Better Call Saul revolves around Jimmy Mcgill and his pre-Breaking Bad life, which eventually leads up to his becoming the titular Saul Goodman.
it’s a lot less bleak in comparison, which is a good thing, especially because Breaking Bad has the tendency to result in
nausea from repeated or prolonged viewings. BCS’ tone also helps support the fact that it can function as a stand-alone show – it needs no reference to what it serves as a prelude to.
mom and I watched a few episodes together last week. she had never seen breaking bad but she didn’t end up needing any introductions. she rarely finds herself feeling involved in shows, especially ones that challenge the viewers’ moral alignment, so her interest was nice to see.
- the only other time she felt so strongly for a show i wanted to watch was when we marathoned ‘the wire’. it is, of course, a great show, but definitely not something i’d catch her watching on her own.
the first few episodes establish jimmy mcgill (saul goodman – the brain) and mike’s (the muscle) backstories, providing depth to characters they’d played in BB. i found this interesting because i remember the first time i saw saul on screen, when he had just met walt for the first time, i thought something along the lines of ‘shady. do not like.’ but watching this made me remember something else – what someone wrote in the New Yorker recently about how ‘it is impossible to hate anyone whose story you know’.
it is a bit of a stretch, sure, but it is a little true too. i find that if i dislike a characteristic or quality, i am persuaded to dislike the person, which i would later realise to be a ridiculous conclusion to jump to since
- a) there is probably an explanation for that behavior that is rational or reasonable,
- b) i probably exhibit or have exhibited behavior of that sort (possibly why it affects me to that level), and can identify with the rational/reasonable explanations in a, and
- c) i’m giving people too much responsibility or a moral obligation that by virtue of subjectivity should apply to me firstly, and to everyone else if and only if it can be agreed upon (which is likely to not be the case because i would otherwise not have felt cummy for disliking the person in the first place).
BCS still has the punch-in-the-gut quality that BB had, but on a much more humourous level. Jimmy Mcgill or Saul Goodman or former SNL writer, Bob Odenkirk’s comedic talent shows so much clearer now that he’s been given the liberty to explore a fuller range of scenarios. while he definitely was funny on BB, he was funny in spite of the griminess of everything else (shout out to season2 episode 6 starring the ATM), and that took away from how much you allowed yourself to laugh.
episode 7 is quite the cry-fest but it’s a good break from the detachment and slight moral ambiguity of the episodes before it. as we learn more about mike, we feel a little bit more sympathy for someone who always seemed strong both physically and mentally. episodes like this show the broken pieces people have to glue back together in their personal lives to become whole to other people again. it makes you question firstly, if mike ever managed it, and secondly, if anyone else ever really does.
quite excited to see this season through. it seems like a sustainable show partly because it has the ability to speak for itself so it doesn’t cling to the success of breaking bad past the initial point of contact. and it does what good shows should do – it creates a world you want to be a part of, something you’d want to one day understand.
and from the fact that skylar isn’t here, better call saul already is a better show.