There is no way anyone can talk about â€œBetter Call Saulâ€ without directly comparing the show to â€œBreaking Bad.â€ For those unfamiliar with either show, Saul Goodman, a seedy yet charming lawyer, plays an important role in â€œBreaking Bad.â€
AMC gave the green-light to the spin-off show starring the talkative lawyer before â€œBreaking Badâ€ was even over. â€œBetter Call Saul,â€ at the time, felt like such a calculated move. Milking the cash cow before it dies is good, but creating a clone of the cash cow is even better. That metaphor was both convoluted and wrong.
Only three episodes in, I already love â€œBetter Call Saul.â€
So far, the most disappointing thing there is about â€œBetter Call Saulâ€ is the lack of episodes. When it premiered, AMC announced a second season almost immediately. The debut set the record for the highest-rated scripted series premiere in the history of basic cable. It is a guarantee that there will be many more seasons of â€œBetter Call Saul,â€ and it is a shame those episodes are so far away.
â€œBreaking Badâ€ started off far too slow for my taste. I was not fully captivated by the show until its third season. The more I think about it, the more I realize that it might be because the show became about more than just Walter White. I just never found him relatable until the last couple of seasons.
I do think it is ironic that I am complaining about not relating to the main character of a show with the title Â â€œBreaking Bad.â€ There is something else though. To me, I always saw Walter White as someone who was already bad. He was always a self-centered asshole who looked out for himself.
Sure, he was a teacher and a family man but deep down, he felt like he was always above that, and cancer let him embrace his darker side. It never felt like he broke badâ€”more like he showed his bad self Â which was always there, suppressed by the rules of society.
Saul Goodman, on the other hand, always felt like a good guy trying to make ends meet. Sure, he was not a selfless angel but he knew it and he didnâ€™t feel the need to hide it. A lot of the characters in â€œBreaking Badâ€ felt hypocritical but Saul never did. He was a lawyer that catered to seedy individuals and his whole personaâ€”his real name is Jimmy McGillâ€”embraced the idea of a lawyer that saw the world in grey rather than in black and white. For a guy who goes by a fake name, Saul felt more real and interesting.
â€œBetter Call Saulâ€ further humanizes him. It does not make him more of a hero or more of a villain but more of both. Heâ€™s made mistakes in his life, but heâ€™s trying to atone for it. He looks out for himself but he doesnâ€™t use people. Heâ€™s likely to run from a fight but will stay to save someoneâ€”even if it still ends badly. He is a conflicted character who is far more interesting than Walter White.
Saul is also a character that finds humor in both absurd and serious moments, which is why I relate to him more personally.
Doing cool, intelligent science and chemistry stuff with Walter White was cool but there really isnâ€™t a lot of complicated chemistry in our everyday lives. Saulâ€™s speciality is talkingâ€”mostly bullshittingâ€”and that comes into play far more often. There is one scene in episode two where Saulâ€™s bargaining skills were really flexed and I was hooked.
I just want to say that I both admire and love Bob Odenkirk (Saul) and Bryan Cranston (Walter). Â If someone had a bomb strapped to my wheelchair and forced me to choose a favorite, I donâ€™t know if I could ever pick between the two of them.
Who knows how â€œBetter Call Saulâ€ holds up to other shows, but when it comes to these two shows, Iâ€™d much rather call Saul than break bad.