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First season of 'Better Call Saul' explored complexities of human morality
Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul (2015) - photo by Chandra Johnson
Is Jimmy McGill a good guy or a bad guy?

That's the fundamental question AMC's "Breaking Bad" spinoff series "Better Call Saul" has delved into with its first season, which just aired its final episode.

"If theres one thing weve learned from 'Better Call Saul,' its that sometimes doing the right thing just doesnt get you what you really want," The Washington Post's Rachel Lubitz wrote.

It's a forgone conclusion for fans of either series that Jimmy McGill will, in the course of the new series, eventually evolve into the slimy, quick-talking defense attorney Saul Goodman from "Breaking Bad."

How he gets there and the morality behind the transformation is the central plot device driving the new show. Where the cancer-stricken Walter White of "Bad" steadily sacrificed his humanity, knowing his life would be cut short, Jimmy McGill of "Saul" is on a moral seesaw, with his soul more than his life hanging in the balance.

"(Is Jimmy McGill a) capable and caring attorney with a specialty in elder law? Or capable and audacious con artist, with a specialty in the short con?" The New York Times' David Segal wrote. "One of the great achievements of this shows first season has been its creation of a character so fully three-dimensional that both answers seem plausible."

Because Jimmy is more hapless ne'er-do-well than drug-dealing criminal mastermind, "Saul" makes room not only for a new kind of story out of the "Bad" ether, it also reaches a new kind of audience: One that cares about and questions values.

"The central idea of the show isn't a good man who is revealed to be bad it's a good man who was so completely defined by a few bad things early in his life that no one gives him the chance to be good," Vox's Todd VanDer Werff wrote.

With its lack of nail-biting escapes, drugs and graphic violence, the moral tug-of-war of "Saul" makes good TV and makes moral dilemma more relatable to viewers.

"This transformation is a little bit more complicated, and a little bit truer to life's messiness, than Walter White's linear descent to evil ever was," The Atlantic's Spencer Kornhaber wrote.
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