Saul Goodman is Emerging
Building on the season premiere’s themes, Better Call Saul’s second episode of the new series delivers an excellent episode once again. Mike deals with the idiocy of a drug dealer he protects, while Jimmy helps him out and continues to work on the sandpiper case. Jimmy is also reunited with an old acquaintance as Chuck reemerges, allowing us further exploration into their interesting relationship.
Creator: Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea,Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando & Michael McKean
Run Time: 47 Minutes
Much like the previous episode, the introduction was dark and depressing as, parallel to present-day Jimmy, Chuck is trapped in a prison of his own making. While Jimmy’s prison is due to his criminal misdeed and trust in Walter White, Chuck’s prison is a product of his own dementia. The opening sequence show us just how far Chuck has fallen, as he struggles at playing a piano piece in his large and empty house. The emphasis on the metronome highlighted the importance of order and routine in Chuck’s life and further developed his disbelief that Jimmy, the screw-up younger brother, could ever be a real lawyer. Chuck’s continual struggle at the piano sadly reveals the depths of his dementia and his desperation to stave it off.
As the episode moves forward, the focus quickly turns back to the recurring theme of Jimmy and Kim’s quickly developing relationship. Kim altering the seating arrangement at the board meeting so she would be adjacent to Jimmy showed her commitment to their relationship and their discussion of a future home that they would share was romantic and heartfelt. It was a nice change from their odd friends-with-benefits relationship from last season and it is already showing strength with Kim being the only reason Jimmy was able to withstand the shock of Chuck finally reappearing in the office and attempting to sabotage Jimmy’s chances.
Despite the brotherly reappearance, it was Mike and his attempts to deal with the idiocies of the drug dealer under his protection which earned a great deal of the screen time in this episode, his exasperation as he explained the fallacies of a drug dealer reporting a break-in was hilarious. Breaking Bad fans will no doubt feel a sense of reminiscence here when looking back at Mike’s interactions with Jesse, the way Mike deals with the people around him, including Nacho, the man who stole Daniel’s stash and vintage baseball cards.
Through the course of the episode, we see Mike helping Daniel by arranging a deal with Nacho, more as a mean to an end for his own protection. Mike’s carrot versus stick argument was a fantastic trump card against Nacho’s apathetic attitude. Sadly, in the end, Jimmy’s help is still required as Mike needs to prove to the police officers that Daniel was without suspicion – weird yes, but not a criminal.
Relying on his hilarious conman skills Jimmy easily explains the hiding spot in Daniel’s house. It’s this impressive reasoning which provides us with an explanation for the title of the episode, ‘Cobbler’ – Trust me, you’d probably struggle to guess the bizarre explanation Jimmy uses to clear Daniel of suspicion, as mad as it is genius. It, of course, works and is (hopefully) a sign of Jimmy’s future transformation into the Saul Goodman we all know and love.
With Mike’s situation resolved, the episode returns focus to Jimmy’s evolving relationship with Kim and it’s clear that both of them want a serious relationship. Kim’s push to get Jimmy the dream job at Davis and Maine and her support for Jimmy against Chuck; and Jimmy’s half-serious conversation with Kim about living together, all fueling the couple’s progression. Unfortunately, in the end, Jimmy’s inclination towards embracing the grey side of the law puts him at odds with Kim. The episode concluded with a very honest and revealing conversation between the two and a hint at how Jimmy becomes Saul Goodman.
To summarize, ‘Cobbler’ built on the strengths of last week’s premiere and delivered another excellent episode. Mike had a solid episode arc and Jimmy’s relationship with both Kim and Chuck was explored brilliantly. One of the biggest highlights for long-term fans will be seeing both the straight arrow Jimmy and the questionable ethics of Saul Goodman in the episode.