Review: Better Call Saul season five

Tom Moorcroft gives a glowing review of season five of Better Call Saul.

Tom Moorcroft
5th April 2020
Credit; AMC, IMDb
That’s right! The second-to-none ‘criminal’ lawyer that we all know and love is back in the limelight for another season of Better Call Saul. The prequel to the, in my opinion, greatest show of all time Breaking Bad, is now in its fifth season, with tensions higher than ever. It goes without saying that the following article will contain spoilers for the last four seasons, and episodes up to today's publication date.

Following the aftermath of season four, Jimmy McGill has now donned a new name, going by his new alias ‘Saul Goodman’, in the hopes to focus his law career on the desperate, criminal classes. In light of this, season 5 shows the development of Jimmy’s new escapade; helping out characters such as prostitutes, drug dealers and an Up-like scenario in which an elderly man refuses to leave his property.

Saul is by far one of the best anti-heroes that we’ve seen on television. He brings the same kind of energy we’ve seen from some of the all-time TV greats. People like Don Draper, with his sexual promiscuity overshadowing his family values, or Walter White’s false facade of helping his family by becoming a drug king-pin. In Breaking Bad Saul had more of a comedic narrative, always telling jokes and making light of the dangers of the drug-game.

This same narrative is dominant in the fifth season of Better Call Saul, with his attack of Mesa Verde using false advertising equally hilarious as it is a deceiving, immoral act.

The comedy value of Saul, however, is somewhat straying towards risk, as the narratives unfolded in season 5 hint towards trouble. His involvement as a ‘friend of the cartel’, given the bail of Lalo Salamanca, and his most recent battle with Howard, involving bowling balls being thrown at cars and prostitutes turning up at professional meetings, might show how Saul’s lack of remorse is putting his life in jeopardy. Saul's very existence in this season is to help criminals get the best sentence possible, often using a combination of fantastic law knowledge and shady side dealings.

One particular scene in this season, in which he gets someone out on bail for murder, shows Saul's inner conundrum. He knows what he's doing is wrong, and he even turns to see the victim's family crying as the trial is underway, yet his fear of the cartel and his desire for money spur on. We also see this when his long-time love interest Kim almost leaves him, after his shady methods are uncovered. While he may pretend like it's not happening, his worlds are slowly coming together and one can only question how long he can make it last.

Bob Odenkirk stars as the law-enforcing criminal
Source: WikiCommons

The Salamanca angle also perfectly bridges the two narratives together, with Gus Fring’s empire being threatened by Lalo and Mike’s role as security becoming much more intensive. Better Call Saul has been the perfect platform to develop these character arcs, with Mike becoming more and more affected by the death of his son, and Gus’s empire slowly catalysing to the status it has in Breaking Bad.

The introduction of Hank and Gomez in this season also adds another side narrative to the show, with fans happy to see some familiar faces

At time’s you don’t know whether to laugh with Saul or pity him, which I think is what director Vince Gilligan was going for (similar to how we saw Walter White towards the end of Breaking Bad). I also think that Bob Odenkirk perfectly plays the role of Saul, with his background in comedy (with writing on SNL and The Conan O’Brien Show), merging with the dramatics of Better Call Saul to show his true diversity as an actor. The same Saul Goodman who in one season will pretend to be Kevin Costner to have sex with a stranger, will also mourn the death of his brother in another.

The show has been slowly creeping up to where Breaking Bad began, and fans will be aware that it’ll probably end sooner rather than later. Saul’s business is almost at the point in which it is in Breaking Bad, yet Kim isn’t mentioned at all in the sequel show. One can only assume the worse, so it’ll be interesting to see how the future episodes unfold in the Saul Goodman universe.

Breaking Bad, and now Better Call Saul, are shows that I wish I could go back and watch for the first time all over again. With episodes released every Tuesday on Netflix UK, I can’t recommend them enough.

As Slippin’ Jimmy might say: “It’s all good, man!”

Source: Rotten Tomatoes TV
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AUTHOR: Tom Moorcroft
Head of Sport for The Courier. Current 3rd year English Literature and History student. Love writing about sports/music, playing the guitar and Everton FC!

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