In Better Call Saul, the descent of Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill from a kind-hearted man to a shallow weasel lawyer, similar to what we saw in Breaking Bad, remains incredibly human, just like the original show.
Walter White, despite the horrifying things he did, remained human and believable right till the end. None of his actions seemed far-fetched, including the time when he tried to poison a child. This remains true in Better Call Saul. Of course, they are still two very different shows. While Breaking Bad was an explosion and much faster-paced, Better Call Saul is a tragedy playing out in slow-motion.
The best thing about season 5 was, once again, the writing. It is only augmented by some phenomenal acting by Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Giancarlo Esposito, Michael Mando and others. The subtle touches that made Breaking Bad a cut above the rest — the visual elements, the stunning yet understated cinematography, editing and so on — are all there.
Additionally, Better Call Saul is trying to learn from Breaking Bad’s mistakes. In Breaking Bad, Latino characters were mostly one-note terrifying drug dealers or addicts, as though they were written just to make the show stand true to the stereotypes surrounding them. In the spinoff show, we finally have a complex, relatable Latino in the form of Michael Mando Nacho Varga, a Jesse stand-in, who, while sympathetic, is also wholly responsible for the mess he is in.
How far we have come. Many of us, including me, dismissed Better Call Saul as a cash grab by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould when it was announced. We believed it was capitalising on the popularity of Breaking Bad. But very soon, Better Call Saul became something that can stand on its own feet and move out of Breaking Bad’s shadow.
Finally, with the introduction of Hank and Gomez, Better Call Saul is only getting better, and the only negative thing I have to say about it is it has to end — eventually.
Better Call Saul should win the 2020 Emmy Award in the Outstanding Drama Series category.