Better Call Saul (season 6)

Last updated

Better Call Saul
Season 6
Better Call Saul season 6.jpg
Promotional poster
Starring
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes13
Release
Original network AMC
AMC+
Original releaseApril 18 (2022-04-18) 
August 15, 2022 (2022-08-15)
Season chronology
 Previous
Season 5
List of episodes

The sixth and final season of the AMC television series Better Call Saul premiered on April 18, 2022, in the United States, and concluded on August 15, 2022. The thirteen-episode season was broadcast on Mondays at 9:00 pm (Eastern) in the United States on AMC and its streaming service AMC+. Each episode was released on Netflix the day after in certain international markets. The season was split into two parts; the first consisting of the first seven episodes concluded on May 23, 2022, before resuming with the second half consisting of the final six episodes on July 11. Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Michael Mando, Tony Dalton, and Giancarlo Esposito reprise their roles from previous seasons. Better Call Saul is a spin-off, prequel and sequel of Breaking Bad created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould.

Contents

The sixth season picks up where the fifth left off. The first nine episodes mainly take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2004, four years before Jimmy McGill (Odenkirk) begins his association with Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). The season shows the further evolution of Jimmy into the eponymous character, criminal defense lawyer "Saul Goodman", as he and his wife Kim Wexler (Seehorn) execute their plan to ruin the career of Howard Hamlin (Fabian) to force a resolution of the Sandpiper case. Simultaneously, it depicts the drug cartel's reactions to the assassination attempt on Lalo Salamanca (Dalton). The remaining episodes mainly take place in 2010, after the events of Breaking Bad, and show Saul living in Omaha, Nebraska under the alias "Gene Takavic", hiding from the authorities after the demise of associate Walter White.

The sixth season was filmed over a period of eleven months in Albuquerque. Upon release, it received universal acclaim from critics, particularly for its performances, writing, visuals, emotional weight, and similarity to Breaking Bad compared to earlier seasons. The first half received four nominations at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, including for Outstanding Drama Series.

Cast and characters

Main

Recurring

Guests

Production

Development

Co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould.jpg
Co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould

In January 2020, AMC renewed Better Call Saul for a sixth and final season. Showrunner Peter Gould and AMC representatives confirmed it would consist of 13 episodes, [1] higher than the usual 10. [7] This brought the series' total episode count to 63, one more than its predecessor Breaking Bad . Gould stated, "From the beginning when we started this, I think all our hopes and dreams were to be able to tell the whole story ... and make it to be a complete story from beginning to end ... We're going to try like hell to stick the landing of these 63 episodes." [1] Giancarlo Esposito had previously speculated in April 2019 that the series would end with a sixth season because it was the "comfortable way" to do so, similar to how Breaking Bad's fifth and final season was split into two halves, giving the feeling that the latter half was the sixth season. [8] Gould said he initially doubted how he could do 13 episodes because the 10-episode count of previous seasons proved physically exhausting for him, but executive producer and writer Thomas Schnauz convinced him to go for 13, saying, "You'll know it's the last 13 so you'll see the barn in the distance. You'll be like the horse that gallops down the last bit." [9]

Writing

In February 2020, Gould suggested the sixth season would explore Saul Goodman's flashforwards as Gene Takavic to a greater extent than previous seasons. [10] By April 2020, scripting for the season had already begun. Gould did not want the season to be anticlimactic, so, to deliver a satisfactory conclusion to Better Call Saul, he brought co-creator Vince Gilligan, who also created Breaking Bad, back to the writer's room "for a good chunk of the season". [4] Gilligan had not been involved in the writers' room since early in season three. [11] By December 2020, scripting was still not complete, with Gould saying the writers having to communicate through Zoom, rather than in person, was like "trying to dance in quick sand". [12]

Gould later said the season would explore if there was any way for Saul to earn redemption after his criminal activities throughout the series. [13] During filming of the season, series star Bob Odenkirk said that Gould told him that "when Better Call Saul is done it will shed new light ... you will see Breaking Bad and the story of Breaking Bad in a different way", comparing to its final season where Gilligan had "start[ed] knocking things down and start[ed] lighting fires and burning everything down". [14]

Casting

A noted fan of the series, Carol Burnett portrays Marion during the Gene timeline beginning with the episode "Nippy". Carol Burnett 2014.jpg
A noted fan of the series, Carol Burnett portrays Marion during the Gene timeline beginning with the episode "Nippy".

