The 8 Best Montages In Better Call Saul

After the historic run of "Breaking Bad" ended in 2014, many considered the show one of the greatest of all time. Audiences wouldn't soon forget the story of Walter White and his rise to power. So, when "Better Call Saul," a spin-off/prequel show set before the events of "Breaking Bad," was announced, the skepticism was well warranted. How would Peter Gould, the creator of Saul Goodman, and Vince Gilligan, creator of "Breaking Bad," follow up on such a compelling landmark of television? The answer is a multi-layered one, as "Better Call Saul" would elevate the character of Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) in multiple ways, giving the wisecracking lawyer from "Breaking Bad" a profoundly tragic origin of his own.

The well-written character dynamics between Jimmy, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian), and a plethora of other characters would help "Better Call Saul" differentiate itself from its predecessor. Besides the incredible performances, the technical aspect of "Better Call Saul" is entirely different than what is expected from television today. The editing, sound design, and cinematography of "Better Call Saul" are all about detail. Specifically, the montages sprinkled throughout "Better Call Saul" stand out in the show, with the editing and perfect music choices of these montages giving the mundane a magical and engaging feel.

We here at /Film love a good montage, especially in "Better Call Saul." So, we've compiled a list of the eight best montages in the series. Yes, the wavy tube guys are on this list.

Jimmy and Marco run their scam

THE SONG: Henry Mancini – "Banzai Pipeline"

Featured in the season 1 finale episode "Marco," this montage follows Jimmy and Marco running scams like the old days. The montage paints what a sensible person would usually see as a scummy low-life scam into something hilarious, alluring, and just a fun time. The editing features different point-of-view shots that sell you on the allure of a con. Viewers at one point are face to face with Jimmy, selling you an absurd story as money falls from the sky in the background and the neon signs of the various bars that the montage is set in light on and off in the background.

This dream-like sequence both entertains and tells a deeper tragic story. Throughout season 1 of "Better Call Saul," Jimmy McGill desperately tried to walk the straight and narrow. Turning down a quick buck at (almost) every turn, Jimmy tried to make the right choice every time until the revelation his brother, Chuck (Michael McKean), never believed in him to begin with. In a wave of panicked anger, Jimmy returns to Cicero and goes on a "Slippin' Jimmy" binge with his old cohort Marco. The week of cons in Cicero ends tragically with the death of Marco, which begins a recurring pattern in "Better Call Saul." The more Jimmy gives in to his toxic behaviors; the more people get hurt. The montage is a perfect balance of style and substance. 

Jimmy's cell phone side hustle

THE SONG: Randy Crawford – "Street Life"

Jimmy beings to get his taste of what it would be like to have a large and seedy clientele with this montage. Featured in season 4, episode 5 titled "Quite a Ride," we see the same rinse and repeat process of Jimmy being bored with a good thing and choosing to turn it into a scam. "Better Call Saul" has remained so engaging throughout its six seasons by making these repeated mistakes made by Jimmy into something so dramatically different every time. Case in point: Jimmy reselling pre-paid cell phones for a profit on the streets of Albuquerque.

The neon sign of "The Dog House," an outside restaurant, sets the stage for this cool and collected montage. It's Jimmy doing what he does best, replacing his usual suit and tie in favor of a tracksuit and some sneakers. The montage shows that Jimmy will find a way to exploit the system and make a quick buck off it, whether it's the law or some other business endeavor. The repetitive POV shot of Jimmy opening up his car trunk to a variety of customers sells us on Jimmy as a salesman, and Randy Crawford's "Street Life" just ties this everything together to give "Better Call Saul" a montage with a lot more style than usual.

Kim's daily routine

THE SONG: Todd Terje – "Alfonso Muskedunder"

Kim Wexler is the spotlight of this montage, in a quick cut and dramatically edited sequence that feels like it was pulled out of a '70s cop show. The only difference is that the everyday mundanity of getting ready for work is what's on display here, rather than a gunfight or car chase.

"Better Call Saul" loves to emphasize the mundane, the unseen chores that come with getting up in the morning and managing your hectic everyday life. Featured in season 3 episode 3, "Sunk Costs," the repetitive nature of the montage helps to get viewers into the mindset of Kim Wexler, who, at that point in the series begins to become overworked due to her two large clients. The efficiency of her daily routine is magnified through the montage, and also serves as a reminder of Kim's consistency and determination. 

Nacho practices the toss

THE SONG: Fink – "Cold Feet"

We're now getting into the territory of more intense montages in the world of "Better Call Saul." This one reaches more into the "Breaking Bad" side of things, featured in the season 3 episode 8 "Slip." The character at the center of this montage is Nacho (Michael Mando), who decides to poison Hector Salamanca out of concern for his father's safety and their business. Story moments like these make the worlds of "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" feel incredibly cohesive, with references to its predecessor not just being tongue-in-cheek Easter eggs but instead actual story points with meaning for the characters present in "Better Call Saul."

