Apr 7, 2015

Better Recall Saul: "Marco"

Bob Odenkirk
Welcome to the new TV Recap series Better Recall Saul that chronicles the adventures of Better Call Saul and a young criminal lawyer as he cuts his teeth down in ABQ, and his Breaking Bad buddies might stop by to wish him luck. Feel free to join every Tuesday as the adventures unravel and the story behind one of the funniest and sleaziest lawyers in TV history begins to take form and remind us why he is such a great character in the first place. Is this spin-off meant for greatness, or is it the worst idea that AMC has ever done? You'll have to read on to find out the truth.

"I know what stopped me. 
And you know what? 
It's never stopping me again."
- Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk)

Plot:

Everything is going down hill for Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk). He loses the case and is fired from the firm. He feels uncomfortable seeing Chuck McGill (Michael McKean). He ends up losing it during a game of Bingo at an old folks home and says some vulgar things. He decides to skip town and meet up with his old friend Marco (Mel Rodriguez). Together they con people out of money and rekindle their old friendship. As Jimmy considers leaving, Mel pulls him in for one last con. During this time, Mel suffers a heart attack and leaves Jimmy alone. He contemplates what to do next. After the funeral, he considers going back to the office to tell off his coworkers. However, he decides to take off and start his own life where he is more likely to give into corruption than he used to.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Left to right: Mel Rodriguez and Odenkirk
MVP:
Marco (Mel Rodriguez)

It has been awhile since we last checked in with Marco. He seemed like this random person from Jimmy's past that simply existed to riff on "Smoke on the Water." However, it turns out that they have such a deeper bond and thus are likely to get up to their old ways when together. He is the catalyst for Jimmy's future, presumably as Saul Goodman. He is there to push Jimmy along and force him to realize how nice being rich and corrupt is. It also helps that he is kind of charismatic and even when forced to deal with his death, he impacts the character in such major ways that it seems likely we'll be seeing more flashbacks with him in the next season.

Left to right: Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks
Best Scene

For those wanting to see Jimmy McGill become Saul Goodman this season, prepare to be disappointed. It doesn't necessarily happen, though the final moments of the episode hint at it. As Jimmy turns around from the lawyer's office, he talks to Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) about how they gave up the chance at a million dollars. In a fleeting moment that otherwise feels inconsequential, he reveals that he doesn't want to give up that much money and be a stand-up citizen ever again. His brief visit with Marco has taught him that his struggles to be a good lawyer weren't worth it. As he drives away, he plays "Smoke on the Water," which was a song that Marco had the fancy of singing quite often.

- Season One Review -

I recently posted my thoughts on why I was not a big fan of Better Call Saul. Yes, the lowest rating that these episodes have gotten is a 3, or favorable. With that said, there isn't anything necessarily awful about the series, though it doesn't have any interests or impact that are made immediately clear. I also don't think that the supporting cast was done much justice, as I disliked the Kettlemans story and Mike felt largely arbitrary and only existed because of fan service. It could just be that I am not into lawyer dramas, even if this is very different from the average one, but I felt like the show never found its identity and didn't quite make itself feel necessary. Yes, there were still good moments, but they felt more indicative on rewarding Breaking Bad fans than building Better Call Saul mythology. That is my issue. Even if their form of pandering is actually inventive, I feel like the show never developed a bigger purpose. I think it could be that while Bob Odenkirk is a charismatic actor, I don't feel like this series was actually the greatest of ideas. Still, for what it was, it was fine despite me never believing it to be the prestige drama that everyone else thinks it is.


Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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