Over its first three seasons, Better Call Saul quickly surpassed the fears of being a lesser Breaking Bad knock-off and found its own identity. Rather than rush right into the transformation of Jimmy McGill into Saul Goodman, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould took time to develop his story into something greater. You can’t argue with results; season 3 of Better Call Saul was as good as any season of Breaking Bad beside the final season. And really, the only reason it couldn’t match that season was the lack of closure inherent to the end of a story.
Now the transformation nears. Jimmy has used the Saul name and one of two major obstacles holding him in check has been removed. Vince Gilligan recently said this upcoming season will greatly increase the overlap between Saul and Breaking Bad. This teaser looks a lot like Breaking Bad.
I just hope Better Call Saul hasn’t lost its identity in the process.
This show has worked very hard to separate itself from its predecessor. However, it also faces a consistent identity crisis. Saul often feels like two different shows; you have the law-heavy side featuring Jimmy, and the criminal side headed by Mike Ehrmantraut. For as great as this show is, it has not yet reconciled the two into a unified product. Jimmy’s year-long suspension from the law provides an opportunity to fix this flaw. However, I don’t want to see the Jimmy side lose out entirely. Not after Better Call Saul worked so hard to develop its own style.
Now, to be clear, I have zero reason to doubt the brilliant writers and producers of this show. They have chosen right every step of the way so far, going back even to Breaking Bad. I still can’t help but worry a little. Last season’s events have created a natural restart for just about everyone on the show, and for the show itself. I’m both anxious and completely excited to see where it goes now.