- Actors: Bob Odenkirk
- Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Subtitles: French, Arabic, Dutch, Spanish, English
- Dubbed: French
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Number of discs: 3
- Rated: Not Rated
- Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- Release Date: November 15, 2016
- Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2019
- Run Time: 459 minutes
The first season of “Better Call Saul” blew me away, in part because of the precise filmmaking used to tell the story, adding layers of nuance to an already clever set of scripts. But the main reason for my surprise in watching the first season was lowered expectations. Having watched and enjoyed all of “Breaking Bad,” it was difficult to imagine a show with less crime and a weaker protagonist would be as good. It turns out that it is even better, in some ways. “Breaking Bad” took several seasons for audiences to catch on and start watching, but “Better Call Saul” had record-breaking viewership and was renewed for a second season 7 months before even airing.
While the second season is still great television, it lacks the benefit of lowered expectations. There is also the fact that the second season feels far more incomplete, missing the same story arc as the first season, leaving viewers in the middle of a narrative that won’t be picked up again until 2017. This makes season two of “Better Call Saul” feel like the neglected middle child, enjoyable but still overshadowed by what came before and what will follow.
When last we left struggling lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), he had just landed a massive case that promised to catapult his career. Unfortunately, success doesn’t sit well with Jimmy in the traditional sense. Despite having a new company car and a job at a well-respected firm, Jimmy is still an outsider that enjoys doing things his own way, often relying on the bending of rules to accomplish tasks. Prior to being Saul Goodman on “Breaking Bad,” he was the lawyer in this show, and prior to that he was a hustler.
Throughout season two, we see Jimmy slip back into his old ways even more than he did in the first season. In season one he did it as a means to an end, but his trickery begins to come out in season two out of mere boredom in his job. Occasionally his tricks have nothing to do with the law, as he almost compulsively cheats lowlifes out of their money just for the amusement. Then there are the times that he uses his shadier skills to help his new girlfriend, Kim (Rhea Seehorn), or to hide truths from his vindictive brother, Chuck (Michael McKean). It often feels like a transitional season because of this, a strange follow-up to the happily-ever-after ending of season one. A happy ending we knew could not last, as this is a prequel that regularly reminds us of the bleak situation our protagonist will eventually end up in following the events of “Breaking Bad.”
Although this is clearly Saul/Jimmy’s show, at least half of the enjoyment of the series comes from additional characters brought over from “Breaking Bad.” This includes an assortment of dangerous criminals that will eventually cross paths with Walter White, but primarily focuses on hired gun, Mike (Jonathan Banks). Despite working as a parking attendant at the courthouse that Jimmy often frequents, Mike gets embedded deeper into the world of drug trafficking this season. His storyline is mostly separate from Jimmy, but allows for the more dangerous crime elements that “Breaking Bad” was known for to seep into the storyline at a quicker pace.
There are only ten episodes in season two, all of which are included in this 3-disc Blu-ray set, which also comes with Digital HD copies of the episodes. There are a handful of extras that are on both the Blu-ray and DVD release, including commentary tracks on every episode and a table read for one of the key episodes. There is also a gag reel and a couple featurettes, including one on the original score by composer Dave Porter. Exclusive to the Blu-ray are an assortment of additional special features, though a large number of them are less impressive than the ones included in all packages. All of the commercial created within the show are available for viewing in the extras, along with more featurettes and interviews with key cast members.
Entertainment Value: 8.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10
Historical Significance: 8/10
Special Features: 9/10