REVIEW: Better Call Saul season 2 opener a big disappointment
In the triumphant last episode of season one of Better Call Saul, James “Jimmy” McGill said screw you to a job offer at a prestigious law firm, promised tough guy Mike that morals would never stop him accepting a hefty pay packet again, and drove away into a glorious future as the lawyer-cum-criminal we know him to become.
Or so we thought.
In the markedly less impressive opening episode of Better Call Saul‘s second season, that interpretation of the ending is apparently not the case. Jimmy does take the job at Davis & Main, albeit after a very brief midlife-crisis (which the viewer must suffer alongside him). However, the episode goes south far earlier than this.
The season opener begins in black and white and features Saul Goodman’s ultimate fate as the paranoid and fearful manager of a Cinnabon. Last season this served as a nice throwback and appetite-wetter. This season, it’s a six-minute-long borefest which teaches us nothing new.
As the episode opens properly, we learn that Jimmy has yet to accept the job at Davis & Main. He asks Kim what their relationship would be if he chose to take it, but she refuses to answer. Jimmy refuses the job, drives off, and has that same conversation he had with Mike at the end of last season again. Ten minutes into a new season and we’ve had a six-minute montage to a dreary future and a repeat of last season’s finale. It’s not a great start.
Unfortunately, the first ten minutes really set the tone for the rest of the episode. It proves to be a agonisingly slow revisit to last season’s highlights, which ultimately wraps up with a foregone conclusion.
Jimmy questions his future and his motivations for becoming a lawyer in a couple of days spent feeling sorry for himself in a hotel pool. The bizarrely-loyal Kim joins him for the pity party, and Jimmy shows her how fun it is to con the conveniently loud and foolish stock broker at that same hotel. It’s always great television watching Slippin’ Jimmy doing what he does best, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before (and better, because Kim is no substitute for Marco).
There’s also a throwback to last season’s “Pimento” storyline, in which Mike helped the staggeringly stupid first time dealer Price trade chemicals with Tuco’s henchman Nacho. Since last season, the trade has taken place a few more times, and Price has bought a bitchin’ new ride…
Mike quite plainly says he won’t be participating in a crime using a car so ostentatious, to which Price responds that he probably won’t need him anyway. He seriously believes that. Mike leaves. What follows next is the most drawn-out and painful car crash ever (figuratively speaking, as it unfortunately doesn’t involve the destruction of that horrible Hummer).
Over on Jimmy’s side of these two very separated storylines, Jimmy gets over himself and agrees to take the job at Davis & Main (who apparently hold no hard feelings over the earlier rejection). He now has a swanky new office, complete with a personal assistant who will bend over backwards to get him a new desk made from exotic wood.
That was it. An entire episode devoted to a decision we thought had been made at the end of the last series. It was an episode that made us acutely aware of why most series wrap up their series with a ridiculous – but sensational – cliffhanger. It also makes us wonder if the reasoning behind Better Call Saul‘s reduced season two pickup was completely sound.
All we can say is we hope Better Call Saul improves from here.