Both Better Call Saul and El Camino are major spin-offs of the much-loved series, Breaking Bad. Both shows continue the story in very different ways, one acting as a prequel and the other as a sequel. Each has their own distinct tone and qualities.
However, there’s plenty of debate over which is the perfect follow up to the initial show. While one successfully caps off the story, another manages to set it up in a creative way. Here are 5 reasons why Better Call Saul is the best spin-off and 5 why it’s actually El Camino.
BETTER CALL SAUL: SURPRISE APPEARANCES
Since this show is set before Walt’s journey, there are plenty of characters that we’ve met in the future, that are still alive. This gives the showrunners a great opportunity to bring in some surprise appearances for the nostalgia.
There have been some great cameos including most recently Hank and Gomez and even the return of Gus. Plus, supporting characters like Gale and Lydia have also had small arcs to set them up ready for their journey within Breaking Bad.
EL CAMINO: JESSE’S STORY
One thing that the film does spectacularly is shown us the end of Jesse’s story. The character of Jesse Pinkman became the lead in some ways for Breaking Bad. As Walter White continued to descend into villainy we learned to really feel for Jesse.
Now as the hero of the piece, El Camino shows us what happens to Jesse directly after the season finale. We’re really rooting for him to get away and find his freedom because he really does deserve it after all he’s been through and has had to do.
BETTER CALL SAUL: WORLD BUILDING
The benefit of having Better Call Saul as a prequel is that it can world build a little more. It can successfully set up all the major crime bosses and drug cartels so that when Walter takes them down it’s an even bigger deal for that universe.
What’s more, there’s plenty of little easter eggs of what’s to come and the way the show is written this really feels like a real city. All the moving parts come together really well and showcase just how deep the world of Breaking Bad can go.
EL CAMINO: WALT CAMEO
One of the key characters in this world is, of course, Walter White. While we know he died in the season finale we’ve been waiting for some sort of cameo from him for some time. We may still see an appearance from him in Better Call Saul.
However, El Camino gave us one last look at Walt, during his earlier days in the criminal business. It showed us how far these characters have really come and it was a fun and interesting throwback that fans absolutely loved.
BETTER CALL SAUL: SAUL’S FALL
The character of Saul Goodman is a complicated one. This show is all about showing how Jimmy turns into the lawyer we all know to be doing some less than savory things. This journey is perhaps better written than Walt’s was.
It’s such a gradual process, but there’s also a distinct turning point which shows exactly what the series has been leading to. Jimmy is almost full on Saul at this point and that journey is better than any El Camino could have shown us.
EL CAMINO: VERY LITTLE DIALOGUE
The amazing thing about the film is that it manages to convey so much while using very little dialogue. This is a really difficult thing to do but the action drives the story so well that there’s not much need for clever words.
In fact, part of the tone of this film comes from the fact that Jesse talks so little. It’s a deliberate writing choice that pays off massively. Saul is all about using as many words as possible to avoid a situation. Jesse just gets the job done.
BETTER CALL SAUL: PACING
The pacing of the show is really unique and unlike anything, we’ve seen before. The writers are not afraid to take long pauses to really let big moments sink in. It can sometimes feel as if nothing is happening and yet every tiny detail is vital to the plot.
El Camino operates in a similar way but not to the same extent as an ongoing series. Better Call Saul is paced in such a way that it’s both gripping and yet makes big moments out of tiny things.
EL CAMINO: TENSE THROUGHOUT
The film manages to do something incredible with its own pacing, storytelling, music and even the lack of dialogue. It sets a tense atmosphere that never ever drops throughout.
It’s only in the final scene where you know that Jesse is safe can you finally breathe a sigh of relief. Leading up this though, the tension is perhaps too much to bear!
BETTER CALL SAUL: NEW CHARACTERS
Better Call Saul does something that El Camino does not. It introduces brand new characters and actually gets us to care about them. This shows that the writers aren’t just relying on the pre-existing characters.
People like Kim and Nacho have become huge parts of the show and we’re genuinely nervous about what could happen to them in the end. This is not an easy thing to do for any series, especially one with an established franchise.
EL CAMINO: PERFECT CONCLUSION
While Better Call Saul is the perfect setup, El Camino does something more important. It concludes the story successfully, wrapping up any loose threads and giving us a satisfying ending.
That’s such a difficult thing to do, especially for such a beloved franchise, so it’s truly a wondrous production team that has managed to pull it off. In some ways, this makes the film superior, therefore.