Better Call Saul S6E11

‘Better Call Saul’ Recap: Breaking Bad All Over Again

We see some surprise faces from the past this week on 'Better Call Saul.' Back in the present, Gene's crimes are beginning to catch up to him.
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In the latest episode of Better Call Saul, everything’s coming full circle for Jimmy McGill. The former lawyer turned con man tried to live out a quiet life in Omaha as the manager of a Cinnabon, but the call of a life of crime was always waiting for him. As his brother Chuck once said, Jimmy just can’t help himself. Jimmy is slipping once again, and the writing is on the wall for the last major player in the infamous story of Heisenberg.

Warning: Full spoilers for this week’s episode of Better Call Saul, titled “Breaking Bad,” follow after this. 

This week, we saw the much-anticipated cameos of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, reprising their roles from the original series. Aptly, the scenes take place contemporaneously with the Breaking Bad episode titled “Better Call Saul,” so this is a nice full-circle moment for both shows.

So, what is everyone’s favorite criminal lawyer up to this week?

When Saul Met Walt

The episode gives us a glimpse into the past and allows us to see a bit more context around a scene from Saul’s first appearance in Breaking Bad. After Jesse and Walt kidnapped him and drove him out into the desert, Saul blurted out that he wasn’t responsible for whatever the men were mad at him about, and blamed someone named Ignacio. When Walt and Jesse told him they weren’t working for some mystery man named Lalo, Saul calmed down and talked them into hiring him as their lawyer.

Throughout Better Call Saul, fans got a better understanding of who Ignacio and Lalo were to Jimmy. Of course, now we know that both men are long-dead by the time of Breaking Bad, but Lalo’s devastating home invasion earlier this season left deep psychological scars on Jimmy’s mind. Lalo’s cold-blooded murder of Howard Hamlin shook Jimmy to his core, and he turned to the Saul Goodman persona to bury his shame and regret in a criminal lifestyle of his own.

Better Call Saul’s final episodes have offered fans a unique chance to recontextualize that scene. After the pivotal moment in the desert, Jesse idly questions Saul about Lalo. Saul, eager to leave the past behind him, shakes it off and says that “Lalo” is no one. Indeed, the dangerous cartel kingpin is a distant memory, and Saul realizes that he was simply overreacting when the men kidnapped him. It’s a nice nod to the histories of both BCS and BB, giving fans some closure on a scene that many have speculated about since BCS started. 

Slipping Into the Life

Meanwhile, back in the present day, Gene Takovic drives out to an abandoned gas station to send a call to a payphone in Albuquerque. Francesca, his longtime assistant, is now living as a landlord in a crummy apartment complex. She answers the call and gives Gene information on the events in New Mexico–in exchange for a hidden envelope full of cash that Gene stashed before fleeing town.

We learn that Huell, Saul’s longtime co-conspirator, escaped DEA custody and returned to his home in New Orleans. Francesca also drops a bombshell on Gene: Kim Wexler called her after everything went down. She asked if Jimmy was still alive. In an instant, Gene questions everything and eagerly calls Kim’s workplace, a sprinkler shop somewhere in Florida.

Just as he starts talking to who we presume is Kim, the camera pulls away and we watch from across the street as Gene becomes more and more heated. Whatever he hears on the phone makes him furious, and he smashes one of the phone booth’s windows. In an instant, he dives headlong back into the life of crime he once left behind him in ABQ. 

The Scam Intensifies

Gene rejoins Buddy and Jeff in an elaborate three-man scam to steal wealthy men’s identities. Gene, posing as a mark named Viktor, lures wealthy, single men into drinking with him and “scamming” him. In reality, Gene isn’t even drinking: he’s siphoning his alcohol into a hidden flask in his shirt. Once his victims are drunk, Gene calls them a cab. Naturally, it’s Jeff who picks them up.

Jeff offers the marks a drink of water, and audiences see that the water bottles have been spiked with barbituates. As the victims return home, Jeff helps them in the door as a cover for the critical element of the scam: he leaves duct tape on the door frame to keep the doorknob from latching. Then, once the marks are sound asleep, Buddy slips in and photographs their sensitive documents. It’s an ingenious scam, and everything’s going great until Gene accidentally targets a cancer patient with the scheme.

This is intercut with scenes of Mike, back in the Saul Goodman era, telling Jimmy to steer clear of Walter White. He’s a cancer patient with nothing to lose, and an amateur drug dealer, Mike warns. Jimmy acknowledges Mike’s warning, but he’s clearly infatuated with the idea of making huge stacks of cash with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s operation. 

Gene’s Downfall

The episode ends after Buddy cancels the con, refusing to steal from a man with cancer. Gene angrily fires Buddy and demands that Jeff drive him to the victim’s house. Buddy removed the tape from the door, so Gene has to break a window panel to slip into the home. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, and it’s clear that this is the beginning of the end for Gene Takovic. 

Jimmy’s past is catching up to him. His insistence on living a life of crime will eventually bring his world crumbling down on top of him once again. The beauty of this show is seeing where the pieces fall and seeing how the characters react to the horrible situations they engineer for themselves.

Cranston and Paul are slated to appear a few more times before the series ends. The show is now completely in uncharted territory, and there’s no telling how Gene’s story will unfold. Will Kim Wexler make any more appearances on the show? Will Gene go to prison for his crimes, or will he meet a different kind of justice? We can’t wait to find out.