“Forty-five years since I made my first paycheck, and I’m telling you that ‘Breaking Bad’ is as good as it gets.” – Jonathan Banks
Spoilers ahead in case you haven’t seen the episode of “Better Call Saul” where Mike’s backstory is revealed. You have been warned!
So, watching this episode we finally see why and how Mike got to where he is. This seemed to fit in so well with Mike’s decisions and quirks from “Breaking Bad” (I’ll refer to it simply as “BrBa”). It made me wonder if they had the backstory complete even during “BrBa”.
Apparently, they didn’t. The genesis of his story actually came from an idea that Jonathan Banks, the actor portraying Mike, had when shooting a scene during season 3 of “BrBa”. In the scene he dropped off Kaylee before going off to do some unsavoury business.
He pitched an idea where his son was a boxer who had died in the ring and that Kaylee was Mike’s granddaughter. Whatever the reason for Mike being Mike has something to do with his son’s death. That particular story was nixed but elements of it are still there.
The episode begins with an homage to all those “hero arrives on the train” moments. The writer’s must’ve had some fun coming up with the scene where Mike has to go into the women’s room and get a maxi pad to stop the bleeding from his gun shot wound. It was a great moment of “show, don’t tell”.
Later we get to see his “MacGyver”-smarts displayed when he breaks into his son’s killers’ squad car and hide a second gun. He already knows how it’s going to play out. He’ll pretend to be drunk, tell the killers that he knows they did it, get picked up, have his gun taken from him and they’ll try to kill him too.
Now, Jimmy/Saul has already seen some potential in Mike but he has yet to realize what the guy is capable of and it’ll be interesting to see just how the relationship develops.
This episode was a thrill! Especially seeing Mike who is man of few words have a moment where he breaks down and actually share his feelings. This gave him real depth as a character and it was so well written. Fedoras off to Gordon Smith and the other writers who make this show so great!
“I think the fascination with anti-heroes is that they explore that relation between the doer and the deed: can you do bad things and be good? Are we defined by our actions or by our inner life? I think in that way, the anti-hero is a pretty deep well to plumb for material.” – Gordon Smith
Some insights into the writing of “Breaking Bad”, I guess the same goes for “Better Call Saul” as well!