Ever since AMC announced a spinoff series centered on Breaking Bad‘s grifter of a lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), two and a half weeks before Breaking Bad’s final episode aired in September 2013, we’ve all been waiting to see when and how the Better Call Saul timeline will mix with the Breaking Bad timeline. Better Call Saul co-creator Peter Gould already confirmed America’s favorite meth lab coworkers, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), would be reprising their Breaking Bad roles this season. So, after five remarkable seasons, it appears our questions will finally be answered in the series’ sixth and final season.
In Better Call Saul, the Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad starts as a duplicitous lawyer with a heart of gold known as Jimmy McGill. He becomes Saul Goodman as a way to escape the smothering shadow of his deceased brother and esteemed lawyer Charles McGill (Michael McKean). He dates and then (strategically) marries fellow lawyer Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), who is arguably the most intriguing character in the entire show. Unfortunately, his crooked road to becoming a lawyer is a treacherous one that leads him to do the Mexican cartel’s bidding, whether that means bringing bail money from the desert or bending the law to free nefarious criminals.
Gould told Entertainment Weekly, “I don’t think you’re going to look at Breaking Bad the same way again after you’ve seen this whole season.” We’ve seen it all in Better Call Saul, but now it’s time to see how it finds its way into the Breaking Bad timeline that created it.
How Did Jeff From Better Call Saul Help Bring Breaking Bad‘s Walter White Into The Better Call Saul Timeline?
Better Call Saul‘s story is split between two timelines: pre-Breaking Bad and post-Breaking Bad. The latter timeline is Saul’s life after he is relocated from Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the end of Breaking Bad. In that future timeline, he’s a Cinnabon employee named Gene Takovic living in Omaha, Nebraska. Seeing how the vast majority of Better Call Saul is set before the events of Breaking Bad, Saul has no idea who Walt and Jesse are, so they aren’t mentioned by name in the main Better Call Saul timeline. But, in the fourth-to-last episode of the Better Call Saul series, Saul’s Breaking Bad life is briefly discussed thanks to a nosy cab driver named Jeff (Pat Healy).
It’s Jeff who approaches Gene in the Season Five premiere “Magic Man” with a threat wrapped in a smile as he forces the disguised disgraced lawyer to admit he’s, in fact, Saul Goodman. Gene’s story is only told in Better Call Saul but is a result of the Breaking Bad timeline. Saul Goodman’s story is told in both series. So, Jeff making Gene admit he’s Saul is the first time the character created in Better Call Saul and fully realized in Breaking Bad is mentioned in the post-Breaking Bad timeline.
In the recent Season 6 episode “Nippy,” Gene is trying to wiggle his way out of this predicament by tapping into the social engineering trickery that made Slipping Jimmy a litigation nightmare. He entices Jeff into an intricate scheme to rob the mall, surreptitiously entrapping him in illegal activities he can blackmail him with. To assuages Jeff’s jitters about the caper being crazy by letting him know how he’s accomplished crazy feats by letting know about the fifty-year-old high school chemistry teacher with a “pile of cash as big as a Volkswagen” thanks to his help. And just like that, Walter White entered Better Call Saul.
How Else Have The Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad Timelines Merged?
Earlier in the season, we find out El Polo Loco boss and criminal mastermind Gus Fring’s archnemesis Lalo Salamanca and Saul’s frequent frenemy Howard Hamlin were both buried in the construction site for the mega lab Gus used in Breaking Bad to cook up tons of meth to sell across New Mexico. Their burial also confirms these two Better Call Saul mainstays were in Breaking Bad right under our noses (and Walt and Jesse’s feet) the entire time.
Better Call Saul‘s final season premiere also wasted no time implicitly merging the two worlds from the opening scene. For the first five minutes of the premiere episode, we’re greeted by movers emptying what appears to be a palatial estate once owned by Saul. They clean out his massive bathroom equipped with golden shower walls and an obscene golden toilet, load his 1997 Cadillac DeVille made famous in Breaking Bad on the back of a truck to be taken away, and removes every piece of furniture not nailed down. While Saul scored a hefty payday from being a “friend of the cartel” at the end of Season 5, the luxury on display in this opening scene is likely outside the price range of a man who once had a law office in the back of a nail salon in Better Call Saul. But, it’s more in line with the price range of a man who had wads of cash stashed in a ceiling in case of an emergency like Saul did when he was ready to skip town with a new identity near the end of the Breaking Bad timeline. We see him retrieve this money from the Breaking Bad timeline in the fourth episode of Better Call Saul‘s fifth season, entitled “Quite A Ride,” the last Better Call Saul scene we see set in the Breaking Bad timeline.
