Better Call Saul: Why Saul Goodman Is One Of The Best Characters On TV
When Better Call Saul was first announced, it seemed like a tall order that the AMC spinoff could match the quality and drama of Breaking Bad. Honestly, it even felt like a legitimate question of whether Saul Goodman was a complex enough character worthy of an entire series, but it didn't take long for Bob Odenkirk and Vince Gilligan to prove doubters wrong.
Now, as Better Call Saul prepares for Season 6 (and all the questions it should still answer), it's time to accept that Jimmy McGill, a.k.a. Saul Goodman, is one of television's best characters. There are a litany of reasons as to why, but I decided to highlight some of his most key personality traits and how they make him must-watch television for better or worse. Spoiler warning for those who haven't caught up; there will be spoilers mentioned for the entire run of the series so far, so be sure you're current before reading!
He Knows How To Work An Angle
Whether he's Slippin' Jimmy or Saul Goodman, Better Call Saul's star character has always known how to work an angle. He's used this power for good, like when he filmed a commercial to help promote the rampant financial fraud happening to elders at Sandpiper Crossing. Jimmy's bosses weren't thrilled he went "maverick" on them, but Jimmy knew it was the best way to spread the word to as many of the affected as possible, and it worked.
Of course, it's also worth noting that Saul Goodman has absolutely used his legal prowess and trickery to run angles that were immoral and sometimes illegal. One of the funnier instances was when he and Kim Wexler scammed wealthy people out of money by conning them. It's certainly one of the lighter illegal things Saul Goodman has done, but I'll save some of the more egregious examples for other reasons on this list. For now, let's just agree that even when his intentions aren't noble, it's awesome to see Saul work a scheme.
He’s Found Great Success Despite Humble Beginnings
The various lawyers of Better Call Saul may have different opinions of Saul Goodman as a person, but those who knew him at the start all seem to agree he's come a long way. He took a pity job at his brother's law firm and used that to support himself until he graduated from law school. Of course, his brother Chuck didn't quite respect his brother's efforts, which forced Jimmy to strike out with his own law firm.
Jimmy hustled from a closet in the back of a nail salon to his own firm shared with his best buddy, Kim Wexler. Sure, he caught a few lucky breaks along the way, but without that classic hustle he's known for, Saul Goodman may have been stuck in that mail room forever. There are plenty of people in the real world who can relate to that journey, which I think is part of what makes it so satisfying to watch.
He’s Good At Laying Low
I may be in the minority of Better Call Saul fans who love the present-day scenes where Saul is living undercover as Gene, but it's, honestly, some of the most riveting stuff I see on the series. Perhaps it's because I want to know where the story ends up for Saul in the present, and the point of us seeing his life in the present day. Seriously, there has to be some payoff to all these scenes, right?
I'm getting off track, because the point is that Saul Goodman has done a solid job of laying low. Of course, that could soon come to a close, with that cab driver spotting him, though Saul is set on "handling" the situation on his own. At this point, it's hard to say whether that's a good or bad idea, but I'm sure we'll see, eventually, how it works out for him.
He Fights For What He Believes Is Right
One positive thing that can be said about Saul Goodman is that if he's on your side, he's going to do anything he can to support you. Time after time, we've seen him work hard to fulfill a promise to the people he's loyal to, especially when it's Kim. I loved the storyline where he represented the old man who was holding out on the land, all in an effort to help her work out a deal at her firm.
The downside of Saul Goodman fighting for what he thinks is right is that he's sometimes better at convincing himself he's right than actually being right. Saul's belief that he knows what's best, not just for himself, but others as well, is a flaw that has hurt the people closest to him repeatedly. It's like a car accident in slow motion; painful to watch at times, but you just can't look away.
He’s Willing To Win At Any Cost
Another positive about Saul Goodman being on your side is that he's going to do his very best to win. This means doing whatever it takes sometimes, and as Better Call Saul fans know, he'll resort to any tactic necessary to ensure that he comes out on the other side as the definite winner, whether he's earned it or not. This included changing documents illegally right under his brother Chuck's nose, which, essentially, lead to his suicide.
Now, Saul Goodman had no way of knowing his brother was going to kill himself, but the fact that he then used his brother's death to later be re-admitted as a lawyer? It was a stone-cold moment that makes me think that while Saul is a good person, his need to win can absolutely make him come off as evil. It's possibly his best quality on Better Call Saul, as well as his worst. It's what makes me think he's a survivor, and that he'll ultimately come out on top when this series finally comes to an end.
Better Call Saul's final season is set to air on AMC in 2022. That means viewers still have some time to go before its premiere, and plenty of time to find new shows to love in the meantime. To see what's on tap in the coming months, check out our 2021 Summer TV schedule.
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Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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