“Quite a Ride”.
|Posted: 03 September 2018 at 9:57pm | IP Logged | 10
Three seconds into the teaser, and I knew exactly what I was seeing. Man, oh, man. What a thrill.
After three-and-a-half seasons, the show titled BETTER CALL SAUL has finally—finally—given us Saul Goodman. But not quite how we expected. The opening teaser is a brilliant flashforward (or flashback, depending on your point of view) to a previously-unseen moment, set in-between BREAKING BAD’s “Ozymandias” and “Granite State”, with Saul and Francesca frantically cleaning house as Walt and Saul prepare to go on the lam. All the familiar details are there, right down to the bandage on Saul’s nose where Jesse punched him in “Confessions”. This marks the first time that Bob Odenkirk has played Saul Goodman since “Granite State”, five years ago. So cool.
There’s also an interesting tease in this teaser, with Saul directing Francesca to tell an as-yet-unknown lawyer that “Jimmy sent you”. Who might this be, I wonder? Kim? Howard? Bill, the ever-wacky prosecutor who appears later in this episode, and is perhaps a defense attorney by the time of BREAKING BAD?
Anyway, this is a fantastic episode, and will no doubt prove to be a vitally important one in terms of where things will end up going.
Of course, aside from the glorious fanservice of the opening scene, the teaser also serves as an important (and pathetic) bookend to the rest of the episode: We see the end of Saul Goodman as he makes the fateful phone call to Ed The Disappearer on one of his many burner phones. The episode then goes back in time to show Jimmy McGill selling burner phones to the criminal element. Saul’s call to Ed depicts the end result of that bad decision from years prior...
...except that Jimmy reconsiders using his talents in this particular endeavor after he’s mugged. Instead of selling untraceable phones to criminals, he sets himself on the path we’ve known from the start that he must embark upon: after his PPD is over and done, he’s going to be a lawyer. But, the way in which Jimmy describes his aspirations clues us in on just what kind of lawyer he’s going to be. He begins by talking about how he’s going to work with Kim, again, bigger and better than before. However, his bitter little rant about how people are going to see him tells the real story. This is definitely a guy who’s broken inside.
And then there’s poor Howard, who’s completely unraveling because of Jimmy’s coldheartedness. That great little scene in the bathroom tips off yet another domino on The Road To Saul: Jimmy sees how badly Howard is doing—even with therapy—and so throws the number Kim gave him in the toilet.
Meanwhile, we get the fun B-plots with Mike screening candidates to discretely build the zuperlab underneath the laundromat, and Kim finding her groove again as a public defender. Great stuff.
But, man, this show is making me legitimately sad. There’s a heavy cloud of tragedy hanging over everything, now. It’s a testament to the talents of everyone involved that what could so easily have been a cash-grab BREAKING BAD spin-off has proven to be so moving and so enthralling on its own terms. They’ve spent three years carefully building up Jimmy McGill and his world, and now they’re demolishing it all. Early on, we all probably thought that we wanted to fast-forward to Saul Goodman and his wacky antics, but now that inevitable conclusion feels like something truly horrible and tragic. Which it is, of course.