Better Call Saul Completely Changes How You See Walter White's Story

WARNING: This contains SPOILERS for Better Call Saul's series finale.

Better Call Saul season 6 revisits the Breaking Bad timeline through Saul’s point of view and completely changes how audiences perceive Walter White’s story. As any good prequel, Better Call Saul expanded on the Breaking Bad story by showing the origins of some of the most important plotlines from the original show, such as Gus’ rising empire and his conflict with the Salamancas. However, not only did Better Call Saul create more background to the events of Breaking Bad, but it also reframed them by adding a lot more context to the actions of characters like Gus, Mike, and most important, Saul – making Heisenberg’s story a lot different in hindsight.

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After five and a half seasons in which viewers could not help but wonder when the Saul Goodman they knew from Breaking Bad would appear, Better Call Saul season 6, episode 9, “Fun and Games” finally caught up with the Breaking Bad timeline. In a rather tragic way, viewers had to bid farewell to the Jimmy McGill they had grown to love in Better Call Saul’s first five seasons to welcome Saul Goodman, who now looked more like a tragic character than an entertaining one. That said, even before Better Call Saul’s Jimmy timeline caught up with Breaking Bad, the prequel show was already changing how viewers perceive some of the most important Breaking Bad events.

Related: Better Call Saul: Every Easter Egg & Reference In The Series Finale

In addition to Jimmy’s prequel story and Saul’s Breaking Bad-era scenes, Better Call Saul also changed how viewers perceive Breaking Bad through the Gene timeline. Set after Breaking Bad’s ending, Better Call Saul's black and white scenes served as a sort of epilogue to Breaking Bad, especially the ones in the Better Call Saul series finale “Saul Gone”. During the Saul Goodman trial, Jimmy admits that, without him, Walter White would have died or gotten arrested in a month. Jimmy confessed that, during his Saul days, all that he did for months was to help create Heisenberg’s empire – a theme that had already been brought up in Better Call Saul’s “Breaking Bad” episode. Jimmy had been dealing with men like Mike, Fring, and the Salamancas far before Walter White, and by the time Ms. Mayhew entered Saul’s office, the crooked lawyer was already a big player in the game. In hindsight, Walter White’s Breaking Bad story seems small compared to everything that happened with Jimmy.

Better Call Saul Season 6 Reframes Heisenberg As Saul’s Creation

Breaking bad episode Better call saul jimmy walt jesse

In Better Call Saul season 6, episode 11, "Breaking Bad,” viewers got an extended look at the day Walt and Jesse took Saul to the desert. After asking the duo to put a dollar in his pocket, Saul Goodman entered Walt and Jesse’s infamous RV, and from then on became associated with their operation. During Saul’s scene at Walt and Jesse’s RV, there is a key moment in which Saul grabs a Florence flask and comments that his pet fish would have loved it. That happens exactly as Walter’s image is formed behind the flask, in a scene that visually and metaphorically places Walter as Saul Goodman’s new pet. Saul was a shell of a man at that point, and even though he was already rich thanks to the Sandpiper money, he continued looking for pastime challenges to fill the void Kim left in his life. Saul Goodman saw Walter White as a business opportunity, but also as his new hobby.

Mike asked Saul not to engage with Heisenberg, warning that Walter White was a complete amateur. Mike was technically right about Walter White – he would get himself shot or arrested quickly. However, with Saul’s intervention, Heisenberg became a much more powerful player in the operation. Saul connected Heisenberg with Gus and laundered Walter and Skyler’s money, not to mention he assisted in keeping Jesse in check. Therefore, in hindsight, Heisenberg was a Saul creation almost as much as he was a Walter White creation.

Better Call Saul Made Walter’s Story Seem Smaller (But Also More Powerful)

Gustavo Fring and Lalo Salamanca in Better Call Saul

Jimmy McGill’s first interaction with a Salamanca was when he entered Tuco’s house in 2002. From then on, Jimmy slowly got deeper into crime, which eventually culminated in Lalo killing Howard in Kim’s apartment. Jimmy had his own “breaking bad” arc far before Walter was diagnosed with cancer, and while Jimmy was initially more reactive than proactive in the game, Saul Goodman ended up having a significant amount of experience in dealing with crime bosses and hitmen. Better Call Saul showcases how Breaking Bad’s Salamancas were once a force to be reckoned with, and how difficult it was for Gus to establish himself as the biggest player in the operation. Better Call Saul’s seasons 5 and 6 dealt with Gus Fring's war on the Salamancas, in which Jimmy was involved both directly and indirectly while serving as Lalo Salamanca’s lawyer.

Related: Every Returning Character In Better Call Saul’s Series Finale

Under that perspective, Walter White’s story seems much smaller. Walter was an amateur who had no idea who he was really dealing with. The only thing that made Heisenberg respected, at least initially, was his unique product. That said, the fact that Walter White was able to pretty much destroy everything Gus, Saul, and the Salamancas had built during the events of Better Call Saul is a testimony of how dangerously intense the character was.

Jimmy McGill’s Story Was More Complex Than Walter White’s

Better Call Saul - Gene & Walter White Header

Compared to Jimmy McGill, Walter White was not too complex to understand. That is not to say Saul is a better character than Walter, only that Walter was certain of the path he wanted to follow from the beginning. Although Walter lied to himself and others by saying he did it for his family, the character decided during Breaking Bad’s pilot that he would become a criminal to make as much money as possible before dying. Jimmy, on the other hand, was in a constant battle between his Slippin' Jimmy days and the man he thought would make Chuck proud. Jimmy was never evil, not in the sense of someone like Lalo, but he also didn’t have an exact “breaking bad” moment, sort of speak. The brilliance of Better Call Saul was to show that Saul Goodman was always like that, but that bad choices and misfortunes prevented him from trying to be something different. That is why Saul is so different from Walt, and in some ways, more complex.

Better Call Saul’s Finale Proves Jimmy Was The BrBa Universe's True Protagonist

Better Call Saul Season 6 Ep 13 Bob Odenkirk in desert

As someone who had been involved with some of Breaking Bad’s most important characters from the beginning and also had a rather complicated journey, Jimmy can be interpreted as the Breaking Bad universe’s real protagonist. While that universe started with Walter White’s thrilling tale, Better Call Saul succeed so much at being a prequel that made Breaking Bad feel much bigger than just Walt and Jesse. Saul had been an important third player in Breaking Bad, but now Better Call Saul showcases that the Breaking Bad era was just a small part of Jimmy’s tragic story. For Walter, the events of Breaking Bad defined his life. For Jimmy, Saul Goodman’s Breaking Bad actions were nothing but a result of being left by Kim. Not only that, but Jimmy’s story only ended after the events of Breaking Bad, with Saul Goodman being prosecuted as the last remaining Heisenberg associate followed by Jimmy finally finding some sort of redemption. Thanks to Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill can be considered the Breaking Bad universe’s real protagonist instead of Walter White, although that is more of a testimony to how good the stories of both shows and all of its characters were.

2022-09-11T17:54:16.000Z

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