Season Two of Better Call Saul follows the twists and turns of Jimmy McGill's (Bob Odenkirk) journey toward becoming his Breaking Bad alter ego, along the way soaring to new heights and sinking to new lows. Jimmy grows closer to confidante Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), while his relationship with afflicted brother Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) becomes increasingly complex. Mike (Jonathan Banks) finds himself pulled deeper into the criminal underworld. As Jimmy evolves (or regresses) toward "it's all good man," he's faced with impossible choices that foreshadow his future. Back stories are further revealed, along with new characters and nods to the Breaking Bad universe.
Previously on 'Better Call Saul': our antihero, the shady lawyer from 'Breaking Bad,' has not yet become the successful and crooked lawyer that we love and adore. Instead, he's broken and unsuccessful James "Jimmy" McGill. Constantly attempting to impress his hypochondriac brother and win the affection from his up-and-coming laywer friend Kim, he's not yet the out-for-himself truth-bender Saul Goodman. After the death of his best friend and losing a gem-of-a-case, one that is destined to become a class action lawsuit, alongside Mike Ehrmantraut, he vows to stop helping others and selfishly only do what's best for him. The flawless ten-episode first season ends with us finally seeing Jimmy take his first step towards consciouslly becoming Saul.
Just as the second season of 'Fargo' managed to, the second season of 'Better Call Saul' is even stronger than the first. On page, there's absolutely nothing about 'Saul' that signals it as one of the best currently-running television series – but proving its greatness is the fact that day-after-airing watercooler conversations are just as common for 'Saul' as they are for wildly popular series like 'The Walking Dead.'
The down-and-out depressed Jimmy from the season one finale carries into the season two opener, but by revealing his true colors, he makes progress in one way that he was previously unable to. After closing up shop, he heads to a high-end hotel and starts conning again. While lounging at the pool and charging his drinks and meals to an unknown person's room, Kim stops by to talk some sense into him. When she realizes his poolside con, she curiously explores just what he's capable of and ultimately gets caught up in the game. The two scam a yuppie stock broker and have a wonderful evening that ultimately ends up with the two sleeping together. To this point, Kim has been genuinely driven by integrity. As a viewer, we know where Jimmy is headed, so seeing him negatively influence Kim is bittersweet. He's a good man; we want to see him succeed - but considering Kim Wexler is nowhere to be found in 'Breaking Bad,' we know this is going to end badly for her. The relationship with Jimmy is likely going to be her demise.
Following the first episode, the season quickly deviates from where you might have thought it was going. It looked like we were heading into in a direction that would show Jimmy do his own thing and immediately walk down the path that leads to Saul, but we instead follow him into the submissive world of high-end law. Heeding Kim's advice, he takes a high-paying position with a reputable firm outside of town. The season progresses with the ups and downs of the Jimmy-Kim romance. Their individual careers have ups and downs. The Jimmy-Chuck dynamic expands. We learn why Chuck resents Jimmy so much. We watch Jimmy give Chuck the proverbial finger. Once again, through all of the slow-rising character drama, it's absolutely gripping. There's plenty of tension in this season, but little of it stems from Jimmy's central tale. Despite that, it's just as strong as the non-Jimmy content that delivers intensity.
Mike's story turns out to be quite a thrilling one in season two. Tuco's untrustworthy henchman Nacho makes some unpredictable moves that ultimately place Mike smack-dab in the middle of danger – and we're not just talking about one dangerous moment, but a scenario that's just as twisted and screwy as any of the corners that 'Breaking Bad' painted itself into. In a very fun way, small connections are made with more elements from 'Breaking Bad.' Mike's season two tale ends with a bit of a puzzling cliffhanger. We may all have our own guesses as to what it means, but if I'm connecting the dots correctly, then we're about to see a whole lot more of 'Bad' become a front-and-center element in 'Saul.'
Without a single frame of footage or story hitting the net, the third season of 'Better Call Saul' has already poised itself for greatness. Assuming that the conclusions I'm jumping to are accurate, them season three is going to be even better than one or two. Who knew that a spin-off lawyer drama could be this astoundingly enjoyable?
