TV Review: Better Call Saul Episode 2.2 “Mijo”

Better Call Saul
Episode 1.2 “Mijo”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written Peter Gould
Starring Bob Odenkirk, Michael McKean, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Michael Mando, Patrick Fabian
Air Date: Monday, February 9, 2015, 10pm

So if you were blown away by the first episode of Better Caul Saul, then you won’t believe what’s in store for the second episode, 1.2 “Mijo,” which airs tonight on AMC, after a repeat of the first episode,

We now know that one Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), better known to the Breaking Bad universe as Saul Goodman, is actually working at the Cinnabon he tersely joked about with Walter White when the two shared what was essentially their final moments together in the penultimate Breaking Bad episode “Granite State.” But that’s all we know about that. We do know that he’s living in some secluded place in the Midwest and alone or so it seems, of course. The beauty of Better Call Saul, even this early on, is how much is unknown and how the wonderful pace takes it’s time to get us and Jimmy there. It’s an express train of exposition and narrative when needed, but chugs along the landscape so one can see clearly out the window.

We now also know that in the past, Jimmy runs a crude, shoe-box-sized office (with about 35 percent of the ceiling tiles intact) in the back of an Asian nail salon, the same business that he wanted Jesse Pinkman to purchase once in a Breaking Bad episode. It’s amazing how the genius of Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould weaved storylines and threads together seamlessly that can play into the past, present, and future of Better Call Saul, even this early in the game for the show. We see Jimmy living by the seat of his suit trousers, as he pretends to be the secretary when setting up appointments with prospective clients over the phone (series star Bob Odenkirk is having a wondrous field day with the character, and his good vibes spill over instantly to the viewer), the state of his office, and his car. He’s also got a big beef with a law firm that his ultra mysterious and mentally ill, yet conscientious and caring brother, played by Michael McKean, is a huge part of (even sharing one-third of the name of the law firm), because of what seems to be a control factor by the remaining members of that firm (led by an oily insincere Patrick Fabian, with his veteran surfer corporate businessman look), which is something in essence that really burns Jimmy up inside and outside. And again, it’s something that we only know a little bit of so far.

Like we also know little of what happened to Jimmy and the two skate boys, who tried to punk the driver in one of Jimmy’s lawyer scams, before the woman drove away, and unconsciously, they were all led right into the hands of Tuco. Just seeing him on screen again since his unforgettably memorable performance as the same character during the early run of Breaking Bad must have lit faces up coast to coast. How the media, especially in this social media ridden day and age, were able to keep tightly sealed wraps on it in pre-release teaser articles, is mindboggling.

And so the set up for episode two is here. And expect another doozy, filled with nervous comedy, intensity, sharp dialogue, and the introduction of another character which is going to play into a situation in which Jimmy is going to find himself trapped in, all the result of this Tuco encounter, which unbelievably, buys Jimmy some self-confidence, true worth, and spunk as a result, but also some brewing trouble, bad trouble, and potentially larcenous trouble.

Directed by Michele MacLaren with the wit, intense ease, and charm she utilized on so many Breaking Bad episodes (and other shows like The Walking Dead), this second episode crackles like a live wire just like the first one, and sets up another you-are-left-hanging kind of ending. It also sports an hilarious montage that MacLaren showed her flair for when she did an all-together different and brutal montage during a key sequence in the Breaking Bad episode from the 5th Season “Gliding Over All.” That one was set to Nat King Cole ironically and effectively. The same kind of approach is done in a sequence here, but it’s done with much hilarity and keen perception, and what it ultimately shows, is that there’s so many dimensions to Better Call Saul, a myriad of multi layers of complexity which spans all platitudes and genres. It’s a true testament to the genius of creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould and company how so far, for my money, Better Call Saul has exceeded every expectation, which were on an immense trustworthy hope. It’s delivered, and then some. What’s for sure is that so far, the high standard solidified on Breaking Bad stays firmly affixed as well on Better Call Saul. This keeps up, Walter White may have to move over as the key pop cultural kingpin of this Vince Gilligan-helmed universe, as he’s now got some awesome company.

Don’t forget, 10 PM sharp, Better Watch Saul!

Episode 1.1 Image Gallery

Episode 1.2 Image Gallery

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