We’re only two episodes into the second season, but we can already feel how close Jimmy McGill is to leaping off the ledge. Episode two, “Cobbler,” also shows the seed of discord being sown in his relationship with Kim. Until this point, they have leaned on one another and loved one another. With Jimmy falsifying evidence to knock the police off the trail of a fumbling drug dealer, a line has been crossed.
But I want to rewind for a moment to the end of episode one. The painting in Jimmy’s office – a not too terribly subtle image of a figure tumbling backward – is a representation of Jimmy McGill standing on the precipice of moral ambiguity. More on-the-nose, it also definitely pays homage to Jimmy’s con artist days when he was “Slippin’ Jimmy” back in Cicero, taking dives on ice and banking from frivolous liability lawsuits.
The image above is a quick digital sketch I made from screen shots from the show; I couldn’t find any clear representations online to link to. The image above isn’t for sale because it’s just a replica I made of somebody else’s artwork.
The painting, titled “Geometric Abductions,” is actually made by a twenty-six year old local Santa Fe artist named Miles Toland. He’s currently directing the artist residency program and gallery at Vaayu Vision Collective in Goa, India, which is where you might scope out the impressive mural.
Toland’s art merges naturalistic human forms with transcendental designs, often incorporating elements of sacred geometry. In “Geometric Abductions,” the tumbling human form is subsumed by geometric patterns – these overlapping circles are known in transcendental literature as the “flower of life.”
This image is perfect for Jimmy McGill’s law office. In the same office is also an image of a vacant boxcar, hinting at the symbolism of standing at a crossroads. Show creator Vince Gilligan is relentlessly detail-oriented. The color palette, costume design, even books on bookshelves in the background – these details have been meticulously thought out, weaving a rich tapestry of character and back-story. Even though most of these details escape us while we’re watching, it’s this intense interest in authenticity that made “Breaking Bad” such a success, and why “Better Call Saul” has captured our imaginations.
Any idea on who painted the box car image?
I wish I did – but I can try and find out for you.
See now, you went a bit deeper than I would have calling it a moral precipice – I saw it as an ironic analogy to good old Slippin’ Jimmy, who is always there over James McGill’s shoulder, whispering in his ear like a bad angel. You can see it in the double-take he does when he sees the art in his new office. He has the opportunity to have it removed – but he doesn’t.