by Sherry Lipp
Now that we are seven episodes in on Better Call Saul I have been examining what I like and don’t like about the show. For the most part I like it. It’s funny, well-made, well-acted, and the writing is great. So what’s not to like? Well, so far it hasn’t been one of those where I can’t wait to see what happens next. I hate to only compare it to its predecessor Breaking Bad, but it’s hard not to given the location and characters involved.
I enjoy watching Saul (Bob Odenkirk) but I haven’t become emotionally invested in him the way I was to Walter White (Bryan Cranston) or Jessie Pinkman (Aaron Paul), or any of the other main characters on Breaking Bad. While I’m enjoying the entertainment value of Better Call Saul so far, I’m starting to feel afraid I will lose interest if something doesn’t grab me on a deeper level.
I’m saying all of this on the heels of watching episode seven, “Bingo,” because this was the first episode I felt neutral about. I didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t do a lot for me either. I like Saul’s torn feeling about doing what’s right and making a buck. I also think his relationship with his brother Chuck (Michael McKean) is interesting. My favorite aspect is his growing relationship with Mike (Jonathan Banks). As I said about the previous episode, I feel like a prequel maybe should have centered on Mike, who is by far the more interesting character in my opinion. Saul could have been there of course, but I think he works better as a side character.
I can’t help but wonder if a Saul-centric show would have been better if it had focused on his post-Breaking Bad life. Or maybe some back and forth would have worked. After all, we already know how both Saul and Mike end up, though Saul has a future and it would be interesting to see it. I, like a lot of others, keep wondering from someone else from Breaking Bad will show up, but we’ll need more than that dangling carrot to keep going.
That all being said, and I know it sounds negative, because I have been enjoying the show. I’m just thinking of the long term. If there were a short-run show I wouldn’t have any reservations. I would just enjoy it, but for a long-term commitment I’m hoping they really turn up the emotional juice – and I’m not saying they won’t. I still have faith.