ByBlaise Santi/Updated: Aug. 25, 2022 8:47 am EST
After six seasons, 63 episodes, and seven years, "Better Call Saul" has finally reached its end. The series began as the little prequel that could, continuing the legacy of co-creator Vince Gilligan's smash hit "Breaking Bad." Since many consider "Breaking Bad" to be one of the greatest TV shows ever made, the potential of "Better Call Saul" seemed doomed from the start. Thankfully, the show had the benefit of the best writers, cast, and crew in TV history, and has over the course of its run rivaled (or arguably surpassed) its predecessor in quality and, in its ending, satisfaction.
Of course, "Better Call Saul" would be nothing without its titular star. Whether it's as upstart lawyer Jimmy McGill, criminal entrepreneur Saul Goodman, or Cinnabon manager Gene Takovic, there's little on TV as compelling as Bob Odenkirk's performance. He expands on his clownish "Breaking Bad" character with emotional heft and sincerity, while also keeping the charm and comedic wit that made the character such a breakout in the first place.
Although viewers have seen the last of the "Breaking Bad" cinematic universe (for now), there are plenty of memorable lines and moments to look back on, especially with Bob Odenkirk's character in "Better Call Saul." These quips not only carry on the humor of the character from his previous incarnation but also help flesh out the deeper parts of Saul Goodman that Walter White and Jesse Pinkman never got to see.
The only way that entire car is worth $500 is if there is a $300 hooker sitting in it!
The pilot of "Better Call Saul," titled "Uno," introduces the audience to the world of Jimmy McGill, 6 years before the start of "Breaking Bad." His life, suffice it to say, is not as glamorous as the fortune he finds as Saul Goodman. He's a public defender on a losing streak, spending more time arguing with the parking lot attendant (Saul's future private investigator, Mike Ehrmantraut) than in a courtroom. His older brother, Chuck, is a prestigious law partner battling an allergy to electromagnetism (via Entertainment Weekly), and Jimmy's career prospects at his brother's firm, HHM, are thwarted by 3-piece-suit-wearing Howard Hamlin, despite the efforts of his friend, associate Kim Wexler.
That all changes when Jimmy accidentally hits a skateboarder, Cal, with his car. Cal's twin brother, Lars, films the whole thing and threatens to sue Jimmy. However, they chose the wrong mark, as Jimmy has a history with scamming as a young adult. Once they tell him they'll keep quiet for $500, Jimmy sees through their ruse and turns the tables on them, citing this quote as a reason they chose the wrong mark. Furthermore, Jimmy reveals that he's a lawyer and demands they pay him for his windshield damage. The twin skateboarders are smart enough to make a run for it, though they have no idea whose path they just happened to cross.
Don't let Mr. Ehrmantraut's dancing eyes and bubbly, bon vivant personality fool you. He's actually, believe it or not, somewhat taciturn.
Fortunately, Season 1 of "Better Call Saul" spends more time with Mike Ehrmantraut than behind a parking lot ticket booth. The sixth episode, "Five-O," spends most of its time examining Mike's backstoryand what brought him to Albuquerque. It all begins when Mike is interviewed by two Philadelphia detectives and chooses Jimmy to represent him. However, the real point of Jimmy being there is for the lawyer to purposefully spill coffee on one of the detectives so that Mike can lift his notepad.
Though Jimmy is reluctant to pull a scam with Mike, he goes along with it anyway. During the interview, he learns of Mike's history with Philadelphia cops, Hoffman and Fensky, who were mysteriously killed. Viewers will later learn this was Mike's doing, as vigilante revenge for the corrupt Hoffman and Fensky killing Mike's son, Matty, for refusing to break bad. Jimmy says this quote as he playfully charms the detectives, asking them to explain the situation to him from the beginning, despite their desire to get this over with.
It's an ironic quip that seems more complex in hindsight, as through the rest of the series we learn the tough bastard from "Breaking Bad" has a more vulnerable side. Jimmy will learn this as well, as frustrated as he becomes with Mike's hardened edge. Even so, even Mike's softer side isn't exactly what we'd call "bubbly."
This guy, he's a regular Julianne Moore once he gets the waterworks cranked up.
Before Mark Proksch was draining humans of their energy in "What We Do in the Shadows," he played a small role in the early seasons of "Better Call Saul." His character was petty criminal Daniel Wormald, who hires Mike Ehrmantraut as his bodyguard during under-the-table drug deals with Nacho Varga. However, when he spends his drug money on a flashy Hummer truck, he becomes a warning flare for Mike and Nacho, the latter of whom steals his address and robs him of valuable baseball cards.
