Better Caul Saul has ended, and with it, over a decade of the Breaking Bad universe. Of characters I’ve come to love, and hate, but also love, all at the same time. And that is the thing about Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s shows; the characters are all flawed humans. They are no Captain America or Thor. They are perfectly created characters who change over the course of seasons because of what happens to them. Or, more importantly, how they happen to others.
With Breaking Bad, a series that aired on AMC over a decade ago, we watch Walter White destroy everything he loves around him as he evolves into the terrifying ‘say my name’ Heisenberg. Some of the best acting that I’ve ever seen is in the show. Bryan Cranston is superb. On another level, as is Arron Paul.
When it was announced that we’d be getting an spinoff series based on the worm of a lawyer Jimmy McGill aka ‘Saul Goodman’, I was actually rather miffed. I thought ‘come on! Leave it alone! A masterpiece has been created, we don’t need more!’ Oh my, Nick. How wrong you were. I should have trusted in Vince Gilligan. Better Caul Saul is as good (if we need to compare) as Breaking Bad. I don’t like people who have to say which is better, because they are different. Looking at the show’s technical elements, you could probably say that Saul takes more risks, allowing the audience to do much of the heavy lifting in interpreting, and it pays off.
It’s mind blowing though that Saul hasn’t won an Emmy, especially given that every season of the show is over 95% on RT (higher than Breaking Bad). That said, I think that is about to change. It’s been a very good 6 years for entertainment. Not just with Saul, so competition has been fierce. However, with Saul’s final season, season 6, the work, no the ART done, is of such a high calibre it has to. The use of black and white scenes, the precision in storytelling is mind-blowing. It’s so good that most people won’t even pick up on it, not unless you’re looking for it. The symmetries and reflections that take place in one scene that mirror another in a different season, to show progression of a character, calls for a revisit of the entire series!
It’s all in the characters
Better Call Saul’s penultimate episode, titled ‘Waterworks’ I was brought to tears with the performance of Rhea Seehorn. Her portrayal of Kim Wexler is one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen. But that can be said about most of the actors in Saul. We got to see the development of Mike, played by Jonathan Banks. Patrick Fabian’s Howard, Michael Mando’s Nacho and Giancarlo Esposito’s Gus!? Hells people! How much talent do you need!?
It’s difficult to quantify the brilliance of the series. How it’s jumping between multiple storylines, and timelines, is done so confidently, trusting that the audience won’t get up and walk away. It’s slow pacing and lingering shots on things as inconsequential as a lost tie in the desert, build each scene with frenzied potential you often find yourself holding your breath over a character repairing a window frame. I am going to very much miss my time with some of the most ruthless characters. Gus, I love you, but you are a real piece of shit that deserves everything that happens to you in Breaking Bad!
Better Call Saul ends
And so Better Caul Saul ends. With one of the best last episodes I’ve ever seen. ‘Saul Gone’. It’s heart breaking, while also leaving a residual taste of hope that is more a fabricated want of a hope than an actual, tangible reality. I am not sure what to replace this show with now. Reruns won’t cut it while it’s so fresh. No, that will be in a few more years. All I can say is, if you have not watched Better Call Saul, do yourself a favour, and remedy that. Please, for this is one of the best pieces of television you are likely to ever see.
I give Better Call Saul a…
Better Call Saul is available on Netflix, as is Breaking Bad. If those are not enough reasons to say Netflix is the streaming winner, nothing is.