Better Call Saul Season Six | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, April 19th, 2024  

Better Call Saul (Season Six)

AMC, April 18, 2022

Apr 13, 2022 Photography by AMC Web Exclusive
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Everyone’s favorite schemer-lawyer is not only back and better than ever for a sixth (and final) season after a two year hiatus– he’s also met his match. Attorneys Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) are a good match after getting married in season five, to enjoy spousal confidentiality if they ever get subpoenaed for their ever-increasing cons. But she’s now arguably even more conniving than him–who officially answers to his hustler Saul Goodman alias after legally nixing his birth name of Jimmy McGill last season. But Jimmy — um, Saul — is clearly shaken by his recent cartel dealings, especially the one that left him desert-stranded in season five, and still sunburnt-crispy for much of the sixth season’s premiere.

The dangers Saul faced before seem small in comparison to Nacho Varga’s (Michael Mando) season six predicament. While on the run through Mexican backwoods after the bloody shootout that ended season five, Varga’s eyes dart with adrenaline driven dread that instantly yanks the audience into the character’s shoes. He should be more scared than Saul, because Nacho hasn’t just raised the ire of any cartel gangster. It’s the henchmen of infamous Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) that are hot on his trail. This is after Nacho became a mole and granted assassins entry to the elder mobster’s compound. He’d be even more terrified if he knew Lalo fended off those attackers, against all odds, and is also seeking vengeance.

Both Nacho’s and Saul’s arcs plots have equal emphasis in the two episodes that were provided to critics. Even though Nacho’s is more action packed, both have enough of the series’ famous off kilter twists to satisfy its hardcore fanbase. Saul’s more subtle scenes boast their own special excitement because of off-screen events. Considering his recovery from a near fatal heart attack while shooting season six of Better Call Saul, it’s an even bigger thrill than usual to see Bob Odenkirk saunter back on-screen in the title role. What’s more: these episodes feature scene-establishing shots of Odenkirk that are cinematic enough to make the once obscurity-mired comedic actor look like he’s finally gotten his due.

One of those shots takes place outside a diner that bathes Saul in enough garish neon to rival his notoriously loud suits, as he enters to meet Kim. She then encourages a burnt out Saul (literally, from that desert ordeal) to not give up on one of his most deliciously devilish cons yet.

Another marquee-worthy shot of Saul is of him in the foreground of an enormous inflatable Lady Liberty mascot at a business owned by some of his oldest foes. Without spoiling one of the series’ best-ever twists, the hijinks Saul and Kim pull on those rivals are sure to delight fans.

As lavishly filmed as Odenkirk is in this season’s opening episodes, it’s Kim who drives the plot and character developments. She does so with the same pinpoint efficiency that once made her such a promising by-the-book attorney. Seehorn is subtle and engrossingly believable as Saul’s partner in crime, turning the glee that she once exhibited at breaking an occasional rule with him to a more procedural sort of pleasure.

Effective as those leading performances are, they’re almost upstaged by actors further down the call sheet, but every bit as talented. As the ever-conflicted henchman Varga, Mando is even more gripping than before. The way he tots a pair of pistols as his pursuers close in, not to mention wielding one of those weapons while yanking the steering wheel of a car he hotwired in the hopes of fleeing, all make for some of the most exhilarating action you’ll currently find on the small screen. Meanwhile Daniel and Luis Moncada, the twin hitmen that quickly became fan favorites in prior seasons, also show serious shoot-em-up chops in a face-off with Nacho.

And while those characters bring on the action, another Nacho pursuer evokes a different genre with equal panache. Lalo is, in fact, a prime contender for a horror blockbuster or slasher flick. Dalton’s debonair mustache and charming demeanor run counter to the sinister determination on his face, as he shrugs off wounds from last season’s climactic attack and embarks on a pilgrimage of vengeance, eliminating anyone that’s not only in his way, but also innocent bystanders. Much of his violence occurs offscreen throughout season six’s first two episodes – as he hunts for Nacho and cartel higher-ups who orchestrated the attack, which makes it all the more chilling when left to the audience’s imagination. The series’ masterful sound effects department certainly assists in this regard.

It’s all the perfect kick-off for the final season of not only TV’s best current show, but an all-time great comedic-drama that can now boast top-tier action and thriller scenes to its ever growing list of feats. There’s no better way to begin Better Call Saul’s closing chapter. (www.amc.com/shows/better-call-saul)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10



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