Ok, it’s zero surprise that the return of a critically acclaimed show birthed from another beloved program would win a relatively slow night. However, that Better Call Saul pretty much won by default is a bit disappointing. But, hey, Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman/Slippin’ Jimmy/Gene the Cinnabon Salesman and Mike Ehrmentraut are back, and everyone (including me) is glad for that. Similarly, a rather odd episode, even by The X-Files quirky standards, and a busy and hopeful, but ultimately inconsequential serving of The Magicians, weren’t particularly panned, but reviewers didn’t crow either.
Monday, February 15th’s Best: Better Call Saul (7.6/10)
Reviews for the second season opener of darkly endearing Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul were far from bad, but “Switch” was received as what it was, a transitionary episode — the chameleonic con-man between identities. Terri Schwartz of IGN labels it a “solid return” while Vulture‘s Kenny Herzog sums it up thusly: “This was very much a season premiere. I look forward to things heating up.” My favorite moment from the morning recaps is when TV Fanatic*’s Miranda Wicker defends our anti-heroes moral compass to her curious mother: “He’s a man who happens to be a lawyer who just loves the rush of a good con.” Yeah, that pretty much nails it. My one cent and a ha’penny: he’s a compelling enough protagonist that watching him seal his fate with clearly enamored Kim is heartbreaking.
The Rest of the Night:
The X-Files – 7.4
Mulder & Scully awkwardly battle terrorism, and while reviewers don’t hate it, they also don’t exactly ride along. Zach Handlen at AV Club calls it a “little weird” and a “messy, conflicted episode, one full of ambition and inspired strangeness, and not all the pieces fit together neatly.” Vulture‘s Keith Uhlich concurs, opening with “here’s a weird one,” while adding “you’ll either laugh, or stare at the screen in goggle-eyed disbelief.”
The Magicians – 6.7
The Magicians takes a bit of a step back, although the low aggregate grades belie mostly decent write-ups. TV Fanatic‘s Elena Zhang speaks for many when assessing the current stature of the program: “show continues to improve, there are still major flaws that hinder this show from becoming a hallmark of fantasy.”