Six seasons are preparing, but the event breaking Bad fans were hoping for that to happen. After series creator Vince Gilligan teased their appearance, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) finally appeared in You better call Saul. As with virtually every element of this show, what could have been a throwaway episode comes across as a masterclass in how to satisfactorily use guest stars in storytelling.
It is fitting that the episode which sees the return of Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) is called “Breaking Bad”. Back in 2009, the Season 2 episode that first introduced the world to Saul Goodman was called “Better Call Saul.” As jokingly predicted by Decision Maker’s Alex Zalbenthis You better call Saul the episode is largely a retelling of Jimmy’s (Bob Odenkirk) early moments in breaking Bad. As “Gene” orchestrates a plan with his new cab buddy in the future, Jimmy reflects on how he first met Walt and Jesse.
What could have been an outdated idea is saved by the sharpness of writer and director Thomas Schnauz. Every time we go back to Heisenberg’s time, You better call Saul take care to show us another breaking Bad moment that we have never known. Of course, we all remember how Walt and Jesse tried to threaten Saul into saving Badger (Matt Jones) by showing him his own grave. But we didn’t see the moments of blind terror when Jimmy was on the back of the meth mobile. We certainly never saw what returning from the desert was like.
This scene in particular managed to wrap up one of You better call Saul‘s greatest mysteries. After arguing with Walt as if he’s been married to the man for four decades, Jesse turns his attention to Jimmy and asks who Lalo is. When Jimmy feigns ignorance, Jesse urges him on, recalling how scared Jimmy was when he thought he was taken by someone named Lalo. It was then that Jimmy managed to push him away, saying, “It’s nobody.” Since Jimmy first called out that name Breaking Bad’In the second season, fans wonder about Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton). Now that we’ve seen the full cycle of their relationship, Jimmy’s fear and how he rejects the name hits even harder.
The episode even shows what happened in Jimmy’s private investigation of Walt. Unsurprisingly, Mike (Jonathan Banks) is involved in the process. But perhaps more surprisingly, he’s also responsible for Walter White’s best burn of the entire episode, and possibly this entire universe. When Mike delivers his report to Jimmy, he repeatedly points out that Walt and Jesse are sloppy amateurs who should be left alone. Jimmy retaliates. He sees them as criminals he can sculpt, a previously unexplored passion of the lawyer who has the potential to rewrite everything. breaking Bad like just another of Jimmy’s schemes. That’s when Mike will kill.
“You know, years ago I bought a Betamax. Good product, top of the line, the experts said it was better than a VHS,” Mike told Jimmy. turned out to be a total waste of time and money. Let it go.” Way to possess your future murderer, Mike.
What’s remarkable about these flashbacks isn’t just the return of Walt and Jesse. That’s how masterfully they work to move Jimmy’s story forward. Almost every other show would use cameos from fan-favorite characters to score cheap points with audiences. You better call Saul never settle for this simple approach. Instead, he connects Jimmy’s past story about Walt and Jesse with his current anger at Kim (Rhea Seehorn) and his latest scam using taxi driver Jeff and his friend. Even when the show gives fans the cameos they’ve been wanting since Episode 1, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s legal drama expertly makes sure the focus remains on Jimmy.
While we have no idea how this saga ended for Jimmy, we do know how it ended for Walt and Jesse. The 2008 drama ended with Walt bleeding from a gunshot wound as police arrived on the scene and Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” played. So there is The Camino, AMC and the Netflix spin-off. This episode followed Jesse as he escaped the Aryan Brotherhood compound. “Breaking Bad” the episode even has a line about the police finding Jesse’s car at the border, implying that he made it out alive. While “Gene” was in Nebraska, Walt was in a grave, and Jesse was in Alaska.
After this long-awaited appearance, there are only two episodes left in You better call Saul. Next Monday, August 8, will mark the premiere of “Waterworks”. This will be followed by “Saul Gone” on Monday, August 15. We’re hoping to get the answers we want, and for Kim and Jimmy to get some semblance of a happy ending before it’s over.
New York Post