My Hopes and Dreams for “Better Call Saul”

Breaking Bad - Poster
If you’re a regular listener or follower of the show, you might have noticed that my voice is missing. I know this may disappoint the ladies–namely my mom, aunts, and grandma. Fear not, it’s only for the semester (thanks Student Center) and I plan on being involved with the Artscast as much as I can in the future.

You might have also noticed that I really only get excited about a few things, one of them being shows with guns and explosions, and of those shows, AMC’s fantastic “Breaking Bad.” I came on late to the Heisenberg train, and, although binge watching Seasons 1-3 was amazing, the rush I get every Sunday at 8 p.m. might as well be methamphetamine-fueled (don’t worry mom, it’s not).

As the final season is coming to a close, show creator Vince Gilligan and his team are taking no prisoners with their storytelling. To me, “To’Hajiilee” is Season 5B’s best episode, so far. *SPOILERS BEGIN* With Team Hank and Jesse finally finding a way to topple Walter White’s empire, I feel crushed. I know, I know, Walt is a “bad guy,” but we know he’s not going out without a fight (the infamous 5B Denny’s/machine gun flashback). In fact, I joked with my fellow viewers that I’ve never been so glad to see heavily armed Neo-Nazis. Honestly though, I believe Walt will die in the end, but I hope his meth empire money still goes to his family. *SPOILERS END* Huell will die too.

Recently, the big news to come out of the “BB” phenomenon is the green-lighting of the Saul Goodman (Walt’s skeezy attorney, played by comic Bob Odenkirk) spinoff, tentatively titled “Better Call Saul” after the catch phrase from his terrible billboard and TV ads.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Saul! He’s the man who helped orchestrate chem teacher Mr. White’s malevolent transformation into the feared Heisenberg. Saul has always been there for Walt, Jesse, and their collaborators, if not only to make a nice cut of profits. In fact, he shares the same kind of “evil genius” intellect and planning that Walt does, only without the same kind of initial naivité or latter stubbornness.

Saul’s draw comes from his colorful personality. He’s the perfect sleazy lawyer: willing to legally outsmart anyone for the right price, cowering before those who stand up to him, and always with a plan B, plan C, etc. Saul knows just how to push law enforcers’ (read: DEA agent Hank Schrader’s) buttons. He also knows the criminal underbelly of the southwest, think: Gus Fring, the “disappearing” van guy, and even the lazer tag money launderer. Saul’s character continues to “shine” through as BB gets darker and closer to the end: he’s still wearing his awfully fluorescent clothes, while Walts is trying to return to “Mr. Beige” and while Jesse is continually shrouded in black. (The color theory of the show goes TOO deep! Seriously, check out some of the articles people have written.)

It might be that I’ve had a lot of Batman Arkham City/Origins on my mind, but Saul is the perfect combination of DC’s Two-Face (the treacherous DA-turned-killer) and the Joker (“The Clown Prince of Crime”). Saul’s personality is more lighthearted than Walt’s in that his only motive is survival and money for himself. But, this fact might allow for more freedom (and goofy insanity) with the story, a change I’d really appreciate after the likely pitch-black ending of “BB.” Gilligan himself said in a 2012 interview about Saul and the spinoff, “I like the idea of a lawyer show in which the main lawyer will do anything it takes to stay out of a court of law. He’ll settle on the courthouse steps, whatever it takes to stay out of the courtroom. That would be fun — I would like that.”

It is even more important to note that this spinoff will be a prequel–a.k.a. no Heisenberg. *SPOILERS BEGIN* Even though Walt’s transformation is a great story, I can’t wait to see what Gilligan cooks up. Think of how strong all of the flashbacks were that dealt with Gus Fring and the Mexican drug cartel. Through crooked Saul, we have access to even more of that delicious, dusty, and dangerous wealth of characters. It will also probably mean the return of Fring, and especially Mike Ehrmantraut, perhaps providing more backstory on his even more crooked cop days, and how he got involved with Fring and Saul. Even better would be a reverse-killing/introduction of all of Mike’s accomplices, the ones from Lydia’s list. In addition, who wouldn’t want to see an episode (or four…) dedicated to Saul’s humorous sidekicks, Huell and Kuby. We might even get some cameos from Gale, Tuco, even WW himself. A guy can dream.

As the remaining episodes are barrelling like the bullets fired between Hank & Gomey and Todd & Gang the stakes of the show are being raised to unprecedented heights with key characters having much to lose. I trust the writers to handle the ending well, no matter who “takes a trip to Belize.” Even if Saul is among the body count, I’m glad that he’ll be revived in the new show. Odenkirk said about his character, “no one thought the part was meant to last. For it to continue was always…a surprise to me.”

-Leo Rudberg