Unfortunately for Daniel, going to the police results in their suspicion of his drug dealings, which worries Mike. Enter Jimmy McGill, who has recently returned to the law after his brief departure in Episode 1 of Season 2. In a scene that gives Episode 2 its title ("Cobbler"), Jimmy convinces Daniel to leave the room while he talks to the curious detectives. Jimmy reveals that the baseball cards were stolen in the aftermath of a love affair in which Daniel made fetish videos for an unnamed client, which Jimmy describes as involving his client sitting in pies.
Jimmy drops this quote as an example of how the videos involved performed crying. The detectives are convinced... until they request to see the videos themselves, forcing Jimmy to fabricate evidence, to Kim's dismay. For fans, though, the video itself was included in DVD extras for Season 2.
I get it, first rule of Fight Club, right?
The story of Jimmy and Mike's working relationship is an important part of "Better Call Saul's" narrative. In earlier seasons, they often interact when Jimmy goes to the Albuquerque courthouse and sees him at the ticket booth. In Episode 5 of Season 2, "Rebecca," Jimmy finds himself working for the law firm Davis & Main, though his recklessness results in being babysat by the firm's rule-abiding associate, Erin. It's safe to say the two make an unlikely pair with a challenging work relationship for this episode.
As Erin chaperones Jimmy to the courthouse, Jimmy is surprised to see a badly bruised Mike in the ticket booth. The audience knows this is because of the previous episode, when Mike let himself get beaten by Tuco in order to get him imprisoned. However, Jimmy's quip about Mike being in Fight Club alludes to his understanding of Mike's real life without tipping off Erin, who is not "in the game," as Mike often puts it.
You're searching for perfection, and perfection is the enemy of perfectly adequate.
Season 3, Episode 2, titled "Witness," features the introduction to an important player in the world of "Breaking Bad": Saul's future receptionist Francesca Liddy. Though fans are used to seeing her cold, crabby demeanor, here she displays a bubbly and optimistic personality as she interviews to be a receptionist for Jimmy and Kim's shared law office. She tells them about her experience at the DMV, causing Jimmy to immediately hire her, despite Kim's reservations, as she's their first interview of the day.
As Jimmy puts it in this quote, he's less concerned with finding a perfect receptionist than he is with finding someone to handle the amount of traffic he anticipates his legal career to attract. This is true of Francesca's appearance in "Breaking Bad," often struggling to manage a crowded law office waiting room while Saul makes calls or uses his signature massage machine. The quip also plays into a key difference between Jimmy and Kim at this point in the series: Kim is meticulous and careful, while Jimmy is impulsive and flashy.
Fortunately, Jimmy is also right in this scene, as Francesca ends up being a terrific receptionist for the two of them throughout Season 3. As Vince Gilligan described in an interview, however, her time spent with Saul Goodman will unfortunately "crush the life out of her for years to come."
Buddy, this is the land of the free and the home of the lawsuit.
Season 3 also finds Jimmy grappling with the fallout of his assault on Chuck in Episode 2, culminating in a climactic bar hearing in Episode 5, "Chicanery," that sees Chuck destroy his own reputation and Jimmy get his law license suspended for a year. Additionally, Jimmy is forced to perform community service, which finds him picking up trash under an Albuquerque highway. However, he also finds himself butting heads with his community service supervisor, who under-counts Jimmy's hours as punishment for use of his cell phone.
In Episode 8 of Season 3, "Slip," Jimmy turns the tables on the supervisor, just as he does the skateboarding twins in the pilot. Suffering from back pain as a result of a classic Slippin' Jimmy con, Jimmy spots a fellow worker ask for time off and be rejected. Seeing an opportunity to make some cash, Jimmy makes the worker an offer to get him out of community service without hours lost. Jimmy then takes time to rest when he's supposed to be working, drawing the ire of the supervisor.
However, Jimmy threatens to sue the supervisor for intentional physical distress to Jimmy and emotional distress to the other worker. With this quote, our anti-hero feels more Saul Goodman than Jimmy McGill, weaponizing the law to get out of doing work.
Unless you have a large gold nugget traversing your colon, this is the easiest money you're ever gonna make.
When Season 4 of "Better Call Saul" begins, Jimmy is dealing with the aftermath of his brother Chuck's death by house fire. Rather than confront the guilt head-on, Jimmy seizes a potential opportunity when he enters an interview for a sales position at a copy machine manufacturer. Seeing the employers as buffoonish, he turns down their eager job offer, but not before getting a close look at a Hummel figurine they have on a shelf. After a quick Internet search, Jimmy finds that the Hummel sells for $9,000.
