Spoilers below for Better Call Saul's latest episode, titled "Quite a Ride."
After years of dancing around its Breaking Bad future through namechecks and introductions to familiar characters, Better Call Saul finally leapt forward to a fairly surprising point in the flagship drama's timeline: the day when Saul Goodman's life came crashing down. From the bright clothes to the Constitutional walls to Tina Parker's time-worn Francesca, the scene was all Breaking Bad through and through, and Bob Odenkirk was pumped to get back into Saul's less self-consuming headspace. In his words:
I was thrilled. Part of me --- it really comes from comedy --- just really wants to make the audience happy. I was satisfied and pleased at the notion of playing Saul and being back in the office and giving everybody a moment of that character that they love so much and was so entertaining to people. To go there for a few minutes and be that guy and give them that flavor made me really, really happy. Plus, it's fun to play him. The truth is it's easier to play Saul than Jimmy. It's not as rewarding. Jimmy is a rich character with so many angles --- there's so much complexity to the guy that it's a more rewarding character. But Saul is kind of pure fun.
Since Bob Odenkirk made his career in the comedy world, it would only make sense for him to want to return there on Better Call Saul whenever possible. Especially since Jimmy McGill's life is getting increasingly further away from anything that has longterm comedic potential. So after getting three-plus years of Jimmy and future Cinnabon manager Gene, let's all give co-creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan some applause for finally letting Saul Goodman in on the show that bears his faux name.
The scene in question was the kind of absolute insanity that followed Walter White like a hungry puppy. It was clearly in the moments after Saul learned that all the shit had hit all the fans in Walt's world, with Jesse giving Walt up and Hank Schrader getting murdered by the Neo-Nazis. (Though we're not sure where Huell is at this point.) But it was also definitely before the scene in "Granite State" when Walt and Saul were assumedly in the same room for the final time, with Robert Forster's extractor Ed having set them both up with new lives outside of New Mexico. And not only did the scene give fans a Bob Odenkirk at his most manic and flop-sweated, but it gave further proof for how truly important that shoebox of memories is to the character, as it was hidden in the middle of the wall right behind his desk. It also proved how grumblingly dedicated Francesca was.
Speaking of that wall, Bob Odenkirk also talked with EW about how it felt to shoot that scene after so many years of being away from a proper Saul Goodman sequence.
The giddiness that people felt, the glee that people felt at seeing that office, everyone on set, all the crew were just ecstatic. I think it made everybody even more amazed at the story that Peter and Vince have told, having come out of that character, you know? Because the character was intriguing and fun, but he was not the most --- there wasn't a whole lot going on there. I mean, he's just a schemer who talked fast and thought pretty fast. And outside of that, there wasn't much else. And I think now that we know this guy, to go into that office and see him in that version of himself --- such a thinned-out version of who he is inside --- you can't help but smile, because you know a secret that he doesn't know. You know who he is, and you're like, 'Wow, dude. You really went down!' [Laughs.] 'You really came way down on the scale of human value.'
In most forms of storytelling, Saul Goodman would be the starting point for a lead character whose rough exterior is broken down to allow the more beneficial personality (Jimmy) to come forth and thrive. But in the real world, morally wavering people traditionally only get worse instead of getting better, so Saul was already an eventuality even if we didn't didn't have Breaking Bad around to clue us in on it.
*Head to the next page to watch AMC's behind-the-scenes video that dives a little deeper into both Saul's appearance and Gus Fring's plan to build his iconic meth lab. *