Spoiler alert: Do not read unless you’ve watched the season-one finale of “Better Call Saul.”
The season one finale of “Better Call Saul” saw Jimmy McGill turn his back on a lucrative job offer, heading off to points unknown. Bob Odenkirk talked to Variety about the fate of everyone’s favorite elder-care lawyer — and what he wants to see in season two.
Jimmy says, “I know what stopped me and it’s never stopping me again” as he drives off. What do you think “it” is?
The approval of his brother and wanting his approval. That’s what I think. It’s accepting the judgment of other people on him. Looking outside of him for clues for what’s right for you: Does it get the approval of the people around you, instead of does it resonate in your own heart?
So where is he going? Now what?
“Now what?” is the question hanging at the end of the tenth episode in a good way. We’ve seen clues. I’m just like you. I don’t know anything about what’s going to happen next, and I like it that way. All season long, we’ve seen him gathering notions that will become Saul Goodman, from hanging out in that tailoring shop and looking at the ties and shirts, to hearing him call himself Saul Goodman as a part of the scam that he was doing. For me, total guess, he goes into a soul-searching mode. Not even doing law. He goes on a spirit walk in the desert with peyote and comes back, gets the suit on and becomes Saul Goodman. And we get to watch him have fun being Saul Goodman for a whole season. And maybe by doing so, rubbing it in his brother’s face. And maybe, hooking up with the wonderful Kim. And yet somehow finding revenge unsatisfying. A fan wrote to me and said in the Omaha scene, where he is in his sad little condo watching his old commercial, he has a little bit of a smile. He is definitely feeling melancholy, but he has a little bit of a smile. It made me think that being Saul Goodman must have been kind of fun. And that resonated with me, that when he becomes Saul Goodman, whether it’s the beginning of next season or the end of the next, that he does feel unshackled from his own expectations from himself and his desires to please his brother. That he has just a damn good time. Maybe a nefarious one, not an entirely above-board one. I wouldn’t mind seeing that.
We never saw the other side of Saul Goodman, his home life.
I would love to see a scene or two or a story that plays out parallel to “Breaking Bad.” Because I do think when Walter White walks out the door of Saul Goodman’s office, we really had no idea where Saul’s life went to, and what he did. I had this whole backstory that he was banging strippers and having his heart broken and indulging himself at every opportunity. But now that we know Jimmy, maybe that’s not the case. Maybe even as Saul Goodman, he’s trying to build something and dealing with a more dimensional life than I was ascribing to him.
Is Jimmy done with Chuck? Can their relationship be fixed?
I hope he’s not, because I love working with Michael McKean. But I don’t think it can be fixed. I do think that depending on what happens to Chuck, the two brothers can reconnect and acknowledge that they care about each other and love each other and that they’re victims of their own egos. The challenge is in being human. I do think they can reconnect for sure. I just don’t know… when people say words like “fixed,” there’s always going to be a deep shadow of pain cast by what happened in the first season, that inability of Chuck to believe in his younger brother and give him a chance to be respected. I think that’s never going to go away. Those wounds don’t ever go away. There’s scar tissue.
He and Mike have bonded, though.
Interesting, right? I’ve known people in my life who are noodges. They’re just used to being told every couple of weeks, to cut the s–t out. Saul is like that in regards to Mike. If he lets this personality that he has flower, and he sprays the world with this character, he also knows that a guy like Mike has a low tolerance for it and every once in a while Mike is going to grab him by the neck and say “cut the s–t.” I think Saul Goodman might be one of those guys who’s very conscious of the energy he’s putting out. He’s enjoying it. He finds it organic to himself and yet also knows that it grates on people and that it’s kind of artificial. He doesn’t need to be like that. He’s letting himself be like that.
Do you want Jimmy to get together with Kim?
I have mixed feelings. I want him to get together with her. But if she can’t support him… I love Rhea Seehorn, but I don’t like the character seeking so much approval from people who aren’t giving it to him. At a certain point you want that person to have some dignity and walk away from people who aren’t going to get behind him.
How do you feel now compared the beginning of the season? You were worried then about how the show was going to be received.
I can’t believe how it played out. I can’t believe how open people have been to this interesting personal and somewhat curious story. I would not have predicted that the audience would have been as open-minded and supportive as they have been. We have these stories that are complex and delicate, that take weeks to play out, and people are really enjoying and investing in them. The audience has the patience for it. It’s amazing. I underestimated people a lot. I think it was to protect myself. I’m astounded.
How much do you think it’s a richer experience for them for having watched “Breaking Bad”?
It’s true in real life, too. How often do you judge somebody and then learn something about their past? Or learn something about their personal life and it changes completely your probably more shallow judgment on first meeting them. Or even sometimes working with someone, knowing them for years. It happens all the time for me. I think that’s what you see play out with the revelations of who Jimmy McGill who is, the guy who created Saul Goodman.
Are you hoping for “Breaking Bad” cast cameos in season two?
I hope to God that happens. It’s so nice to hear the positive willingness of Aaron Paul and Dean Norris to consider that.
What did you think of the “Better Call Saul” finale and season one as a whole? Share your reactions below.