Friday, August 4, 2017

Better Call Saul : Season 2 and 3

Review : Better Call Saul (Season 2 and 3)
Aired on : AMC (2015 - )
My Rating : 8 out of 10

Please note : This is a review of Season 2 and 3, and may contain spoilers if you have not watched Season 1. Please click here for season 1 review.

I completely loved the first season of “Better Call Saul”. The second and third seasons are as wonderful as the first season, almost. Almost.

Season 2 picks up the story right where season 1 ends, and the arc continues through Season 3. This time, Saul/Jimmy McGill doesn’t have to go through so much professional struggles. He is moderately successful, ends up having his own practice and even manages to have a stable relationship. The story this time is less about his struggles to be a lawyer, and more about his relationship with the person he loves and respects, his brother Chuck. It is an interesting, complex, multi-dimensional and realistic relationship.

At the beginning of the Season 2, Jimmy takes the job with the law firm in Santa Fe. This is the continuation of the thread about the class action suit against Sandpiper that began at the end of Season 1. This thread continues to run through the end of the Season 3. Jimmy is very uncomfortable in this job. His employers are even more uncomfortable about the legality or lack thereof, of Jimmy’s methods. Eventually Jimmy starts his own practice in partnership with Kim. Kim’s efforts to help secure the Mesa Verde contract, and Jim’s way of helping her, forms a major plot element throughout the second and third season. 

Along the same lines, the story threads involving Mike, Nacho and related characters span both Season 2 and 3. Most of the threads get proper closure, if not all. End of Season 3 indeed feels like the end of a book in a longer series.

That brings me to the “almost” part. As captivating the storytelling is, as fantastic the character portrayal is, the pace of the story is slower than what was in Season 1. These 2 seasons could have been combined into one season. A lot less details would have seen the light of the day, but I think that would have been fine. This is one complaint I have against most series. The desire to extend episodes often wins over compactness of narration. 

In spite of that complaint I still give very high rating to both these seasons. Because they are full of artistic brilliance. Acting, directing, script writing, character development, dialogues, editing, everything is top notch. Even the camera angles are worth admiring. To me, this is how television should be. Series like this is why I hardly watch any movies and allocate most of my non-sport TV time to long series. The investment of time in Better Call Saul is absolutely worth it.

I expect a lot more nominations, and frankly it’s high time Bob Odenkirk wins the Best Actor category, at the Emmy’s or the Golden Globe. Other wins are certainly possible too. There is a lot diverse talent packed in this series.

I cannot recommend this series enough. It’s perfectly fine for older teenagers. The complex characters and their complex interactions, presented in a slower quirky manner would be a welcome change from most of the two dimensional stuff out there. As a final note, it’s worth stressing how un-formulaic the series is. There is no action, no edge of your seat suspense, no gory violence, no unnecessary twists, no profanity, no nudity, no sex, no romance, no crude humor, no in your face controversy and no shocks of any kind. In spite of that, it’s gripping and addictive. Watch it.

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