Summary: Tuco calls Gonzo, No Doze and Nacho about the skateboard kids. He holds Jimmy at gunpoint and Jimmy attempts to talk himself out of it but the skateboarders turn him over. Jimmy is taken to the desert and threatened by Tuco, but Nacho saves him. Jimmy saves the lives of the skateboarders and they get away with only a broken leg each. Jimmy returns to life at the courthouse, having given up on scheming. He's met by Nacho again who plans to rob the Kettlemans, but Jimmy refuses to help him.
The Good: This was much better than the pilot episode. The pilot introduced everything, but things were still kind of shaky. This episode continued to establish what "Uno" started and also gave the show some excitement and identity to really make it stand out. Almost everything about this worked and I could not have asked for a better follow-up episode.
The biggest thing in this episode was definitely Tuco. Introducing Tuco early on was a very smart move in a lot of ways. In the last episode I was excited to see what happened, but it felt like Tuco's inclusion was to keep the show feeling more like Breaking Bad. And I was very wrong. If anything this confrontation as meant t mirror the episode "Grilled" but to show how this show would differ from Breaking Bad. We get to see not action, but lots of tense dialogue that helped reveal a lot about the characters we get to see. The way the scene concluded highlights that Better Call Saul will be more about morals and character over the epic look at the drug world from Breaking Bad.
Something great about this approach is how it also showed how different Jimmy McGill is from Saul Goodman. Saul would have let those kids die to save himself, but Jimmy still has a soul. He wants to save lives and feel uncomfortable seeing the kids legs broken by the vile Tuco. He is a completely different man trying to find his place in the world. And it should be a very intriguing journey to see Jimmy become the sleazy Saul Goodman we all "love".
Back to Tuco though for a bit, he was excellent as always. We are all familiar with Tuco so it was a joy to see his unpredictability and insanity once more. The opening sequence was a fantastic and subtle use of dramatic irony as the audience can easily pinpoint the exact moment that Tuco snapped, whereas the skaters are jus so horribly oblivious to it al. It creates a nice sense of foreboding and even plays into a nice joke when Tuco says "biznatch" after taking care of the 2.
Tuco was also great in his scenes with Jimmy. There was a genuine tension and even though we know Jimmy will survive, we are still unsure what Tuco may do next. And that adds another exciting layer to this episode and to the wonderful conversations between Jimmy and Tuco. Additionally, the conversations are a good way to get us to understand just how powerful Jimmy can be when he talks. It's absolutely his biggest weapon and I'm curious to see how his charming personality will factor into the rest of the series.
I think that the episode really did nail Jimmy's character in this episode. Afterwards, I was invested in his story in a way I wasn't after "Uno" and I'm genuinely excited to see where the story goes now. This episode improved a lot on the previous one. The Jimmy and Chuck scene got more time to breathe this episode and I was more interested in Chuck afterwards. Nacho is another interesting character and he has quickly made an impact by showing his calm thought process compared to Tuco's insanity.
This episode also gave me more of a Breaking Bad vibe in terms of the writing. Like in Breaking Bad, the writing is damn impressive and there are so many little details that just wow me and make me appreciate the story being told so much more. For example, I love that scenes get time to breathe so we can really get invested. In other shows we wouldn't see scenes of Jimmy feeling bad about what happened to the boys, and we wouldn't get an extended conversation between Chuck and Jimmy to showcase the mannerisms and contrasting behaviour of both characters. Another small thing I liked was the lingering shot between Jimmy and Kim, the girl lawyer. It lets us know she will be important and that there is a relationship there to look out for with just a single wordless shot.
It would take too long to go into detail about every little thing I liked about this episode, but I'll quickly list off the small things that I thought were amazing in this episode. The montages were things of beauty, letting us get invested into the characters and the world by going on for a while and condensing loads of information into tons of quick 3 second scenes. The cinematography seems to have actually improved after Breaking Bad, making Better Call Saul possibly the most beautifully shot television show I have seen. The acting is splendid too as there are always tons of details to look for in the performances as all of the actors beautifully display what is going through the characters heads in just a single shot. The decision to include these shots of characters telling a story with just their faces is also brilliant as it leaves the show with excess amounts of restraint, detail and subtlety. The Breaking Bad nods with Tuco cooking and Tuco threatening No Doze were great.
Lastly, this show is absolutely killing it in the humour department too. Each of the jokes are built up brilliantly and always catch you with a sense of sudden surprise making them all the more hilarious. The montage with Jimmy working at the courthouse in particular was brilliant with showing these jokes and it also did a superb job of balancing the humour with the struggles of Jimmy's life.
The Bad: Tuco does seem a bit cartoonish though. While I still love his character, he feels a little more 2 dimensional than before and just seems to be ridiculously over the top to please the fans.
I suppose the only thing wrong with this episode is that it doesn't engage your emotions. It's near flawless when it comes to writing, cinematography, acting and other small details but if it doesn't engage my emotions aside from feelings of tension it can't be something next-level special.
The Unknown: What is the relationship between Jimmy and Kim?
Will Jimmy eventually join with Nacho? How long will he keep his morality before turning into Saul Goodman?
Best Moment: The montage was superbly shot and hilarious, but Jimmy talking down Tuco from a death sentence to broken legs was too spectacular to pass up. It was genuinely tense and did a great job of showing how talented Jimmy is at using his mouth to convince other people to do things.
Character of the Episode: Jimmy.
Conclusion: A great episode of television that vastly improved upon the last one. I'm definitely on board with this show now and I would be more than happy to just see this story play out the same way it played out here even if there aren't many plot developments happening.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.