I hate raving about shows in my reviews, but man, Better Call Saul is ridiculously good. Almost as good as Breaking Bad. Now, I don’t think there’s much television that can top the frenetic insanity of Breaking Bad’s final eight episodes, but for a much, much quieter show, Better Call Saul succeeds on so many levels. It crawls at a relatively slow pace, but every scene of this show is dripping with nuance, with empathy for its characters, and often switches perspectives to push our allegiances from character to character. That ability to control the audience’s perspective, to push them back and forth, is an absolutely invaluable skill for a show to have. It shows that the writers are thinking from all perspectives, providing us two, three, four sides of a story.
“Klick”, another fantastic episode of Better Call Saul, shifts the perspective to Chuck, detailing the fallout of his injury and the nightmare that he goes through as a result of Jimmy’s actions. It shifts its focus somewhat away from Kim in order to focus on both Chuck and Jimmy, detailing the complexity of their reactions and how they end up at the remarkable final scene of the season. As a result of Jimmy’s actions, Chuck is forced to undergo medical treatment that uses electromagnetic waves (CAT scans, etc), essentially being tortured and driven into a panic-induced catatonia. The long take at the beginning of the episode, where Chuck is panicking as doctors shine lights in his eyes and suggest medical treatments, is probably the most affecting scene of the series. It quickly shows us just how horrific Chuck’s condition really is, highlighting the panic and the anxiety that he goes through because of Jimmy.
The flashback at the beginning of the episode highlights this as well, showing not only how Chuck feels abandoned and alone because of Jimmy’s immaturity, but also how the world seems to favor Jimmy’s fun nature over Chuck’s honest, serious nature. As much as Jimmy wants to believe that he can be a serious lawyer like Chuck, he can’t help but skirt around the rules, committing crimes in order to get his way. And he’s rewarded for doing so. Jimmy, in this episode, is continually rewarded for hurting Chuck, as Kim still has Mesa Verde as a client and he still gets older clients for his practice. The ramifications of harming Chuck to such an extreme extent are essentially nothing. Honesty and morals, in the face of such immorality and deception, are often beaten down, even if this only holds true in the short term.
But it isn’t that cut and dry. Chuck isn’t the paragon of morality and honesty, just as Jimmy isn’t the paragon of immorality and deception. Jimmy feels incredibly remorseful for putting Chuck through a nightmare because of him, a feeling that continues to compound as more and more happens to Chuck. It finally reaches its climax when the two swap roles, Jimmy coming clean about doctoring the court documents and Chuck being deceptive and taping Jimmy’s confession. It goes to show that both Jimmy and Chuck believe that they take on a specific role, only to forget that they’re complex people with parts of their identities that exist underneath the surface. Jimmy may play tricks and hurt people, but he feels horrible about it, sometimes not wanting that part of him to exist. Chuck may see himself as the honest, moral one, but he’s vindictive and vicious, now resorting to tricks to hurt those he deems worthy of that hurt. “Klick” does a brilliant job showing us just what it takes for people to cross that line, to unleash the darker part of themselves that lurks under the surface.
Removed from all of this is Mike, who has spent a season pushing himself to exist in this criminal world that he is somewhat adverse to. He doesn’t want to kill, but he sees no choice, no way to create justice that doesn’t involve death. The Salamanca gang participates in so much death that it seems that death is the only proportional response. Only Mike can’t bring himself to respond in that fashion, as he is first unable to pull the trigger and then is stopped by somebody jamming a tree branch against his car horn. He’s stopped for now from sinking lower, but it’s only a matter of time before that criminal world sucks him back in.
Better Call Saul is a fantastic show. It takes everything it did so well in its first season and expands upon that, deepening the characters of Kim and Chuck to the point where they’re just as interesting and complex as Jimmy. It also further convolutes the concepts of social order, morality, and the ramifications of individuality, reminding us just how muddled it can all get as people go deeper down the rabbit hole, their actions darkening the world around them, no way to go back. At this point, there isn’t any going back for Jimmy. He may have come clean, but his actions have already irreparably damaged those he cares about. And it’s only a matter of time until that damage swallows everybody whole.
Thanks a ton for reading and following these reviews! I’ll definitely be back for Better Call Saul’s third season, and I’ll be starting Game of Thrones reviews next week, posting every Monday following the show. Hope to see you all then!
What did you think of the finale? Do you think this season is better than the first? Let me know in the comments!