As a huge fan of Breaking Bad I had very high hopes for the prequel series. Honestly, in only its first episode it has fulfilled those high expectations. Footage of Saul working in a Cinnabon in black and white was more depressing than dropping your chicken nuggets as soon as you step out of McDonalds. But having got to know Saul in Breaking Bad there was something really funny about this scene.
The first courtroom scene was really engaging, Bob Odenkirk is absolutely magnetic in these scenes. I could watch Saul Goodman bullshit someone out of a prison sentence for a full episode. The way he manipulates the room is fascinating to watch. These scenes are vastly engaging and humorous in their awkwardness. Even when very little is going on in this show it holds your attention 100%, its fascinating. It’s down to the charismatic actors, the cinematography, the unequalled writing, all working together in a mechanistic way like clockwork.
The car accident incident was genius. Saul talks on his phone in the car, you start to pay attention to the conversation he is having, everything is quiet and then out of nowhere the silence is broken with a skateboarder hitting the windscreen. It’s a really impactful moment that grabs the viewer with the shock of the moment. It felt like everything was happening at once in the aftermath of this incident despite the fact that all that was going on on-screen was a skateboarder was lying on the floor holding his injured knee while an Attorney and the skateboarder’s brother look on. These kinds of scenes in which fairly normal things occur hold your attention like the best kind of science fiction and fantasy series. The way Saul played the two skateboarders was really compelling, pretending he had no idea it was a con at first before turning the tables on them and catching them out was fascinating.
This isn’t one of those shows that doesn’t tell you everything, it makes you ask questions and crave the answers. This also isn’t a show that needs action, most scenes are dialogue based and it is truly engaging. Gilligan and Peter Gould have justified faith in their characters. They know people could just sit and listen to these characters talk forever. It has the same effect as Kevin Smith’s Clerks, the dialogue and interactions are so compelling that you get lost in the conversations.
Saul Goodman was a fascinating character in Breaking Bad but unfortunately he didn’t get as much screen time as I would have liked. Better Call Saul makes up for this need, we finally got to see the master at work as he orchestrates his cons. The cliffhanger was exactly what a cliffhanger should be, it should come out of nowhere and end the episode abruptly while leaving you with a need to see the solution. Well, fans of Better Call Saul won’t have to wait very long to see what happens next as this is a two-night premiere. The second episode will air tonight in America and will be on the UK version of Netflix tomorrow. That right, if your a fan in England like me you can see Better Call Saul on our version of Netflix, I believe that’s the only way over here for us to see it. Come back tommorow for my review of episode 2.