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Better Call Saul Season 6 - Episode 1

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Better Call Saul Season 6 - Episode 1

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.

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 meth cooks 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 Walter.

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]

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]

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.[68] In February 2021, AMC confirmed that the sixth season would likely premiere in the first quarter of 2022.[69] 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.[70]

Variety reported on November 4, 2021, that the season would air over two halves, which was confirmed on the official announcement date on February 10, 2022.[71][72] Gould said the writers did not know the season would be split into two parts until AMC announced it.[73] The first seven episodes began airing on April 18, 2022; fans who attended PaleyFest in Los Angeles on April 9, 2022 received an early screening of the season premiere.[72][74] The last six episodes aired starting airing July 11, 2022; fans who attended Tribeca Festival in New York on June 18, 2022 received an early screening of the mid-season premiere.[72][75]

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.[78][79] 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%.[78][80] Upon the release of the series finale, the app experienced an outage, causing many users to be logged out.[81] 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.[82]

The two-episode premiere "Wine and Roses" and "Carrot and Stick" received positive reviews from critics. David Segal of The New York Times described the first episode as "strong, twisty and gripping" and said the writing "must be hailed as a masterly curtain raiser, one that managed to pick up the story right where it was left, two years ago, and hurl it forward at a promising pace." Segal criticized Kim's con against Howard at the country club, calling it "dimmer and daffier than the rest of the show" and "pointlessly cruel".[89] Reviewing both "Wine and Roses" and "Carrot and Stick" together, The A.V. Club's Kimberly Potts graded them with an "A" and gave positive notes to Gould's screenplay and the performances of the cast, especially those of Rhea Seehorn as Kim and Michael Mando as Nacho.[90] Steve Greene, writing for IndieWire, said the first two episodes were "astonishingly short on false moves so far". He also noted Ed Begley Jr.'s acting as Clifford Main and the symbolism in Kim throwing away the "World's 2nd Best Lawyer" coffee mug, calling it "a poetic bookend of sorts."[91][92] David Segal of The New York Times described the second episode as "superb and stressful" and said it was a "study in damage control, overseen by a man [Gus] who seems uncharacteristically ruffled and uncertain about what to do." Segal also said the shootout scene was "expertly staged" by Gilligan and that Rhea Seehorn's performance as Kim provided an opportunity for her to "demonstrate an almost thuggish toughness."[93] Scott Tobias, writing for Vulture, compared the motel sequences to the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone, including Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). He also gave positive notes to the level of detail in the episode's opening scene, calling it "one big reason Better Call Saul stands apart from other shows."[94]

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".[110] 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.[111] 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."[112]

The sixth season was released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 1 on December 6, 2022; bonus features includes cast and crew audio commentaries on every episode, deleted scenes, outtakes, and various behind-the-scenes featurettes.[136]

On April 1, 2022, a few weeks before the season premiere, the CNBC Prime YouTube account uploaded American Greed: James McGill.[137] 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.[138] 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.[139][140] 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".[140] 59ce067264


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