Laura Fraser, who portrayed Lydia Rodarte-Quayle in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, confirmed after the announcement of the premiere date that she was unable to reprise her role for the final season. This was due to COVID-19 restrictions preventing travel between the United States and Scotland, where she lived when the final season began filming. [15] Prior to the season premiere, it was announced that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul would reprise their roles from Breaking Bad for the final season as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, respectively. [16]

During the mid-season break, it was announced that the latter half of the season would feature Carol Burnett in the role of Marion, although details about the character were not disclosed. [17] It was also revealed that the character of Jeff, the cab driver who recognized Saul in Omaha, had been recast from Don Harvey to Pat Healy. Fans theorized this was due to Harvey's filming commitments on We Own This City . [18] [19] Harvey later expressed disappointment in not being able to reprise the role due to scheduling conflicts, but praised Healy for making the character his own. [20]

Filming

COVID-19 delays

In April 2020, Michael Mando and Tony Dalton separately said filming was scheduled to begin that September, but both were unsure if it would be delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. [5] [21] Rhea Seehorn said in July that filming would not begin until it was safe to do so. [22] In August, producer Mark Johnson said the pandemic could limit where the series films by eschewing specific indoor locations: "Like a lot of other people, we're going to have to be very creative in where and how we shoot [...] A lot of places just won't let you in [...] We don't want everything to be a chamber piece". [23] In the same month, Gould said filming was unlikely to start in 2020 due to the pandemic, adding that while Sony Pictures Television was doing "everything humanly" possible for the series to resume filming safely, "I think we are probably going to delay a little bit unfortunately." [24] In October, Esposito said filming would begin in March 2021, [25] which was echoed by Odenkirk in February 2021. [26]

Filming officially began on March 10, 2021, in New Mexico. [27] [28] Each episode was expected to take about three weeks to film, a longer filming schedule compared to previous seasons, where a typical episode was filmed in nine days. [14] [29] Cranston and Paul were flown in to Albuquerque and filmed their scenes in April 2021. [30] Their roles were kept in absolutely secrecy, with both actors kept out of sight when not on set, similar to Cranston's cameo in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie . [31] They stayed in Alburquerque for four days at an Airbnb, with all wardrobe and makeup done in the home and only leaving to be taken on site to shoot. [32] They appeared in one scene together as well as one individual scene each. [33] The Cinnabon scenes in Better Call Saul are set in Omaha, but are filmed at the Cottonwood Mall in Albuquerque, New Mexico. [34] Production was predicted to last roughly eight months, but filming instead wrapped after eleven months on February 9, 2022. [35] [36]

Additional filming was done in March 2022, after principal photography for the series ended, for the opening teaser of "Point and Shoot". With several crew members but no cast members on hand, the scene was filmed in Leo Carrillo State Beach, California. This was the only time the series was filmed outside of New Mexico. [37] :1:00:01–1:01:29 [38]

Odenkirk's on-set collapse

"We were shooting a scene, we'd been shooting all day, and luckily I didn't go back to my trailer. I went to play the Cubs game and ride my workout bike, and I just went down. Rhea said I started turning bluish-gray right away."

 —Bob Odenkirk [39]

On July 27, 2021, after filming a "Point and Shoot" scene for twelve hours, Odenkirk was riding his exercise bike when he suffered a heart attack. [40] [41] Seehorn, Fabian, and Dalton were nearby and immediately called for help upon seeing him collapse. [42] :48:43–54:10 [43] The shows health safety supervisor Rosa Estrada and Assistant Director Angie Meyer administered CPR and deployed an automated defibrillator; it took three attempts for his pulse to return. Odenkirk was rushed to Presbyterian Hospital, where two stents were put in his body to relieve plaque buildup. [44] [45] [46] Odenkirk was treated without further surgery and took a five-week break from filming, requiring production to make accommodating schedule changes. [40] [47] In mid-August, Dalton said scenes not involving Odenkirk were being filmed, but Odenkirk had not yet been given clearance to return. [48] Odenkirk confirmed by early September 2021 that he was back on set filming. [49]

Averted IATSE strike

In October 2021, a potential strike by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) would have resulted in all productions in the New Mexico film and television industry shutting down, including Better Call Saul. [50] Odenkirk, Gould, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and several members of the New Mexico state legislature voiced their support for the IATSE and for creating better working conditions for the unionized crew members. [51] [52] [53] On October 16, 2021, a tentative agreement was made before the deadline between the IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, temporarily averting a strike. [54] The contract was ratified by the IATSE members on November 15, 2021, ending all prospects of a strike and allowing production to continue without interruption. [55]

