Warning: This article contains spoilers for Breaking Bad.
With seasons 1 and 2 of Better Call Saul being released to critical acclaim, producing the shining example of how to do a successful spin-off series, it is no surprise that it . Taking part in the same Albuquerque mythology as the widely acclaimed Breaking Bad– a TV series usually named in the same breadth as The Wire and The Sopranos – Better Call Saul tells the origin story of how the fast-talking, smooth-operating, highly amoral lawyer came into being, leading to speculation that that the series could feature Walter White himself.
Bryan Cranston has shown he is up for the idea, :
“I owe Vince Gilligan so much. He was my champion to get this role. If they were to call me and say, ‘We have this idea, we’d like…’ I would say, ‘Yes, you don’t have to finish the pitch. I’m there, what do you want me to do?’ I’ll do whatever they want because I know how careful they are and proprietary they are with those characters and storylines and it wouldn’t be something, ‘Oh, isn’t that kind of a stunt casting kind of thing.’ It would be something kind of unique and obscure and creative, and I’m all in.”
Yet Better Call Saul, arguably even more than Breaking Bad, is a slow burner, and its likely that we won’t see Saul as Saul for quite a while yet. But, with both shows known for their oddball sense of humour, one could easily imagine them meeting in a way we haven’t seen before or wouldn’t initially imagine. In order to gain some context, let’s see how they originally met.
Walter Needed A Lawyer
It all starts in Season 2, Episode 8 when lovable doofus Badger is caught selling drugs to an undercover cop. Walt and Jesse realise that this whole selling drugs business is much more complicated than initially thought, and they need a lawyer. But not just any lawyer. As Jesse explains: “You don’t want a criminal lawyer. You want a criminal lawyer.”
For a shady operation, you need a shady lawyer, one who isn’t afraid to operate outside the usual legal guidelines. And so in steps Saul Goodman, whose Jewish namesake is a play on the phrase, “It’s all good man”. Going into business with Saul signifies the beginning of the end of Walter White, expanding his empire and introducing him to the vital necessity of laundering those ginormous heaps of cash from cooking and selling meth.
With Better Call Saul acting as a prequel series to Breaking Bad, and already seeing some overlap in characters such as Mike and Hector Salamanca, it seems likely that Walter White will feature in some way. But how could he be introduced?
1. The Show Ends With Walter White’s Arrival?
In the world of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, very few actions exist in a vacuum. They have real-world consequences, most expertly symbolised by the plane crash caused as a result of Walter letting Jesse’s girlfriend Jane die. Better Call Saul, like Breaking Bad, shows the inherent capacity in evil for all of us, no matter how good we start in the beginning, and how that capacity is expanded by the people we come into contact with.
Much as Saul was the Frankenstein to White’s monsterish antics, coming into contact with White got Goodman in way over his head, the beginning of the prequel series showing Saul basically hiding out in the middle of nowhere working a deadbeat job. Therefore, in order to create a real sense of dramatic irony, Better Call Saul could end with Jimmy McGill having finally obtained his true self, sitting patiently in his office for yet another criminal client to come through, when he hears a knock on the door. He says “Come in” and in steps Walter White. It could be the perfect conclusion.
2. Saul Goes To The Car Wash
Yet maybe point number one is a little too neat. Perhaps a true sense of serendipity or fate could be cleverly worked together if we see the two character occupying the same world and having chance encounters without the dramatic potential of such sequences being too obviously telegraphed. A clever example of seeing the two in the same place, and maybe having a brief interaction, is if we see Saul at the car wash where White works in season 1. As a beleaguered cashier, we could see White looking up to the elegantly suited Saul, whilst Saul pays him no attention, the viewer knowing full well that Saul will soon have his whole life altered as a result of their arrangement together.
3. Saul Goes To School
The premise of Breaking Bad was simple – its about a chemistry teacher, who upon hearing he has cancer, becomes a meth dealer to pay for treatment and to provide for his family. This means, for the vast majority of his life, and during Jimmy McGill’s origin story, he was a humble public servant. Jesse, White’s former pupil, is found in episode 1 to be a drug dealer, and has previous knowledge of who Saul is. Therefore perhaps a likely introduction to White would be Jesse leaving his class early to deal drugs, and being arrested, thus needing Saul’s expertise. We wouldn’t see White meet Saul, but the two would nevertheless be connected through Jesse, ironically seeing how the three of them will be dangerously embroiled later on.
4. Walter White Doesn’t Die And They Carry On Working Together
Admittedly, this theory is a little outlandish, but wouldn’t you like to see them together again? The ending of Breaking Bad, one of the best series finales ever, does leave a lot to the imagination, for example: does White really die?
“Hey, you never saw bags zip up or anything. Or say … you know.”
Better Call Saul is a linear show, but it also likes to play around with time in order to deepen the travails of its characters. Maybe a time jump to the end of Breaking Bad could be in order, with White, having survived the shooting, in jail, and Saul roped back in to try and somehow bail him out. This kind of continuation however, would probably qualify as the biggest case of jumping the shark in television history. And the larger question of whether Jesse would return or just keep on driving is definitely for another time.
What Do You Think? How Would You Introduce Walter White into Better Call Saul?
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