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Better Call Saul: what the ending of the spin-off series leaves us

After six seasons, the Better Call Saul series comes to an end, with the 13th episode that has closed a circle that opened in 2010: in this editorial we sum up this fantastic Spin-Off of Breaking Bad

It was July 22, 2010 when we met an eccentric lawyer named Saul Goodman. A name that is all a program, a flashy wardrobe and a completely enviable gab have, over the seasons of Breaking Bad, featuring a character that we never thought we would feel, over time, even closer than Jessie or Walter. In fact, many years have passed and, if in the course of Breaking Bad we have simply seen the “facade” of the lawyer of the Cartel. In the spin-off, however, we know, starting from his origins, Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), before and after the transformation into Saul.

Better Call Saul, narrative masterpiece | Spoiler Free zone

In order not to harm anyone, we will divide this article into two parts. A first part is without spoilers (bearing in mind that there will be inevitable references to the events of Breaking Bad and El Camino), while everything related to the Better Call Saul series will be considered spoilers and you can read about it later. In this non-spoiler part we will explain why you absolutely must recover this series.

Let’s start by saying that Better Call Saul it is not in our opinion just a spin-off / prequel of Breaking Bad, but something more. The protagonist, as the title of the series says, is our lawyer Saul Goodman, but around him gravitate many more characters and many more events than you might think having only seen Breaking Bad. The series is much more than a “biography” of the extravagant (and extravagant) professional, because it speaks to us with a broad view of the events prior to Walter’s transition from chemistry professor to drug trafficker Heisenberg, describing what the world was like in Albuquerque. and Cartel traffic before the tornado brought by Breaking Bad. And not only that, he comes to close the narrative arc beyond the end of the mother series, answering some questions.

Not just a spin-off

In Better Call Saul we know the past of Saul Goldman, the heights and vicissitudes of his career and his personal and relational life. The troubled and competitive relationship with his brother, which in some way influences his whole life. His relationship with his colleague Kim Wexler, which limits it, at least for a while, derives from it. The meeting with Mike, a convict in his relationship with the Cartel. Ultimately, what made him what we knew in Breaking Bad.

Together with Saul, in fact, we discover all the undergrowth of relationships that revolves around him. So we see characters like Mike (Jonathan Banks) and even Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) that slowly fit into the network of “people who know a guy who in turn knows a guy”. We also see original characters, unknown to Breaking Bad and to whom it is impossible not to become attached. In this context, even the story of a drug trafficker gallop (Nacho Varga) is much more complex than one might think.

Better Call Saul: what the ending of the spin-off series leaves us

The beauty of this series is that it allows you to spend very close to Saul identifying with the character. There is not the wall that, brick by brick, is built between us and Walter during his metamorphosis into Heisenberg, but simply a path, made up of human choices that lead the viewer to introspect the meaning of their actions. A lot of reflections, a lot of emotionall within the direct reach of the viewer, so as to make Jimmy McGill one of the most empathizable characters ever.

The extra gear of Better Call Saul is in fact the ability to move the plot forward while maintaining an excellent narrative pace, in a mechanism tested (and, if possible, improved) by Breaking Bad. In this sense, the relative length of the series is congenial in order to render on the screen a story that crosses the temporal limits of the one from which it was born. Besides the harmonious development of the story, there is also a bit of “Fan-service”, but done well. Not an end in itself, but able to explain all, or almost all, the mysteries of the characters that appear in Breaking Bad and to answer the questions that the original series left open. Reasons, actions and circumstances that even make you review the same Breaking Bad events with different eyes. Everything fits perfectly, none empty of plot. A product that improves episode after episode, a production of the highest level. So we can only advise you to watch Better Call Saul: you will not regret it.

Better Call Saul, a difficult separation | Spoiler zone

From here on, we are no longer responsible for any spoilers. With that made clear, on August 16, 2022, we witnessed the end of an era. After meeting Saul, we meet Gene and then Jimmy. The choice, which has remained consistent throughout the series, to use color for the past time and black and white for the present time has given a lot of narrative strength to the whole series and always put the viewer in the right mood. But let’s go in order, let’s start from the beginning.

The series starts without wanting to overdo it, it simply shows us Gene who remembers the past, and in a somewhat melancholy way the events of the Saul that was Jimmy McGill take color. We know his relationship with his brother Chuck (Michael McKean), we see how every time he is able to get into trouble by intertwining his life with that of Mike Ehrmantraut. We see a series of ups and downs, a constant in Jimmy’s life as well as in anyone’s… but for Jimmy, the extreme consequences of extreme actions always come. We know Kim (Rhea Seehorn), Saul’s ex-wife, and we see the evolution of a relationship that at times becomes toxic for both of us.

The beauty lies in these constant fluctuations, with fluctuating peaks in a very long series of small / large tragedies: the meeting with Tuco Salamanca, the temporary expulsion from the bar, Chuck’s suicide. Tragedies to which a very human reaction follows, the art of getting by and carrying on. Often making mistakes, which invariably pay for themselves. As the series progresses we see the repercussions for the choices made: inexorably Jimmy gives way to Saul.

Better Call Saul: what the ending of the spin-off series leaves us

With Jimmy in Saul

This second phase of the series also shows us the evolution of the whole outline, what happens indirectly but always due to Saul. We witness the Salamanca war against Gus, which culminates in the death, at the hands of Lalo Salamanca, of Howard Hamlin and the death of Lalo himself at the hands of Gus. A turning point because after these events Jimmy definitively becomes Saul, also losing Kim and they are left alone. But this story, of how Jimmy became Saul, does not travel alone: ​​at the same time in the present (highlighted by the black and white) we see the evolution of Gene, who however gradually returns to being Saul. Past and present are confused, the series intersects with Breaking Bad, we see Saul meet Walter, and from there the unleashing of the “tornado”.

A lot of meat on the fire, it’s very easy to make mistakes at this point. But this is not the case. The last episode is one of the best in the history of TV series. Masterful in everything. Gene is Saul again. And Saul himself, faced with the harsh reality and all the crimes committed, from 180 years in prison comes to negotiate until he gets only 7 years of sentence to serve in a prison of his choice even equipped with a golf course. The series could very well have ended like this, but the writers went further. In this way the character would not be redeemed and we would have had an ending similar to that of Breaking Bad. Jimmy, on the other hand, doesn’t die, he’s still there and still loves Kim. And just when we all expected the final plea in which Saul, potentially, could have earned even more discounts on his sentence (at the cost of putting Kim in greater difficulty), Jimmy comes back to talk. And Jimmy admits Saul’s faults, no longer searches for shortcuts or discounts, but he wants to pay his penalty. Precisely this final redemption, paid dearly in the name of love, makes Better Call Saul better than Breaking Bad.

Better Call Saul: deserved applause

Over the past decade Breaking Bad and everything that came with it has made something unique. He created a world that we could explore, but above all we could explore the dark side of his characters, and we saw their human side by identifying with their choices and decisions. Better Call Saul took it to an even higher level, representing one of the best series ever produced. Doing all this, closing a narrative cycle at best might have seemed like a titanic undertaking for Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, but it is undoubtedly successful. A growing quality, an obsessive attention to detail, represent a new ceiling to overcome for all TV series.

An ending like this closes Jimmy’s story in a definitive way without making us see an “alien” from a moral point of view, but showing us a man who in the end takes on his responsibilities and his faults. All this leaves us a great void, because after 12 years it will be hard to go on without our favorite lawyer to talk about it, but it leaves at the same time a sense of completeness and satisfying closure that few series can boast.

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