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'Better Call Saul' Cast Teases 'Unbelievable' 'Breaking Bad' Easter Eggs in Final Season

"For all the 'Breaking Bad' fans, you're going to have insights that you've never had before," says Michael Mando.

Scott Huver
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Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk in 'Better Call Saul'

AMC

Better Call Saul has specialized in putting the show's stable of characters into high-pressure situations that can make or break them, but going into the show's sixth and final season, there's a similar high-stakes game at play behind the scenes: The show is striving to end on a satisfying note that effectively ties together most of its own plot, as well as threads the needle to keep on par with the totality of the mothership that spawned it, Breaking Bad, which is now considered one of the greatest TV series — and finales — of all time. 

Centering on a high school chemistry teacher named Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) who begins dealing in methamphetamine after he is diagnosed with cancer, Breaking Bad, which began in 2008, ran for five critically-acclaimed seasons. With a Metascore of 87, it has the special distinction of being a "Metacritic Must-Watch." It also picked up numerous awards throughout its run, including two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series. Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad, following Bob Odenkirk's character in his pre-Walter White years. (Here, Odenkirk's Jimmy McGill is scheming but somewhat more noble than the ethically pliable Saul Goodman he becomes in Breaking Bad.) Better Call Saul premiered in 2015 and has yet to win an Emmy, but it has been nominated multiple times, including five times in the Outstanding Drama Series category alone, and it, too, is beloved by critics, with a Metascore of 85 (also earning the "Metacritic Must-Watch" honor.)

The challenge of wrapping up such a weighty series on the heels of such a successful first piece of a franchise has not gone unnoticed by members of the cast.

"That's the hard part: connecting these characters up, justifying every choice they make and the ways in which the two shows overlap," Odenkirk tells Metacritic. "That's a really, really hard thing to do, and the writers did a beautiful job of it."

"For me, I just have to remember where I'm at, and the progression of this character from Jimmy to Saul to Gene, because there's different versions," Odenkirk adds. "There's Jimmy doing con jobs; that's not exactly Saul. Saul is full on conman, salesman, user. And then there's Gene, who's this shut-down guy, who's suffering and trying to find his way out of this limbo. The show jumps through all these time periods through the whole season."

Odenkirk says he relied on co-creator and showrunner Peter Gould to answer the, "Where am I at in this?" question. Undoubtedly, he says, Gould always had the answer because he and his team of writers and producers "worked very, very hard to juggle all the characters, all the timeframes." 

The team behind the show had to be increasingly more cognizant of their storyline timelines at the end of the run because they had been laying the groundwork for Jimmy to turn into the man Breaking Bad fans first met. And those who have been watching the franchise have been watching it very closely. 

Patrick Fabian, who plays Jimmy and Kim's former employer Howard Hamlin, and has a key role in the kickoff of the new season, tells Metacritic that he has clocked the delightfully eagle-eyed fans' work as they search for connective tissue between the sagas. "Just this year when the first teaser trailer came out, it took about an hour until somebody on the Internet's like, '[The premiere date is] April 18th, here's the clues, this is how it works.' And so there's a symbiotic relationship: The writers know that the fans look, and so they write so they can be seen, which is really wonderful." 

With one final chance to tie it all together, they're going all out, according to Michael Mando, who plays Nacho Varga. "You've got all these unbelievable Easter eggs that connect. And in this season, for all the Breaking Bad fans, you're going to have insights that you've never had before, sometimes very subtle things that are just kind of mind-blowing," he says.

The show's careful attention to detail both lays the groundwork for the eventual end of the series' run, but it also raises expectations for it. And expectations were already high after Breaking Bad's finale, which then received an epilogue in the Netflix followup film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie that gave closure to Jesse Pinkman's (Aaron Paul) journey.

"We didn't exactly feel like we owed that franchise its finale," says Rhea Seehorn, who plays Kim Wexler. "But that being said, [there is a] Venn diagram of crossover — not even so much the specific people and places, which I will not spoil — but the methodologies, the stories, the origins, the whys, and the who went where. I feel like the writers were very, very, very careful in honoring how smart our fans are, not negating things that are truisms of that world, and furthering your thoughts about the whys and the whens and the whos of both series at the same time."

"The way I see it — and I thought about this, back in Season 1 — I feel like with Breaking Bad, [creators] Vince [Gilligan] and Peter bought this great piece of land and built this great, big, beautiful monument, and everybody's like, 'Don't mess with it, it's perfect,'" Mando adds. "And then they built the land next to it, and they started building Better Call Saul, and in this season, you get all the pathways and all the corridors. And people who own property on the Breaking Bad world can go play in the Better Call Saul world. And you look back, and you realize there's just one great monument that goes together, as opposed to two different monuments."

One might not help but wonder, though, in the wake of El Camino, which was released in 2019, six years after Breaking Bad came to an end — not to mention Hollywood's ongoing addiction to existing intellectual property in general — if there remain unexplored corners of the Albuquerque underbelly still ripe to be explored. 

"Whatever they do, I trust them, one hundred percent," Mando says. "Very, very rarely do I come up to them with an idea. And when I do, I've thought about it three or four times before saying it. But I think this season ended on such a high note. It's our best yet." 

Better Call Saul's sixth and final season airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on AMC beginning April 18.