Earlier this year, we were treated to the magnificent final episode of what was arguably one of the greatest television shows in history. Better Call Saul concluded its monumental run with a finale that some, not many, would have predicted, and its star Bob Odenkirk is still coming to terms with saying goodbye to a character he’s played across two shows, over thirteen years – Saul Goodman, also known as Slippin’ Jimmy McGill, and Gene Takovic, depending on who’s asking.
A side character with a seedy underbelly, the prequel series explored his character to undiscovered depths, bringing in characters from the Breaking Bad universe, while simultaneously adding new players who would go on to surpass their predecessors – not least, Kim Wexler, played by Rhea Seehorn.
The mastery at work by creator Vince Gilligan and showrunner Peter Gould has left something of a void for Odenkirk, who has moved onto a new series – Straight Man – while still working through the process of moving on. “I wanted more time to wallow, and I’m going to wallow for the next ten years or more,” said Odenkirk while speaking with Empire. “I know that was probably the role of my lifetime, and that’s a wonderful thing to have had. Some people don’t get that. I will be wallowing the rest of my life.”
While Breaking Bad had Walter White (Bryan Cranston) go out in a blaze of glory – and a hail of bullets – the quieter, more reflective Better Call Saul never seemed destined to go down that path, indeed it went out of its way to subvert the expectations of some (including Odenkirk himself) by simply having Jimmy settle for what he deserved – the rest of his life in prison.
Having eventually been captured by the local police force in Omaha, Nebraska, Jimmy/Saul ends up swindling a cushy deal for himself with the local district attorney in Albuquerque, NM. He can’t resist being Saul one last time, but on his court appearance, he confesses to everything when he sees Kim appear, and ends up in the exact sort of prison his clients were sent to. He is greeted there as a hero. One last piece of Goodman magic.
“I would have predicted an ending with more explosions. I’m so glad there weren’t. And yet the weird thing about it to me is that it really came from relaxing your grip on the characters. One of the struggles I had, and Rhea had this too, is that the characters were very emotionally intelligent about almost everybody they interacted with, and yet had these blind spots regarding their own behaviour. And in the end the writers granted these characters the self-knowledge that I felt they always had. I thought it was beautiful. When I read it, I was like, ‘Yes, exactly, that’s what should happen.’”
Better Call Saul concluded its run on AMC earlier this year, but the entire show is still available to stream on AMC+. Check out the trailer for the series below: