Wednesday, August 3, 2022

What I’m Watching: Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul: Season 6, Episode 11 “Breaking Bad” (B+)

I knew because it had been previously reported that both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul would be reprising their roles as Walt and Jesse, and I might have deduced it just from this episode’s title. I’m not sure how crucial it was to have them return, and it was certainly jarring to hear Skyler’s name uttered by Francesca as she was catching up with the man who now goes by Jimmy over the phone. The idea that Kim had called to check on her was also a callback to a much more recent past that was the active present on this show just a few episodes ago, and it doesn’t seem like Jimmy’s attempt to reach out went very well at all. There was added context to scenes I barely remember from the original show, with Jesse asking Saul who Lalo was because he had panicked, thinking that’s who was after him. But he really has become a deeper and more layered character, one whose status as the protagonist of a prequel had initially given me pause but truly surprised me and totally paid off. Gene’s new scheme was typically repetitive and fascinating, particularly with his alcohol-sucking device so that he could stay sober while his marks got completely wasted. I thought that the man with cancer played by Kevin Sussman would trigger some empathy on his part, but the fact that he still wanted to go through with it shows that he doesn’t have much left in the way of humanity.

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