Better Call Saul Season 2 Episode 6 Review – ‘Bali Ha’i’

Martin Carr reviews the sixth episode of Better Call Saul Season 2…

I’ll be honest this reviewer is not up to speed with Better Call Saul. Now before the diehards start getting upset let me just say that I did watch Breaking Bad religiously. Like a vast majority of the population it drew me in and I binge watched it, until that final episode when I sat there blindsided by the fact things were over. Saul Goodman or Jimmy McGill played an intrinsic part in bringing that to life. Sure the show may have made a huge star of Bryan Cranston, but Bob Odenkirk wriggled his way under your skin in much the same way. Slippery, humane but ultimately out for himself Odenkirk’s creation rightly deserved his own series. And so it is Better Call Saul poured forth from the pen of Vince Gilligan, before he switched to producer duties on season two.

What you guys have then is someone familiar with the territory but a touch behind the times. Season one failed to grab me by the lapels, meaning that for some time Saul slipped under my radar while other Netflix serials took precedence. Having played feverish catch up I find that the style has changed little from Breaking Bad. Jonathan Banks is in attendance as Mike, all be it in a capacity which means he is not killing people every five minutes. Jimmy has yet to become Goodman and is still learning as he goes, although the laundry slash office is in keeping with expectations. What I got most from the binge watch was the fact that Saul is a lighter show.

I say this with minimal prior knowledge of seasons one and two thus far so don’t hang me out to dry people, cut this reviewer some slack. Jimmy and Kim, played by Rhea Seehorn have been having a dispute of some sort. Jimmy’s rendition of the South Pacific show tune which gives the episode its title, is a serenade of guilt for wrong doings. It is Kim’s means of forgiveness that illustrates the chemistry they have built up over time, making them underhanded by somehow likeable. That Kim works for a brow beating law firm which acts as the catalyst, shows how much these two belong together.

 

Elsewhere Mike crosses paths with an able-bodied, deeply tanned and lucid Hector Salmanca. Again I am behind with the whys and wherefores of this situation, but my memories of Salmanca are still vivid. And hearing Margolis give voice to this snake is both sinister and enjoyable. Banks still holds the screen with the same skill he displayed opposite Cranston, but in Saul he has had the opportunity to deepen that. If some people read this as an ode to Breaking Bad, rather than review of episode six then that’s fine. Saul is best dipped into rather than followed religiously. For now all I will say is that ‘Bali Ha’i’ plays like a lament to the best of Breaking Bad. There are guest spots, solid performances and Odenkirk at its centre tying the room together.