Better Call Saul is meant to be a prequel to what we saw of Saul Goodman’s life in the AMC Series Breaking Bad.
Much as Vince Gilligan did with Breaking Bad, we are shown a glimpse of the future in the first few minutes of Better Call Saul. An older-looking Saul (older than we saw him in Breaking Bad, at least) works at Cinnabon. Unless he’s on some kind of extensive undercover pastry defense operation, I’d assume he’s pretty down on his luck. He spends his evenings flipping through between Home Shopping Network and a special on the African Pancake Tortoise. When those don’t thrill him, he digs up an old VHS of his commercials on repeat to watch while he drinks.
The entirety of the intro is shot in black and white with some 50s (?) music playing in the background. This paired great with the shots of mixing dough. I don’t know what it was, but there was something cool about it. I half expected something violent to happen in contrast to the soothing music, but things stayed pretty stagnant for Saul.
It wasn’t until about seven minutes in that a main character spoke. The silence was used well. I liked the little sounds that were allowed to break it; the squeaky wheels on a TV cart being pulled into the courtroom, for instance. The camera angles were also great – just what I’ve come to expect from Gilligan. The shots at the skate park are disorienting and impressive. In other scenes, light creates mood.
Along with these Gilligan expectations, Breaking Bad fans will also find TWO familiar broken windshield moments to satisfy their nostalgia.
This episode really showed us the beginnings of Saul: his pieced together mustard and ketchup colored car, his almost nonexistent office behind a nail salon, pretending to be his own British secretary. He’s got a cooler for a refrigerator. He uses a camping lantern because there’s no electricity and lives with his brother (recognize him from Spin̈al Tap?). I feel bad for the guy. He even put a little lined-paper sign on the door of his makeshift office.
Even though Saul’s situation is a bit pitiful, he still shows he’s smart. When some skateboarders try to swindle him, he can see right through their ruse, and even uses them for his own needs. He also seems to be quite dedicated to maintaining his father’s dignity. I also really want to see what brought Saul from “they had sex with a head!” type cases to dealing with men like Walter White. It’s almost like a superhero/villain origin story. Seeing how Jimmy McGill transforms into Saul Goodman; how his new identity is formed.
The best part? We see Mike! The sassiest parking garage attendant in Albuquerque. What will bring them together as a duo other than ticket infractions? Another familiar face pops in at the end. But I won’t spoil that surprise for you.
Final Word: Definitely check this out if you’re a fan of Breaking Bad. You won’t be disappointed.