Breaking Bad was one of the greatest television series ever made. The twisted story of Walter White’s rise and inevitable fall as a criminal had audiences hooked. However, the end of Breaking Bad didn’t signal the end of stories in this universe.
Now on its fifth season, Better Call Saul takes place years before the start of Breaking Bad. It showcases how the well-intentioned Jimmy McGill becomes the crooked Saul Goodman.
In Breaking Bad, sending someone to “Belize” was the codename used by Saul Goodman when talking to Walter White about people they felt needed to “take a vacation.” In other words, anyone they planned to knock off for getting in the way of their meth empire.
In Better Call Saul‘s season one finale, Jimmy mentions Belize while calling Bingo for the elderly: “B as in Belize. Beautiful place. So I’ve heard. I would love to go there but let’s face it, that’s never going to happen.”
The Introduction of Nacho
There is a line in Breaking Bad that seems completely unforgettable. As a masked Walter and Jesse plan to bury Saul Goodman in the desert, Saul pleads for mercy, telling them: “It wasn’t me, it was Ignacio!”
So who’s Ignacio? Turns out Ignacio is actually Nacho, one of the guys in Tuco’s crew.
We meet Ignacio early in Better Call Saul. First, he helps calm down Tuco when he is planning to execute Jimmy and the skateboarding twins in the desert. Then he asks Jimmy for help stealing the Kettelman’s $1.6 million. Ignacio already senses exactly what kind of lawyer Jimmy will turn out to be.
“S’all good, man”
You may have watched the entire series of Breaking Bad without thinking twice about the name Saul Goodman. But it turns out that Saul’s real name is Jimmy McGill. So where does his new moniker come from?
In episode four of Better Call Saul, we see a flashback of Jimmy hustling drunken barflies for a few extra bucks. Before fleecing his unsuspecting mark in a fake Rolex watch scam, he utters the phrase, “S’all good, man.”
You had to listen very closely to catch this one. In the first season finale of Better Call Saul, Jimmy spends a week in Chicago, his old stomping grounds. While there he reunites with his former scam partner Marco and they have a week of hustling and drinking. After one particularly alcohol-fuelled night, Jimmy wakes up next to a random woman. Her first reaction is “Hey, you are not Kevin Costner.”
Flash forward to season three of Breaking Bad. Saul is telling Walter that you sell any lie if you just believe it yourself. The example he uses is “I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner and it worked because I believed it.”
Origin of the Pinky Ring
This one is so subtle that we almost missed it too.
In Breaking Bad, Saul wears a gold pinky ring. It’s a forgettable part of his outfit, not even mentioned in any way during the entirety of the series. But it’s important to Saul.
The pinky ring belonged to his old friend, Marco. It was given to him at the funeral by Marco’s mother. It’s a sign of his shady past. So, by choosing to keep the ring on his finger, Jimmy is choosing to not walk the straight and narrow line.
Saul Predicted Working at a Cinnabon
“If I’m lucky in a month from now, best-case scenario, I’m managing a Cinnabon in Omaha.” That was Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, hoping to be able to live a safe life as the White meth empire comes crumbling down around him.
The very first scene of Better Call Saul shows a slightly older Saul Goodman managing a Cinnabon franchise in a mall somewhere in Omaha. He is still paranoid that his old life will catch up to him though, as an intimidating customer almost makes him wet his pants.
No-Doze Can’t Keep Quiet
Who the hell is No-Doze? We asked the same thing, at first.
Turns out that No-Doze is one of Tuco’s henchmen. In fact, he’s the one he beat to death for speaking out of turn during Walter White’s first sale of his infamous blue meth in season two of Breaking Bad.
It turns out that No-Doze has a history of crossing the boss. In Better Caul Saul‘s opening episodes, No-Doze offers his unwanted opinion on what to do with Jimmy and the skateboarding brothers. Tuco quickly tells him to shut up in anger, foreshadowing No-Doze’s future demise.
Mike’s Past Explained
The character of Mike Ehrmantraut might be one of the largest unanswered questions in the entire Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul universe.
We don’t learn a lot about his past in Breaking Bad. However, Better Call Saul has chipped away at the mystery of Mike’s origins. In particular, the moments that turned Mike from a Philadelphia police officer into a cleaner for drug kingpins.
Jesse Pinkman Reference on Payphone
Creator Vince Gilligan has repeatedly said that Walter White and Jesse Pinkman won’t appear in Better Call Saul. Depending on how much longer the show goes, they may not even appear in it at all. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
When Jimmy McGill tries to call Nacho, we can see a small piece of graffiti on the payphone saying “JPi”. Those initials suggest a teenaged Jesse Pinkman left his mark on the phone.
Not convinced? The mark turns up in Breaking Bad. In Jesse’s now trashed house.
Even though five or six years pass between the start of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, one thing doesn’t change — Mike’s love for pimento cheese sandwiches.
In episode nine of Better Call Saul, aptly entitled “Pimento”, Mike doesn’t bring along a gun for a protection job he picked up. Instead, he brings along a pimento cheese sandwich. After being ridiculed for his decision, he KO’s Mr. Camo-Pants and completes the job like a pro.
Fast forward to Breaking Bad, Mike and Jesse sit in a car on a stakeout. Jesse may be bored to death, but Mike brought sandwiches. We don’t even have to tell you what kind.
— Better Call Saul First Two Episodes Now Streaming (@BetterCallSaul) March 31, 2015
Juan Tabo Avenue
Jimmy McGill’s shady nail salon office is located at 160 Juan Tabo Avenue, as seen on his public defender paycheque. So what? Well, it’s significant for a few reasons.
Juan Tabo Avenue is a real street in Albuquerque. Moreso, there really is a nail salon at 160.
It’s also the same street that Breaking Bad‘s Gale Boetticher lived on, the chemist hired by Gus Frings to help Walter make meth. Gus planned to have Gale take over his drug production and kill off Walter. However, Jesse showed up at 6353 Juan Tabo Avenue and whacked Gale. Gus had no choice but the keep them alive after that.
Foreshadowing Saul’s Future Cadillac
There are two separate parts to this easter egg. We see in Breaking Bad that Saul drives around a white Cadillac DeVille like some kind of big shot. In the very first episode of Better Call Saul, we see that car. Too bad it doesn’t belong to Jimmy, as the camera fakes us out and shows us the yellow junk-heap that he really drives. Clever.
Then, in the first season finale, we get this line from Marco when he finds out Jimmy has become a lawyer, before his untimely back alley heart attack: “You gotta be king of the desert, driving around town in a white Caddy making bank.”
Thus a dream was born.