Better Call Saul Gets A 'Lot More Intense' As It Catches Up To Breaking Bad

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(Image credit: AMC)

Better Call Saul is only days away from returning for its mind-blowing fifth season, following a hiatus of more than a year since Season 4 aired its finale. Fans have had a very long time to wonder what will come next, especially considering the end of the fourth season left Jimmy on the cusp of embracing his Saul Goodman persona. Now, several Better Call Saul stars have spoken out about what to expect in Season 5, and one who started on Breaking Bad promised some intensity.

Let's start with what Jonathan Banks, a.k.a. Mike Ehrmantraut, had to say:

It’s a lot more intense, because we’re getting closer and closer to what we have to catch up with.

Jonathan Banks was both memorable and key to Breaking Bad after making his debut on the drama, so he definitely knows what he's talking about when it comes to intensity in this franchise! His comments to EW don't exactly give away all the details about what's to come in Better Call Saul Season 5, but Breaking Bad is on the horizon.

In fact, given Better Call Saul's renewal for a sixth and final season, viewers can probably count on more and more nods to where Breaking Bad picks up as Season 5 progresses. Even though there are still two seasons before the final credits roll, there's a lot that can still happen, and the time may have come for fans to start truly worrying about Kim. Hopefully the Season 5 intensity won't be connected to Kim tragically being killed off!

Patrick Fabian, who plays lawyer Howard Hamlin on Better Call Saul, shared his own thoughts on how where Saul "is going" impacts Season 5:

Things come apart at the seams in season 5. It is challenging because we all know where it’s going — and yet we don’t know where it’s going. And so consequently, every script felt fraught with, ‘Is this the beginning of something that I don’t necessarily want to see going on?’ And that all drives back to the idea of Jimmy really being Saul, because Saul behaves in a completely different way. It’s an amoral universe that he lives in and we’ve created a nice little house where things may be kind of okay when they’re not. We left season 5 on a real high note work-wise. We all were thrilled with what we got, but it was trying and brutal in a lot of ways.

As Patrick Fabian points out, knowing what happens in Breaking Bad doesn't mean knowing every little detail of how Better Call Saul has to set it up. So many aspects of Better Call Saul aren't present in the original series, despite the presence of characters like Mike, Gus Fring, and of course Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman.

Patrick Fabian describing Season 5 as "trying and brutal" may be a sign that Better Call Saul coming apart at the seams will see the departures of some major characters. It's too soon to say if some do indeed bite the dust this season, especially since Breaking Bad didn't start killing key characters like Hank (who will appear in Better Call Saul Season 5 along with another Breaking Bad alum) and Mike until the final season. Still, fans should prepare themselves for some high-stakes episodes.

Speaking of high stakes, Breaking Bad's arguably best non-Walt villain Gus Fring is back in Better Call Saul Season 5, and actor Giancarlo Esposito shared how Saul approaching Breaking Bad impacts Gus:

You will see him make certain moves that will surprise you. But he’s a more vulnerable, more willing, less-sure individual at that point in time in our story. [W]e’re getting closer and closer to that overlap [with Breaking Bad], and not only in regards to how Gus is depicted, but also it’s a show about Jimmy McGill, it’s about Saul, it’s about Gene. So you see him move into a consciousness that more reflects the edginess of Breaking Bad.

On the one hand, there are only so many surprises Better Call Saul can deliver on the Gus Fring front. Breaking Bad revealed his origin story, his life through several seasons, his empire, and his death. On the other hand, Gus isn't the man he will be by the time he meets Walt on Breaking Bad, and his position isn't quite so solid, so Better Call Saul has some room to further tell his story in the remaining seasons.

How will Better Call Saul incorporate these characters and spin the story of Saul Goodman even further in Season 5? Find out when the fifth season kicks off on Sunday, February 23 at 10 p.m. ET on AMC, following the Season 10 midseason premiere of The Walking Dead. Better Call Saul then moves into its regular time slot on February 24.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.