Les Jardins De Cannes
Written by Jack Dieval
(Waiting room music for Jimmy's clients @ his and Kim's new independent business location) See more »
S2: Strong in the characters and narrative; benefiting from the BB connection but not relying on it
The first season of this show was well enough made and good enough to keep me watching, but not really enough to excite me for more. At the time I hoped that it would step up in the second season, since this was the same way as I felt about the first season of Breaking Bad. This turned out to be the case as the show makes a significant step up in terms of what it does with the characters and the narrative.
In the first season there did feel like there was a lot of inertia in the story-telling, with a certain amount of awkwardness of creating a new world but linking to the old one, while also trying to establish a whole new story line. In the second season this is done with much more confidence. The links to Breaking Bad are well handled – adding value to the bigger picture, but done in a natural way that importantly does not really require the viewer to recognize the link. The two main narratives are both engaging, partly because there is more momentum to go with, but mainly because the characters are much more developed and observed. Small details and interactions become much more important, and it is engaging to see the pieces slot together, particularly with the frequent flash-back sections to more formative moments.
The cast benefit from this, and everyone is very good at the small moments while also having a bigger presence on the screen. Odenkirk continues to get stronger and stronger with his character, but he is more than equally supported by Banks. The former has more showy material which gives way to the detail, however the former keeps a lot inside but reveals it with the slightest touch. McKean is much more of a 'person' this season and has more to work with, while Seehorn also has more content this season. There isn't really a weak link in the cast.
Stylistically this season seems much more on-point too; plenty of strong dialogue scenes, tension, and technically impressive scenes in their construction (the 'Touch of Evil' referencing tracking shot being the most memorable, but there are plenty of smaller moments). This adds to the feeling of confidence that this season has – it seems to be clearly in its path, stronger in its characters, and more ambitious in its delivery. A very strong season and I hope it can maintain this level as it moves into the third season.
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