Season one of Better Call Saul touched on a few themes that were deeper than we might have expected of a spin-off series focused on shady, small-time criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, a man with a penchant for peach and magenta shirts. Essentially, it was a series about existentialism. How did Jimmy become Saul, and what moulded him into this most surreal of characters?
In the finale, we saw Saul faced with a dilemma symbolic of his own position in the world: to take the partner job at Davis & Mane and walk a righteous path, or to give up any hope or pretence of being the best version of himself, and embrace the shark within (whatever it means for his relationship with Chuck)?
He took the second or, in other words, he headed down a road signposted "Saul" - which brings us neatly to season 2. Entertainment Weekly have these exclusive images which appear to illustrate how Jimmy's been keeping himself busy since his big decision.
This one is beautifully symbolic, illustrating perfectly the Jimmy's dilemma: to play it safe, be a good guy, and turn up for work in an expensive but decidedly bland grey number - or to plump for a disgusting but very Saul-ish florescent pink or shiny silver jacket?
Series writer and co-creator Peter Gould teased a little more info regarding what's next for the lawyer...
“You’re gonna see what happens when Jimmy lives his own way. He’s been living Chuck’s way, he’s been living Kim’s way — what’s it like when Jimmy lives his way, and does that mean he’s now Saul Goodman?”
The question is interesting, highlighting the point that, whilst Jimmy chose to put himself first, nobody simply becomes somebody else overnight. Transitioning into the character of Saul will likely be an ongoing process shaped by the events of the second season. Here's another shot of Jimmy, this time hopping into an elevator with Mike Ehrmantraut.
That's bound to be a conversational thirty seconds.
When interviewed by EW.com, Bob Odenkirk shared his perspective on the ominous words spoken by Jimmy after turning and driving away from the job interview with Davis & Mane:
When he says to Mike, “I know what stopped me…. It’s never stopping me again,” was it that he was done being a nice guy and adhering to society’s code? Was the battle for his soul somewhat determined in that moment? And how did you read that line?
The way I read it is he’s going to stop checking in with the world at large as to whether his moves and his choices are approved and blessed by the greater, higher power (laughs). He’s going to with his gut and his instinct, and his natural gifts as they were… He’s going to go with his inner instincts more. ... To me, Saul Goodman reads a little bit as an overcompensation for letting the world be the judge of you and your choices ... Maybe he’s about to dive headfirst into an ocean of pure instinct, which is wonderful, but also just as misguided as constantly wanting society’s and your brother’s approval: They’re both wrong. You got to find the happy medium.
Reading between the lines, it sounds as if we could see Jimmy lurch to the other end of the spectrum, abandoning all morality in a kind of FU to the world (and Chuck), before reining it in a little later on. Then again, Odenkirk claimed not to "know a thing" about the direction of season 2, so who knows?
Truth is, nothing's ever certain when it comes to Slippin' Jimmy - except that season 2 of Better Call Saul has a strong likelihood of being even more entertaining than the first. What more could we ask for?
Saul returns February 15, 2016 on AMC.