Bob Odenkirk’s portrayal of Saul Goodman, to use a term, “broke well” in the startling and sophisticated climax of one of TV’s most consistently excellent dramas from the previous 10 years. When Saul was ultimately caught, he negotiated a plea deal that would allow him to serve a maximum of seven years in jail before being released. His ex-wife Kim Wexler’s reputation was later cleared, and he seized the chance to go back to using his true name, which he had been using before “Saul” decided to devote his life to deceit.
Jimmy will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison, but he will do so knowing that he was there because of divine intervention. Fans may have had too much satisfaction from that show’s ending, which saw the deranged criminal Walter White fulfill all of his goals before passing away peacefully, confident that he had done everything perfectly. Now, that show’s spinoff denies us the delicious pleasure of witnessing Saul pull off one final major coup, forcing us to consider the more complex satisfactions of suffering for having done the right thing. Although I occasionally found obvious comparisons to “Breaking Bad” on “Better Call Saul” to be a little awkward, Bryan Cranston’s flashback cameo as Walter in this episode earned its place.
In addition to jumping about in Jimmy’s life, this conclusion also functions as something like a time machine. The episode was well-organized and a finely crafted narrative machine as a result, but the simple conclusion lacked depth and nuance. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Vince Gilligan, the creator of the series, has constantly tried to ensnare more of the narrative. With “El Camino,” a feature-length movie that follows Jesse Pinkman after the events of “Breaking Bad,” and most recently with “Saul,” a television series that provided him and Peter Gould a second chance at a series finale, he has accomplished this.
For one viewer, “Saul” was a success that would not have been possible without the first season of the show, and it also enhanced it. When it depicted “Slippin’ Jimmy” losing his composure, it struck saddening notes that “Breaking Bad,” which aimed for a more operatic tone, couldn’t quite touch. Jimmy is last seen by us as Kim sees him—a man who, if he weren’t so clearly a part of her history, would seem like a ghost to her. It had a texture similar to real life, which is probably not what one would anticipate looking for in a show about a dishonest lawyer involved in cartel fights.