[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 11 of Better Call Saul, “Breaking Bad.”]
An homage to Breaking Bad‘s “Better Call Saul” episode, this installment welcomes back two very familiar faces from the original show for the first time. But while some may cheer over the return of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), the most important action is taking place in Gene’s black-and-white present.
Below, we’re breaking down all of the key details from the important episode so beware of major spoilers ahead.
This installment doesn’t open in black-and-white, instead, it begins with Saul tied up with a bag over his head as he tumbles around the back of a familiar Winnebago. As beakers clink and lawn chairs rattle in their spots on the counters and walls, Saul pleads with his captors. When the vehicle comes to a stop, he’s dragged out and a door riddled with bullet holes covered by duct tape is closed. Outside, he’s forced to his knees where the bag is lifted and Saul mutters those desperate words, “it wasn’t me, it was Ignacio.”
Any fans of Breaking Bad would recall that this is the moment when Walt and Jesse took the criminal lawyer out to the desert to come to an agreement about keeping their identities a secret despite their associate Badger’s (Matt Jones) recent arrest. But before we can spend more time there, the scene cuts for the credits.
In a surprising twist, the black-and-white timeline opens with Saul’s old assistant Francesca (Tina Parker) who appears to be stuck doing apartment maintenance to make ends meet. Dealing with two druggies who clogged their sink, she leaves them to plunge the drain as she notices the time on their less-than-clean stovetop. Taking a drive, Francesca makes sure she isn’t being followed before ending up at an otherwise abandoned gas station in the desert where she anxiously watches her clock.
As the time strikes three without a telephone ring from the phone booth, Francesca is almost ready to bolt, but when the device finally does call out, she goes to it with a sigh. On the other end is Gene who is eager to get to business, but Francesca wants the money she was promised first. He informs her that there’s a line hidden under a nearby rock that leads to a pipe where a bag of money is hidden. When she uncovers the funds, she picks up the telephone once again.
He asks her “how hot?” to which Francesca tells him that she’s still being followed, her mail is being opened, and she hears a click on her phone whenever she makes a call. When Gene asks if Maestro buying the farm didn’t help, Francesca tells him that Skyler White (Anna Gunn) got her deal, suggesting that they’re talking about Walter White’s massacre at Jack’s compound in the Breaking Bad finale.
Despite Walt’s resurfacing, the feds are still on the hunt for Jesse and Saul. When Gene asks about the nail salons, vending machines, and laser tag, Francesca tells him everything is gone, even the overseas account he put under her name. Everything is gone except for what he took. Still looking for conversation, Gene asks Francesca about what’s going on with everyone. She tells him Kuby’s (Bill Burr) gone, Huell’s (Lavell Crawford) probably back in New Orleans, and that Bill Oakley’s (Peter Diseth) now a defense lawyer.
She does bring up the fact that she got one call since everything went down and it was from Kim (Rhea Seehorn) checking in on Francesca and asking about Jimmy. Francesca tells him that she didn’t reveal anything about his disappearance before hanging up.
Kim at Odds
Driving away from the phone booth he was using, Gene finds himself at a crossroads. Where to go? He ends up turning back and going to the phone booth where he utilizes the directory to dial the number for Palm Coast Sprinklers, a business in Titusville, Florida, located on Turpin road. When the number begins to dial through he asks for Kim Wexler. Sadly, viewers don’t get to listen to their conversation, instead, we see Gene yelling on the phone before the line goes dead and he proceeds to hit the rotary with the phone and kick the booth, breaking one of the glass panes. What could have been said to make him so upset? And was she just as angry as him on the other end? We need to know.
Concocting a New Scheme
While watching the Cinnabon mixers at work, it seems that Gene has a new idea and we see him begin to implement it by visiting Marion (Carol Burnett) at her home. There he helps her look at funny cat videos on the computer when Jeff (Pat Healy) walks in from his shift. Excusing himself from Marion, Gene congregates with Jeff in the garage, where he tells the cabbie to get on a specific night shift. Realizing they’re back on for scheming, Jeff gets excited. The scheme involves targeting financially successful single men at bars. There, Gene converses with them and shares drinks, only he’s not consuming them as he sucks up the liquid with a bag and tube.
Going to exit the establishments, Gene and his victims call cabs, with the victim taking Jeff’s ride. While in the car, Jeff offers them water that’s been laced with some kind of drug that will knock them out. En route to the victim’s house, Jeff gets a radio call from his friend Buddy (Max Bickelhaup) posing as dispatch where he tells him the address he’s dropping off at before being told to go to the airport.
