S’all good, man

Editors note from reviews: This story contains spoilers from Season 1 of Better Call Saul

Following the major success of Breaking Bad, series creator Vince Gilligan continues with the spin-off series, Better Call Saul. Many will remember the beloved characters of Breaking Bad, including the main character, criminal lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). Introduced to the audience in season two to assist the shows drug manufacturing duo, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), Goodman became the comedic relief in the dark drama. Goodman also became a main cast member in the finale of the Breaking Bad series.

After the finale of Breaking Bad, audience members thought that was the end of the character’s stories and the show. That was until AMC networks and Vince Gilligan announced Better Call Saul. Acting as both a prequel and sequel, Better Call Saul is set six years prior to the events of Breaking Bad, following James McGill through his beginning as a humble lawyer and later transforming into his notable persona, Saul Goodman.

Last month, Better Call Saul set a record for the highest-rated scripted series premiered on basic cable with it’s debut episode. This could have been due to the popular series, The Walking Dead, which aired before it.

Having aired six episodes, with four more to go this season, Better Call Saul proves to be a great stand alone series. The first few episodes introduce the setting of the show while introducing some new characters. Fans of Breaking Bad will appreciate some callbacks to Walter White’s world and will enjoy seeing Saul Goodman, accompanied by Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). Similar to its companion series, Better Call Saul sticks to the dramatic writing while also adding the dark comedy formula.

Better Call Saul cast and crew
Better Call Saul cast and crew

[Spoilers Ahead]

The pilot episode picks up after the finale of Breaking Bad as we see Saul Goodman managing a Cinnabon in Omaha, Nebraska, a nod to Goodman’s prediction he made to Walter White. This was the only scene so far that shows events after Breaking Bad. The episode then cuts back six years as the audience is introduced to James McGill, a defense lawyer. The pilot also introduces McGill’s brother and other acquaintances. Here, the audience finds personal insight on McGill and provides background history for the character where fans of Breaking Bad were left wondering. In the last scene of the episode, viewers are teased with a camera shot of Tuco Salamanca, a villain to Pinkman and White.

With a very energetic starting point, Better Call Saul grows more suspenseful with every new episode. Viewers see McGill collide and clash against other lawyers along with very complex characters like his brother Chuck. Better Call Saul exposes the hustle that made McGill become the man of the show’s title.  Another thing the show has adopted from Breaking Bad is the cinematography, with point-of-view shots and using the New Mexico desert landscape as a blank canvas. Better Call Saul presents a creative visual work,  complimenting the show’s writing.

The episode six of Better Call Saul took a dark turn as it gave the audience insight on Mike Ehrmantraut. Fans of Breaking Bad were pleased to know what events occurred with Ehrmantraut and the Philadelphia Police Department. This episode also showcased the emotional performance from actor Jonathan Banks, a sight not seen in Breaking Bad. Many questions were answered, and viewers left wanting more.

Viewers were left wondering how far Better Call Saul will go and what other characters will be introduced. Fans of Breaking Bad are questioning the possible appearances of characters from the show, such as Pinkman and White. The show holds much potential, building the bridge between the two series. Better Call Saul fills the empty holes Breaking Bad left, as in giving insight on the history of Gustavo Fring, Pinkman before partnering with White and the aftermath of Breaking Bad.

Better Call Saul airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. on AMC. The website, which includes photos, episode recaps and full episodes, can be found here.