Review: Better Call Saul Episode #1

Better Call Saul finally hit tv screens tonight. Find out what Brian thought of the first episode.

"My comb over. Dig it."
When the news broke that a Breaking Bad spinoff was going to be made I was instantly excited. Breaking Bad was one of my favorite shows ever and the idea of that universe living on generated a lot of anticipation. 

Better Call Saul is the story of shady criminal lawyer Saul Goodman who was used primarily as comic relief as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman's attorney on BB. The twist is that the show is set back in 2002, years before the events of BB took place. After the show opens with a quick, grim glimpse into the fate of Goodman after the events of BB, we are transported back to meet a struggling defense attorney (James McGill) getting by on bottom of the barrel work. Poor Jimmy just can’t catch a break, he seems like a decent guy trying to do the right things but they never work out. This will set the path for us to watch Jimmy evolve from lowly public defender to our beloved “criminal lawyer” Saul Goodman.

Right off the bat it is obvious this show greatly benefits from Vince Gilligan putting back together almost all of his Breaking Bad production team. All the direction, editing and music retain a polished, familiar feel and the show is set in the same New Mexico location as BB, yet at the same time everything manages to still feel fresh and new. Bob Odenkirk has been a great comedic actor for a long time. I think it was a great choice to pass this torch to him, even though I’ve only seen the first episode I will be surprised if awards for the work Odenkirk is doing here do not materialize in the near future.

Better Call Saul may be a spinoff but it will not take long for it to step out of the shadow of its predecessor and firmly establish its own identity. Vince Gilligan has become a master of his craft. The darkly comedic tone of Saul is perfectly matched to Odenkirk’s talent and thanks to the complete lack of backstory of the Goodman character on BB, Gilligan has a blank slate to work with. After just one episode of Saul it’s safe to say that I am in.