“Better Call Saul”, The Breaking Bad Episode, Is Sad And Depressing

Shortly after Season 3 of Better Call Saul ended with the haunting ‘Lantern’ I decided to watch the episode where Saul is introduced in the sibling show. Should be an interesting experience, I thought to myself. I’ve spent three years and 30 hours with Jimmy McGill now so it should be interesting to see if Saul feels different now. So I went to Netflix, clicked on Season 2, Episode 8 of one of my favorite shows and started to watch.

The first thing that hits you is that Breaking Bad was shot on film. It’s grainy and it gives a different feel. Most of the shots are also handheld, a big no-no in the new show, which shoots crisp digital. Those were technical details my brain noted as Badger and DJ Qualls banter about buying meth. Then, eight year old spoiler alert, Badger’s busted. Credit sequence.

And then…well, what follows cannot really be described. It has to be experienced. So go and experience it, I’ll wait.

Boy, is that something. I watched it and laughed. It’s an amazing piece of TV. In 38 seconds you learn a lot about Saul Goodman’s character. The music when you first see him made me laugh out loud. I remembered thinking Saul was a lot of fun.

But then, as the episode goes by I started feeling sad. Really sad. Saul kept trying to convince Walt and Jesse to kill Badger, because it’d just be easier. He’s had dealings with the cartel. He tries to follow Francesca, his secretary, home and comments about her bootie. When I watched Breaking Bad, I thought this guy was hilariously sleazy. But knowing Jimmy McGill (a name he mentions practically right away in the episode. Props to Peter Gould, who wrote this episode and co-created Saul the show), knowing how much of an effort he puts into being good, knowing how much he cares about Kim and Chuck and his elderly clients…it broke my heart to see him turned into someone who sees murder as a convenient solution.

For three years I’ve been seeing Jimmy try and try and try to be good only to be pushed back by others. He’s slipped into his old ways a couple of times but he always means well. Season 3 and, in particular, ‘Lantern’ offer a clear view of what may finally break Jimmy and push him towards becoming Saul. But I don’t think I remembered what kind of person Saul is. Jimmy would never kill someone. Much less for convenience.

I knew it was going to be hard, saying good bye to Jimmy. But I hadn’t realized how despicable Saul Goodman truly is. How far away from Jimmy he is. This is no simple Slippin’ Jimmy with a different name. This is someone who is numb to murder. A callous man with no conscience. What the hell happened to so utterly break and destroy the lovable man who sacrificed his clientele to make an old woman happy? What on earth can push the Jimmy McGill we know to lose so much of his humanity? I guess we’ll find out. And now, I don’t know if I’m looking forward to it.

PS: I hope Kim is safe and sound, somewhere sunny. Surely nothing bad will happen to her, right? R-Right?