‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 Features the Show’s First All Black-and-White Episode
Better Call Saul Season 6 has kept fans on their toes the entire season. Episode 10 did something unprecedented for the series. While we’ve seen snippets of Gene Takovic’s life in Omaha in previous seasons, “Nippy” took place entirely in the Gene timeline. The stunning episode featured a con of epic proportions, and a little bit of Saul returned to Gene’s bleak life.
[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead regarding the Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 10 “Nippy.”]
“Nippy” takes place entirely in the Gene Takovic timeline
Before Better Call Saul Season 6, every season premiere opened with a clip of Gene Takovic’s life. The scenes appeared in black and white before returning to Jimmy McGill’s life in full color. However, season 6 did not return to Gene Takovic for the premiere. The show waited until “Nippy” to give a full-length Gene episode shot entirely in black and white.
The episode made good on Gene’s promise to “fix it myself” after he was recognized as Saul Goodman. Director of Photography Paul Donachie described some of the challenges of filming in black and white during an episode of the Better Call Saul Insider podcast.
“Funnily enough, you need more light,” Donachie said. “It was quite interesting to try and create more shadow and actually trying to create darker and lighter areas. Things that were a bit more contrasting.”
The ‘Better Call Saul’ creative team watched black-and-white movie clips to prepare
Donachie also worked alongside Better Call Saul co-creator Peter Gould to do a deep dive into the world of black-and-white cinema. “Peter Gould did a really interesting thing,” said “Nippy” director Michelle MacLaren in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“He sat down with Paul Donachie, our cinematographer who I love and adore, and myself, and it was like taking a master class. He had pulled a bunch of black-and-white clips from various movies, and he really talked about what he thought the light meant in certain places, and he said, ‘I really would love it if you guys were inspired by this and could use this in the episode.’ And it really did very much inspire Paul and me.”
MacLaren continued, “We found moments, like where Gene steps into the light and he’s being a good guy, and he steps into the darkness, and he’s not being a good guy.”
‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 Episode 10 honors ‘film history’
“Nippy” writer Alison Tatlock appreciated the interesting cinematography. “I love that the episode was all in black and white. We were excited and had talked about that it would be interesting to us both in the story way and cinematically to do an entire black-and-white episode, and this is where it landed. And that was just cool artistically,” she said while speaking to Entertainment Weekly.
Tatlock also mentioned the video call with Peter Gould. “We had a very enlightening Zoom session with [co-creator] Peter [Gould] and our DP and Michelle, where Peter shared images with us from black-and-white movies that he loves. So there was a real honoring of some film history as we delved into this one,” she said. Tatlock, however, wouldn’t reveal if the Gene story will continue to be only black-and-white going forward.
Watch the final episodes of Better Call Saul airing on AMC Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.