“It’s showtime, folks!”
Welcome back to Better Call Saul, the new apple of every Breaking Bad fan’s eye.
Episode 2, ‘Mijo’ (meaning “my son” or “my boy” in Spanish), opens with a different camera angle of the final minutes of the previous episode, when Lars and Cal, the twin skaters, get to Mrs. Salamanca’s house and harass her for her hitting-and-running with no inkling of what’s there to come.
Jimmy shows up as Tuco cleans up the mess and when he is about to convince him to set the two poor souls free, one of them babbles it was all Jimmy’s plan and the three of them end up out in the desolate New Mexican desert with Tuco and his men bargaining for life.
– Tuco is a sweetheart around his abuela, it’s fun to watch him in the house, cooking and taking care of her, then cleaning the blood stained carpet. He looks and sounds like a different man when she’s watching him, it’s only outside in the desert we are reminded of what he is capable of.
– Jimmy’s negotiation of the twin’s lives in the desert is such a noble act and makes great dark comedy. Each of them going home with just a broken leg shows Saul Goodman rising. “Make the punishment fit the crime,” he argues, before slipping up with “An eye for an eye.” This scene sets the narrative of how an optimistic yet miserable young lawyer turns into the kind of attorney career criminals will call for advice.
– The beautiful, energetic courthouse montage inspired by an iconic scene of Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” – a delightful sequence where we see Jimmy following his brother’s advice and working his ass off in exchange for experience rather than big amounts of money. It seems James McGill had to work really hard to build Saul Goodman.
– That restaurant scene was confusing and could probably have been cut out of the episode, it didn’t add anything to the plot, Jimmy’s chat with his brother the following morning was enough to show he was about to lose it.
– Continuity got me thinking about something happening for the second time here: Jimmy returns to his office and hits a chair that’s too close behind the door when he is pushing it open. Who moves the chair so the door doesn’t open far enough for him to get in? Is it some sort of intruder alert he sets himself?
“You’re the worst lawyer, ever!” (screamed by one of the broken-legged twins being driven into the hospital on a wheelchair)
“Hey, I just talked you down from a death sentence to six months’ probation, I’m the best lawyer ever.” (Jimmy replies)
(Plus, I could quote the whole desert dialogue, it was exceptional!)
That’s it, Better Call Saul second episode has its downfalls, is unavoidably filled with Breaking Bad nostalgia in cinematography, but it’s fun, beautifully written and acted and begins to build up a solid story for Saul Goodman, one the show runners are likely to sustain without Walter White.