A Dance with Destiny

Watched Better Call Saul Season 5 Episode 8, titled “Bagman” last night. I cannot get over it. It felt almost like a biblical parable without too much religious undertone.

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill – Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

I have a complicated relationship with the show, mostly due to its slow pacing. It is fair to say that in the current media landscape, the ultimate asset is the attention of the audience. In order to get it, gimmicks are employed, cliffhangers are built, frequency of dramatic events increased. As I was watching the last season in which the arc of Jimmy finally reached the point of no return when he officially becomes Saul Goodman on his legal document, I was expecting something new to happen this season. Something that I have waited for so long to happen, the ultimate transformation of the good old Jimmy shinning in his full caliber as the wit-snubbed silver-tongued of a character, but he mostly remains the same in the early episodes. This conflict of his identity is at the core of this Breaking Bad spinoff with its premise. The audience was promised a coming-of-age story of Saul, the beloved character in the AMC series that for a while was dubbed as the best show on television by critics and hipsters everywhere. But before Saul becomes the Saul we know and love, he was Jimmy McGill. We spent so much time with him to know the nitty-gritty of his past traumas pains and sorrows that we cannot help but feel that all of these sufferings had to lead somewhere. The assumption was, of course, everything that he had been through would lead him to the place where he was meant to be, the ultimate limbo man walking between the line of morality, playing both sides yet belonging to neither, earning money in a way that is in harmony with his nature, a unique ability to use creative solutions to fight for his clients, no matter what the truths are. Everything that happens before the last episode was a class on entrepreneurship, mini-projects to build his skills, but he will now have to face the ultimate question: what is his price to serve evil? Answer: he has to die first.

The blessings conferred by wisdom, in comparison with all other forms of knowledge, are as important as a container of water in the desert when compared with a whole mass of gold.

— Leo Tolstoy

We are in a way witnessing a metaphorical death of Jimmy even though he survives the hardship of the episode. The slow pace that I have been complaining about seems to pay off here, for it builds tension between where he is and where he is meant to become, the central promise of a prequel, the inevitable tragedy that is Jimmy’s life. This is the point of no return. A dance with destiny.

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