Better Call Saul is better than it has any right to be. A Breaking Bad prequel about huckster lawyer Saul Goodman, the show (and Bob Odenkirk’s nimble performance) deftly works to explore a different kind of moral failure than that of its predecessor. Saul, a.k.a. Jimmy McGill, isn’t sacrificing his soul with pulled triggers, but calculated business decisions and quiet betrayals, the kind that secrete a sad elegance that Breaking Bad sometimes lacked in its bombastic final seasons. To weigh Saul against Breaking Bad is unfair, of course, but it’s also totally necessary, as one wouldn’t exist without the other. Also, a great deal of Saul’s power comes from knowing where he ends up, which many will admit while praising the show.
Director Guillermo del Toro certainly does. This past weekend, the Shape Of Water director hunkered down in his lavish manga mansion to fire off some tweets about the series that expressed many of these sentiments.
“A small reflection in the middle of Better Call Saul‘s new seasson [sic]: I like it even more than BB, not to be a contrarian but because the evident stakes seem smaller but the moral downfall strike me as deeper, more poignant,” he wrote, adding that the series “takes you by the hand as Jimmy becomes Saul Goodman (No Good in him) in small painful tumbles.”
Read his full comments below.
He also points to Rhea Seehorn’s Kim, a colleague of Jimmy’s who provides a necessary counterpoint to his downfall with her own moral struggles. If there’s one criticism of the series that nearly every viewer can agree on, it’s that the show too often overlooks her in favor of, *sigh*, more cartel drama.
Sure, maybe that cartel drama is necessary to keep the Breaking Bad diehards from clicking away, but too often Mike’s B-plot can feel like Breaking Bad: Origins, a distinction the show transcended with its telling of Jimmy’s rise. Nevertheless, it’s hard to disagree with del Toro’s assessment, even if saying one is “better” than the other is to conflate them, which isn’t fair to either show.