Better Call Saul season 3 episode 2 review: Witness
Like the Wexler-McGill logo, Jimmy’s journey throughout the beginning of season 3 of Better Call Saul seems to resemble a stock market crash. The cracks that have been opened last week widen yet more, and we get reintroduced to some old, but not forgotten faces. Below is our spoiler-heavy review.
All cards on the table, Vince Gilligan really loves to play with and tease his audience when it comes to big reveals. Ever since Mike got that note in the previous season’s finale, we have been speculating whether it has anything to do with Gus Fring. Our suspicions were raised even higher with the season premiere, where we saw Mike reprogramming a tracking device and following a car that followed him before. So when we finally saw the car pull up at the big Los Pollos Hermanos logo, it was all the more satisfying. I was sat there pumping my fist and yelling “Hell yeah!” at my screen, and I’m pretty sure that was what was intended in the first place. The entire sequence leading up to the reveal of the logo puts in our minds the idea (or the reminder, rather) that Gus Fring is major. He is important, and epic, and almost mythical in the Gilligan’s universe, and that calls for a proper set-up.
But the reveal didn’t just end there, and we actually got to see the man himself, who was teased to appear in this season ever since the Los Pollos Hermanos-themed promo that aired a few months back. In a familiar Breaking Bad-type fashion, the reveal was done in the least expected way, and was definitely a stand-out scene of the episode. As Jimmy goes to a Los Pollos Hermanos restaurant on Mike’s behalf to keep an eye on Gus’ subordinate, Gus is seen in the blurry background, cleaning the tables and serving the customers. But a Breaking Bad fan doesn’t need focus to know who they’re looking at. It’s brilliant.
Soon, we get a proper look at our beloved villain who we know will get half his face blown off by Walter White in the future, when Jimmy tries to find whatever Gus’ subordinate might have planted in the trash bin inside the restaurant. And thus, fittingly, Jimmy first meets Gus while digging through the trash. Tell me there isn’t any symbolism there. And later, we get a reminder of the chilling look that Fring has behind the facade of a polite and well-mannered restaurant owner.
Gus is not the only familiar face we see in the episode. We also get to see the scene of Jimmy hiring Francesca, his personal receptionist that we have seen sitting at Saul Goodman’s office in Breaking Bad. Her background as a worker for DMV is lampshaded and we see Gus training her as a receptionist to bring Cracker Barrel into a conversation (which Mike on the other end isn’t amused by). Francesca also gives us the “You’re a little crooked” line, when referring to the Wexler-McGill logo, but to us, the viewers, that line translates as a direct reference to Jimmy himself, who, for the past few seasons, has been doing things that can indeed be described as just “a little crooked”. The logo of the company founded by Jimmy and Kim plays an important symbolic role in the episode, as we see Jimmy put it up on the wall in their office. It is both crooked, like Jimmy, and, as the lawyer himself points out, resembles a stock market crash, which is the general direction Jimmy’s morality is currently going.
Finally, we see the relationship between Jimmy and Chuck go into shambles as Jimmy finds out about the tape. In a tragic-comedic moment, Chuck prepares for Jimmy’s break-in at night to steal the tapes, assuring Howard that he knows his brother. At the same moment, Jimmy barges into Chuck’s house and tears the tape to pieces in a scene which might very well be the best-acted moment by Bob Odenkirk so far. The actor’s potential truly shines through in this one, as we see his capability to go achieve a wider range of emotions than we thought. He is furious. Raging. And it shows.
A smaller point to mention might be the cinematography, which is spectacular as ever, deploying various techniques not only to give us beautiful images, but to incorporate it into the story and use it as a source for symbolism and metaphor. I have always been impressed by the visual directing in both Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, and am happy to see that the directors remember one of the things that made the show’s predecessor a classic.
All in all, I enjoyed the second episode of season 3 of Better Call Saul a great deal more than the premiere. It is exciting, it is fast-paced, and it brings us familiar faces, in turn bringing us one more step closer to Breaking Bad and the emergence of Saul Goodman, which, at this point, is inevitable by the end of the season.
Image credit: AMC