Breaking Bad spin off Better Call Saul is back for a second season, and we’ve had an early look at the opener.
Better Call Saul is returning to show other networks just how good a spin off show can be, and it does it mostly by having nothing to do with the original.
The wonderful Bob Odenkirk is back, with the opening scene once more showing us a glimpse of his life in hiding after the events of Breaking Bad. It’s a great opening, a black and white flash of how much his life has changed and the perfect introduction before we flash back to more innocent days, a time when the man who would be Saul Goodman was a lawyer with a bad suit and a few too many failed cases.
There’s something fascinating about imaginging how this character connects with that in Breaking Bad, and series creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould aren’t in any hurry to connect those particular dots. Which is just fine, as Better Call Saul lives and breathes on its own as an intimate dramatic comedy that often does things a little differently.
For example, most of this first episodes unfolds in just a handful of scenes and a few important conversations. They’re mostly with significant returning characters and play out as a series of small moments which are gradually leading Jimmy McGill (Saul’s original name) down a particular path which might just be away from lawyering.
This includes a welcome focus on his relationship with Rhea Seehorn’s Kim and a couple of typically top moments for Jonathan Banks as the ever watchable Mike Ehrmantraut. This episode does a lot to dig into the warring elements within Jimmy – the grifter fighting against the lawman. We’ve seen him excel at both but deciding between the two won’t be a simple matter.
Seeds are sown here for the season ahead, with more to come from Michael Mando’s Ignacio and interesting movements in Jimmy’s personal and business life. It’s a slow start but that’s refreshing in a sea of shows which go out of their way to wow you with violence and sex and cliffhangers. Better Call Saul has a very particular ride in mind, and fans will be rapt with attention for every second of it.
Better Call Saul will be releasing on Netflix every week, starting on Tuesday the 16th of February and running for 10 episodes.