The 15 Best Better Call Saul Episodes Ranked

Crafting a great television spinoff is no easy feat, particularly if it only centers on one of the main characters from the original series. If a show is already working with an ensemble cast, isolating just one of the characters removes the chemistry that made the series so special; for example, the "Friends" spinoff "Joey" failed to develop an ensemble that rivaled the original show's. However, occasionally a character-centric spinoff can successfully elevate a standout side performer and give them room to shine; the"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spinoff series "Angel" took the Buffyverse in a darker direction with a noir-inspired premise.

Few shows have faced the expectations that came with a "Breaking Bad" spinoff. Not only is "Breaking Bad" one of the greatest television shows of all time, but the character of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has a very specific arc, gradually transforming from hero to villain. However, creator Vince Gilligan exceeded expectations with "Better Call Saul," which focuses on the origins of the scene-stealing strip mall lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) who comes to Walt's aid.

"Better Call Saul" is an engaging prequel story, as it reveals how the initially unambitious mail room clerk Jimmy McGill becomes the top criminal lawyer in New Mexico's drug scene. Here, then, are the 15 greatest episodes of "Better Call Saul," ranked.

15. The Guy for This (Season 5, Episode 3)

"Better Call Saul" does a great job exploring the "Breaking Bad" mythology without just being fan service. It would be irritating if all that Gilligan did with the spinoff was reference his prior successes. Thankfully, "Better Call Saul" establishes great characters and moments of its own. However, the incorporation of "Breaking Bad" characters is rewarding for fans, and usually they're introduced at natural points in the story. "The Guy for This" features one of the greatest "Breaking Bad" characters ever when Walt's brother-in-law, DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), shows up.

Hank and his partner Steven Gomez (Steven Michael Quezada) are tasked with investigating Jimmy's client Domingo Molina (Max Arciniega), a cartel operative working alongside Tuco. Jimmy visits Domingo in prison and has a tense, yet slightly humorous dispute with Hank over his client's guilt. It's a fun moment in an episode that is otherwise very intense, as Jimmy becomes connected more deeply to the drug trafficking world. Gus continues to be a threatening presence, and considers making moves against Lalo after Jimmy gets Domingo released.

It's fun to see a more light-hearted version of Hank, reminiscent of the one we saw in early seasons of "Breaking Bad." Schrader stated he would only return to the series for a cameo that was "not gratuitous," but rather tied into the overall narrative. In this case, he kept his word.

14. Gloves Off (Season 2, Episode 4)

"Gloves Off" features some key emotional moments when Jimmy tends to Chuck as his brother's delusions grow. Jimmy's dedication to Kim is also clear, as he states he'd be willing to give up practicing law entirely if Chuck would help Kim with her upcoming case. However, the episode is focused mostly on Mike. In season 2, Mike's storylines grew independent from Jimmy's, and it's interesting to see how Gilligan and the writers make the two competing narratives intersect. Mike comes to Nacho's aid once more when he's threatened by Tuco.

The standoff between Tuco and Mike is very intense; Mike can't kill Tuco because of the threat of the Salamanca clan. So, Mike decides to put Tuco behind bars and crashes into his car, causing the enraged cartel member to beat Mike senseless. What he doesn't realize is that Mike has already called the cops to witness the beating. It's a great moment that shows Mike's resilience and intelligence.

13. JMM (Season 5, Episode 7)

"JMM" opens with the shocking marriage of Jimmy and Kim. While they've had a romantic relationship for a while, what's driving their union are the spousal rights that will allow Jimmy to talk about his affairs honestly with his new wife. However, he's not ready to share every detail with her, as he works out a secret deal with Nacho to defend Lalo, who is charged with murder. In return, Nacho promises that Jimmy will become an ally to the cartel. The episode reunites Jimmy with Mike, who is now in league with Gus, and who gives him evidence for Lalo's case.

