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BETTER CALL SAUL (S6 PART 1) gets 8.5/10 Slippin’ into place


Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould

Starring Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Michael Mando, Tony Dalton, Jonathan Banks
Network: Stan

8.5/10

The final season of this Breaking Bad spin-off is upon us, and with the first half of the season at a finish, it’s proven itself to be a rather methodical, but mesmerising and hugely promising first half for this final season.

Things are tightening up as this show comes to its finish and has Breaking Bad pick up where it left off. It’s a little disconcerting that the first episode doesn’t open with the flash-forward moments of Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) working at a cinnabon joint, as usual in previous seasons. In fact, this first episode is an underwhelming start and doesn’t feature much going on. But it is the weakest episode of the season, and things start moving from the second episode – slowly, but intensely.

There’s a lot of Jimmy and his wife and fellow lawyer Kim’s (Rhea Seeborn) conniving vengeful shenanigans concerning Howard (Patrick Fabian), showing how they relentlessly prank him as a way to gain leverage for their Sandpiper case. Some of this is seen in the comical fourth episode Hit and Run, which is oddly enough PG rated (and was directed by Rhea Seeborn) and shows what a different beast Better Call Saul is to Breaking Bad – it’s certainly less violent, and less involved in the meth side of things, but still feels like a grosser and more cynical worldview of people because of how scummy their actions are.

But these kinds of pranks and setups just really make these two characters so unlikeable – certainly not in a bad way, but it’s really showing how these two characters in particular are just so selfish, literally even getting off to the misery of poor Howard.

Meanwhile, Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) continues to be such an immensely threatening but fun-to-watch presence in the show, a true adversary to drug-lord Gus (Giancarlo Esposito), who he clearly appears to have the upper hand over. There’s a still tension to their sequences, and it’s here where the show moves at such a languid pace, yet it only makes it even more tense and nail-biting rather than boring.

This season’s first half ends on quite the shocking cliffhanger, but torturously we will all have to wait until July 11 for the rest of this final season to continue. Over these past five and a half seasons, we’ve seen all these characters (and previous ones that we’ve unfortunately lost) cross paths and butt heads in a way that doesn’t exactly make you want to love humanity. Better Call Saul has slowly begun to feel more like The Sopranos than Breaking Bad, where they can get you invested in such grossly unlikable characters, no matter how questionably and unexplainably awful the characters’ actions are.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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