Episodes

Better Call Saul season 6 episodes
No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
Part 1
511"Wine and Roses" Michael Morris Peter Gould April 18, 2022 (2022-04-18)1.42 [56]
In a flashforward, police seize personal property from Saul Goodman's mansion, including his white Cadillac. As a cabinet is loaded onto a truck, a drawer opens and Kim's souvenir tequila bottle stopper falls to the ground. In 2004, Gus arranges for Nacho to hide at a motel. Juan Bolsa tells Gus that Nacho aided in killing Lalo and that the cartel has placed a bounty on him. Jimmy and Kim begin their plan to force a resolution of the Sandpiper case by discrediting Howard. Kim surveils Howard and Cliff Main during a round of golf, while Jimmy sneaks into the club locker room to plant a bag resembling cocaine in Howard's locker. Lalo arrives at the home of his tenants Sylvia and Mateo, kills them, and moves Mateo's body to his home to be identified as his. Lalo lets Hector know he is alive and that he believes Gus orchestrated the attack, and Hector advises him to find proof. Lalo realizes the evidence is not in the United States and abandons his plan to sneak across the border.
522"Carrot and Stick" Vince Gilligan Thomas Schnauz & Ariel LevineApril 18, 2022 (2022-04-18)1.16 [56]
Gus's men replace Nacho's safe with a duplicate, into which Mike places Nacho's cash and fake Canadian ID along with an envelope. Gus and Bolsa promise Hector they will avenge Lalo, but Hector's demeanor convinces Gus that Lalo is alive. Bolsa breaks into the duplicate safe at Nacho's house and finds the envelope, which contains details of an offshore bank account as well as the motel's phone number. The Cousins arrive at the motel to capture Nacho, but he escapes after a shootout. Gus orders Nacho's father, Manuel, taken hostage to force Nacho to give up his location; Mike refuses, prompting a standoff with Gus and Tyrus. Nacho calls Mike asking to speak to Gus. Jimmy meets the Kettlemans at their fraudulent tax preparation service and cons them into believing they have grounds for a lawsuit against Howard. They reject his services and instead ask Cliff Main to sue for ineffective counsel over Howard's alleged cocaine usage during Craig's embezzlement case, but he refuses. Kim then coerces the Kettlemans into returning the tax money and remaining silent about Howard. They leave, with an unknown person following them.
533"Rock and Hard Place" Gordon Smith Gordon SmithApril 25, 2022 (2022-04-25)1.16 [57]
Nacho's truck is damaged from the firefight with the Cousins, forcing him to hide. The next day, he arrives at a mechanic's shop, contacts his father, then calls Gus and offers to surrender if his father is protected. Jimmy and Kim plot to obtain a duplicate of Howard's car but realize that obtaining access to the car itself is more feasible. With Lalo's fake identity being exposed, prosecutor Suzanne Ericsen connects Jimmy to Lalo and asks Kim to persuade Jimmy to reveal information about Lalo. Gus arranges for Nacho to be smuggled into the U.S., while Nacho and Mike enact Gus's plan to absolve Gus from blame for Lalo's death. Jimmy and Kim work with Huell to obtain duplicates of Howard's car key and remote unlock button. Mike takes a firing position with his rifle to monitor Nacho's execution by the cartel. Nacho lies about his efforts to kill Lalo for the Alvarez drug family, but tells the truth about his attempt to kill Hector. Rather than feign escape so Victor can kill him, Nacho uses a piece of broken glass to free himself, then kills himself with Bolsa's gun.
544"Hit and Run" Rhea Seehorn Ann CherkisMay 2, 2022 (2022-05-02)1.16 [58]
Kim meets with Cliff Main at a coffee shop while Jimmy, disguised himself as Howard, takes his car. He picks up Wendy from a motel, then pretends to force her out of the car while driving past the shop, making it appear as if Howard is harassing prostitutes. While dropping off Wendy, Kim notices a car following her. Jimmy discovers that defending Lalo has made him disliked among his colleagues, but improved his reputation, with local criminals wanting his representation. After being kicked out of the nail salon for attracting high traffic, Jimmy scouts a new office. While meeting a pro bono client, Kim again spots the car that is following her and confronts the driver. Mike reveals that the people following her work for him, and tells her Lalo is alive and monitoring anyone he may contact. Kim, disturbed, meets with Jimmy at the potential location of his new office and approves of it, but does not reveal her conversation with Mike. Gus uses a neighboring home connected to his via a tunnel system as an operations center where his men use Mike’s supervision monitors to try and find Lalo.
555"Black and Blue"Melissa BernsteinAlison TatlockMay 9, 2022 (2022-05-09)1.22 [59]
