YYou don’t want a criminal lawyer. You want a criminal lawyer,” was how Jesse Pinkman famously introduced Walter White to Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad season two. And the latest episode of Better Call Saul flashes back to the aftermath of the trio’s original meeting.
Saul is bound and cuffed in the back of Walter’s now iconic RV. The upstart meth cooks have kidnapped the tacky yet tactful lawyer to prevent him from doling out some legal advice that would get the science teacher and his one-time pupil in some very hot water. Breaking Bad fans will remember that this leads into the famous ‘Fake Heisenberg’ scheme, in which Saul hires a jailbird to pose as a drug dealer for a pricey sum of cash.
The return of Walt and Jesse isn’t just a nostalgic romp down memory lane – even though Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul still share the same crackling chemistry that made them so popular originally. It’s also a tragic reminder that this story doesn’t end well – but more of that later.
Much of the latest episode takes place after Breaking Bad ends – in the monochrome future of Gene Takavic (Saul/Jimmy’s final undercover alias). He’s made contact with faithful former secretary Francesca, who duly informs him about the fallout from Walt’s death and Jesse making a break for Mexico. She also tells him that every cent he had hidden away in a myriad of shell corporations and dummy companies has been seized by the Feds, leaving Gene with nothing but what he hauled to his new life in Omaha.
Francesca then drops the bombshell. Kim Wexler, Gene’s ex-legal partner, has been in touch. And she asked about the man she knew as Jimmy. He’s visibly shaken by the news, barely allowing himself to think about his former love in a very long time. Gene then takes a moment (at a literal crossroads), before calling Kim. Frustratingly, and perhaps brilliantly, the call happens off-camera, and so we can’t hear a single word of their conversation. However, it clearly doesn’t go well. Gene gets worked up and progressively more pissed off before he hammers the phone down into the terminal.
With no money and no Kim, Gene turns to his next job. He revisits his lackeys from last week’s successful department store heist, and explains his new scheme to raise some much-needed funds. They will steal the personal information of wealthy marks at bars and in a montage, the cash mounts up quickly.
Then Gene takes aim at a mark who turns out to have cancer (another echo of Breaking Bad) leaving one of the lackeys to quit the con. In a Walter White-esque move, out of pride and ego, Gene pushes ahead and rips off the dying man. He’s become his ugliest self, worse than the maniacal yahoo doing the legalistic bidding of killers and cartel bosses.
The episode draws to a close with a flashback to Saul preparing to make Albuquerque‘s deadliest science teacher the offer of a lifetime, juxtaposed with Gene following through on his amoral scheme and the show begins to hint that the fates of Jimmy and Walter may be closely aligned. Just two more episodes to go…
Most WTF moment: the phone call we can’t hear
Every Better Call Saul fan is desperate to see and hear Kim Wexler again but this might just be goodbye, knowing she is safe and sound in Florida, far away from Jimmy/Saul/Gene.
This week’s biggest question: what is Saul’s final fate?
This episode hints significantly that there is much that ties Saul and Walt, both in personality and purpose and as the universe comes full circle, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the conman/lawyer goes out the same way as his former client.
- “The guy with a moustache probably doesn’t make too many good life choices” – Saul to Mike without the slightest bit of irony given his future incarnation as a moustachioed Cinnabon manager.
- “A guy with cancer can’t be an asshole? I’m speaking from experience” – Gene making another reference to the menace of Walter White.
- “Your whole space smells like a skunk’s butthole” – God bless Francesca.