But, in the Season 6 premiere, it’s what the movers don’t take that truly unites the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul timelines.
As they’re loading a dresser drawer into the back of the moving truck, a Zafiro Anejo tequila bottle stopper tumbles out. The camera slowly zooms in, signifying this is a significant development and that it isn’t just any tequila bottle stopper. It’s appeared in both Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad. In Better Call Saul, the bottle stopper of the fictitious tequila brand has appeared in a few of Kim and Jimmy’s playful cons they would run on unsuspecting fools. It most poignantly appears on the show in episode 9 of the show’s fifth season, entitled “Bad Choice Road,” when Kim quits her cushy job as partner and head of Schweikart & Cokely’s banking division but makes sure to double back to her office to retrieve the bottle stopper she kept in her desk drawer. In Breaking Bad, the bottle stopper appears less prominently yet more impactfully when Gus poisons a bottle of tequila in an effort to kill the head of the cartel who once killed his dear friend Max.
Another clue the two timelines are merging was hinted at in the Season 6 promo photo. In the photo, Saul, disguised as Gene, appears in grey while putting on a jacket colored bright red. For the entirety of Better Call Saul, glimpses into Saul’s new life as Gene are depicted solely in grey, indicating it’s a separate timeline from the colorized Better Call Saul timeline. The promo photo clearly shows the show is ready to merge the Breaking Bad timeline portrayed in grey with the Better Call Saul timeline bursting in color. Since Better Call Saul already introduced us to a colorized scene from the Breaking Bad timeline with the “Quite A Ride” episode, there are plenty of reasons to see how the opening scene of Season 6 follows merges the timelines.
What Happens To Kim Wexler In The Breaking Bad Timeline?
Ever since she came into our lives with her slick back ponytail, piercing blue eyes, and deceptively robotic regularity of doing everything right, fans have been deeply invested in what happens to Kim. Fan theories center around her somehow making it into the Breaking Bad timeline, even if she doesn’t directly interact with anyone from Breaking Bad, including Saul. Maybe she divorces Saul and relocates herself or was in infrequent contact with Saul without us knowing, or she moves to Mexico and becomes part of the cartel’s lawyer who can make sure no judge comes close to their operation. At the Tribeca Film Festival screening of the Season 6 midseason premiere episode “Point and Shoot,” Better Call Saul‘s cryptic co-creator Peter Gould explained why there would be no ambiguity with Kim’s fate.
“These people live in a very dangerous world, and Kim’s a super complicated person. We have a lot of territory to cover in the next few episodes. I will say her fate is not completely ambiguous.”
He may have been intentionally vague, but he wasn’t lying. Two episodes later, in the episode “Fun and Games,” after Saul and Kim try to live normal lives after watching Lalo kill Howard in front of them and then forcing Kim to attempt an assassination on Gus, Kim rescinds her law license, packs her stuff, and leaves Saul. Kim no longer could use her skills at fact manipulation and stonefaced deception to cover up after lying in the face of Howard’s widow about him being a drug addict as an explanation for his death. But more importantly, she leaves Saul because the two of them together are “poison.” To seemingly cement Kim’s removal from Better Call Saul, the episode ends with Saul sitting in the office we first were introduced to in Breaking Bad.
Before Kim’s apparent departure, the Season 6 premiere set the stage for her to have an influence on Breaking Bad. Given the fact Kim was the last one with the bottle stopper in Better Call Saul, and it appears to fall out of a desk of Saul Goodman’s from the Breaking Bad timeline, it’s safe to assume the bottle stopper is at the very least a memento from Saul’s time with Kim in Better Call Saul. But that’s just the beginning.
In the Season 6 premiere, Saul tells Kim he rented an unspectacular brown Ford Taurus. Kim’s reaction is less than impressed, and she suggests if Jimmy McGill is going full-on with this Saul Goodman character, he needs to do it up big. To her, Saul Goodman drives an American-made car with a little more flair. That sounds like the Cadillac DeVille he drives around in Breaking Bad, which was being taken away at the beginning of the Season 6 premiere.
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As Season 6 continues, we’ll keep an eye out on how the Better Call Saul timeline finds its way into Breaking Bad‘s timeline, and vice versa, before we say goodbye to Saul Goodman forever.
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