“Better Call Saul” begins its fifth season, according to established practice, with a peek in black and white on the bleak future of suspicious lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk). Fearing that his cover as an anonymous fast food manager has been detonated, he descends into paranoia, camped in his dark apartment, and overlooked the curtains.
These season’s opening scenes are a kind of narrative relief valve, relieving some of the inevitability inherent in a show that is an introduction to the series, “Breaking Bad”, whose events and characters tend to outline and bold. This time, though, the flash brings forward an unexpected fan service: an appearance by the reformer of vacuum cleaners Ed Galbraith, who played, as was in “Breaking Bad” and “El Camino” by the great actor of characters Robert Forster, who died in October.
Forster’s role as short in businesses like “Better Call Saul” is like a blessing and reinforces the tone: pungent, meaningless, amused by the absurdities of life but seldom taken by surprise. As with many of Forster’s roles, you suspect he is there to explain how the creators (in this case Vince Gilligan and Peter Gold) would like to see themselves and their story.
So in Season 5, which begins Sunday at AMCThe best thing about “Better Call Saul” is its simple simplicity, quiet space, and a desire to keep the details, like a struggling prosecutor struggling to get a bag of chips from the court vending machine.
But “Better Call Saul” is also around the clock. We know where Jimmy is going, and in the opening episodes of the new season (four of which are provided), the narrative springs are starting to tighten significantly.
Jimmy’s assumption of Saul Goodman’s smarter and less disturbing character begins At the end of the fourth season, he completed quickly, due to protests by his girlfriend and fellow lawyer, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). The story of Jimmy, who has focused over four seasons on his problematic career and relationships with Kim and his arrogant older brother Chuck (Michael McCain), finally crosses drug rival Gus Fering (Giancarlo Esposito) and Lallo Salamanca (Tony Dalton).
There is a hiccup in the Salamanca Latitude, detailed in the deadly comedy style in which the show excels, bringing Jimmy in, as Lieutenant Nacho (Michael Mando) tells him, “When you’re inside, you’re in.” Once he got there, my husband faced DEA agents, Hank and Stephen (Dean Norris and Stephen Michael Kizada). And voila, the outlines of a “bad break” begin to focus.
All this is presented with a high degree of artistic and dramatic achievement of the exhibition, as well as volatile dream-like views in the southwest, urban and desert landscapes. There may be a downside, though a slight one, to the inevitable conclusion of the presentation and the perceived need to stick to its themes. In the new season, she sometimes pauses to explain Jimmy’s reasons for becoming Saul (like Jimmy, it will always be Chuck’s losing brother), as if the story flow itself isn’t enough to convince us, which might be true.
The comic montage shows a couple of rocks running in a wave of petty crimes, drug use and wasting public life because of Saul’s offer of a 50% discount on legal services. The sub-plot includes forcing Kim to quit her charity work to do a job for her company boss, Mesa Verde, and forcing an old man to leave his home. (The codec is run by Barry Corbin, another example of the show that gives the job to prominent seasoned actors.)
Both chains are handled flawlessly, but they’re also on the nose more than we’re used to from “Better Call Saul” – they’re pushing us a little trickier than we need to push toward estimating Jimmy and Kim’s corruption duality. (The same can be said of a repetitive idea in which the episodes end with scenes of broken bodies, such as the gnome garden, the ice cream cone, and beer bottles.)
To bring it back A paradoxical view that I have advanced before, will most likely turn my attention during the American Jimmy-Kim dream scenes more than drug scenery plot scenes, which may be more formulary but imbued with their humor, tension, and nuances than feeling. (On the other side of the argument, read my colleague James Poniewozik here.) _
Part of this is about attending, on this side of the show, the participation of artists like Esposito and Jonathan Banks as a constant outlet Mike Airmanrot (after his own moral crisis now, after the murder of the kind German engineer, Werner) and especially Dalton like the charismatic Lallow, a wonderful creature a constant threat and no Can be seen. The more we see them, the closer the story lines are, the better for “Saul’s best call.”