The standout moment of "JMM" is Jimmy's confrontation with Howard, where he blames the uptight HMM lawyer for Chuck's death. It's an emotional moment during which Jimmy shows that he's still unwilling to take responsibility for his part in Chuck's decline. In addition, "JMM" marks another step in Jimmy's transformation into Saul Goodman, as he reveals his new name to Howard when he leaves the practice.

12. Klick (Season 2, Episode 10)

Jimmy and Chuck's relationship grows even more strained after Chuck's collapse in "Nailed," as Chuck begins to suspect his brother's deception after he quickly arrives to help him. Over time, Chuck seems to accept Jimmy's story, and plans his own retirement when he believes that he can no longer trust his own judgment. It's a complicated moment where viewers must weigh the sympathetic qualities of both characters; Jimmy isn't given enough credit by Chuck for his inventiveness, but Chuck is considering ending his career based on false evidence.

Jimmy's guilt weighs upon him when he returns to Chuck's home to discover that he's descended into madness as a result of his EHS symptoms and has become highly paranoid. A mournful Jimmy reveals to Chuck that not only did he bribe the clerk, but he also tampered with the Mesa Verde documents. While it's fulfilling to see Jimmy apologize, Chuck's secret recording of their conversation sets up an even more complex third season.

11. Uno (Season 1, Episode 1)

"Breaking Bad" has one of the greatest television pilots of all time. Thankfully, "Better Call Saul" also launched with a standout premiere episode that promised the same high quality for Vince Gilligan's spinoff. "Better Call Saul" ties into the "Breaking Bad" universe through the black-and-white flashbacks that show Jimmy's sad day life after the end of the original series, and quickly establishes that we'll be seeing Jimmy's origins six years prior to meeting Walt and Jesse.

Jimmy is introduced as a struggling mainstream lawyer who is forced to take on embarrassing public defense cases, including a particularly low moment during which he has to argue on behalf of three teenagers that defaced a corpse. After a group of skaters try to take advantage of him, Jimmy shows off his negotiation skills and reveals their scheme. "Uno" also features a memorable appearance by "Breaking Bad" villain Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz).

10. Pimento (Season 1, Episode 9)

"Pimento" sets up a tension between Jimmy and Chuck that would only escalate throughout the series' run. After gathering evidence for the Sandpiper case, Jimmy becomes exasperated when Howard tries to exclude him from the proceedings after a document dump. Jimmy discovers that Chuck had stolen his phone and had tried to convince Howard to not offer him the opportunity. It results in an emotional argument between the brothers; Chuck cannot let go of his dedication to the law, and doesn't consider Jimmy a real lawyer. While Chuck does express pride in his brother's growth, Jimmy is infuriated and storms out.

Season 1 saw Mike and Jimmy's storylines beginning to diverge, and "Pimento" features some of Mike's best standalone moments. After accepting a role as a bodyguard for the corrupt pharmaceutical employee Daniel, Mike teaches the clueless man how to act professionally when he illegally sells products. Mike also shows his intelligence during a meeting with Nacho, revealing to Daniel that Nacho concocted the deal without his family's knowledge.

9. Five-O (Season 1, Episode 6)

Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) was one of the most popular characters on "Breaking Bad." A former police officer, Mike works as a hitman and private investigator alongside Walt, Jesse, and Saul, and is tragically killed in the 5th season of "Breaking Bad" during one of Walt's most truly villainous moments. Banks' grouchy, surprisingly sensitive performance made him a fan favorite, and viewers were excited at the news that he'd be an integral part of "Better Call Saul."

Mike's backstory is finally revealed in the episode "Five-O," which explores the family tragedy that he has kept secret. Flashbacks reveal that Mike advised his son Matt, who was a police officer, to refuse a bribe. Matt follows his father's guidance and is killed because of it, leaving Mike to care for his daughter-in-law Stacy and granddaughter Kaylee. It paints the character in a new light and makes his trips to care for Kaylee more emotional.

