When Better Call Saul came out as a prequel show to Breaking Bad, the first question on many people’s mind was which is better?
To answer that let’s talk what makes this show just so good.
Bob Odenkirk’s acting was what made the producers make a sequel in the first place given his lasting impression as Saul in Breaking Bad. In Better Call Saul however, he delivers no less.
Bob plays four different Jimmy’s featured in the show; the con man Slippin’ Jimmy, the legitimate lawyer Jimmy McGill, Saul Goodman the criminal lawyer with obscure moral boundaries and of course Gene Takovic the manager of the Cinabon in Nebraska (after the events of Breaking Bad.)
The inner conflict within Jimmy is a brilliantly balanced dichotomy, with the lovable Jimmy trying to make it through the ranks of the New Mexico judicial system as a fully legitimate lawyer (like in season 1 episode 7 where he decides to return the 1 and a half million that the Kettleman’s stole instead of keeping it “from here on I’m going to play by the rules.”
Slowly we see Slippin Jimmy creeping back into Jimmy’s psyche, with his antics such as forging Chuck’s paperwork or conning the broker out of paying a huge bar bill. Even if they were arguably for good causes such as helping his love interest (Kim Wexler) get her client back, they still symbolise that his conning days were never truly over.
Better Call Saul is also home to some of the most aesthetic shots on TV.
Whether it is to hold deep symbolism relevant to the character development or simply for the beauty, one thing is certain, Better Call Saul does not disappoint.
We all know Mike Ehrmantraut, the steely and solemn character who is loyal to Gus Fring as his right hand man. I, like many, had a ton of questions as to what his shady past included and his dishonourable discharge from the police force mentioned in Breaking Bad.
Better Call Saul does that exactly, except they slowly reveal information which we ourselves have to link back to his character arc, always leaving us on the edge and wanting more. Episode 5-O (series 1 episode 6) gave us a major breaking point for Mike’s character as it reveals that Mike had a son, Matt, who got murdered by fellow police officers for being the only clean cop in the department.
Mike’s heartbreaking apology to his daughter in law was something extraordinary from someone who remains emotionless throughout both series. This both proves Mike has a heart and Jonathan Banks is an actor capable of producing that emotion…
The Easter Eggs
There are countless easter eggs littered thoughout the series, giving us fond memories of Breaking Bad.
I won’t mention them all but I will talk about a few.
Such as Krazy 8 who turns up wearing the shirt for Tampico furniture, the shop he told Walter he worked in when he was locked up in Jesse’s basement (Breaking Bad episode 3 season 1.)
Or perhaps the arrogant broker, who’s car Walter blew up at the gas station (episode 6 season 1), who turns up as the same arrogant broker who Jimmy and Kim con (or should I say Giselle and Viktor with a K.)
These kind of details just show the brilliance of the creators as they bring unimportant characters from Breaking Bad and cleverly form the plotline of Better Call Saul around them with added back stories.
So, Alek, which is better?
I think that it’s fair to say, that both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are of exceptional standard and in my opinion, you can’t simply compare the two for which is better and instead appreciate this brilliant series while it lasts…