Kim and Gus both remain paranoid about Lalo. Jimmy rehires Francesca as his assistant. Viola tells Kim that Rand Casimiro will arbitrate the Sandpiper case. Howard persuades the Sandpiper clients not to settle. Cliff confronts Howard about his apparent cocaine and prostitution habits; Howard realizes Jimmy is sabotaging him. Howard challenges Jimmy to a boxing match. Howard wins and tells Jimmy he hopes this ends their dispute but later asks a private investigator to begin watching Jimmy. Gus hides a handgun on an excavator at the site of his planned meth lab. Using an alias, Lalo tracks down Werner Ziegler's widow Margarethe at a bar in Germany and attempts to obtain information about Werner. The next morning, Lalo breaks into Margarethe's home and finds a gift from Casper, a member of Werner's construction crew. Margarethe returns home unexpectedly but Lalo succeeds in escaping unseen.
566"Axe and Grind" Giancarlo Esposito Ariel LevineMay 16, 2022 (2022-05-16)1.13 [60]
Howard's private investigator reports that Jimmy and Kim are keeping a regular routine, except for a recent cash withdrawal. Jimmy and Kim procure a drug from Dr. Caldera for use in their scheme against Howard. Caldera says he is retiring from crime and shows Jimmy and Kim his encrypted book of criminal contacts. Jimmy and his camera crew photograph an actor impersonating Casimiro. Cliff invites Kim to Santa Fe to meet representatives of a foundation that finances projects similar to her pro bono criminal defense work, which coincides with the day she and Jimmy will execute their plan against Howard. Jimmy encourages her to go but later spots Casimiro, whose arm is broken. Alerting Kim, she cancels her Santa Fe plans and drives back to Albuquerque. In Germany, Lalo finds Casper; he gains the upper hand in an ensuing struggle and interrogates him for information on Werner's project.
577"Plan and Execution"Thomas SchnauzThomas SchnauzMay 23, 2022 (2022-05-23)1.19 [61]
On the day of the Sandpiper settlement conference, Jimmy and Kim hastily reshoot their photos with the actor impersonating Casimiro, then pass them to Howard's private investigator, who is actually working for them. Howard ingests Caldera's drug upon contact with the photos and embarrasses himself at the conference by appearing manic and falsely accusing Casimiro of accepting a bribe. Howard and Cliff are forced to settle the Sandpiper case for less than they wanted. Lalo surveils Gus's laundry, realizing he has built a hidden meth lab. Calling Hector, he tells Hector he will attack Gus that night after realizing Gus's men monitored his call. Mike alerts Gus and redirects his security teams to protect Gus, leaving Kim and Jimmy’s place unprotected. Howard deduces that Jimmy and Kim plotted his character assassination and confronts them at their apartment. Lalo arrives soon afterward, intending to interrogate Jimmy and Kim. Kim urges Howard to leave, but Lalo kills him with a gunshot to his head.
Part 2
588"Point and Shoot"Vince GilliganGordon SmithJuly 11, 2022 (2022-07-11)1.16 [62]
Lalo provides Jimmy with instructions to arrive at Gus's house and shoot him. Jimmy convinces Lalo to send Kim instead for her safety. Lalo then ties Jimmy to a chair and leaves. Kim is apprehended at Gus's front door by Mike, to whom she explains the situation. Mike orders his men to their apartment. When Kim says Lalo agreed to her switching places with Jimmy, Gus deduces that the shooting attempt is a diversion and drives to the laundry. Lalo ambushes Gus and kills his bodyguards, then forces Gus to show him the lab on a video for Don Eladio. Gus triggers a power outage and kills Lalo with the handgun he previously hid, though he is wounded. Mike and his men remove Howard's body from Jimmy's and Kim's apartment and stage his death to look like a suicide. Mike tells the two never to disclose the events, advising them to continue adhering to their story that Howard was a cocaine addict. Mike then supervises the burial of Howard’s and Lalo’s bodies in Gus’s underground lab.
599"Fun and Games"Michael MorrisAnn CherkisJuly 18, 2022 (2022-07-18)1.22 [63]
Gus convinces the cartel that he was not responsible for Lalo's death, despite Hector's accusations. Eladio grants the Salamancas the South Valley while giving Gus the territory north of it, under Bolsa's supervision. Gus later goes to a wine bar and converses with its sommelier, but cuts the outing short and orders construction on the lab to resume. Mike visits Manuel Varga to inform him of Nacho's death and tells him he will protect him, but Manuel disapproves, dismissing his offer of protection as a revenge plot, and tells him he is no different from his associated criminals. At Howard's memorial, Jimmy and Kim learn that HHM is downsizing and rebranding, and Kim lies to Howard's widow Cheryl about his alleged addiction. Kim relinquishes her law license and leaves Jimmy, telling him that, even though she loves him, they are bad for each other. An unspecified amount of time later, Jimmy has fully embraced his Saul Goodman image – he is living in a mansion and driving a Cadillac DeVille, and he has given his office a new look: the same tacky style in which it appears in Breaking Bad.
