Vince Gilligan was getting ready to close his “Breaking Bad” world … again.,
He’d already done this once, wrapping up “Breaking Bad” in 2013. He killed the main character and saved his colleague, drawing lots of praise and some dismay.
Now he’s at it again. At 9 p.m. Monday (Aug. 15) on AMC — rerunning at 10:38 — the acclaimed “Better Call Saul” (shown here) has its series finale. Did he feel pressure to do it right?
“If we don’t win the Nobel Prize for this, I’ll be highly disappointed,” he joked to the Television Critics Association.
It has to be done well, because viewers get deeply involved with these characters. “I’m just delighted that people still get emotional” about it, Gilligan said.
In this case, viewers already know some of the answers. Since this is a prequel, they know that Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) transformed into Saul, working with the “Breaking Bad” guys, and later (via flashforwards) into Gene. They also know that his wife Kim (Rhea Seehorn) wasn’t around for “Breaking Bad.” Recent episodes saw her leave him – “it was never that she didn’t love him,” Seehorn said – and ending up with a new life in Florida.
Gilligan wrapped her story with the Aug. 8 episode, which he wrote and directed. Then Peter Gould wrote and directed the finale, with Jimmy/Saul/Gene at a low point.
The character had kept making mis-steps; Gould sees the effect when he watches the show with his wife: “She’ll say, ‘No, Jimmy, no!’ That’s when I know I’ve done my job.”
Odenkirk was also shocked by the guy he played. “It’s maybe not the greatest instinct, but I wanted him to do the right things.”
Instead, Jimmy often went wrong. By last week’s episode, Gene was stealing massively. “That was just unhinged,” Odenkirk said. “It had no reason at all.”
Odenkirk is basically a comedy guy. Gilligan liked his work in the brilliant “Mr. Show” sketch show, asked him to do a few “Breaking Bad” episodes, then created something that, Odenkirk said, mixes “pure comedy and pure drama” in one hour.
The result has seven current Emmy nominations, including best drama and nods for Odenkirk and Seehorn. It wraps up a world — “Bad,” “Saul” and the “El Camino” movie – that totals 137 hours.
It has prospered … after a slow start. “The first couple years of ‘Breaking Bad,’” Gould said, “I thought: ‘This is the greatest show ever.’ But people weren’t watching.”
Now they are. And they’re bracing for the “Saul” finale.