Better Call Saul is beginning to feel closer to Breaking Bad

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television /

The slow burn to Saul Goodman burned bright on Better Call Saul in an episode that felt more like Breaking Bad than any other.

Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad are very different shows despite being in the same universe. Better Call Saul is a slow burn in turning Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman with so much more happening below the surface. However, Monday’s episode brought all the tension and violence of Breaking Bad firmly into Saul’s area.

Lalo Salamanca tasked Jimmy with getting the $7 million he needs for the cash bail. Jimmy asked for $100,000 for the job thinking of those letters JMM standing for Just Make Money. But being a Friend of the Cartel comes with dangers.

Jimmy went out to the desert and met with the cousins who dropped off the money. On the way out of the desert, a rival gang ambushed Jimmy. They planned to kill him and just as a gun barrel stared Jimmy down, the would-be killer was shot from a distance with blood painting Jimmy’s shirt.

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A shootout ensued. Mike to the rescue! Yet, we all felt like Jimmy in that moment. We couldn’t believe the bloodshed. We couldn’t believe the violence. Jimmy sat in shock.

The lines between Better Call Saul and Breaking  Bad blurred in this episode. Mike’s and Jimmy’s cars were destroyed in the shootout and the two had to walk through the desert and had to avoid the one rival member who got away from the shootout.

After two days and miles and miles of walking, the actual moment where Jimmy became Saul Goodman emerged. After feeling resigned – and a pep talk from Mike about doing bad things for the good of those you love – Jimmy drank a bottle of his own urine, got back on his feet and walked down the road back to Kim.

This episode felt so much like Breaking Bad that it felt like we were back in that amazing show. It made you feel the fear Jimmy felt. And even though we know Mike and Jimmy make it out alive, there was still plenty of tension that kept you compelled until the end.

Their motivations behind Mike – and now Jimmy – seem similar to where Walt was originally. There are other people in their lives they think they are doing this for. Walt made meth because he wanted to get money to his family after his cancer diagnosis. Mike has a granddaughter and daughter-in-law he feels he is protecting and wants to support them.

For Jimmy, he was always doing it for himself. That’s why he was OK with letting go and dying in the desert. However, when Mike spoke about other people, Jimmy likely thought about Kim, who visited Lalo in prison to find out where her husband was.

They all have people they like to think they are justifying their crimes for. And that’s always when things get crazy.

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Better Call Saul airs Mondays on AMC at 9/8c.