Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Better Call Saul, Season 6, Episode 3, “Rock and Hard Place”

“Rock and Hard Place” is the first episode of this season to feel like Better Call Saul is coming to an end, since it resolves one of those longstanding unanswered questions we’ve had since season one, this time concerning the fate of Ignacio “Nacho” Varga. Like the title of the episode implies, Nacho is caught between Gus and the Salamancas, both of whom want him dead, just for different reasons: Gus because Nacho could divulge that Gus was behind the attack on Lalo, and the Salamancas because Nacho betrayed Lalo.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Better Call Saul, Season 6, Episodes 1 and 2, “Wine and Roses,” “Carrot and Stick”

Midway through “Wine and Roses,” the season six premiere of Better Call Saul, Kim discusses a potential con with Jimmy, telling him, “It has to be paced right. We move too fast they’ll see us coming. And it has to make sense…. There has to be a reason for everything.” This line of dialogue might as well be the Better Call Saul writers making a statement about what this final season of Better Call Saul has to accomplish. It perfectly corresponds with the writers’ need to negotiate viewers’ expectations about its most pressing unresolved questions, including whether or not Kim is a part of Saul’s life during the Breaking Bad years, what finally pushes Jimmy to become the Saul we know from Breaking Bad (or if “Saul Goodman” is merely a persona Jimmy performs for his clients), if/how Nacho and Lalo survive, and what becomes of Jimmy/Saul/Gene in his post-Breaking Bad life. Pacing, as always, is key, and any surprises need to be firmly rooted in the slow progression of changes the characters have undergone as they inch closer to the material we’re already familiar with from Breaking Bad.