This montage also highlights the level of detail that the show's writers strive for when telling their stories. In any other crime drama, preparing the poison and practicing how to slip it would be done off-screen, if even mentioned at all. "Better Call Saul" goes beyond the line of duty in storytelling, showing the intricate process of all of the characters, and this montage is no exception. We watch Nacho intricately prepare each pill, followed by setting up a chair with a jacket hung over it, as he walks by it countless times to perfect his throw of the pill bottle into the jacket pocket. If Nacho is even slightly off in his throw, he and his father are dead. It's an intense montage that raises the stakes in all the right ways.

Jimmy tries to get fired

THE SONG: Dennis Coffey – "Scorpio"

Jimmy embracing the inner Saul Goodman that he doesn't know is in there yet is just one small part of what makes this montage so satisfying. Following his employment at the prestigious law firm Davis and Main, Jimmy's resentment and bitterness toward his brother begin to reach a boiling point. Uncomfortable with the big firm job that he had always dreamed of and learning that he would have to repay his signing bonus if he quits, Jimmy opts to run another one of his long cons instead. A hilarious multi-panel montage follows that sees Jimmy embracing his more exuberant side. Featured in season 2, episode 7, aptly titled "Inflatable," this montage has it all: colorful suits, Jimmy hijinks, and inflatable wavy tube men flailing in the air to the beat of the music.

This con doesn't harm anyone except Jimmy, and therein lies the tragic undertone that viewers can find throughout "Better Call Saul." The series does an excellent job of layering the dark comedy, showing that a character's mental state isn't exactly in the best of conditions. Otherwise, Jimmy wouldn't have been leaving the toilet unflushed or playing the bagpipes so loud the lawyers at the firms can't properly speak with their clients. As tragic as it is, viewers can still appreciate the striking and hilarious imagery of Jimmy getting his various colorful suits ready, intercut with dancing wavy tube men that look a little too much like him.

Something stupid, parts 1 and 2

THE SONGS: The Big Rock Candy Mountain – "Something Stupid,"  Lola Marsh – "Something Stupid"

While this could be considered cheating because these are two different montages, I'm going to pull a slippin' Jimmy and get off on the technicality that both montages use the same song and essentially serve the same purpose. One is from the season 4 episode "Something Stupid" and the other from the season 5 episode "Bad Choice Road." Both are edited to show Jimmy and Kim's separate lives and the radically different things both are going through in each respective season. While the artists in the songs are different, they are both covers of the same song and illustrate how wildly different Kim and Jimmy are. It's especially evident in "Bad Choice Road," which sees Jimmy trekking through the desert, forced to drink his urine while Kim goes through her day in court proceedings and meetings, all while she is worried for Jimmy's safety.

The screen is literally split in half for both montages, even when the two are together in the season 4 montage that uses the song. The visual storytelling that "Better Call Saul" uses greatly helps viewers understand the separation between characters without a single line of dialogue. Using two separate montages from two seasons as a narrative device to tell a singular story about one relationship is extremely impressive, making for one of the best sets of montages in "Better Call Saul."

Gene's Cinnabon montage

THE SONG: Lalo Schifrin – "Jim on the Move"

Jimmy McGill. Saul Goodman. Gene Takovic. A man of many names, Jimmy seems unable to help himself when running a good con. We've seen the character run a scam as both Jimmy McGill and Saul Goodman, but his time as Gene Takovic has scarcely seen any action. The black and white flash-forwards, which have been few and far between up until the show's final season, only featured Gene as a shell of his former self. It isn't until he's recognized and bullied into saying "Better call Saul" that Gene begins to show signs of his former self. In season 6, episode 10, "Nippy," Gene decides to pull off a scheme with the people who recognized him so he can blackmail them into secrecy. To do so, Gene gets friendly with mall security so he can distract them when the time comes for the robbery.

Enter: the Cinnabon montage.

Using his line of work as a manager of a Cinnabon, Gene begins to make the delectable treats for the security guards, befriending and timing how long it takes for the guard watching the camera to eat the cinnabon. The montage shows us Gene slipping back into his Saul Goodman ways. Set to a lovely tune from the original "Mission Impossible" TV soundtrack, the montage is edited differently than what's shown in the flash-forwards before this, indicating that Gene is turning back into Saul through the quick edits and style.

The Mesa Verde forgery

THE SONG: Little Barrie – "Why Don't You Do It"

The meticulous attention to detail comes into play with this montage, featured in season 2, episode 8, titled "Fifi." Hoping to help Kim, Jimmy goes to great lengths to forge documents to throw his brother Chuck into disarray when dealing with a large legal case. The montage shows viewers the hard work Jimmy would put himself through to deceive someone so he can benefit himself or someone he cares about. This montage is thorough, from the quick cuts showing the forged documents nearly identical to the authentic ones to the time-lapse of his activity in the printing store. Every important detail is delivered to the viewers, leaving no room for debate about whether or not someone would be able to pull this off in real life.

"Better Call Saul" uses its montages in various ways, both as an entertaining segue into the next big story point or even to tell a story itself. The art of the montage is something the team behind "Better Call Saul" has mastered, delivering a masterclass in character work, and storytelling. This show has no wasted space, and every incredibly edited, stylized, and entertaining montage has a purpose.