Season 6, Episode 11, “Breaking Bad”

Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul

Bob Odenkirk in You better call Saul
Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

He left that funky Saul Goodman shirt and tie on the department store rack, but make no mistake: Hairdresser from last week with Jeff and the mall security team took Gene Takovic back into Saul Goodman’s world. And a mysterious, controversial phone call in “Breaking Bad” made him double down and Saul went all out.

We don’t know—yet—where this sudden but devoted embrace of the life that made him go into hiding will end, but people from his old life as Albuquerque’s most infamous attorney still waver from their associations with him. To Bill Oakley, the beleaguered deputy district attorney who envied Jimmy’s easy chance at Davis & Main as he ate lunch from the courthouse vending machine every day, Jimmy/Saul’s pranks on helping free Lalo Salamanca proved so disenchanting that Bill turned to the lawyer turned himself: he went to a private practice and advertises his services on a bench at a bus stop. Is he now serving the clientele that Saul left behind?

For Francesca, Saul’s loyal but also overworked and stressed assistant, her career prospects are less potentially lucrative. Her life with Saul was certainly never glamorous, but now she’s a landlord and spends her days submerging a sink clogged with weed stalks and seeds in the apartment of a couple of gruff tenants whose house smells like ‘a skunk asshole’. .

She is also tracked, her email is opened and her phone is tapped as the legal authorities continue to search for Saul. Still, she agrees to drive out of town (to the former Big Chief gas station where Jesse in season three of Breaking Bad) for a phone call with Gene. He wants the hot gossip about the happenings at home, and Francesca wants the hidden stash of money he promised her for showing up. She tells him that the rest of his money (the nail salons, the vending machines, the laser tag center, the offshore account) is all gone, but he’s most interested in a phone call she received after news of his Walter White disconnection. was: Kim , who called to check in with her. Kim also asked about Saul, Francesca shares. She wanted to know if he was still alive.

Gene, who had driven out of Omaha to call Francesca, is on his way back to Omaha when he stops to call again. Kim apparently works in Titusville, Florida, at a company called Palm Coast Sprinklers. Gene calls and asks about her and although the sound of trucks passing on the highway drowns out his conversation, it’s an angry one we can tell from the gesture he makes. When he hangs up, he repeatedly knocks down the receiver. As he walks out, he kicks the glass of the phone booth so hard that it breaks.

What could have happened with that phone call that would make him so angry? If Kim simply hadn’t been in the company or if she wasn’t working there anymore, he might have been disappointed or annoyed, but not violently angry. What was being conveyed to Gene that would provoke that reaction? Was he told that Kim refused to talk to him? Did she talk to him and pass on her feelings about his? Breaking Badera actions? Did she share any news about her new life that disapproved of him?

Whatever happened during that conversation triggered a return to Omaha, which was followed by Gene visiting Marion and Jeff’s house and going back to the roads of Saul Goodman.

The surprise of Gene and Saul’s reunion is the enthusiasm and recklessness with which Gene approaches his new venture with Jeff and Buddy. It’s a typically complicated and clever McGill/Goodman game that boils down to identity theft which is then sold for cash. The trio take it easy and have amassed a hefty amount of money when they have a problem: one of their tracks is seriously ill, and when Buddy discovers the man has pancreatic cancer, just like his father suffered, he refuses to go ahead and get his IDs. Gene had previously discovered that the man had cancer during the reconnaissance phase of the scam at the bar where they were drinking and seemed very concerned about him. He even asked him if he should mix alcohol with the pills he was taking for the cancer.

Pat Healy in Better Call Saul

Pat Healy in You better call Saul
Photo: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

But when Buddy tells Gene and Jeff that he won’t go through with the cancer patient, that they should move on to the next man, Gene freaks out. He berates Buddy and insists that he go back to the man’s house and continue shooting any personal documents that will help them earn another payday. When Buddy still refuses, Gene calls him an amateur and fires him from the job, with a farewell warning to shut up about their plot.

Then Gene’s anger and recklessness turn to despair. He has Jeff take him to the home of the cancer patient, who he assumes will still be unconscious three hours after Jeff had given him drugs in a water bottle. Without any proof that that is the case, Gene is dropped off at the man’s house anyway and breaks in, with no real idea what will happen if he steps inside.

The break-in scene is preceded by a flashback to Saul approaching JP Wynne High School in “You’d better call Saul,” the season-two episodes of Breaking Bad that introduced Bob Odenkirk’s character. Saul is going to surprise Walter White with his chemistry class. It’s still early in walt and Jesse’s meth company, and Saul thinks he can help them grow it and keep a significant reduction in profits for himself.

And Iafter a scene that precedes it, there is another look back, a new one from a Breaking Badera meeting with Mike in Saul’s office. Mike reports to Saul about exploring Walt and Jesse and tells him they are amateurs, “little potatoes” that “He Who Shall Not Be Named” (Gus, of course) has no interest in. Mike advises Saul in no uncertain terms that Walt and Jesse are not suitable business partners. Saul is clearly ignoring this advice, and we now know that the connection of all these characters and everything that brought them together, all the lives it changed and the many it ended on was facilitated by Saul Goodman. Of all Breaking Bad callbacks and guest appearances scattered everywhere You better call Saul, author-director Thomas Schnauz the best kept and most crucial a for Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, whose highly anticipated performance like Walt and Jesse were well worth the wait.

Now, with only two episodes left in the series, we move on to Gene’s desperate foray into that cancer patient’s house in a decision that feels like it could be just as crucial to his post-Walt and Jesse- life as his first appearance was to theirs.

stray observations

  • Francesca’s phone call with Gene also provides a crucial update on Skyler White: She struck a deal with the authorities, so apparently Walt’s fate worked, the one he promised to lead to the location of Hank and Gomey’s bodies.
  • Shoutout to Tina Parker, for her standout series as Francesca, who ended up absolutely on the wrong end of Saul’s trades. I hope there was a nice sum of money in that package she pulled out of the water pipe.
  • there is noThen we won’t find out the contents of Gene’s phone call to Kim’s Florida workplace, right? Could that even mean another appearance from Rhea Seehorn before the series ends?
  • Super clever casting: Alfred Hawthorne, the annoying first character in Gene’s identity theft scam, was played brilliantly by Devin Ratray, who played Kevin McAllister’s annoying older brother Buzz in Home alone.
  • Two more great callbacks by Gene: He skips Saul’s fashion, but he does drink (or don’t drink, as it is) part of the scam) Moscow mules with one of the identity theft brands and also get a chi machine, that foot massager that Saul in his Breaking Bad to dawn. Was that just because it was a safe way to embrace his Saul past privately? or was the machine a physical necessity to cope with the stress of returning to an active crime life?

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