‘Better Call Saul’ delivers satisfying final season

Spoiler warning for Better Call Saul 

Vince Gilligan’s highly anticipated prequel to Breaking Bad has come to an end after six seasons. What started as a lawyer drama about Heisnerberg’s shady and comical attorney evolved into a character study that rivals even the excellence of its predecessor. 

(Warning: Spoilers ahead) Better Call Saul began by following Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), a con-man from Cicero looking to make a name for himself as a lawyer after leaving his brother’s highly respected law firm in Albuquerque . Jimmy struggled to make ends meet while caring for his brother who had electromagnetic hypersensitivity, meaning he couldn’t be near any electricity, and soon, viewers found Jimmy swept up into being a cartel lawyer. Over the first five seasons, Jimmy managed his relationships between his girlfriend, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) and the constant threat of representing the Salamanca cartel as Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) planned his big move to take over the drug trade in New Mexico and beyond.. 

As season six begins, Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) has just escaped an assassination attempt by Gus and is headed back to Albequerque to finish him off. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Kim are working vigorously to shame their former boss Howard Hamlin to get him kicked off the bar. As each episode ends, the stakes build, and each plot gets closer to entering the Breaking Bad timeline. The cartel shootouts increase, and trustbetween characters are built up and torn down as they do everything in their power to try and survive.

The character work in this season is some of the best in Vince Gilligan’s entire career. Every character that graces the screen embraces their highest highs and their lowest lows. From marrying a soulmate to being stranded in a desert, Saul experiences successes and failures in life and as a lawyer which adds more depth to a character who stole all the comedic scenes in Breaking Bad. The show even manages to add more layers to the already complex villain inFring as we watch his rise to power unfold before our eyes. However, the most development doesn’t come from Saul, Gus, or Kim, but from Nacho Varga (Michael Mando). (MAJOR SPOILERS) Nacho started the series as a mid level playerin the Salamanca cartel who suffered through threats against his family and the constant threat against himself who eventually finds his way into a desert grave in early season six.. His arc is brutal, heartbreaking and proves that Better Call Saul had to develop characters outside of Breaking Bad.

By the midseason finale of season six, Howard has been disgraced, and Lalo has made his return to Albuquerque, but Gus’s men cannot locate him. As Howard stops by Jimmy and Kim’s apartment as a defeated man, Lalo surprisingly appears, and over Howard’s constant talking, shoots him in the head. This shocking twist is the amalgam of everything at whichBetter Call Saul excels. As characters are in their most vulnerable emotional states, the most surprising moments happen, proving why Better Call Saul is seen as one of the best dramas of all time. The very next episode doesn’t slow as Gus’s final fight with Lalo goes down, and Jimmy and Kim are finally freed. With bad guys defeated and plotlines tied up, it seemed strange that five episodes remained, but a flash-forward to Saul hiding out after the events of Breaking Bad ties up Saul’s arc in the most controversial episode of a show that was never afraid to take chances. 

Season 6, episode 10, titled Nippy, shows Saul once again embracing his con-man life, hiding out in Omaha, and this time in black and white. Many criticized the episode for its lack of shocking moments and familiar characters, but stories just like Nippy is where Better Call Saul excelled in previous seasons. It’s a study of Saul’s nature, and his yearning to plan, trick and steal. Even though Saul can escape Albuquerque, he can’t escape who he really is, and that eventually leads to him getting found in a dumpster. 

Just as Breaking Bad had one of the best endings of all time, Gilligan once again finds the perfect ending for one of his main characters. Saul embraces his past in court, which leads him to dropping his Saul Goodman persona, and his plea deal, to get Kim back. As Jimmy looks on as Kim leaves the prison gates, we realize that Saul’s inescapable life of crime led him back to the person he really cared about. Better Call Saul was a turn away from the more shocking events that piled on every episode in Breaking Bad, but in doing so, it beautifully and tragically develops Jimmy McGill into a character far more complex than we saw him in Breaking Bad, making it one of the best dramas in television history.