6010"Nippy" Michelle MacLaren Alison TatlockJuly 25, 2022 (2022-07-25)1.20 [64]
In Omaha in 2010, Jimmy, now using his Gene Takavic alias, befriends Marion, the elderly mother of Jeff, a cab driver who had recognized him as Saul Goodman. [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 2] Gene confronts Jeff and offers to let him into "the game". He trains Jeff and his partner Buddy in robbing a department store at the mall where he works. Gene does his part by befriending and distracting the mall's security guards with cinnamon rolls and small talk, while Jeff steals expensive merchandise under a strict time limit. However, Jeff trips on a slippery floor and hits his head; Gene gains him extra time by feigning an emotional breakdown to distract the security guard. The three get away with thousands of dollars in stolen goods, but Gene warns Jeff and Buddy to avoid him in the future, threatening to turn them in to the authorities – even if it means getting caught himself. Energized by the robbery’s success, Gene finds a Goodman-style suit in the department store, but then wistfully leaves without purchasing it.
6111"Breaking Bad"Thomas SchnauzThomas SchnauzAugust 1, 2022 (2022-08-01)1.34 [66]
In flashbacks to 2008 in Albuquerque, Saul takes on Walter White and Jesse Pinkman as clients, deducing the former to be "Heisenberg" – the chemist behind the high-purity blue methamphetamine being sold on the streets. Mike informs Saul that Walt has terminal lung cancer and cautions Saul against helping him, but Saul nonetheless decides to visit Walt in his high school classroom to propose a partnership. In 2010, Gene calls Francesca, who tells him that the FBI has seized most of his assets and that Kim asked about him. Gene attempts to reach Kim in Florida, but the call emotionally upsets him. Gene then enlists Jeff and Buddy for a new con in which Gene gets the victim drunk, Jeff drives him home while giving him water laced with barbiturates, and Buddy enters his home to photograph IDs, credit cards, and financial records to sell for profit. After a string of successful cons, their latest target reveals he has cancer, causing Buddy to back out; Gene fires him and forces Jeff to drive him to the man's home, where he breaks in.
6212"Waterworks"Vince GilliganVince GilliganAugust 8, 2022 (2022-08-08)1.32 [67]
In a flashback, Kim meets with Saul to finalize their divorce and has an encounter with Jesse outside his office. In 2010 she gets a call from Gene in Florida at her sprinkler manufacturer job, where she asks him to turn himself in and hangs up when he refuses. Guilt-stricken, she travels to Albuquerque and gives Howard’s wife, Cheryl, a copy of an affidavit she’s supplied to the DA, which lays out her and Jimmy's destruction of Howard's reputation and the circumstances of his death. Afterward, she has an emotional breakdown on the bus. Gene narrowly escapes the cancer-stricken man's house after he wakes up. Jeff is arrested and blamed for the burglary after he panics and runs into another car when a police car idles behind him, forcing Gene to enlist Marion to help him get out on bail. Suspicious, Marion uses the new computer Jeff bought her with the department store money to search for Gene's true identity on Ask Jeeves, and calls the authorities with her Life Alert button when Gene tries to intimidate her, forcing him to flee.
6313"Saul Gone"Peter GouldPeter GouldAugust 15, 2022 (2022-08-15)1.80 [68]
In separate flashbacks, Saul asks Mike and Walter about their regrets; another flashback shows Chuck asking Jimmy whether he ever considered a different path in life. In 2010, Gene is caught and arrested, enlisting former rival Bill Oakley as his co-counsel and negotiating a deal for only seven years in prison, claiming to be a victim of Walt's schemes. He also offers to confess to Howard's death, only to learn that Kim has already done so. Saul is extradited to Albuquerque for his trial and lies about new testimony involving Kim to get her to appear in court. He then admits his full involvement in Walt's empire and Chuck's suicide, and reverts to using the name James McGill; he is given an 86-year sentence. Jimmy is recognized as Saul in prison and enjoys notoriety among his fellow inmates. Kim visits him and the two share a cigarette. As she leaves, Jimmy makes their signature finger-gun gesture at her.

