Better Call Saul creator on what lies ahead in season 5, exploring Gene
In the season 4 finale of Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill made his intentions clear. Like it or not — and he seemed to like it; Kim, not so much — he was becoming Saul Goodman. We know that the scrappy, rudderless lawyer (played by Bob Odenkirk) ultimately winds up as the snake attorney that twists and contorts the law to his criminal advantage as he advises rising meth lord Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in Breaking Bad, and while “Winner” didn’t whisk us into Corruption City, it illuminated that road to hell.
What awaits next? How soon will Jimmy/Saul reestablish contact with Mike (Jonathan Banks) and worm himself into the burgeoning illicit empire of Gus (Giancarlo Esposito)? How long will Kim (Rhea Seehorn) stand by this rapidly-disintegrating man? “You’re asking all the same questions we’re asking in the writers’ room,” Saul co-creator Peter Gould tells EW. “It seems like Jimmy’s first move is to try to leverage all the contacts he has in the world of selling drop phones. But don’t forget, he also knows the vet [Caldera, played by Joe DeRosa], and the vet is sort of Craig’s List for the underworld in Albuquerque. So he can get quite far. The question is: how does he establish a reputation as not just a criminal lawyer but a criminal lawyer? And what does that mean to him at this point? Because situations may require him to do things and turn a blind eye to things that Jimmy McGill would not be able to stomach.”
With true transformation now in play, is it fair game to talk end game for Better Call Saul? How many more seasons does Gould believe that the show will run? “My dearest hope is that we get to finish the story that we started and conclude it in a satisfying way,” he says. “My dream would be that this is somewhere in the same universe of satisfaction as Breaking Bad was. I was so proud to be part of the way we ended Breaking Bad, and that was actually one of the fears of doing this show — that we would tarnish that. Having said that, I think we are closer to the end than to the beginning.”
Gould may be playing coy on the show’s longevity, but he does light up when asked if Better Call Saul will spend more time with Jimmy’s other alter ego, Gene Takovic. The down-and-out, neutered Cinnabon manager has been seen briefly and occasionally in the post-Breaking Bad era (or the near-end-of-Breaking-Bad era). He was last spotted at the beginning of season 4 after his collapse on the Cinnabon floor and paranoid ride home from the hospital. “I am very, very interested in Gene Takovic,” says Gould. “In some ways, Gene is very enigmatic. In some ways, he’s the opposite of Saul Goodman because he speaks so very little, he’s so afraid. But I’m fascinated by that situation and by the question of: is there still any chance of redemption or ray of light in this guy’s life after all the terrible things that he’s done, now that he’s run away and hidden himself in Omaha?”
Co-creator Vince Gilligan previously told EW that he “desperately” wants to bring on central Breaking Bad characters such as Walt and Jesse (Aaron Paul) to pop up on the show as it tilts toward that time period. (Since the interview with Gould, it has been confirmed that there is a Breaking Bad movie in the works, presumably focused on Jesse’s exploits after driving off from the Nazi compound.) Given that season 4 afforded viewers a peek back into that era by returning to the day that the walls caved in on Saul, will the show spend even more time in that era next season? “The question for us is always: are we telling the story of Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmantraut and Kim Wexler?” redirects Gould. “And if showing scenes during the course of Breaking Bad add to that story or are important to that story or turn that story, then I think we should do them. But I don’t want to dip in to Breaking Bad just because we can.”
Wherever/whenever we are headed to next in Albuquerque, Gould voices a looming question that the show will tackle next season, and one you should be contemplating during the long hiatus: “We know who Saul Goodman is, but who is Saul Goodman to Kim Wexler?”
Click here to read more from Gould on that game-changing finale.
Saul Goodman, first introduced in Breaking Bad, gets his own Vince Gilligan prequel.