Online Games and Tech Editor Harry Shepherd returns with his review of the second instalment of Better Call Saul, and it seems the series is beginning to gather some serious pace.
“Mijo” rounded off the opening weekend of Better Call Saul in America on AMC and is the second episode released on February 9th on Netflix UK. This new episode follows on from the jaw-dropping revelation of a returning Breaking Bad character that concluded episode one “Uno.” “Mijo” picks up where we left off in quite spectacular style, matching some of the finest moments of BB in the process.
The previous episode worked hard to explore the backstory of James ‘Jimmy’ McGill’s (Saul Goodman) character, roaring into a scam-gone-wrong conclusion. “Mijo” takes full advantage of the cliffhanger ending, drawing out the tension of Jimmy’s encounter with the infamous returning cast member delightfully. He really isn’t the kind of guy you want to get even close to scamming, and Jimmy needs his finest schmoozing skills to get himself out of the hole he’s dug himself and his new compatriots. You absolutely wouldn’t want to remind people who they’re working for in his presence, if you know what I mean.
Last time out, I felt that the so far BCS lacked a tonal distinctiveness from BB
, which in many ways continues in this episode. However, this darkly comic tone is wielded exquisitely by Gilligan and co, as the opening scenes of “Mijo” scales the heights of, and even rivals, some of the finest and most stressful scenes of BB. If you notice that you’ve barely taken a breath after the events of the opening have played themselves out, then you’ll be far from alone.
This villain almost steals the show, if not for the nuance established in Jimmy’s character. The moping, hopeless McGill of the previous chapter has been developed by indications of the beginnings of the good ol’ Saul Goodman we know and love: using his sneaky, persuasive charms to squeeze himself out of trouble. When faced with a fatal threat, Odenkirk is allowed the stage and audience with which to blend the dramatic and comedic qualities we would expect from a central character. Odenkirk pulls this off with aplomb — putting many of his initial doubters in their place.
On the other hand, it remains clear that Odenkirk is still McGill, rather than Goodman at this early stage. Some of Goodman’s flashy confidence is on show here, but Jimmy is evidently shaken by the events that have taken place. The vomiting wreck we see in the toilets of a restaurant are a far cry from the cocksure Saul Goodman. It’s an engrossing prospect to have the chance to see how the traumatising early events McGill experiences affect and shape him as he evolves over the course of the series, as well as the change in how his character will deal with such events.
All after only two episodes. Now James McGill has a taste of what Albuquerque has in store for him as a criminal, as opposed to a responsible lawyer. Now he has himself an audience, and it’s going to be quite the ride.
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