Broadcast

When the sixth season was ordered by AMC in January 2020, it was scheduled to premiere in 2021. [1] However, in April 2020, Gilligan said that would depend on whether the cast and crew would be able to film in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [69] In February 2021, AMC confirmed that the sixth season would likely premiere in the first quarter of 2022. [70] Gould's preference was to have all 13 episodes of the sixth season aired weekly and not for the season to be split in any manner; however, he noted that only AMC would decide the scheduling. [71] In early November 2021, Variety reported that the season would air over two halves, [72] which was confirmed on the official announcement date in February 2022. The first seven episodes began airing on April 18, 2022, and the last six episodes aired starting July 11, 2022, with a seven-week break in between both halves. [73] This was a shorter break compared to the split final season of Breaking Bad, where the two halves aired a year apart. [74] The split allowed the show to nominate each half of the season for different Emmy Awards ceremonies, as the first half was eligible for the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2022, while eligibility for the next year's ceremony began in June. [75] Gould said they did not know the season would be split into two parts until AMC announced it. [76]

The season premiere screened early for fans who attended PaleyFest in Los Angeles on April 9, 2022. [77] The mid-season premiere received an early screening during Tribeca Festival in New York on June 18, 2022. [78]

Each episode would air on AMC at 9:00 pm (ET) on Mondays, with the first two episodes premiering back-to-back on the same night. During the season's run, each episode would be available to stream the day they premiered on AMC+, AMC's streaming service which first launched in June 2020. [79] [80] The season premiere resulted in the biggest day of new subscriber sign-ups for AMC+, and by the mid-season finale episodic viewership on the streaming service rose by 61%. [79] [81] During the release of the series finale on AMC+, the app experienced an outage, causing many users to be logged out. [82] AMC later reported that first-day viewing numbers for the finale on AMC+ was four times as big as the season premiere, and called the series' final season the highest acquisition driver in the history of the streaming service. [83]

In certain international markets, like previous seasons, episodes were released on Netflix and other streaming services the day after their broadcast on AMC. [84]

Reception

Critical response

The sixth season of Better Call Saul has received universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 99% based on 174 reviews, with an average rating of 9.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Better Call Saul remains as masterfully in control as Jimmy McGill keeps insisting he is in this final season, where years of simmering storytelling come to a scintillating boil." [85] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 94 out of 100 based on 20 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". [86]

After the airing of the series finale, Stuart Jeffries of The Guardian said that the series had surprisingly surpassed its predecessor in quality, saying: "Over six series, Better Call Saul evolved into a more profound and beautiful drama about human corruption than its predecessor. It mutated into something visually more sumptuous than Breaking Bad , while never, for a moment, losing its verbal dexterity and moral compass". [87] Craig Elvy of Screen Rant also opined that the series was better than its predecessor, saying: "Jimmy McGill's spinoff leaves a very familiar legacy - sustained and enthusiastic praise from audiences and critics, capped by an ending that satisfies across the board." He went on to say: "When Better Call Saul began, many would've hoped the spinoff could either escape Breaking Bad's shadow, or somehow enhance Walt and Jesse's story with illuminating new details. Few dared dream Better Call Saul would achieve both, and the sheer ambition to create a spinoff that wholly embraces its predecessor whilst also existing in a totally different realm exemplifies why Better Call Saul has an ever-so-slight edge over Breaking Bad." [88]

Better Call Saul (season 6): Critical reception by episode

Season 6 (2022): Percentage of positive critics' reviews tracked by the website Rotten Tomatoes [85]

Part 1

The third episode "Rock and Hard Place", which concluded Nachos arc, received acclaim by critics. Kaleena Rivera of Pajiba praised Michael Mando's display of rage and the episode's buildup to the ending. [89] The A.V. Club 's Kimberly Potts said Mando's acting was deserving of an Emmy nomination. She also compared Nacho's last words to Walter White's confession to Jesse Pinkman in the Breaking Bad episode "Ozymandias" and gave positive notes to the performances of Giancarlo Esposito and Mark Margolis and the show's development of Nacho as a compelling character. [90] David Segal of The New York Times saluted Smith's screenplay and direction and the production design. He similarly compared Nacho's life to that of Jesse's—both criminals who made "some terrible life choices" and were "over-punished for them"—adding, "It would have been great to see more of this stellar actor, but if you must leave a show, a more dramatic and affecting end is hard to imagine." [91]

The mid-season finale "Plan and Execution", which showed the culmination of Saul and Kim’s plot to ruin Howard’s career and reputation, received acclaim, particularly for Patrick Fabian's performance. Scott Tobias of Vulture and Nick Harley of Den of Geek shared five out of five ratings for the episode, while Kimberly Potts from The A.V. Club and Steve Greene from IndieWire both gave the episode an "A" grade. [92] [93] [94] [95]

Part 2

The mid-season premiere "Point and Shoot", which concluded Lalo's arc, was met with critical acclaim. It received five out of five stars from The Guardian 's Stuart Jeffries and The Times 's James Jackson, [96] [97] four out of five stars from Scott Tobias of Vulture , Nick Harley of Den of Geek, and Ed Power of The Daily Telegraph , [98] [99] [100] and "A" grades from The A.V. Club's Kimberly Potts, IndieWire 's Steve Greene, and Entertainment Weekly 's Darren Franich. [101] [102] [103]

