Better Call Saul Season 5 in Review

The book has closed on the penultimate chapter of this beloved prequel series, leaving audience members wondering how Vince Gilligan will tie things up next year and lead us into the Breaking Bad timeline.

It’s one thing to make a show as good as Breaking Bad. It’s another to make a prequel series that may be as good or even better than that first series. Raise your hand if you’ve enjoyed BCS more than Breaking Bad.

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Prequels are tough for a couple of reasons. First, we already know how (most) of our characters end up. Second, how do you make the prequel just as intriguing as the original? Since most storytellers will start with the most interesting part of the story, the prequel needs to do a lot more to raise itself to the same bar.

BCS has been successful because they gave themselves enough room to expand the universe with new characters and a timeline that would allow for deep development of each of these characters without being rushed to the finish line.

Let’s see where things start back up…

Saul Goodman is fresh off his 12 month suspension and ready to get back in the game. What better way to drum up some new business than slinging drop phones with a side of legal representation to ABQ’s criminal underlings. His circus tent “show” gives us a glimpse at what we will see in the courthous throughout the season.

Meanwhile, the cartel drama continues with Lalo vs. Gus Fring. With the progress of his superlab stalled, Gus needs to smooth things over with Bolsa and figure out how to get rid of the pesky Lalo Salamanca. Mike, unsure what his role will be after playing babysitter to the Germans, is assured he will remain on the Fring payroll. Over the course of the season, he continues to voice his displeasure in how Fring is running his business.

Nacho, stuck in the middle of the Salamancas and Fring, is looking for a way out of the game but doesn’t let that deter him from doing good work with both of his employers. His heroics at the drug house in the second episode helped him build his trust with Lalo. Alternatively, his weekly reports back to Gus leads to Lalo’s eventual arrest.

Kim seems to be growing weary of her work with Mesa Verde and with good reason. Kevin seems to be the most stubborn boss ever. In what ended up being a season of transormation for many of our main characters, Kim stands above the rest with how she’s dealt with everything Jimmy has put her through. Kim and Nacho are the only two characters at this point whose storyline doesn’t bleed into BB so season 6 will hopefully wrap both of these storylines up.

Season 5 Superlatives:

Best Cold open: 50% off – Likely the funniest scene in the whole season, two junkies get Saul’s 50% off coupon and embark on a hilarious petty crime spree. Petty theft, assault, destruction of property, DUI, public urination are just a few of the infractions these boys commit because, like, who wouldn’t go all out when your legal fees are 50% OFF!!!!! Music: This is Chai

Best Gif moment: After the tense moments inside the Wexler-Goodman residence, it was nice to see a friendly face. More to come from Mr Lalo.

Lalo Salamanca Smile GIF - LaloSalamanca Smile Car GIFs

Runner up: Shoutout Don Eladio for this amazing moment in the Finale:

Trunk Don Eladio GIF by Better Call Saul

Best Jimmy Caper: Mesa Verde Roadblocks – This was a long play which made it that much more impressive. While representing Mr. Acker, Saul devises a number of ploys to deface Mesa Verde’s legacy including steamrolling Kim in their settlement meeting. (This was a tough scene to watch) He shows the commercial he plans to air (shoutout to his community college film crew back at it), and even brings out an archeological team to dig outside the house to prevent construction crews from doing their work. (Fun Fact: the guy who voices Bender in Futurama plays the foreman)

Honorable mention to Jimmy getting the elevator stuck while with the ADA to get some case backlog cleared. Also sending the prostitutes to Howard at lunch was perfect.

Best Episode: Bad Choice Road – the penultimate episode of the season benefits from the two episodes on either side of it. The last three episodes were all fantastic, but by virtue of sitting between Bag Man and Something Unforgivable, Bad Choice road is our big winner. We get a Vince G staple split screen of Jimmy and Kim. He follows this up with a bunch of cash machines counting the 7 mil in bail. He is a master of making a great scene out of the most mundane. We also see the first signs of humanity from Saul. The Unflappable Lawyer is visibly dealing with post traumatic stress and is off his game. He is even losing cases and taking crap from his peers with no lip. Is this the first time we see Saul show remorse for his actions? Kim finally decides to make her way out of her corporate gig and Lalo finds Saul’s shot up car in the desert. The final scene really shows us how great all these actors have been. Lalo is smirking the entire time while asking Saul to recount his story is a sight to behold. He is still off his game and cant get the upper hand. Just when you think that the jig is up, Kim, saves the day by lawyering the f*ck out of Lalo. Credits roll.

Saul Goodman GIF by Better Call Saul

Season MVP: (Tie) Kim Wexler and Lalo Salamanca – I wouldn’t be able to make the choice between the two so I won’t. Both of these characters had much larger roles to play this season and blew it out of the water. Rhea Seehorn is as deserving as ever for her Emmy for Best Supporting Actress. Her ability to give Kim such depth is truly mesmerizing. She plays a very straight laced character who compliments Odenkirk’s Saul beautifully. on the flip side, you also see the side of her that wants to be more like Slippin Jimmy. In their last scene, Kim is the one trying to convince Saul to steamroll Howard and the Sandpiper case. She even gives him the finger guns as she walks into the bathroom. (callback to the season 4 finale where Jimmy finger guns kim saying, “Saul Good Man!)

Pew Pew Gun GIF by Better Call Saul

Lalo had a breakout season this year. Given how he was introduced in season 4, I didn’t see his role getting that much bigger but audiences loved him so we got more! Tony Dalton is so effortlessly smooth in his delivery that it makes Lalo even more intimidating. I don’t think I’ve seen him not smile in a scene. He is almost like a goofy dad the way he messes around with Gus and Nacho. But we all know that he is willing to wipe his smile off and do the dirty work when needed. That balancing act of tone and physical presence makes him our Co-MVP for season 5.

Jump Jumping GIF by Better Call Saul

Season 6 Bold Predictions:

  1. Saul and Kim run the Sandpiper heist but things go wrong. Kim takes the blame and spares Saul, she goes to jail and Saul gets in deeper with Fring (+450)
  2. Nacho is being hunted by Lalo while trying to get himself away from the cartel. He will be unsuccessful and unfortunately die, but not before getting his dad out of harms way. (+125)
  3. Mike and Saul get more involved with Gus and the two finally meet (officially). He finds a way to resume work on the lab by ensuring that Lalo is out of the picture. (-150)
  4. We will see Tuco get out of jail and take his spot back with the cartel(-115)
  5. Onscreen appearance by Walt or Jesse (+500)

Until next time…

To Sleep Cheers GIF by Better Call Saul

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