Better Call Saul
Greetings and welcome to the first blog update of 2023! ’Better Call Saul’ is a spinoff of the pop culture hit, ‘Breaking Bad’, and serves as both a prequel and sequel to the iconic show. The series ran from 2015 to 2022 and consist of 63 episodes spread over 6 seasons. It is centred on the exploits of Jimmy McGill, a crooked lawyer, as he embraces his mischievous side to become the sleazy scam artist Saul Goodman. Many actors from ‘Breaking Bad’ reprise their roles for this show including the main star Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut as well as a few other key figures as the programme progresses into its later seasons. There are also plenty of new cast members who give excellent performances such as Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Michael Mando as Ignacio Varga, Patrick Fabian as Howard Hamlin and Michael McKean as Chuck McGill. The music was composed by Dave Porter who is mostly known for his contributions to the ‘Breaking Bad’ universe.
The plot begins after the high stakes finale of ‘Breaking Bad’ as Saul Goodman, now going by the alias ‘Gene Takavic’ as was assigned to him by relocation expert Ed Galbraith, is trying to live under the radar and escape from the fallout of the chaotic mess created by drug lord Walter White. ‘Gene’ works as a manager in a Cinnebun store in Nebraska, far from the state of Albuquerque where Saul committed his unlawful deeds and aided the Heisenberg criminal empire. Despite fleeing from his past, it is clear in the quieter moments in the mall store when he has time to reflect that Saul misses the exciting old life he had lead which was fraught with danger and thrills. One night ‘Gene’ goes to his empty home after a long day, indulges in alcohol as he puts on a VHS tape of his old ‘Better Call Saul’ advertisements and tearfully recollects how his life had gotten to this low point.
The main story starts in May of 2002, 6 years before he encounters Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, when ‘Saul’ was a struggling lawyer simply known as Jimmy McGill. His squalid office is a boiler room located at the back of a Vietnamese nail salon and his work seems to bring in a feeble income with his latest job only racking in $700 after defending 3 teenagers. On top of having difficulties in his work, Jimmy is also responsible for looking after his older brother known as Charles. Hi brother, also going by the nickname ‘Chuck’, is a hermit that is housebound due to a perceived illness known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The mental issue means that Chuck cannot be near electricity and lives entirely without items that use it as a power source. With such an unenviable life, Jimmy begins to be tempted by ‘get rich quick’ schemes when he meets two scam artists who sloppily attempt to con him.
Despites its slow first season or two, I certainly came to love this spin off and think of it as a worthy addition to the franchise as it grew into its own the longer it went on. I always liked the smarmy Saul Goodman and considered him to be one of the best characters to inhabit the underworld of Albuquerque. As such, I was curious to see what Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould would do to flesh out this character and they certainly didn’t disappoint in their efforts. They made Saul a complex individual and introduced other equally compelling characters such as Kim Wexler, Saul’s love interest and a fellow lawyer who becomes increasingly corrupted due to Saul’s presence in her life. I always find it interesting that this show was spawned by a throwaway line in ‘Breaking Bad’ when Saul, kidnapped by a masked White and Pinkman, is knelt in front of a freshly dug grave and starts to plead for his life once he believes he has been kidnapped by Lalo’s men, a villainous figure who only appeared in the spin off. This one is a must watch in my opinion.
Quote of the Day
This is the Way.