In the subsequent episode, "Something Beautiful," Jimmy takes this offer to Mike Ehrmantraut. Showing him a Hummel he found at a pawn shop for $20, Jimmy tells Mike his scheme to break into the copiers' offices and swap the knockoff Hummel for the pricey one. To Jimmy's surprise, Mike turns it down, saying it's not a job for him. However, Jimmy remains determined to pull it off, so he phones Dr. Caldera, the veterinarian-slash-human-black-book from whom he acquired Huell's services in "Chicanery."
When Caldera's source is hesitant as well, Jimmy's forced to make his own pitch to the guy over the phone, saying this quote as a way to convince the guy of the job's ease and efficiency. Unfortunately, the plan enacted later results in a few close calls for the contact, the future "Breaking Bad" pest control professional/burglar Ira.
You're a sh--ty lawyer, Howard, but you're a great salesman, so get out there and sell!
Jimmy's descent into darkness continues throughout Season 4, culminating in his terrifying turn in Episode 6, "Piñata." In the episode, Jimmy pays a visit to the HHM offices to collect his share of Chuck's will: a check for $5,000. As Kim mentions in Episode 2 when first collecting part of Chuck's bequeathals, it's the minimum amount to cut someone out of a will but not have it be contested. Jimmy's less bothered by the check than he is at seeing the HHM offices in disarray. As Howard puts it, the company is "rightsizing."
Jimmy is quick to pile on the stress for a clearly disheveled Howard Hamlin. After having referred a client to HHM, Jimmy accuses Howard of letting the firm die after suffering "one little setback." Though it's meant to be a motivational speech, it comes off as more of a bitter, spiteful takedown of Howard, which unfortunately won't be Jimmy's last. As he says to Howard in this quote, the only way he'll get HHM back on its feet is by taking advantage of his greatest skill: selling. Ironically, that's just what Jimmy is doing with his slip-and-fall into Saul Goodman.
Thankfully, Howard doesn't take this quote lying down, and spits out one of the most vicious statements of "F— you Jimmy" in the show, up until Kim's repetition of it in the Season 5 episode "Wexler v. Goodman."
He's confused, okay? He was dropped on his head as a child.
By the end of Season 4, Jimmy has fully embraced the persona of Saul Goodman, attorney-at-law. He gets to work defending criminals, which, sooner rather than later, gets him into the good graces of Lalo Salamanca. In Episode 3, "The Guy for This," Saul is hired to represent Domingo Molina, a drug dealer for the Salamancas who goes by the moniker Krazy-8, and pass along a message to him from Lalo. Saul reluctantly agrees when he's offered a big payout, visiting Krazy-8 to send along instructions from their mutual employer.
Thankfully for "Breaking Bad" fans, the con that Saul and Domingo pull has them facing Hank Schrader and Steve Gomez, the DEA agents who spent most of the predecessor show investigating the meth kingpin Heisenberg whom Saul represented. They have a back-and-forth that makes them seem like they're not on the same page, prompting this quip from Saul when Krazy-8 claims he doesn't want a lawyer.
Nevertheless, they manage to con the DEA by turning Krazy-8 into an informant, albeit one who can be fed information from the Salamancas themselves. For Jimmy, all it cost was becoming a friend of the cartel (and a lost ice cream cone).
You would not be okay with it. Not in the cold light of day.
Kim Wexler is the heart of "Better Call Saul" (via The AV Club). As Jimmy sinks deeper into his own selfish, manipulative desires, Kim is his beacon back to humanity—that is, until she begins to show signs of her own love of the con. Beyond bar tricks and scamming Ken Wins out of pricey tequila, Kim's attraction to Jimmy in Seasons 4 and 5 hinges on their ability to successfully pull off cons. This culminates in Season 5 when Kim becomes fully immersed in the world of Lalo Salamanca after marrying Jimmy.
To Jimmy's shock, Kim is not willing to slow down anytime soon, even after their terrifying encounter with the Salamanca in Episode 9, "Bad Choice Road." In Episode 10, "Something Unforgivable," Kim quits her job, abandoning her work with Mesa Verde. Howard accuses her of making these choices based on Jimmy's influence. Out for blood, she and Jimmy begin scheming over dinner ways they could ruin Howard's life, including poisoning his shampoo bottles and replacing his toilet paper with single-ply.
Quickly, Kim proposes an idea that could sully Howard's reputation and possibly career, netting her and Jimmy their share of the Sandpiper settlement. Jimmy says this quote as he tries to dissuade Kim from making it a reality, arguingthat Howard doesn't deserve it. It's too late for Kim, sadly, as she's more than willing to break bad in this moment.
There it is, folks! Anti-Semitism, alive and well right here in Albuquerque!
