of page