Tag Archives: Jonathan Banks

Better Call Saul – Marco. “He’s my brother, he thinks I’m a scumbag… There’s nothing else to say.”

Trying to follow on from one of the most popular TV shows in history was never going to be easy. Essentially, you are bringing two characters who were introduced during Breaking Bad Season Two and making them the lead stars in a spin-off set before we met Walter White. There have been a few shakes and some uneasy steps, but finally we get to the finale of a rather great Season One and leave off on what will take us into the rise of Saul Goodman. Throughout this series we have been learning about James McGill, or “slippin’ Jimmy” to his friends. We see a con-man turn into a lawyer, hoping to become a man of note and do a good job. $1.6 Million was in his hands at one time and he returned it, he saw off Tuco Salamanca in a tense showdown in the desert and has cared for his brother whose “illness” perplexes many. Jimmy has in ten episodes gone from little court lawyer to the grace of Albuquerque. We have seen him go from cons with his friend Marco to saving the lives of those he just met. But, the finale goes so far and yet still not too far as to bring us into Breaking Bad territory.

So, Jimmy finally hands over the Sandviper case to HHM, after learning that his brother Chuck does not have faith in him as a lawyer. For weeks we thought Hamlin was the man who’d keep Jimmy out of HHM, but we were wrong, well a bit. Jimmy gives the case, though with resent, and wishes Kim and HHM the best of luck. After he is paid, he goes to Cicero to visit Marco, the man that Jimmy used to pull cons with and via flashback we see how the friendship started between the two. Meanwhile, Jimmy begins to go back to his old ways as him and Marco go on more cons, while Marco seems to not be in the best of health. Following an unfortunate event during the supposed last con, Jimmy finds himself without his friend and with a new feeling in his heart. Jimmy eventually returns to Albuquerque and finds out he has been offered a job as an associate with law firm Davis & Mane. Why is this happening? Well, the case is apparently too big for Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill to handle alone so they team up with the other firm. They see Jimmy’s potential and like how he has been able to hold a loyalty with his clients and the loyalty they have back for him. Expect to see more of D&M when Season Two arrives. Jimmy is finally being given a shot with a real firm, but his life has forever now changed and believes he has to make things work for himself, not for others. We finally see the morally righteous Jimmy transform into Saul 0.5 as he begins his change.

So, with Jimmy about to go to work for a firm that wants him and still not talking to his brother following the revelation, there is a lot to hit the ground with next season. Saul Goodman is finally coming out, and we need to embrace it. There will be less morality and more money in his future, and Bob Odenkirk is doing a brilliant job with expanding the life of Jimmy. Though his presence was restricted for a number of episodes, Mike will hopefully get more screen time in the next season and Jonathan Banks can give Mike a more involved role as Saul shall look to have him as his man who will do the job he is given, as we have seen in recent episodes. Also we must see more of the past that Jimmy and Kim have as well as some resolution for the McGill brothers. So, we got some time to wait now but hopefully it won’t be that long. The line about The Hills Have Eyes being a documentary is humourous and his breakdown while doing bingo for the elderly is just a wonderfully written piece. Written by co-creator Peter Gould, this is probably his best script post Breaking Bad and also a great writer who could include ‘Smoke On The Water’ in key places during the episode. Plus, at least we now know how Jimmy got that pinky ring and I now know what a “Chicago Sunroof” is!

Final rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Better Call Saul. Episode 4: Hero. “Not the loquacious sort, are you?”

We begin with another flashback to a younger Jimmy and an unidentified friend or associate as they howl while walking around. Jimmy states his name is ‘Saul Good, Man’ (foreshadowing I think). They find the wallet of a guy who is in the alleyway, seemingly drunk. They rob him for his watch and money. The guy decides to take the watch and give Jimmy the money plus another $540 to sweeten the deal. This turns out to be a scam by Jimmy and the man in the alleyway as they then go and get stoned while enjoying the money. A brief look at the adventures of “Slippin’ Jimmy” is here. We then head back to the present where Jimmy has confronted the Kettlemans and attempts to get them found while they look to bribe him for his silence. He gives them a chance to let him be their lawyer, but they refuse and decide to keep with Hamlin. Jimmy then goes back to the court and gets Nacho out of custody by saying the family were “Camping” (while thanking Mike for his help with the tip). Nacho doesn’t believe the story and thinks someone warned the family that he was coming for them. He says that it is only Nacho’s fault if he was caught because he was sloppy and somebody may have been looking out for the family.