Buddy meanwhile takes his dog and drives to the address posing as a dog-walking neighbor. Once Jeff gets the victim to their door, he puts a strip of tape over the locking mechanism so the door can’t close and Buddy enters the home to survey and photograph documents, credit cards, and more to rip off these men.
In a break from the “present,” the show shifts back to the minutes following Saul’s confrontation with Walt and Jesse in the desert as they’re reentering the Winnebago. As Saul begins expressing interest in their setup, he assures Walt and Jesse that their attorney-client privilege extends to all fronts. Walt refuses to give details about the operation as Saul speculates, noting that they must make the drugs, and sell the drugs from the vehicle, but Jesse is quick to say that they don’t distribute from the Winnebago.
Walt isn’t thrilled that his partner is divulging secrets so easily. The more Saul talks, the more he puts together and realizes he’s in the midst of Heisenberg. Walt cooly tells the lawyer that he asks the questions, not the other way around. As they discuss a starting price for the services passing between them, Saul calls shotgun and Walt informs Jesse he’s driving much to the latter’s dismay.
As some minor bickering ensues, particularly when they have trouble getting the Winnebago started, Walt begins coughing and Saul looks at him sympathetically. During this quiet moment, Jesse asks Saul who Lalo (Tony Dalton) is, but he claims that it’s “nobody.” As they finally drive away, the camera focuses on the makeshift grave Jesse and Walt dug to motivate Saul to answer their questions. Perhaps it’s a bit of foreshadowing as the scene transitions to the future where Gene is laying in bed.
Living It Up in Nebraska
While Gene and his cohorts continue with their scheme on unsuspecting victims, they reap the rewards as the former lawyer orders a Swing Master for his feet, boosting them up as he lays by the fire with a drink. He hits up the strip club with Jeff and Buddy and even spends time with some prostitutes. As the scheme carries on though, Gene finds himself in a special circumstance when he meets one of his potential victims who pulls out several pills. He learns that the man has cancer and he asks if it’s bad and whether or not the man should be drinking. The man argues that you only go this way once before swallowing the pills and sipping on his drink.
The Promise of Walter White
Flashing back to Breaking Bad times, Saul’s headset rings on his desk and he reaches up to grab it as he lays next to his desk with his feet in the Swing Master. Francesca’s on the other line, checking in on whether he’s taken his vitamins and informing him his next appointment is there. It turns out that the appointment belongs to Mike (Jonathan Banks) who is there to share information he’s collected on clients.
After sharing some photos and confirming some details pertaining to other clients, Mike tells Saul that Heisenberg is a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White and that his accomplice is former student Jesse Pinkman. Mike tells him that Walt has lung cancer, stage 3A, and that it doesn’t look good. Seeming to wonder whether this is a prospect worth considering, Saul’s hopes are dashed as Mike advises that he doesn’t go near Walt and Jesse, saying that they’re unpracticed and Walt will likely end up dead.
Saul pushes though, asking what Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) thinks, and Mike says the cartel man isn’t concerned with such small potatoes. Before leaving, he says once again to Saul, “let it go.” Of course, he doesn’t because we later see Saul approaching J.P. Wynne High School.
Plans Gone Wrong
In the “present,” Gene sits at home and makes a drink for himself before turning on the TV and that’s when his Bluetooth headset rings. Apparently, there’s a problem. Rushing over to Marion’s house, she hears a racket outside and sets her computer aside to look out the window only to see Gene entering the garage with Jeff and Buddy.
Buddy confesses that he can’t rob a man with cancer, Gene insists that he go back and follow through with the plan, complaining that he has to scope people out for a long time and that cancer doesn’t make someone a good person. Clearly, he’s reflecting his own experiences onto this victim, drawing parallels to Walt, but Gene can’t say that out loud. As they think things through, Buddy refuses, saying that the tape from the door has already been pulled so they couldn’t get into the man’s house if they wanted.
Gene isn’t accepting it though. He tells Buddy he’s fired and gets Jeff to drive him to the house. On their way there, Jeff worries that the drugs may have worn off on the man since they dropped him off hours earlier, but Gene doesn’t seem worried. Telling Jeff to circle the block and return for him in 20 minutes, Gene approaches a back door, breaks the window, and reaches in to allow him entrance. What will happen next? Only time will tell, but things aren’t looking great for Gene right now.
Better Call Saul, Season 6, New Episodes, Mondays, 9/8c, AMC and AMC+