Review: Better Call Saul Season 6 – Episodes 8-13
Archie Lockyear again shows his love for Better Call Saul in his review of the second half of the show’s season finale
This season of Better Call Saul has managed to bring out something very special. I’ve always had this, admittedly, snobbish, elitist view that television just isn’t the same as film. Even the greatest shows I’ve seen; the likes of Mr Robot or Channel 4’s Utopia, just don’t have that magical quality. That spark that makes me rant and rave about it (well at least not on the same level) to the work of old masters like Kubrick or the intoxicating intensity from directors like The Safdie Brothers. Yet, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have not just humbled me – but very likely changed how I’m going to perceive not just television but all forms of storytelling from now on.
The last collection of episodes of Better Call Saul aren’t just good. That adjective is an understatement – you could pick anyone out of a hat and I would say it deserves an award. Every Tuesday – I would wake up giddy with excitement to see how my favourite morally flexible lawyer was doing.
Well I say giddy – giddiness which would then very quickly turn into a sobering, cold punch to the face. These last episodes hit you with an emotional weight the size of a 747 – at this point in the tale of Jimmy McGill – I was left nauseous – Bob Odenkirk (who yet again knocks it out of the park -he had a heart attack for this!) has the ability to make innocuous lines sound sickening, aided by the fantastic writing. ‘Fun and Games’ in particular shows off the heart of the show – that beating powerful source being Rhea Seehorn – her portrayal of Kim Wexler coming to an emotional crescendo that is difficult to put into words. Odenkirk and Seehorn’s chemistry is a gorgeous mixture of true love and corrupting toxicity. A beautiful car crash waiting to happen. And when it finally collides with us as an audience, Gilligan and Gould refuse to let us go for air. We’re left to suffocate in this terrible mess. It’s quite dramatic.
Odenkirk and Seehorn’s chemistry is a gorgeous mixture of true love and corrupting toxicity.
There was a great deal of media coverage on the return of the ever-brilliant Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as Breaking Bad protagonists Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, and although they do a jaw-dropping job replicating mannerisms of characters they began performing nearly a decade and a half ago, it produced an unexpectedly negative result. Episode 10 ‘Nippy’ received a less than stellar fan review simply for the fact Cranston and Paul were not in it, yet when looked at independently, it offers a slower but addictingly fun premise as well as exploring the lesser-known Gene Takovic persona more. Better Call Saul has always excelled at the slower, more quiet moments rather than the bombastic loud of Breaking Bad. This is much the same in the finale where rather than going out with gunfights, explosions and death. ‘Saul Gone’ delivers in every way possible, from genius reincorporation of symbols to emotional beats that will no doubt reward the eagle-eyed fanbase that Better Call Saul has so excellently cultivated.
Throughout this review, I feel I give Better Call Saul this mystical quality. Something about it I believe will forever endear me to it, like Jimmy McGill’s infinite charisma which is one of the central cruxes of the entire show. In my heart of hearts – it is likely my favourite TV show and I hope that through reading this review – you take a look at what would on paper be a show that I avoid and find that magic too.