Better Call Saul: The Best Montages
Whether it's eating cinnabons or disassembling a car, Better Call Saul's montages know how to make the mundane feel magical.
This article contains spoilers for Better Call Saul through season 6 episode 10.
Better Call Saul is one of the most artistically creative shows in television history. The use of camera angles, accompanying musical pieces, and color has set a standard that other shows will be trying to match for years to come. The way the series is directed makes it feel like you’re watching a true cinematic masterpiece, because you are.
The method of storytelling that Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have really honed in on better than anyone else in recent memory is the montage. These edited pieces of film usually show many of the show’s fantastic characters doing different activities, but they are shown at the same time. It’s a great way to understand multiple perspectives of the same event that is happening, and we thought now would be a great time to count down some of the very best ones as the show comes to a close in a few weeks.
7. Kim Gets Mesa Verde
We always knew Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) was the hardest-working, smartest, and most daring person on Better Call Saul, but the montage in the middle of the second season in which she secures Mesa Verde Bank and Trust as a means to get out of Howard Hamlin’s doghouse (Patrick Fabian) assures us of this belief’s accuracy.
Kim will do whatever it takes to get what she wants, and she certainly won’t take “no” for an answer. The way we see her fail over and over (crunching up sticky notes, highlighting new potential clients, making cold calls to strangers) set to “A Mi Manera” by Gipsy Kings is extremely satisfying, albeit a little confusing until she achieves her goal.
Kim always wants to save herself, and this scene is the biggest example yet in the show of her doing so.
6. Gene Feeds the Security Guards Cinnabons
While this episode as a whole was a little too character-driven and slow for some viewers coming off of the high-speed pace of the middle of the season, there is no denying the beauty of seeing Gene Takovic finally pull off one of Jimmy McGill’s signature schemes. Set to some classical blues/jazz tunes in the background, Gene figures out exactly how long it will take for him and Jeff to pull off their department store heist at the Nebraska mall Gene works at.
The somewhat grotesque depictions of the Cinnabons being eaten by the security guard (I mean, these are some really gross cinnamon rolls and nobody can tell me otherwise), complete with close-up shots of the high-calorie pastries being cut and fingers being licked, is a great example of the ways Gilligan and company focus on the smallest sensations of the human experience.
5. Jimmy Tries To Get Fired at Davis & Main
Season 2 Episode 7: “Inflatable”
Better Call Saul is able to separate itself from other dramas because of its moments of pure hilarity. Bob Odenkirk started his career in comedy, and anytime the writers leverage his skills in this area it’s a surefire hit with the audience. There isn’t a funnier montage in the show than when Jimmy tries to get fired at David & Main.
Combining a colorful array of suits and ties (we know how much vibrant attire means to Saul Goodman) with several witty conversations between Jimmy and his co-workers and bosses leads to one of the highlight scenes of the early portion of the show. The extent Jimmy goes to get canned even leads to him going number two and not flushing – this should be as big of a crime as making meth, right? Yuck!
4. Mike’s Paranoid Car Dismantling
Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) is a man of few words. He can captivate viewers in complete silence, his actions speaking louder than anything else. Mike’s a careful and sometimes even paranoid man when it comes to covering all of his tracks and finding out information about others.
When he thinks his car has been bugged in the third season’s premiere, he decides to tear apart the vehicle to find the tracking device. The skill it must have taken from these directors to put together these moments of frantic searching is otherworldly. There’s nothing quite like watching Mike do something mundane, with it being presented in an artistic fashion that enamors the audience completely.
3. The Morning After Jimmy Makes It Through the Desert
Season 5 Episode 9: “Bad Choice Road”
Season 5’s “Bagman” is still arguably the best episode in the entire series because it’s the first time Jimmy and Kim get to truly see the dangers of working so closely with the cartel. Kim doesn’t know that Jimmy is missing because he was delivering drug money to the Salamancas, and Jimmy knows how distraught Kim is at the thought of him not coming home the night before.
The opening sequence of the next episode is beautifully bittersweet. Jimmy’s desperation to get cell service in the middle of nowhere parallels Kim’s trance at home not knowing his status. When the music cuts right when the dial tone starts, hearts stop and we can all rejoice that TV’s best couple will be able to reconnect at last.
2. Chuck Destroys His House
Season 3 Episode 10: “Lantern”
Chuck McGill is one of the most polarizing characters in the Breaking Bad universe. He’s right about virtually everything he ever says about his brother, Jimmy, but his lack of compassion and unwillingness to love his brother despite his faults makes us not sympathize with Chuck. All of that resentment from the audience turns to sadness when this haunting, seven minute montage hits our eyes.
Chuck’s electromagnetic sensitivity, which many feel is an allegory for his hatred of Jimmy, comes to climax here. Desperate to find the last source of electricity in his home, Chuck dismantles his abode without any regard for the consequences. It’s the sign of a man who has lost all will to live, and it’s one of the most disturbing scenes in recent TV history.
1. Jimmy and Kim Circa 2003-2004
Season 4 Episode 7: “Something Stupid”
It’s hard to figure out how to show the passing of a large portion of time without it coming off as rushed, cheesy, or nonsensical. That’s why this montage showing Jimmy and Kim’s lives in the months when Jimmy is selling phones instead of practicing law is so special to see. The juxtaposition between Kim’s emergence at Schweikart & Cokely with Jimmy’s descent into the Albuquerque underbelly is quite melancholy, but necessary for us to see.
It’s an ominous prelude to the conundrum we always knew would happen in Jimmy and Kim’s relationship: both characters can’t make progress in life at the same time. Jimmy’s highs always come at the cost of others. Kim’s success doesn’t rub off on Jimmy, it only leaves him in the dust. When he starts to bring Kim into the mud with him in the following seasons, it leads to fatal consequences.