Better Call Saul Final Season First Reviews: 'Still Razor Sharp' and 'Riveting,' Critics Say

The new episodes of the Breaking Bad prequel build on the tension and tragedy of its previous seasons and set the stage for Jimmy McGill's full transformation and eventual downfall as Saul Goodman.

by | April 13, 2022 | Comments

TAGGED AS: , , ,

After a two-year wait due to the pandemic shutdown and Bob Odenkirk’s health concerns, the sixth and final season of Better Call Saul is finally set to premiere on AMC. Odenkirk returns as criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, alongside Rhea Seehorn’s Kim Wexler, to lead us to the Breaking Bad prequel’s end. Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Nacho (Michael Mando), and Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) all return to propel the riveting drama towards the Walter White timeline. And by all accounts, things are going to get bloody.

How the season set things up to meet the storyline of Vince Gilligan’s groundbreaking predecessor remains to be seen, but the buzz leading into the show’s return is deafening. At the time this article was published, season 6 is Fresh with a 100% score on the Tomatometer. After viewing screeners of the first two episodes, here’s what critics are saying about Better Call Saul season 6.

Is it worth the wait?

(Photo by Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

With the show’s production delay and all the extratextual expectations that come with a final season, this is still unmistakably “Better Call Saul.” By now, the show has a well-established visual vocabulary — the ongoing game of What is the Camera Going to Be Attached to Next? is always an enjoyable one — and a verbal arsenal that still makes room for cold-open stunners that transpire with barely a word. The infinite-stretching desert, the unassuming fluorescent interiors, and every place in between all have the immediate sense that those places have long been there and will continue long after these characters leave. – Steve Greene, IndieWire

The more mixed result is that this series feels more bound up than ever in trying to draw out connections to “Breaking Bad.” The result is that even as the show moves toward its endgame, it can feel as if it’s looking over its shoulder. – Daniel D’Addario, Variety

“Better Call Saul” is still razor-sharp in its dialogue, riveting in its plotting and nuanced in its themes. TV doesn’t get better than this. – Brian Tallerico, The Playlist

How are Bob Odenkirk’s and Rhea Seehorn’s performances?

Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul _ Season 6

(Photo by Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

​​Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn’s acting duet is as strong as it’s ever been, drawing on their characters’ histories together. As Jimmy and Kim, the pair have represented two points-of-view on the law and what it can do, perspectives that have mingled and eventually seemed to merge. – Daniel D’Addario, Variety

Of course, the point of creating art is not to win awards. But in a world in which awards are viewed as lending legitimacy and defining quality, the repeated snubbing of Better Call Saul—especially with regards to Rhea Seehorn, who has done extraordinary work turning by-the-book lawyer Kim Wexler into one of the most fascinating TV characters since Walter White (Bryan Cranston)—is frustrating, to say the least. – Kaitlin Thomas, Paste Magazine

Special mention needs to be made of Rhea Seehorn. It is a true crime that she has not been more widely awarded for her portrayal of Kim Wexler in Better Call Saul. She is giving life to one of the most complex, compelling, and captivating characters that has ever crossed the screen. – Drew Dietsch, Giant Freakin Robot

Bob Odenkirk remains at the center of it all, and it really cannot be overstated how great Odenkirk is on this series; how he evolved from a supporting comic relief player into a full-blown dramatic leading man. – Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

The show has seen Odenkirk give not just the best performances of his career, but one of the best ever put to screen. His shift from McGill to Goodman has been a patient one, drawing out every detail with both precision and poetry. – Chase Hutchinson, Collider

What about the rest of the cast?

(Photo by Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

Both Banks and Esposito continue to have a dynamic relationship, even as their characters frequently sit at odds with one another. Left behind in all of this is Nacho Varga (Michael Mando), who fled after he hoped Lalo would be killed but is now completely out on his own with no support. The portraits of all these characters and the work of the actors are occasionally undone by the story getting wrapped up in itself. If anything, the experience is at its best when it lets the characters drive the story and the drama. – Chase Hutchinson, Collider

Jonathan Banks and Mark Margolis have cut their performances to the bone, bringing pulpy humor to characters they’ve been playing for over a decade. – Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly

Tony Dalton, still stealing scenes while making us all uneasy. – Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

How are the writing, directing, and production quality?

Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks in Better Call Saul _ Season 6

(Photo by Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

While it can be very difficult to assess the quality of a season after only two episodes, it’s safe to say that “Better Call Saul” has lost none of its wit or nuance, picking up with the same level of quality that earned it the #1 place on [The Playlist]’s list of the best TV of 2020. It feels like the writers are really setting up the questions that will dominate the final season. One that fans are presuming will include tragic ends for Kim Wexler and Nacho Varga—after all, they’re not in “Breaking Bad”—but this show has always remained stunningly unpredictable. It’s a testament to the quality of the writing in how easy it is to give in to the plotting as it unfolds instead of trying to predict where it’s going to go. – Brian Tallerico, The Playlist

​​There is action, tension, and horror aplenty in these remaining adventures. A major part of that effectiveness is in the cinematic power of the filmmaking behind these shows. Most movies don’t look nearly as good as a single episode of Better Call Saul, which is an even more polished product than its predecessor. Light and shadows are controlled with laser precision to create spaces that can feel like paintings when everything is still and quiet. The world of cinema will also be losing a valued asset when this show ends its unbelievable run. – Drew Dietsch, Giant Freakin Robot

Cinematography remains a strong suit of Better Call Saul. Shots of Jimmy or criminal characters frame them in effectively imposing ways, and epic shots of the desert give the show a vast scope. – Fred Topel, United Press International

​​These first two episodes are almost unbearably tense. Every scene is loaded with double, or sometimes triple meaning. We watch on edge, biting our nails, bouncing our legs, concerned about practically everyone and everything. This is no small feat — to hook an audience on a foregone conclusion and pull us along the way, helpless to resist. It is the power of the show’s impeccable writing, masterful direction, and cavalcade of brilliant performances that keeps us addicted. – Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

Inventing tantalizing new mysteries right as the end begins? Only the best artists pull a con like that.- Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly

​​The first two episodes are expertly directed by Gilligan and Michael Morris, and they display a more sure cinematic vision than ever before. In one shot, an armed man is bathed in one golden beam of light, framed like an angel of death in a composition so lovely and textured. You can almost imagine a painter’s brush strokes creating the image. Later in the same episode, the stillness evaporates in a perfectly choreographed shootout that hits like a thunderbolt. – Valerie Ettenhofer, Film School Rejects

Any final thoughts?

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill - Better Call Saul _ Season 6

(Photo by Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

With 50 episodes in its memory and 13 more to go, this is a meticulous closing stretch of the journey, astonishingly short on false moves so far. – Steve Greene, IndieWire

The moral complexity in “Better Call Saul” has long been one of its greatest strengths, and, after these two episodes, it certainly doesn’t feel like the show is going to eschew that for simple resolutions as it gets to the finish line. Don’t expect easy answers. Jimmy McGill has taught us that there’s really no such thing. – Brian Tallerico, The Playlist

​​Six seasons in, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have finally pulled off the transformation they set out to document in 2015. It’s a testament to their talent and to Odenkirk’s that this transformation hits even harder than Walter White’s. – Valerie Ettenhofer, Film School Rejects

For five seasons now, the prequel series has deliberately paced out the answers, like a tight valve being slowly turned, releasing pressure along the way. The result: one of the best shows on TV. – Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

So even if Emmy voters continue to ignore what’s right before them, those of us who’ve been on this journey since the beginning know the truth: Better Call Saul is, and remains, one of TV’s very best shows, not just of the last decade, but possibly of all time. – Kaitlin Thomas, Paste Magazine

Breaking Bad was landmark television that will always be viewed as classic but with this final season, Better Call Saul has assuredly eclipsed that show and has entered into a realm that very few television series ever achieve. We should thank our lucky stars to have lived in a time when this show was airing. – Drew Dietsch, Giant Freakin Robot

99% Better Call Saul: Season 6 (2022) premieres on Monday, April 18, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.