(#4: 2018 – #5: 2020)
The show goes on and Jimmy McGill, aka Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) wends his way down the stairway of good intentions, towards Hell. We have already expressed our admiration for the parent production, Breaking Bad; and of the superb initial seasons of this inspired prequel, One, Two and Three: these next 2 series are just as good and increase the intensity of feeling for Jimmy and long-suffering partner Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) as they hurtle towards a moral and existential abyss.
In series 4, Jimmy is reacting to his brother’s death by embracing an even darker, Byronesque morality; temporarily disbarred for the shenanigans with his brother over the Mesa Verde case, he is now eking out a living selling disposable cellular phones, and helping Kim cut legal corners. Eventually, he regains his licence to practice, but from now on, it’ll be as Saul. Meanwhile the perpetual war between cartel licensed rivals the Salamancas and Gus Fring waxes and wanes, embroiling Mike Ehrmantraut and Nacho Varga. Much of the criminal activity this season turns on the clandestine building of Gus’ underground, you-beaut, state-of-the-art meth lab, which leads to fatal results for members of the German construction team.
In series 5 (just completed: you can now binge-watch the entire 10 episodes) we really get to know (and fear, and loathe) a character introduced in season 4: Eduardo (‘Lalo’) Salamanca (Tony Dalton), one of Hector’s innumerable nephews, arriving from south of the border to help out after Hector’s stroke. Lalo is genial and hedonistic, but don’t let that fool you: he’s as friendly as a rattlesnake. (Indeed, he is pivotal in making Jimmy “a friend of the cartel,” a friendship no one needs or should want.) Dalton gives his character a multi-dimensional treatment that results here in something TVC did not anticipate: a man actually worse than all who have gone before. The game of chess he plays with Fring throughout is a high-stakes contest at which to marvel.
This story continues to be a wonderful, Dickensian saga, rich and full of apprehensive interest. Jimmy and Kim are the glue, of course, continuing to tease and tantalise us as to how they will end up: they are also gloriously (and plausibly) inconsistent and self-contradictory in their actions and morals. All of the key and supporting players are first class, as are the scripts, plots, setting and action. Don’t miss it and ‘hang onto your socks and hose’ for the next iteration!