The latest episode of Better Call Saul went on and revealed the true genius behind Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s cameos at the start of season six. When Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul were confirmed for cameos in the final season of Better Call Saul, viewers were more surprised their appearances were announced earlier than the appearances themselves. But even though he knew what was going to happen, despite the obvious age difference and despite neither character having an obvious entry point into Jimmy McGill’s solo series, Walt and Jesse’s returns were a triumph.
Set during the desert kidnapping of Breaking Bad’s second season, Walt and Jesse’s long-awaited Better Call Saul debut shows what happened right after Saul agreed to help with their problem with Badger. Elsewhere in the same episode, future Jimmy is getting more and more evil in Gene’s timeline, so show the moment he “broke up badly” with Walt and Jesse ties the two eras well. Better Call Saul also draws a direct parallel between Walter White’s cancer in the past and a victim of Gene’s latest scam in the future. The true purpose of Better Call Saul revisiting the desert scene from Breaking Bad, however, only becomes clear in the series finale, “Saul Gone”.
The latest episode of Better Call Saul is about Saul Goodman’s return as Jimmy McGill. When Bob Odenkirk’s evil legal mastermind begins negotiating the sentencing, he plays an alternate version of Walt and Jesse leading him into the desert tied up and wrapped, rewriting the story by claiming that he was forced to become Heisenberg’s accomplice. Thanks to cameos from Walt and Jesse, audiences have seen firsthand just how false this testimony is. Saul was fascinated by Walt’s operation after personally witnessing the RV methamphetamine lab and the dollar sign in his eyes could be seen for miles. The attorney practically introduced himself to Walt and Jesse on the spot before later approaching Heisenberg at work. How the Better Call Saul ending weaves the story of Saul’s kidnapping into Jimmy McGill’s eventual redemption means that Walt and Jesse’s cameos were secretly crucial to the impact and power behind Jimmy’s confession in court. .
Better Call Saul’s ending also pays off for Jesse’s solo cameo
In addition to Jesse Pinkman’s cameo opposite Walt in Better Call Saul’s “Breaking Bad” episode, Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman makes a solo outing in “Waterworks”. Set just before Breaking Bad season 1, Jesse is hanging around Saul Goodman’s office waiting for Combo when Kim Wexler appears, fresh from signing her divorce papers. When Jesse asks for an assessment as to whether Saul is “something good”, Kim responds curtly with “when I met him, he was.” The line is actually Kim distancing herself from Saul Goodman – sadly acknowledging that Jimmy McGill is long gone and the man who just divorced her is barely recognizable by the man she married.
Kim Wexler and Jesse Pinkman’s “Waterworks” conversation plays directly in Better Call Saul’s final sequence, in which Kim visits Jimmy in prison. Blinking at her former reformed spouse, Kim’s first words are “hello Jimmy.” While “when I met him, it was” indicated Kim that she was coming to accept that Jimmy was gone, “hi Jimmy” indicates Kim celebrating her return.
The danger Better Call Saul faced in bringing Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul back to the Breaking Bad universe failed to connect their appearances to Jimmy McGill’s larger story: cameos for the sake of cameos. Better Call Saul easily avoided that trap, but “Saul Gone” goes further, making the returns of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman not only relevant to the Better Call Saul ending, but integral.