10 best episodes of Better Call Saul
No one knew what to expect when the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, a prequel to the original series (with the occasional flash-forward) following the life of Saul Goodman—née James “Jimmy” McGill—before he became the seedy criminal-turned-criminal lawyer Breaking Bad fans know and love, first hit the air in 2015. Now that the show has had a chance to settle into a groove, some have gone as far as to say it’s better than Breaking Bad itself.
In the words of creator Vince Gilligan, the man responsible for Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, the show is 60% comedy, 40% drama. This seems like a fair enough description. Jimmy, played by the incredibly talented Bob Odenkirk, is smart-mouthed and quick-thinking. Whatever the situation, whatever the dilemma, he manages to squirm his way out of it with relative ease. It’s often dark and tense like Breaking Bad, but it’s also funny and satisfying in ways that Breaking Bad could only sometimes achieve. Oftentimes, Better Call Saul gives viewers some of the best television the medium has to offer.
Chicanery (Season 3, episode 5)
This episode, taking place mostly within a courtroom, is an episode that is unexpectedly satisfying. Up until this point in the series, Jimmy and his brother Chuck remained at odds with each other, often going for the jugular in their frequent verbal arguments. Here, in the courtroom, the brothers hash it out over a crime Jimmy committed and confessed to (something Chuck recorded secretly, while Jimmy thought he was speaking off-record). The two’s personalities are on full display here, and Jimmy’s devious and sleazy tactics that would become the epitome of Saul Goodman shine brighter than they ever had in the series.
Winner (Season 4, episode 10)
The season four finale sees Jimmy fighting to undo the repercussions of the previous seasons. All season long, over the course of an entire year in his life, Jimmy tried (and failed) to resist the same temptations that got him into trouble the previous season. Here, as the episode creeps closer and closer to the closing credits, viewers are finally treated with one of the most satisfying scenes in the show’s history so far. Like with the events of Chicanery, the best moments are the most unexpected ones.
Five-O (Season 1, episode 6)
Early on in the freshman season, writers decided to include an episode focusing entirely on Breaking Bad favorite-turned prominent Better Call Saul character Mike Ehrmantraut. It’s an episode consisting largely on flashbacks to Mike’s earlier life, providing plenty of important context for the character. In many ways, the episode turns Mike from a stoic and emotionless man to a sympathetic and complex character. It’s Better Call Saul at its best (and, who knows, maybe it proves that young Mike could earn himself a spinoff of his own after this series is completed?).
Pimento (Season 1, episode 9)
While Chuck and Jimmy are often at each other’s throats, Pimento sees the two of them working together on a lawsuit against a retirement community that Jimmy so often frequents as a lawyer with plenty of knowledge of elder law. The two try to put their differences aside — Chuck, an older and more sophisticated man, and Jimmy, a younger and more rambunctious lawyer — but viewers know that it’ll never last. Like always, their problems get in their way and they reach a breaking point. It’s one of the most important moments in their tumultuous relationship.
Nailed (Season 2, episode 9)
This episode features plenty of tense moments — Jimmy’s season-long schemes come to light and Mike’s season-long investigation finally falls into place. Both men are practically the center of this show (even though the show’s only named after one of them), and this episode highlights the best parts of each other’s personalities as they go about their separate lives. It’s one of the best examples of their respective talents, and one of the best arguments for their eventual teaming up. Meanwhile, Jimmy witnesses a potentially dangerous situation (one that he wasn’t supposed to be seeing in the first place if not for his snooping), leaving the episode on one of the best cliffhangers yet.
Lantern (Season 3, episode 10)
One of the most shocking moments of the entire series comes at the end of the season three finale. There’s no way to talk about it without spoiling things, but the last scene of this episode proves to be the most surprising development in the show’s history so far. It’s perfectly executed, foreshadowed for three seasons leading up to this point.
Wiedersehen (Season 4, episode 9)
The penultimate episode of season four follows Jimmy and his partner-in-crime (sometimes literally in crime) Kim Wexler as the pull off an incredible scam and Mike as he tries to keep a group of German construction workers in line as they try to complete a memorable structure from Breaking Bad. As one could probably tell from the episode’s vicinity to the finale, the tension here is at an all-time high. It’s a surprising episode in many respects, making it one for the ages.
Mijo (Season 1, episode 2)
The second episode of the entire series, Mijo, gives viewers their first glimpse at Jimmy’s Saul Goodman-esque qualities and suggests that the transformation isn’t too far off. Of course, there have been plenty of episodes since this one, but this was the episode that really gave viewers a good indication that Jimmy and Saul have always and will always be one in the same. You feel bad for the inner struggle that Jimmy must be fighting at all times, but you feel satisfied when you see him utilize his smooth-talking ways in order to get out of a potentially deadly situation.
Klick (Season 2, episode 10)
One thing Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul both manage to do better than any other show is creating a memorable season finale. Every single one feels like everything coming together at once, leaving the viewer feeling satisfied and excited for what the next season has in store. Klick is no exception. Jimmy and Chuck’s relationship has never been worse here, and both show some of their worst behaviors seen so far. It’s a low point for both characters, which somehow suggests that their respective bad sides might run in the family.
Witness (Season 3, episode 2)
This episode follows up on the events of the season two finale, following up on the idea that both Chuck and Jimmy are equally capable of allowing their bad sides to overtake their good sides. Jimmy has always been the “bad” one, the unconventional one, while Chuck has always been the “good one,” the sophisticated one, but Witness continues to suggest that those definitions might not be as concrete as we once thought. Chuck is just as bad of a person as Jimmy, while Jimmy is just as good of a person as Chuck—Witness proves this.
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