Better Call Saul “Marco” Season 1 Finale Review

Rather than picking up immediately after Jimmy’s devastation upon learning that his brother, Chuck, was behind both efforts to thwart his dream of working at HH&M, Better Call Saul opened up with a flashback to Jimmy in Chicago – a day before his relocation to Albuquerque. We found Jimmy meeting up at a bar with his friend Marco in a bar on the outskirts of Chicago. Jimmy is proclaiming that he is ready to change his life, while Marco schemes a few drunken patrons out of their money.

We find present day Jimmy, well present day by the Better Call Saul timeline, in the midst of a breakdown, which was completely understandable after learning of his brother’s betrayal. Jimmy picks up his $20,000 fee, confirms that Chuck’s shopping needs are handled and even finds the wherewithal to apologize to Hamlin for some choice words. During a promotional bingo game, Jimmy finally snaps and reveals the misdeed that landed him in jail.

After his bingo breakdown, Jimmy returns to Chicago to meet up with Marco again. The reunion leads to a week of scamming by the pair. Jimmy ultimately realizes that it is time for him to return to Albuquerque, due in part to a call from Kim about a partner-track position at another law firm. It looked like Jimmy was ready to fully embrace the position as a consolation prize until he has an epiphany brought on by the unexpected death of Marco, which just happened to take place in the middle of their final scheme. After watching his old partner in crime die, Jimmy realized he was exhausted with trying to prove himself to Chuck or anyone else. It’s hard not to appreciate the irony of Chuck being the person who tried to push Jimmy on the straight and narrow path ultimately being the one, due to his backhanded intervening in Jimmy’s efforts to actually secure a legit job at HH&M, who pushed Jimmy to fully embrace the greyer side of the law.

Overall, “Marco” was a solid ending to what has been a great first season of Better Call Saul. Vince Gilligan and company have accomplished the extremely difficult feat of creating a spinoff that is as compelling as the series from which it originated. I look forward to watching Jimmy’s evolution in season 2, now that he is more comfortable in who he is as a person and as an attorney. The show runners did a great job at giving us bits of Breaking Bad through Mike’s backstory and cameos from familiar faces like Tuco without allowing the show to become a total nostalgia fest. By the season’s end, I felt fully invested in Jimmy and the world around him that has not yet been exposed to a Gus Fring or Walter White.

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