Vince Gilligan took time to comment on Better Call Saul in his talk with the New York Daily News that appeared in this morning’s edition, specifically concerning the possible inclusion of a certain meth-cooking science-teacher-turned-crime-lord. Since Gilligan’s odd and alluring spin-off started, there has been a contingency of fans that have had little interest in knowing anything other than if or when Walter White (Bryan Cranston) will be showing up for a cameo or even something far more substantial. And as /Film pointed out, Gilligan was admittedly “coy” when he discussed his intentions of brining White into the Better Call Saul narrative, making clear that he think it would be “great” to have White in the series but that his appearance would have to be “fitting and organic to the storytelling of Better Call Saul.”
That’s about as clear and reasonable as one would think Gilligan could be on the subject, and he went onto make clear that White will not be part of Better Call Saul Season 2. That’s a bit of a relief, honestly, considering that the witty, detail-centric series has proven to be one of the few immediately engaging spin-off programs to ever hit the small screen, but I must say that there’s a part of me that wishes they would just get it over with or not do it at all. There’s already hundreds of people who are still trying to do the mental math to question if Walter White really did die at the end of Breaking Bad, and this just gives more reason for die-hard fans to not move on from that admittedly superb series. In short, Better Call Saul will never truly be its own show until it confronts its predecessor fully and finally puts all this cloying, desperate, and intensely annoying “what if” baiting to bed.
That’s not to say that this is Gilligan’s fault or that he’s even doing this on purpose, as he clearly cares deeply about his current project; he’s created a meticulously visual series out of the origins story of Bob Odenkirk‘s Saul Goodman. But by engaging his obsessive fandom with vague consideration of Cranston’s crime lord being reintroduced into the new show, he both continues to dull the finality of Breaking Bad‘s concluding run of episodes and cheapens the distinct tone and visual rhythms of the Odenkirk-led show by talking about the reappearance of White instead of focusing on the story he so carefully and acutely built in Bette Call Saul Season 1. The cult of Breaking Bad was crucial to the series being as classic and well-remembered and there’s no harm in still celebrating the series, but when a show that could potentially be just as good as, and possibly even better than, Breaking Bad becomes just a tease for people to revisit the grim, violent highs of Walter White’s story, there’s a disrespect and flippancy in that practice that is hard to excuse.