The series finale "Saul Gone" received critical acclaim. Giving the episode an A grade, Kimberly Potts of The A.V. Club called it a "supremely satisfying sendoff" with "blasts from the past and one last twist". [104] At IGN , Rafael Motamayor gave the episode a 10 out of 10 rating, describing it as a "subtler character study, exploring regrets and change in its protagonist". He also noted the episode title and complimented it for being "a thematic bookend on a show that was never really about Saul Goodman" and highlighted the motif of time machines. [105] Similarly, Vulture's Jen Chaney also discussed the motif of time machines in the episode, and commended it for offering more depth and context to Breaking Bad, and felt the series was superior to Breaking Bad, as it "dared to widen its scope and go bigger than Breaking Bad ever did". In addition, the website's Scott Tobias gave it a 5 out of 5 rating and wrote, "'Saul Gone' [...] finds an ending for Jimmy that's hopeful and authentic without feeling rosy or unearned." [106]

Ratings

Viewership and ratings per episode of Better Call Saul
No.TitleAir date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1"Wine and Roses"April 18, 20220.311.42 [56] TBDTBDTBDTBD
2"Carrot and Stick"April 18, 20220.241.16 [56] TBDTBDTBDTBD
3"Rock and Hard Place"April 25, 20220.261.16 [57] TBDTBDTBDTBD
4"Hit and Run"May 2, 20220.271.16 [58] TBDTBDTBDTBD
5"Black and Blue"May 9, 20220.261.22 [59] TBDTBDTBDTBD
6"Axe and Grind"May 16, 20220.281.13 [60] TBDTBDTBDTBD
7"Plan and Execution"May 23, 20220.261.19 [61] TBDTBDTBDTBD
8"Point and Shoot"July 11, 20220.281.16 [62] TBDTBDTBDTBD
9"Fun and Games"July 18, 20220.271.22 [63] TBDTBDTBDTBD
10"Nippy"July 25, 20220.291.20 [64] TBDTBDTBDTBD
11"Breaking Bad"August 1, 20220.361.34 [66] TBDTBDTBDTBD
12"Waterworks"August 8, 20220.321.32 [67] TBDTBDTBDTBD
13"Saul Gone"August 15, 20220.471.80 [68] TBDTBDTBDTBD

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations received by the sixth season of Better Call Saul
AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s)ResultRef.
TCA Awards August 6, 2022 Program of the Year Better Call Saul Nominated [107] [108]
Outstanding Achievement in Drama Nominated
Individual Achievement in Drama Bob Odenkirk Nominated
Rhea Seehorn Nominated
Hollywood Critics Association Awards August 13, 2022 Best Cable Network Series, DramaBetter Call SaulWon [lower-alpha 3] [109] [110]
Best Actor in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, DramaBob OdenkirkWon
Best Supporting Actor in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, Drama Giancarlo Esposito Won
Jonathan Banks Nominated
Michael Mando Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Broadcast Network or Cable Series, DramaRhea SeehornWon
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards September 3–4, 2022 Outstanding Music Supervision Thomas Golubić (for "Black and Blue")Nominated [111]
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) Nick Forshager, Kathryn Madsen, Jane Boegel, Matt Temple, Marc Glassman, Jeff Cranford, Jason Tregoe Newman, Gregg Barbanell and Alex Ullrich (for "Carrot and Stick")Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) Larry Benjamin, Kevin Valentine and Philip W. Palmer (for "Carrot and Stick")Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards September 12, 2022 Outstanding Drama Series Better Call SaulNominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Bob Odenkirk(for "Plan and Execution")Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Rhea Seehorn(for "Hit and Run")Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Thomas Schnauz (for "Plan and Execution")Nominated
Saturn Awards October 25, 2022 Best Network or Cable Action/Thriller Television Series Better Call SaulPending [112]
Best Actor in a Network or Cable Television Series Bob Odenkirk Pending
Best Actress in a Network or Cable Television Series Rhea Seehorn Pending
Best Supporting Actor in a Network or Cable Television Series Jonathan Banks Pending
Tony Dalton Pending
Patrick Fabian Pending
Michael Mando Pending

Home media

The sixth season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 1 on December 6, 2022; bonus features will include cast and crew audio commentaries on every episode, deleted scenes, outtakes, and various behind-the-scenes featurettes. [113]

