Life Isn’t Black And White (Better Call Saul Edition)

[what follows is a riff on my appreciation for creative choices, design, and communicating emotions. you, dear reader, are my proverbial water cooler friends this morning]

I’m writing this before the last episode of Better Call Saul airs – and however the series ends, I’m feeling grateful for TV like this. 

No spoilers, but I just want to riff on the primary use of color for the past, and black and white for the present/future in this series. 

If you watched the show, you’ll get what I’m talking about, and if you didn’t – consider this as good a series as Breaking Bad (for it’s use of colors, and maybe also a little less anxiety-inducing, and you should be warned it’s way more emotionally wrenching). 

I can relate to how the characters of Jimmy and Kim appreciate the past through the lens of old movies. 


It all looks so simple. 

The memories are crystallized. The nuance is flattened. The highs (and lows) are so… precise. 

I feel how they both look forward too. How it never seems like it’ll be this hard ever again, at least not once you get those few more details sorted out. How the future can look black and white from the vantage point of the near-blinding present. 

And then there’s the ever-lurking fears. Like the fear we might trade away color for simplicity. Wondering if it’s worth it. Wondering if the black and white is actually richer than whatever this kaleidoscope is.  

The old movies, they knew something, didn’t they? Weren’t they trying to tell us something? It felt like they were trying to tell us something. 

Life starts as an act of accumulation. Then, somewhere along the line, it turns a corner and you start to think about what you want to reduce it down to. 

Those are the casualties along the way 

For Jimmy and Kim, it’s the colors. As we bounce back and forth across time (and hair). And it hurts almost as worse as everything that got them up to the point it all faded towards black and white. 

But it never gets all the way there. Never just to black and white. Everything gets caught in grey. 

Colorless, infinite greys. 

Saul is a brilliant piece of art. If Breaking Bad asked questions of coin flip choices (50/50s, turning 50, and whether or not life is the act of living or evading death, Saul wants to know what’s family, forgiveable, and funny. 

Sometimes what’s reduced to a contract makes it a caricature of itself. Sometimes what’s expanded to the immediate present tense in a hard situation makes it impossibly, infinitely detailed. I feel this show on a whole other level while I”m watching it. 

However they end it, I think I’ve been more moved by it than I was with Breaking Bad. Life’s not black and white, even when you think you know the rules, because people are people are people are people. 

Bravo guys/gals/AMC-folk. However you land it, thank you. 

What about you? Did you watch? Do you feel the same? Differently? Indifferently? Send me an email and let me know.