If you’re anything like me, you probably started out watching Better Call Saul excited to see Bob Odenkirk’s lawyer Jimmy McGill turn into the sleazy, funny Saul Goodman we all knew and loved from parent series Breaking Bad.
But by the end of episode 10, as Jimmy seemed to succumb to his darker instincts, I found myself mourning the loss of his innocence and hoping we could put Saul off a little longer.
Luckily for us, co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould clearly felt the same way, as this excellent opener for Better Call Saul series two swiftly puts the breaks on Jimmy’s turn to the Dark Side. After a bit of fooling around in a swimming pool, Jimmy decides to go for the fancy corporate job after all, and Saul is put off for another day.
It’s a credit to Gilligan and Gould that this swift gear change doesn’t feel overly forced, with Jimmy’s change of heart put in context as part of a deep-seated desire to impress his on-again off-again friend/lover Kim (Rhea Seehorn, below), his last tether to the respectable world after his brother Chuck (Michael McKean) stabbed him in the back last season.
I spoke to Bob Odenkirk recently and he told me that Seehorn’s character gets a lot more focus this year, which you can definitely see the beginning of in this premiere. Joining Jimmy for an impulsive scam in his downtime she finally lets her hair down, showing a wild side previously unseen for the character. And as the fun goes on, you can definitely see why Jimmy would at least try to clean up his act for her – even though I can’t help but feel the scars of Chuck’s betrayal last series have dug a little deeper into his good instincts.
And with the elder McGill hovering malevolently on the sidelines, you can be sure it won’t be plain sailing when Jimmy finally joins a respectable law firm. He’s got everything he ever wanted – but was it worth it after all?
Over the next 9 episodes, we’ll find out – and despite all the Breaking Bad callbacks and vaunted cameos, it’s the simple story of Jimmy that’ll keep us tuning in. It’s good to be back.
Better Call Saul episode 1 is streaming on Netflix now