It took six seasons to get there, but as Better Call Saul heads toward its own Breaking Bad-inspired endgame, we've finally broken bad. And no, we don't just mean the long-awaited returns of Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston from the sister series. The Badverses have collided and it's hard to differentiate between where Jimmy McGill's story ends and Walter White's begins.
As Bob Odenkirk's disgraced conman lives out his days in the black and white misery of Omaha, Gene Takovic has become his very own Heisenberg – albeit without the blue meth. Now, an ominous Breaking Bad Easter egg hidden in Better Call Saul suggests that Jimmy's end is going to be anything but "'S'all good man."'
While Better Call Saul might have started charting McGill's transformation into the sleazy Saul Goodman we loved and loathed in Breaking Bad, it was inevitable that the two timelines would merge. Moving past Walt's demise in the Breaking Bad finale, Cinnabon Gene shares some worrying similarities with the cunning chemist.
During August 8's 'Waterworks,' we picked up with Gene after his explosive phone call to Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn).
The "Cancer-Man" whom gene is robbing has portfolio value of $737.000, the exact amount Walt, the other cancer man was looking to make in the beginning of Breaking Bad. Man, the parallels between these two shows. Bravo Vince 🙌#BetterCallSaul#Waterworks pic.twitter.com/Gva8kYiMcS
— Shakti Mani Tripathi (@shaktimtripathi) August 9, 2022
Away from Kim trying to make amends for their crimes, Gene was up to his old ways and trying to rob last week's Mr Lingk (Kevin Sussman), aka "cancer man". When Gene breaks into Lingk's house, you'll notice he has an exact sum of $737,612.62 in his account.
Those with better detective skills than Hank Schrader might remember this is the amount of money Walter White (Bryan Cranston) wanted to earn from selling meth to take care of Skyler and the kids. Walt vowed to bow out of peddling drugs once he'd reached this goal, but as we all know, greed got the better of him and led to his downfall. But what does this mean for Gene?
The parallels are all here, and in last week's 'Breaking Bad', it looked like Gene learning about Lingk's cancer diagnosis might spin his moral compass. Instead, he fired accomplice Buddy and decided to go ahead with the robbery himself.
There's a sense of irony that Better Call Saul's "cancer man" has exactly what Walt needed and will presumably die 'happy' instead of diving into the depths of a criminal empire.
Tying everything together, the Breaking Bad season-two premiere was called 'Seven Thirty- Seven' and was when Walt revealed the magic number needed to secure his family's future. It was here that viewers were first introduced to the mystery of the Wayfarer 515 accident that saw a Boeing 727 crash above Alburquerque.
'Seven Thirty-Seven' opened with the black-and-white pool scene that had the (colourised) pink teddy bear losing its eye down a drain. All of Better Call Saul's Gene scenes have followed this formula, and 'Waterworks' even had a colourised version of Saul's legal ad reflected in his glasses.
'Waterworks' ended with a shocking scene where Gene's identity as Saul was rumbled by Carol Burnett's Marion. Even though he stopped short of strangling her with a telephone cord, there's a flash of what Gene could become.
When Breaking Bad started out, who would have thought the mild-mannered Walt would be strangling Domingo 'Krazy-8' Molina with a bike lock just three episodes in? It might sound like a cliché to connect the two leads just because they have moustaches, but it's a genuine theory among fans that Gene's facial fuzz is intentional to mirror Walt's descent into becoming Heisenberg.
As for what this symbolism means for Jimmy/Saul/Gene, it's not looking good for his new life. Although most of us would have wound our necks in and made the most of our dismal existence mopping the floor of Omaha's Cinnabon, Gene is slipping back into his old ways and almost seems like he wants to get caught.
A similar cockiness was Walt's undoing, and with only one episode left, it would be typically Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul for Jimmy to get a nasty taste of his own medicine.
We're not suggesting Gene is going to be riddled with bullets in a showdown with some neo-Nazis in next week's finale, but we wouldn't count him out of having an equally definitive end to his story before the final credits roll.
Similar to Walt's heroic rescue of Jesse, there's still time for Jimmy to turn over a new leaf and do the right thing for Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). Then again, we're just as likely to see him attempt once last con and pay the price as the Better Call Saul theme tune kicks in.
Better Call Saul airs on AMC in the US and on Netflix in the UK.
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