The second season of AMC's "Better Call Saul" ended last night after its ten episode follow up to the successful first season. In this continuation of the "Breaking Bad" spin-off, lawyer Jimmy McGill is slowly working his way up into the higher ranks of lawyers and law firms while also dealing with his own personal issues such as his relationship with his brother, Chuck, and his new-found affection for friend, Kim Wexler. Also in a clearly defined subplot, we also see more of Mike Ehrmantraut's story as we learn more about him as well as his evolution into the man we see him as in "Breaking Bad". All of these things happening in yet another successful season of the show. (Spoilers lie ahead)
The thing I liked most about this season is that we get to see Jimmy McGill as a nearly full-fledged Saul Goodman in certain scenes. One scene that best exemplifies this is in episode 7 when Jimmy is deliberately trying to get fired from a law firm and he takes it upon himself to dress in extravagant suits and be as unprofessional and obnoxious as possible. There's still some McGill left in him at this point, but it's also the part where you see Saul Goodman itching to break out and show himself one and for all. Jimmy's transformation is also furthered not just by how he acts, but also in everything going in with his personal life.
This season introduces a romance between Jimmy and his friend, Kim Wexler, a lawyer who works at the company that's more or less a rival for Jimmy. I wasn't sure how I would feel about them getting together as it was rumored, but it actually played out very well. Their chemistry is elevated by the both of them being shady and willing to go to any lengths necessary to get what they want, but what's interesting about it is that we get to see Jimmy slowly introduce Kim into it and make her realize just how much she's able to enjoy it; stuff like that made the relationship all the more interesting to watch. You also have to figure that somehow something is going to happen down the line that involves Kim and it will ultimately permanently cement Saul Goodman as a character. Whether that be a bad strain in the relationship or even death, it should be interesting to note that the best/worst of the Jimmy-Kim relationship has yet to be seen.
This season also furthers the relationship between Jimmy and Chuck, continuing off with their bitter end at season 1 and going into more detail about their past and where that could lead them. Their relationship is much more complex than two brothers not getting along. It's essentially a type of psychological warfare as the two of them are going at each other to bring one another down to the other's level. You get the sense that the two of them are never going to be the same after what happens to them in the past season, especially since the both of them make big moves in personally affecting the other's life, Chuck basically firing Kim from his firm and Jimmy intentionally sabotaging a big case for Chuck. Also, it's just plain great to see Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean on screen together, the two of them sharing great chemistry and portraying a genuinely complex and even gripping relationship.
With Mike's subplot, it's about how he gets more involved with Nacho, a recurring character from the first season who is a member of Tuco Salamanca's gang as well as being involved with Hector Salamanca and the Cousins from "Breaking Bad". Both Hector and the Cousins make appearances in this season and we learn more of their history with Mike. It's revealed that Mike's beef with the Cousins (it being hinted at in "Breaking Bad") is a personal one as they threaten to kill his granddaughter on Hector's behalf. This leads to Mike going out of his way to kill Hector, but the one thing that everyone was anticipating was this: the return of Gustavo Fring, drug kingpin and main antagonist of "Breaking Bad". There's never been any official word on whether Gus is actually going to appear in this show, and it's only been hinted at in this season, but for now, only time will tell.
Back onto Mike's story, this was an equally interesting and suspenseful side story that furthers Mike as a character and even expands the "Breaking Bad" mythos as we see more sides of the drug cartel and how Hector and the rest of the Salamancas fit into this universe. In fact, there were times where I found the Mike story to be even more interesting than the Jimmy story. Don't get me wrong, the main plot with Jimmy is great to watch and it serves as a well made character study that's driven by solid writing, but people who want the more intense scale of "Breaking Bad" will gravitate towards Mike's subplot. When it all comes down to things, they're both equally fascinating character-driven stories and they both have their fair share of compelling dilemmas that keep the audience engaged.
The second season of "Better Call Saul" proved that the well made first season was no fluke as it continues to further Jimmy's story and provide complex relationships between the character, great performances from the entire cast, a well rounded, well written character study, and 10 episodes that feel legitimately important in setting up the Saul Goodman we all know. This is one of the better TV shows to be on air right now and with how season 3 has been set up, it looks to be continuing its hot streak of genuinely great television.