brake alert: Don’t read if you haven’t watched Better Call Saul Season 6 episode 11 called “Breaking Bad.”
“Better Call Saul” fans have waited more than seven years for the Bob Odenkirk-led series to intersect with the worlds of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). This week’s episode of the spin-off, titled “Breaking Bad,” gave viewers all that and more.
The episode switches back and forth between the black-and-white timeline, featuring Saul’s character after “Breaking Bad” Gene Takovich in Omaha, and the world of Saul Goodman in season two of “Breaking Bad.” Sadly, Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) are in the past (at least for now).
In Gene’s timeline, our favorite Cinnabon manager relives his Albuquerque days, orchestrating another plot with taxi driver Jeffy (Pat Healy), who has known Gene since he was Saul. Together, they pass enough personal information on to steal a few dozen men’s identities, but it’s clear that Jane/Saul/Jimmy isn’t really there for the rewards, but because he’s missing the “game”. In last week’s episode, “Nippy,” Jane arranges a convenience store robbery for Jeffy’s in exchange for remaining silent about his true identity. This time, Jane’s in for the excitement.
In the flashback of season two of “Breaking Bad,” Saul is chained to a distinct, bullet-ridden RV before being dragged outside to a shallow grave by two mysterious men. “Oh no, no, no!” pleads. “It wasn’t me, it was Ignacio! It’s the one!” We’ve seen this exact scene before, in Season 2 of “Breaking Bad” episode “Better Call Saul,” when he first met the famous methamphetamine chef in Albuquerque criminal Attorney. At the time, it was a neglected streak. Now, six seasons in the sub-part with the dramatic death of Nacho (Michael Mando) still fresh in our minds, it puts everything in context and secures the series in its rightful place. Throughout her career, “Better Call Saul” has served as a prequel series that also sparks the fallout of “Breaking Bad.” At this moment, the two series are unfolding simultaneously.
Walt and Jesse meet Saul for the first time in the movie Breaking Bad because he is like one of their dealers, Jesse Badger’s friend, who is arrested for distributing methamphetamine. Fearing Badger will abandon Heisenberg (aka Walt) to the DEA, Walt walks into Saul’s office pretending to be Badger’s uncle and offers him $10,000 to tell Badger to stay quiet. Saul expels him for bribery. As a last resort, Walt and Jesse kidnap and intimidate Saul in the desert, assuring that he will advise Badger to remain silent. They wear ski masks to hide their identities, but Saul recognizes Walt’s cough and demands that he and Jesse put a dollar in his pocket…you know, for attorney-client privilege. At Pickle, Saul agrees not to make a deal with the DEA.
Now in the “Better Call Saul” flashback, we’re dealing with a new scene that happens when the trio re-enters an RV, and we finally see the faces of Walt and Jesse (13 years after Cranston and Paul first filmed this pivotal sequence). Saul admired the makeshift methamphetamine lab and correctly believed that Walt was, in fact, Heisenberg. Walt and Jesse bicker (oh, I missed Breaking Bad), and Saul, minutes after being held at gunpoint, attacks them hard on his carrier. After a short silence, Jesse asked Saul, “Who is Lalo?”
In the “Breaking Bad” version of the scare scene, Saul asks Walt and Jesse if Lalo sent them. At the time, Lalo was also just a random name and not the infamous Salamanca villain we fear in “Better Call Saul”. The attorney pauses for a moment—perhaps thinking about representing Lalo, the bail money haul across the desert, the failed assassination attempt, the fraud against Howard, Lalo’s surprise visit, Howard’s murder, the loss of Kim—and then simply responds: “Nobody.”
Later in the episode, Saul is sitting in his office with Mike (Jonathan Banks), who gives him information about his potential clients. “Even if this guy were to live, I wouldn’t go near him. If he didn’t get cancer, it would be from the cops or a bullet to the head,” Mike says of Walt.
Saul replied: “I felt it.” “This guy from Heisenberg’s got something. It’s the best product, that’s the hype in the street, and I’m just thinking with the right management…” But Mike interrupted him. He says, “Let it go.” Ignoring his advice, Saul arrives at JB Wayne High School, where Walt teaches chemistry. It’s heading toward the Flag Building, but that’s all we get in this episode. Of course it does not matter. We know what will happen next.
Not to be forgotten, at the beginning of this bombshell episode is Jane’s call with Francesca (Tina Parker), his former secretary. It’s been a while since the events of “Breaking Bad” and the spin-off “El Camino,” so Francesca (now a landlord who helps tenants in her twenties open their tub) talks Jane about the situations of her former friends and co-workers. in Albuquerque. This is what we learned:
- Things have calmed down, but Francesca is still being watched from time to time. She says her mail is open and the home phone is tapped. She told Jane, “Skylar White got her deal, so there’s only you and Pinkman left. And I heard they found his car at the border.” Francesca is actually referring to the Skinny Pete, the Ford Thunderbird that Badger is driving to the Mexican border in “El Camino” to throw cops. As far as we know, Jesse is living peacefully in Alaska after escaping the Nazi compound and starting a new life, via Ed the Disappearer.
- The cops are still looking for Saul Goodman.
- The feds found nail salons, vending machines, and a laser yard that Walt, Jesse, and Saul used to launder money.
- When asked how Patrick Kobe (Bill Burr), a follower of Saul, Francesca replies, “No idea,” but says Howell Papineau (Laville Crawford) is back home in New Orleans. Apparently he walked because the DEA held him under false pretenses.
- Bill Oakley (Peter DeSeth), the attorney general who appeared on “Better Call Saul,” “switched his positions” and became a defense attorney.
- At one point, Kim called Francesca to check on her and asked about Jimmy and if he was alive. Francesca says she hasn’t told Kim anything about Jimmy’s current whereabouts (or new identity).
This latter realization encouraged Jane to contact Kim, who we know now works in Titusville, Florida, and presumably hasn’t been a lawyer since she gave up her license. We don’t hear any audio from their conversation, and it’s not clear if they’re online or not. But whatever happens on the other line upsets Jin, who hits the phone with the dial pad and kicks the glass payphone booth until it shatters.
There are two episodes of “Better Call Saul” left, and we haven’t seen Kim since Jimmy left, so hopefully you’ll be happy in black and white afterwards.