By Cole Parkinson
With 2021 well underway, I really hoped we’d get the next (and final) season of Better Call Saul this year, but unfortunately, the wait continues.
With AMC saying the sixth season won’t be ready until early 2022, this gives everyone who hasn’t watched yet the chance to get caught up on the best show currently on TV.
As a prequel to the best show of all time, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul had large shoes to fill, especially since we know where a lot of the characters end up. Trust me, if you liked Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul will be another highly binge-able show. The build-up from season to season is highly entertaining and much like Breaking Bad, I think each season is stronger than the last. Seeing a wide-variety of familiar characters return is also awesome.
And not a single one of the cameos are gratuitous or throwaway scenes, they all play a part of the Better Call Saul story.
While some may have put this show off because we already know what happens to a lot of the character, that hasn’t deterred this show at all and in fact, it’s been fascinating to see how these characters got to where they were in Breaking Bad. Jimmy McGill (A.K.A. Saul Goodman) played by Bob Odenkirk is truly the heartbeat of the show and while we know he’ll become an incredibly sleazy character by the end of the series, the character of Jimmy is likeable, relatable and easy to root for. He’s just an every day guy trying to figure out his place in the world and while he tries to do good things, sometimes the wrong things are easier and lead to more success. The internal battle between good and bad within Jimmy is put on full display throughout the seasons and it’s interesting to get a side of the character we never got in the original series.
Much like Breaking Bad was about the fall of Walter White, the prequel is all about learning what pushes Jimmy into the Saul character we spent so much time with. His descent is not nearly as dark as Walt’s — but it never was going to be, but that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking.
Jimmy’s relationship with Kim Wexler (played by Rhea Seehorn) is one of the best things the show has going for it. And as one of the character’s we know nothing about during the entire run of Breaking Bad — Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould and the writers can go in a variety of directions, as we near the end. No matter how it works out, the creation of Kim Wexler in the Breaking Bad universe has been a walk-off home run. She’s an incredible foil for Jimmy and while she is the moral compass for our loveable lawyer, that doesn’t mean she isn’t prone to leaning into the wrong side of the law.
How she factors into Jimmy becoming Saul Goodman is one of the bigger questions heading into season six. And while Jimmy and Kim are one half of the show, the other half is all about Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and the Mexican cartel.
Those two halves of the show have been colliding more and more throughout the seasons and with season six, both will be running pretty much parallel, as we get closer to Albuquerque in 2008. The cartel storyline has been strong and the reintroduction of Gus Fring is a big part of that, but the most entertaining facet has been the emergence of Lalo Salamanca played by the incredible Tony Dalton. The drug business and cartel storyline probably had the biggest reason to disappoint considering all of those storylines were wrapped up pretty neatly by the end of Breaking Bad, but again, the writers have knocked it out of the park. Dalton’s performance is absolutely perfect and while the character is an absolute psychopath, he’s also incredibly charming.
While Lalo is briefly referenced in Breaking Bad season two’s episode Better Call Saul (I mean, it can’t be any more perfect), who would have known Gilligan and Gould would have been able to create such a perfect character out of a largely throwaway line. Of course, that line also referenced Nacho Varga played by Michael Mando, who also steals his fair share of scenes. So while that line could have meant absolutely nothing, the ability to turn it into such a major plot point in this universe is amazing. How they factor into the end of this show and what happens to them during the sequel series is going to be interesting.
From the line in Breaking Bad, it sure seems like both of them are alive at that point unless Saul was really out of the loop, which wouldn’t be hard to believe.
At this point, it’s hard to doubt Vince Gilligan because he’s proven over and over again, he knows what he’s doing. He obviously knows what needs to happen in this world and bringing Gould on to help create and show run was another big reason they’ve been able to create such a fantastic prequel story.
Ending any successful show is not exactly an easy thing, just ask the showrunners of Game of Thrones.
I think Breaking Bad has arguably the best finale of all-time (along with The Sopranos, in my opinion), so I have zero reservations in how they’re going to end this.
While I started this column complaining we had to wait an extra year, the additional time they’ve had to write will do nothing but help the writing staff nail the ending.
This could also signal the end of the Breaking Bad universe.
After this, pretty much all of the main characters will have seen some sort of finality to their story, so I don’t see a logical next step. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. More doesn’t always mean better, but if Vince Gilligan has an idea for some sort of extension within the story, I will not doubt him for a single second.