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Need a New Show to Watch? Better Call Saul 

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Better Call Saul
By: Michael McCarrick, Lion’s Eye Staff Writer, mqm5415@psu.edu

In 2008, an AMC television program fell from heaven and onto our screens and Netflix accounts and it was called Breaking Bad. In five seasons the show chronicled the transformation of Walter White, a mild mannered high school chemistry teacher, into a methodical drug kingpin by cooking the best crystal meth in the world. Word-of-mouth and internet streaming elevated Breaking Bad to the most beloved TV show of the past decade and reached its peak popularity at the time it came to an end two years ago, leaving the audience wanting more. The show had over a dozen memorable characters fans loved (or loved to hate); but one who stood out in particular was a quick-witted lawyer named Saul Goodman played by comedian Bob Odenkirk. So creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould revisited the rich world they created in a comedy spinoff called Better Call Saul.
AMC’s newest show is a prequel about the criminal lawyer, only the Saul Goodman everyone loves hasn’t become Saul Goodman yet; he goes by his real name James M. McGill. (Like Saul Goodman is actually a real name). The life of the lawyer James McGill is just as bizarre as Saul Goodman; his office is in the back of a nail salon where he often drinks alone. He occasionally visits his brother’s house who is allergic to electricity and wears a space blanket; he finds ways to grow his law business with outrageous actions that usually lead to trouble. The show also takes advantage of the rich characters created in the previous show and uses them in humorous situations involving McGill but still remain true to their memorable personality. Fans will rejoice at seeing one of their favorite characters Mike Ehrmantraut return to the screen while also wondering why he’s working as a parking lot attendant for the courthouse.
The opening sequence of the first episode is similar to how a Breaking Bad season begins: taking place after the events of the season and previewing how it’ll come to a finish. Shot in black-and-white, Saul Goodman is shown after the events of Breaking Bad working in a Cinnabon shop at a mall in the middle of Omaha, Nebraska. Despite having no dialogue, it’s made clear that he’s miserable and lonely, and misses his old life so badly that he watches videotapes of his old commercials to relive his glory days. It’s uncertain if the show will ever revisit this part of his life again, as it’ll probably depend on how well it does in ratings. The next scene goes all the way back to the main setting in 2002 where James McGill enters the court room late and attempts to defend the criminal actions of three nineteen year olds. To reveal what the nineteen year boys did to get on trial would spoil a shocking and hilarious reveal, but McGill does his best to make the guilty kids look innocent. By the time the episode ends with McGill trying to pull a con with the help of two skater boys, the plan spirals out of control and the last shot reintroduces a character that will have fans excited to see again. The following three episodes are also introduced in scenes that highlight parts his life that don’t relate to the main story, but gives the viewer some little clues as to who James McGill/Saul Goodman really is. One time he’s shown pulling off elaborate cons, and another is him in jail begging his older brother to help him get out, these flashbacks serve as pieces to the puzzle that is the life of one of the most intriguing characters in television today.
Just to get it out of the way: No, Better Call Saul, through its first four episodes, is not as gripping as Breaking Bad was, but what show is? That still doesn’t mean that it hasn’t delivered on very high anticipation considering the pressure the makers received to deliver a worthy follow-up to an all-time great show. The witty dialogue and outrageous events in Better Call Saul continues to unravel toward what should be a gigantic sized climax and have reveal to audiences just how James M. McGill transformed into Saul Goodman. New episodes of Better Call Saul air every Monday at 10:00 PM on AMC, and previous episodes are available to watch on amctv.com and
OnDemand.

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