Better Call Saul has exceeded expectations of being the simple origin story of good-hearted Jimmy McGill evolving into criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. The series deepens its own mythology, building a tragic trajectory for Saul and Mike Ehrmantraut, and revealing backstory for details in the original series Breaking Bad.
Over the course of five seasons, throwaway jokes and small details are given more weight and in many ways lead to the inevitable rise of Walter White. As the cast and crew prepare for their sixth and final season, there are still connecting points, big and small, between the prequel and its predecessor that need resolving.
Answered: Burner Phones
During Jimmy’s year-long suspension from the law, he works as the manager at a cellphone store and starts a side hustle of selling drop phones to delinquents under the name “Saul Goodman.” Once he’s reinstated, he sets up a circus tent and offers the last of his burner phones as a promotional deal for his legal services, setting his phone number on speed dial.
As of Breaking Bad, burner phones have become a major part of Saul Goodman’s business model, one desk drawer filled with a variety of flip phones and blackberries.
Unexplained: World’s Greatest Lawyer Mug
Saul Goodman’s “World’s Greatest Lawyer” mug harkens back to ironic jokes like Michael Scott’s “World’s Best Boss” mug. The opening titles of Better Call Saul even show the same mug toppling over and breaking into pieces.
On two separate occasions, Kim Wexler presents Jimmy with a bright yellow coffee tumbler that reads, “World’s 2nd Best Lawyer.” He jokes with her the second time that Saul Goodman will be giving her a run for her money. Could the mug be another gift from Kim? If so, how does Saul advance from “second-best” to “world’s greatest?” Especially considering that one of those tumblers ended up with a bullet hole in it.
Answered: Saul’s Pinky Ring
Saul Goodman’s flashy style comprises of bright-colored suits, a combover mullet, and a black-jeweled ring on his pinky. In “Marco,” Jimmy’s best friend dies of a heart attack when they revisit one of their old cons. At the funeral, Marco’s mother gifts her son’s ring to Jimmy, revealing that the ring has more significance than just a fun piece of jewelry.
The ring follows Jimmy through the rest of Better Call Saul and into his life on Breaking Bad. It’s a small, hidden detail that offers insight that tethers Jimmy both to his amoral instincts and the affection he has to the people in his life.
Unexplained: The Wayfarer 515 Ribbons
After the Wayfarer 515 plane crash, season three of Breaking Bad picks up several weeks later and Albuquerque citizens wear ribbons honoring the victims. Saul Goodman continues to wear them through the end of the series.
It’s possible that Saul is simply milking tragedy for business. But there’s also a moment during the Schweikart & Cokely holiday party where Jimmy hints that Kim’s law partner Richard take a charter plane to Aspen, and it’s a charter plane that collides with Wayfarer 515.
Answered: Hector’s Bell
Hector Salamanca, the patriarch of the Salamanca family, suffers a stroke during season three that results in paralyzing him physically and can only communicate through the tap of his finger. His nephew, Lalo, gifts with a bell from an incident where they tortured and killed a hotel manager and burned his hotel to the ground.
Walter White offers Hector a chance for revenge against Gus Fring, attaching a bomb to Hector’s wheelchair and making his bell the detonator so that both Hector and Gus will die in the blast.
Unexplained: Ed the Disappearer
When Walt senses that Gus plans to kill him, Saul offers him the business card for “the Disappearer.” Saul has plenty of contacts in the criminal world, but the Disappearer hides behind a vacuum repair business and offers new identities to criminals in desperate situations.
Saul himself makes the call to the Disappearer, Ed Galbraith, after the events of Breaking Bad‘s “Ozymandias,” and Jimmy/Saul transitions into life as Cinnabon manager and Omaha citizen, Gene Takovic. But for an elusive figure like Ed, why does Saul have this business card in the first place?
Answered: Saul’s Multiple Marriages
Saul Goodman sexually harasses Francesca, unsuccessfully flirts with Skyler White, and briefly mentions how he caught his second wife sleeping with his stepfather. Needless to say, it appears he has a poor track record with relationships.
As Jimmy and Kim fill out the paperwork for their marriage license, the front desk clerk confirms this when she requests Jimmy’s documentation for his two previous dissolutions. This marriage places Kim in a unique position not just as Jimmy’s third wife, but also as a confidante for Saul Goodman. Skyler White will later tell Walt that “married couples can’t be compelled to testify against each other.”
Unexplained: The Zafiro Aneijo Stopper
Jimmy and Kim’s romance begins with conning stockbroker Ken (known as “KenWins” in Breaking Bad) into buying thousands of dollars worth of Zajrio Aneijo tequila shots. Kim keeps the stopper, and since then it has become a token that Kim holds when she thinks of Jimmy and plans to break bad in her own way.
In an Entertainment Weekly interview, Peter Gould says that audiences should “keep an eye on the stopper.” Fans of Breaking Bad will recognize Zafiro Aneijo as the tequila brand that Gus gifts Don Eladio and the cartel with the intent to poison every one of them.
Answered: Krazy-8 the Snitch
Domingo, known to Breaking Bad fans as Krazy-8, had two major reveals in Better Call Saul. The first is the story behind his nickname, Lalo calling him “Ocho Loco” during a poker game after Domingo folds what could have been a winning pair of eights
The second involves how he becomes an informant for the DEA. After the police arrest Domingo, Saul negotiates with the DEA that as long as Domingo/Krazy-8 provides information that leads to arrests, he will be protected. Years later, Krazy-8 sets up Jesse Pinkman for a bust that will put them all in the path of both Hank Schraeder and Walter White.
Unexplained: Lalo and Ignacio
In Breaking Bad episode “Better Call Saul,” Walt and Jesse kidnap Saul Goodman and drag him out to the middle of the desert. Saul begs for his life, insisting that it’s “Ignacio” they want and asking if “Lalo” sent them.
Lalo Salamanca enters the series Better Call Saul with a smile and a plate of tacos. Yet he proves to be a dangerous villain, killing an innocent man and threatening both Kim and Jimmy in their own home when he suspects Saul is hiding something. By the end of season five, Lalo survives Gus’s assassins and realizes that right-hand man Ignacio “Nacho” Varga betrayed him. Whatever trouble comes in season six, no one is safe from Lalo Salamanca.