With “Better Call Saul,” Vince Gilligan Has Achieved What No One Has Ever Done

Now that ‘Better Call Saul’ ended its sixth and final season last Monday night (22 ), with an excellent ending, it can be said that Vince Gilligan has achieved what few television creators have achieved — if any —: he launched one of the greatest series of all time, then sustained a spin-off that is worthy of its predecessor.

There is a long list of sitcoms between the years and 1990 which originated from a successful series and had their own successful storylines: (‘Happy Days’/’Laverne & Shirley’ ; ‘All in the Family’/’The Jeffersons’; ‘Cheers’/’Frasier’). But in these cases, it was enough to take characters from a show and place them in a different environment to create a new set of comic scenarios.

Gilligan’s extraordinary feat is of an order of magnitude. of the most impressive magnitude.

Breaking Bad‘ is, without a doubt, the greatest drama series ever made. for TV. People can argue for a number of other plotlines, but what seals the deal for me is the fact that not only was the show amazing (amazing acting, characters, mix of action, thriller, comedy, drama, and creative cinematography), how consistently good it was.

Many shows are great for a season or two, but run out of steam long before they reach their peak. ‘Breaking Bad‘ started at a breakneck pace, gained momentum as it progressed, continued to improve and deliver surprises, and ended with an electrifying season brought to a conclusion.

Gilligan already deserved to be in the pantheon of television greats for his work in creating, writing and producing ‘Breaking Bad‘.

When I first heard about plans for a series centered on lawyer Saul Goodman, I was skeptical. He was a major recurring character in ‘Breaking Bad‘, but not one of the central characters, and often served as comic relief. How much could they really extract from the character? It would be like David Chase, after wrapping up ‘The Sopranos‘, deciding to do a new series about Hesh building his loan shark business.

And yet, they managed.

Along with Peter Gould (who wrote the episode of ‘Breaking Bad ‘ that introduced the character of Saul Goodman), Gilligan managed to put together six seasons of a series that also strengthened and reached a satisfactory conclusion.

The show primarily served as a prologue to ‘Breaking Bad‘, but also as a sequel. He had many appearances and storylines that intersected with characters from the original, but he also created dynamic new characters, led by Saul’s love interest and eventual partner in crime, attorney Kim Wexler. Two of the main characters of ‘Better Call Saul‘ (Ignacio “Nacho” Varga and Lalo Salamanca) were literally created from a two-second line from the second season of ‘Breaking Bad‘. The show included fan services and guest appearances by characters from ‘Breaking Bad‘ only to be fun, without seeming forced or distracting from the main plot points.

Better Call Saul‘ it reached emotions that could never have been predicted based on what we knew about Saul before the series began. It also managed to further explore the theme of what makes people with tremendous potential struggle so much with the temptations of the dark side. It’s not just the story of how Saul “kicked the bucket” , but also Kim and former corrupt cop Mike Ehrmantraut.

[Nota: se você não assistiu às séries, pare de ler aqui, pois haverá spoilers.]

While ‘Breaking Bad‘ ended with a dramatic gunfight, the main action sequence at the end of ‘Better Call Saul‘ (a police chase) ended in the opening minutes of the show. Much of what follows turns out to be legal negotiations over Saul’s punishment. Within that, however, there is a lot of drama and suspense.

The question that permeated much of the episode was: Does Saul have one last trick up his sleeve to get away with it all? For a while, it seems so, as he manages to convince federal prosecutors of what could be several life sentences, to a mere seven years in a country club-style prison.

At one point, the audience is left wondering if he would cheat on Kim in the end so he could make an even softer deal.

And yet, we soon discover that his true The goal was to take Kim back to Albuquerque to hear him fully confess his guilt for helping Walter White build his meth empire. This breaks down all of his defenses and sends him to a much tougher prison for 86 years.

Although, At first glance, it seems unrealistic to think that a selfish, lying, scheming lawyer would do this to himself, the outcome is actually consistent with the complex character the writers had been building for six seasons.

In the previous season, Saul was able to manipulate an elderly lady into solving a class action case that would give her a big reward for him. But he feels guilty that his scheme involved alienating the lady from all her friends in a nursing home, so he accepts the consequences and the significant financial impact.

Em another moment in the series, when he humiliates his brother by manipulating legal files, Saul is at home with impunity. Until he sees his brother, a brilliant lawyer, devouring himself from the inside, at which point he makes his confession — which eventually leads to him being suspended from the business for a year.

The ending of ‘Better Call Saul‘ so it might not be happy. But it is certainly appropriate. And it marks a stunning end to Vince Gilligan’s Alburquerque crime scene.

© National Review 2022. Published with permission. Original in English.

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