Why ‘Better Call Saul’ can make a strong Emmys comeback for final season

Better Call Saul” fans were scratching their heads in 2020 over some shocking Emmy snubs. Aside from the predictable, yet indefensible snub of Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, perennial nominees Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill and Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut were left out in the cold after four nominations each. The series received eight bids that year (dropping down from nine for Season 4 and 10 for Season 3) for a season that was considered the show’s strongest at that time, with a score of 99 on Rotten Tomatoes and 92 on Metacritic.

Even more stunning is that apart from its two Emmy wins in the short form categories in 2017 and 2020, the series itself has gone 0-for-39 for the entirety of its five seasons. But that could change with the airing of its sixth and final season on AMC, which I believe can make a strong Emmys comeback for “Better Call Saul.”

The show centers around Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill and his journey into the criminal lawyer fans come to know and love as Saul Goodman in “Breaking Bad.” The final season kicked off on April 18 and has received unanimous acclaim from critics and audiences for its four episodes thus far, with The Hollywood Reporter praising for its “consistency” and The Chicago Sun Times calling it “the most visually creative series in television history.” With this final season, “BCS” is getting closer to the timeline of “Breaking Bad” and will tie many plot points together with the show.

While the season is 13 episodes, it will be split into two halves, with the second half airing July 11. This is the same strategy that the final season of “Breaking Bad” used, which was successful in finally securing their Emmy wins for Best Drama Series for both parts of its farewell season. With the final episodes of “Better Call Saul” will air after nominations are announced, it will be fresh on voters’ minds when submitting their ballots for the winners phase, while also making the show eligible for next year’s award show.

Despite the egregious snubs two years ago, the Emmys have been known to embrace a show after ignoring it the previous season (i.e. “The Handmaid’s Tale” last year returned with a whopping 21 mentions after getting half that amount the year before). There is much potential for “Better Call Saul” to score with more nominations, including getting multiple men in the Best Drama Guest Actor category, with confirmation that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul making an appearance in the show’s swan song, who have both won multiple Emmys for “Breaking Bad” (though it is uncertain which half they will appear on).

SPOILER ALERT: And with the events of the third episode of the season where Nacho, played by Michael Mando, met his unfortunate end, Mando is now eligible for the guest actor category (barring any potential future flashback appearances this first half). That helped previous cast member Michael McKean secure his first nomination for the show as Jimmy’s brother Chuck McGill.

With the final season continuing to perform well, I am confident that the series will bounce back in terms of the number of nominations and could finally get some wins for Best Drama Series, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Writing. As it stands, “Better Call Saul” sits in fourth place with 8/1 odds for series, while Odenkirk and Banks are tentatively at the bottom half of their respective categories due to their snubs. Supporting player Giancarlo Esposito also seems now a likely nominee as well, with one spot above Banks. Seehorn may finally secure a bid in the supporting actress race where she is comfortably in fifth place with 13/1, but it is possible, given the storyline of Kim being so intertwined with Jimmy, that she has the option to be considered a lead actress for the first time ever.

It is odd that despite the massive success of “Breaking Bad” with the Emmys prior (16 wins out of 58 nominations), “Better Call Saul” has been skunked throughout its whole run. But this final two-part season is the last chance for voters to reward the series. And that crossover with its predecessor could have a huge impact on the awards.

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