Spoilers below for the latest episode of Better Call Saul, so be sure to watch before reading on.
After spending the first chunk of Season 4 caught up in the immediate emotional aftermath of Chuck’s death, Better Call Saul‘s narrative lurched forward in time during the cleverly effective split-screen cold open. Unfortunately for Jimmy and Kim, the months did not bring the couple closer together, but rather drove them further away from each other. Thankfully for fans, though, their fractured relationship means the balance is turning for Jimmy McGill to give way to fully becoming Saul Goodman.
In the episode “Something Stupid,” Better Call Saul continued tipping its hat to its Breaking Bad future in interesting and potentially game-changing ways. We finally got to go underground to see the construction process for Gus’ eventual meth lab, where Mike got to holler at the restless crew in German, which was obviously amazing. But it was elsewhere in the episode that the more striking Breaking Bad connections occurred. So let’s go through the big three.
Saul Goodman’s First Catchphrase
Better Call Saul fans already got to see Saul Goodman in full swing in Season 4, thanks to that stress-inducing cold open some weeks back. But as this episode proved, the Saul persona wasn’t specifically crafted as a courtroom replacement for Jimmy, but rather as the name Jimmy used to sell burner phones to low-level street criminals. (In mostly legal ways, of course.) We got to hear him do some fancy Saul-esque mouthwork when talking his way out of trouble with that cop (even if Huell ruined it). But it was the business card the cop found, the same one that Jimmy was looking at in the opening, that introduced viewers to the catchphrase predecessor to this show’s title: “Need to call? Buy from Saul!”
It rolls off the tongue about as smoothly as a concrete roller skates, but it does add a secondary context to the use of “call” in our understanding of Jimmy/Saul. It wasn’t always just about people calling Saul when in legal trouble. It was about people finding him so they could buy a phone to make a call to someone else. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a marked moment where he changes the phrasing to reflect other changes down the line.
Gus Hindered Hector’s Full Recovery
Around a year or so after Hector Salamanca first fell victim to Nacho’s assassination attempt, the crime boss was showing signs of communication via a very familiar finger-tapping maneuver. He also showed signs of his lecherous libido coming back, too, although we already know he’ll never return to his former glory in that capacity, nor any others. But what we didn’t know until tonight was that Hector might have actually gotten far closer to full recovery through his rehabilitation, had the cold and calculating Gus not intentionally put a stop to the medical treatment.
It does make perfect sense, though. Gus wants Hector suffering in whatever extreme ways are possible, even if he can’t kill his rival outright. And there are few better ways to metaphorically cripple an egotistical crime boss than to take away his voice and power of command. So while Hector’s situation may have seemed like a more natural health decline in the Breaking Bad days, fans now know that Gus played a far more personal role in keeping Don Hector in that bell-equipped wheelchair.