Jimmy McGill isn’t the only character Bob Odenkirk is saying goodbye to with “Better Call Saul” heading into its sixth and final season this year. Odenkirk promises that a long-awaited payoff is coming for Jimmy/Saul’s post-“Breaking Bad” life as Gene, who we’ll see a lot more of than just those black-and-white scenes that open each season.
“I do, yea. I think we will,” he told TheWrap on Wednesday, fresh off his Golden Globes nomination. “You’re going to see a lot of insanity, as the wheels come off the cart.”
Each season of the “Breaking Bad” prequel begins the same way, following Saul Goodman after the events of “Breaking Bad” where he goes by Gene Takovic, an unassuming and mustached manager of an Omaha-area Cinnabon.
At the beginning of Season 5, Gene’s cover is blown when the cab driver who drove him home from the hospital in the previous season recognizes him from his Saul Goodman days (the cabbie used to live in Albuquerque). The cab driver, Jeff, tracks down Gene at the mall where his Cinnabon is located and makes him say his “Better Call Saul” catchphrase, and says if he ever needs a ride to call him. This rattles Gene to the point where he calls Ed Galbraith (aka the guy who owns the vacuum cleaner shop who helped both Walter White and Saul Goodman “disappear”). After initially asking for his services again, Gene changes his mind and tells Ed he’ll “fix it myself” before hanging up.
Odenkirk, who goes back into production on the final season next month, hopes that the Gene version of his character has at least learned a thing or two from his days as Jimmy and Saul.
“I’d like to think he learned something about how to manage yourself and your inspirations, your drives, in the course of all these adventures, including ‘Breaking Bad,’” he says. “We’ll see what Gene, how he behaves as a more experienced person having lost everything — at least one time. I wonder what Gene will do to protect himself, or to strike back at the world.”
As for Jimmy in the main narrative of “Better Call Saul,” Season 5 left him more unsure of his new legal life as Saul Goodman than we’ve ever seen him in either of the previous seasons of “Better Call Saul” or “Breaking Bad.”
Odenkirk describes Jimmy as being in “a real delicate place,” after learning what it means to not just be a criminal lawyer, but in the words of Jesse Pinkman, a criminal lawyer. He took a step up in clientele last season, going from defending petty criminals to drug crime lords after being called in to serve as Lalo’s lawyer, which included making a cash drop at the Mexican border (it did not go well).
“He’s really got himself in serious, life-threatening danger. And he’s kind of shaken by his incident in the desert. He’s actually a little reticent, and more unsure of himself than he’s ever been,” Odenkirk says. “Jimmy just sort of thought he can play with these scary guys. He’s discovering that there are very serious and consequential consequences on what they do.”
Even so, every “Breaking Bad” fan knows where Jimmy’s ends: As Albuquerque criminal underworld’s go-to lawyer. Odenkirk says that Jimmy is “one very bad move away” from fully falling into his sleazy Saul Goodman alias.
“He’s pretty much close to there, I’d say. But something big still has to happen to trip him over into, I think, full Saul mode,” he said. “I imagine it has a lot to do with Kim Wexler.”