We begin to see parallels between Saul and a major figure from his past in an emotionally difficult, tragic episode of Better Call Saul
- Connections to previous shows highlight major themes
- Eventual downfall of Saul Goodman is completely tragic
- A really big namedrop during a conversation to perk up fans
- Everything Francesca
- Once again, Carol Burnett completely underutilized
NOTE: This review contains spoilers for Better Call Saul season 6 episode 11, "Breaking Bad." You can read previous recaps for Better Call Saul season 6 right here.
Better Call Saul has finally caught up with the Breaking Bad timeline. From the episode’s title to the very opening minutes, we know for a fact that the moment showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould said was coming is finally here. The episode begins with a very familiar scene: Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) being kidnapped and led into the desert by two masked assailants. The rest, as they say, is history.
From the moment we first met Slippin' Jimmy McGill, we knew he was on a collision course with a fate that would lead him to eventually become mild-mannered Gene from Nebraska. However the most important thing this episode points out is it isn’t Walter White’s fault. It is 100% Saul’s. Much like his former client, Saul just can’t help himself and it’s gotten him into trouble in a bad way (and may very continue to do so).
While we've seen the scene of Saul being kidnapped by Jesse (Aaron Paul) and Walt (Bryan Cranston) before, hearing the names Lalo (Tony Dalton) and Ignacio (Michael Mando) hit differently. It's a short teaser, however, as we quickly pick up in the Gene timeline with a welcome face — Francesca (Tina Parker).
Francesca is playing landlord to a group of stoners before she has to run off. She drives around but notices she’s being followed. It’s a moment of suspense that makes us aware of how the events with Heisenberg have not only put a target on Saul’s back, but hers as well. She arrives to her destination without a tail — an abandoned gas station with a payphone to get a call from Saul, now Gene, and a hefty sum of cash.
Sadly, Francesca is the closest thing Saul has to a friend from the old days, and even then she’s just counting down the minutes until she can hang up. She does, but not before name dropping someone we have been anxious to hear about: Kim (Rhea Seehorn).
Yes, Kim Wexler appears to be alive and working in Florida. Saul hears Kim asked about him, which immediately prompts him to try and reach out to her. Sadly, all we ever hear from this is Saul trying to get the operator to connect him. Then, trucks muffle any sort of dialogue and we just see Jimmy getting increasingly upset before he violently slams the receiver several times and kicks the phone booth glass for good measure. Whether this was anger at the operator being unable to help place his call or a conversation with Kim that went wrong, is anyone’s guess.
Either way, it was enough to get Jimmy to start slipping again. After declaring last week that he and Jeffy (Pat Healy) were done, Gene is back in Jeffy’s home charming the pants off Marion (Carol Burnett) with funny cat videos but reveals he wants to start scheming again.
There’s a poetic shot of a grave that fades into the present with Gene lying in bed; perhaps foreshadowing future events? We then get a montage of Gene running the same con to rip off wealthy gentlemen repeatedly and getting moderately wealthy from it. It’s almost reminiscent of Walter getting insanely rich in the "gliding over it all" sequence from the final season of Breaking Bad.
We're seeing parallels between Walt and Saul. Saul doesn’t need to do any of this. He could walk away any time and live a somewhat wealthier and safe Cinnabon lifestyle under the radar of the authorities. But he makes the choice to do all this, despite whether or not the target deserves any of it, because he’s stubbornly addicted to this lifestyle. Just as Heisenberg was addicted to his lust for power.
In between all this we get a flashback to a new scene after Walt and Jessie famously purchase their attorney client privilege from Saul in Breaking Bad. It’s always nice to see Cranston and Paul together again. With Odenkirk in the mix, too, things just felt even better. The scene culminates in Jesse’s inquiry who Lalo is. Once again it hits harder for us Better Call Saul series fans, as we see Saul get justifiably uncomfortable and eager for Walt to gun it out of there.
This ultimately culminates in a shifting narrative between the past and the present, in which Saul makes two terrible decisions, one we know ends badly and one that very likely could.
The first are flashbacks to the Breaking Bad timeline, where, against Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) advice, Saul decides to pursue Walter White and Jesse Pinkman as clients. The second is in the present, where Buddy is trying to convince Gene to have a heart and abandon their current identity theft con against a suffering cancer patient (played by Big Bang Theory’s Kevin Sussman).
Gene ignores this and wants to go through with the scam, even though Buddy (Max Bickelhaup) disrupted any possibility to continue it by keeping the doors locked to their mark’s home. This leads to him recklessly breaking and entering into the home. From there, we’re left with a cliffhanger on how this will all play out.
At this moment, however, Gene has crossed a line he can’t recover from. Unlike his previous jobs, Saul has gone from sympathetic and cunning to somewhat remorseless and reckless. He’s officially broken bad and it’s very likely Slippin’ Jimmy will have finally slipped down a hole he won’t be able to recover from.
New episodes of Better Call Saul air Mondays on AMC in the US and Tuesdays on Netflix in the UK.
Mike is a proud, sarcastic nerd with a penchant for comic books, comic book movies, and movies in general, and occasional delusions of grandeur. He's also a UC Berkeley graduate who decided to go into writing over pre-med because he figured he'd ultimately save more lives by not being a doctor. He's a Slytherin and a Pisces, so he's very emotionally sensitive, yet also evil, but can be defeated by exploiting his insecurities. His goal is to live one hell of a unique life, and it's been working so far! His proudest moments are being retweeted by James Gunn and Ryan Reynolds in the same week, and getting 999,999 points on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters at Disneyland.
You can find Mike's writing around the web at publications like The Nerds of Color, What to Watch, Spoiler Free Reviews, and That's It LA.
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