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The Renegade Rip

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The Renegade Rip

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The Renegade Rip

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Saul shows that AMC still has it

The AMC follow-up to one of the most critically claimed shows ever made, “Breaking Bad,” manages to surprise fans with returning key characters and a story arch that explores events both before and after Walter White.

Although the show was written by Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan with intentions to stand on its own without having to rely heavily on success of “Breaking Bad,” it’s clear that they are not yet finished with the overall story.

The series premier opens up in black and white with a present day look at character Saul Goodman’s newly appointed life working as a cashier for a Cinnabon in Omaha, Nebraska. Now a balding alcoholic with a severe case of paranoia, Saul lives his life in the shadow of his legacy. I thought this was an intriguing way to start the series because it really does give viewers a sense that “Breaking Bad” isn’t necessarily over yet.

After reminiscing over his earlier successes as a shady defense attorney, the real story begins as we travel back in time to the beginning of everything.

The year is 2002 and good work is hard to find for small-time defense attorney, Jimmy McGill. The only paychecks Jimmy is pulling in are from being a public defender where the workload is at a maximum and the pay is at a minimum.

I love how they show a hardworking McGill doing everything in his power to make an honest living in a world that is anything but honest. Especially when we compare his character in “Better Call Saul” to his character in “Breaking Bad,” which at least in the first two episodes, are completely night and day.

After dealing with issues regarding his mentally unstable brother, Chuck, and Chuck’s law firm trying to rip him off, Jimmy finally comes to a breaking point. In other words, much like Walter White, he decides to break bad.

He sets up a scheme to have a couple of knucklehead skateboarders scam someone into becoming one of his clients. In the process of doing so, he ends up having a run-in with a one of Breaking Bad’s oldest, most feared villains, Tuco Salamanca, ending the series premier on a spectacularly high point.

In Monday night’s follow-up episode, Jimmy spends his day in the hot Albuquerque sun at gun point, in the middle of nowhere, attempting to talk his way out of a death sentence for both him and the two skateboarders he used to scam Tuco’s lovely abuelita. It was quite hilarious how the writers turned the whole scene into a courtroom as Jimmy fights for the two skateboarder’s lives as if he is their defense attorney and Tuco is the unforgiving judge. After all is said and done, Jimmy leaves Tuco and his squad of drug dealing cronies on somewhat good terms.

Although the episode was a bit long and drawn out, it was a good set-up for what’s to come in the future episodes of “Better Call Saul” and it proves once again that AMC is the still the reigning king of cable dramas.

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