Despite Jimmy's early reservations, the beginning of "Better Call Saul's" final season finds Jimmy and Kim in the early stages of their elaborate con to destroy Howard's reputation. The first steps in Episode 1, "Wine and Roses," begin at Howard's country club, where Jimmy needs to sneak in. Fortunately, Saul Goodman is taken on a tour of the facility and shown incredible respect by the staff, until the unexpected appearance of Kevin Wachtell. Bitter about Saul's efforts against Mesa Verde in Season 5, he asks the staff member touring Saul to deny him entry into the club.
Saul Goodman is quick to have a backup plan. He alleges the country club staff of denying him entry due to his name, claiming Anti-Semitism is alive and well in Albuquerque. This hilarious yet brilliant quote is only further proven right when Kevin attempts to assault Saul in front of several country club patrons. Saul also takes advantage of the staff member's guilt by asking to use their restroom facilities, allowing him to enter the next stage of his plan.
Thankfully, even after this scene, Saul is not spotted by Howard or his golfing partner, Cliff Main. He does manage to slip a baggie filled with white powder into Howard's locker, planting the seeds in Cliff's mind that his longtime friend may be hiding a dark secret.
Guy with that mustache probably doesn't make a lot of good life choices.
The final episodes of "Better Call Saul" deliver on a long-held promise by the show's creators to intertwine with the events of "Breaking Bad." Viewers finally get to see a behind-the-scenes of the "Breaking Bad" Season 2 episode "Better Call Saul," in the "Better Call Saul" Season 6 episode aptly titled "Breaking Bad" (yes, it gets confusing sometimes). After selling his services to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman out in the desert, Saul enlists the help of his private investigator, who is none other than Mike Ehrmantraut.
Mike has, surprisingly, dug up a lot of information on "Heisenberg." Mike tells Saul that the meth cook is actually a high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, who is working with his former student, Jesse Pinkman. Saul tries to convince Mike that the Heisenberg business may have potential, but Mike tries to persuade Saul against the idea, citing Walter White's lung cancer diagnosis and amateurishness. Saul shrugs, citing this quote as his current excuse to not pursue Walter White as a potential client.
Sadly, Saul is not as willing to listen to Mike as Jimmy McGill was. Sooner or later, he finds himself marching into the high school where Walter White works, ready to proposition turning the chemist into the next Vito Corleone. Little would Saul know the amount of havoc that would result from this business opportunity gone wrong.
What would you do if you had a time machine?
The finale of "Better Call Saul" is, as writer-director Peter Gould describes, a Christmas Carol-type of story. Throughout the main timeline of Gene/Saul/Jimmy facing punishment for his crimes, flashbacks weave in and out, presenting three scenes of Jimmy with ghosts from his past: Mike Ehrmantraut, Walter White, and Chuck McGill. One common thread links these flashbacks: the question of what they would do with a time machine.
Mike earnestly responds to Jimmy's query, saying he'd go back to the day he took his first bribe. Jimmy and Walt aren't as open. At first, Jimmy states he'd go back in time and invest in Warren Buffett's company. In the scene with Walt, Jimmy recalls a slip-and-fall as a 22-year-old that cost him a lifelong knee injury. Walt, on the other hand, detests the idea of time travel but states his biggest regret is leaving his company Gray Matter (althoughhe glances at the watch Jesse gave him before answering).
It's not until the final scene with Chuck that we hear, or rather see, Jimmy's answer to the question he posed to Walter in Ed Galbraith's vacuum shop basement. Jimmy delivers groceries to Chuck, then scoffs at his offer to stay for a public masturbator in need of a lawyer. As Chuck grabs his reading material, H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine," we get the sense that if Jimmy actually had a time machine, he'd try to connect with his brother.
With good behavior, who knows?
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and that is true of "Better Call Saul." After an emotional finale in "Saul Gone," Jimmy reclaims his identity in court, but more important, in front of Kim. He throws away the plea deal he worked out, going from roughly 7 years of prison time to 86 years. The very last scene of the show finds him visited by none other than Kim, using her still-valid New Mexico bar card to impersonate his lawyer.
The two share a smoke together, mimicking their first scene together in the pilot. Kim expresses her surprise that Jimmy threw away his extremely generous deal for 86 years, basically condemning himself to spend the rest of his life in prison. Jimmy shrugs, sarcastically saying this line in the face of a life where he'll likely never breathe free air again. And thus, it becomes the last line of dialogue spoken in the show.
The last line of the show ties everything back to the show's central themes. There's no such thing as being a good or bad person, only our behavior is good or bad. Like Chuck implies in his flashback scene, one can change their behavior at any point in time. Even though Jimmy, Saul, and Gene have done some incredibly bad things, it's never too late to start being good. At the very least, he has one person in his corner.