It’s no secret to regular readers that I’ve been this show’s most enthusiastic advocate, not for being well-written or providing well-developed characters, or keeping me in suspense–all of which it does–but for investing me emotionally in the journey of Jimmy McGill. I’ve loved every episode of Better Call Saul in this pilot season, but I have to say, I enjoyed last week’s show much more than this finale.
I just wasn’t buying Jimmy’s epiphany in the final minutes that seemed to come from nowhere. He didn’t hit rock bottom, he didn’t get desperate. Sure he got screwed by his brother, but Kim and his clients still believed in him. In fact, Jimmy had everywhere to go but down. He was excited when Kim called and told him about the job. He was on his way inside. Prestige, money, respect, proving his brother wrong, proving to himself that he is a good lawyer–he would have had all of these things.
I don’t care if as a writer, you want Jimmy to have an epiphany and literally walk in the opposite direction, but there has to be something in the story to support that decision, and something in his character that makes the audience say, “Yes, that’s the Saul we know from Breaking Bad.” As of now, I’m not sure why Jimmy is in that place. I can see that in the season finale, you might want Jimmy taking a step toward the dark side, but it seemed rushed, and forced.
In this episode, Jimmy returns to Chicago to find his old friend Marco literally sitting on the same bar stool where Jimmy left him a decade ago. During that time, Jimmy has of course graduated from law school while working in the mail room at HHM, developed a great relationship with Kim, and passed the bar exam. Jimmy and Marco have a fun week together scamming rubes, and then duty calls Jimmy back to New Mexico. Marco, however, calls this the “best week of his life” with his dying breath. Really? If this was the best week of your life, and these are your last words to Jimmy McGill, I’m thinking something has gone horribly wrong in your life.
And Jimmy is thinking….what? That’s the problem. Is he thinking “I gotta get me some of that amazing life that Marco described?” Why? For what reason? I’m not buying it. I need a reason. And I need a better one than Jimmy suddenly deciding that he and Mike should have taken the Kettlemans’ money. I’m disappointed. I was expecting more.
Remember during the final season of Breaking Bad, where they ran promos of Bryan Cranston reading Shelley’s “Ozymandias?” I’m getting chills just thinking about it. Essentially, these ads featured Walter White describing a “colossal wreck” where once stood a great king.
Where is Jimmy’s colossal wreck? Where is the great, insurmountable, depressing, fiasco that starts Jimmy on a downslide into Saul? We saw the beginnings of such a downfall when chuck betrayed him, but with so much still going so right in his life, what we saw last night cannot be it. So why, why didn’t Jimmy go into that meeting? What are your thoughts?
On a side note, Kudos to the writers for the Belize reference, and for the Kevin Costner scene. Both were nice touches for fans of Breaking Bad.