Jimmy’s back in action! Due to site maintenance, I couldn’t post last week’s review until now, so I’ve combined season two’s second and third episodes into one review. Spoilers ahead!
“Cobbler” starts out with a scene of Chuck playing piano in his dark, cave-like house. My first thought was how Michael McKean needs to show us some more of these musician chops that he’s been hiding since Rob Reiner’s Spinal Tap! Then Howard comes in to update Chuck on the progress of the Sandpiper case. He tells him how well his little brother Jimmy is doing — thumbs up for Howard being cool now! — and Chuck feigns being proud for him.
Over both episodes, we see Chuck return to Hamlin & McGill to “Bear Witness” to Jimmy’s case, which is about as vague and ominous and it gets. “Amarillo” sees Chuck attempt to poke holes in the younger McGill’s methods of soliciting Sandpiper residents. Jimmy is no novice at deflecting suspicions of illegal activity, but the main point Saul drives home here is to show us Jimmy’s conflict. Why work within the construct of legality when every step you have taken or will take in your career has been constrained, insulted and stepped on by your big brother?
Hence Jimmy’s pro bono “Squash Cobbler” case he accepts from Mike to convince the police that weaselly pharmaceutics guy is innocent. Jimmy doesn’t do it for the money, which is never mentioned. We simply see Jimmy getting frustrated with limitations, then seeking out Mike to get “his fix” of law breaking and lying. Jimmy will always need a stage to improvise a convincing performance; Mike is a door to that world. It makes sense that this is the start of the Saul/Mike partnership that we see in Breaking Bad.
Jimmy acts similarly restless in episode three. Chuck calls him out, so he directs two film students and makes a tear-jerking video featuring an old lady at the mercy of Sandpiper. Jimmy runs the commercial in a Colorado Sandpiper home without the consent of his boss, Cliff Maine. At the end of “Amarillo,” Jimmy’s in deep trouble, but even Maine can’t argue with the 100 plus clients that called after the ad!
It’s interesting to see how Kim is becoming Jimmy’s anchor to the legal world, while also offering some romantic perks. Every step he takes towards what he really wants to do (i.e. lie, swindle, perform) is a step further away from Kim, who vouched for his professional reliability from the beginning. Like Walter White, if Jimmy wants to do what he loves — and become Saul Goodman — he’s going to have to lose everything tying him to an ordinary life.
This review wouldn’t be complete until I mentioned the developments with Mike Ehrmantraut. So that the Weasel doesn’t rat to the cops, Mike is forced to confront Nacho about returning his baseball cards, and he doesn’t disappoint when it comes to intimidation! Without lying or playing games, Mike just lays out the facts and convinces Nacho to return what he stole. Mike is a fantastic yin to Jimmy’s yang in this way.
Mike’s motivations for getting back into the world of crime make sense in the context of his relationship with his daughter-in-law, Stacey. He has put all his remaining eggs in the basket of protecting her, and his granddaughter. That’s all he cares about; he still feels responsible for his son’s murder.
It doesn’t matter to Mike that Stacey confuses the morning newspaper’s hitting the ground with gunfire. It doesn’t even matter that he’s running low on cash. Mike promises to get them out of that house, so that’s what he’s going to do. This leads him to the end of “Amarillo,” where he meets up with Nacho to discuss the prospect of Mike becoming a murderer for quick and vast sums of money. The episode ends with Mike definitely considering it. This could very well be where Mike’s real journey to Breaking Bad starts as well.
These are two very good episodes. I’m going to rate “Cobbler” a bit higher because out of Jimmy’s various cons and lies, the one about sitting on a pie and filming it was just so creative and hilarious.
Episode 2: 9/10
Episode 3: 8.5/10
Some other great moments: