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It has been a long, torturous season of Better Call Saul. When I first started reviewing the show, I assumed we were in a weird and temporary transition phase. The showrunners clearly didn’t think they would be coming back for another season, and I figured they would just reset Jimmy’s character before starting things off fresh. As my reviews of the season have indicated, this hasn’t been the case, but the season finale was the series’ last chance to regain my interest. If anything could save the show, it would be a compelling new direction for the next season, but just like the rest of Season 2, “Klick” relied too much on Chuck and Jimmy’s lopsided antagonism.
Between putting the spotlight on Jimmy’s issue and vilifying the character with backstory, Season 2 has gone out of its way to justify Chuck’s negative feelings toward Jimmy, and the finale is no exception. The opening scene of “Klick” served the purpose of revealing how much Jimmy’s very existence grates on Chuck (similar to the scene when he first met Rebecca, Chuck’s wife), but it added to this feeling when Mrs. McGill ignored Chuck by her bedside and said, “Jimmy,” with her dying breath. On top of everything else this season, the idea that Mama McGill loved Jimmy more than Chuck almost feels contrived. I understand they wanted to have that reveal shot of Chuck alive in the past to disorient the viewer, and this was probably the only thing that made sense for us to see, but did Chuck really need another reason to be mad at Jimmy?
Again, I want to say that seeing Chuck and Jimmy interact after their fallout in Season 1 feels unnecessary. For the entirety of the first season, Chuck’s overtly negative feelings towards Jimmy were mostly hidden from the viewer, and it didn’t feel like we were waiting for Jimmy to figure out Chuck didn’t think of him as a real lawyer for his change to begin. In contrast, Season 2 acts like the cat’s out of the bag already, so all it has to do is add fuel to the fire of their relationship.
Worse yet, this looks set to continue in Season 3. Even though I wrote that Jimmy would probably out himself in my review of “Fifi,” this isn’t what I wanted to happen. I said he would be the one to reveal he forged the Mesa Verde documents because the season has made Jimmy seem like a good-natured child who doesn’t understand the consequences of his actions, but that’s characterization I just flat out hate/don’t believe in. I guess Jimmy didn’t have much changing to do after Season 1, but I would have liked to see him legitimately reflect on some of the crap he’s pulled. As it stands, Season 3 is going to have kid Jimmy and his relationship with Chuck as two its core elements. Count me out.
Chuck pressing stop on the recorder as the final shot of the season felt like such a typical Better Call Saul: Season 2 move. Too many episodes this season have ended with an event where the next move was obvious, but we had to wait until the next episode to get it. Objectively, that doesn’t sound like bad TV, but it’s contributed to the season feeling like its partitioned unnecessarily. In the case of “Klick,” the recorder situation created a question as to how Jimmy is going to get out of this situation. And while they already succeeded in getting Jimmy out a rough spot in a satisfying way with “Cobbler,” it seemed weak for this season to end with a slight escalation of an already present storyline.
Another thing that really bothered me this season is the fact that Jimmy hasn’t been consistent in how quickly he thinks on his feet. Last week, I questioned why he hadn’t bribed Lance from the print shop long before Chuck decided he would swing by, but in the finale I wondered why Jimmy didn’t have an answer prepared for why he was able to call an ambulance for his injured brother. Sure, he was emotionally distressed, but not only would him lying have made sense as a way of signposting who he’s going to be, how hard would it have been to say, “I was tailing you to make sure you didn’t do anything stupid?” I get that they wanted to have Ernie set up the real axe Chuck has to grind with Jimmy, but it came at the expense of the character’s intelligence.
Luckily, the episode had one redeeming quality: Mike. There’s something so great about seeing Mike take care of business. He’s like the “quotidian…Batman” of the Breaking Bad-universe (quote taken from GameTrailers’ review of The Last of Us), and it’s awesome to see him work with the expectation that he’s got a plan (unlike some other characters…). Of course, the coolest moment in the episode came after Mike heard a car alarm, looked at the vehicles by Hector Salamanca’s killing field(?), and thought to himself, ‘Is that…mine?’ The “Don’t” on his windshield was just such a great move.
“Klick” didn’t do much to justify the misguided season of television we’ve had, nor did it offer promising signs for the future of the show. As Max Landis pleaded before the finale on Twitter, I find myself wishing Better Call Saul would just jump to the present permanently. The hard reset might be jarring at first, with people going, “but wait, how did this relationship we don’t care about anymore get resolved?” but it would hopefully be replaced by characterization that felt right. We’re not getting that in the past, that’s for sure.