American Greed: James McGill

On April 1, 2022, a few weeks before the season premiere, the CNBC Prime YouTube account uploaded American Greed: James McGill. [114] Written by Peter Gould's assistant Valerie Chu, the ten-minute short is a mockumentary done in the style of the documentary series American Greed and recaps the events of both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. [115] Narrated by Stacy Keach, the mockumentary has interviews of several recurring Better Call Saul characters, including DA Suzanne Ericsen (Julie Pearl), Deputy DA Bill Oakley (Peter Diseth), and Kim Wexler's former boss Rich Schweikart (Dennis Boutsikaris). Also making reappearances are Betsy and Craig Kettleman (Julie Ann Emery and Jeremy Shamos, respectively), who had not appeared on the series since the first season, but made additional canonical appearances in the short film No Picnic , which was released after the third season, and on the Inside the Gilliverse podcast in 2020. [116] [117] The short film was shot in Albuquerque in March 2022, a year after Emery and Shamos filmed the Better Call Saul episode "Carrot and Stick". [117]

Talking Saul

Talking Saul made its return for Better Call Saul's sixth season, and aired following the mid-season finale as well as for the series' penultimate episode. [118] [119] Guests included Peter Gould, Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian for the first episode, and Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Bob Odenkirk; and Rhea Seehorn (via satellite) for the second episode. The show had been off the air since after Better Call Saul's third season. [120]

Slippin' Jimmy

Variety reported in March 2021 that AMC was developing an animated spinoff series, Slippin' Jimmy. [121] The series was later revealed as a short-form series; a six-part animated series to be released online during the sixth season of Better Call Saul. Each episode is inspired by a specific film genre — from spaghetti Westerns and Buster Keaton to The Exorcist . The series was produced by Rick and Morty animators Starburns and written by Better Call Saul writers Ariel Levine and Kathleen Williams-Foshee. Voice actors include Chi McBride, Laraine Newman, and Sean Giambrone as Jimmy. [73] Six episodes of Slippin' Jimmy, each around 8–9 minutes in length, were released on AMC+ on May 23, 2022. [122]

The series received negative reviews from fans and critics for its stark drop in quality compared to its predecessors. Mark Donaldson from Screen Rant criticized the concept, saying "the animated spinoff is being sold as a digital exclusive but this race to provide sellable content to audiences undermines storytelling ... the team behind both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul have proven themselves to be savvy storytellers that respect the journeys of their characters over cheap cash-ins. It's this integrity that makes Slippin' Jimmy feel like such a misstep." [123]

Filmmaker Training

For the sixth season, new episodes of the Better Call Saul Employee Training Video series, which had begun with the show's third season, were announced. [73]

The employee videos released during the season were titled Filmmaker Training and premiered on July 11, 2022. The series consists of six episodes and focuses on the film crew that worked with Jimmy on his advertisements. [124]

Notes

  1. Seen in the season 4 episode "Smoke". [65]
  2. Also seen in the season 5 episode "Magic Man"
  3. Tied with Succession .

Related Research Articles

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Robert John Odenkirk is an American actor, comedian and filmmaker best known for his role as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad (2008-2013) and its spin-off Better Call Saul (2015–2022), for which he has received five nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. As a producer on Better Call Saul since its premiere, he has also received six nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. He is also known for the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David (1995–1998), which he co-created and starred in with fellow comic and friend David Cross.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saul Goodman</span> Fictional character from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

James Morgan "Jimmy" McGill, better known by his business name Saul Goodman and also later by the assumed identity of Gene Takavic, is the titular protagonist of the series Better Call Saul, a spinoff of Breaking Bad in which he is also a main character. He is primarily portrayed by Bob Odenkirk, and was created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould.

<i>Better Call Saul</i> American crime drama television series

Better Call Saul is an American crime and legal drama television series created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. Part of the Breaking Bad franchise, it is a spin-off, prequel and sequel to Gilligan's previous series, Breaking Bad. Set primarily in the early-mid 2000s in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the series develops Jimmy McGill, an earnest lawyer and former con artist, into an egocentric criminal defense attorney known as Saul Goodman. Also shown is the moral decline of former police officer Mike Ehrmantraut, who becomes a violent fixer for drug traffickers to support his granddaughter and her widowed mother. The show premiered on AMC on February 8, 2015, and concluded on August 15, 2022, after six seasons consisting of 63 episodes.

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Point and Shoot (<i>Better Call Saul</i>) 8th episode of the 6th season of Better Call Saul

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Breaking Bad (<i>Better Call Saul</i>) 11th episode of the 6th season of Better Call Saul

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Waterworks (<i>Better Call Saul</i>) 12th episode of the 6th season of Better Call Saul

"Waterworks" is the twelfth and penultimate episode of the sixth season of Better Call Saul, the spin-off television series of Breaking Bad. It was written and directed by Vince Gilligan. The episode aired on AMC and AMC+ on August 8, 2022, before debuting online in certain territories on Netflix the following day. "Waterworks" primarily takes place after the events of Breaking Bad, exploring Kim Wexler's new life in Florida while continuing the story of Gene Takovic in Omaha, Nebraska.

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