Better Call Saul Season Six
Directed by Michael Morris, Vince Gilligan, Gordon Smith, Rhea Shorn, Melissa Bernstein, Giancarlo Esposito, Thomas Schnauz, Michelle MacLaren, and Pete Gould.
Starring Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando, Tony Dalton, Giancarlo Esposito, Carol Burnett, Aaron Paul, and Bryan Cranston.
Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul came to a rousing conclusion earlier this year, and now Sony has issued the sixth and final season on Blu-ray in a four-disc set that includes all 13 episodes as well as a healthy batch of bonus features.
The best spin-off series are the ones that take an intriguing secondary character and explore his or her life. Better Call Saul is one of those. Taking place mostly before the events of Breaking Bad, the series examines the life of Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) during the years before he became high-flying huckster lawyer Saul Goodman.
I say “taking place mostly before” the events of the original series because the first five seasons of Saul feature short black-and-white moments with the main character after he’s fled Albuquerque and become Gene Takavic, mild-mannered Cinnabon manager in a mall in Omaha, Nebraska.
The sixth and final season of the show ramps up the Gene storyline as he struggles to stop reverting to his old behavior, especially when someone in Omaha recognizes him. At first he denies who he is, but as the sixth season progresses, he can’t help but concoct new schemes to line his pockets and presumably resume his previous life of extravagant means.
Released in two parts, the sixth season also shows us how “Slippin’ Jimmy” McGill eventually transforms into Saul Goodman, defender of the poor and disenfranchised and a fixer for local drug dealers. Unlike Bryan Cranston’s Walter White character, who starts as a mild-mannered high school teacher before becoming a drug dealing kingpin, Jimmy has been a ne’er-do-well from his early days, much to the chagrin of his older brother, a lawyer named Chuck.
Played by Michael McKean, Chuck appears again during the last season (in a flashback, of course), along with Walter White and his sidekick Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). Those moments have a bit of a “let’s play our greatest hits” kind of feel to them, but they also resonate as reminders of the struggle within Jimmy to continue his old ways versus adopting a straight and narrow path.
The final season builds to a conclusion that’s cathartic but also perfect for a man who is always wrestling with his demons, unlike Walter White’s descent into an evil way of life that has a grip on him until the very end. And that’s what makes Better Call Saul such a great spin-off, because it’s able to chart its own path while still nodding to its predecessor in ways large and small.
Sony has issued the 13-episode sixth season in a four-disc Blu-ray set that includes a nice batch of bonus features but no code for a digital copy, unfortunately. The bonus features include:
• “Wine and Roses” – Casa Goodman (29 minutes): Director Michael Morris goes back and forth through the opening moments of the sixth season’s first episode, which shows a group of workers clearing out Saul’s house after the events of Breaking Bad. He points out the many details that the set designers sprinkled through Saul’s opulent quarters, even down to little things like a prescription for a fake drug that created and not used in the film El Camino (however, the commercial for it did make an appearance in Saul).
• American Greed: James McGill (10.75 minutes): This is a parody of one of those “true crime” shows that portrays the events of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul as if they really happened, complete with interviews with supporting characters. Stacy Keach provides the narration.
• Training videos (20 minutes): Some of Jimmy McGill’s best bits include enlisting the help of three hapless community college students, and this is a series of six training videos they made for new people joining Saul Goodman Productions. It’s an amusing bit, but it goes on a little too long.
• Gag reel (5.25 minutes): This is pretty self-explanatory.
• Series Adjourned: Saying Goodbye to Saul (25 minutes): Series co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, along with various members of the cast and crew, look back on the making of the final season. Excerpts from some writing room sessions conducted via Zoom are shown, which is an interesting glimpse into how COVID impacted the making of many TV shows the past couple years.
• Fear and Loathing in Omaha: The World of Gene Takavic (15 minutes): Gene’s story becomes more prominent in the final season, especially during its final few episodes, and this is a look at the creation of that part of Jimmy McGill’s story.
In addition, three of the four discs feature deleted scenes from various episodes. Every episode also features a commentary track with various members of the cast and crew. They’re worthwhile listens for fans of the show.
Finally, Sony says there’s an Easter egg somewhere in the discs, but I wasn’t able to locate it, so have fun searching.