Jimmy is shown to have taken the bribe. He uses the money to have a makeover and continue his transformation to the Saul Goodman that we eventually meet. Jimmy has fun with getting his own suit made and having his hair coloured/prepared for advertisements. Later, Kim calls from her office to speak to Jimmy about meeting up and having some time together. Kim is taken by Hamlin to see a certain billboard which uses the same image of their law firm for his own and a logo which is different only by the letters that they use. Jimmy is obviously trying to overshadow the law firm. Kim goes to warn Jimmy about the billboard and the infringement that it holds. He states he did it because of how Hamlin wanted to stop Jimmy from using his own name professionally. Jimmy is later taken to court over trademark infringement and he is then told to remove the advert. Jimmy then tries to call news outlets about his plight but none seem to be interested in helping him out.

Jimmy later makes a video plea looking to get sympathy and help in his situation. The background shows his billboard being taken down and the worker taking down the billboard then falls and is hanging only by a harness. Jimmy is filmed going to help the man and being observed by many in the vicinity. The incident is a stunt and revealed as Jimmy converses with the man. Hamlin and Kim both can see it was a stunt, but there is a sense that Jimmy has been seen as a real hero. He returns to his office to missed calls on his machine. Jimmy later obtains a paper to see himself made a hero. The stunt has worked and Jimmy is getting clients. He visits Chuck and shares his good news with him, he states it was Chuck’s advice that helped him. Chuck notices his paper is not there as Jimmy has taken it to hide what has actually happened. Chuck looks and sees that everywhere else has a paper. He then runs out in his silver cloak and grabs the paper, he then learns the truth of what happened with Jimmy and the billboard incident.

Four episodes in, and we are really starting to see the show hit a stride now. The throwbacks to Breaking Bad using the cold openings is still great, and we learn more about Jimmy’s past in them few minutes than we did throughout his time as Saul Goodman. Bob Odenkirk begins to reveal himself as the guy we remember watching for years and is magnificent. Jonathan Banks gets very little to do again which is disappointing, but hopefully that will change soon. Patrick Fabian is given great time to shine in this episode as Howard Hamlin, the one man that Jimmy wants to destroy. He is witty, suave and knows his way around the law with fine precision. Rhea Seehorn’s Kim is given some good scenes too and her interaction with Jimmy in the salon is fun and serious at the same time. This episode is doing the right thing by bringing Jimmy higher in the public eye and getting him seen more seriously as a lawyer, but what will Chuck think of this rise of the hero Jimmy? (we also need more Michael McKean). Episode five needs to come soon!

Final Rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Episode 5 preview:

Rhea-Seahorn-and-Bob-Odenkirk-in-Better-Call-Saul-Season-1-Episode-4

Better Call Saul. Episode 3: ‘Nacho’. “You Gonna Gum Me To Death, Geezer!”

Better Call Saul. Episode 3: ‘Nacho’

We start this episode with a flashback to an earlier point in the life of Jimmy McGill when he is in prison, getting help from his brother Chuck. Later, Jimmy is seen in his office talking to Kim Wexler who works for the law firm Chuck was part of, discusses the Kettlemans and mentions about the potential danger they are in. Jimmy worries that his deal with Nacho will end nastily so he calls the Kettlemans to warn them of the danger and they see Nacho’s vehicle outside. The next day, Jimmy goes to work and manages to get out the car park without paying which angers Mike (Which we will come back to). It is discovered that the family goes missing and Kim suspects that Jimmy knows the truth after the call the night before. Jimmy thinks that Nacho may have kidnapped the family, so he repeatedly attempts to contact Nacho. Eventually, Jimmy is brought into court as it turns out Nacho has already been arrested and a suspect in the Kettleman’s disappearance.

Nacho has Jimmy be his defence council, threatening Jimmy if he can’t get him out of prison and to get him out before the police find out about his connections to Tuco. Jimmy encourages the police to take him to the Kettleman family, he realises that the Kettleman daughter has a doll which seems to be missing which indicates the family left on their own accord. Jimmy admits to Kim that he knew the Kettlemans were in danger and warned them the night before they disappeared. Jimmy continues with the idea the family made themselves disappear. After a confrontation with Mike in which Jimmy attempts to get into the car park, Jimmy is brought down by Mike to his knees and threatened with assaulting Mike to get information from him. After explaining his theory that the Kettleman family disappeared on their own accord, Mike drops charges as he believes the story after remembering an experience he had similar as an officer in Philadelphia. Jimmy goes to investigate and finds the family as they look to leave after some time camping near their home. The family refuse to go back home, and Jimmy finally catches them red-handed with the money they had supposedly taken. Finally, Jimmy sees his luck change.

