“Better Call Saul” Season 5 is the Height of Television

Bob Odenkirk in "Better Call Saul"

By now, we’ve learned to expect a new season of Better Call Saul to be slower and less action-packed than Breaking Bad. The show concentrates less on epic shootdowns and more on grueling character development. There’s a particular nuisance to the series that is rare to find in modern television. There is no leaning on CGI or special effects but instead, the focus is on the meticulous crafting of each scene via the phenomenal cast and signature camera pans.

Season five continues to pay enormous attention to detail while also driving plot development up to the Breaking Bad timeline. Tensions continue to rise between Gus and the cartel, and Jimmie is now and officially established as Saul Goodman. At the start of the season, he dresses in an eccentric, distinctively Saul Goodman suit and sets up a temporary base in a circus tent. He hands out free untraceable phones with his number on speed dial and promises clients 50% off his services for a week. Kim isn’t too happy with the immoral implications of his decision, but as the season unravels, she is pulled further into Saul’s unconventional way of doing things.

One of the remarkable achievements of Better Call Saul is that it successfully builds suspense even though we already know that the characters we care about most will survive beyond the start of the Breaking Bad timeline. Even though we know that Saul will be fine, when he drags himself through the desert in the antepenultimate episode, there are moments where it feels like he really might not make it.

The desert episode may be painfully slow but it sets up some important relationship developments. Mike and Saul leave the desert with an unspoken bond and after that point, Mike begins to trust Saul with important information. Saul realizes that Kim is the person he cares about the most and Kim equally realizes that Saul is far more important than the corporate clients she works with. At the moment, Saul almost gives up and Kim believes him dead, something happens to the characters which changes their relationship permanently. And then Kim breaks bad.

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It’s a look.

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In the epic season finale, things heat up massively for Lalo and Nacho down in Mexico. Lalo may have started out as a new character that fans were unsure about but now, he is a highlight of the show. He is all about the showmanship and one of the biggest mysteries left in the series is what will happen to him and Nacho prior to the Breaking Bad timeline. And it feels like that timeline is getting pretty close.