“Better Call Saul” ended after six seasons of building up to Saul Goodman’s fall, which had been foretold. The show had to live up to the high expectations set by “Breaking Bad,” which won an Emmy. By referencing that series and building on its own story, the show gave a thoughtful look at what changed the main character and whether there was a way for him to change back.
The show has never been a racehorse in terms of pace, and the extra-long finale stuck to its slow-and-steady style. This season, for example, a whole episode seemed to be devoted to one hilarious sight gag in a department store.
Still, the show ended in a way that made sense, even if it wasn’t a big deal. Jimmy/Saul (Bob Odenkirk) did one brave, selfless thing to get back together with his ex-girlfriend Kim Wexler, even if it was only for a short time (Rhea Seehorn). Her fate had always been the most important mystery of the show and the key to how Jimmy became the fast-talking con man he became.
After being caught in a dumpster, of all places, by a medical-alert bracelet (which gave Carol Burnett a priceless guest-starring role), Saul did what he does best: he played the system.
In a pointed flashback, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) said that it was something he always did, which explains why he couldn’t stop returning to his thieving ways, which led to his capture.
Walt said, “So, you’ve always been like this.”
Saul seemed to have beaten the lawyers again by getting an absurdly light sentence. He was back in his element when he argued for himself. Even though another “Breaking Bad” star, Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt), wanted him to pay for killing her husband Hank after the fact, she was turned down.
The “Bad” characters had a purpose. For example, when Saul asks Mike (Jonathan Banks), another transplant, about a time machine, Mike says that he would use it to make smart investments and become a billionaire.
“Is that it? Money?” Mike sneered.
But in the end, Saul found something more important. It didn’t seem like saving Kim or getting her out of a possible lawsuit was as important as just seeing her again. It cost him a lot of time in prison, but he felt it was worth it to get at least a piece of his soul back.
Peter Gould, who co-created the show with Vince Gilligan, wrote and directed “Saul.” It couldn’t match the fireworks of the “Breaking Bad” finale, but it was still satisfying in a way that felt right for the show.
Before the current season, “Better Call Saul” had never won an Emmy in any category.
This second batch of episodes, which aired outside the current eligibility window, will likely put the series and maybe even Odenkirk, who came back from a near-death experience to give the best performance of his life, in the running for next year, if anyone can remember that far back.
When his secret was found out early in the episode, Saul tried to take his money and run. This showed what was most important to him. In the end, though, first Kim and then Saul/Jimmy had to make up for what, looking back, was the show’s most important moment: how their shared joy in pulling scams led to Howard’s death, even if it was by accident (Patrick Fabian).
At that point, Jimmy’s childhood was over, and a straight line could be drawn to his “Breaking Bad” years and his dull, colorless future.
Even then, the baking skills he learned at Cinnabon would come in handy. He was shown using these skills in his new job as a prisoner. Because, like “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul” always found ways to connect the past, present, and future, even if it was something as small as Jimmy’s ability to work with different kinds of dough.