Creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan tease what to expect when Jimmy McGill returns

By Dan Snierson
April 10, 2017 at 01:39 PM EDT
Michele K. Short/AMC
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When we last saw Jimmy McGill, it looked like he’d better call a lawyer.

The season 2 finale of Better Call Saul ended with Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) admitting to his ailing brother, Chuck (Michael McKean) that he had done a devious document switcheroo on him — a damning confession that electronics-averse Chuck secretly captured on a tape recorder. What is Chuck planning to do with that tape? How will Jimmy jimmy himself out of this jam once he realizes what Chuck has perpetrated? And given that we are asking questions that have been cliff-hanging over our heads for a year, how quickly will crafty ex-cop Mike (Jonathan Banks) figure out who has got suspicious eyes on him? Those eyes have got to belong to Breaking Bad villain Gustavo Fring, right?

EW used its one phone call to dial series creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan and ask for assistance. Here, the duo tease how not nicely Jimmy and Chuck will play with each other, what you can expect from the return of Gus (Giancarlo Esposito, who is joining the show), the reappearance of other familiar faces from Breaking Bad, and a half-dozen additional developments in season 3, which begins tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

1. The tape is in play — but things might not unspool in the way that you think.
VINCE GILLIGAN: Chuck’s intention for the tape certainly seems to be nefarious and hurtful, but I don’t think viewers are going to be able to guess exactly what Chuck is going to do with this tape. They’re going to assume he’s going to use it in a particular sense based on all the various other TV shows and movies they’ve seen over the years where a clandestine tape is made, and it’s going to be used differently than people would expect.

2. Cancel all McGill family dinners for the foreseeable future. And maybe beyond.
PETER GOULD: In the course of season 2, Jimmy got his dream, really, which was to be with Kim, and have an office with her, and to be in her life. And whatever Chuck is up to is a threat to all that. So one of the questions is: How far will Jimmy go to defend his gains? How dark will he go?
GILLIGAN: And on top of that, I wouldn’t assume that Jimmy is going to take it well when he finds out… I think it’s safe to say that storm clouds are brewing. There may be the threat of all-out war between the brothers on the horizon.

3. Oh, my(lar): Will Chuck catch you off-guard?
GOULD: Chuck is very surprising to us this season. Chuck goes to places that we in the writers room were really not expecting, and Michael McKean turns in a performance that I think is really a masterpiece. I know a lot of folks in the audience hate Chuck and there are good reasons for that, but he is also a fascinating character and a fascinating counterpoint to Jimmy. You will see that heading some directions that I don’t think anyone is expecting.
GILLIGAN: We’re really hoping this season that Emmy voters will see Chuck as a character they love to hate because Michael McKean, as Peter said, is absolutely outstanding. I think this should be his year in terms of awards. He deserves it.

  • 4. Mike is not a man who enjoys mystery — especially when it involves a warning note being left on his car.
    GOULD: He is brilliant at what he does and the idea that someone has gotten the drop on him — I mean, frankly when I watched it at the end of season 2 — it seems almost magical. But the truth is, it’s not magic and Mike cannot let this mystery go by. He has to find out who is on to him, and he’ll go to great lengths to find that out. It raises the question: Who is capable and smart enough to get the drop on Mike Ehrmantraut?
  • GILLIGAN: The answer to that at this point is pretty obvious.
  • GOULD: It might be obvious but it’s also satisfying.
  • GILLIGAN: It’s not going to be easy…. The steps Mike is going to have to take to get to the bottom of this mystery are pretty involved, and only a guy like Mike with his abilities and his doggedness would be able to pull it off.

NEXT PAGE: “The Gus Fring we’ll see in Saul will be very recognizable to fans of Breaking Bad”

5. You will meet Gus earlier in his career. (And you should still be scared.)
The Gus Fring we’ll see in Better Call Saul will be very recognizable and familiar to fans of Breaking Bad…. I think we’re going to reach Gus Fring in Better Call Saul as if not fully formed, much closer in action to the character we knew from the previous series. I’m not saying he’s exactly the same guy — he’s at a different point in his career, it’s an earlier stage — but I think it occurred to us we didn’t want to see him too early in the fumbling beginnings of his career because he’s just so cool. He’s so fascinating and so mysterious. I don’t think we wanted to deflate all that mystery that we’ve come to know and love about this character. There’s a lot we don’t understand yet about this character. Some things we may never understand about him, and he is as competent and capable and fearsome a competitor as he ever was.
GOULD: Giancarlo said something in a panel years ago on Breaking Bad. He said that in his opinion, Gus is really a teacher. It took me quite a while to understand what he meant, and I will admit that it brought a smile to my face when I first heard it, but the more I get to know this character, I understand exactly what Giancarlo was saying. Fairly early in the season, you will see him in that role as someone who teaches.

6. Kim’s moral code will be challenged by her lawyerly and emotional ties to Jimmy.
GOULD: You learn more about Kim [Rhea Seehorn]. She is someone who enjoys a walk on the wild side. We saw that she actually can enjoy scamming with Jimmy, but she’s also someone who has her feet on the ground and who has her eyes very much on her career. Being partnered with Jimmy is going to cause her to have to make some very profound decisions.
GILLIGAN: She does like that walk on the wild side, but then she always seems to feel conflicted about it afterward. So that’s a source of wonderful dramatic tension. Will she cross over that behavioral edge and become more like Jimmy or will she not? Will she stay on the right side of the law?

7. Breaking Bad callback alert: Make room on the bus for more than Gus.
GILLIGAN: It’s a pretty poorly kept secret at this point that we’re going to see Gus Fring in episode 2, but I don’t want that to steal too much thunder from the fact that also in episode 2, we are going to reintroduce a fan favorite from Breaking Bad. Can’t wait for folks to see who that is. I think it’s going to please a great many people immensely.
GOULD: Fans of Breaking Bad will see some people that they’ve missed a lot [this season].
GILLIGAN: Some folks you have to be a real fan to recognize the shout-out or recognize the character, and then other folks will be immediately obvious.

8. A repair makes for an unexpected pairing.
GOULD: There are characters who meet each other and interact who you would never expect to see in the same frame. I’m thinking of one scene in particular in the first half of the season where there is a hustle repair job that gets done in a very unusual way that is one of the delights of the season.
GILLIGAN: You have some of the funniest moments ever this season — arguably maybe the funniest scene ever.

9. That’s Saul, folks?
GOULD: This is the season where you’re going to see Saul Goodman appear — but maybe not in the way that you’re expecting.

Episode Recaps

Better Call Saul

Saul Goodman, first introduced in Breaking Bad, gets his own Vince Gilligan prequel.

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