Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul is the prequel-series to Breaking Bad. The show doesn’t assume you have watched all of Breaking Bad and truthfully it will likely be a wonderful show all on its own but for those of us who came via BB, BCS has many references, homages, teasers and easter eggs to make the experience even more fun.

Better Call Saul is a slow reveal story about a man, Jimmy McGill, who makes the journey from aspiring good-guy lawyer to the sleazebag ambulance chaser he was in BB. The story is solid, the characters have depth and the filming is amazing. It’s set in New Mexico and the backdrop becomes nearly a character itself – steaming horizons, pallid landscape juxtaposed with gaudy signage. Just as in Breaking Bad, there are quirks and twists that only underscore the realism of the storyline. Better Call Saul was highly anticipated by BB fans and with good reason; the creators have shown their ability to construct a world in which morality can be subverted one step at a time. Where is the point at which someone moves from “essentially a good person” to “irredeemable”? Does such a point exist in reality or is that something we tell ourselves? Breaking Bad was a very long intricate story about one man’s descent into evil and the effect it had on everyoen around him. Yet despite his own corrosive influence, other characters still made their own choices as well and no one escaped the consequences. Better Call Saul extends that theme and yet changes the approach.  Jimmy’s journey didn’t begin from a place of purity or innocence as did some of the BB characters, he was in a nebulous spot before we join him and struggles with every new turn of events. We cannot help but sympathize more and more as his past entanglements become more and more understandable. Yet the consequences of his choices are also understandable. Unlike Breaking Bad where the protagonist slowly reveals his hidden inner darkness, Better Call Saul has a protagonist who fights  shadows of his own past as the darkness envelopes him. Will he succumb? That is not the question: we already know that he will. The real question is just as compelling: What makes him stop struggling and how sharply does he draw the line?

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