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10 Breaking Bad Universe Questions after Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul finished its six-season run earlier this year, making its mark as one of the few TV prequel shows to be considered as good as (or better than) the parent show. Whereas Breaking Bad was a thrill ride of non-stop action, cliffhangers, and plot twists, Better Call Saul was one of the finest character dramas of its era. Not that Better Call Saul didn’t occasionally ratchet up the tension to Breaking Bad levels, but it was mostly lauded for its slow and contemplative pace that allowed for details of the Breaking Bad universe to be painted in.
Even with all the background and character development we saw over 14 years of Breaking Bad, its sequel movie El Camino, and Better Call Saul, there are still some things we’ve been left to wonder about. Here are 10 of those plot points that weren’t explained, leaving the viewer free to theorize about what happened.
A couple of notes before we get started. Bob Odenkirk’s character will be referred to as both Jimmy and Saul, depending on the persona he was using at the time. And spoiler warning—if you’re not caught up on the Breaking Bad universe, major spoilers are to follow.
10 What Happened in Gus Fring’s Past?
Introduced as the ultimate supervillain in Breaking Bad, Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) was at first a business partner to Walter White (Bryan Cranston) but later his mortal enemy. Once Gus was done with Walt, he expressed no qualms about eliminating him, leading to a cat-and-mouse game that left Walt victorious. One of Better Call Saul’s greatest accomplishments was humanizing Gus and getting the audience to root for him in his war against the Salamanca family. But even though we got to know Gus a lot better in the prequel, his past in his home country of Chile is still a major mystery.
The lack of information about Gus’s past was first established in Breaking Bad when the DEA brought him in for questioning. Agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) questions Gus why there’s no record of his existence before the mid-1980s. Gus plays that off as a side effect of Chile being war-torn and in disarray during the Pinochet regime, but Hank remains suspicious. We later find out that Gus fought in that war with Peter Schuler, the German man who is the head of the fast food division of Madrigal (and that the two use Madrigal resources to distribute meth worldwide). A scene in the Better Call Saul episode “JMM” made clear they faced death together in the war, and making it out alive together forged a lifelong bond.
Fans theorize that growing up in poverty (which Gus did confirm in a few lines of dialogue) and the war turned Gus into the calculating criminal mastermind we came to know. But as far as details, we know as much as the DEA.
9 What Happened to the Kettlemans?
Appearing in the very first episode, white-collar criminals Craig and Betsy Kettleman (Jeremy Shamos and Julie Ann Emery) were major players in the first season of Better Call Saul. Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), the lawyer later to be known as Saul Goodman, hopes to break away from the low pay of public defender work and start his own practice by convincing the Kettlemans to retain him. In the end, Betsy declines because Jimmy seems like the type of lawyer “that guilty people hire.” This line, and its effect on Jimmy’s self-esteem, set in motion the series of events that leads to Saul Goodman becoming the most notorious “criminal lawyer” in America.
Given their importance to the birth of the Saul Goodman alter ego, fans were thrilled to see the Kettlemans return early in the final season. After Craig has served his prison sentence for embezzlement, he and Betsy are now running a tax filing service (and scamming seniors out of their tax refunds). One of the most striking things about their place of business is the giant Statue of Liberty inflatable on top of the building, which would later find a home at the law office of Saul Goodman and Associates.
So, how did Saul acquire the Statue of Liberty? Were the Kettlemans busted again for their financial crimes, leaving the inflatable up for sale? Or did Saul take them on as clients to keep them from getting caught and take Lady Liberty as payment? Something happened, but we’ll have to guess just what it was.
8 How Did Saul Acquire His Cadillac?
With vanity license plates reading LWYRUP, Saul’s white Cadillac was one of the props most closely associated with him. For the majority of Better Call Saul, Jimmy drives a decidedly less-glamorous and run-down Suzuki Esteem. In the classic season 5 episode “Bagman,” Jimmy goes on a dangerous trip into the desert in the Esteem to collect $7 million of cartel money so that Lalo Salamanca can be bailed out of jail. The Esteem never makes it out of the desert. In the same episode, at the Salamance headquarters, a blood-stained white Cadillac is cleaned up.
It seems reasonable to assume this Cadillac will eventually become Saul’s, perhaps as payment for representing the cartel in court at some point. However, Better Call Saul never filled in any more details on this. The first time we see the Cadillac with the LWYRUP plates is a scene set after the events of Breaking Bad when the FBI seizes the car.
7 How Is Skyler and Marie’s Relationship These Days?
A lot of the tension in Breaking Bad came from the fact that Walt was DEA agent Hank’s brother-in-law, with Hank spending much of the series just about to discover that Walt was the meth kingpin he was looking for. They were related by way of being married to sisters: Skyler (Walt’s wife) and Marie (Hank’s wife). The relationship was always a bit fraught between the sisters, with a sibling rivalry ongoing through much of the series.
In the Breaking Bad finale, Walt gives Skyler the GPS coordinates where the bodies of Hank and his work partner, fellow agent Steve Gomez, can be found. Walt encourages Skyler to use the information to secure a deal that will absolve her of her prosecution for her part in Walt’s crimes. Near the end of Better Call Saul, Saul’s legal assistant, Francesca, mentions that Skyler did indeed get her deal.
