Better Call Saul season 4 episode 2 review & recap: Show inches closer to Breaking Bad, and inching is the word

The prequel's pace continues to tread a fine line between slow burn and just sedated

Better Call Saul season 4 trailer

Better Call Saul plays its cards so close to its chest they may as well be Scotch Taped to Goodman's polyester shirt. Scenes frequently play out with no context, the viewer invited to figure out exactly what's going on or else the significance of it.

This was particularly true of season 4 episode 2, 'Breathe', which saw pretty much all the main characters acting out of, well, character.

Jimmy, it seemed, was shifting career from lawyer to printer salesman, enthusiastically selling himself in a job interview at a b2b supplier, only to then turn down the job offer and act all dismayed that they would offer it to him - a stranger off the street - so easily. We're to assume that this was an act of self-sabotage, I think, that Jimmy doesn't want an honest career to pan out because he's showing such budding promise in a crooked one.

Mike meanwhile - pretty much always the show's most engrossing character - burrowed further into Madrigal Electromotive, sticking his (sizeable) nose into its day-to-day business much to the angst of the permanently angst-ridden Lydia Rodarte-Quayle. Again, we were left in the dark as to why Mike was suddenly taking such an active role in a job he was only given on paper to deflect suspicion, presumably a scheme by the ever-cautious Gus Fring to make his fixer look more legitimate in the eyes of the law (or else to size Madrigal up for potential expansion plans).

Lydia wasn't happy with Mike's presence at Madrigal warehouses, but the issue was put to bed with a classic, wonderfully succinct bit of Ehrmantraut negotiation:

Lydia: "And if I asked you to reconsider?"

Mike: "I'd ask you to do the same."

Kim scolded Howard for torturing Jimmy with details of both Chuck's death and will, but frankly I'm pretty tired of the whole HHM storyline by this point and was hoping the departure of Chuck would put an end to it. Perhaps Kim's furore this week can achieve the same end.

That just leaves the Gus/Nacho plot strand, and we found the homicidal Gus taking a surprising interest in Hector Salamanca's well-being and care as he recovered after the season 3 finale. Basically, if you're an enemy of Fring you die on his terms, not because of the quality of some local hospital. Gus wound up suffocating Hector's stand-in at a drug deal after he was bullish about quantities, sparing Nacho but blackmailing him into joining team Pollos. This feud is somewhat starved of drama however given we know well that Hector makes it several seasons into Breaking Bad.

Better Call Saul's slow pace is often praised, but as with last week's season opener this came across as sedated rather than slow burn, and the show could do with parcelling out some of its story a little quicker.

You can read our interview with showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould here. Better Call Saul airs on AMC in the US on Monday nights and follows on Netflix worldwide the next morning.

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