8. Wexler v. Goodman (Season 5, Episode 6)

"Wexler v. Goodman" is a pivotal moment in Jimmy and Kim's relationship. Across five seasons, Kim Wexler had developed into one of the greatest characters in the "Breaking Bad" universe thanks to Rhea Seehorn's incredible performance. This episode finally saw her unleash her frustrations with Jimmy; she had been holding in pent up anger over his continuous lies and deception. His latest blackmailing scheme finally sets her over the edge. The episode culminates in an argument during which Jimmy is notably silent until Kim suggests something shocking — they should get married.

It was an unexpected twist, as although their relationship had been blooming, Kim had generally been at the receiving end of the show's surprises. However, the early flashbacks to Kim's teenage years help shed more insight into her own familial relationships, and how they're similar to Jimmy's. "Wexler v. Goodman" is also a great episode for Nacho, who must pretend he doesn't know Mike when they hold a meeting with Gus.

7. Nailed (Season 2, Episode 9)

"Nailed" features some of the funniest moments in the entire show, but sets up some of its most tragic. A hilarious sequence during which Jimmy films his iconic commercial standing in front of the American flag shows Odenkirk at his wackiest, reminiscent of his early days performing on comedy series like "Mr. Show." The commercial shoot is interrupted by a high school principal who scolds the crew, leaving Jimmy to come up with a convoluted excuse to cover.

However, the episode's final moments detail Chuck's declining state and foreshadow the tragic events that occur in season 3. Jimmy tries to mask his involvement in a bribery scandal by paying off a night clerk to cover for him. Chuck sees Jimmy leave and questions the clerk, who denies that  Jimmy was there. Unable to trust his own judgment, Chuck's EHS symptoms begin to escalate and he collapses.

6. Something Unforgivable (Season 5, Episode 10)

The most recent episode of "Better Call Saul" sets up a thrilling end point to the series in the upcoming season 6. It features the strongest performance by Tony Dalton as Lalo Salamanca, one of the most complex characters on the show. After threatening Jimmy and Kim in "Bad Choice Road," Lalo's location is revealed to Gus by Mike. Gus plans to have him killed, and both Jimmy and Mike wrestle with the implications that will have. Nacho also becomes involved when Gus recruits him for the planned assassination attempt.

Lalo isn't taken down so easily, but his family is brutally murdered by Gus' men. It puts tension on Nacho, whose involvement becomes clear to Lalo. The episode also features Kim's gradual adoption of Jimmy's traits; she continues to use shady tactics amidst the ongoing Sandpiper case as she seeks vengeance on Howard.

5. Lantern (Season 3, Episode 10)

"Lantern" is the most heartbreaking episode of the entirety of "Better Call Saul." It shows the tragic ending to Chuck's story. Early scenes show tender childhood moments between the brothers, and the episode follows them up with Jimmy trying to apologize for his actions. Their tormented last moments together show Chuck's increasingly anxious and unpredictable nature; he insults Jimmy's intelligence and begins to lose his mind as a result of the EHS symptoms.

Chuck's tragic suicide by knocking over a gas lantern in his apartment ends the season in a stark, miserable setting; his death isn't seen onscreen, but the gradual cutaway makes it even more tragic, and McKean delivers the best performance of his entire run. "Lantern" is also an emotional episode for Kim, as she's struggling to recover from her shocking car accident in the prior episode.

4. Bad Choice Road (Season 5, Episode 9)

In the aftermath of the chaotic events of "Bagman," Jimmy has formed a newfound bond with Mike after working together in close proximity for the first time. In a perfect representation of their relationship, the two part ways with only brief acknowledgment of their shared affection. The majority of "Bad Choice Road" focuses on Jimmy's reframed relationship with Kim, who discovers that Jimmy lied about why he was in the desert with Mike in the first place, and realizes that they are in much more danger than Jimmy admits.

The concluding sequence of "Bad Choice Road" is among the most intense in the entire series. Jimmy and Kim get into one of their most emotional arguments, as Kim finally unloads on Jimmy for continuously betraying her trust. Lalo enters their apartment and escalates the tension as Mike watches from nearby through the sight of a sniper rifle. Jimmy has to convince Lalo that his false narrative is true and admit what happened to Kim.

