I once wrote an article about five ways Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad. And, while I’m still on the fence about whether Better Call Saul is better overall than Breaking Bad (my favorite show of all time, with The Wire), I definitely think it’s safe to say that Better Call Saul will eventually go down as one of the greatest TV shows of all time with some of the best episodes ever.
Because we’ve come a long way since the show debuted back in 2015. We’ve seen “Slippin’ Jimmy" scheme and turn into Saul Goodman gradually. We’ve seen flashforwards, flashbacks, and even now have confirmation that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will eventually make an appearance on Better Call Saul. We’ve also seen some really good times, but also, some terribly difficult times for all of the characters, especially with the latest death, which has made some viewers want to stop watching the Breaking Bad prequel altogether.
Through it all, we’ve had some of the best episodes in television history with this show. That said, with 57 episodes, it’s hard to pick out the 10 best, but I’m going to try. So, here are what I think are the 10 best Better Call Saul episodes, so far. Lawyer up!
Oh, and a few minor spoilers up ahead, but I’m going to try my best to keep everything as vague as possible.
10. "Pimento" - Season 1, Episode 9
In this penultimate episode of the first season, Jimmy McGill is about to lose one of the biggest deals of his life with the Sandpiper Crossing case, which, by the way, was a case involving wrong-doing to senior citizens. Not only that, but he’s going to lose all of his clients to his own brother, Chuck. Meanwhile, Mike is getting into the swing of things as a bodyguard, this time to a dweeby guy named Daniel Wormald. Not exactly Gus Fring status, but everybody has to start somewhere, right?
The first season had a bit of a slow start (I think so, at least) but so much culminates in this episode, and a lot of it even makes its way into the final season, such as the Sandpiper case. Plus, we get to see Kim side with Jimmy, when she says that he should just take the money that he would get from handing over the Sandpiper case to HHM in order to start his own law firm. This proves that she’s been in his corner from almost the very beginning. Also I love the B story with Mike, especially when he stares down Nacho over $20. Overall, a really great episode in a somewhat rocky first season.
9. "Fall" - Season 3, Episode 9
In another penultimate episode, this one for Season 3, Jimmy finds that he’s set to get $1.16 million in the Sandpiper case if the elderly people settle. But, one of the elders, Irene, declines because the lawyers at HHM advise her that they can get her even more money, pissing off Jimmy since he knows Chuck is behind this. Meanwhile, Chuck is suing HHM for millions because he thinks he’s being ousted…which he is...by Howard.
Also, we find that Kim, who’s proven that she wasn’t to be trifled with, is taking on another major client just in case she needs to help out Jimmy, financially. These were the episodes where we all loved Kim. I’m not sure if that’s the case anymore, though.
I love how “Fall” is very much focused on the law aspect of the show, which I’ve always been more interested in than the cartel side of things. Chuck bares his fangs at somebody else besides Jimmy this time with Howard. Plus, we see the conniving, Saul side of Jimmy in this episode when he works to get everybody to hate Irene so that she settles. Overall, it’s an episode that really moves, but also takes its time. And that ending!
8. "Coushatta" - Season 4, Episode 8
Following the events of the previous episode, “Something Stupid,” where Huell gets arrested (it was great to see him again in this prequel, since we never really found out what happened to Huell after the Breaking Bad finale), Jimmy and Kim devise a hilarious plan to get him off, even creating a website that is still up to this day.
Meanwhile, Mike is trying to put out fires with the crew that is building what would eventually become Gus’s underground meth lab. He has a heart to heart with Werner, letting him know that he needs to keep his mouth shut about what they’re doing. Oh, and Lalo, who we didn’t know at that point would be Season’s 5’s big villain, makes his first appearance on the show. So, a lot goes on in this episode!
But, the highlight definitely involves Jimmy getting Huell off, as Bob Odenkirk’s southern accent is just too funny. The Mike stuff is also very compelling, as you know Werner is not going to be able to keep his mouth shut. Funny, scary, and rich with detail, “Coushatta” is everything that makes this show great!
7. "Five-O" - Season 1, Episode 6
In this first season episode, we learn a lot more about why Mike is the way he is. It all goes back to his son, as he died in a questionable way on the police force. Mike gets to the bottom of it and handles things the only way he knows how.
This is a heavy episode where Jonathan Banks acts his ass off. Mike was always an enigma on Breaking Bad, and this episode basically shows us why Mike always seemed to have a death wish on that series. I’m usually not for shows revealing too much behind the curtain when it comes to mysterious characters, but this episode felt necessary. It’s also a tear-jerker, so get ready for that.
