Breaking Bad 

How Better Call Saul Foreshadowed Gus Fring’s Breaking Bad Boss’ Death

Peter Schuler is Gus Fring's boss in Breaking Bad, and meets a predictably sticky end. Better Call Saul foreshadows this moment in season 5.

Better Call Saul drops more trademark foreshadowing by hinting towards the death of Peter Schuler in Breaking Bad. In its fifth season, Better Call Saul became a true prequel, directly setting up events that transpire during the Breaking Bad era. The continued rise of Gus Fring is a major step towards bridging the two shows. Setting fire to his own restaurant and botching an assassination attempt on Lalo might’ve been less than ideal, but Gus continued to drive a wedge between Don Eladio and the Salamanca family nonetheless, working towards his methamphetamine domination and the (extremely slow) construction of a super-lab.

To highlight Gus’ progression in Better Call Saul season 5, the spin-off brings back Norbert Weisser as Peter Schuler. Despite only appearing in a single episode of Breaking Bad (season 5’s “Madrigal”), Schuler plays a vital role in the mythology of the series. Fring and Schuler became allies following an unspecified event in Chile. The latter was later hired by Madrigal to develop the company’s portfolio of restaurants, and he used this position to channel funds towards Fring’s legitimate front, Los Pollos Hermanos. Schuler was fully aware that Fring was building a drugs empire, and ensured the financial resources were available to make that pipe dream happen.

RELATED: Predicting How Better Call Saul Ends (In Both Timelines)

When Schuler returns in Better Call Saul season 5’s “JMM,” he and Gus both partake in a generic fast food business meeting before skulking off for a private chat. The most interesting moment, however, comes at the very end of the boardroom sequence. Reporting the success of his restaurant chain, Gus brings out samples of his new “Spice Curls” for all to try. A portion is placed in front of Schuler, who dips a fry into the pot of ketchup provided and tastes it, closing out the scene. What might simply look like “man eating fries” to some is actually a subtle throwback to Schuler’s appearance in Breaking Bad. In the character’s brief appearance, he’s sat with a team of food scientists trying nuggets with a series of different sauces. Informed that the police have arrived, Schuler excuses the cuisine geeks and promptly commits suicide via defibrillator kit.

Madrigal boss Peter Schuler tries a new recipe in Breaking Bad

The repeated ketchup motif is a neat way of connecting Schuler’s two appearances in the Breaking Bad world, but there’s more going on beneath the surface. In Better Call Saul, Schuler happily chomps down on Gus Fring’s tasty new snack, eager to try these New Mexican-themed fries. This is all a facade, of course, and when the pair are alone, a far more morose Schuler expresses his reservations about the entire scam, certain that he’ll be caught until Gus calms his fears. This is a far cry from Schuler’s tasting session in Breaking Bad. Faced with an array of sauces and a bowl of delicious nuggets, Schuler eats silently with a blank, dead-behind-the-eyes expression. Not only does Schuler offer no feedback on the new product line, at one point he even stops dipping the nuggets entirely, stuck in a trace-like depression as he weighs his fate now that Gus has been caught.

Better Call Saul uses a similar technique for other returning characters, most notably Don Eladio, who delivers the same “salut!” line as he does shortly before dying in Breaking Bad. These details are so effective because they gently remind Better Call Saul viewers of the grim fate that will eventually befall these criminals in the not-too-distant future. It’s an idea not entirely unlike Francis Ford Coppola’s use of oranges in The Godfather (which Breaking Bad also borrows) but rather than one single image spelling doom for those in the vicinity, every character has their own omen.

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