Review: 'Better Call Saul' is the Best Thing on AMC
Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly staff writer
Spoiler Alert: This review contains spoilers for season 4 of Better Call Saul.
Better Call Saul is the rare prequel some would argue is even better then it’s sister show; in this case being Breaking Bad one of greatest television shows of all time. Saul is a very different show from Breaking Bad, viewers are aware of the outcome to this story unlike in Breaking Bad where everything was up in the air besides from a few flash forwards. Saul instead is a character study; not just for Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) but the whole cast as well. Jimmy’s slow turn into the man viewers know as Saul in Breaking Bad has been marked by tragedy, betrayal, and the unfairness of a judgemental society. This season got noticeably darker than in prior seasons getting that much closer to Jimmy’s fall from grace.
Picking up right after season 3 ended; Jimmy’s brother Chuck (Michael McKean) just committed suicide by burning down his house, Jimmy takes the news extremely well as he had no affection for his brother for clear and obvious reasons due to what he did to him over the past 3 seasons. The heart of the show is Jimmy and Kim’s (Rhea Seehorn) relationship which really started to kick into gear around season 2. Their chemistry and thus their romance brings a ton of heart to the show but also serves as a double edged sword as it’s only inevitable that their relationship will come crashing down and all that will be left is heartbreak. Mike (Jonathan Banks) this season expands his role as an advisor to Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) operations. He helps to assemble a crew of German construction specialists that build the famous meth lab seen in Breaking Bad. Banks has always played Mike very understated with an occasional burst of emotion that’s forceful and full of intensity. Just like Jimmy, Mike gets closer to who he ultimately becomes in Breaking Bad. He kills his first victim that wasn’t in self defense and one he had a very close bond with.
Better Call Saul is one of the best made shows airing currently, from it’s signature cinematography carried over from Breaking Bad, striking landscape photography, some of the best edited montages ever to air on television and for that matter film as well, a steady supply of great direction by TV director veterans ranging from Adam Bernstein, Daniel Sackheim, Michelle MacLaren, Finding ’s Nemo and WALL- E’s Andrew Stanton, and finally great song selections; never has a piece of media used an ABBA song more effectively than the cold open in the season finale. Odenkirk continues to do great work as Jimmy, there’s a lot of sides to the character that he plays from being a natural con man, guilty / ashamed of his actions, power hungry and full of discontent. Odenkirk plays them all perfectly; Seehorn plays off him wonderfully their the perfect pair no wonder TV critics are dreading when the inevitable will happen. The show only has a few more seasons left in it judging by the story being only 4 years out from linking up to the main Breaking Bad timeline. Since one of the best shows on television The Americans ended over the Summer; Better Call Saul has claimed the top prize as one of the quietest, well acted and written, and produced shows airing now. It’s the best thing AMC is doing by a large margin and puts most shows to shame; the winner takes it all indeed.
Season Grade: A
Jimmy had enormous love and respect for his brother, but his hurt came from Chucks’ sabotage of his career and achievements. Not going to the therapist showed that he did not want to dig up all of the past becoming Saul allows him to dig out from under the McGill name. Also, this was not Mke’s first killing. He killed the 2 police officers that killed his son. I hope the Emmy Awards recognize this outstanding show for all the reasons you mentioned.