‘Better Call Saul’ S2E3 ‘Amarillo’ Recap

Better Call Saul Season 2 Poster

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Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) is struggling to find the balance of his criminal acts with his acts of good. When he admits his forging of false evidence to help get a client off last week, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) is not just angry but disappointed. When Jimmy flies to Texas to inform a potential client about a Class Action lawsuit surrounding her nursing home (a subplot that’s bleeding over from last season) he walks the line of legality as he “solicits” signatures from other would be clients. When he arrives back to New Mexico with a client list well past 100, he’s praised but ultimately scolded by those who are close to him. While Kim merely scolds him in a protective manner, his brother Chuck (Michael McKean) does so with more sinister intentions.

Skating on thin ice, he concocts another plan to bring in more clients to HHM the only way he knows how: theatricality. Enlisting the help of film students, the same pair he used last year for the billboard sequence, he shoots a commercial for airing during the first commercial break for Murder, She Wrote. He’s eager to prove he’s turning over a new leaf that he neglects to show the partners the video and sends it off for commercialization.

Though he’s eager to show Kim how much he’s changed for the better for her sake, he relies on his “Slippin’ Jimmy” schemes to get him there.

If you look back to that very first scene in the first episode of the season, Jimmy is locked in the garbage room and has two choices if he wants to out: rely on his way of taking things into his own hands, sounding the alarm, alerting police to his location, or sit and wait for the help of others.

In the case of the commercial, he breaks the rules of HHM for HHM. He can wait for the help of others to air the commercial without any provocation from the firm (definite opposition from his brother) or go over all of the partner’s heads and air the commercial himself.

The results of the later could be quite taxing. Not only is he in the wrong for airing the commercial without approval, he’s morally wrong for lying to the one person who cares about him. Jimmy, played beautifully by Bob Odenkirk, plays with the nuances of Jimmy quite well without the need to show us every thought that comes across his mind. Last season, Jimmy’s actions, while (sometimes) illegal was done to seek the approval from his clients, colleagues, and his brother. This season, so far, has been the same thing, trying to do what he thinks is right for the praise of his bosses, the approval of Kim, and to spite Chuck.

Jimmy’s actions aren’t complex, just idiotically genius. Jimmy is possessed by the ring of Marco; the act of cunning, sly theatricality. Kim may be acting like a crab to some people I know watching the show (not on the same level as Skyler) but she’s trying to tame a wild animal that is realizing there is life outside of the city zoo.

Mike (Jonathan Banks), on the other hand, is dealing with being taken advantage of by his daughter-in-law. Whether or not her first account of gunshots ringing out were true, she lies to Mike about another trio of gunfire. Her motives point to the direction of having Mike take care of her financially and purchasing her a new house. Or, like Mike states in the episode, she’s having terrible nightmares. The driving force for Mike has always been his granddaughter and doing what’s best for her. The question comes up if there will be falling out between Mike and Stacey (Kerry Condon). Though played by a different actress in Breaking Bad, Stacey is seen from a distance, rarely ever seen, even when Mike drops by to pick up his granddaughter.

Instead of turning his back, he decides to take on another job, this time for Nacho, the details of which end on a cliffhanger.

Season two has yet to entice me as much as Breaking Bad did during its second season. While season one of Better Call Saul was more plot driven, this time around I feel as though the character development has taken the wheel. Nothing major, plot wise, has really happened besides a subplot of lost baseball cards; everything feels small stakes. Otherwise, the season has been focusing on furthering realizing Jimmy’s, and to an extent, Mike’s development from their status as a crummy lawyer and bored ticketer to criminal lawyer and henchman. Where Jimmy struggles to make the right decisions, Mike is firmly planted, calculated in every move he makes. Though he comes from a criminal background, Mike takes illegal jobs on in full force to ensure his granddaughter is safe and taken care of.

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