When it comes to "Better Call Saul," don't call him Saul.
You won't find anyone uttering the name "Saul Goodman" in the first three episodes of AMC's "Breaking Bad" spinoff — at least not in the way you would expect, and even then, you'll miss it if you blink. Instead, creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould's new show centers on a man named Jimmy McGill, a struggling attorney with deep pride in his own name. How this down-on-his-luck attorney transforms himself into one of the most reliable fixtures on Albuquerque television sets across the city remains to be seen, but that's exactly why "Better Call Saul" exists.
With the show's premiere still a couple of weeks away, it's too early to spill too many beans on Jimmy's adventures, what he's up to, and who he's running into. But there are some secrets and teases we can spill — but proceed with caution, if you want to remain completely in the dark about the man on the road to becoming Saul Goodman. It's your call.
The future Saul Goodman is a serious man.
Serious about his line of work, serious about getting things right, serious about money — and seriously pathetic. Like Walter White at the start of "Breaking Bad," Jimmy McGill is at a low when we meet him. He's a laughing stock in his professional community, the one person he needs on his side refuses to play ball, and the only way to catch a break is to take a big, crazy risk. One guess as to whether or not that risk pays off.
Color theory is alive and well.
One of the most entertaining aspects of "Breaking Bad" was the need to keep your eye on how the show played with color. Whenever someone wore pink, be it Walter or little Holly, you had to wonder what it meant, and what was going to happen next. In the case of "Better Call Saul," one color has emerged immediately: Orange is the new pink. Whether it's orange soap, orange hair, or an orange car-door, the unrhymable color is everywhere. Like the orange itself, keep your eyes peeled to track its meaning.
Hope you like traut.
Ehrmantraut, that is, as sleepy-eyed Mike is very much a part of the "Better Call Saul" universe. He's not the gun-for-hire badass we know and love from "Breaking Bad" quite yet, but Mike doesn't need a firearm or a mercenary contract to prove his worthiness in a fight — even if it's just a battle of snark.
Beware the troll toll.
This will make sense after a line in episode two.
Better call Chuck.
Of all the new characters introduced in "Better Call Saul," few stand out more than Chuck McGill, Jimmy's older brother. Like Jimmy, Chuck is down on his luck, after a big fall from grace that not even he seems to understand in its entirety. He's sad and he's particular, and if there's one thing we can say about the man already, it's this: He loves his space blanket.
There's no Jesse Pinkman…
But there are two orange men who emerge as early candidates to fill out Jesse's shoes. Although these two characters are more comic relief than anything, they're also at the center of some of the first three episodes' tensest scenes — versatile, just like Jesse, in other words. As much as we all miss Aaron Paul, at least these characters appear worthy of his legacy.
There's no Walter White…AP Photo/AMC, Frank Ockenfels
…yet. But based on the first three episodes, it feels all but certain that Heisenberg will have to emerge eventually, assuming the show succeeds enough to enjoy several seasons.
Prepare for Jimmy's Mrs. Doubtfire voice.
Just one of Jimmy's many tricks.
Prepare for Jimmy's sex robot voice.
Yet another of Jimmy's many tricks.
Prepare to break bread.
Bread, not bad, although the cha-cha-cha sounds of breadsticks breaking might make you wince.
Prepare for some "Bad" connections.
From the very first scene, it's clear exactly how "Better Call Saul" connects with "Breaking Bad." These connections manifest themselves time and time again throughout the first three episodes, some in more obvious ways than others. It's clear from moment one that "Better Call Saul" is not only intrinsically linked to "Breaking Bad," but a worthy continuation of some of the characters and most of the themes established by the Emmy-winning drama.
Prepare to like it...
...and prepare to like it a lot, if you were a "Breaking Bad" fan. More than a year after Walter White's final curtain call, we're back in the Albuquerque of Vince Gilligan's mind, and it's a beautiful thing to behold. Based on three episodes alone, the spinoff does not disappoint.
"Better Call Saul" premiers on February 8.