A dark and chilling set-up promises a triumphant home-run
*Warning – There are big spoilers in this review so if you haven’t watched all the episodes up until this point, turn back now!*
I think every episode of ‘Better Call Saul’ in season six up until now has been almost perfect. There have been minimal leakages in the narration and quality of production.
All the little detailing that has made such a huge impact on its audience has been closely managed; two key character exits have also come as big shockers. But for Gilligan and co., it seems a routine ‘bump’ in the road. Such sacrifices despite public resentment do not undermine their significance in how they shape the story.
The main highlights for season six have mostly lay in anticipation until an external force has disrupted the universe’s equilibrium. Saul & Kim have been more close to anti-heroes than protagonists you would root for.
Their actions and the way the mid-season finale ended have cast long shadows on the one-sided respect and love they’ve received audiences. Theirs haven’t been the only alterations.
We have seen numerous characters’ moral high ground become compromised. Fring’s betrayal of Nacho has tainted his iron-clad image as a fair and reasonable man. Granted, he was warped into the politics and appearances of the entire context. But that still does not acquit him from critical scrutiny.
In a way, the departed have been written off without doing too much wrong. In fact, both have played their respective parts in the capacity of their characters in the BCS universe brilliantly.
Nacho successfully executed the plan to kill Lalo in his compound. He followed every instruction to the hilt and got back safely in one piece to Fring’s operations.
Howard remained committed to maintaining his firm HHM’s leading position as a law firm that gets the best for its clients. Despite the multiple setbacks in his personal life, he never let go of the person he really was. And this perseveration of their true mettle in those times of adversity is what elevates them in our reckoning.
The tangible tension between Fring and Lalo – and to an extent, the Salamancas – has yet not collided. It has remained in their respective spaces, only sparingly threatening to come close. A war-like situation is bound to erupt as the town becomes a battleground for them to settle their dues.
Although we can fully expect to be underwhelmed with the end result, the chances of something kinetic like the above are not too bleak. Mike and Fring’s plan, in the end, to lure Lalo into Fring’s house is not fool-proof. Remember what happened when more than a dozen trained assassins went into Lalo’s house in the dark of the night only to be toasted to death? We can never be too sure of anything in BCS.
These challenges that Gilligan throws at the viewer are not a truly novel innovation. We have been subjects to many such twists in the past, both in Breaking Bad and ‘Better Call Saul’. Having said that, it speaks volumes about him as a visionary and a man not afraid to break the norm.
Last seasons for television shows in general – let alone something as popular as BCS – have inclined to bring a rapturous end to their leads’ journeys. “One last hurrah” often clouds judgment and breaks the tonal rhythm that seasons on end take to build. Once that happens, you leave as a satisfied viewer but the issue of justice to the story and character awkwardly lingers. Rest assured, this will not be the case with BCS either.
Season six has been different than others in creating the existential core of Gilligan’s thematic exploration of different human values and virtues.
While story progression has been fair, it is this aspect of the episodes till now that has clearly stood out. The outcomes of his experiments have been less than satisfactory but at times, not giving the audience what they really want marks the great from the herd. His distinguished approach to filmmaking has elevated the show and carried forward the legacy of his previous masterpiece.
Having come this far, we have now been thrown into a confusing state of nostalgia. The show’s universe has come a full circle from where it first started – during the filming of Breaking Bad. No one could have predicted a spin-off could have been this good. The centrifugal force driving increasing eyeballs to Better Call Saul’s season six is not a function of its tragic downfalls and high-handed disregard for aesthetics; it is the show’s unique ability to create unlikely heroes in everyday life.
It has defied expectations to become a product of its vicious and hard-hitting cinematic realities.