Summary: In the future, Gene gives up a criminal to the police but tells him to call a lawyer. Gene later collapses. In the present, Chuck shows the tape to Howard and prepares a plan to bring justice to Jimmy. Jimmy is confronted by Bauer about his commercial but he is able to weasel his way out of trouble. Mike finds a tracking device on his car after a ton of searching. Mike buys another version of the tracking device and enacts a clever plan to allow him to follow whoever is trying to track him.
The Good: This was a really strong season premiere even though it had a slow pace. There was so much to love and a lot of story was set up in very tense fashion.
First of all though, we were treated to another excellent scene with Gene. These scenes are always extremely well put together and this was no exception. It has been fascinating to slowly learn more about Gene and to see the differences between him and Jimmy. Here we get to see how he is trying to stay out of the public and definitely away from cops, yet his inner personality wants to be a lawyer again and it creeps out from time to time.
With the main story, I thought there were a lot of excellent scenes that continued to develop relationships and progress the story. I really enjoyed the scene with Jimmy and Chuck near the beginning. There was a great metaphor for their relationship added in with their differing ways to peel off the tape. Chuck uses finesse whereas Jimmy is pretty rough around the edges. It's a really clever comparison and reminds us of these 2's conflicting morals. I also loved to see the 2 brothers reminiscing a bit. They have been at their throats for so long that we do need a reminder from time to time that they are brothers. Fascinatingly though we got to see Chuck completely cut off the brotherly moment with a chilling line, telling Jimmy "you will pay". The scene conveyed the state of the brothers' relationship so well and even got out some emotion with that chilling final line.
Jimmy was involved with a lot of other good scenes too. His scenes with Kim were great as usual and continued to highlight their differences as well. Kim is always so fretful with details and being good in contrast to Jimmy taking shortcuts and still believing that the result is all that matters, without any thought about the means. This, I believe, was also shown in an amazing scene with Captain Bauer who makes his return from "Fifi" (see: Best Moment).
And that was surprisingly it for the Jimmy storyline. Not a whole lot happened in it, but it had a genuine air of tension throughout with the threat of Chuck looming in the background and with Jimmy facing so many conflicts with other characters. There was limited story progression, but the show continues to explore its dynamics with incredible depth and detail which will always make for a compelling viewing.
In the other half of the episode we got a lengthy story revolving Mike which surprisingly featured very little dialogue. I thought this was a brilliant decision though and it made for an impressively cinematic and gripping story as Better Call Saul got to use its fantastic visual storytelling to ensure that we always know and understand what was happening in he storyline. Scenes like the car montage were incredible as they got their point across very well while also remaining entertaining through a use of creative cinematography and our love for the character of Mike.
Speaking of Mike, I love that we got to see his plan to reverse the situation on the man tracking him in complete detail. This could have been accomplished in 5 minutes easily, but where would the satisfaction be? It wouldn't be memorable and it would just be a plot transition. By taking a risk and aiming big here, Mike's story became memorable and downright fascinating to watch as we can see a real professional working to get himself out of a very tedious situation. By dedicating so much time to this, it made the final scene when Mike gets his tracker out to follow the man feel so much more satisfying and impressive. We can really appreciate Mike's intelligence an dedication now that we have seen him use those traits to his fullest ability. I was preparing to make some complaints about how there were some holes in the story, but the story had so much dedication that there are no possible holes. The tracker storyline had a danger of being too contrived, but it made sense and we got scenes to show each and every step that Mike took so we got to understand every detail of the plan. I was also extremely impressed that the show actually addressed how Mike made time for everything while still working his job. Any other show would have forgotten about that, but not this show. This show is too careful to leave a plot hole like that.
The Bad: The pace was very slow which may turn off some viewers. I didn't find it to be a problem though since the pace of this show has always been deliberately slow and it has allowed for huge improvements to writing, cinematography, storytelling and character development. I'll gladly take a slow pace to experience this kind of quality.
The Unknown: Chuck's entire story goes into the unknown. We don't know what his plan is and I'm very interested to see what it is. It seems like he conned Ernie into hearing the tape, again showing he is just as deadly with conning as Jimmy. It seems that he is going to try to use Ernie to tell Jimmy about the tape. I wonder what that will accomplish for him.
What was with Gene's collapse? Was it just from anxiety after his encounter with the cops, or could it be something else?
Best Moment: Jimmy is confronted by Captain Bauer who is pissed about the commercial. This scene was fantastic as it had a genuine air of tension as we can't be sure that Jimmy's commercial is safe. It was great to see Jimmy make a comeback and threaten Bauer's job when he is threatened with being put in court. It was very enjoyable and tense. And then leave it to the writers to turn the scene into something more powerful by using it to also highlight Jimmy's frustration with Chuck. That was done in such an organic and subtle way that I must applaud the writers for it.
Character of the Episode: Mike.
Conclusion: Despite the slow pace, this was a wildly entertaining season premiere which completely satisfied me.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.