October 8, 2022

Better Call Saul

I just finished watching the final season of Better Call Saul. I agree with many others that these 6 seasons come together to make a great series. I am glad I watched it. It presents us with compelling & complex characters that I love to hate.

The Binge

I wanted to point out that I watched all 6 seasons of television in the matter of a few weeks. I don’t know what the show would have been like if I were forced to wait for episodes week to week. The show is a slow burn, and I was able to speed it up by plowing through several episodes at a time. I think it was improved by this. Some of the flaws were smoothed out by the fact that I could just move on to the next episode immediately.

I think about the last 4 episodes, which were almost an epilogue to the series. I would have hated to have to wait a week to watch each one of those. I liked this series a lot, and I think my appreciation comes partly because of how quickly I was able to consume it.

Breaking Bad

I enjoyed Breaking Bad. Despite my issues with some of the plot decisions towards the end, Breaking Bad may be one of my favorite series of all time. I did not love Saul Goodman. I wasn’t interested in watching his origin story. I didn’t have plans on watching Better Call Saul but I kept hearing how good it was. I decided to give it a shot and I am glad I did.

In Breaking Bad we were introduced to lovable Walter White. He deserved our sympathy. Life dealt him a bad hand. Then the show challenged each viewer to decide how long they were willing to stick with this guy. When did he cross the line? When did he become the “bad guy”?

In Better Call Saul they took a slimy character that I didn’t like very much, and gave him a reason for sympathy. The show endeared us to him, only to make us question again and again whether he deserved it. Jimmy lived in a fantasy for most of his life. He constructed a world where he was exempt from blame, and everybody else deserved whatever he decided to inflict upon them. My favorite character in the show was probably his brother, Chuck. He is a sort of villain, but if I were given Jimmy as a little brother I’m not sure I would feel much differently from him.

Breaking Bad created a compelling journey into evil. We saw Walter’s life spin out of control. Better Call Saul came at things from a different angle, and added complexity to characters and emotions.

Jimmy & Chuck

The relationship between brothers was my favorite thing of the entire series. I felt like I understood the dynamics between the two, and found their interactions fascinating. I loved Chuck’s voice and how his dialog came through on the audio. Better Call Saul was at its strongest when we were trying to understand the complicated relationship between the McGill brothers.

The show lost a lot when that relationship was over. The fallout of those events informed a lot of the plot and character motivations in the last couple seasons, but everything seemed to lose focus. We got some elaborate schemes to keep us interested, but we lost some of the heart.

Chuck was sort of evil, but also an extremely tragic character himself. His allergy to electricity was such a fascinating element to the show. It was irrelevant to the relationship dynamics between the brothers while at the same time informed almost every interaction they had. Even thought I didn’t like Jimmy myself, Chuck’s constant refusal to accept him garnered him so much sympathy. It was a nice callback at the end where they showed a scene where Chuck was trying to connect with Jimmy and he was the one who put up the wall.

Jimmy & Kim

The central relationship to the series was always Jimmy & Kim. From the beginning it felt as if Kim had taken pity on Jimmy. It was never clear why she hung around as long as she did. The show alluded to her past, but didn’t clearly explain what drove her. She seemed to like a charity case. She enjoyed the idea of being a con-artist. Both could be viable reasons for her dedication to Jimmy. Either way, I was never convinced of the Kim & Jimmy relationship.

Both of them exhibited self-destructive behavior. Both of them seemed scared of being happy. Jimmy was always willing to take a risk, and I think Kim admired that about him. When everything went down they each responded to it in completely different ways. Jimmy leaned into this life of crime and became the Saul Goodman we knew from Breaking Bad. Kim got out of there and lived an extremely boring life.

I guess we saw Kim’s threshold. She enjoyed the shenanigans up to a certain point, but when things got too crazy she wasn’t willing to stand by Jimmy anymore. For some reason the long lead up to that through the first 5 seasons didn’t ring true to me. It always felt like Kim was above it. She was too good for it. Characters in the show blatantly pointed that out, but it didn’t make it any better. Kim & Jimmy just never fit together.


The longer the series progresses the more the plot relies on these schemes that Jimmy comes up with. I’d forgotten how Breaking Bad started relying on a similar story telling strategy, but was reminded as I watched Better Call Saul. It didn’t work for me then, and I got tired of it here too. It is difficult for me to explain why. It was more annoying that interesting. There were some good character moments for the actors, but mostly it was annoying and plodding.

The final season features multiple episodes dominated by these chess games between characters. The writers are clearly talented at building these plot apparatuses and creatively use them to move characters through their journey. However, I become increasingly aware of them. They are at the same time interesting and distracting.

The epilogue has an entire episode about a mall caper. I was not on board with that one at all.


I would highly recommend watching Better Call Saul. That feels like a contradiction. I didn’t really like the main character. I didn’t buy the core relationship that was central to the entire series. Still, it was such an interesting show that I got into and couldn’t stop watching. The ending was fitting, and actually pretty satisfying.

I loved seeing more Gus Fring. I loved all the Mike Ehrmantrut we got, even though the attempt at his backstory felt half-assed. Better Call Saul introduced Nacho & Lalo Salamanca, two more memorable characters that added greatly to the series.

I think I would be fine if this were the last peek we got into the Breaking Bad world. I’m also satisfied with Jimmy’s ending and don’t need to see him or Kim Wexler ever again. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the show… it just means it ended well.

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