Alex Casey recaps the return episode of Better Call Saul season two on Lightbox, including pinky rings, alcohol heists and poolside pondering. Contains spoilers.
Sometimes it feels like Better Call Saul‘s Jimmy McGill is eerily close to me in the months following my graduation from university. We’re both disgusted by the idea of entering the workforce, both drinking a lot of brightly-coloured alcohols every night and waiting every morning for divine intervention to pluck us out of our stupors, wipe the corn chips off our foreheads and boot us into a shiny dream life.
The return of Better Call Saul was happy to wallow in this grey area, this twilight zone between ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘chilling the f out’. Jimmy McGill has finally been given the opportunity to work at Clifford’s prestigious law firm, after last season’s Sandpiper case allowed him one foot firmly in the door of legitimacy. Problem is, the other foot wants to party, drink all the free cucumber water and spend up large.
Like the bold, fan-fodder opener from the first ever episode, again we are greeted with a monochromatic sliver of what life is to sadly become for Jimmy McGill. Well after Hurricane Walt destroyed his life in Breaking Bad, Saul is left picking up the pieces in a sad mall Cinnabon. He accidentally locks himself in the garbage room, himself nothing but a damn plastic bag floating through life like he’s a Katy Perry lyric. He can’t even open the emergency exit because the alarm will bring the cops. The cops can’t find him because he is a wanted criminal. Nobody else can find him because he has nobody else. So he sits:
It’s one of the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.
Zip back to 2003, before everything melted down into a sticky cinnamon glaze, and Jimmy is turning down Clifford’s offer to work behind a real desk, on real cases that won’t end with a gun pointed to his head. In a moment of panic after talking to his far-too-good-for-him love interest Kim, he storms out of the firm, the fire of Saul flickering behind his eyes.
Like he has done so many times before – it’s starting to get a little repetitive I’ll admit – Jimmy’s going to take exactly what he wants, how he wants. He echoes this sentiment to both Mike on the way out of the carpark, and the nail salon owner before sculling down a litre of ‘customer-only’ coconut water. Jimmy has the erratic, self-entitled impulses of either a toddler after a can of Fanta or a 60 year old rock star. Either way, I’m buying.
This episode also follows Mr Anti-Charisma Daniel Wormald, whose well-chosen name somehow conjures up his exact image. He’s a true nerdlinger, and buying a giant flame-covered Hummer isn’t going to change that fact. “I’m not getting in that,” growled Mike, face like an Easter Island head as he refuses to accompany him on another dodgy drop-off. There’s so much comedy in Mike’s resolute stillness, he just ain’t about that flashy life.
A fly zooms past the camera, only stopping briefly. Could it be an homage to the infamous fly? Or am I losing my mind, scrabbling around for anything close to the Breaking Bad universe. I’m ready to admit, just like Andrew Todd, that Better Call Saul is its own show now – but that won’t stop me clapping like a seal if Walt cruises past in the background.
Sticking to his new, laminated, zero fucks policy, Jimmy has taken up a full-time job of floating in a swimming pool. “I’ve just decided to be me,” he tells Kim, adjusting his pinky ring. “What are you, in the mafia now?” she rightly inquires. Jimmy is living his authentic life, destined to wander the earth like Jules at the end of Pulp Fiction.
The pair decide to get hammered with a stock broker, sign a fake deal, and then leave without paying the cheque. It’s hardly a Los Pollos Hermanos-level crime, but it’s a bloody start.
Meanwhile at Casa del Wormald, his house has been ransacked, with baseball cards and a huuuuge wad of cash stolen. I can’t imagine it has anything to do with the drug dealer that he let look at his vehicle registration form earlier. “They must have jimmy’d it open,” a cop says in a particularly fitting turn of phrase. Jimmy himself is back in the pool, planning another heist on a rich older gentleman.
Just like all post-grads who have lost their way, the episode ends just as Jimmy changes his mind again. He accepts that fancy job offer from the very beginning, taking a cocobolo desk in his brand new office. It was a very slowburn but we got there in the end.
Is this going to last longer than one episode? Why should the office lights always stay on, and why did Jimmy ignore that request? Could it be that we are about to see another career… switch… for the man in the pinky ring? Guess we’ll have to wait till next week to find out.
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