thu 01/12/2022

Better Call Saul, Season 6 Finale, Netflix review - end of the line for TV's most celebrated con artist | reviews, news & interviews

Better Call Saul, Season 6 Finale, Netflix review - end of the line for TV's most celebrated con artist

Better Call Saul, Season 6 Finale, Netflix review - end of the line for TV's most celebrated con artist

Satisfying conclusion lets the punishment fit the crime

Saul Gone: Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) with Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk)

It was the end of an era, as Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s bittersweet epic of the brilliantly devious Saul Goodman wound to a close. Hints of redemption were in the air, signalled by Saul reverting at last to his real name, James McGill.

A closing shot of Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and his estranged soulmate Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) gazing at each other wordlessly through the wire of ADX Montrose prison (aka “The Alcatraz of the Rockies”) might even have brought a tear to a blackmailer’s eye.

Still, it wasn’t enough to lead you to conclude that Saul was really a good guy at heart. These final episodes have shown him at his cynical, nihilistic worst, with his con-artist skills still functioning at full blast. In his Nebraska-based “Gene Takavic” persona, pictured below, aided by his dumb sidekick Jeff, he concocted a Mission: Impossible-style operation to rob a department store. Then he rolled out a despicable scheme to drug unsuspecting victims he got chatting to in bars, then invade their homes while they lay unconscious and steal all their financial details, internet passwords and anything else of value. He hit rock bottom when he pulled this stunt on a cancer sufferer, without a glimmer of remorse.

It was appropriate that his undoing came at the hands of Jeff’s mother, the elderly Marion (a scene-stealing performance by the veteran Carol Burnett). She happened to spot one of Saul Goodman’s outrageous TV commercials online and realised that her friend Gene was in fact the notorious criminal from Albuquerque. Gene’s desperate bid to escape ended with him standing in a garbage dumpster, surrounded by cops and covered in stinking slime.

And yet, what has kept Saul’s story so compelling is the underlying sense of how everything might have been different. These final episodes have been peppered with reminders of Saul’s story stretching back to Breaking Bad, with pop-up appearances from Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). There was a telling little moment when various currents crossed, as Kim encountered Pinkman outside the office where Saul was running a booming business defending the low-lifes other lawyers wouldn’t touch. “This guy, any good?” Pinkman asked her. “When I knew him he was,” Kim retorted.

We also revisited Jimmy McGill’s relationship with his older brother Chuck (Michael McKeen), one of the big cheeses at the prestigious Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill law firm. Despite Jimmy’s hero worship of him, Chuck seethed with quiet resentment for the unorthodox, charismatic Jimmy. He could have helped Jimmy to go straight with a conventional legal career but blocked him instead, after which their relationship grew increasingly poisonous.

Then Jimmy seemed to have found the perfect match with Kim, a brilliant lawyer in her own right with whom he could have forged an enduring and above-board partnership. But that wasn’t going to work out either, as his “Saul” persona took over. He couldn’t resist his own uncanny gift for scams and hustles, which led him disastrously into the orbit of the Salamanca family and their murderous drug cartel (pictured right, Saul with Michael Mando as Nacho Varga). The diabolical ingenuity of Saul’s schemes, and the scenes of him bending the machinery of the law to his own ends, were just some of the many marvels baked into this remarkable show. Equally amazing has been its strength-in-depth cast, with Seehorn a revelation and Odenkirk now an improbable superstar.

The final episodes pictured Kim trying a different kind of life, installed in the Florida suburbs and working for the Palm Coast Sprinkler company. She seemed to have adapted to her new role with a kind of robotic impassivity, seemingly unquestioned by her workmates and new partner. Saul’s one genuinely good deed was his courtroom confession in which he carried the can and exonerated Kim, leaving him facing 86 years in jail. “But with good behaviour, who knows?” he wisecracked.

The final episodes pictured Kim trying a different kind of life, working for the Palm Coast Sprinkler company

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Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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