for seven years Better call Saul succeeded against all odds. Conceived as a spin-off breaking Bad at the peak of AMC crime drama popularity, Saul never felt like a premise that could work. An hour-long drama about a character – the slick, dirty lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk – who was basically just comic relief? Seems a bit thin. The only word more ominous to viewers than “spinoff” is “prequel” and Saul was both. Half of the cast is 15 years too old for the roles they play. And yet none of that mattered. Whether you think so or not Saul eclipsed its predecessor, creators Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould and co. crafted a brilliant, compelling and endlessly inventive series that silenced just about any doubters. That was until the end.
Saul wrapped up last night (August 15) with “Saul Gone,” a deftly cathartic episode that saw Jimmy/Saul (Bob Odenkirk) finally face his many, many misdeeds. After Marion (Carol Burnett) was betrayed to the police at the end of last week’s episode, “Saul Gone” begins with our man on the run. This inevitably doesn’t take long; For the past half season, Jimmy has been acting like a man who obviously craves to get caught. After all, it is him. For a bit of extra legal firepower, Jimmy enlists his old colleague Bill Oakley (the always amusing Peter Diseth), who makes a delightful return in the most understated of several lap of honor cameos. Ultimately, however, it is not a legal settlement that Jimmy seeks, but a moral one.
Interspersed with scenes of Jimmy in custody – shot in black and white like all “today’s” sequences – are a series of flashbacks. Each shows us a conversation Saul had with someone: Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his brother Chuck (Michael McKean). With a more clumsy script, this would come off as sentimental indulgence. Instead, the scenes remain laser-focused on the real subject: Jimmy himself. There’s no attempt to steal focus. These characters have all had their moments in the sun. Now all eyes are on Saul – and on Odenkirk. the previous Mr Look Comedian’s turn all the time Saul was downright revealing. If last week’s “Waterworks” provided Rhea Seehorn with a climax to her scintillating character work, “Saul Gone” represents, for my money, Odenkirk’s best acting of the entire series.
While breaking Bad‘s bullet-sprayed finale was enjoyed by a majority of viewers and critics at the time, but its reputation has faded in the years since. There was too much bombast, not enough of the erratic eccentricity that made it such a special series in the first place. Saul opts for a far more subdued approach. The show has always excelled at visual storytelling, relying on its audience to notice and interpret the various symbols and mirrored images without over-explaining things. Saul Gone is full of it, conjuring up a multitude of images from past episodes to utterly devastating effect.
Sometimes the most moving and satisfying ending can be to just let things slide. In the Bang v Whimper case, this judge ruled strongly in favor of the defendant.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/better-call-saul-finale-episode-review-b2146638.html Better Call Saul Finale Review: Sometimes a whimper is better than a bang