So one is left to wonder just how well Marie took hearing the news of this deal. In the final episode of Better Call Saul, we see that Marie was not happy that federal prosecutors were willing to negotiate a deal with Saul. One can only imagine how she felt about her sister getting a deal by trading the location of her dead husband.
6 Does Kim Ever Return to Practicing Law?
The breakout performance in Better Call Saul was by Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, the smart and savvy lawyer who starts the series as Jimmy’s friend and later girlfriend, wife, and finally, ex-wife. While spending much of the early run of the show as the moral counterpoint to Jimmy’s cutting corners and skirting the boundaries of the law, Kim eventually finds herself wrapped up in the scams and misdeeds that gave birth to the Saul Goodman persona.
That is, until someone gets hurt. After Kim and Jimmy work a convoluted scheme to discredit their colleague Howard Hamlin, Howard ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time and is murdered. Unable to cope with this guilt, Kim gives up being a lawyer and breaks up with Jimmy.
Given Kim’s passion for the law and how good she was at being a lawyer, fans naturally rooted for her to return to practice. But by the end of the show, the closest she came was volunteering at a legal aid center. Still, it’s hard to believe that she wouldn’t try to join the bar again at some point.
5 Will Howard’s Wife Pursue Legal Action?
As part of Kim’s atonement for Howard’s death—which saw her giving up her law license—she also confessed to Howard’s wife, Cheryl. This included the schemes she and Jimmy perpetrated to sully Howard’s reputation and how Lalo shot and killed Howard. While confession is indeed good for the soul, Cheryl accurately pointed out that her confession opened the door for Kim to be held legally liable for her misdeeds.
But will she actually pursue legal action? The last we hear is in the final episode, when Saul’s standby counsel, Bill Oakley, informs him that word on the street in Albuquerque is that Cheryl is looking for a good lawyer. So maybe we’re meant to think Kim will be taken to court. But whether this does happen, or if there will be any consequences for Kim, is left to our imagination.
4 Does Jesse Stay on Track in Alaska?
While the entirety of the Breaking Bad universe could be described as a neo-Western set in modern times, that description especially applies to the sequel movie El Camino. The film follows Walt’s old meth-cooking partner, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), as he tries to avoid his enemies and law enforcement while raising enough money to pay identity broker Ed (Robert Forster) to set him up with a new life in Alaska. It’s a real “loner hero on the run in the American West” story like many classic Westerns.
In the end, Jesse is successful, and Ed gets him to Alaska. But we have to wonder, what’s next? It’s entirely conceivable that Jesse will do his best to avoid breaking the law and make the most of his new life. But at the same time, the Better Call Saul scenes set post-Breaking Bad show us that living under a new identity in a new place without falling into old habits can be hard. Given Jesse’s history of drug abuse, we hope he can stay on track, but we do wonder.
3 What Happens to the Albuquerque Criminal Underworld?
Across two TV series and a sequel movie, we really became acquainted with the criminal underworld in Albuquerque. When we were introduced to Saul Goodman and his PI, Mike Ehrmentraut (Jonathan Banks), in Breaking Bad, it was clear that they had all the connections. Better Call Saul gave us an interesting backstory here, showing that Mike first made a lot of those connections via the veterinarian Dr. Caldera. In the final season, Dr. Caldera lets Jimmy know he will retire from his post as an underworld organizer, and his “little black book” full of criminal contacts is up for sale.
This is the same little black book that we see Saul use in Breaking Bad, so we know he did acquire it from Dr. Caldera at some point. And in Better Call Saul, we find out that the FBI tossed the book into a box when they raided Saul’s house and seized his property. With Dr. Caledera, Saul, Mike, and most of the other criminal elements we got to know all gone by the end of the Breaking Bad timeline, this leaves an opening for a new criminal ringleader. But as to who that could be, any guess is as good as another.
2 What Became of Lyle?
Gus Fring’s front for his meth empire was his chain of chicken restaurants, Los Pollos Hermanos. And he had no more loyal employee than Lyle. When Gus was called out of work to handle more unsavory business, he was always sure to turn over running the store to Lyle. And unfortunately for Lyle, this also meant that Gus would occasionally take out his frustrations on his most loyal employee.
Lyle never seemed to mind, his dedication to Los Pollos Hermanos and Gus never wavering. So one has to wonder… after Gus died and the chicken franchise was no more, how did Lyle recover? Did he go work fast food somewhere else? Was he even able to recover from the loss of Gus? We’ll truly never know.
1 How Did Jimmy Get Chuck’s Time Machine Book?
The final episode of Better Call Saul heavily featured a time machine motif. Jimmy/Saul is seen having conversations in flashbacks with three of the most important associates in his life, all discussing regrets and what they would do if they could go back in time. His conversations with Mike and Walt directly pose the time machine question; his talk with his brother Chuck (Michael McKean) dances around the topic until we see Chuck is reading a copy of H.G. Wells’s novel The Time Machine.
Earlier in season 6, we see that Jimmy had this exact same copy at the apartment he shared with Kim. This leads us to wonder how he acquired it since Chuck died in a fire that destroyed the entirety of his house. So just how was Jimmy able to retrieve The Time Machine book? He clearly hung onto it to remember Chuck, but how did the book survive the fire? Did Jimmy actually have a time machine all along and go back to get the book? It’s just another of those details that we’ll never have an answer for.