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Sony has placed the second season of 'Better Call Saul' on three Region-free BD-50 Blu-ray discs and included a code for Digital HD versions. The packaging and layout is 100% consistent with that of the first season Blu-ray set. All discs are housed in packaging that mirror those of the 'Breaking Bad' three-disc sets – within a slightly fatter-than-usual blue keepcase, a hard plastic hinge arm holds two discs and the third disc rests on the back inside cover. Artwork has been printed on the back of the cover art sheet and can be seen through the case. This artwork also episode names, episode synopsis ans special features by disc. The finale episode of the season is uncensored and features language that was censored when it originally aired. A nice cardboard slipcover is included and nothing but a Sony Home Entertainment reel plays before the main menu.
Season two of 'Better Call Saul' arrives on Blu-ray with a visual quality that perfectly matches that of the first season. Thanks to the 6K source formatting of Red Epic Dragon cameras, the Blu-ray transfer is absolutely gorgeous.
Season two once again kicks off with a cold opening that features high-contrast black & white footage of post-'Bad' Saul Goodman's unsatisfying life. The grading in this sequence makes for gorgeous imagery that carries a drastic and literal contrast with the bright and colorful world that exists in the past tales of Jimmy McGill. The palette is filled with vibrancy that's mildly exaggerated, which adds to the cheap-and-sleezy lawyer look. Black levels are inky, deep and rich.
This season, Jimmy has quite a bit of income, so his wardrobe is upgraded significantly. With that upgrade, we not only get new colors, but new visually impressive textures and patterns in costuming. Detail is still abundant all around. We get it with every frame. From the close-up of the side doors of Jimmy's rusted yellow compact car, to the linens and crusty bandaging found in the final episode's hospital scenes – at any given time, you can spot at least one highly detailed object or person on-screen.
Without any compression flaws, once again, there's no room for improvement in terms of video quality.
The second season of 'Better Call Saul' hits Blu-ray with the same perfect five-star quality 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that came from the first season. Performing far above and beyond what other television series are doing, the effects mixing is still the strongest aspect. Environmental effects and ambiance bring the most mundane settings to life. From obviously buzzing locales (like city streets) or vacant, sparce and lifeless settings (like the open desert) every setting uses all channels.
The highlights of the vocal and music mixing are identical to those of the first season. Not only is dialog projected clearly, but it carries a resonance and depth that makes it a delight to listen to - epecially Mike's deep voice. Music is used in a fashion nearly identical to that of 'Breaking Bad.' Although the style of the scoring is quite different from that of 'Bad,' fantastic music montages with excellent song selections are used to make montages cool again.
The layout of the special features for this season is annoying. When you visit the Special Features sub-menu on any of the three discs, only four features are listed there. On top that, the same features show under that menu on each disc, although they're only available on select discs. Of the four, three are found on Disc 2 and one is found on Disc 3. That means that when you pop in Disc 1, you can't access any of the four options that show in the Special Features sub-menu. For those who enjoy the play-all functionality, unless you start digging, you might never final the other 11 special features and ten episode commentaries that are spread throughout this set. For those additional 11 features, instead of appearing in the actual Special Features section, they're hidden within the Episode Selections sub-menu. For each of the 11, you have to hunt to find the episode that it's attached to. This makes sense for episode commentaries, but not making-ofs and interviews. Because of that nuissance, the following breakdown will tell you where to find each.
'Breaking Bad' is my all-time favorite television series, so I expected 'Better Call Saul' to be entertaining - but I certainly didn't expect it to quickly earn the same adoration that 'Bad' gets from me. Little happens, yet through excellent writing and lovable actors, this superbly crafted series is playing in the exact same high-quality league as 'Breaking Bad.' Season 2 just might be better than the first, so it's a must-see for 'Bad' fans and anyone who watched Season 1. The video and audio qualities are once again pitch perfect. Even though they're scattered about in the most confusion fashion, all three discs are loaded with special features. If you're not watching 'Better Call Saul,' then now's the time to catch up before Season 3 kicks off.