When he announced a spin-off, Vince Gilligan promised a look into Saul’s life – before, during and after the events of Breaking Bad. The very first scene of Better Call Saul proves that he wasn’t lying.
The show begins with a look at Saul, post Heisenberg. As he predicted, the “criminal” lawyer spends his days working at a Cinnabon in Omaha. His nights don’t get much better, as he watches old commercials for his law practice and reminisces about life as he knew it. Before Walter White. We are then transported to 2002, when James “Jimmy” McGill is still trying to establish himself as Saul Goodman. On his path, he comes across cons, money-making schemes and some familiar faces.
Much like Breaking Bad, the show’s cold open is chilling. It gives viewers a whole new perspective into what they’re about to see next. It also perfectly sets the tone for the whole season. When Better Call Saul was announced, no one knew if it would be a comedy, drama or something in between. It quickly becomes apparent that the spin-off is going to tread the fine line between the two. And it’s going to do it well.
This is further affirmed by Bob Odenkirk‘s magnificent performance. Though he mostly served as the comic relief and voice of reason in Breaking Bad, Saul has many more sides to him. And Odenkirk portrays this perfectly. He shows us the side to Goodman that no one knows. The one that rehearses in the urinal before a hearing. The one that was known as Slippin’ Jimmy. The one that was a criminal lawyer, and not a criminal lawyer, as Jesse would say.
Better Call Saul couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, could it? Wrong. The premiere also features some familiar faces, like Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut. Oh, how we missed his deadpan humor! And that’s not all. It also features Michael McKean as Jimmy’s brother Chuck. Though it’s only hinted at, his brother’s mental illness is likely to play a crucial role in Saul’s transformation. This isn’t the only enigma in the premiere, either. We get a glimpse into Saul’s love life as well. Who is the mysterious lady? Looks like we’ll find out soon!
All things considered, it looks like Better Call Saul is shaping up to be the perfect spin-off to Breaking Bad. It gives a nod at the latter, without ever giving it too much power over the spin-off. This makes it perfect for fans of Breaking Bad, and even those who didn’t like it too much! The show also takes us back to a familiar setting in an all new way. If the rest of the season is half as good as the first episode, it’s safe to say that we’re in for a ride!