Better call saul ep 3

Ok, it was great to finally see Jimmy/Saul and Mike finally work together, even if it was only brief. Though we don’t get to see much of him this week, seeing Chuck help his brother in a rather desperate time is good and expands on why Jimmy became a lawyer. Bob Odenkirk gets better and better after each episode and is comfortably talking the lead. It was great to have more of Jonathan Banks taking his Mike character to more than a cameo role this time round. Also, it is great to finally get to know more about Rhea Seehorn’s character Kim and I want to know more about the history they share. The writing is still funny and the stakes do remain high throughout. Truly 2015’s greatest TV triumph so far!

Final Rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Episode four preview here:

Better Call Saul – Uno. “Discreet, Like A Stripper Pole In A Mosque”

The episode opens in a Cinnabon store where we meet the man who used to be Saul Goodman some years after Breaking Bad. Following the finale of Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman went into hiding and he is shown to be the manager of a Cinnabon in Nebraska. Saul seems to still be worried that someone will either recognise him or come and get him after his involvement with Walter White. The present day is not too much of a focus in this spin-off as it doesn’t take too long for Saul to reminisce over the days that have passed by. A visually upset Saul watches a video of his old commercials when the episode abruptly cuts to 2002 where we begin our story of a very different man. Starting in a courtroom, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk, before he became Saul Goodman) is hired to defend three teenagers who have done a rather disgusting crime and his attempt to defend them is thrown out after a simple video is shown of the incident. Jimmy McGill is very unhappy with his job as a defence lawyer and also hates the amount of money he earns from his job. The first meeting between “Saul” and Mike Ehrmantraut is rather humorous as he tries to leave a car park and Mike shows he always used to stick close to his job as he is the parking attendant who tries to enforce procedure.

Jimmy McGill gets potential clients to represent as he meets the Kettlemans. They seem unimpressed with Jimmy and he tries desperately to win over the clients. He looks to order flowers for the Kettlemans when he gets caught in a con and knows to work his way out of it (Twin brothers Cal and Lars). The joke about the worth of his car is brilliant. His office is not yet the one we know where he films his many videos and did his business with Jesse and Walt, here it is a little room in a beauty salon where he has a desk, phone and very little else. Things seem desperate for Jimmy until he finds a cheque in his mail for the sum of $26,000, which he tears up. The check comes from the law firm his brother works for, so he goes to their offices to see them where he invades a meeting. It seems his brother is unable to work properly as they seem to be paying Jimmy to give the money to his brother Chuck. He becomes angry when he sees the Kettlemans going to the law firm.

Jimmy later visits his brother Chuck, Chuck believes he has Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and so has no electronic devices in his house, instead keeping a typewriter and lanterns in the home. Jimmy tries to convince Chuck to cash out of his firm and take the money as they are going broke. Chuck refuses and argues with Jimmy saying that he will get better and go back to work. Chuck instead suggests that Jimmy should change his name to make the firm happy which makes Jimmy really upset. Jimmy then decides to make a partnership with two twin brothers that he met earlier to help make some money and create protégés with his tales of how he started with “slip and falls”. He looks to get one of the brothers “hit” and see about making an easy few grand. He looks to set up Betsy Kettleman, for he wants revenge for her not taking his services. The plan goes into action but the driver doesn’t leave the car and in fact drives away from the scene. The twins arrive at the house of a lady who parks her car, the car that hit one of them. The lady is not Betsy, but a Hispanic woman who knows little English. Jimmy races to where the twins have gone and arrives at the house of the woman, finding their skateboards and helmets. Jimmy finds a gun to his head, the man holding the gun is Tuco Salamanca! Yes, the man who first distributed drugs for Walter White returns and looks set to kill Jimmy.

better-call-saul

Better Call Saul makes for a great start. Bob Odenkirk effortlessly steps back into his shoes and becomes Jimmy McGill as he starts his journey to becoming Saul Goodman. The introduction of the main characters is done easily and effectively. We find out Jimmy McGill is his real name, he will do anything for money and is ready to fight anyone. Although only brief, Jonathan Banks makes a great scene as Mike and his altercation with Jimmy is only the start of what is to come. With other cast members thrown in and little information shown on them yet, the biggest highlight had to be seeing Raymond Cruz as he returned to the role of Tuco. This show had a lot of humour, but the humour never outweighs the drama or tense moments which occur in the opening episode. The cold opens which we were used to in Breaking Bad also seem to be back and it’s a nice link to see where Saul has gone to and how he started his career as a “Criminal Lawyer”. The script is tight and well-acted throughout. Hopefully we expand beyond Odenkirk and learn more about the cast in the next episode, but I am intrigued to see his progression and when he and Mike start working together. Vince Gilligan has another hit on his hands here and I look forward to watching episode two!

Final Rating: 8.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove