Better Call Saul Season 3 further deepens the Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman mythology and brings Gus Fring into the fold to enhance one of TV’s best dramas
Better Call Saul Season 3 will be forever known for reintroducing classic villain Gus Fring. That’s not without merit, of course. Giancarlo Esposito’s Fring elevated Breaking Bad with an incredible sense of elegant menace. Esposito provided the perfect balance in the “bad versus slightly badder” equation with Bryan Cranston’s Walt. Unfortunately, he failed to win a well deserved Emmy award, so there’s a pervasive sense that Better Call Saul could rectify that misstep. That remains to be seen, but Better Call Saul Season 3 bursts onto the scene better than ever. Is this the year Emmy stands at attention with a series win?
Better Call Saul Season 3 opens with the expected black and white exploration of Jimmy/Saul’s post-Breaking Bad world. No spoilers here, but it closes with a great little surprise. The bulk of the pilot falls surprisingly to Jonathan Banks’ Mike as he works through the fallout from Season 2’s close. The screenwriting displayed here continues the series’ top-notch work. Mike’s scenes are nearly silent, but the combination of expert plotting and Banks’ performance convey all you need to know. Banks excels at illustrating the inner-workings of Mike’s brain, and he’s award-worthy here as well.
And what of Bob Odenkirk’s Jimmy McGill? He narrowly escapes (maybe?) certain disaster after Chuck (Michael McKean) recorded a Season 2 confession. Odenkirk continues his excellent performance here as well. He and the series perhaps now more than ever show shades of Jimmy’s transition into Saul. You start to realize that the shattering of his relationship with Chuck feels imminent. Jimmy’s other lifeline, Kim Wexler (the great Rhea Seehorn), also starts pulling away after realizing the extend that Jimmy bends the rules. Many Breaking Bad devotees wonder what happens to Wexler, but I suspect she simply fades away, forever abandoning Jimmy after one-too-many cons.
Better Call Saul Season 3 arrives with all the confidence and expert realization of a great series. Odenkirk, Seehorn, Banks, and McKean have simply never been better. Reintroducing Esposito feels like the icing on a very delicious cake. Sure, it will inevitably re-draw comparisons to Breaking Bad, but it’s time to set that aside. Better Call Saul exists as a great show completely independent of that other classic series. It stands on its own without reservation. The potential for continued greatness in Season 3 looms large over the pilot. It’s exciting to see how it will all unfold.
Better Call Saul Season 3 premieres tonight at 10pm ET on AMC.