Better call Saularguably the best show on TV right now is finally returning for its final season – and it’s more than worth the wait.
The first two episodes have a lot to reveal and a lot of intrigue. First of all, it’s strange how this show went from a not-quite-necessary prequel series about the rise of everyone’s favorite nasty lawyer (Bob Odenkirk), to an intimate show about rival brothers, to a series about healthy lawyer Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) traveling on dark side. As much as I’m interested in Mike (Jonathan Banks), Nacho (Michael Mando), Lalo (Tony Dalton), Chicken Man (Giancarlo Esposito) and Saul, the biggest question I have is what the hell is going on with Kim?
The season premiere offers few details but adds some mystery with one of the patented Breaking Bad montages – this time on Jackie Gleason’s A Day of Wine and Roses – that paint a very different picture of Saul than we’ve seen. Said scene moves through a large mansion adorned with statues, huge rooms, an absurd amount of drugs, a massive bathroom with pink straps hanging from a faucet, a golden toilet bowl, and a legion of flashy business suits. It’s all tied together by the cardboard stand of the man himself, Saul Goodman, which is effectively tossed into the trash can.
I could spend hours deciphering this intro, but there are still more than two hours of show ahead. Suffice it to say how it was Breaking Badwe can’t take anything at face value. Will Saul/Jimmy Indeed live in such a glamorous house? What deal does he make to get the money he needs to live like this?
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Storyline B concerns Nacho Varga, who escaped from the raid on the complex seen at the end of Season 5, which was carried out by Gus Fring as a means of killing Lalo Salamanca. Spoiler alert: The assassination attempt failed and Lalo stayed alive and well. very much murderous. At least that’s what I gleaned from the part where he steals the scissors and stands ominously behind a man who looks exactly like him – «It’s like looking in the mirror, but not.» My guess is that he will use the corpse as a doppelgänger to buy himself some more time. Either way, the most dangerous man on the show is alive and well and ready to take the necessary steps to get rid of good old Gus.
We don’t get a ton of Lalo, except for a terrific exchange between him and Hector that ends with the younger Salamanca happily driving away (after killing two men) to get evidence of Chicken Man’s involvement in the assassination attempt. I’m not sure where this plot thread is headed, but my gut feeling is that it has to do with Nacho. Or maybe even Nacho’s father?
Speaking of which, Nacho finds himself in a run-down motel where he must wait for further instructions from Mike. As the days go by, Nacho spies and eventually runs into a man who is being paid. Gus – spy on him. The chicken man sold the poor child, leading to a wild shootout with the cute Salamanca twins, which presumably ended with Nacho being captured alive.
Meanwhile, Mike takes steps to help Nacho despite being ordered by Gus to leave the young man to his fate. There are no dice. Mike heads to Nacho’s house, breaks into his safe, shakes out the contents (including a couple of Nacho’s and his father’s passports), then replaces the safe with a copy rife with fake passports and (hopefully) a fake phone number. Is Mike trying to figure out who Nacho is up against? Or did he just accidentally leave the motel’s phone number in the new safe?
Note: I hated Mike on Breaking Bad. This man was a thorn in Walt’s ass and wore a «higher than you» image that haunted him to the bitter end. i love the guy in Better call Saul, although. He’s smart, cool, and incredibly ruthless, but he also has a soul; and his attempt to help Nacho only adds to the respect I have for his character.
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Saul and Kim begin planning their next attack on Howard, a convoluted scheme that involves planting fake drugs on him and will make Cliff suspect foul play. I forgot why this couple hate Howard so much, but I’m willing to be part of the storyline because it’s fun to see Saul and Kim team up for anything.
Interestingly, Saul takes charge of this while Kim stays in the car and commands the shots. This portends their relationship to Breaking Bad Is Saul carrying out Kim’s plans while she conducts methodically from the shadows? Theatricality and deceit are powerful tools for the uninitiated.
Said plan also includes a cameo from embittered ex-clients Betsy and Craig Kettleman and that famous inflatable Statue of Liberty that lingered outside Saul’s office during Breaking Bad. You see, Saul needs the Kettleman to increase Craig’s doubts about Howard, and he manipulates them into paying the old man a visit. Everything goes according to plan, and in one of the show’s best scenes, Saul decides to buy the couple’s loyalty for a wad of cash. However, Mrs. Kettleman does not buy Saul’s bullshit and threatens to call the police.
Kim tires of Saul’s «carrot» approach and goes to the jugular, threatening to expose the couple’s illegal tax operation. Her ploy works and the Kettlemans agree to remain silent. Saul still gives them money.
The same ruthless pragmatism that made Kim such a great lawyer now helps her in her meanness. I’m digging it. Though it’s strange to see Saul on the opposite end looking at his love interest with a «what have I done» puzzled. Maybe Kim really is the monster behind Saul and Jimmy is just acting like a puppet. After all, it is she who suggests that he buy a better car, an office, and adjust to a edgier appearance.
For Kim, it’s just business and she runs the show accordingly. In this respect, she is essentially the anti-Skyler White. Kim picks a side and jumps straight down the rabbit hole without thinking, unlike Skyler who stayed on the fence too long.
Whatever the case, Kim and Saul’s plan goes off without a hitch, though in the final shot, a car is seen following them as they leave Kettleman’s law office. I’m guessing it’s Mike, but who the hell knows?
All in all, it was a great first few episodes of the final season. Better call Saul. I can’t believe it’s been seven years since this show started. The wait for the finale is damn long, but in this case the trip was worth it. Let’s hope Vince Gilligan and Co. survive the landing.
Other notes and theories
- I’m starting to wonder if Saul’s quick exit was the end Breaking Bad had more in common with Kim than with Walter. Won’t this be a new twist? For example, what if it really was Saul’s house at the beginning of this episode, but all of these things (including the golden toilet) were bought by Kim as part of her grand scheme to make Saul Goodman a viable property? And Saul was a prisoner all this time, working under her yoke?
- On that note, we’re guessing that Cinnabon worker Jin is evading the authorities or a drug cartel during these black-and-white flash forwards, but what if he’s really hiding from Kim? He seems to be quite concerned about her actions in the first two episodes… maybe she went too far?
- Saul may be a goo, but he’s not a villain. He cares about people. His entire Sol personality is meant to help the little guy, and he’s made it clear that money isn’t the end goal. Nothing in this house at the beginning of the episode reflected Saul as we know him now. Maybe a completely different character has arrived this season, or maybe Kim is the machine behind the man.
- Also, Kim really scared me in those first two episodes. The noble, law-abiding lawyer is long gone. Instead, he was replaced by a ruthless, passionless warrior focused on the end result. Scary.
- Gus Fring’s battle with the Salamancas has Breaking Bad The atmosphere of season 4, although Gus plays the role of Walter White and Lalo takes Gus’s place. Will all this lead to Lalo coming out of the explosion with half of his face torn off? Probably not, but his life is likely to meet a terrible end.
- Nacho was heading straight for the Twins. I don’t know what I would do in such a situation, but I think he had many other ways to avoid this predicament.
- Saul stripping down to his birthday suit as a disguise was genius and very much in keeping with the Walter White school of getting out of trouble.
- Nacho’s roommates are crazy.