Better Call Saul, season 3
I’m ready to call it: Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s prequel to “Breaking Bad” is a better show than its predecessor. True, the saga of Walter White is the more adrenaline-pumping, binge-ready masterpiece. But “Breaking Bad” is like a really finely crafted beer that you keep pounding back. “Saul” is a fine wine that you savor and enjoy every note of.
We only just recently got cable television back after a three-year break, so I came to this season late, but ended up watching all 10 episodes in just over a week. The story of how former can artist-turned-lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) because Heisenberg’s shady attorney continues to be one of the more complex and riveting character studies on television. Odenkirk, displaying acting chops I never knew he had, is sublime as a man trying to go straight in the face of a world that wants him to go crooked. Rhea Seehorn, as his girlfriend Kim, is the one consistent, supportive force for good in his life. And Michael McKean, as Chuck’s self-righteous prick of a brother, delivers one of the most nuanced performances I’ve seen anywhere this year; I’ve never wanted to hate a guy and give him a hug at the same time. And for those who prefer a bit of “Breaking Bad” action, Jonathan Banks continues to shine as Mike, the ex-cop turned jack-of-all-trades who finds himself aligned with a very suspicious chicken-shop owner this season.
“Better Call Saul” might be the ideal prequel. The DNA of “Breaking Bad” — from its bizarre camera angles to love for languid, musical montages — is apparent at all times, but the show never feels like a cash in. It’s an expansion of the world, and everything it does respects its characters and keeps its story focused on the relationships between them. It’s an often slow show, but the deliberate pacing is one of its biggest assets. It’s a show, more than “Breaking Bad,” that’s in love with process and routine. It moves with a patience and deliberation that no other shows have, building up to a climax that’s dark and provocative, and leaves me excited for season four. This is great television.