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TV Review: Better Call Saul 1.1 “Uno”
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Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul
Episode 1.1 “Uno”
Directed by Vince Gilligan
Written Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould
Starring Bob Odenkirk, Michael McKean, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Michael Mando, Patrick Fabian
AMC
Air Date: Sunday, February 8, 2015, 10pm

So is there life after Breaking Bad? Not only is there life, but there’s even new trails to blaze. All the hype, all the billboards, Facebook posts, articles, interviews, everything leading up to Sunday night’s premiere of Better Call Saul, AMC’s Breaking Bad prequel spin-off, is 100 percent justified.

With fever pitch buzz and then some, the anticipation for Better Call Saul runs higher than Everest. About a year and a half after we first knew about the show as Breaking Bad was ending its spellbinding run, Better Call Saul finally comes to bat, and from at least what the Pilot and the second episode presents, it’s an out-of-the-park knockout.

The show follows the exploits and adventures and misadventures of one Saul Goodman, known by his real name here, Jimmy McGill. Going into the past, present and even future (in an opening sequence that zealous Breaking Bad fans will not believe that a what seemed like an hilariously throwaway utterance by Saul near the end of the series came true), the show shows the inner machinations of the character, best known on Breaking Bad for his oily insincere sincerity as a lawyer, who, as he would coin it, put the word “criminal,” in “criminal lawyer.”

But here, after we have seen Saul’s life within the scope of the year shown on Breaking Bad’s as mainly two-dimensional, rat-at-tat speaking and living kind of slimy cad, a guy one loves to hate — all the while portrayed expertly by Bob Odenkirk, who made one liners and witticisms roll off Saul’s tongue with unreal ease — Jimmy McGill is actually a man who has to fight a lot for, and it’s mainly self-respect. Jimmy is surrounded by a cast of characters such as his mysterious brother (played with wonderful off-center warmth by Michael McKean) and who in a way is representative of almost all the characters on the show, each of whom only gives us little glimpses into what they are and why they do what they do. And as we all know, Jonathan Banks returns as the cool-as-a-cucumber-Mr.-fix-it-man Mike Ermantraut. There are plenty of untold secrets still to be uncovered on this program, and it’s fun stuff to see how things unfold around Jimmy, who will eventually become Saul Goodman, star attorney of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

But that’s all I am laying on you about the show. No spoilers here, folks. Let’s just say, that the pilot is hysterical, funny, bright, fun, sharp, even poignant in spots, and of course, filled with the patented and expected (and unexpected) sorts of twists and turns that made the show’s predecessor one of television’s finest hours and without question, Better Call Saul picks up that baton and runs with it here.

This first episode is also chock full of references to Breaking Bad, and there is one crucial instance which puts into perspective why Saul had wanted a specific thing done on the Breaking Bad series, something that actually never did come to fruition. That sounds pretty ambiguous, doesn’t it? Well, patience is a virtue, and after you finally get to see Better Call Saul for yourself, you’ll then realize why this article was so gleefully hush hush.

Better Call Saul Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) in Episode 101

That’s all I can tell you. That’s all I want to tell you. Creators and director and writer Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have done amazing wonders with this pilot episode, and Michelle McLaren helms an absolutely fantastic second episode, which I can tell you even less about, because the events of the end of the series premiere are pretty much what sets this one up. In fact, the end of the first episode is such a jaw dropper in a way, the character that comes out of the door before black screen to end credits, why, you will be blown away and…no, I’ve already written too much. Just do whatever it takes to be at a TV screen at 10PM on February 8th, 2015 on AMC. It’s a no-brainer for any connoisseur of Breaking Bad or just great television in general. In summing up, to put it simply and succinctly: Better Watch Saul!

Episode 1.1 Image Gallery

Episode 1.2 Image Gallery

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