Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Better Call Saul Season 2, Ep. 2 – “Cobbler.”
“Are you still morally flexible?” — Mike
A prequel offers an interesting conundrum. As Better Call Saul’s second season eases forward at its usual languid pace its becoming clear that the struggle at the center of the series is Jimmy’s choice between hustling and rule following. This season has already upped the stakes considerably by tying a love story into this dilemma. Kim has made it clear that while Jimmy’s ability to think on his feet and invent stories delights her, she draws the line at actual law breaking.
And here’s where the conundrum comes in. On a stand-alone series this arc would offer tension and incite curiosity, but in this case the whole thing is layered by a sense of doom. The tension and curiosity is still there, but ultimately we know that Jimmy chooses a life of corruption and excitement over horse rides and smokers. And we know that, ultimately, that choice lands him the coveted position of Cinnabon manager.
But for now Jimmy is still vacillating between his two selves. Unsurprisingly, his changes of heart always seem to coincide with visits from Chuck. Last season Chuck admitted that he had kept Jimmy from moving up within HMM because he didn’t consider him a real lawyer and that revelation sent Jimmy straight into a conman bender which he is only now pulling out of. So, after Chuck happened to pop in to “witness” Jimmy’s lawyer act is it any surprise that when Mike called in a favor Jimmy jumped at it?
At this point Jimmy just considers these side jobs as his “thing;” his version of classic guitar to decompress from life’s daily grind. But Kim has the right prospective on this. Music is a hobby. Conning? Not so much. Right now he might be able to balance the two, but once you get used to bending the rules to get ahead, it becomes harder and harder to play by the book.
And here’s another aspect of the prequel conundrum. Currently Mike is still stuck cleaning up for a hapless wannabe drug dealer (oh Mike, if you only knew how much worse this could be), but we know that ultimately he and Jimmy end up in partnership with one Mr. Gus Fring. But at this point it’s not clear when or how those timelines will meet up. Here’s hoping to soon!
Bonus quote: “You think I’d be caught dead driving that thing? It looks like a school bus for six year-old pimps.” — Nacho
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