AMC’s Breaking Bad Prequel: Better Call Saul

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Caution: Premier Spoilers Ahead!

Vince Gilligan and AMC may just have another hit on their hands. My excitement wasn’t easily contained when the rumors of this show started making the rounds and it hasn’t disappointed me in the first few episodes. Saul Goodman was easily my favorite character in the Breaking Bad storyline and Bob Odenkirk really shines as this show’s feature. The show premiered with impressive numbers and has earned a respectable 9th slot out of 10 when pitted against cable and network series. Saul Goodman seems to have been the no-brainer choice for continuing the storytelling in Breaking Bad’s universe.

From the opening scenes depicting his life “post-Heisenberg” we know that Saul (now Gene) is in hiding. Dealing with paranoia and fear while serving up Cinnabonsbetter-call-saul-episode-101-jimmy-odenkirk for the mall-going populace of Omaha, Nebraska. There are a few tense moments as Saul imagines a rough-looking customer is staring him down and has discovered his identity. He soon realizes that is not the case and is to the dim apartment where he is lying low. A stiff drink and a VHS tape filled with commercials from his once thriving law practice lead us into the flashback we’ve been waiting for. Knowing where Saul was during the events of the earlier series leaves a lot of questions about his origins. Following along as this character transforms into that man is surprisingly satisfying.

Saul is now Jimmy McGill. His law practice is struggling and he’s hanging on by taking up public defender clients when they are available. As the meat of the story unfolds, better-call-saul-episode-101-kim-seehorn-935we see just how much struggle came before the flashy character we remember. They introduce us to some great new character’s like Jimmy’s mentally unstable brother Chuck and his law partner Howard Hamlin (Michael McKean and Patrick Fabian) along with a possible love interest in the form of Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). The interactions are all interesting and serve to further our understanding of the protagonist. We see that Jimmy is broke, has no clients, and is working from a closet in the back of a Vietnamese nail salon. To top it off, the people in his life are somewhat set against him. It becomes easy to see why he soon goes to work at what he knows best, hustling.

Throughout the first two episodes we get to see some old faves show upbetter-call-saul-episode-102-jimmy-odenkirk-935-9 again. Mike Ehrmantraut is around from the beginning and appears to have an increasingly notable role as the show moves forward. The next big reappearance and plot point involves everyone’s favorite insane gangster: Tuco Salamanca. Jimmy gets on his bad side right at the close of episode one and the events of episode two foreshadow his future in underworld lawyering. It soon becomes clear that even when it seems like he’s getting a break, it only serves to drive him further down his destined path. The violence we know a love from breaking bad rears its head and Jimmy’s silver tongue is the only way to make it out in one piece.

This show is a perfect follow-up to Breaking Bad. The characters and the feeling of the show are all there to experience again. This incarnation is a bit more on the comedic side at times, but that’s where Odenkirk’s character was always at his best. I wholeheartedly suggest this not only to the hardcore Breaking Bad fans, but to anyone looking for a show to watch on Monday nights. My DVR will be recording this season and there is a good chance I’ll even sit through commercials to watch this show, which is really saying something.