For several weeks, we have campaigned for “Better Call Saul” to premiere with a flash-forward. That way, we could see what Saul Goodman’s life had become after the events of “Breaking Bad.” Without that tease of where we were going, the past would not have that same fervor to us.
Luckily, in the opening moments of the AMC series, executive producers Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan delivered on exactly what we wanted. This show was not “Breaking Bad,” but we were okay with that. Above all else, we appreciate that there was an effort to give it a separate identity instead. As a matter of fact, Saul was not even Saul when the flashbacks began. Instead, he was Jimmy McGill, an ambitious public defender who wanted something more than $700 as the voice of the voiceless. Some lawyers may get into this job to help people, but not Saul.
What is interesting about this character, still played masterfully by Bob Odenkirk, is that he is not even remotely like Walter White. His motivation never seemed to change that much over the years. His standing in the community, however, did. Somehow, Saul seems to be fond of this old life, regardless of the fact that one of his first big capers involved getting two guys (who we want to call Badger and Skinny Pete redux) to stage a fake accident to take money from a woman. However, what happened instead is that all of them ended up at gunpoint.
The biggest twist of all? The man holding the gun: Tuco! This was just one of many nice little tie-ins to “Breaking Bad” in this episode, which further illuminate just how fantastic this premiere really was. While there is still room to grow (especially with Michael McKean), the premiere did so much right. It gave us humor, a look into the future, and also a few glorious minutes of proof that Saul was never that great at his job. Grade: A-.
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