Better Call Saul returns with mystery, conflict

Better Call Saul, the spinoff show to the popular television series Breaking Bad, has returned for its third season. The first two seasons of Better Call Saul have not been a disappointment, as creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould produced some of the darkest and most humorous scenes in

modern-day television. The third season premiere follows in this vein, reminding viewers of the emotional stakes at hand and setting the characters up for important developments later in the season.

Better Call Saul follows the growth of scam-artist-turned-lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), years before the events of Breaking Bad. McGill served as Walter White’s lawyer in the flagship show, and Better Call Saul follows his evolution from a honest but down-on-his-luck attorney to a representative for drug lords like White (Bryan Cranston).

Throughout the show, the themes of coming-of-age, failure, doubt and respect for the law are woven into McGill’s story as he works to care for his mentally ill brother Chuck (Michael McKean) and grapples with his feelings for his love interest Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) — both of whom are ostensibly more successful than him. McGill’s frustration is palpable as he struggles to follow the rules while continually disappointing himself and the people around him.

“Mabel,” the premiere episode, starts off with a flash forward to Goodman after the events of Breaking Bad, demonstrating how he has moved on from a life of crime but still has a soft spot for those who dance around the law. It then reverts back to 2002, when the bulk of the story is set, to continue McGill’s evolution into Goodman. In this episode, the audience sees McGill’s character development — he is not the manipulative liar from Breaking Bad, but he shows a penchant for trickery and manipulation that, like Chekhov’s gun, is sure to make an appearance later in the show.

The show also features Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), another Breaking Bad character known for his skills as a hitman working for Goodman, in his journey from McGill’s enemy to his
partner-in-crime. The Mike storyline from the last season has been tense and lethargic — the storyline’s
payoff has not always equaled the gradual build-up of its plot. Furthermore, the music choice for Mike’s scenes left more to be desired from audiences, as the soundtrack felt melodramatic. In the premiere’s scenario, however, the suspense was well worth it, as viewers finally got the high-action scenes they were looking for. In addition, Breaking Bad fans will anticipate villain Gus Fring’s (Giancarlo Esposito) appearance this season, with his connection to Mike.

Viewers know where McGill is going to end up, giving up a law-abiding life of mediocrity for fame and wealth as the law-breaking Goodman. The best part about watching Better Call Saul is seeing how he gets there.