Better Call Saul Writer Reveals Alternate Walter White Scene

Warning: this story contains spoilers for Better Call Saul's "Breaking Bad" episode. If Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston) is the atomic bomb, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) is Oppenheimer. Monday's episode of Better Call Saul, titled "Breaking Bad," returns to the moment criminal lawyer Saul takes on Walter White (Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) as clients. In the scene — set inside the "Krystal Ship" RV during the events of Breaking Bad's "Better Call Saul" episode — Saul involves himself in Walt and Jesse's amateur meth-cooking operation. And despite P.I. Mike's (Jonathan Banks) advice to steer clear of the cancer-stricken chemistry teacher turned meth manufacturer, Saul doesn't heed the warning.

Better Call Saul's "Breaking Bad" episode revisits the moment just before Saul enters Walt's classroom in Breaking Bad's "Better Call Saul" episode. The pivotal moment informs the post-Breaking Bad black-and-white timeline of 2010, and "Breaking Bad" ends with Saul/"Gene" (Odenkirk) relapsing and breaking bad — by breaking and entering into the home of cancer patient Mr. Lingk (Kevin Sussman). 

In the episode "Better Call Saul," an incognito Walt poses as "Mr. Mayhew," the uncle of crystal-slinging Badger (Matt Jones), when visiting the strip-mall law office of Saul Goodman and Associates. After Saul refuses to accept a bribe for advising Badger not to inform on mystery man Heisenberg, Walt and Jesse kidnap the lawyer and threaten to bury him in the desert to scare Saul out of cutting a deal with the DEA. 

In an interview with the AMC Blog, "Breaking Bad" writer and director Thomas Schnauz revealed the episode nearly revisited Walt's initial meeting with Saul inside his office. (Watch the scene above.) 

"We were looking for a spot — where [in the timeline] do we show Walter White return? For the longest time we talked about the moment where Brandon Mayhew's uncle walks through the door and tries to hire him, but that didn't seem quite right or dramatic enough," Schnauz said. "Looking back at all the different scenes, we realized it was the space between the kidnapping and when they're planning how they're going to save Badger and that just seemed like a real sweet spot to fill in, 'What do these guys say to each other after the attempted kidnapping during that awkward ride back?'"

Schnauz added: "And in this case the ride back is filled with an awkward RV stall and they have to sit uncomfortably together in the dark looking at each other." (The duo's engine trouble also foreshadows the Breaking Bad episode "4 Days Out," where a planned weekend-long cook leaves Walt and Jesse stranded in the desert.) 

Along with re-contextualizing the kidnapping scene from Breaking Bad, Schnauz explained why the time was right to bring Walt and Jesse into Better Call Saul

"In the episode, Gene reverts back to his Saul Goodman ways and we wanted to draw a parallel between who Saul was in the past and who Gene is and the reasons he became Saul," Schnauz said. "In episode 609 we do the 2001 [A Space Odyssey] moment with the bone turning into the spaceship, where Kim [Rhea Seehorn] breaks up with him and tells him about how she kept the truth from him about Mike and Lalo [Tony Dalton] being alive, and then he goes full Saul Goodman."

After the fugitive Gene tries to make contact with ex-wife Kim Wexler, "Something bad happens on that phone call that we don't hear and brings back all the pain of the past and he decides to go back to his scamming ways."

"He needs to do something to numb the pain of the past and being Gene isn't going to do it. So we wanted to see Saul in the past and see Gene now and see the steps that made him go towards Walter White, where Mike advises him to 'let it go' but he can't because he's got something inside him nagging at him that he needs to do something bigger and badder to numb the pain of what's happened in the past," Schnauz said. "So this just seemed like the right episode to flash back and forth between the Saul Goodman times, the Walter White times, and comparing it to what's going on in Gene's world." 

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The penultimate episode, "Waterworks," airs on August 8. The series finale of Better Call Saul, "Saul Gone," airs August 15 on AMC.