Review: Better Call Saul – 1.5 – ‘Alpine Shepherd Boy’

Well, well, things might be on the up, but only slightly. The confusing direction of the last four weeks might be getting demonstrably better. Perhaps that’s the returning charm of BCS: you don’t really know where it is thematically or where it’s going. We ride on the good faith of our love of BB and give it the benefit of the doubt because the mother show’s first season was novel but uncertain.

The most understated character (who I’m happy to bet money will come to mean more as the series unfolds) is Chuck. The wonderful Michael McKean was written off as an affectation, an entertaining aside unrelated to the plot (I know, I know – did I learn nothing from Breaking Bad?). His electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not so much comedic as it is important; he sits at the nexus between Saul and Hamlin and their mutual hatred. It will be interesting to see how this pans out and what is the full backstory behind these relationships (lest we forget Patrick Fabian as Hamlin is a main character after all).

The skit with Ricky trying to secede from the U.S is genuinely funny. It’s the most Saul-like thing yet; a smug snake oil salesman high moment that descends into farce quickly. It doesn’t stop there: the sex toilet patent case and the other ridiculous series of clients he probably sees offscreen is a kaleidoscope of weirdos that will one day mean Gus Fring will walk in.

As for the eponymous episode title, just as we think we’re getting closer to the creation of ‘Saul’ we dip back below the surface into the backstory of how he’s flirting with getting into elder law. It’s truly the patient man’s game.

Doodling his suit watching Matlock and advertising on jello cups in an old folks home is perhaps a taste of things to come and really was funny. The closing scenes with Mike are a treat with the tantalising prospect of learning more about Mike’s past when he has a stare-off with a young woman and when the police show up at his door.

As ever, Bob Odenkirk is multifaceted and clever. An unremarkable episode glides because of his presence and as the stakes heat up over the next few weeks and his character unfolds, even more, there is little doubt Odenkirk will thrive.