6. "Something Unforgivable" - Season 5, Episode 10
In this final episode of Season 5, so much happens. Kim feels that Howard is being condescending to her as a professional, and she wants to orchestrate his downfall…with Jimmy by her side. Nacho is trying to get closer to Lalo and the Salamanca family for…reasons, and Mike is planning everything out in case there’s a fallout involving Lalo. Oh, and then there’s Lalo himself, who well, kills a whole bunch of assassins.
Every freaking scene in this episode is intense! This is an episode where you feel bad for pretty much everybody, but especially Nacho, because he’s in a position where you can tell he’s extremely uncomfortable. And then Lalo, well, Lalo just proves that Tuco isn’t the only dangerous Salamanca in the family. Plus, this episode set up Season 6 so well, which all season finales should ultimately do.
5. "Nailed" - Season 2, Episode 9
In yet another penultimate episode, Mike is plotting against Hector, Jimmy is plotting against Chuck, and Kim is kind of stuck in the middle of Jimmy’s and Chuck’s sibling rivalry. This is one of those everything-is-stewing-in-the-pot kind of episodes, and it’s all about to explode. But, in a lot of ways, it’s a very quiet episode, which makes it all the more startling when Chuck eventually hits his head toward the end.
This is an episode that had me literally biting my fingernails. The best part is when Chuck falls and Jimmy is there watching it all go down across the street. It definitely had me thinking about the show the entire week until the final episode of the season, which was also very good.
4. "Winner" - Season 4, Episode 10
In this last episode of Season 4, we start with a flashback of Chuck and Jimmy singing ABBA, only to see them have a tender moment. This is all juxtaposed with how callous Jimmy really is about what happened to his brother, which we don’t realize until the very end, when Jimmy truly transforms into Saul Goodman. Plus, Mike has to make a really tough decision, and follows through because, well, somebody has to do it.
This is an episode that puts you through so many emotions. Especially since like Kim, you really do think that Jimmy feels remorse for what happened to his brother, only to find out that, well, there’s a reason why Saul Goodman is often seen as a tragic character. How much of his soul is he hiding within those gaudy outfits, anyway?
3. "Bagman" - Season 5, Episode 8
In this harrowing episode directed by series co-creator Vince Gilligan, Jimmy goes out to the desert to pick up bail money for Lalo, and things go south rather quickly. Thankfully, Mike comes to the rescue, but their trip back isn’t easy. And, poor Kim worries sick about her husband, since he’s not picking up his calls. It’s probably the most intense episode of the entire series.
The episode also feels the most like Breaking Bad. Usually, I’m pretty mixed on the episodes involving the cartel, since it makes Better Call Saul feel like it doesn’t know what direction it wants to go in. Does it want to be a slow-drip legal drama that hits you hard with the character development (which is what I prefer) or, does it want to be Diet Breaking Bad.
“Bagman” works because it completely commits to what it wants to be, which is a miserable experience for Jimmy and Mike. In that way, it kind of feels like a self-contained episode, a reverse Breaking Bad “Fly” episode, if you will. All the same, it’s a masterpiece. Taut and terrifying.
2. "Plan and Execution" - Season 6, Episode 7
In the last episode to Part 1 of the final season, Kim and Jimmy’s plan to make Howard look like a big doofus comes off flawlessly, and Lalo hides in the sewers like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, plotting his revenge.
On the surface, that doesn’t sound all that compelling, but EVERYTHING comes to a head in this startling episode. I’m not sure when Kim finally broke bad, but she’s a full-on villain in this episode, and even Jimmy looks uncomfortable with how much they’re dragging Howard down. And man, I did NOT see that death coming. I honestly had trouble sleeping the night I saw it, and any show that disturbs me that much over a fictional character has definitely done its job.
1. "Chicanery" - Season 3, Episode 5
Chuck faces Jimmy in court. Jimmy looks like he’s losing, as this is a regular David vs. Goliath situation, but then…well, then we get one of the greatest moments in television history, which I won’t ruin here.
This is the embodiment of what I always wanted this show to be. No cartel stuff, just straight up law, and Saul being his oiliest. Jimmy McGill is the kind of guy who doesn’t want to, but if he has to, he’ll throw his own brother underneath the bus, and I’ll just leave it at that. “Chicanery” is the best episode of Better Call Saul, and it’s not even close.
But, what do you think? What’s your favorite episode? For more news on Better Call Saul, make sure to swing by here often!
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.