3. Winner (Season 4, Episode 10)

"Winner" is the episode in which Jimmy finally adopts the name Saul Goodman. At 60 minutes, it's the longest episode of the entire series, and Jimmy's downward spiral makes it utterly gripping from beginning to end. Like many of the best episodes, "Winner" opens with a flashback showing a more tender moment between Jimmy and Chuck as they comically sing karaoke together following Jimmy's successful completion of the New Mexico bar exam. For fans, the cameo appearance by Michael McKean was quite a nice touch, considering Chuck's absence from season 4.

"Winner" follows Jimmy as he continues to search for a suitable candidate for the scholarship established in Chuck's name. While the senior partners lean towards more established students with lengthy resumes, Jimmy is interested in a former addict named Kristy who has reformed her life. It's clear that Jimmy relates to her recovery from hardship and wants to provide her with the opportunity that he never had. It's one of Jimmy's most sympathetic moments, which contrasts with his deceit later within the episode.

To the surprise of everyone, particularly Kim, Jimmy successfully argues his case and is reinstated as a lawyer. However, after passionately defending himself, he reveals that he was basically lying the entire time. His closing remark to Kim that things are "S'all good, man!" is a chilling foreshadowing of season 5.

2. Chicanery (Season 3, Episode 5)

After teasing their rivalry for two and a half seasons, "Chicanery" dives into a courtroom battle between Jimmy and his brother Chuck. Many episodes of "Better Call Saul" include trial sequences, but "Chicanery" is unique in that it shows the entirety of the courtroom case. The episode begins with a flashback that shows a kinder earlier moment between the brothers, one that also explains the origins of Chuck's technology phobia. It's the perfect contrast to the bitter rivalry that reaches a climax in "Chicanery."

Jimmy and Kim cross-examine Chuck to prove that their relationship is at the heart of the case, not any wrongdoing on Jimmy's part. Chuck attempts to retain his dignity and says that his refusal to hire Jimmy was an attempt to avoid nepotism, even though viewers know that their history runs much deeper. Kim makes the insightful point that Howard is one of the founding partners' children, and much more entitled than Jimmy. As his co-counsel crafts an actual argument, Jimmy scours the courtroom for a more mischievous solution to their problem.

When Jimmy betrays Chuck's confidence by highlighting his EHS issues, it's one of his cruelest moments in the series. It's easy to sympathize with Jimmy's anger towards his brother for continuously not recognizing his achievements, but in "Chicanery" he steps over the line by embarrassing Chuck in public and destroying his reputation. The moment of brutal humiliation is the perfect setup for the season 3's tragic ending.

1. Bagman (Season 5, Episode 8)

Jimmy is tasked with many dangerous tasks amidst the show's five season run, but he was never as completely helpless as he is in "Bagman." Many of the best episodes of "Breaking Bad" felt inspired by classic westerns. While those elements are not as prominent amidst the legal and ethical dilemmas of "Better Call Saul," some of the western influences return in "Bagman." It's a gripping survival story in which Jimmy must use his wits to stay alive, as he's unable to talk his way out of the scenario.

"Bagman" follows a doomed mission by Saul to transport $7 million in ransom money to bail out Lalo Salamanca from prison. He's caught in a shootout in the middle of the desert where he reencounters his old ally Mike, and with no form of transportation, the two are forced to team up in order to find a way to safety. The comic banter between Jimmy and Mike is always engaging; Mike is cold and humorless, and Jimmy's fast-talking nature frequently annoys him. However, "Bagman" shows how much respect has developed between the two since their initial interaction.

Gilligan personally directed the episode, and told Variety that "Bagman"was the most challenging shoot of his entire career. He cited cinematic classics like "Lawrence of Arabia" as influences. It's the most visually and aesthetically unique episode in "Better Call Saul's" entire run, and functions as a standalone for new viewers.