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Better Call Saul (Series)

Updated: May 31



Introduction:

The world of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has become synonymous with a particular brand of gritty crime drama. Thanks to the phenomenal success of Breaking Bad, viewers were introduced to a high school chemistry teacher turned ruthless meth kingpin, Walter White. But the Breaking Bad universe had more stories to tell. Enter Better Call Saul, the prequel that surprised audiences with its depth, nuance, and ability to stand on its own two feet, even without the shadow of Heisenberg looming large.


Overview:

Better Call Saul takes us back in time, six years before Walter White cooks his first batch of blue meth. We meet James McGill, a struggling lawyer with a sharp wit and a knack for bending the rules. Jimmy, as he prefers to be called, works in the shadow of his successful, but deeply troubled, brother Chuck. Chuck, a brilliant lawyer afflicted with a debilitating psychosomatic illness, represents everything Jimmy aspires to be – respected, admired, and successful.


The series follows Jimmy's journey as he navigates the cutthroat world of Albuquerque’s legal system. He scrapes by, taking on pro bono cases and resorting to petty scams to make ends meet. Enter Kim Wexler, Jimmy's brilliant and morally grounded colleague. Kim becomes a pivotal figure in Jimmy's life, a constant source of support and a voice of reason as he teeters on the edge of ethical boundaries.


As the series progresses, Jimmy becomes increasingly entangled with the criminal underworld. He forms an unlikely alliance with Nacho Varga, a low-level member of the Salamanca drug cartel. Nacho, desperate to protect his father from the cartel's brutality, finds himself drawn into Jimmy's schemes. This association with criminals opens doors for Jimmy, but it also exposes him to ever-increasing danger.


Better Call Saul is a masterclass in slow-burn storytelling. The series takes its time, meticulously building character arcs and exploring the moral complexities of its protagonists. Unlike Breaking Bad's Walter White, who undergoes a rapid transformation into a monster, Jimmy's descent is gradual, a series of small choices that chip away at his initial idealism.

Here are some of the key elements that make Better Call Saul such a compelling watch:

  • Character Development: The show's greatest strength lies in its characters. Jimmy McGill is a fascinating protagonist, a flawed yet endearing character driven by a desire for respect and a yearning to escape his perceived limitations. Bob Odenkirk delivers a phenomenal performance, capturing Jimmy's charisma, vulnerability, and the simmering anger that fuels his increasingly questionable actions.

  • Kim Wexler: Kim Wexler is a revelation. Played with brilliance by Rhea Seehorn, Kim is Jimmy's moral compass, his anchor to a better life. Watching her navigate the legal system and grapple with Jimmy's choices is a central tension in the series.

  • The Supporting Cast: Beyond Jimmy and Kim, Better Call Saul boasts a stellar supporting cast. Jonathan Banks is phenomenal as Mike Ehrmantraut, the stoic ex-cop who becomes entangled with the cartel. Giancarlo Esposito brings chilling menace to Gus Fring, the seemingly mild-mannered fast-food magnate with a dark secret.

  • Cinematography and Visual Style: The show's visuals are simply stunning. The use of color, particularly the juxtaposition of vibrant hues with the harsh desert landscape, creates a unique aesthetic that reflects the moral ambiguity of the characters' choices.

  • Connections to Breaking Bad: While Better Call Saul stands alone as a fantastic series, the connections to Breaking Bad add an extra layer of intrigue for fans. Familiar faces like Gus Fring and Mike Ehrmantraut appear, their backstories fleshed out in a way that enriches the Breaking Bad universe.

Conclusion:

Better Call Saul is more than just a prequel to Breaking Bad. It's a show that explores the human condition, the choices we make, and the consequences we face. It's a show about love, loss, loyalty, and the slow erosion of good intentions. By the series finale, Jimmy McGill has transformed into Saul Goodman, the flamboyant lawyer with a shady clientele. But the transformation comes at a heavy cost.


Better Call Saul is a show that will stay with you long after the credits roll. It's a must-watch for fans of Breaking Bad and anyone who appreciates a well-crafted drama with complex characters and a gripping narrative. So, if you haven't already, step into the world of Better Call Saul and prepare to be surprised by the depths of human nature you'll find there.




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