Now that Gene has a taste for crime Better Call Saulhe wanted to taste more of it this week — and yes, we also checked back in with Saul Goodman.
In fact, Monday’s episode begins with a kidnapped Saul Goodman pleading for mercy in the back of Walt and Jesse’s meth lab RV. We even hear him saying, “It wasn’t me! It was Ignacio! He’s the one!” just before the opening credits roll. But then we cut back to the black-and-white, post-Breaking Bad world, catching up with Saul’s receptionist Francesca as she deals with a couple of clueless stoners in her new role as an apartment manager. Once she’s in her car, she thinks she’s being followed, but she manages to lose them with a sudden turn — and she passes a bench for lawyer Bill Oakley, who’s now a defense attorney. She drives out to an abandoned gas station in the desert, waiting by the pay phone… and then it rings.
It’s Gene, who wants an update — but first, Francesca insists on collecting what she was promised: an envelope stuffed with cash hidden nearby. She tells Gene she’s still being followed, but not as often. “So the maestro buying the farm didn’t change anything?” he asks, and she replies it’s actually worse. Walt’s wife Skyler “got her deal,” she says, so it’s just Saul and Jesse Pinkman left, “and I heard they found his car down by the border, so adios, dopehead.” Gene inquires about his various money laundering operations and overseas accounts, but they’ve all been seized by the feds, so he only has the cash (or diamonds) he took with him to show for all his years of being a “criminal” lawyer .
Francesca is ready to hang up, but Gene wants to keep talking. She tells him Huell is back home in New Orleans (“Last I heard, he walked”) and about Bill Oakley’s switch from prosecutor to defense attorney. Oh, and she did get a phone call… from Kim. She was “checking in on me,” she recalls, adding: “Your name came up. Asked if you were alive. Gene is dumbstruck: “She asked about me.” After Francesca abruptly ends the call, Gene drives to another pay phone and calls the operator, asking to be connected to Palm Coast Sprinklers in Titusville, Florida. Once he’s connected, he asks to speak to Kim Wexler: “I believe she works there.” We can’t hear what he says next — the camera pans out to the street, where we just hear the sound of trucks driving by — but it doesn’t go well. We see Gene talking animatedly, and then he’s smashing the receiver against the phone and kicking a hole in the side of the phone booth.
Whatever happened there (did he actually talk to Kim?), it motivates Gene to resume his life of crime. Jeff returns home to find Gene laughing it up with Marion again — he showed her how to search for “funny cat videos” on her new computer — and Gene pulls him aside for a new scheme, saying they’ll need Jeff to drive the graveyard shift, along with some barbiturates. Gene told him they were done, Jeff reminds him, but they toast with glasses of schnapps to being “back in business.” We see the new scheme unfold as Gene buddies up to a drunk guy at a bar, losing a series of petty bets to the guy as he laughs it up. Gene is only pretending to drink, sucking his cocktails through a secret tube in his sleeve, but his new pal is properly seated, and Gene helps him into a cab — one driven by Jeff.
Jeff drives the drunk guy home, offering him a bottle of water, which the guy happily chugs down. By the time he gets home, he’s staggering around, and Jeff helps him inside, quietly tapping his front door open as he leaves. Soon after, Jeff’s friend returns to the drunk guy’s house, where he passed out cold, thanks to whatever Jeff put in that water. He takes the guy’s wallet and removes all his IDs and credit cards, taking photos of each, before looking through his files and taking more photos of tax returns and bank statements, along with a helpful list of the drunk guy’s passwords. He then flees the scene, removing the tape from the front door as he leaves.
We cut back to Saul as he enters the RV followed by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman — hi, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul! — and he quickly pieces together that they cook up “the blue stuff” here together… and that Walt is the famous Heisenberg. Saul presses them for details, but Walter cuts him off, taking the driver’s seat to drive them back. The RV won’t start, though, and Jesse passes the time by asking Saul: “So… who’s Lalo?” Saul quickly says he’s nobody and changes the subject by asking Walter to start the RV already, and we see the shallow grave dug for him in the desert slowly fade into Gene lying in bed — nice touch there — as Gene receives a delivery: a swing back massager. He, Jeff and his friend keep scamming more rich drunks, with Gene dosing the water bottles with crushed-up barbiturates and Jeff selling all the stolen financial data to some shady guy for stacks of cash. Gene seems to experience a twinge of guilt, though — or does he? — when his latest victim reveals he’s been diagnosed with cancer.
Back to Saul, who’s using the same swing back massager that Gene just ordered, when Mike visits him at his office. (He refuses to even talk to Saul while he’s using that thing.) Mike updates him on various clients he’s tracking, and Saul asks about Heisenberg. Mike reports that he’s a high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, working with a former student named Jesse Pinkman. Walter has cancer, he adds; he’s in treatment, “but it doesn’t look good.” Mike warns Saul to steer clear of him — “He’s a complete amateur” — and reveals that Gus Fring doesn’t even know about him yet because he’s so “small potatoes.” Saul is intrigued, though, insisting that Walt’s product is the best in the business. Yeah, Mike concedes… but so was Betamax.
Gene is relaxing at home when he gets a call that sends him rushing over to Jeff’s in a fury. (Marion looks up from her cat videos to see him entering her garage.) Jeff’s friend couldn’t go through with scamming that guy because he learned he has cancer; he’s taking the same pills his own dad took. Gene is outraged, accusing him of “wimping out” and arguing that the guy will be dead by the time he realizes he’s been ripped off. Jeff’s pal thinks they’ve made enough money to let this one go, but Gene cuts him off: “Not your call.” Jeff’s friend already pulled the tape off this guy’s door, but that doesn’t stop Gene: He tells him he’s fired and orders a conflicted Jeff to drive him back to that guy’s place to finish the job. Jeff worries that the guy might be awake by now, but Gene tells him not to worry, instructing him to pick him up in 20 minutes. As we see Saul walking into Walter White’s high school, passing his Pontiac Aztek in the parking lot, Gene walks up to the cancer patient’s door… and breaks a pane of glass to get inside.
Will Gene’s lust for scams be his downfall? And what more will we learn about Saul’s early days with Walt and Jesse? Drop your thoughts and theories in a comment below. (Just two episodes left!)